How is it that this March Break is almost over? One week passes us by so quickly. For once, and this is such a rare thing for us, we didn't do much of anything. We had an aborted trip to visit my parents-in-law (it was supposed to be 5 days but Pk's onset of sickness, which turned out to be due to over-exhaustion, brought us home after 2 days) and some shopping to do but otherwise, we were home. We had two days that the kids didn't even get out of their jammies (although we did ask them to have a bath and get into new ones in the evening) and they were blissfully happy. Pk was out at riding camp today and Lb spent the day hanging out with Dh and I and he was just so happy and relaxed.
Pondering it made me a bit sad. We live in Ontario, in Canada, and we have a full-day kindergarten programme here that starts at age 4. Lb seems to like it well enough and loves his teacher and talks a lot about school. Lately, though, we have found him somewhat resistant to going and when we asked why, he said that there's too much work. It's supposed to be a play-based programme (which it largely is) but based on the stack of worksheets that Lb brought home last week, clearly there is pencil and paper going on, too. Seeing how happy and creative and affectionate he has been this week with the structure lifted really convinces me more than ever that 4 year olds shouldn't have to go to school all day. I wish I had the option to stay home with him (yes, I know, there are many who would say that if I really wanted to, I could stay home but in the current economic climate and given how absolutely impossible it is to get into teaching here these days, I can't risk giving it up). I wish Lb could spend much of his time playing outside, creating with his cars, building with blocks and climbing into my lap for a story whenever he wanted it. For that matter, I wish that Pk, who is in grade 2, could have more of that kind of freedom as well.
We are not good at time. My kids do too many lessons (but when we have brought up the subject of giving something up, there are tears - they both adore skating, Pk lives for horseback riding, they love Awana at the church and Dh and I are strong believers that they need to get a musical start). Our schedule is tight and our weekends always seem to be taken up with social commitments and errands. There was a time that we used to call Sundays "free days" - we went to church and that's it. The computer and t.v. stayed off and we didn't use anything like a tablet. I'm wondering whether we might need that as a kind of palate cleaner again. The kids love that freedom and especially now that it's warming up, it will be so nice to go back to hiking as a family and being outside, working on our garden, playing and just hanging out. As part of my year of "gentle", clearly I am going to need to work harder at finding that open time to just let us all be. We have all thrived on it this week and we will be going back to school on Monday so much the better for it!