Now, what about the activities which require a bit more focus? Less than a year ago, she took up a musical instrument. I do not know where she has first heard that instrument but she insisted on learning only that instrument and would not hear of me trying to "upsell" other instruments.
After negotiating with (and nagging at) me for 4 weeks, I finally relented and brought her for a trial in a school that specializes in that instrument and she loves it. After the trial, she bugged me for another 2 weeks before I agreed to letting her try it out. The instrument is hard, harder than the organ which I play after learning it for many years. The precision, technique and motor skills required, I often feel, are un-natural for children this young. She practises hard but lately I have been getting feedback from the school that she tends to 'dream' a bit in class. This was the very same comment from her Chinese classes too.
Frankly, that got me worried. Since P1 is hovering over us like a dark cloud, I went into this hyper-active mode where I was trying very hard to get her more focused. Now, thing is, she is able to do all the tasks her teachers ask of her - for e.g. she can play her instrument without looking or that she's able to complete her sums but needed reminders to 'jolt' her back to the present. Many times, I actually needed to raise my voice just to get her attention. And the voice would get louder and louder and I'd get more and more impatient.
An alarm then went off in me. One of the reasons why I chose homeschooling is because I wanted to bond and that I wanted us to have fun. So, when did it come to a point where I needed to raise my voice? Last night, as she slept and I looked at her sleeping calmly and peacefully, I suddenly asked myself "Does it matter? Does it really matter where she needs to do those said activities there and then and in that said manner? Or does it matter more that I have a happy and healthy child?" Now, I know that there will be a lot of comments right now in some of your minds saying "of course it matters - when she goes to P school, she will be in a bigger class and she will need to follow instructions and complete her tasks."
Of course I know that's important. Now, what if I phrase it differently - what if you were to sleep your last 'sleep' that night and only to realise that you are back with your maker and you have no more opportunity to speak with, hug and touch your child? Would you then rather have your child remember you raising her voice at her and trying to keep to a schedule or would you rather your child remember the happy moments you have with her, that she is loved and treasured, and that she remembers your encouraging words, love and hugs?
So, I am learning to be chilled out about raising a dreamer. I am very aware that I will still need to remind her to be 'present' and I understand that she may need to focus a tad more in formal school years. However, I am learning to slow down with her and for her, and remind myself that everything will happen in good time. In His time.
Ironically, it was my aunt who homeschooled me when I was young (yes, I was a homeschooler too) reminded me that I, too, was also a dreamer. Truth be told, I still am one. :)
For parents of dreamers, here's a motivating story to share:
"It seems that there was a little boy who struggled in school, finding math and science to be a challenge for him. In fact, he really didn’t like school much at all but, from his earliest days, he loved reading. Consequently, he spent a great deal of time imagining things. As he learned to write, he discovered his penchant for science fiction and would draft story after story filled with mystical characters and amazing adventures, to his mom’s delight.
As this little boy grew older, he thought it would be great fun to make movies based on his stories and so, with his simple camera he did, often pretending to be sick so he wouldn’t have to go to school and, instead, could stay home and pursue his hobby. Not so reluctantly, his mother allowed this.
Encouraged that she was, this mom joined her aspiring film-making son as a stand-in character whenever he needed her for one of his productions and sometimes she even helped him carry out special effects. Once she worked in her kitchen to heat 30 cans of cherry pie filling in a pressure cooker until they exploded all over her walls, achieving the desired results for her son to use as he told his latest tale on film.
When the young man graduated from high school, he didn’t have test scores that would get him into a great film school but it didn’t really matter. A hard worker and a dreamer of dreams*, young Steven Spielberg took his creativity and spunk on to produce movies like E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler’s List, a movie that brought the horrors of Spielberg’s own Jewish family heritage to audiences everywhere. It is told that his mother could not speak at the end of a private viewing of the film, she was so moved by what her son had done." Source
So until then, here's my parting note and a reminder for all of us who are homelearning / homeschooling our children - we need keep focused too: to continue to love teaching. :)