An interesting week with some failures (but always learning) and many successes. Let’s start with the failure (that turned into a success).
A couple of days after heading to our local Fire Station for a tour, we attended our local Art Gallery hoping for a more cultural experience. An education session had been arranged with our local home-school group and as we had not been to the Art Gallery for some time I thought it would be a great way for the kids to learn more about paintings as it’s certainly not my strength area. The chosen subject of the day was Transparent Water Colours in Queensland from the 1850s, I thought that would be a little interesting as it’s about our local area and a look at history (which they normally enjoy). While the company as usual was lovely – and our Gallery Guide was very engaging (my older two found her too “passionate”, as she was excited and very open with the younger children) – my children did not find the subject matter very engaging.
My boys steadily increased their boredom behaviour to the point of starting to distract other children to join them (which was when I decided it was time for us to leave), my older girls had quietly occupied themselves critiquing the paintings among themselves and other older teens. I had spent my time, trying to move between ignoring my boys (who are usually fairly well behaved when out) or requesting that they be quiet or sit down (littlest was standing on the couches, oldest boy age 8, at his worst was running under the paintings, still shudder at the thought lol). We had been there at most ½ an hour and so when we left I was one frustrated, exasperated mummy and they were 4 bored kids. Eldest girl then chose to sit in the car (to listen to her music) while the other 3 came for a walk to the library to return some books. On the way youngest girl (age 11) then discussed how she doesn’t like art, so I started to talk about how there are many different styles and types of art and that realistic water colours are obviously not her preference, while trying to leave the whole “non” art gallery visit “failure” behind me.
Around the back of the Art Gallery (on the way to the library) we then discovered sculptures and a water feature and more, which the kids all loved and engaged willingly with – so we excitedly talked about how the outside art works were also Art and that learning how to appreciate and work out what you like and don’t like is all part of the journey (IMAGINE without the I, scrabble board was brilliant). Another lesson for me in appreciating and accepting what my kids like and don’t so I can make our learning journey more enjoyable and worthwhile.
The outright successes last week were the new sports that the 3 eldest children chose to start, I was working so Daddy played taxi and took their photos. The girls (and eldest boy, but he isn’t old enough yet) have been wanting to try Archery for some time, and a group session had been arranged for the next 6 weeks with some of our home school friends.
The girls really enjoyed their first archery class and are very keen to continue, we have tried many other traditional sports without much long term interest and so we do like to keep offering then opportunities to try out new ones. All the gear is supplied so we don’t need to make expensive purchases for some time unless they are keen to continue.
More than a few weeks ago youngest boy started to ask about learning Karate (the girls learnt when they were younger) so after looking at a few options I chose the local PCYC for his first class and he also thoroughly enjoyed it and is very keen to keep going ("mummy can you buy me the outfit please?"). The bonus from that class is he has spent the rest of the week practicing his exercises and little brother has also been learning how to do sit-ups and push-ups alongside him.
Letting our children choose and decide that they want to try something new is ideal, I often suggest or get the kids to attend events where there are a few sports or activities on offer, as if you never try or are exposed then you may never know if you like it. Middle of last year they all started Roller Derby and have been enjoying getting their skate and fitness skills to the required level. They also have the choice to stop when they want to too, while we talk and encourage them to make a commitment, follow through and giving things some time it is also important for them to be in control and decide what is a worthwhile way to spend their time. Pushing and insisting and pressuring them means they are doing it for all the wrong reasons, while I do have to strongly insist eldest girl goes to roller Derby practice most weeks, she tells me how much she loves it every time she goes (and ask that I do it again next week), if she is truly too tired or isn’t in the right mood then of course she has the choice to stay home.
Listen and truly hear their honest responses.