Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Making room

Two weeks ago, I went through 3 large storage tubs of my teaching stuff.  I had already gone through it before we moved to Alaska, there was more like 10 or so boxes then,  What was left, was the stuff I thought of as the really good stuff. 

It was really good stuff, for a classroom.  What has surprised me most about going from a former teacher to homeschooling mom, is that most of my classroom stuff now looks like busy work to me.  I was an innovative teacher.  I never handed out a plain ol' worksheet.  The usual set up was 1/2 the class in a small group setting and the other half at hands-on independent learning stations.  I planned 10-15 of these stations every week.  It took a lot of planning and creativity to come up with fun and challenging projects for my students.  I was proud of the kind of projects I put out for my kids.  I loved seeing them walk in on Monday, excited to see what was ahead for the week.

Two weeks ago, I decided I was tired of stepping around the 3 boxes in my sewing room.  I had already filled up a small filing cabinet with stuff I barely used.  I opened my filing cabinet and those boxes and whittled it done to what seemed like really fun projects that I though my kids, might actually do.  I ended up with one organized filing cabinet and 2 large garbage bags.

It was hard.  So much of what I threw out this time, represented hours and hours of my time and creativity.  I also completely let go of the idea that I might someday teach in the classroom again.  That was hard too.

The bonus was that as I looked at all these things, I could see that Oliver had learned all these skills without the classroom and felt assured that Benton and Linnea wouldn't need this stuff either.

I popped into Dan's office for a little encouragement.  He said exactly what I needed to hear.  Something along the lines of "You are making room, both physically and mentally for more creativity."  He was so right.  My sewing room had been unusable, but later that week, I got started on projects that had been sitting in my closet, untouched for a year or more.

So, my sewing room is somewhat organized.  Now what about the rest of the house?  It feels like there is too much.  How do I simplify?  How do I whittled down my kids' things to the essentials and what I hope will inspire more creativity and play?   How do I do that and still be respectful of their things?  Right now, our playroom is crazy messy.  They love it when it has been reorganized, but a day later it is crazy messy again.  I do know that my creativity inspires them, so sewing again is part of the solution.

Well, I will continue to ponder all of that, but for now I better get up and start putting some things away.