But then I learned to embrace it. For one thing, all those distractions are an advantage really. If our children live in a college dorm someday and are trying to study, the hollering and shenanigans will seem like a vacation compared to all the hubbub during their years of homeschool. No biggee. Our children are growing accustomed to molding themselves around their atmosphere, rather than the atmosphere's tip toeing around them.
Our school has a soft couch. Although I mildly scold everyone to be selfless and take turns, I secretly think it is absolutely adorable how my children fight over "the Mommy spot." We sit together on our living room couch when we do Bible time and language. Having my teenagers snuggle up to me on the couch is priceless. I have to believe that my children are able to truly love the subject matter, when it is in the comfort of their own living room with their mother.
There's a fireplace in our school. We've had a chilly spring here in Georgia and I've gotten into the habit of firing up our fake gas fireplace while we do composition. I light a candle in the middle of the kitchen table while the children do their writing. We're home. Let's get cozy, shall we? As the weather gets warmer, we sometimes do language on our front porch, while the younger ones (ages 5 and 2) run and play in the grass.
I have started doing math with my daughters in their bedroom (ages 14 and 12) so that our little ones can play happily nearby. Math seems to go better that way lately, rather than at the kitchen table. One day my 12-year-old was waiting for me to come and do math with her and had already gotten started on a few of her problems. I walked into the room and saw my daughter, curled up in her soft chair, with her gigantic down comforter affectionately named "Buddy" tucked around her, with her feet propped up on a stool. I had seen this a million times before but I saw it for the first time in a way that day. I laughed and said, "Now Claire, that's the way to do math." She said, "Agreed."
When my most affectionate child was age 5, I would do math with her on Mondays and Tuesdays, language on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but Fridays were cuddle day. That was her schoolwork for the day: to cuddle on the couch with Mommy. I think we did that until she was about 8 years old. She still talks about cuddle day.
When it is raining or thundering, or everyone has the sniffles. or we are just plumb wore out, sometimes they ask me to read Richard Scarry in my bed. We pile onto my bed and read a silly book together, laughing and trying to be gracious about the Mommy spot. A friend told me years ago that her children's private school placed great importance on always having a madonna and child painting displayed in the classrooms. There is something very comforting and real about seeing this sacred relationship. My children don't need a painting. They have the real thing because I'm almost always holding a little one on my lap.
Even though we have chaotic distractions to overcome and tiny people under foot, we have learned over the years to make the best use of our home. It is after all very homey.