28 July 2009

Eat, Sleep and Read

For a while I really struggled with guilt that I didn't read to my kids at bedtime anymore. What a bad parent I was! How could I say I valued reading and my children if I didn't curl up with award-winning children's books full of beautiful artwork every evening and read to them, complete with multiple voices and hand puppets?

Then I struggled with the fact that we ate dinner with books in front of us instead of talking like I did when I was little. We graze alot; we sometimes have light dinner... I must be subpar with my parenting contemporaries if we didn't discuss current events and have meaningful discussions over a well-balanced meal! What kind of parent feeds their kid one food group?(OK, 2, if you count the cheese on the macaroni. And how could I even make any sense if I fed them Organic mac-n-cheese with organic milk and then nasty hot dogs with organic ketchup?)

Then I remembered that all the parenting magazines are geared toward one family in America: the dual-income, extra-curricular, public school family. Many of the articles don't apply to my single-income, homeschool lifestyle.

That's when I really made the connection: I said homeschool lifestyle. It's isn't just a method of education, it's a lifestyle that affects how we do everything! If we are reading together for a great portion of the day, it really isn't so crucial to read at night. In a dual-income home, reading with a child at night, after a long day apart, is an important way to connect and cuddle and hear mom's voice. In the same way, talking about the day's events over the dinner table is less productive when you have already spent the day together. Why rehash what you did in school today for form's sake? Is this legalism or real life?


  1. Indeed. I went through the same thing when I realized we often didn't all eat at the same time together. We still have a few family meals at the table every week -- it's good for teaching formal manners and such, but really we often don't eat the same food, and one person or another needs to be somewhere, and we don't end up siting down at the same time. I thought that was horrible for a few months, until I realized I was with them *all day* and I'm pretty sure they weren't going to grow up to be axe murderers just because we sometimes were 10 feet away while they ate dinner. ;)

    (Different meals isn't really my choice. My son has sensory food issues, I have food allergies and intolerances, and the hubby is on a weight-loss diet that is lower fat, which doesn't work for growing kids or pregnant me. :D Sometimes life doesn't turn out how you want, but it's no reason to beat yourself up about doing things differently! :>)

  2. So true. Thanks for your comment!

  3. I caught myself wondering awhile back- during a particularly quiet dinner, but in the same thought concluded that, why would be discuss how school went that day? We had all been there, we all knew how everyone else's day had gone. There was no need to repeat. But you hear so much about 'the family table'...but it doesn't at all apply to a homeschool lifestyle.