After School Non-Activity

It seems like such a short time ago I was jumping for joy at the thought of no more car pool, no more school lunches, no more scrambling for clean socks, and yet in the blink of an eye here we are again.  On the other hand, when I look at my children getting ready for another year of school I have to honestly say the first thought that comes to my mind is “where the *&@! did my babies go”.  For the record the next thought is “where did my summer vacay go”, followed by a quick “I feel old”.  By the way, only old people wonder aloud concerning the passage of time.

So – we’re back at school.  And last week I followed in the foot steps of many great mothers before me fervently holding back my tears until I got back to my car after dropping my baby off to his first day of kindergarten.  It was tough.  Now, don’t get me wrong I am thrilled they will be back at school.  We ALL need to get back to a schedule AND a good long break from each other….but still, it has been a very emotional week.

Breaking our hazy lazy unscheduled days of summer has not been easy, and we are all struggling to get back into the groove of our routine.  I promised myself not to start any scheduled after school activities until we were all adjusted to the new routine.  And as punishment for this I am forced to struggle to not turn on the tv until dinner is ready to occupy these over-tired, over-cranky, quite frankly over-everything children.  In that state it has been a challenge to find some quiet activities while that will not result in that horrific overstimulated 5:30 pm wine-requiring (for me, not them) melt down. 

To diffuse the ticking time bombs this week, I have been having the kids help with dinner.  Aside from the obvious agenda that if kids help cook it they might also actually eat it, this activity has helped save me from having to clean up the black hole (aka the playroom). My kids have shucked corn, peeled potatoes, washed, ripped, and dried lettuce, and measured out some pasta.  This has been great for us.  The kids have been proud of helping  me cook dinner, and I am getting to learn all about what they have to say about school, teachers, and friends.

While dinner has been cooking we have also gotten ourselves back on the computer.  Because we had spent so much time outside this summer, we haven’t done very much digitally the past few months. Here are some of their favorite websites to visit:

Kids National Geographic  – My kids really love this website.  It is appropriate for a wide range of ages and has pictures, videos, games, etc.

Starfall – The kids definitely love this website as well, which is designed for younger kids.  It has phonics, early reading, and reading sections with tons of holiday games. Initially I found the site kind of boring but my kids both keep going back to it.

FunBrain  – FunBrain is another educational-based site that also includes math learning.

Finally, hubby’s birthday is next week. In honor of his upcoming self-anniversary I will attempt to refrain from speaking about him in a condescending manner.  When it comes to birthdays in my house, we are all about the homemade presents.  My husband and I agreed many years before we had kids that we were not going to succumb to the ‘pressure’ of outdoing ourselves year after year.  After all, if this relationship was forever, it would take way too much creative effort and money to continuously outdo each other.  We mutually agreed we were not going to be able to live up to our own expectations.  With that in mind, the kids and I have been working on some old fashioned home made b-day cards (don’t worry – it won’t ruin the surprise – he usually doesn’t read my blog…ooops there goes the condescending…).

How have you been keeping your kids busy after school?