[teal line]
Quotes to Ponder
[teal line]

In the Midst of Play

"Varooooom! Rrrrrrrrrr! Swissssshhhhh!" A slew of mouth noises came from the hallway, mingled with giggles and pretending. My children were racing cars, trying to decide which one was the fastest and which one was the slowest. Play! It is a wonderful part of life. In her book, For the Children's Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay writes ...

Certain factors encourage play. It is often easier home-based than institution-based. There should be space, and lots of free time. Children need to be outdoors (for hours). They need to make noise, mess, and to have access to raw materials (old clothes for costumes, hats, tables to turn into camps, etc., etc.).

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? And, in the midst of play, learning is happening. My children didn't realize they were implementing the Scientific Method (something we had recently studied) by observing & reasoning (how and why each car went as fast or as slow as it did), forming a hypothesis (before each "race" the fastest or the slowest car was picked), testing their theories (many a car went screaming down our hallway this morning), and, finally, evaluating & expressing their findings (one car was declared the fastest and another the slowest). Mrs. Macaulay continues ...

They need privacy from intruding adults, but they need interested support in quarrels, thinking of another way around a problem, providing food, and, at the end, bringing the children tactfully back into the world where supper is ready, the camp has to be packed up, children are tired and ready for the soothing routine of evening stories.

Some of my favorite read-alouds have included parents that have given their children time and space to play, understanding the value of play, and, also, understanding their invaluable role as a parent. (I'm going to include a list of some of these stories and biographies soon and I'll put the link here.)

I can learn about my children if I quietly and inobtrusively listen & watch. I remember once when I became concerned that my daughter was always pretending to be a proud, "snooty" character. During our devotions, I discussed being humble and kind and compassionate. Their play has shown me the ways in which they are growing, learning, and maturing; it has shown me their love for the stories we read, the places we visit, the things we learn about together. Still, I have to be thoughtful about how I treat their play time. I could hamper this important learning "method" that the Lord put into place. Mrs. Macaulay writes ...

However, there is no such thing as the perfect environment in which a child can play. If we try to organize perfection, we fail the child. Part of life is to learn to accept the limitations of any given situation. We do our children a lifelong service if we help them to make the best of where they live and who they are. Children are great adaptors. They will often make the best of the less-than-perfect situation.

One last thought on child's play. I have relearned how to play. It is such a joy to join in their play when invited! Hey, I consider it one of the privileges of homeschooling! *grin*

The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. - Psalm 115:14

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. - Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. - Matthew 18:2-6

November 3, 1998
1998 by Kathy Ridpath
Please ask for permission to reprint this article, ridpath@chfweb.com. Thank you!

The following books are available through Our Favorite Books Bookstore. All proceeds from Our Favorite Books Bookstore in association with Amazon.com go toward supporting the chfweb.com website. Thanks for your support!

For the Children's Sake:
Foundations of Education for Home and School

by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
I knew this was a book that I would love (I've given away many copies as gifts and have read it several times) when I read what Mrs. Macaulay wrote in the "Introduction" ... "Education is an adventure that has to do with central themes, not the particular packages a given generation puts them into. It's about people, children, life, reality!" This is a book about educating our children from a Christian viewpoint. For more about this book, check out the book study on CIN's Christian Homeschool Forum Webpage. -- Kathy Ridpath
Paperback: *Order Now!*

[teal line]


Quotes to Ponder


[teal line]


"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Isaiah 54:13

Kathy Ridpath: ridpath@chfweb.com
chfweb.com 1997-2001, all rights reserved