“I’m having a hard time at school, Momma,” my daughter blurts out of nowhere as we’re cleaning her bedroom the other day. I find this statement to be completely uncharacteristic of her, given she is a little chameleon who can find a way to fit in and make herself comfortable no matter where she is or what she is doing …
“What kind of hard time?” I ask. She goes on to explain that after circle when it’s time for the kids to decide what they want to work on, everybody knows exactly what they want to do, but she just doesn’t know what to do anymore. So she just stands there by the table trying to figure out what to do …
This is a new dilemma for her, as she usually knows exactly what she wants to do. I ask if she’s overwhelmed by all of the options, or if she’s bored with the same old manipulatives. She can’t quite place it … nothing piques her interest lately. Her brother LOVES his math book, but she’s not in Kindergarten yet, so she doesn’t have a math book. She’s learning her letters and shapes, but that’s not interesting enough. Coloring is fun, but only for so long. She feels like she’s exhausted her options. And she’s still in preschool.
“Oh honey, you just need to find your Groove,” I reply. She asks what a “groove” is, and I try to explain that it’s her “thing” … something that she enjoys doing. What does she like doing, I wonder?
“I like to take pictures,” she responds. It’s true. She does love to take pictures. She steals my phone or my camera constantly and goes on photo-journal expeditions around the yard. Or the house. Or up her brother’s nose … whatever she finds interesting, I suppose.
Taking pictures, however, is not exactly a part of her curriculum at school. But, perhaps I can find a way to foster her passion at home. She can’t keep using my cell phone though. It’s too easy for her to accidentally call one of my business contacts. And my camera is my *only* camera … I’m afraid she’ll drop it while running across the yard.
Later, as I’m cleaning out our junk drawer, I find the two iPhones we had to replace when my husband shattered his, and mine failed to maintain a connection (after four years of loyal service). The phones aren’t connected to the internet anymore. But their cameras still work. Maybe we can replace the glass screen on my husband’s phone and give the phones to our kids to use as cameras. And then maybe I’ll set up individual iPhoto folders for them on the computer so they can sort their photos and create their own scrapbooks.
There. See how easy that was? I cleaned out a junk drawer, eliminated the wastefulness of two phones sitting idle, orchestrated a creative outlet for my children, and found my daughter’s groove. All in the space of 30 minutes. Without spending a penny.
This minimizing thing really has its perks.