I have made many adjustments to our homeschooling lifestyle, but there is one thing that I have not been able to let go off completely as yet.....and that is a messy house! But I must say that I have come a long way in this too.......I am able to tolerate most of the things now, simply because I have learnt to look at it from my son's point of view and respect him and his feelings about things. After all, it is his house and his space too! And it has taken me 7-8 months of making a genuine effort to "listen" to him every single time he wants me to, making those little sacrifices of time - giving him time when HE wants me to, going out of my way to do things for him sometimes when he refuses to understand my standpoint....and it has paid me huge dividends I must say!
When you give of yourself, you get back more than what you give. When you respect your child, he learns to respect you. When you listen to your child, he learns to listen to you. That is what i have learnt. Most often than not, we tend to look at things OUR way......we want them to clean up their room or toys because it looks neat, because it is easier for us, and because they just HAVE TO listen to us! But have we stopped to think about how those little things that they created, built or played with are PRECIOUS, SPECIAL and HUGE for them? It is after all their world, and how many times we destroy it with our hands! - simply because we look at it from our point of view, not theirs. And I must say, it makes a world of difference if you look at it through their eyes.
So, when will they learn to clean-up? I think they will when they are ready......just like I believe that you need a certain readiness for everything .....you need a certain readiness for this too. Raghav cleans up when he makes it a game and fun like pretending to drive his digger and picking things up, or when he understands that we need to do something in that place which cannot be done elsewhere. He is still learning to understand that it is easier for him to find things if he puts things back in their respective places. We have done loads of talking about that, and spent loads of time searching for things that he wants to play with, but that has not changed things. So all I do now, is to ASK him what is okay to be cleaned up and just do it myself. He helps when he wants to. And I DON'T clean up what he doesn't want me to! But overall, it is so much more peaceful now that I respect his feelings - there are no ego clashes, no more arguments and fights.......there is a lot more mutual understanding and trust.
So in our house these days, the dining table becomes a racing track, just because it is oval in shape!......so cars go zooming as Raghav counts the number of laps, stops them for pit-stops, creates problems and finds his own solutions. Or, his room becomes a city with buildings, houses, vehicles, bridges and many other creations. And we don't move these things for days sometimes.....because he has painstakingly arranged them or simply because it is a "real" race track for him! So many times, we just have dinner sitting around with plates in our hands or cram up everything in less than half the space! But because we have respected his feelings and him, today he agrees to make place for us sometimes and clean up or make adjustments.