Two days back I did a lot of shopping in the local bhaji market. The full-time maid has gone away for good ( again!) and now its us again doing all the stuff as a team..the girls have been helping me with washing the bathrooms ( they did a fantastic job really!!) , cutting veggies, serving and cleaning up their toys. Now it was time to pitch in doing all the work that springs in India post-shopping for veggies in the local market..
First & foremost we set about separating the veggies..everything is mixed up becoz plastic bags are now banned in such markets. They set about meticulously separating the okra, beans, green chilies and all such similar looking veggies & packing them in zip-lock bags. It is such an awesome exercise in object recognition, sorting , organizing, size estimation. The girls had to try out a few bags before estimating the right size of the bag for each veggie..Many a times the amount would be too much for the bag they chose.
Then they helped me with the task of picking out curry leaves and methi leaves. The latter was strenuous. We talked quite a bit about farming- they were curious as to why the veggies were so muddy, how it comes to the market etc..
The whole thing would have taken a good 1 hr 15 mins..But they were absolutely engrossed in the exercise..Kunju learnt the names of a few veggies she didn't know earlier. Chellu seemed to get at these things faster. I can definitely see that she understands the task and completes in a much shorter period of time as compared to last year..I've always believed that paper examinations are such a false way of judging a child's progress. Day to day observation in a variety of tasks is more than enuff. The veggie sorting exercise only conformed my beliefs. My girls are definitely getting smarter by the years!!;))..no need of any exams to ratify this!
The past week since the maid's absence has brought us together again as a team when it comes to doing household work. But it does wonders to their focus and sense of belonging & importance in the family. Children really do want to help us out ..this is how it used to be ages back before the formal school system started. When people lived in villages and farms and when everything was literally manual children helped around a lot ...The Charlotte Mason method of Home education highly recommends involving children in household work..she says it helps a lot in character formation.
For me personally its about real education. I see a LOT of value in doing house-work. So much finger co-ordination, so much planning, so much physical fitness is involved. It brings the family together like none other task and I've always seen that the girls feel very very proud when a task is accomplished. Its like as though they really want to be like us and what else is a better way than house-work. They seem to fight much less with each other on such days. Probably becoz doing the work together brings them closer to each other. Self-reliance is a extremely valuable. I would ideally love my girls to be completely self-reliant where they do their own work completely by themselves whether washing clothes or vessels or anything else. HSing should involve knowing how to take care of oneself and the home. Its an extremely valuable thing to know. I am grateful to my maid to have left. She has given our family back what we had lost for a while:))