This post was originally set to be shared last week, before Valentine’s Day. However, a cold going through the house, a half day of school for George, my husband needing the computer for a school paper, and other things rose up to delay it being written. Even if it is too late for Valentine’s Day this year, I hope you can take some inspiration away either for next year or for a future get together you are planning. Sometimes, keeping things simple and schedule free works really well.
Last week I stepped outside of my comfort zone and invited some other kids over for a Valentine’s Day Party. The goal was to make Jack feel less left out, and more like he can still have a life even if he is schooled at home.
One of the challenges of schooling only one kid at home is the lack of instant people to populate a ‘party’. If there were 2 or 3 or 7 kids being taught here at home then it would be easy to have fun all on our own. Having your mom and you at a part does not rank high on the coolness level when you are 6. That becomes more like a fun activity than a party.
One of the challenges of home schooling one kid while sending the other to public school is the feelings of missing out when your public school sibling comes home with all these treats from the latest holiday party. And you are not allowed to have any, which only makes it worse.
So, out of my comfort zone I stepped. Messages were sent, invites given, and we awaited word. To be honest, I only spoke to 3 families, with 5 kids between us. Next time I am going to try reaching out to more.
The morning of the party, I had not heard back from anyone. “Will anyone even come?” my inner voiced asked, always in doubt as to whether anyone will say “yes”.
I prepped Jack for the possibility that no one may come, as I had not heard a peep from any of the families.
It got to be party time and no one came. I said, “Give it a few minutes, maybe they are running late.”
10 minutes later I get a text from Family #3, “We are running late. Our keys are lost.” Yes! “Hey, Jack ….”
I let out a sigh of relief. I would not have to resort to Plan B, which would have been more work for me the next day (7 kids and only me to supervise) and involve several families I know who send their kids to public school. (It was to be a half day for George, so I knew the mom’s would not object to someone offering to watch their kids for a few hours for free.)
I set the house up with 3 different stations, Montessori style. The activities were there if the kids wanted to do them, but they did not have to do any of them. They could also do as much of one station as they wanted to, if their hearts desired. It was to be a completely child led morning. I would make lunch, but the rest was up to them.
Station #1 was a Craft Activity. A table was set up in the middle of our dinning room with crazy scissors, construction papers, coloring pages, glue, markers, and crayons. They could color pictures, make bookmarks, make cards for people, or whatever else they could think of.
This activity was left up for a few days as Jack and George were really getting into it. In the end it was only taken down because my husband needed the table back.
Station #2 was making Lollipop Flowers. Thanks to Katie at Ruffles & Truffles, I had a tutorial to follow. While doing this in order to take pictures to show you, I placed and rolled the sucker in step #4 from the right side, or end, of the crepe paper. Every other time I did it, I rolled from the other end, which I found easier. Maybe the difference was all in my head, but I did want to mention it in case you were wondering.
This was also what I did for George to take to school for his class valentines. For him I was unable to find a bag us suckers like the ones below and used the small version of Tootsie Roll Pops instead. I did not like the look of them as well, since their wrapping sticks up off the sucker some. Live and learn. The kids did not care as candy is candy, that was all they was their only concern.
Station #3 was Decorating Cupcakes at a table in the kitchen. I picked up an assortment of decorating items. The amazing part was it taking me 4 different stores to find sprinkles and other decorative additions. I was thoroughly shocked that it was so hard to find. It got to be to the point where I was thinking of other crafts we could do.
These turned out to be a hit. So much so that the pictures below are actually of ones Jack and George made after the party; the others were eaten immediately after they were made.
In the end the day was a success. I liked the set up as it took little work for me once things began. Next time, I think I will head to a local park and invite a somewhat different set of families.