By Shilo Bartlett


Our children go through so many of these within a period of days, months, weeks, and years. Sometimes it can even feel like hours that they go through one stage before they are on to the next! These stages are punctuated by phrases or terms like the “terrible two’s,” or “fabulous fives.”

BakingMy family is currently in “The Growing Stage”-the one where they eat everything in sight. This particular stage means a lot of grocery store trips, which I am not overly fond of.

Just a few days ago I caught myself complaining about it all: the continual grocery store runs, the endless meal-making, and the demand to always keep the cabinets fully stocked. I was upset that I couldn’t keep up with the constant eating. And then it dawned on me…I remember when my kids were two, and three, and four, and I found myself wishing for some of those stages back. I thought about how I should have appreciated that part of their life while it was still here.

The realization gave me a moment to consciously remind myself that this is a time in my children’s life I should embrace. A chance to try to find the fun within the stage, and give them a reason to learn….just like all the other times in our lives that we have the opportunity to teach our children.

You see, the love of learning is not limited by books, or pens, or a classroom. All our lives we are learning new things, whether it’s new ways of seeing things, new approaches to obstacles, or new concepts and skills. The beauty comes not from viewing a stage my children go through as a thing I must “get through,” but as the gift of a teachable moment. (And many times this way of looking at things is more for me than it is for the kids!)

With this in mind, in addition to the usual I also recently enlisted my children’s assistance in the kitchen. I now have “helpers” in the grocery aisles. They help me decide on healthy snacks for school, menus for the week, and on what we need to buy for the house. They then help prepare the food at home with things like setting the table, washing the dishes, and taking out the trash.

I cannot say that this always goes smoothly or that it doesn’t have its challenges. Real and worthwhile education always has its bumps. However, I can say that the precious bonding time that has come from this stage has value far beyond today’s hungry stomach.

Let’s Chat: How do you implement teaching into the stages of your children’s lives?

    Shilo_BShilo Bartlett is a super organized, over reaching, strong-willed mother of three. She loves having the hands-on time with her kids that homeschooling and The Garden School have allowed her. She grew up in the Colorado River Valley, and went to public school until 6th grade. Her mother homeschooled her and her three siblings through high school, and then she attended CMC graduating with a degree in Applied Science in the Veterinary Field. She has always read voraciously, and written throughout her life for many publications. Her family is her passion. Her driving motivation is to encourage a love of learning.


One comment on “Stages

  1. Lizzie says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shilo! 🙂

    I love how you mentioned that the love of learning is not limited by books or a classroom. The #1 thing I learned from both homeschooling and The Garden School is how to learn. Basically, how to teach myself. If a person can learn the art of learning, they aren’t limited by anything!

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