We have a witching hour at our house.
Come to think of it, we’ve ALWAYS had a witching hour, and it’s that hour in the evenings when dinner is in the process of being made… when bellies are rumbling… and when Mama must devote her attention to browning hamburger and onions in a skillet, because Hubs insists we’ll never be millionaires if we hire a personal chef to do that FOR US each night.
(I have news for Hubs: I don’t think we’re EVER going to reach Millionaire Status, but we have each other, and we have love, and we have Netflix, so it’s the next best thing to having more dollars than we can count, sitting in a bank.)
Usually the witching hour starts with whining. There is always, always, ALWAYS the whining about how hungry the little people are. They are SO HUNGRY! They are so hungry, they are very possibly near death! Thing 2 could win an Oscar with his dramatic interpretation of a starving child. Never you mind that there were bowls of cereal and apples and granola bars devoured after school. My kids can clean a pantry out as fast as a shop vac can suck up spilled cat litter. The children want a full meal, while you’re cooking, so that when dinner is actually served, they can look at it, smell it a little, and then proclaim, “I’m not hungry.”
They also have NOTHING TO DO during the witching hour, because Mama’s attention is not fully devoted on them. I swear, our boys get together and whisper, “Look. Mom is at the kitchen island, dicing carrots and and opening cans. You go tell her there’s nothing to do first, and then I’ll come through the kitchen and moan about how bored I am.” I tell these children every evening during the witching hour, “You are welcome to unload the dishwasher. You’re welcome to sweep the kitchen floor. You’re welcome to dust the bookcase.” They always stare at me blankly when I say these things, as they insist they have no desire to learn these important life skills RIGHT THIS SECOND.
… I came up with a plan to knock the witching hour to the curb. It might not work for our eighteen year old, who is already burdened down with several hours’ worth of AP Chemistry homework and AP Calculus homework every evening, but it is working for our little man. Our little man likes to do everything his big brother does, and that means he likes to do HOMEWORK. The boy insists that Thing 2 should ENJOY HIS LIFE NOW, instead of begging for homework to gripe about, but our six year old loves a few homework pages when he can get his hands on them. Homework makes him feel very big and very important and very near being eighteen years old himself.
And… he completes them with every manner of eye rolling and irritated sighing, EXACTLY like his older brother does HIS homework.
A while back, education.com asked me if I’d preview some of the worksheets that they offer and write a blog post about them. I looked their website over, and I was more than happy to do just that. Education.com offers an amazing selection of worksheets, and we used several of them over the summer, to stay on top of our HEADED TO THE FIRST GRADE AT THE END OF AUGUST ball game. We practiced math… lots and lots of math… and all kinds of beginning and ending letter sounds in words, all with worksheets I was able to download from education.com‘s website.
So… when they contacted me about looking at some Halloween and holiday themed worksheets that they also offer, I jumped on it.
And I slapped one of those Halloween worksheets down on the counter during our witching hour tonight, and I told Thing 2, “Here. Come do this crossword puzzle. It’s all about Halloween!” People, our boy actually ditched the Legos to come check it out, and he was so thrilled that it was a crossword puzzle, aimed directly at things he knew.
When I helped him read the first clue — a food you get when you go trick or treating — he practically screamed, “It’s candy! It’s candy!! Mom, I know the answer! It’s CANDY!!” His enthusiasm was exactly like he’d bet the entire farm and the Ford 150, too, and won the Double Jeopardy! So, in between stirring frozen Chinese food in a pot on the stove, which I pass off as homemade, Thing 2 used his smallest handwriting to squeeze the letters C-A-N-D-Y into the little boxes. He managed to read the next clue himself: What animal has eight legs? He immediately erupted, in his VERY MUCH AN OUTDOOR VOICE, “It’s a spider, Mom! IT’S A SPIDER!!! THIS HOMEWORK IS SO EASY!!!” And then I helped him spell the word spider, so that he could get it into the little boxes correctly.
And? Do y’all know what? The witching hour passed quite pleasantly. We forgot that we were starving, while dinner was being made. We forgot that we usually pester Mama at this time, as we whine about our horrible boredom disease, and how it’s the worst case in history. And while we were forgetting those things, we had fun solving a crossword puzzle.
Feel free to check out education.com for all kinds of fun, holiday themed worksheets, which can be done in your own witching hours at home. Unless you’re one of those lucky families, who had no idea what a witching hour actually WAS, until you read this blog post. If that’s the case, then just keep doing what you’re doing, as you count your blessings that nobody begs for snacks while you’re getting the ice off frozen Chinese noodles and vegetables!
You can find a bunch of educational worksheets for your little people right here, if you’d like to try some out for yourself: WORKSHEETS.
Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.