Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Here are some favorite moments from our trip to the Ohio Renaissance Festival yesterday.

Riley thought the characters we ran into at the festival were pretty funny and entertaining!

Sir Seth and Lady Maya

Fearless Maya............................Prisoners Riley, Sam, and Eric

Riley, Seth, and Maya with new swords and shields

Here are the musicians we enjoyed listening to while we ate giant turkey legs in the pouring rain.

The kids are fascinated by all kinds of modern day rides: how they are made, how they work, etc. They loved seeing the man-powered rides at the festival. Here is Seth riding a carousel swing.

They also loved the Drench A Wench dunking booth and thought the heckling was hilarious.

Riley getting some archery pointers

Learning to do Magic Sticks. Ri came home with a set of these. He is having a blast with them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fun and Learning with Dad

Here are some pictures of Matt and the kids from the past week or two.

Matt, Riley, and Maya playing around with probability & statistics, something Matt's interested in because of his work in Quality Assurance (or maybe he works in QA because he likes statistics????????):
Matt and Riley doing some work with Access to make a "Skatabase" (that may be online eventually) that will link to video clips of skateboard trick tips:
On the way back to the parking lot after a local arts & crafts fair, Matt the kids found this large and very dry dirt hill to climb:
During a game of Hide and Seek in which Maya and Seth were convinced that Matt was hiding inside the wall in Seth's room (because they could hear his voice coming from there), Matt came across his old (late 1990's) Derby City BMX racing jersey in our closet (which happens to cut into Seth's bedroom). The kids all thought this was so cool, although mostly because they thought he had raced cars in it. Seth especially liked it. Here he is trying it on:


I've been inspired by one of the threads on an unschooling email group I'm on to add a Label to my blog for posts that talk about Connections -- the webs of learning that are woven over time as interests and ideas spread out, twist and turn, overlap, and, well, you get the idea. I may go back through my papers and dig out one about zombie movies & Alice in Wonderland that I wrote before I started blogging. To me, connections -- the learning kind and the relationship kind -- are the essence and the joy of unschooling.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I have to start this post off today by saying how very grateful I am to have "found" unschooling, "radical unschooling" in particular. I really do not like to think about what my relationship with my kids might be like had we not so drastically changed our ideas about how we would live with and relate to our children. So, instead of thinking about it any more today, I'm going to blog about some recent joyful living and learning around here.

Riley and I (and sometimes Maya and Seth) have been reading the first Harry Potter book. I have waited for years to read these books because I wanted to read them for the first time with the kids. We're hoping to read a book, watch the corresponding movie, read the next book, next movie, etc.

Maya and Seth have been really into Harold and the Purple Crayon. We heard about this book a few years ago when Riley was into the Captain Underpants stories by Dav Pilkey. We had read, I think on Dav Pilkey's website, that the character Harold's name was inspired by Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon. It had been one of Dav Pilkey's favorite books as a child and it has proven to be a favorite of all my kids' too. We've read it several times again lately, and we rented a collection of the cartoons. Maya got really excited late one evening after we had been snuggling in the bed reading. She was suddenly way too excited to get to sleep. She said she had decided she wanted to be a writer and a librarian. She got right up and started illustrating several stories and asked me to write them down for her. She also asked me to write a list of titles for stories she wanted to tell for her library's story times, and she borrowed some of my lists and things I had written that were lying around my room for "the grown-ups' section." For the next several days she did her story times from her list, retelling the stories and acting them out for us and for a little neighbor friend who plays at our house and loves to hear stories.

Here are some pictures from the past week:

Saved by Fix-A-Flat

Playing Cranium Hullabaloo

Digging, measuring, playing, and making scenes in dry oats

Experimenting with homemade "clouds" using steam and a cold, refrigerated pan while brewing some tea

The kitchen Maya designed with blocks for her characters, both named Block, who are inspired by and are the little sisters of Plank (not pictured), who was inspired by Plank on Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Later in the day she had built an entire house for this little wooden family.
This is what happens when you leave your 4 year old watching Harold and the Purple Crayon cartoons while you take a shower. No one was there to put any paper up on the wall when inspiration struck for Seth and his purple crayon!
A couple of evenings ago Maya and Riley were downstairs playing in Ri's room (which used to be our family room/play room). We heard some running on the ramp and lots of laughing, excited talk, and occasional squeals. When Seth and I went down to see what all the excitement was, we found them perched on the deck of the ramp, conducting all kinds of experiments with Riley's electricity and magnets kit and his physics kit. I hung out for a while as the kids went back and forth between running around on the ramp and talking with me about the things they were making (a compass, a set of sirens, a working fan, lights, etc).
Here is the ramp side of Riley's room
And here is the other side
After we had all gone upstairs to settle in for the night and watch a movie, we heard the newspapers being put on our porch for Riley's first job. Our city has a once-a-week newspaper, and he is going to deliver on a couple of streets in our neighborhood. I figured we would roll and bag them in the morning, but he was anxious to get started. We chatted about the money and played around with calculations as it is a fixed amount for delivery and then can vary for collection; and we chatted about the job itself and about some of the things going on in our community as we scanned the headlines while we worked together.