Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Aaaah, Mornings

Every time I see the morning school bus going by our kitchen window, passing up our house, I am reminded to be thankful for this way of living: thankful that no one from our house is rushing out the door to get on board and thankful for all of the experiences and the time we get to share together instead.

Friday, March 23, 2007

First Day of Spring

What a beautiful day!!! After a trip to Jump Zone with some friends, we spent the rest of the warm, sunny afternoon in our backyard reading, playing, swinging, feeding the birds, and jumping on the trampoline. Below are pictures of the kids playing in the dirt: Riley digging, Seth playing with trucks, and Maya on an earthworm rescue mission.

And from earlier in the week, here are Maya and her good friend Rebecca all dressed up to play and jump on the trampoline.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Celebrate, Learn, Love

Last Wednesday there was a lot to celebrate. The weather was warm, sunny, and beautiful. Seth was so, so happy to be digging in the backyard dirt with his construction trucks. The date was 3/14 -- "pi day," so in between playing outside we messed around with the compass, making circles and measuring radii, diameters, and circumferences, and, of course, eating pie. We looked up some stuff on the web about pi and ended up doing a frozen-hotdog-throwing experiment based on Buffon's needle problem. It got quite messy as the hotdogs thawed, making me even more grateful that it was warm enough to do this outside. We discovered that it was also Albert Einstein's birthday, so we read some about him and played a little relativity game that we came across online. We mostly liked reading his quippy quotes and ended up printing and cutting out a bunch of them to tape up on the wall along with a big poster of Einstein that Matt used to have in his office. Riley's favorite quote was an explanation of relativity:

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours. That's relativity."
My favorite:
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is."

Here are some other quotes of Einstein's we read that, as an unschooling Mom, I love:

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry."

"Education is that which remains when one has forgotten everything learned in school."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning."

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...It takes a touch of genius -- an a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

That last one brings to mind many things that our society makes"bigger and more complex" when it comes to life with children. From the time they are born, we're told to regulate and schedule and control our children's eating, sleeping, and even their play. As they grow, we're encouraged to rush them to master new physical/academic/social skills, to push them through all kinds of exercises to get them reading early and a lot, to separate from their families, and to make damn sure they are not behind. Where I've followed that path, it has clouded the opportunity to witness the miracles of my children's lives unfolding right before my eyes; and parenting has felt like a stressful ordeal. Where I've stepped away from that path and moved toward unconditional love, toward trust, and toward connection, the miracles of learning, growing, discovering, loving are right there to enjoy as they are allowed to unfold simply, naturally, and beautifully.

What We've Been Up To

Matt and the kids have all started skateboarding recently. Well, for Matt it is *re-starting* after a 10-or-so-year hiatus. Below is Riley the day he learned to drop in on our garage mini ramp and Seth rolling around on some leftover masonite in our family/play room. We've made several trips to area skateparks lately and rented Ollie's, the local indoor skatepark, one afternoon with some friends from our homeschool groups.
This is how the back of our van was packed for us to spend a couple of hours at Ollie's. I have no idea how we are going to squeeze in suitcases and all for our upcoming trip to Florida in a few months!!
Besides skating, the kids have been spending a lot of time drawing, doing some of the experiments that Robert Krampf emails out, reading, playing on the Webkinz website, and watching scary movies. They recently discovered R. L. Stine's books and have been happy to have some spooky stories to read. Riley is most of the way through a book from the Ghosts of Fear Street series, and Maya and I read one from the Goosebumps series.
I finally finished making this hat for Maya!! It was a project I started after the 2005 Live and Learn Unschooling Conference, where I had learned about round loom knitting. (That's not a typo -- I started it in 2005) It had been in my closet for a long time til she remembered it and asked me when I was ever going to finish it!
by Riley
by Maya
by Seth