Sunday, June 04, 2006

Strewing in May

Here are some things I’ve strewed during this past month. A long-time unschooler suggested to me that recording developing interests and consciously strewing things might substitute for my curriculum-longings. I think she is right and it has been helpful for me to devote my curriculum energies to supporting my kids and brainstorming new things to bring into the house. I am not thinking of it as stealth educating, but more as a reciprocal thing, like what Kevin and I naturally do just as parents or in our own relationship — discussing things together.
Anyway, here’s a few things that have come into the house by one road or another recently:

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean movie led to Clare’s buying the soundtrack which the boys also really like to listen to — I suppose because it doesn’t have voices. They play at swordfighting several times a day to the tune of the music (on Clare’s boombox– one night they brought it out to the deck and fought in the moonlight!) . Now they want to learn fencing or preferably, if they could find a source, saber fighting.
  • I got an Usborne chess book from the library because I wanted to figure out more about the game (inspired by my fluke win over Liam). But I couldn’t find the book because Kieron had taken it over to his hobbit table — he has a picnic table next to the big window where he eats his second breakfast and elevenses and so on and he keeps a collection of books over there.
  • I also got The Diary of Anne Frank from the library. For some reason I had never bought it or assigned it to one of the kids even in our more structured school days. I think it was because I loved it so much as a child that I didn’t want to “ruin” its discovery for someone by telling them to read it. Anyway, it too disappeared and Clare is reading it now. I think she has heard about it from one of her friends.
  • I provided the finances for those hi-8 tapes so the kids can continue their movie.
  • I helped Kieron order Super Monkey Ball 2 with his allowance money, and helped Clare order her sheet music and soundtracks — ditto.
  • I am TRYING to be a participant in this writing experience. Liam and I are supposed to share our progress on our stories this weekend — YIKES! Major writing block! I have to sit down and just do it. I am probably intimidated living in this family of teenage writers!
  • Clare and I have been brainstorming and discussing health and fitness. Part of this is her attempt to develop Kieron’s health and fitness level and encourage him to cut back on some of those hobbit meals. On a similar line, every now and then Sean asks me to google some physical training thing — he is lifting weights regularly and was losing track of when he was lifting so I printed out a year on a page calendar which he keeps in his room so he can circle the appropriate dates. THis led to Clare designing her own calendar with illustrations to keep track of her exercise protocol.
  • Kevin has been strewing board games! Several times a week he embarks on one of these long, complicated games with the boys. He also has his ongoing movie curriculum.
  • The family walks.

Anything else?

  • Nature has been strewing in abundance. There is a Steller Jay nest right outside our deck door and now the babies have hatched, so yesterday Clare and Kevin watched the mama regurgitating food into the babies’ beaks. Our neighbor gave Kieron a sizeable lizard skin (from a molting).

I think I will try to write a strewing or planning post roughly every month. Maybe that will satisfy my organizational side and help me be mindful. Left to myself, I can just drift; though I see that even in this rather “drifting” season with surgery pending, allergy energy drain and lots of stop and start errands — I am still doing things. Just not much housework, unfortunately.

Aidan just came up to me and said “I ate nachos!” I ran out to look, panicked that he’d found a plate in the trash or even worse, found an old one from yesterday that I’d somehow inadvertently missed and left out — BAD, BAD mom. But it turns out the salsa was fresh and when I asked him how he got the nachos he said, “I did it! I made them by myself!” So apparently he has made his own nachos and invited Paddy to share in the banquet — Paddy was just cleaning the last bit off the plate. I will look at this as allowing independence, and fostering self-help skills.

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