Thursday, April 10, 2008


Paddy contemplating a flower last Sunday at his older brother’s college campus. Photo credit goes to his sister Clare

Mind Games seems to be reading MY mind since the blogger put a link to this Unplug your Kids site. What have my kids been doing as an alternative to screen time? Mostly impromptu athletic competitions sponsored and managed by Sean, who is happiest when engaged in some kind of contest. Today they’ve done a crawling race and a weight-lifting challenge, yesterday was scooter races and basketball, and so on….

Since I wanted a list of alternatives to bring out when we have a dead moment and Paddy’s fancy turns to thoughts of X-Box NCAA Soccer, I’ll be keeping track of that Unplug blog. It also occurs to me that these alternatives-to-screens are potential relationship-strengtheners — I notice that when I am willing to just be around the kids without my nose in a book or my hands busy with household chores, we have good times and the goodness carries over to the more routine moments. Yesterday I sat with Kieron and Paddy and Aidan for a long time — I was reading to Paddy and Kieron was reading next to me, but we kept conversing in between snatches of reading. It doesn’t come out in the bare description, but there was a great closeness in the hour, and afterwards Kieron kept coming to me wherever I was narrating whatever had happened in the book since last time, complete with editorial comments.

A couple more posts I wanted to preserve:

Cindy at Apple Stars: Collecting Articles about College, Unschooling and Success. Her two oldest kids are just about the ages of mine. My 21 year old chose the college track; my 19 year old has always been a different learner and his path doesn’t seem quite so clearcut. It will be interesting to see where both their paths take them, and Cindy is very articulate in expressing her perceptions of her childrens’ paths — I am so glad she is blogging regularly again.

La Paz Home Learning – Living Dangerously. Very interesting! I remember reading early issues of Growing without Schooling that talked about letting children use adult tools and teaching them mastery rather than fear. This is so much what originally inspired me to homeschool that I am grateful for the reminder (it’s easy to get reflexive “don’t touch that” when you have a houseful and your life is busy and hurried).

Amy at Epiphany Spring’s Today’s Ponderings — questions about preserving simple, orderly food habits as well as a spirit of integrity in mother/child relationships.

Hey, I see a common theme here…. slowing down and being more intentional in living, making decisions mindfully rather than just according to what is convenient or conventional. That’s why I started blogging here again — hoping to see that kind of theme emerge since our homeschool seems to be undergoing a transition right now. Isn’t every day a transition? indeed, but seasonal changes always seem to bring a host of new things — whether a son enrolling in high school next year and emerging into the world of competitive varsity athletics, or two older children preparing for SATs, or two more slowly emerging into literacy.

Now a quick summary of what’s been going on around here:

Kieron finished all the Hardy Boys we had around the house and started questing for more reading material, preferably science fiction or fantasy. I dug up the Gammage Cup for him and he started it yesterday evening and finished it this morning, and asked for more. I gave him a couple of Christian science fiction books we’ve had around the house for a long time.

Sean gets a break from Algebra today since we decided he has absorbed enough square roots for now. That was certainly not one of the easier chapters in the book. He continues to progress through the Spectrum Test Practice, finding it easy (good!).

I worked with Paddy a bit on Harriette Treadwell’s Literature Primer (online as Google scan and at Baldwin Project). Mostly I just read the story to him, but I also tried to bring his attention to the words which are repetitive enough so that he could pretty quickly start reading the story himself if he wants to.

Oldest son playing the guitar at our picnic spot on his campus, photo credit to Clare again