Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The New Phase: Toy Guns

Photo by Leo Kim

If not previously mentioned, Ezra has moved on to a self-prescribed Gun Unit. He knows more about guns than I ever thought possible. He knows about their triggers, mechanisms, ammunition, etc.

I thought there was nothing less interesting to me than rockets. But I was wrong! Guns. . . I am *so* not interested in them. And yet Ezra gives me mini-lectures about them daily.

There are days when he seems a little nutty. But I just found a photo album of "Peaceful Kids with Toy Guns" on Sandra Dodd's website. And it makes me feel better!

Anyway, luckily this interest has other branches. He is now very interested in the Civil War (something I just claimed I wouldn't teach him about for years. . . oh well.) He really wants to become a hunter now, and kill his own food. And also he has decided that instead of an aerospace engineer, he now wants to become an inventor. He invents dozens of guns every day (and then either explains them to me verbally, or draws them out and tells me to ask him questions about them.)

So, I'm just hoping the Gun Phase will be no longer lived than the Rocket Phase. . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why We Unschool - Part II (or: Born to Learn)

Ottar (at 11 mo.) taking in the world around him!

Well, I received a complaint about my previous explanation of why we unschool. I thought it was pretty good, myself. But I guess I'll try to be a little more thorough.

I was inspired to give a better explanation by the woman who does the blog Unschool Days, which I wrote about this summer. Here is the link to her explanation of why *she* is an unschooler. It's an excellent explanation, and I already posted that link this summer, too.

However, I went through a semi-rabid anti-school phase a few years ago (due to reflecting upon my own educational experiences - my kids have never been to school or preschool), and there are many, many excellent books, essays, and YouTube videos about what is wrong with schools. Now I really just prefer to focus on what is so cool about "lifelong learning" (another euphemism for unschooling) because why fight against something when you can just forge ahead happily? The school system is falling apart on its own, and almost everyone can see that anyway. I love that people continue to expose the underlying creepiness in the public school system, and in the idea of school in general. I will continue to provide links and share books and essays, but I don't feel like going into exhaustive detail myself.

In any case, my favorite explanation of why we are unschooling is because there is so much inspiration in life. The minute my first son was born, he was taking in so much information. He was a very alert baby, watching the world, absorbing information, etc. He didn't need anybody to teach him anything - he just needed to be provided with rich experiences, such as lots of social settings, lots of quiet time in nature, lots of places and spaces to play, lots of sensory experiences, lots of carrying, lots of love, etc.

I had already decided to unschool him before he was a year old, as previously mentioned. And last fall when it came time for lots of other five-year-olds to start kindergarten, it really struck me how ridiculous it seemed to use kindergarten as anything other than a day-care (for working parents) because he was so clearly able to learn everything he needed to know just by living life.

I do tend to tell people in sort of a flip way, "I don't teach him anything, he just teaches himself." But what I really mean is that I tell him the answers when he asks me questions, I help facilitate his learning by looking for resources that support his interests, and I bring a lot of my own interests and values into his life by living my life and including him in it, or by purposely bringing things into his life that I value.

Whew! There, have I explained it well enough now?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Day at the Park with Papa!

Kenny found this awesome rock-climbing park today, in the next town over. I am soooo excited! I love rock-climbing and allowing kids to climb on real, genuine natural rocks instead of those plastic ones that are all the rage these days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Hiking, I Hope.

This fall, I'm trying to put a little structure in my life. And also, make up for the fact that we didn't get the woodsy-acreage rental we were hoping for. So, we're going to go once a week to Kickapoo Valley Reserve, (which, interestingly, I just found out is a proposed "Dark Sky Preserve Site"!) and hike the trails. Last week we went to check it out and did a mile loop. Ezra was not thrilled (he likes to hike with other kids) but in case nobody joins us in the future, I got a great little list of tips for hiking with kids from an Appalachian Trail site.

The Results are In!

All of my blog fans (me) agree that I need a digital camera - right away!