Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another quote, when all else fails

When I'm having One of Those Days, I think I'll just always paste quotes. That can be my secret code.

Although I do feel so much better after going to the network chiro!!

Anyway, here's something to munch on:

My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself. -George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2 Kids in a Car for 6 Days?

2 boys, ages 6 and 3, in a car for 6 days cross-country. What would you bring?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Today's Quote by Naomi Aldort

Unschooling quote of the day, from Naomi Aldort:

If children played all their childhood (I mean it), they would be ready for life. They would be emotionally strong (providing no other damage has been done), and would have all the basic skills to handle life. Our anxiety for children to know certain things at specific ages is an enormous obstacle to trusting and allowing their natural development. When children play, they are the only qualified authors of this magical process. It is rarely too late to acquire knowledge, but often it is dangerously too early and out of harmony with the internal journey of the child.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Actually, My Child won't Come to the Table because he's *Gifted*

The other day I had to escape to the library for a little "alone time," and the book selection was not too exciting. So, I headed over to the Education Section, which consisted of about 8 books, one of which was about "gifted kids." My kids will never be tested for giftedness, since they aren't in school, and what does it even mean, anyway? But I thought I'd browse through the book and see if it had any good tips.

It did! It said that one sign that your kid is gifted is that he will get so interested in something that he won't come to the dinner table when you call him!

I just thank The Lord that I now know that Ezra is not Oppositionally Defiant (another thing I could have him tested for), or the victim of some other horrible disorder I could look up in the DSM, when he just stays curled up on the couch reading Tintin, deaf to our pleas to come and eat his chili.

So now when my husband, my other son, and I sit at the dining room table with one empty chair, we smile to ourselves and exchange knowing glances.

(He's **gifted**!!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Know Soulemama's Secret

The adventure begins!

The careful collection of sticks.

Ezra shows off his stick-breaking abilities.

Nonie always accompanies us on our neighborhood outings!

This is the [very delayed - as today there is a blizzard outside our window!] first of a series of days wherein I pretend to be Soulemama. Why? Because everyone always says Soulemama makes them feel guilty and inadequate, and that they can't do that much cool stuff and have that much amazing fun with their kids.

Well, folks, I know her secret. And I will tell it to you.

The secret is the camera.

Ok, I have only a scruffy little cheap digital hardly-any-megapixel camera that is actually my husband's - and he takes it with him to work most days.

BUT. . .

Next time you're feeling blue, just try this: Take your kids out somewhere, and bring your camera along. Lonely? No. . . you can't be because you know that everything you are doing is now ART. And it will make you feel like SOMEBODY SPECIAL when you post about it on your blog. No matter if your kids are not wearing cute, handmade clothes. . . although all the better if they are! Of course you must make sure you are doing something outdoorsy and natural. . . or possibly, crafty.

Please notice how taking the pictures above totally changed my mood. The truth is, we went out "stick-finding" only because I thought I was going to lose my mind if I stayed in the house for one more second with my kids. But as soon as we got going and I made it into a photo safari, the whole thing became festive and even slightly hilarious.

Thank you, Soulemama, for raising my Vibe.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Secret to Being in the House with Small Children!

Working w/modeling clay in July '09

Here's a post I wrote a few weeks ago, but forgot to publish. I have a tear in my eye as I reread it now, because those were the good old days, when I had all kinds of *new* projects to toss out on the table. This week we're down to wax sticks and a broken sewing machine (but at least they'd never seen the sewing machine!) And at least there's snow. . . Ottar spent a half hour yesterday sweeping off everything in the back yard with a kids' push broom (after seeing the neighbor man do it - *why* the neighbor was doing it, I have no idea. . .) And then he spent another half hour shoveling the front walk. A regular work horse he is! If only we can line up the projects.


Ah, finally it has been revealed to me! If I just always have an idea for the "next thing" to throw at Ottar, he is a completely manageable child at any hour of the day!

We finally moved the art cabinet upstairs so that it's right by the kitchen table (and switched the kitchen table to a littler IKEA one, which was previously housed in the carport - thus causing me to actually not feel totally cramped and crabby while we're doing projects) and now I can just run there and throw out some art supply and walk back to the food I'm burning. Or whatever.

Another great thing I am now finally doing is letting the kids take things apart, like last week Ottar took apart my broken hairdryer (with my help). This resulted in several new "toys" being discovered (as in, hair dryer parts), which include a "cell phone" (handle) a space gun (main body) a sieve, and a car grille, just off the top of my head.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Artistic Endeavours

We've finally been stepping it up around here as far as artwork goes - we even got the art cabinet moved up into the living room so that we can easily access all the art supplies (though we *really* need to get a lot more of them).

But first off, I forgot to publish pix of the jack-o-lanterns we made this year. We usually make them frantically at the last minute (and Kenny is rarely around, as he has no tradition of jack-o-lantern making as a family, which causes me distress every year. . . but oh well.)

Hmmm. . . I do not know how to embed a photo in a post - they will only show at the beginning. So, please see above for Ezra's Pirate Jack-o-Lantern with a wound on it's face, followed by the pumpkin face Ottar drew all by himself -- he says it's a baby, because it has no teeth.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cute, Inspirational Article

Here's a cute article for anyone needing a little inspiration this day: "The Never-at-Home Homeschoolers" by Patricia Zaballos.

In our household, the most influential part of the essay was this quote: "Just as you should never wake a sleeping baby, never interrupt a reading child."

A comforting thing to keep in mind when your 6-year-old is so engrossed in reading Tintin that he can't even hear you telling him it's time to leave.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About Time for an Update, No?

Here's what's going on around here, with the kids:

1. Ezra is waaaay into his Bunjinkan (Ninjutsu) class. He wants to take it twice a week instead of once, but we don't have a car the other day that the class is offered. He does practice on a daily basis, though, of his own accord. As I type, he is in the bedroom trying to give Ottar (3 yo) lessons.

2. The "Japan Unit" went O.K. - not as well as it could have, as it seemed to be too much dependent on me gathering things (without money), etc. We did do origami one day (but then lost all the paper), we read several awesome new children's books about Japan, and Ezra works almost every day on his Hiragana alphabet - either copying it, making up direct-translation words, (i.e. he just made me a sign that says "ma-ma"). Kenny was supposed to make a Japanese dinner with him or something, but apparently the Japanese fervor is not so infectious as to affect Papa Pyefeld. He muttered several times under his breath about it, but I have yet to see any wontons or sushi.

3. Ottar is obsessed with words, asking me all day long, "what does _____ mean?" Sometimes I feel like crying, if it's the end of the day and he asks me something complex, as in last week when he kept asking for increasingly precise definitions of 'deserve'.

4. Ezra is also still a voracious Tintin reader. I cannot stop him, though I am worried because the print is so tiny, and he will read it for hours on end. I am amazed by the amount of vocabulary and geography he has learned from these books!

4. Guns, guns, guns! Ezra can now identify just about any firearm by sight, and also explain how it works, what it is for, and the materials it is made from. In yet another attempt to draw myself in to his world (because I am so NOT interested in guns), I started looking stuff up on the History Detectives website last night, and I think that if we watch some of those videos together, we may have found some common ground!

What I've been Obsessing Over this Week

I reread John Holt's How Children Fail last week, and it sure is a different book when you have a school-aged child! Last time I read it, I only had a baby.

Last time I read it, I was slightly scandalized, but this time I read it, I was not only totally scandalized, but also appalled, horrified, and enraged. You know why? Because this book was written in 1960 (updated in 1980 - when it was *much* improved by the author's added comments.) And yet, so far as I can tell, it isn't included in the teacher trainings anywhere in this country. PLEASE tell me if I'm wrong about this! I did as much web research as I could. . . but the truth is I don't think any teacher program could withstand including it. Because I think they would lose 100% of their enrollees . . . I think.

Of course, I am also wondering if this information has been somehow synthesized into a more recent work. . . though it seems to me that the book in its entirety is uncondensable, since it's the progression of one man's understanding of children.

I would love for someone who is a teacher to read this book and tell me if it can be interpreted any other way. I do so want someone to take me up on this challenge, and the one presented in an earlier post, which was for anyone with kids in school to read a few books off my reading list (right hand bar of blog) and then not want to pull their kids out of school. I really want to know if there are other people's brains that can work that differently from mine. Am I insane?

As T.S. Eliot says:
I should really like to think there's something wrong with me —
Because, if there isn't then there's something wrong,
Or at least, very different from what it seemed to be,
With the world itself — and that's much more frightening!