Friday, May 31, 2013

Bug's Ladybug

A story about a ladybug, by Bug (2y). The first time he's made up a completely make believe story.-

We're laying in bed and Bug is grumpy, tossing and turning.

Bug- (angrily) I needa see outside!

Me- Okay, you want to look out the window?

Bug- Yeahs (he says a hybrid of yeah and yes)

Me- *lifting him up* See, it's dark outside. The birds are sleeping. The squirrels are sleeping.

Bug- The trees is sweeping?

Me- Yep.

Bug- The grass is sweeping?

Me- Yes. Everyone is sleeping now. Let's lay down.

Bug- My piwwow is sweeping? Mine peacock is sweeping?

Me- Yes honey.

Bug- *holding out his empty hand to me* I gotta ladybug. See him?

Me- Ohh, you do, huh?

Bug- Yeahs. He's sweeping.

Me- okay.

Bug- *holding hand out again* I got two ladybugs. See 'um?

Me- Ooooh, pretty.

Bug- Yeahs. He is a blue ladybug. And he is a green ladybug. They's sweeping. I lay them down on the piwwow.

Me- Okay.

Bug- You put the covers on them?

Me- Here they go.

Bug- Sanks. Good night ladybug

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kids are Fighters

Why do we trust our children to learn to walk and talk on their own as infants and toddlers, but we don't trust they will figure out how to read and do basic math on their own as older children?

Have you leaned a language lately, or gone to rehab to relearn how to walk? That stuff is hard! Kids are fighters, every single one of them. They powered through walking and talking in their first two years of life. Don't stand in their way and they'll amaze you at what they learn in the next ten years too.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Discounted Watches

Some more fun everyday math skills-

We got Josh (8y) a new watch the other day. He's checking out all the watches on the display and notices the one he likes is 20% off.

Josh- Hmmmm, so how much does that make it?

Me- Well how much is it without the discount?

Josh- $20

Me- I'd start with finding 10% of 20 and go from there.

Josh- Yeah, so 10% of 20 is 2, and another 10% would be 2, so 20% would be 4. So it would be $16.

Yet another example of how unschoolers can learn math.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Josh Listens In

Earlier I spoke about how I was feeling I've lost focus and direction lately. So last night Papa and I talked about it, among other things. Josh (8y) desperately wanted to sit in and listen to the conversation. We told him we wanted 30 minutes to ourselves and after that he was welcome to listen in, but he had to sit quietly without interrupting.

"What if I have questions?" he asked.
"Here's a notebook and pen, you can write them down and ask them all at the end." I replied.

So we're talking, 30 minutes passes, Josh comes back out to listen quietly. We talked about a range of things, including frustrations we had with each other, goals we had and how we could support each other, and we poked fun at things we disagree about.

I was glad Josh listened in. I think kids need to see adults grappling with their emotions. They need to hear how people can peacefully voice their grievances with one another and make amends. They need to see the "behind the scenes" operation of relationships, households, families.

After we were done, we asked if he had any questions.
"Just one. Well, it's not a question. It's a suggestion. You know when you were saying you weren't happy sometimes? I came up with a solution- More family time outside!"

Great solution. ♥

Monday, May 27, 2013

This is Your Life and Your Family

This changing of our parenting philosophies and our educational philosophies is quite a journey. I have said it before and I'll say it again- I don't have any answers. I am still searching for what works best for my own family. I certainly am not qualified to tell anyone else what would be best for their family.

One important lesson I've learned so far is to take others' experiences and advice f...or what it is, their perspective and nothing more. Modeling our family after another family is not finding true freedom for ourselves. It delays the finding our true selves and happiness.

There is a lot of great advice and experiences out there from which to draw. Listen to what speaks to your heart. Maybe give things a try, but don't be afraid to say it isn't working for you and try something else. This is your life and your family. No one knows it better than you do.

Where we've been, and where we're going...

A summary of our journey so far, and where we're going from here-

We started off parenting Josh (8y) in a typical authoritarian style. We had rules, we as parents were to be obeyed, we spanked, took away toys and privileges, we had power struggles, etc. Josh went to daycare while I worked outside the home, and moved on to public school for kindergarten and first grade.

Around the winter holidays... of Josh's kindergarten year, Bug was born. I tried to go back to work, but my heart wouldn't let me leave my baby every day. I quit and became a stay at home mom. I don't know how we did it. Papa was working retail at the time making $8 an hour, but we made it work.

Near the end of Josh's first grade year I was seeing quite clearly that public school was not the best place for him. We researched, read everything we could get our hands on, and decided to start unschooling after he finished the year. We have spent the last year deschooling, moving to a new house, figuring out how to resolve conflicts peacefully, repairing broken relationships, and watching our boys flourish with an unschooling philosophy.

It has been a major learning experience. We did not settle easily into a new routine. There has been much trial and error. The pendulum of our family dynamic swung from strict authoritarian to the radical side of unschooling, and we found that it did not work for us. We are still finding the middle ground that fits us. Papa and I have spent the last year in a hands-off fashion, observing the kids, learning who they are on a deeper level, watching their reactions to different circumstances, reflecting on our reactions to different circumstances, listening to what works for others and trying to figure out what will work best for us.

Right now, I feel that we have spent plenty of time deschooling, and I'm ready to step up my role as facilitator for the boys' learning. I fully trust in the unschooling philosophy. I have witnessed all sorts of amazing information present itself organically in our everyday life. I fully believe that if we were to continue doing exactly as we're doing, the boys would learn everything they need to know to be happy and successful. However, I also feel they have the privilege of me being home and able to present additional opportunities to them, and I should take advantage of that. I'm in love with the invitations from and want to incorporate something similar into our routine.

Some may say the structure I am adding back into our routine and the presentation of materials in the invitations isn't 'really unschooling'. I don't mind. I'm not interested in living by a label or according to anyone else's standards. I am interested only in doing what I feel is best for the boys, and following my mommy intuition. Right now that intuition is telling me to do something more than I have lately. If the kids like it, awesome! If they don't, we'll drop it and try something else. Life is a never ending journey. Parenting is especially so. I'm excited to experience the next phase.