Monday, November 20, 2006

unschooling unintentionally

this is a bit of a reiteration of the last post, but bear with me...

so i was thinking about how frustrated i am cuz i'm failing my daughter because i'm not officially doing anything with the curriculum that i bought... it's a great curriculum, it just requires me to do a lot of preparing and learning how to use it and i simply don't have the time...add to that that anytime i try to do an activity with maeven, tyren gets in the way. he literally will not let me leave his sight these days and if i'm doing anything with sister, he has to climb on me, usually crying, and make everything damn near impossible. our first (and only) "wet-on-wet" watercolor painting experience was pretty much a nightmare experience with me trying to keep him literally OFF of her and out of her paints. i even did as was suggested by another mom in my online enki group...i set up a tray for tyren with his own water and brushes and paper so he could "paint" too...but ooooohhhhh noo! not my boy! he would have nothing to do with it. he was totally on to me! he wanted what sister had an ONLY what sister had! so the entire experience was just a stressful mess for me...and loud an particularly annoying for maeven. and frustrating and sad for tyren. so needless to say, we haven't done it since.

"why don't you do it during his nap?", you say? ahh, well that would assume that he actually stayed down for any length of time OUT of my arms. this, sadly, is not the case. i've even gotten to the point that i often don't even attempt to try to put him down, but make my life far easier by just counting his nap time as my computer work time and maeven's quite independent play time. seems to work far better than the cursing under my breath stressed out time of getting involved in something with maeven just to be torn away from it 5-10min into it and not being able to get the baby to stay put long enough to accomplish anything. why even bother trying if its going to not work out?

well so i think we are finally at the point of just giving in to the natural "rhythm" of our day these days...which does not include much of anything that i had envisioned for our first year of homeschooling but is actually, upon further reflection, turning slowly into quite an unschooling experience.

i have always been interested in unschooling but didn't consider myself 100% for it. i can see the value of it but i like planning things too and i do feel there's value in some actual teaching...but since one on one teaching experiences are really pretty much impossible right now with this little spitfire of energy i call my son...things are turning out to go a different direction...

i was recently thinking about how our "schooling" experience seems to be going and have realized that i've turned into an unschooling without meaning to...and i think maeven is the one reaping the benefits!

so her "school week" begins with a science class at the discovery center early mondays, where she just finished a 7 week session on ants (after which she can explain the life cycle and living habits of ants far better than anyone i know and reproduce a quite life-like representation of an ant, complete with all the appropriate body parts!) and just started learning about penguins...then a little socializing with friends, then running around town running errands with Mommy, learning about waiting in line and taking turns at the post office and grocery store or wherever else we have to go that day...finding things on lists and reading street signs and labels and words anywhere and everywhere (yes, she's really getting into reading lately! self-initiated!) and will often make her own list to bring with us and gather her own items...back home so that Bompa can pick her up and take her to his house for "Bompa Woodworking Time"...where they've together completed a birdhouse/feeder and a Maeven-sized woodworking bench, complete with "my own"(Maeven's) tools that Mommy joyfully pointed out she herself used in Bompa's workshop when she was a little girl too! (ahh, the memories...i made quite a cool squirrel feeder when i was not much older than maeven!) their next project is in the planning phases...a toy wooden car for brother for xmas!

tuesdays are more errands and housework, library, and whatever pressing needs we have until nana time, when maeven either goes to nana's house or nana comes to ours...so far they've been doing baking projects...made cookies one week, shortbread another...and are planning on making chocoloate and peppermint dipped pretzels for wrapping and giving as gifts this next week....eventually they will be working on making more crafts such as crocheting, knitting, sewing, and whatever nana and maeven's hearts desire...nana is a jack of all trades so the sky's the limit...

wednesdays, more stuff around the house, going on neighborhood walks, playing in the backyard, until the afternoon when bompa comes to get her to take her to her weekly art class. then home again in time for daddy home from work for play.

thursdays are "nature day" and i try to take the kids to oakhurst (we're just starting this tradition finally...pre-empted by thanksgiving this week) for a hike and exploring oakhurst...a really cute little foothill community less than an hour from here. last week we discoverd a super little nature trail where the lady bugs are congregating by the THOUSANDS in preparation for the winter! maeven was literally scooping handfuls of them! also trying our hand at letterboxing. maeven made her very own stamp and we've found 2 out of the 5 letterboxes in oakhurst already! i swear i'm as excited as she is to find them! we're hooked! can't wait to find the ones in town! there's at least 12 of them!

fridays are our day for our friends play time...we do what errands and housework are needed in the first half of the day til tyren's nap then when he wakes up we eat lunch and head to margaret hudson's property to play with thea, clem, brooke and emma. thea and clem are margaret's grandchildren and the children of my friend jen...they all live on the communal property/gardens that surround margaret's home. lemme tell you this is SUCH a fantastic place for my children to grow up playing at! i'm just thrilled to have this opportunity for them! and i get some mommy time with the other moms, in between keeping tyren from eating dirt and falling into ponds, lol. it's a really fun and relaxing time for all of us. it really rounds out our week. then after daddy comes home on fridays maeven's nana and bompa come and get her for "nana/bompa nite" and its daddy and mommy date nite (which really means, order in and watch tv or a movie on tv...once tyren's older we will get to have our time to ourselves again.)

so after thinking through maeven's basic week...i'm realizing that there's more happening for her than i had originally felt. hence, "unschooling unintentionally." and there are a lot of other things that happen here and there that i didn't mention...like games we play and songs we sing and reciting numbers and writing stories and measuring things and creating art projects (well she does them, i coral tyren)...its not what i had envisioned once we started officially homeschooling...but for now, it is actually really going pretty dang well! now that i stopped fighting what i simply cannot do right now, with this need toddler...we all were able to destress a little and enjoy what we CAN do and are back to learning and enjoying life naturally again.

AAAAAAAAH *huge sigh*

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