Danielle Conger, January 2007
In the morning, we read a fair amount. Sam and Julia really love Jan Hunt's children's book, A Gift For Baby, so we read that about three times along with several other books. I did a ton of laundry and cleaned up the kitchen.
Em and I played a really great game of chess, and though she eventually lost, it was a long game. Sam and I played yesterday, and he beat me for the first time, so he was thrilled. At one point during Em's and my game, Sam wanted me to get my queen back—Em had taken it, as had Sam the day before. I don't take back my pieces unless we want to redo a series of moves, but the kids do take back their pieces and have do-overs. That's our current mode of play—we've played differently over the years. Sam had a hard time, but really got a hold of himself quickly. Even though this is the way I play with him as well, I think he was overly identifying with me while watching—it felt like he was playing Em and wasn't able to get back his queen.
Sam began playing his Spy Fox game on the computer and eventually the girls went in and played with him for quite a while. I paid bills.
When the girls came back out to the living room, they built some beautiful creations with the wooden tessellating shapes. Jules made several snowflake like creations while Em was "drawing" with them, making scenes with suns, flowers, trees, people, stars, etc.
We decided to go out into the pastures to check on the piggies who have recently been moved to their own pasture (part of that fence job Jim was working on last weekend). We sat out on the hill in the sunshine for a long time enjoying the warmth and our conversations together, reflecting on our move and how much we love having the animals, thinking about the future, looking forward to baby goaties in the spring.
As we were sitting quietly, I reached over and grabbed a blade of grass and began whistling on it. I know I've done it before, but it's been a while, and I figure the girls will get a kick out of it. They did, so we spent the next half hour at least with me showing them how to get the blade of grass between their thumbs like a reed, Jules getting it, then Em getting it, then the two of them doing it repeatedly to make the turkeys gobble in the next pasture, trying to change pitch, blow a tune—all the while, excitedly saying things like, "We love grass whistling. We need to do more grass whistling!"
At that point, Sam came running out to join us.... One of my great joys in this world is watching my children run through the pastures. It's one of those mental snapshot moments where I just try to burn that image in my brain because it's perfection here on earth.
Sam wanted to know how to grass whistle, but there were too many steps and he got really frustrated and ran off, top speed down the hill. By the time he got to the corner of the pasture, he felt more calm. So, we all hung out for a little while, then went back inside.
At this point it was late afternoon, and Jim soon got home, going outside to tweak the electric on the piggy fence before it got dark. We went out with him and saw the most amazing moon rise! OMG! The moon was huge and full and beautiful, and the sunset across the way was glorious. Em ran back inside to grab some paper so she could sketch the moon. *sigh* What a gift!
We went back in to make dinner—Greek pizza with some spinach we still have growing in our garden!—and Em put on her colonial girl shift I made her a couple years ago (making it just like a mama would have, with lots of room in the torso to grow into and several pin folds in the skirt to let down) and a vintage apron I'd picked up for her at a flea market. She asked for the swiffer duster and proceeded to dust the house. We've recently moved the tv from our living room down to our ever-progressing family room in the basement that we're finishing, so the credenza? (not really a tv stand) is empty and we'd put a few books on it. Em pulled a bunch of our favorite "ology" books down and stood them up to display. It looked quite nice.
After dinner, Sam and I were in the living room, and he went to grab a book for me to read and accidentally knocked three down in a domino effect. Cool! He knocked the rest that way, which made a rather loud bang when the fell down to the floor. I suggested he try it down on the floor to begin with. Sam spent the rest of the evening creating domino structures from books, getting more elaborate with each try.
After watching a few, Jim, Em and I went back outside for a full-moon walk and to double check on the piggies to make sure they hadn't gotten out and had found their range shelter. Yes, they were buried deep in the straw in the shelter, with only their ears sticking out. Cuties. Jim went back in, but Em and I decided to take walk. What a glorious, clear, crisp night! As we were walking back, Em spotted a spark near the hedgerow—she'd discovered where along the fence line the electric was shorting out! Hooray! That discovery will save Jim loads of time and frustration of figuring it out.
We came back in to watch Sam's final big book-domino cascade. Jim got some of it on video, though I haven't seen it yet. If it's clear, I'll probably You-tube it and post it on my blog. Sam, Em and I then snuggled up for a while on the couch to search for domino videos online. We saw some pretty cool ones... Jim and Jules were snuggled watching a movie back in our room, and we decided to join them. When their movie was over, the kids climbed into their nests, and we put in Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky to fall asleep to, which we'd held back from returning to Netflix until we get the new round.
What a lovely day! I love our unschooling life!
originally a blog post here: [blog no longer there; sorry]
Other typical unschooling days