21 November 2007

I love Lily. She's cute, she's funny, she smells good, and she mimics me. It's all pretty cool.

Sometimes, though...I tell you.

Tonight, we missed out on going to Beavers with the guys because of a pair of shoes. Lily wanted to wear her "These are pretty but much too big so I can't walk in them" green shoes and Mom said no. Once I decided that an evening out of the house wasn't worth the hassle, she switched it up to "I want it mine car! Go Beavers!" Fun.

Once things calmed down, she requested a ride on my shoulders. Sure thing. Once up there, she insisted on drinking a cup of apple juice. While sitting on my shoulders.

When it was time for bedtime snack, she skipped the regular cereal and fruit stage and went right to insisting on cake. My reply that we had none only made things worse.

Seriously, I don't know about her sometimes. She comes up with these ideas and these phrases and I have no idea what's going on in her little brain.

The other afternoon for example, she was throwing around the ceramic baby Jesus from the nativity scene. When I told her to go put it back she replied with "No. I LOVE Jesus".

On the weekend, she saw me gluing down a scrapbook page and spend 15 minutes straight wailing "I want it mine goo-ooo!". It doesn't look nearly as amusing in writing as it sounded in person, mainly because I can't adequately explain the repetitive two-tone "goo-oo" sound that still makes me giggle.

This evening, she asked who was signing on the radio. When I answered that it was Amanda Marshall, she insisted I was wrong because it was a woman and not a man. She promptly changed the name to Panda Marshall and was quite happy with that.

There really are no dull moments around here with the Lil on the loose. Every day she proves my theory that toddlers are people like the rest of us, only smaller. And faster. And insane. And indestructible. And unpredictable. But otherwise just like adults.

14 November 2007

Alright, I will succumb to the peer pressure. Or spousal pressure I suppose.

I'd started out this entry meaning to give an update on what's been going on in my life, and somehow a rambling post about homeschooling came out. It's fitting, I suppose, as homeschooling is a large focus of my life (and time!) these days. So, rather than an update about all my activities, here is an update on our life as homeschoolers:

I started out the year thinking we'd go with a semi-structured approach to homeschooling, having a morning routine that included all of our book work as well as chores. A couple of weeks into it I felt that things weren't really that interesting and Nick was feeling less than enthusiastic about his work. I experimented with different scheduling for a few weeks until I came to the conclusion which I'd been to intimidated to realize before then: we're unschoolers. For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, unschooling is also called delight-driven learning and the basic idea is that real learning takes place when a child's interests inspire them to learn about something. Each unschooler you ask will likely have a slightly different definition of what unschooling looks like to them, and my interpretation is that I provide Nicholas and Lily with materials and experiences which will likely facilitate their learning. I follow their leads, making suggestions, offering help, and learning beside them.

Some days we read for hours, either fiction (Charlotte's Web and Alice in Wonderland have been our latest) or non-fiction (thank you giant stack of Usborne reference books!). Some days the kids build and create with materials ranging from giant cardboard boxes to clay (which you apparently need to bake at the right temperature if you don't want to fill your house with smoke...). We've done some science experiments, done some workbooks, and played board games. We bake, we do laundry, we paint, and we sing songs.We've spent many hours outside playing and investigating and enjoying this amazing fall weather we've been blessed with this year. We've also taken part in a football clinic and a tour of a pottery studio, and we'll be taking part in a weaving clinic next month.

There are many treasures in homeschooling that I hadn't predicted and this experience is so rewarding. It's satisfying to watch my children learning and growing and I appreciate that I get to enjoy so many more hours of this than I would if Nick were in school all day. Our pace of life has slowed significantly as I'm learning to do what is in our family's best interest.

My only regret so far is that we didn't make the switch from public school last year as we'd considered, but it's not something I dwell on. Sometimes I struggle with finding time for myself, especially since Lily is at that stage right now where if she naps she tends to stay up until 10 pm, but being involved in LLL, Usborne books, and a few other things gives me a reason to get out of the house alone. And I of course periodically have those moments of "What in the world was I thinking? I'm going to mess up my kids!" but I've thankfully got a fantastic support system which helps me to get back to a place where I can realize that I'm doing the right thing.

So..yeah. That's what's been going on with me. What's been going on with all of you?

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