05 March 2010

When I imagine what my ideal unschooling life with the kids would look like, I always picture really grand and amazing things. Shelves filled with inspiring resources, trips to mind-blowing places, and interactions with really cool people.

I forget sometimes, though, that so much of the good stuff that really offers the most to my kids is space and time in our own home.

This week, I've been sick with a silly head cold and it's left me tired and grumpy. It's also led me to sitting and just being quiet more, which has turned out to be a really great thing. In the quiet of yesterday, Nick pulled out a Shel Silverstein book that had been sitting on the shelf since we bought it sometime last year. He sat beside me on the couch and read to me, page after page, poem after hilarious poem. I listened and laughed with him while Olivia napped on my lap and Lily sat on the floor listening with that pensive little look on her face she gets when she's really mulling things over.

The second Nick put the book down, Lily grabbed it and flipped back and forth through the pages asking me to read every poem that had an interesting picture beside it. She caught on to some jokes really quickly and with other poems she asked about 75 questions before she caught the gist of it.

The rest of the day was filled with the kids battling for the right to pick out the next poem and Nick, the kid who wouldn't read out loud when we tried to force him when he was in Grade 1, read and read to us until I had to ask him to take a break so other people could have the chance to talk. As soon as Liam got home the kids pounced on him, so excited to share the hilarity with fresh meat. Nick begged him to read "The Bagpipes Didn't Say No" since when he tried to read it himself earlier he could hardly breathe he was laughing so hard.

All it took was one book and some free time at home, and the kids opened up an entire world of language and imagination. And I was blessed enough to be able to witness the joy on their faces and the way their brains whirled and soared at the sound of Shel's treasures. Such a great lesson for me and a reminder of how much learning I'm doing right by my children's side.

Here's some Shel for you:


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