Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gratefulness is everything.

Goodness gracious, I'm tempted to delete that last post! If you've read it already, I'm sorry. I really sounded pitiful, with no reason to be pitied. Thankfully I woke up this morning feeling as though a Horcrux had been lifted from around my neck. I was happy to be alive again, grateful for the abundant blessings I've been given. And I do know how abundant they are, even when I'm in a melancholy funk. I just can't feel it properly in that moment for some reason. But a good night's sleep always helps. Drinking enough water, taking my vitamins, moving even just to take dishes into the kitchen, or just watching my boys play for a little while -- it all helps. Little things, yes, but very important things.

Please, go do me a favor and take care of the little things in your life, too.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Great week, pissy mood. Guess I'm just spoiled.

After deciding that San Francisco was too far for UberDad's aching back to travel in the car, we took off with my mom on Tuesday for Santa Barbara. My sister Lindsay met us there for a few days of lounging by the heated hotel pool and the beach, eating out, shopping, and taking the kids to the zoo. The weather was perfect, as always. Scott and I both finished "The Deathly Hallows" while we were there, taking turns reading and swimming with the boys.

We, sunburned and dreading the 100-degree weather of home, returned Thursday night to find our new iMac set up where the old Dell had been, and the old Dell set up and ready to go in the boys' playroom. Thanks, Brad!! Now I'm just trying to figure out how to use this thing. It's been years since I was Mac-proficient. The learning curve is steeper than I was expecting. But I'm determined. Just give me time. I'm hoping there'll be more of it since the boys are happily occupied on their own computer now. 'Course, I'm still competing with UberDad, who's so thrilled with the improved picture quality of WoW that he seems to have forgotten that he said he was buying me an iMac.

I've been composing an Ode to Harry post in my head all week, because I really do love those books, and had been on a high since finishing them. Except that PMS hit hard this morning, and I've been grumpy ever since. Suddenly the heat is more than I can bear, the breakfast dishes are overwhelming, the backyard is a depressing wasteland of dead perennials, the baby wants to nurse ALL the time, and I don't even want to wear my cute new skirt to the post office drop box because nobody will see me anyway.

Okay, I admit it, I stopped seeing my therapist because I'd rather spend the money on a housekeeper or new shoes. And I really only needed counseling once a month. Well, maybe when I'm ovulating, too -- but not every month. Besides, she's an at-home mom like me, with little kids, what could she know about sanity? I did enjoy getting to let my mouth ramble on and on about my life without having to be interested in anyone else in return. And she could relate only too well to both the mundane and exceedingly important pressures of motherhood.

But so far she hasn't given me any great clues to avoiding the crash of hormones that turns me from Loving Mommy into Hateful Mrs. Hyde once a month -- sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for days. Yes, yes, I know sugar aggravates it. But who doesn't CRAVE chocolate at the moment of highest sensitivity to it? I know getting back to my yoga would help. But it's hard to lie down and relax when I'm completely irritated by stepping on the single tiny crumb left after UberDad swept the floors. So, instead, I sweep toys, laundry and extraneous pillows off the couch, pick up my knitting, and turn on HGTV.

If only there were a Book 8 to read.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Does interest-led learning promote ignorance?

Well, I'm half-way through the book! Would be farther, but it didn't arrive until almost dinner yesterday. Needless to say I didn't end up cooking. And now UberDad wants a turn, so I thought I'd finish a reply to a little comment about unschooling posted the other day. I rarely get questions from random visitors, but they always seem to be inspiring...

Got here by randomness.
I do not mean any offense, I'm genuinely curious and skeptical about this idea.
What do kids show interest in knowing? Does this not promote ignorance in some level?


Hi Alina, thanks for asking. Kids show interest in all kinds of things! From birth, they are interested in learning whatever they need to know to survive and thrive in their environment. They learn to eat, to recognize their parents, to communicate feelings of discomfort and joy. They learn to pick up small objects with their fingers, to throw a ball, to walk... and the most complex of human activities: to use language. They learn all this simply by LIVING with other humans who do all these things and who respond to their child with care and interest themselves. The incentive is mastery, and the curriculum is anything and everything around them!

On the contrary, ignorance is born when children are taught to forget that they are capable of learning. When we tell them over and over again that they will "never learn" if they don't sit still, if they don't listen to the teacher, if they don't work at it... when we tell them that learning is DIFFICULT and has to be SCHEDULED or else they'd never want to do it... when we tell them that they will "amount to nothing" if they don't finish school... we are telling them that they cannot do anything or be anything without somebody else teaching them how, when, and what to learn.

Fortunately, not every child accepts that message. Some escape with their sense of self still somewhat in tact, with their creative potential as an individual not totally squashed. But how much better if they didn't have to suffer and survive? If instead they remained supported as confident learners from the very beginning and thrived?

Because when children are TRUSTED to learn as they do best, and are provided opportunities to freely and safely explore their world WITHOUT strict timelines, rigid expectations, or one-size-fits-all curriculums -- and WITH input from trustworthy, knowledgable sources such as parents and community leaders, then they will continue to do as they have since birth: learn everything they need to know to thrive in their world -- and hopefully make it an even better place.

Only in very special circumstances is external assistance needed to make the learning process go smoothly. Unfortunately, as more is learned to help these children, educators have begun to find power in assuming that the anomoly is the norm, and that all children who don't fit their ideal are on a spectrum of learning disorder. Much like the medical establishment assumes that first-time moms are "high-risk" until they've "proven" that their pelvis is capable of birthing a baby. But I digress...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just a list..

Of what's happening in my life this week...

On the calendar...
Monday: Small group at our house
Wednesday: Pizza and swimming at Carla’s
Thursday: Date with UberDad to see “Order of the Phoenix”
Friday: Playdate at our house

On the menu...
BBQ veggie and turkey burgers, chips and watermelon
Salmon, potatoes and brocolli
Chinese chicken salad

On my knitting needles...
Gryffindor Hip House scarf
Present for my cousin’s baby

Off the bookshelves...
“Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow. Homeschooling and the Curriculum of Love” by David Albert
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

On the to-do list...
Laundry, dishes, etc.
Finish online photo albums from last 7 months

In the garden...
Dry grass
Blackberry bushes fruiting
Trying to keep perennials alive through summer

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just call me a Potterhead.

I've been having a hard time getting motivated to blog lately. You might have noticed. I don't know why that it is exactly. The males in my house have been getting better about giving me daily a turn on the computer. Mostly I've used it to stay in touch with my mother while she's been in Germany visiting my cousin. She's coming home tonight -- yay!

While she's been gone, I've been knitting up a Hip House Scarf for myself from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter. I rarely knit for myself, but I'm planning to get this done before UberDad and I go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Hopefully my mom will watch the boys so we can go on Thursday afternoon. I'm so excited!! I finished the sixth book, HP and the Half-Blood Prince, a couple weeks ago, and rented both the third and fourth movies last week. I'm both sad that there's only one book left, and anxious for it to arrive from Amazon next Saturday! Puffer used his allowance to buy the Harry Potter Wizard's Chess set a couple weeks ago, so he and UberDad have been playing regularly.

Yes, we love Harry.

(Fyi, I have posted at my kids' private unschooling blog recently, even though I've been mostly MIA here. If you want an invitation, just let me know.)
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