Wednesday, October 28, 2009
When our fingers aren't dripping blood from the numerous sewing projects overtaking our table (can you say Hello Kitty Sewing Machine Heaven???), we are scooting after the budding socialite's busy social agenda. I know, I know, get over it already. But after almost 5 years of strong papoose preferences, the child is really stretching his limbs, climbing out of the cocoon of maternal closeness, right into full on boyhood. Bam. Just like that.
So the pics are getting fewer and further between. I'm not sure mums everywhere want their kid's mugs making waves in cyber space (ok, its more of a low-tide action around here, but you know what I mean.) But P insisted I capture the large scale painting he and some homeschool buddies beautifully rendered on a chilly afternoon two weeks ago (hey, you want quicker updates, come do my laundry ;), so I tried for some practically peer-less shots.
And speaking of laundry. We count ourselves uber lucky. The days of schlepping to a Brooklyn laundromat are behind us, our machine hides in the kitchen, ready to spit in our sink when called upon. Wha? Yah. When this was first explained to me, I was almost shell shocked. On the vast Kansas plains there is space for what we like to call laundry rooms. And they are very separate from kitchen sinks. But post laundry-mat, the sink spitter sounded swell sans laundry-room.
Until I realized the dishes must always be done to run a load. And due to its substantial size in front of the sink, there's little hope to toss in a load and simultaneously cook supper. Additionally, after two shocking floods from the sink spitters mouth (for which we were fortunately present) I'm too fearful to start a load after lunch and pop out for a play date. The nail in the coffin is its volume. After a year of daytime running, with P screaming over it and the words "what? I can't hear what you're saying Phoenix" exasperatedly escaping me, we have found a fabulous solution. (yah, we're slow around here.) So its now a bedtime routine. The dinner dishes are done, the kitchen is closed, the spitter is spinning and with any luck, we are no longer chatting...
I've lost my point. Oh, yes. So while we felt crazy lucky when we moved in (our own washer!!!!), like all things American, we have grown haughty in our needs, we scoff loudly, yet enviously, when the words "laundry room" cross someone's lips. It is then that I (internally, lest the Little Man overhear any judgement or want and thusly follow my sad and selfish suit) sigh and picture large lawns, laundry chutes amid multiple closets...
(The truth is, I feel compelled to tell about the humorously annoying parts of city dwelling, since I sometimes worry the blog falls unevenly to the side of tra-la-la-ing an ideal life. Especially when the kid is kicking it with artists on the Lower East, painting his heart out on a random Wednesday afternoon...)
Cuz, honestly, as we wound our way back the labyrinth like passages to the open air studio, tenements rising above, art hanging everywhere, I had to pinch myself, yet again, that this was my life. I know that's pitifully un-cool, so very transplant of me, so lacking in affectation its embarrassing :) After being Brooklynites for years, P and I shouldn't still be shocked at the beauty of the Empire State building. But we are. And since the Little Man is still so, well, little, he's right there with me in his awe and appreciation (I have no excuse ;). And its fabulous fun to have a constant compatriot in veneration.
So, P played with the paint, detailed a gorgeous piece in handmixed purples and gold (gotta have bling!) and chatted up the resident artist. As we scooted to the sub, we stopped in a matzoh factory to watch the big machines whirl and turn, split some tasties with some friends, and then headed home to a hot bath.
At the end of the day, I love my sink-spitter, its our reality check for a crazy lucky life.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Its often said in our homeschooling circle that what we all really do here is "in the world schooling" rather than home schooling. This has become increasingly true for P this "school" year. Well, all of it, except the "school" bit ;) We're still rocking the mornings-at-home rhythm that works so well for the Little Man, but the afternoons find us out in the world, exploring, playing with friends and enjoying life, almost daily. There are so many amazing options in NYC for homeschoolers, that I'm trying to make sure P's days/weeks are balanced, bringing him the immense amount of input he craves without forgetting the importance of the plain ol' play that P so treasures, A healthy mix of imaginative toy worlds and all of the crazy questions they spark in the morning, followed by acrobatics class, group trips, library visits, garden gathering, leaf collecting, museum hopping and sing-a-longs later in the day. Fortunately, this very loose schedule leaves plenty of time for tea parties and birthday celebrations for our favorite pink monster.... For what would life be with out a party for BB?
(Fall table decor by Phoenix:)
I know, I've said it many a time, but I love, love, love four. And its very nearly over :( I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to experience four each and every day, cuz its flown by too fast!
So, it got cold here recently. (Have I mentioned that I don't love cold? Give me warm and humid any day all year, please, but make it in Brooklyn :) So the Little Man and I pulled down our winter clothes from our top shelf... to find that nothing fits him anymore! He really is almost five...
Leaving a neatly boxed stack of hats and mittens on the bed and a fully clothed child, I carried E's sweaters to his closet (yah, the one by the kitchen - gotta love New York living!) As I returned to the bedroom a mere minute or two later, the child had already managed to strip down, toss everything out of the nice, neat box, find his mittens and favorite hat, don them and start doing a dance on the bed while chanting something unrecognizable. I didn't catch it in the shot, but he was also sporting a faux fur boa. Yup. I freakin' love four. I honestly can't imagine five being nearly this amusing.
E and I have long thought we probably belonged in Red Hook. Though we had never been :) Affordable loft spaces by the water in an artists enclave with great views pretty much nails down our search criteria. The hitch - no sub access. WTF? Thus the affordable bit...
But then I heard word of a monument to food lying in wait by the water: Fairway. Post co-op, we found ourselves, finally, trekking to the area for a peek. Two scooters and an hour later, we arrived at a little slice of Sunday heaven.
There was an art show going on (this was weeks ago now, I am, once again, behind!) and the sun was shining. We zoomed through Fairway and fell in love (with everything but the horrible motto hanging out front. Shop locally buy globally or some such nonsense. Its true they have everything under the sun, but loosely buying into the local bandwagon seemed a cheap shot when surrounded by peppers from Chile...) E was officially off the hook for the co-op, as soon as P and I could finagle a way to this nether-region food nirvana...
Satisfied with the shopping, we scooted along the water, watching the boats and Lady Liberty. We explored everywhere, dark buildings, strange plant shops, weird gardens, tiny docks, winding our way around, hopping gates and slipping under fences when necessary.
P finds some undulating equipment to fly around on:
And it hit me how times have changed for the Little Man. Used to be, we skipped pretty much everything. Holiday parties, restaurants, neighborhood walks, museums. You name it, the Little Man was probably too squirmy and unruly to be happy there. He needed floor play and intense focus to feel comfortable. And here he was, sailing around the city all day long, happy as a clam. If we stopped to catch our breath and the view, he'd drop down and play in the dirt. If we were on the scooters for a long duration, he'd weave a web with me about BB, shouting up to me over the ambient traffic noise the plot highlights so that BB (er, me) could properly respond. E and I would rather explore than just about anything (well, naps reign pretty supreme for E too...) and we're able to do it again without any guilt that the Little Man is miserable. Happy happy joy joy :)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
P, exploring Red Hook, in search of grocery options...
So, E's flown the co-op coop. As his birthday neared and his two make-up shifts he'd layed to lurk reared their ugly heads, he said he was done. He didn't want to get up early on his birthday weekend to clean toilets and stack shelves. In fact, he didn't want to get up early to do those things again, ever.
We've been together since we were children. And we've figured out how to co-exist pretty peacefully, despite the wrench we threw into our idyllically easy pre-child existence (but gosh, he's a really cute and huggable wrench:). But when the man vetoed my path to perfect produce, I cried Big Fat Tears. I kid you not.
And I realized then, I'm a kitchen perfectionist. Call it snobbery, if you're feeling disdainful. I want my veggies farm fresh, non-irradiated, grown by local farmers, who till the soil with love. That's a lot to ask in our modern culture, I know. I also want a streamlined shopping experience. No big box stores with overwhelming selections of stuff. And I want this all in one location. No piecemeal for me. Boxed goods from one spot, CSA veggies from another? No thanks. And last but not least, in my car-less culture, the schlepp figures in. Big time.
But the man, he asks for very little, truth be told. And he was more adamant than I have seen him in.... well, ever. I suggested I do both of our work shifts. But the Little Man had had enough of that kind of silly talk. My one shift was already shoving it too far for him...
And E felt himself the dark knight, that he'd rescue us from our socialist workshifts and bring home the fakin' bacon all in one fell swoop. Alas, have I mentioned I'm a kitchen perfectionist (fill in "psycho" here, if you must)? The thought of someone as food/cooking-clueless as E picking out my produce made me pouty and dizzy for days. I cook, often, three times a day. P and I generally enjoy our time creating in the kitchen and really enjoy eating. (P has a list of recipes he's created himself that are delish! Surprisingly delish:) So, honestly.... Hi, my name is Mama, and I'm a kitchen snob. I'd rather have dry toast than a canned spaghetti sauce. Store bought bread crumbs don't cross our four flights of stairs... So, basically, my husband was paying the price for my produce pretensions (and reaping the yummy benefits - I'm not a total bitch!)
And what, I'm sure you're wondering, does this have to do with The Little Man??? I know, if I were actually interesting, I could get my own damn blaaahg and not hijack my child's. The point of this post, was P's reaction to our discussion. As E and I chatted through our preferences and listed our concerns, P was so squarely in my court it was hilarious. I know families that don't "discuss" anything in front of their kids. Admirable approach. But E and I rarely see one another when P isn't there (um, ever). And we'd like to try to mentor positive listening and cooperative living....
Nevertheless, as I'd mention my concern of, say, my inability to shop or feed my family (ha, this is so unfair to my fabulous husband it borders on hilarious! Ahhh, he could always go and get his own freakin' blog....) But as I'd mention my concern of irradiated vegetables or organic prices at other stores, P, ever listening, would occasionally march over to E and firmly hold his father's face. "Papa. Papa!!! You're not listening! We have to shop at the co-op! What if I want to get something during the week? What if I need some food? I can't wait for you to bring it home each night!" Heehee :)
There is peace, and if not perfect produce, at least food, in our house these days. But I really have to remember to watch myself around the Little Man. Last night, as P and I ate dinner, the cat climbed up a ladder, only to then puke and let the vomit drop all the way down to the floor with a serious splat. It was so disgusting it was hilarious. I laughed, wishing E was home to appreciate it with P and I, and thusly, P mini-chuckled. Then, as the cat moved on to make three more messes, leaving me with no appetite, I heaved a sigh of discontent. That was it, just a sigh. Hearing it, P stood on the bench and stomped his little leg. "Danda! You are making a mess! YOU, are a Nasty cat!" I nodded at him, trying not to chuckle at his indignation (oh the irony of the primary mess maker tsking the cat!) and then made sweet clucking noises to my de-hair-balled feline. As he heard this, he too clucked and petted sweetly..... Oh boy. I may have failed to influence my husband's eating intentions, but the kid is obviously way under my sway :)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
As P rifled through a bin while I started breakfast the other morning, he called out, "Mama, what's magnet tape?" He remembered what I had called the stuff, but not what it did. Then, of course, he wanted to use some. Ahh, breakfast could wait :) So we grabbed his craft wood and made a bunch of magnets.
Then he made a bunch of pictures on the fridge :) The pic above, in case you can't, ahem, tell, is a boy surfing the waves up onto shore while using a yo-yo. There's some sea life in the ocean below and some bubbles popping above the waves. The ocean eventually grew to include everything imaginable...
But what's a magnetic world without a BB? So the pink monster joined the show and received his own boat, candle powered, backed by a rudder and topped by a friend.... did I mention that the last time P bought a toy, he purchased a wooden birthday cake, for BB? Damn, that is one well loved monster :)
P loves his Aunt Alicia. Seriously. He mentions her (and her fab hubby) every day. She's a busy girl, but still finds time to pursue her passion. Have you checked out her fantastic blog lately? There's been a slew of sublime fuzzy photos. Well, when we were in Dumbo with her last month, I (accidentally, P was running at me and it was a little dark to shoot sans flash:)) got a blurred one of her shooting a shot. So here's our tribute to a fab Aunt! (Oh, and that's Seth and his dad (aka, Grandpapa) taking in the view behind her:)
I am So Excited for P to wake up - and he just went to bed :) Today, the neighborhood parenting board mentioned a song set by a local artist all featuring New York City. I'm listening to it as I update our library books, do laundry and check my email... and had to leave it all behind to blog :) Go here and listen!!! If P sings his ABC's a little wonky(er:) next time you see him, you'll know its cuz he was listening to "Subways Always." I can hardly wait to share it with him in the morning - like most children, he loves hearing his world referred to in books and song. Check it out :)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The Little Man, waiting on line to see an installation.
Last weekend Dumbo had open art studios. P was game, so we went to see the world of my past life....
We chose the biggest warehouse and wandered through all of the studios. E grinned at me while I sniffed the paint, dust, clay, leather... The air itself made me smile :) The Little Man was smiling too, he had found something to collect. Most artists had a stack of postcard of their work, free for the taking. So P set to collecting his faves, truly gleeful. The kid cracks me up.
After doing three floors and countless studios, E and I were done, while the Little man was happy to keep going :) We headed to an installation piece E wanted to show me, a beauty so fine we had to wait on line! It was worth the chilly delay, but alas, could not be photographed, so you'll have to just imagine a room full of red tissue paper trees and caves, curling and rolling. P loved it, loudly declaring we should makes some at home :)
Heading home on the F:
(P, experimenting with the anti-christ, I mean, glitter. After his bottle filling fun with Uncles Seth and Ian in the woods, there has been a frenzy of concoction fun here at home. His first, a "snowglobe" almost did me in. After it came a pom globe, featuring poms, more glitter, rhinestones, toothpicks....)
I've heard rumor that the masses imagine homeschooling as this: kids sit at the kitchen table with their workbooks while their caregiver plays teacher. Perhaps there is a blackboard, maybe not :)
I don't know anyone homeschooling like this (although they do exist:) and we certainly don't. But I typically post about our outings these days, assuming our parents are well experienced in what life at home with a kid looks like, (having done it almost a dozen times between them all) but novices on the NYC outings scene.
And then, last week, after a loooong day at home (P was down with a cold) I thought I might be mistaken :) My mother's house, heck, E's mother's house (and there were seven of them) never looked like this. I remember these things quite clearly :)
Despite the fact that I had tidied and cleaned during every spare moment of my day (you know, the times you aren't fixing food, helping someone eat said food, cleaning up from eating the food, playing on the floor, getting out the paints when the play moves from the floor, grabbing rags for the paint that has then moved back onto the floor... all of those times) the house looked like the remains of a Kansas tornado.
And I, the unshowered one, slightly resembled the male star of Twighlight, bed head hair and skin all a vampiric glow. Oh, wait, that's all of the freakin glitter, embedded into every nook and cranny of my existence.
No, my mother's house never looked like this. And there were four of us.
This is all before lunch. Waaaaay, before lunch. And yes, the space starts out tidy each and every morning...
Lest you think the mess is confined to the floor, it creeps its way onto every counter, every table in the house, every day... Here, the craft table, mid-concoction amid mounds of more mess:
So, in my sleep deprived state (having been on booger duty for a few nights in a row) I caved into my husband after the Little Man finally gave into sleep. How, how, I asked, can I suck so thoroughly? I know mothers who sit and drink a cup of joe in the morning! I know mothers with clean houses! I know mothers with multiple kids, who work!!!
He murmured all of the right words. Reminded me that we both had basements and bedrooms to which the clutter and curios of childhood were religiously relegated. That we're trusting this mentoring bullshit (oops - did I say that? hehe, back to my Mama mantra....) to establish natural cleaning help in the Little Man rather than daily chores. (And P really is starting to take responsibility, I see that, as he runs to the cabinet to grab a rag and dry a spill. He is, I, know.... He's just really not into toy cleaning, yet...) The back patting helped, a little, but I still felt a titch like a child messily playing house, compared to my own mother, and hoped P didn't notice :)
A day or two later, we were able to return to our afternoons out, limiting our mess making to a part-time job. Half day messes I could manage after bedtime books. This, along with a good night's sleep (and a god-given break on the glitter) helped immensely. Nevertheless, I'm forever amazed at how quickly P's play fills every foot of floorspace..... and forever in awe of both of our moms...
A lovely homeschooling Mama has set up a homeschooler's plot at the La Plaza Garden. Earlier this year, we hoed and then planted our plot. Last month, we reaped what we sowed,big time :)
The garden was blissfully green. P picked basil, a tomato, dried beans and a gourd. He collected dried flowers and leaves from the pathways for pressing, and pebbles and bark to boot. While he was pleased to see some of his buddies, he was in a BB mood and drove the wee monster about the rocky lanes with glee.
When we ate his tomato a few days later, he pronounced it the most delectable tomato, ever :)
P, playing with his lips, watching the buzzing bee's atop the brownstone.
P loves honey. He finds bees and everything honey based endlessly fascinating. On his travel board (his wish list of places to visit), Ethiopia is featured prominently, as a small town there is rumored to have the best honey in the world:)
He's been asking for months to find a honey hive, and, apparently, so had some other kids. So a homeschool trip to a local honeymaker was arranged and a month ago we found ourselves setting in the living room of John, the local honey guy.
John, talking about the queen bee:
P and I had read bee books galore in preparation for the big day. The slideshow John presented was, therefore, less than captivating for P, but as soon as we walked to the bees, the boy was all business. The Brooklyn Bee had a display hive in his kitchen, a honey spinner the kids gave a whirl upstairs, and real hives above his house. The juxtaposition of sky scrapers and honey hives atop the brownstone was a hoot for this Kansan. P, ever the real local, took his roof hopping expedition in stride :)
(One of P's favorite activities Ever: spinning. When I went through my pics from this day, I noticed a group in the corner of one shot, hands to mouths, fingers pointing, appalled at the spinning child. Hehe.)
(Aren't they precious?)
Our advertising campaign (the one we're brainwashing Uncle Ian with) would not have been compete without a trip to Prospect Park, our backyard. So we frolicked for the afternoon in the meadow, doing park sorta stuff :)
P, always compelled to collect, found a plethora of beer bottle tops under a tree and set to work unearthing as many as possible. His sweet family helped him do the dirty work. I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to do with these, but they have been thrice washed (yah, they're still kinda gross) and taking up space in our small abode ever since....
Ganging up on Uncle Seth :) A family of six boys, you can imagine how much wrestling and rowdy rough-housing is status quo for these men. Get them in a group, and somebody is going to get jumped. And probably ganged up on. P thinks this heeelarious. And then, of course, the tides turn on the littlest :) Jungle rules. Fortunately, P holds his own pretty happily. That, and the boys all bow to the Little Man's Immense Strength ;)
P was nothing short of thrilled to have both Grandpapa and Uncle Ian visiting. His adoration for these two men is never-ending. (Understandably, as their patience and sweetness towards the Little Man is equally infinite.) Heading home, late, one night, P decided the best perch was atop his Grandfather. And there he happily bounced and sang the whole (15 blocks and an avenue) way home... did I mention patience and sweetness?
In an attempt to prove how lovely and green NYC can be to our dear Uncle Ian (move here, move here!!! Oh, and read this article , explaining how NYC is the greenest city!), we wandered through the northern edges of Central Park (weeks ago...:) It was so beautiful.
P was especially pleased with this pond. Tiny water plants dotted the surface, perfect for poking with a stick. He would have been content to spend the entire afternoon mucking about the water's edge, but we promised to return again and scooted onward.
He also adored this waterfall. He clambered out into the middle and perched on a rock beside a tiny rushing tunnel of water. Grabbing sticks and stems, he'd ask Imaginary BB if BB was on said stick. Then he'd cackle and toss the timber into the tunnel, yelling, "BB!! BB, are you rushing down the tunnel?!" (BB is scared of tunnels.) He could have contentedly played this game for the rest of the day too, but we wandered on and found...
Uncle Ian's water bottle. Or maybe it was Seth's. I was never quite sure. At any rate, P, Ian and Seth filled it with junk P found on the forest floor. P shook this, tried to trick other's into drinking it (and was aghast when he thought I'd really imbibed:) and emptied and refilled the bottle for the rest of our wanderings. I love that a water bottle and a bunch of dirt can be such a beautiful toy :) E, on the other hand, very much wanted to throw the mucky mess out before boarding our train. P, however, was very attached to his new project. We finagled a solution, and the bottle is still setting on our counter. It has become a larger science project, garnering observations on settling, floating, mixing and decay :)
Sock Monkey, E's alter ego, much like BB is mine, enjoys his time in the city on the weekends. As there is no point bringing him out and about the rest of the week (he is mute sans E:), the stuffed socks are a little wild come the weekend. Here, he enjoys waiting for a downtown sub ride...
As a stuffed friend sidenote: I've noticed P has a perfect warning signal if E or I are overly "parenty." You know, when you're having fun with Halloween candles and the kid is all caught up in the joy of it all and you begin babbling about fire safety in an exhausting and unnecessary fashion? P, typically happy to hear our thoughts, will interrupt, completely ignoring our blathering, and address his two best stuffed friends in an unusually loud voice, filled with the glee he isn't interested in extinguishing. "Sock Monkey, do you see the candles?" I love that he has such a pristine path to play with us - call out our alter egos and quiet the babbling begetters. Really useful road signs on this parenting path....
The kids with their crafts after reading "Andy and the Lion." Despite all appearances in this pic, they really were having a load of fun (right up until another mom suggested they all stand together for a picture :)
P love, love, loves the Reading With series a homeschool mum created. We were snuggling a few days after last week's Reading with Paris, when P sighed and said, "I hope there's a Reading with Phoenix someday..." I told him whenever he was ready to read for his friends we'd set it up. Gosh was he excited :)
Friday, October 2, 2009
We've landed on monthly celebrations in an attempt to fulfill the Little Man's need for, well, frequent celebrations. (Not that he doesn't fill in the gaps himself by celebrating BB's birthday on a weekly basis, but a full-on family function brings him great joy) Sometimes there's a toy to be had, sometimes a project, special song and story, a thematic outing, it's holiday dependent and always fun :) So on Fall Equinox, amid pressed flower festivities, our ode to fall also featured something the Little Man was craving: blocks.
I found a wee company that sells great sets. But even better than that, they have an "open stock" option. There are 92 different block shapes available, by block. Seriously. Arches, columns, rectangles, they're all there. And since I knew the particular blocks P was always running out of or was ready to add into his creations, I could create my own set instead of buying a bunch he didn't need. Insert happy Mama dance here.
But it gets better. They have a free scrap policy. (I've mentioned my embarrassing amour for "free" before.) For the price of shipping, 20 pounds of scrap blocks were free for the taking. Good for the earth, my kid and my budget! Insert really happy Mama dance here.
The best bit about the scrap blocks (for P, at least)? The funky shapes. They opened up a whole new world for him.
So, our floor has been covered in blocks all week (yah, they hurt :) And the Little Man has found a million purposes for his new pieces of wood. Sculptures, museum structures, cities, an armada with a port and a sea side town, and even letters. He discovered that while I made breakfast one morning. I turned to see him, beaming, above a slew of letters. He's always a bit disappointed when his strings don't equal a sentence (or even a word :) and exuberant when they do. Either way, he's having fun and learning a ton.
(Which brings me to a quick homeschool aside. My enormous bedside pile has finally unearthed "The Well Trained Mind" for homeschool research. I know, I know, we're unschoolers and anything with the word "trained" in it probably isn't for us :) But one sided research doesn't really help anyone, so my table is stacked with tomes about learning so that I can learn more about, well, learning :) With P's interest in math and reading blooming, I want to know enough about learning styles, phonics, common pitfalls, you name it, to be able to assist him as a resource rather than hinder him. I want to answer his questions succinctly (and correctly!) and get out of his way. To that end, I picked up this hefty tome in hopes of securing some super stuff. Having been a Classics major, the "A guide to Classical Education at Home" bit really got me excited :)
Alas... Right from the get-go, the authors pat parents on the back and tell them, you can do it! You can teach your kid to read. Heck, its easy, just look at the quote on page 26. (This quote is from Frederick Douglass, from his "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave." In this quote he tells about the mistress that taught him the A,B,C's and how this "had given me an inch, and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ell." Basically, the fire was lit, he was going to learn to read, come hell or high water. The authors use this as an example of how do-able reading is, so that parents won't be scared away from homeschooling, won't feel unable, incapable.
Which is nice. I love the idea of supporting homeschooling parents :) However, the authors do a 360 right after that and say that the lessons will have to be officiated and instigated. "Don't ask "Do you want to do your reading now?" (They always say no.)" And this quote broke my heart. Such a load of crap to lay on newbies! Bottom line, logically, you can't have it both ways, right? You can't say reading is infinitely achievable, innately wanted by uneducated slaves and four year olds alike, and then say that it has to be force fed. It seems to me that homeschooling is challenging enough without adding extra dilemmas into the mix. And unfortunately, its true, as soon as you make it a chore , the energy of "have to" is associated with it and then, yup, they're probably gonna say no thanks :) Now the fire is extinguished and the no thanks begins a battle. Ahh, well. There's some good insights in the book too, so I'll take what I can and leave the rest, I just heave a sigh of sadness at all of the kids getting the idea that learning is something they have to do, existing outside of all of the stuff they naturally love to do and naturally learn from that loving....)
And speaking of what kids love to do, the letter building with the blocks blossomed into a handwriting bonanza. The Little Man carries a journal around the house with him, along with his favorite F pencil from Dick Blick, and scribbles in it all day long. Its hilarious. Typically, these days, the word is "Phoenix." Over and over again. We painted his craft table the other day (raw wood we had found on the sidewalk that looked dull, sitting in the corner) with bright water colors, and as we watched the saturated hues meld in with the wood grain he had a brainstorm. He whipped out his brush and embellished the back with a black "P.H.O.E.N.I.X" And then added a "B.B" for good measure.
And speaking of craft corners... back to the point of my post. Fall Equinox. We had collected (o the joys of collecting for the Little Man!!!) leaves the week before for a special fall-fantastic. We pressed these beauties, along with some soft barks and pulled them out during our celebratory afternoon. The Little Man painted lovely watercolor landscapes and then embellished his work with nature collages. I lazily took this pic before the glue dried, sorry for the gaudy glare. But some of the shine is purposeful, the Little Man peeled apart some fine mica chips and used the transparent lovelies as boulders around his fall tree :) And if you look really (really:) carefully, you can make out some bear, that lives in a cave beside the tree, with his yellow ball, and....