Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for December 2009

I tried my hand at candle making for the first time. I made my own wicks using instructions for L. And while it worked out OK I had a hell of a time getting them to burn. I spent the whole evening (on and off) getting them burned down to the point that I could stuff a tea light down there. That is working well.

I coloured them using crayons.

And the little seaside motif was born out of my desire to start decorating from spring (yeah, I am so tired of winter) and it all of a sudden developed into this beachy thing. So I just ran with it.

I had to take down my nature table. It was just getting scattered all over the house. This is sort of a substitute for it.

Anyways, good night.

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Christmas is over…at least on one side of the family. We spent Christmas with my husband’s side of the family and soon we’ll be off to spend some with mine.

A little welcome home present was that we came home to no water…AGAIN!!! I am trying really hard not to focus on that though.

It was a great week. I relaxed and cooked (which I love doing). The kids had other people to keep them distracted but I am glad to be back home where I can relax with just my kids and husband.

Again we were surprised by the great ideas that people came up with for gifts for the kids.

My favorites were:

A digital camera for Trey. A trampoline for the boys. A tub of Tinkertoys for the boys, the Melissa and Doug dress up boy’s doll (which I thought would be boring but the kids are certainly having a great time playing with it) and a Melissa and Doug pizza set. They also got some craft stuff, homeschooling stuff, Anna got some clothes as well as her bamboletta

(which is so in love with) and they all got some money which is always nice. The boys have already decided they want to spend it on LEGO. They also got plenty of books and some sports stuff. Not too bad overall.

I have been reading The Unprocessed Child: Living Without Schoolingby Valerie Fitzenreinter. It’s not the best book I have ever read on the topic of unschooling but it is genuine and impactful. It’s a good book on respecting children.

About a third of the way into it there is a chapter called “Independence.” And it really hit home for me. It’s short and full of common sense but there is something that really connected for me.

It encourages us to really let kids make their own choices. That kids learn when the environment allows them to succeed and fail without fear. So we are eliminating bedtimes. And so far, when Trey has gotten tired he tells us and we go and put  him to bed. He also sleeps in later that way and we surely like that. I have put them to bed when they seem in need of it (crying a lot, rubbing their eyes and exhibiting other symptoms of exhaustion) but I am feeling rewarded by their judgement in when they need to go to bed. This has also eliminated bedtime tantrums.

When I started reading the chapter on “Discipline” I had a flashback to high school when we were forced to read Lord of the Flies. It’s a good example of the distrust that adults have for children. It feels like it was pure indoctrination. When I think of civility in grown up circles I am often surprised at the pettiness, backstabbing, imaturity, and sheer violence of adults. We point to peer raising peers (a bad idea by the way) and say that deep inside children are little savages, but I see many war-mongering men who are big savages too. I don’t think that schools teach us civility and respect at all.

In fact, I think the best way for children to learn to be generous, respectful people is or a) for them to be around people of all races, ages and backgrounds and b) to have those attributes shown to them.

We tell our children what to do and then wonder why they can’t make good choices for themselves. We yell at them and neglect them when they really need us (when they are screaming and angry) and then wonder why they aren’t compassionate. We demand compliance from them and then wonder why they can’t stand up to their peers. Shameful! We should treat them as we’d like to be treated and how we wish we had been treated when we were alone, crying in our bedrooms without supper.

I have found that you can cut a lot of bad behaviour off at the pass with a big hug and a nice chat. Everyone feels good this way. When I banish them to their bedrooms because I don’t want to deal with the behaviour we all end up angry and we all have a bad day.

Most of all, I hope I can learn to be this way. I want to be a good, attached mom. It’s so hard when they are learning to assert themselves.

No one said that parenting was easy. Sigh…

And my stockings for my kids are official done!

The boys get the Looney Toons  and Anna get the purple one.

 

 

So Anna’s doll has blush and eyes now. At this point in time I am considering leaving her mouth-less because I have no idea how to tie the mouth off without it looking sloppy.

Here she is:

There was a point there that I thought I would never get this doll done. Here are many things about this doll that have turned out less perfect than I had hoped they would and that has been discouraging to me. So it’s a little miracle that she is finally done and ready for the easy part: the clothes.

Anna’s gift will be ready in time to box and wrap for Christmas.

I can tell you that the amount of work (combined with the high price of the materials) have made me think that I am not going to attempt a Bamboletta again. If you are thinking of soing this, do yourself a favor and buy one. Ha ha ha.

But out of all of the toys that Anna has ever received she is the most excited about this one. I showed it to her this morning and she gave it a great big hug. Much, much more recognition than her other stuffed toys have received.

Anyways, more to come.

Well she is all sewn up and she has hair. Hip hip hooray!

I used the hair tutorial from Crafty Sheepto inspire me for the hair. It was much simpler than what I was originally going to do.

Now I just have to finish her face. I am not a competent embroider and I am not sure how to seal off the mouth etc. without it showing. I have been putting this off for a long time because I am so nervous about it. If anyone has some advice on this I would really appreciate it. 

The clothes are going to be incredibly easy after all of this.

The Christmas stockings have really got me annoyed. I don’t want to spend a fortune but I also don’t want to fill them with candy or useless junk.

And Anna doesn’t really have many interests. So I ended up getting her some socks and these:

The book has five different Dr. Seuss stories. The A and the Princess thing (lame I know) were raw and I painted them (and added the flower on the one).

These will be used to decorate her room when she eventually gets one. Just like the miYim teddies we gave her for her birthday.

This last week was the farewell for a co-worker of mine and I foolishly volunteered to pull something together for her. Here is the necklace that I custom made for her (the team asked me to make it because she always compliments my jewelry to them).

The flash bleaches it out. The flowers are more of a black than a blue but still. I really wanted to keep it for myself but I didn’t come up with anything better for her that day.

I also made her a memory scrapbook. It took me forever to make it and then my boss wanted more pages and in the end it was a freakin’ gong show just to get half the pages filled with well-wishes. All I can say is lesson learned!

I bought the hair for Anna’s Bamboletta/Kinder doll this past weekend. I haven’t gotten to the point of adding it in. I’ll be home soon and will be able to find more time to get that done.

The picture to the left of the above text is a pic of Anna’s birthday. We didn’t get great shots. It’s a combination of letting my husband take the photos and him not using a flash in our dark living room. As you can see our boarder is still living with us and therefore our weight room is still in our living room. 😦

Anyways, I have most of the morning off because my husband has a small phone interview this morning with his recruiter and he needs the kids out of the way and quiet. Enter me!

I am going to try to get some relaxation, reading and maybe even crafting in before I have to go back to work. Ugh!