But what can get neglected in all of these big ideas, is the day to day, moment to moment reality of our lives....especially on days when most children in America are in classes, while our life flows on with the ease and organic pace of a great weekend day.
So, on this Tuesday and whenever else I am moved to, I will list here some of the bits and pieces of our everyday lives.
I hope to add pictures within the next week or so - snapshots to go with the life we've lived, but, for now, here are some tidbits of our day.
- I went to bed at 8:20 am, after making a personal leap of faith and entering the weekly I Heart Faces photo contest.
- When I went to do my final presleep house check, I found that our kerosene supply had run out. We hadn't started a fire, and the house was cool, headed toward chilly. I woke Jim, who checked the furnace while I started a fire. Quick discussion of how to handle fuel delivery - we were fortunate to have enough saved to order a little more than we should need for the rest of the cool weather. Once the fire was burning steadily and we'd placed space heaters strategically through the house, I went to sleep.
- Annalise built with blocks and drew pictures (horse scenes), and Jeremiah played FlipNotes Studio on his Dsi. He drew a Pokemon from a model Lise brought him, in her mouth, because she was a puppy then.
- The kids and Jim watched Sesame Street together, then switched to game shows: The Price is Right and Family Feud. Then they watched part of Barney while gearing up for the rest of the day.
- Play that got a bit too physical resulted in little hurts that were soothed by parents.
- Lise and I snuggled and played a favorite game of hers, "Little Lost Puppy Who Wants to Be Adopted". We also talked about how to communicate with Corki, our actual dog. =)
- Baby dolls have made a very recent resurgence in popularity with Annalise. She spent considerable time wheeling, nursing, tending, and creating storylines for her babies.
- Kids played outside together. They are keeping a close eye out for signs of spring, and we are beginning to discuss warmer-weather plans!
- Lise and I talked about a recurring idea to build with pulleys, and what would be best used as the string for them. Dad agreed to help Annalise look at and perhaps purchase pulleys if she chose to and they fit our budget. Discussion of predator vs. prey eye placement.
- Jeremiah came in to show me a code he had been breaking from another child's FlipNote. He had written out a key, and I was impressed with the structure of his work, and how much more legible his writing has become in the three weeks since he downloaded the FlipNotes program. He showed Jim and I the first code and the key, and we had turns cracking "school".
- Jim and Annalise headed off to do some errands together. At the feed store, they bought 5 gallons of kerosene (delivery won't be here till Thursday), visited the animals and forgot about pulleys. They did remember to buy some candy for the machine, saving some for Jeremiah, who stayed home with me. Then they put gas in the car, and grabbed a few groceries (a rotisserie chicken, grapes, and milk).
- While Jim and Annalise were gone, I started a load of laundry and got dishes soaking. Jeremiah helped me to gather laundry and tidy a bit in the living room.
- I decided to bake. I began with a box corn muffin mix. A casserole dish was the first suitably sized prep bowl I could find, so I decided to make a cake. I added a chunked apple, several chopped dates, a generous splash of maple syrup, a sprinkling or light brown sugar and cinnamon, two good dollops of banilla yogurt, milk, an egg, and a handful each of regular and cinnamon Cheerios. Jeremiah asked if he could help, then lit and set the oven for me.
- I went to snuggle with Jeremiah while the cake was in the oven. We watched the last half of Word Girl (words featured were forgo and downtrodden), followed by the first half of Wild Cratts (learning about the Creature Powers of the octopus: suction, jet propulsion, regenerative tentacles, chromatic camouflage, and ink).
- Jeremiah showed me the rest of the phrase he had decoded, which read, "School: Seven Crappy Hours of Our Lives". I don't know if Jeremiah quite understood the meaning, but his perseverance and ability to decode it were pretty impressive.
- I went back to do a few more dishes and gather ingredients and supplies for the remainder of the dinner menu (shells and cheese and precooked rice; a simple supper).
- Annalise and Jim came home as I was taking the cake (which I named the Inspiration Cake). Lise wanted to know if she could help, so she helped to pour the shells into the boiling water, then made a salad with spinach, romaine, baby carrots, and grape tomatoes.
- While she finished the salad, I finished the shells and cheese and the rice, and tidied up some of the kitchen as I went along.
- Jim, meanwhile, brought in the groceries, added the kerosene to the tank (deciding to get another 5 gallons tomorrow, just for security's sake), bled the lines to the furnace, then cleaned the filter. It was a lovely sound to have the heat going again, even though the cooking and baking had warmed the house pleasantly. Annalise observed and asked for explanations of much of these proceedings.
- Jim carved the chicken, and we all settled for dinner, deciding to save the cake for later. Conversation and laughter, followed by Jeremiah drifting off to his room for a prearranged Pokemon game with voice chat with a boy in Massachusetts. Annalise returned to baby doll play; new plots ensued.
- After a while, we were ready for cake - and I had just realized it is the Corki-dog's fourth birthday! So we gave him some extra love and some chicken. =) And my Inspiration Cake was delicious!!! =)
- Two of Annalise's baby dolls decided they wanted to learn how to swim in our bathtub. Therefore, Lise generously took them into the tub, gave them lessons, saved them from drowning on three occasions, and bathed them. Then they were changed, and Lise clean and in fresh jammies.
- Lise was having a hard time remembering that Jeremiah was in a voice chat, so I went into her room with her and she helped me tidy up some clutter, put her clean laundry away, and arrange a little nursery for her babies. We had fun chatting and laughing while we made her space more inviting, and discussed some plans for my next visit. She definitely prefers her room to be tidier than she is able to keep it, and, now that we seem to have worked out a better balance for the children helping keep things from getting too chaotic, I find I'm really enjoying finding little bits of time to go in and bring little bits of order to her space. It also has the remarkable side effect of helping her forget to be jealous of Jeremiah's private playtime, because she has me and a room that embraces who she is, has, been, and is becoming (even if we don't manage to get the whole thing done at once, the vast majority of the time! Like the rest of our lives, this too is becoming a continuum, with new areas being revealed as others become less so with use).
- A tired and relaxed Annalise settled in to play babies and watch Pokemon 3, which we have from Netflix just now. With Jeremiah still chatting, Jim and I did a bit more home upkeep, then settled in with a last cup of coffee, the television, our laptops, and each other.
- Lise fell asleep soon after, and Jeremiah came and went for another hour or two before he fell asleep, too.
- We are at last registered for the Northeast Unschooling Conference, and I will pay tonight before I sleep.
I had thought, as we were living it, that it was a quiet and mellow day. It can be easy to miss the learning as it's happening, because Jeremiah and Annalise do not separate learning from the fabric of their living. They delight in living, and in learning. It doesn't need to be forced, or planned in advance; often its best when the learning is spontaneous and uniquely meaningful to the learner, the liver of the moment.
It was, as Hawkeye Pierce said in M*A*S*H, "a full-rich day".
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