is theFourth of July, and the day is flowing fairly mellowly
here...it's Wednesday, and Jim returned to work after his weekend.
The kids and I have been tired. With lots of heat and a near full
moon, all three of us were up until after 6am. Lise and I were up
again somewhere around noon; Miah slept till about 5pm, and so is
likely the best rested of the three of us. Lise had an hour or so nap
last evening, so she also may well be better rested than I am.
took the car, as we had no away from home plans for today. Lise began
her day out in the yard. She's been interested in nature since she
was tiny; this year, she is spending considerable time in practicing
bird calls, watching and sometimes capturing insects, and mounting
expeditions in our yard and the surrounding verges of woodland.
is also very interested in bird nests this year, and in the process
of raising baby birds.
is a bush outside our narrow bathroom window that seems to invite a
variety of birds, even though our Manx cat, Margot, a consummate
huntress, often sleeps in the shade beneath it. Yesterday, Lise
noticed that a nest had been built there - last week, I witnessed a
mother bird (we aren't sure of what species, thus far) feeding a
wide-mouthed and plump fledgling hunkered down on a branch.
Their hands have grown capable and confident.
Lise brought in an old nest that she'd found sidewise in the bush,
and reported that she'd seen eggs in the new nest.
explored the nest, noting that there was plastic and a bit of tape
and some bits of roofing material in the weaving. She wondered how
birds create nests, when “all they have are wings and feet". I
pointed out that they also have beaks, and that we could learn more
about the hows if she wanted.
added the nest to the other three we have collected over the last few
years, and decided she'd like many more old nests, and a divided box
to display them in. She also thought she might watch the new nest
carefully, to see if she can collect any bits of shell when the eggs
hatch (she found a portion of a robin's egg last week, which was a
went outside for a little while, until the heat drove her inside again, to play music on the desktop, which has an extensive
selection - she listened to a harpist, and then found one of her
favorites -Barbie Girl by Aqua.
that time, Miah woke, and soon after asked me for the name of the
singer who did "Cat's in the Cradle", a favorite song of
his. I told him it wasHarry Chapin; he said he knew how to spell
Harry (he has a friend with that name), and so I just spelled Chapin
for him. There was an attempt to reconnect the good external
speakers; I think it failed.
while later, we found ourselves in a conversation about how much
cursive he can read - more now than a few months ago, but not,
apparently, as much as he'd like. He asked me to make him an "English
to cursive" dictionary in the notebook he and I use to exchange
messages. After I did, he asked me to write him a message to decode,
and wrote a few words himself.
this time, Annalise asked, "Mom, how do you spell 'dominant'?"
I spelled it, and she attempted to write it with her non-dominant
hand, then proclaimed, "Nope. I guess my right hand really is
the dominant one."
the writing morphed into paper airplane making. Jeremiah decided to
get a tape measure from the garage and fold his plane according to
precise measurements. When the first plane or two wouldn't fly, I
reminded them that we have a paper airplane book - generally, it
appears in the winter months, and the kids and Jim enjoy hours of
experimenting with it. I also noticed the protractor on my desk and
gave a quick demo on how to use it, and it became part of their
was able to construct a plane that flew true. Annalise created the
Twister 9000, which spun as it flew. She also adorned a plane with
fringes - eventually, it fell apart.
s now not quite 10pm. The kids are watching fireworks through the
window and tidying up a bit before Jim gets home. In this single
summer day, we've had reading, writing, vocabulary, nature
observation, specimen collecting, patriotism, music, measuring and
angles, physics, art, technology, and social sciences.
worth noting that we didn't go into this day with any lesson plans,
or of doing these specific things. They simply evolved and unrolled
naturally, and largely without my direct involvement (I have spent my
day in hometending, reading, writing, and just being with them when
they wanted me to be...).
also worth mentioning that this has been a fairly typical day, here -
although different things occur every day. All our days are rich in
experience and learning, in ways that none of us could have planned
or outlined beforehand. It's just the act of living, and doing so
with presence and consciousness and freedom and curiosity.
just came to see if there is a better view from my window than the
living room. "With the fireflies and the heat lightning,"
she said. "That made a perfect grand finale!"
in the wee small hours of Thursday morning, I sat with Jeremiah as he
played Old Man BabyandWerebox online. Werebox, in particular,
impressed me – it seems ideally suited for Miah's physics-oriented
brain – and just as certainly ill-suited to mine, which tangled at
the mere thought of trying to deduce how to move the items to achieve
am left feeling remarkably blessed and grateful that we have found
this way of living, that the learning rolls out and through all of
our days, richer and deeper and wider – and far, far more
personally relevant to them, as people - than anything I could have
imagined, much less planned.