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Posts tagged ‘activities’

Diary of An Unschooling Family, Day 3

Some days it feels like we don’t do much at all. I feel like I need one of those days. We have been on the go for what seems like aaaaaages and I’m tired.

Today Louis did one of his favourite things – he went to work with Ron. So Joss and I hung out together – by this I mean she listened to me swear as I tried to put up the black board all by myself because I’m quite stubborn and once I set my mind on something I do it. I got glue everywhere, put it up slightly to the left, had to unscrew it, move it to the right, re-glue it – dropped glue all over the floor, scooped it up with my fingers, caught the black board with said fingers, screamed at Joss to get me a roll of toilet paper…. And then, at last, it was up.

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Highest on Joss’s priority list was going to get an ice cream. And for some reason, we HAD to go on our bikes. I believe this is the first time she’s biked farther than the end of our street. I was not that convinced that we’d make it there and back… but we did. We stopped half way and gave Isa a swim, buried each other in the stones on the beach, and then charged home with no “My Legs Are Tired!!” dramas.

When we got back Ron and Louis were home already and had cooked lunch (Yes!!) and after that Ron and the kids were off to swimming. Swimming for us means the kids get to splash around in the water for two hours. I love our learn-to-swim story, it’s such a great illustration of natural learning, but remind me to tell you that one another time…

I was super productive while they were away: I ate chocolate, drank tea, put two coats of paint on the final window for the lego-room, and drew lines all over the laundry where I think the sliding doors will go.

While they were out the kids and Ron picked up our raw milk from the lovely people at JJ’s Organics, and Isa’s dog food from the pet store.

When they got back Louis and Ron made a birthday present for a friend of ours. It involved ply-wood, planning, a circular saw and a sander. They’re half-way there. Joss and I blobbed out – me in the bed to have a nap and she on the couch to watch more Kratt Brothers. There can’t be much that girl doesn’t know about spider monkeys.

I couldn’t summon the energy to cook dinner, so we ordered in Indian 🙂 And now, each with a very full tummy, we’re winding down for the night. Ron does rough and tumble with the kids for five-ish minutes, they read bed time stories, and then they talk about life before drifting off to sleep. Eventually, they’ll look something like this:

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PS, I’ve been challenged to write 10 blog posts in 10 days, which is what’s brought this on!! I would love to know what you think of them – comments are more than welcome.

Diary of An Unschooling Family, Day 2

What a difference a day makes!!

We got woken up this morning by Louis throwing our bedroom door open on his eager way to the lego room. “It’s FIVE to SEVEN!!” Ron wailed. He wails, because he’s the default morning parent when he’s home. I get to roll over and drift back to sleep. This is me still making him pay for going on tour for 10 weeks at a time. So, he got up, and twenty minutes later brought me coffee and my laptop.

And this is pretty much how most mornings go. I sit in bed with one curtain drawn, letting in the muted morning light, drinking coffee and doing stuff that mildly resembles work, and sometimes looks like Facebook. Ron and the kids organise (that should read, negotiate) what’s for breakfast. And at some point, I get up and get going.

Today, we were “booked” to go to the daffodil farm in Central Hawke’s Bay – just south of Waipukurau, and my crazy friends were making us be there at the ungodly hour of 9:30. As a rule, I don’t book anything before 10am, so, it’s testament to my delight in hanging around with them that I hauled arse and we were in the car at 9:05 ready for take off.

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So, our unschooling collective gathered at Taniwha, reconnected, walked around, chatted and picked some flowers. I made some videos for our You Tube channel, we discussed maths, and teeth, and family reunions. The kids ran around doing stuff which I’m happily oblivious about, and by the end of it we had two lovely bunches of daffodils and full hearts.

We got home and the kids watched the tele – The Kratt Brothers is a hit at the moment – and I uploaded the videos and made a new opening credit using our logo (insert super-proud emoji here) and fiddled around with the editing.

Ron got home from helping out my dad, and relaxed on the couch with the kids before we all headed outside and did some jobs. I was doing the final coat on our new black board, so asked Ron to get all the nails out of the hole where it’s going (it’s covering the old doorway into our bathroom). He sub-contracted the job.

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The kids and Ron loaded the new sand into the sand pit, and then the kids had fun making volcanoes and spreading the new sand around the sand pit. I just love listening to them having fun together. Joss has the most amazing laugh, it’s a full on chuckle, and we got to hear a lot of it this afternoon.

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I tried again to figure out the hot water cylinder debacle, and this time, I think I might have found something. So I was busy researching that while the kids brought more sand inside, and Louis ran Joss a foot bath because she has a thing about having sandy feet. And Ron was busy out in the shed trying to Tetris all our extra shit into a super-tight bundle so that it magically looks like we’re organised and minimalist.

Just as the sun was going down Joss built a gigantic train track, I used a new skill and counter-sunk some screws (need that super proud emoji again), and then decided it was probably time for dinner so clambered over the train track to do that.

And now, they’re all in bed again, and I’m here, about to eat some chocolate, and decide what to do with the quiet hours of the evening.



Diary of an Unschooling Family, Day 1

Today was not a great day on the home front.

The kids have been fighting, a lot. They just can’t seem to leave each other alone. There’s a lot of pestering and word-slinging and one-up-man-ship.

I have largely been avoiding dealing with it by playing the “I’m busy with DIY” card and leaving Ron to it. So, I got home from the hardware store to find hell breaking loose, the Apple TV and the iPad hidden, and one inconsolable eight-year-old.

I suggested to Ron that he do something to sort himself – and he decided to go for a run. The kids and I made a smoothie – banana and blueberry – and Louis and I screwed in the final six screws of my first ever, brand new, super-duper shelf, while Joss entertained herself with the play dough (still going strong).

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Ron got back and I ducked out of domesticity again to do DIY-stuff, and Louis came outside to help me, still struggling with the injustice of not being allowed to watch TV. I listened to him, reflected back to him, and helped him sink his mind into something other than screens.

Then, it was lunch time, so we rustled up some pasta puttanesca, the builder (who’s also an old friend of mine) showed up so we shared it with him, and we had about an hour of calm, where no-one bopped anyone else on the head, or pulled their nostril, or twisted their finger. But, after lunch is when the kids would normally watch some kind of screen, so Louis was really distraught. He couldn’t find his groove for a very long time.

At about 3pm, Louis came into the office, stood beside me and said “I’m having a tough day.” He was. He was really struggling. He takes these things straight to heart, and says things like, “I am NOT feeling the love”, which is 100% true, I get it. In his book Between Parent and Child, Dr Haim Ginott states that there is not room for punishment in a loving relationship. And, really, there’s not. When my children are punished, they are often consumed by the feelings of un-love, and spare no thought for the potential change of behaviour in the future. It is really pointless. It is mostly done through anger, frustration, and impatience. When I punish them, it is invariably in one of those states-of-mind, and it sucks. It’s on those nights that I go and look at them sleeping.

Then Louis finally managed to sink himself into something, and Ron and he put together some shelves I had bought at the hardware store. Just after that, my mum came and took the kids out for an hour, and Ron and I tried to tackle the fucking disaster area that is our laundry, and come up with some solution for hiding the hot water cylinder, which we didn’t do.

The kids got home, Louis and Ron took Isa for a walk around the block, and Joss and I started making pizza to very loud music. I was frustrated by my lack of solution for the water cylinder, and Joss tried to console me with understanding looks, gentle strokes of my shoulder, cushiony kisses to my cheek, and joining me in singing at the tops of our lungs.

And then the boys got back, and we were all in the kitchen, and no-one was bopping anyone on the head and I said, Quick!! Let’s take a photo!!

And now they’re all in bed, and I’m going to join them.


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