Wheel class was pretty awesome (and terrifying) today. Jude is continually making progress and becoming more confident while also learning more complicated elements and making my heart jump into my throat. So.
Often, when I’m having a string of tiring or trying days, or when I feel a bit under the weather, I half-joke about how I’m not allow to get sick. I’ll go on and on about how my works never ends and how I never get a day off.
Then, days like Wednesdays happen, and I am reminded that I am surrounded by a family that cares for each other. Of course, when Jude or Ramona are sick, Josh and I work together to keep them comfortable and help them get well. When Josh is sick, he likes to be left alone, so I keep the kids occupied and get him water, food, and medicine as needed. And then, when I get sick, as I was on Wednesday, and as I have been in the past, Josh takes off work to let me rest. Jude helps as he can, playing with Ramona, getting water for me, and being incredibly sweet. Ramona does her part by being cute and spending time with me while I’m stuck in bed. I’m not alone, and the pity-parties I’ve had for myself in the past are uncalled for. I’m extremely lucky to have the family I have, and I’m going to do better about remembering that.
In the past three months, Jude has turned seven, Ramona has turned three, and I’ve been lucky enough to have at least one or two really wonderfully simple days with the kids.
For Jude’s seventh birthday party, we created a pop-up adventure playground for him and his friends. For around two hours, the kids (and adults!) used different materials to create some really amazing things (houses, boats, etc.). We had huge cardboard boxes on that that we had picked up from a not-so-local recycling center; large cardboard tubes from bolts of fabric; paper bags; fabric; markers; tape; scissors; and a bunch of other things. Oh! Also, cupcakes. Lots of those, as well.
Ramona’s birthday party was a bit more low-key than her brother’s. We invited friends to join us at a local park and play there for a few hours. We decorated and brought snacks and coffee to share, of course. And THERE WERE MANY CUPCAKES, as well. It was a lovely morning that melted into a lunch out with friends (lovely!) and our first family outing to play putt-putt (so fucking miserable).
And then, today! We had such a nice day, today. Mostly, this summer has been lacking in the heat department, but today was 90-degrees-hot. To be honest, after testing the waters on a short 2-mile run this morning, I didn’t want to take the kids out to get sweaty and tired. And, since Jude has circus camp in the afternoons, I figured that chilling out at home was a better idea than expending all his energy before four hours of constant movement and exertion. So. We stayed home. Jude spent a good bit of the morning Skyping with a friend while playing Minecraft with her on his Realm. Ramona and I worked our way through the awesome birthday gifts she was given: reusable stickers, a board game, some crayons and paper… Then, when I had to stop to wash dishes and make lunch, Jude happily took a break from the computer to hang out with Ramona, which was a real gift. We ate lunch, and then I helped Jude get ready for camp. After seeing him off, Ramona and I continued to play with her new toys. This time, water colors and paper tape and some sort of magnetic-y sand. And then, when I realized we needed to go to the market to get stuff for dinner, the girl happily got ready and walked along side me to the market.
The best part of the day was that it ended as well as it began. Jude and I read for about an hour together-a rare treat these days. We usually top out at about 30 minutes or so. Because circus camp require so much energy, we try to make sure he can be in bed by 8pm, and we ‘re lucky if we’re finished with dinner by 7:30pm. But, tonight Ramona wanted yogurt after she finished her ice cream, so I continued to read and read and read. Finally, the kids had used the bathroom, brushed their teeth, and changed their clothes… sleep came quickly for them both. Soon, it will be my turn.
Lately, I’ve been spending much of free time (read: minutes stolen, here and there) delving into radical unschooling books (right now- Free to Learn by Peter Gray), listservs, and (egads!) Facebook groups. One piece of advice that keeps cropping up is “turn in.” Turn in to your family. Look inward. Find joy within, rather than without. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been being intentional in doing just that.
I made the promise to myself (as well and Josh and the kids) that this year would be the year I suck it up, get some museum memberships, and take the kids on a regular basis. Doing this will be no small feat-we don’t have a car, and the closest museum we have interest in is the Nature Museum, and that takes at least half an hour, if not 45 minutes to get to via public transit. Let’s just say that an hour or more of travel time makes for a very long outing. So, getting to these museums is the first obstacle. The second is the age gap between Jude and Ramona. Jude is six. He’s definitely at the point where he wants to take his time and look at things and ask questions. Ramona, on the other hand, is two. She likes to run. Full stop. Can you see how this might be a problem?
~This is a post I wrote in February of this year but never published. I reread it last night and quite liked it, so I’m going to go ahead and publish it now. Cheers!~
When people find out that we’re Unschoolers, they often ask me what our days look like. Explaining that most days are relatively low-key and that we don’t “do school” puts me on the receiving end of confused faces, raised eyebrows, and, often times, an audible scoff. As we went about our lives today, I tried to make mental notes of all the things we did so I could write about them. Please know that today was a typical Wednesday for us.