Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I think I'm starting to see a pattern

In the winter I am all about scheduling and having to-do lists and being all schooly, by the time spring gets really going the girls and I are all burned out on this (about 2 months) and the nice weather is calling. Each week we get more and more relaxed and life gets a little easier. Then I have attacks of uncertainty and fear of producing illiterate, barefoot southern girls. I'm sure they will be barefoot but I really don't want illiterate. Anyway, I freak out on MB and try to re-instate our schedules which of course starts all this backlash and moodiness from her. Boom we are miserable in a day or two. I give up with tears of frustration and we all return to our non-normal, normal lives and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

The winter just lends itself to a more book-focused life. It is cold outside, nothing much happening, and so on. Who doesn't want to spend the day curled up reading or being read to? Spring, Summer, Fall - there is just way too much life.

I'm trying really hard to flow with this...not get all uptight over how many chapters are done - or the fact that none are getting done, right now. I'm dipping my toe in unschooling and reading about it. I'll be honest I think it is a wonderful path for some, but my heart and mind cannot totally wrap itself around totally letting go. I have to have some minimal accomplishments that something is happening. I know things are happening, but sometimes they are just harder to see. I would rather have a plan and not get to it because other interesting things came up - then not have a plan at all.

Today was a good example of the way our recent days have been.

The only thing I had 'planned' was to make three or four different recipes of playdough and see how they were different. Since we don't have enough clay to make the greek village MB was talking about wanting to do, I figured we needed to make some materials of our own to use. I don't have any Cream of Tarter to do the recipes that required it, so we made a run to the store once everyone was up and had breakfast. I decided to try Dollar General to find it. I really think I had seen it there before, when I didn't need it. They did not have it today.
What I did get though were a package of 100 plastic cups for MB's lemonade stand she wanted to have, 2 bug-catching kits, 2 bottles of bubbles and a bag of 50 assorted balloons.

We came home and I had to blow up ten balloons immediately. I then went and got Jr ready for his nap and tried to avoid passing out after blowing up those balloons. Apparently the girls decided to test various objects on how well they pop balloons by dropping them from the back deck onto balloons below. After having them clean up everything they had dropped, I gotK and Em busy with one of the bug kits. Mary and I went in to make playdough. We only got two different types made - basic salt/flour dough and oatmeal playdough. MB mixed up a few different colors. Then I got distracted by EM wanting another balloon. For the fun of it I ran a little bit of water into the balloon before I blew it up so she could shake it. Then MB wanted me to do another one like that, only color the water. So on it went until MB was making little water balloons. Of course she didn't put enough water in them, so they ended up bouncing instead of bursting - which was great fun for all of them. And, meant that everyone had to have at least two.

After lunch MB got her lemonade stand set up because she wanted to be out there when the high school let out. This picture was taken early on before the heat and lack of traffic through our neighborhood begin to set in. She did make about $3 of 'isn't she cute' money from our lovely neighbors.

It is tough sitting out there in the sun. She and K would get up and hunt for bugs or just come join me on the front porch off and on. I tried to convince her to close it for the day, without being negative. But she had determination like I so rarely see in her unless she is arguing. I had to let her go with it.

During her breaks we did get into digging through some boxes of rocks that we have. Yes, I know how horrible that sounds - boxes of rocks. But it is a good place to throw rocks from our little adventures and then sort out later. At the bottom I had a piece of polished, petrified wood. That started us off on a discussion of petrification, which thanks to the book become a discussion on meteorites. I was impressed by how much she already knew about meteorites.

K found a couple of beach pebbles and began telling me the story of how they became pebbles and how she found them on the beach (not really, but lets let her think she did). I do enjoy K's creativity but there are times she does become a little long-winded. About that time the mailman arrived so I'm not quite sure how the story ended.

They cleaned up the stand and MB went off to find her friends only to come home 15 minutes later complaining of being too hot and tired. She was out in the sun way too long. I let her get on the computer while I tried to entertain Jr and clean the kitchen at the same time. Eventually all the girls ended up outside, with water balloons, again. From the water balloons they eventually ended up in the wading pool - with their clothes on. Whatever - I was able to get Jr fed, and no one ended up screaming mad over something.

We read more books tonight, had more discussions. Really I like this way, if I could just get past the fear not doing enough. It sounds like all they did was play all day. But everything can be broken down into one of the basic 'subjects' it is just more difficult to measure and to describe to someone - like family.

Tomorrow we have a little more running around to do and K has her day camp orientation (meet the counselors) night. But, I think I will spend another day in the passenger seat and see where it takes us.



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A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.