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Borax crystals

Inspired by the Facebook posts of another unschooling family, we decided to try making Borax crystals at our house too.

We gathered a glass jar, yarn, pencil, boiling water, pipe cleaner, and Borax – and threw in some blue food coloring for good measure.

After a couple of hours, the crystals started to form.  We left the experiment overnight and woke to find many more pretty crystals on the bottom of the jar than on the pipe cleaner shape where they belonged.  Fascinating!

Later today we’re going to try again, with more water, a larger shape, and lots of curiosity about what will happen this time!

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Beavers

“A beaver is a small animal with lots of cool features.  I bet a beaver would go to a yard sale and be like ‘A chainsaw – why do i need that??  I have teeth!!'”

beaver lodge at Parker Wildlife Refuge, Newburyport, MA

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Discipline

Over the summer, someone on a Facebook unschooling group page asked the question “What does discipline mean in an unschooling family?”

These are my thoughts, which I shared on Facebook and wanted to save here, now.

As for thinking of discipline along the lines of punishment –

I wouldn’t “discipline” my friend or neighbor, no matter if they were yelling at me, or having a fit, or refusing to do something I asked, or expressing a need or desire of theirs loudly and clearly, even if that need or desire was in opposition to one of my own.

I might talk to my neighbor, explain my way of thinking, explain what I was needing or desiring in such a way as to seek a compromise.  Or I might just listen to them talk or rant, without saying a thing – maybe while nodding, maybe not.  I might offer sympathy, or empathy, or assistance.  Or I might suggest we talk or be together once they’re feeling more like being around people, if I decide that my presence might be compounding their issue instead of making it better.

Unschooling to me means, in part, thinking of my child not as a little being to shape in my own image and/or according to my own preferences – but rather thinking of my child as his own person – as a person who is as entitled to his own opinions and feelings and needs and desires as any adult neighbor or friend.  So I don’t “discipline” my child – I help him navigate in a world that doesn’t always live up to his expectations – I help him interact with people who don’t always live up to his expectations – and I model kindness, calm, helpfulness, and peace to the greatest extent I can, in hopes that he will internalize those things and his life will therefore be easier and happier.

As for thinking of discipline in terms of self-discipline –

The idea of self-discipline doesn’t sound any more fun to me than the idea of self-regulation <g>.  I don’t go through days thinking to myself “don’t do this – don’t do that – don’t, don’t, don’t.”  And when I hear about self-discipline, that’s the sort of word that comes to mind – “don’t.”  If I have a need or desire, I try to think about how to make it happen, preferably in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process.  Living in New England, Puritan ideas about work, sacrifice, delayed gratification, etc. are often floating about in the background of life, in the background of interactions among people – they’re everywhere, those ideas.  But I’d rather not live a life in which I mortgage today, hopeful that tomorrow will be better.  I want today to be awesome – and if tomorrow comes, hopefully it will be awesome too.  Self-discipline and self-regulation aren’t at the forefront of my life, and I don’t hope to encourage them to be at the forefront of my son’s life (though that’s certainly up to him).  My goal is to live each day with my eyes wide open, making mindful choices (and helping my son do the same) – my goal is *not* to discipline and regulate myself or my son into a world of less instead of more.

 

 

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Beautiful Fall weather makes for a wonderful day to hike with friends…

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Writing that happens for a reason is the best sort of writing there is…

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  • Looking at all the Robbie-as-a-baby photo albums:  “How many pictures did you TAKE, Mom??!!”
  • Pokemon research on serebeii.net
  • Hero Factory battle-scene set-up
  • Mysterious Benedict Society reading continues
  • Creating Mysterious Benedict Society-inspired puzzle games, like Can the Playmobil Camper Cross the Table-bridge Without Tipping Over (after camper rollover with gear falling out the windows: “all the little childrens are screaming for their spear!!!”)
  • Mario Kart Wii
  • Pokemon Soul Silver
  • While playing Pokemon (and apparently at the same time, thinking about the Yellowstone documentary we watched): “Hey I have an idea!  You know how they reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone??  Well, they should reintroduce buffalos to New Jersey!  And New Hampshire!!”
  • New Castle Commons playground, walk around the loop, and watch the sun start to set
  • Watching Food Truck Race and Storage Wars on TV

It would be kind of fun to see bison in New Hampshire too…

especially nice would be to see baby bison again!

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  • Plants vs. Zombies on iPad
  • Pokemon card flicking game
  • Explaining how the Pokemon card-flicking game ended: “This time you didn’t win – I lost.  I accidentally suicided, so I beat myself.”
  • Ruff Ruffman and Power Puff Girls on TV
  • Looking at email photos of our Tibetan Terrier friend Spice’s litter of 7 puppies (born today)
  • Foozball with Ga
  • Pokemon and Kirby DS games
  • Reading more of The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • Zoo Tycoon on the computer
  • 100 Floors game on Ga’s phone
  • Kirby Squeak Squad DS:  “Mom, this game has to go – it’s EVIL!!!!!”
  • Pokemon Platinum
  • Rye Harbor to watch the sunset

Rye Harbor sunset

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