Thursday, September 3, 2009

School's In

Well, now. It is September 3rd and the beach is completely empty. Last spring, when we passed by an elementary school during recess while we were out riding our bikes, Blueberry asked me why all the kids were in "that gigantic cage." The question made me sad. Though the kids inside were happily swinging on bars and sliding down slides, the reality of their lack of freedom resonated in the links of that 4 foot fence.

Of course, realistically, homeschooled children aren't entirely free. Though they can roam the beach at will, my children know not to leave the sandy area. They stay off the rocks in summer, lest the lifeguard whistle at them. They have classes and lessons and playdates and such, all tying them to at least the skeleton of a schedule. We have commitments to keep, a house to clean, and lessons to consider. Though our preferred pedagogical style is interest-led, the interests are still "leading".

Having said that, I truly cannot imagine my kids being in school on a day like today -- or most any day really. Yesterday, I awoke to all 3 kids sitting on the couch reading materials that interested them. 

Eggplant was reading Lego Magazines, which led to several building projects, which led to the reading of several comic books. Rhubarb was reading nature magazines. She poured through about 4 of them, cover to cover. Blueberry was looking through science magazines for kids, which led to a chemistry experiment. They were all essentially curled around each other, tangled on top of and beneath piles of blankets, intertwined, connected. Later, when the sun provided some warmth in this very early fall, we all went for a long bike ride, followed by an hour or so at the park, followed by an impromptu grocery trip, followed by more biking. It was bliss. Pure bliss.

Today we will spend most of the day at the beach. Though, as I have said before, the kids don't really let us take any learning breaks, we still consider the day after Labor Day to be our official beginning of the home learning year. This basically means that all our fall activities begin and we implement a few new ideas into our day. The truth is that we never stop. The kids would not even know to consider taking a "break". Why take a break when everything they do coincides with their interests and strengths? It would be like me taking a break from knitting or sewing or church or reading or exercise or my kids.

With that, here's a great article about the importance of play.

Finally -- a few quotes I neglected to include from our summer:

  • Blueberry: "Mamma...I'm really struggling because I'm used to being 4 and now I'm 5."
  • Rhubarb, drawing a picture of Bueberry: "Blueberry, do you want me to make you smiling?"
    • Blueberry: "Um...just make me embarrassed."
  • Eggplant, after spending a day on the beach hanging out with a group of teenagers, several of them girls who told him he was "so cute" they wanted to "kiss" him: "You know, I am going to have a lot of choices when it comes time for me to get married."

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