Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
May is a big birthday month for our extended family so Bruce had the very important job of demonstrating the art of candle snuffing by delicate control of a mouth puckering blow. He actually practices quite a bit. One of his physics exercises I think. Juney’s 1st birthday was the 17th and Joanne, Gillian, and Alyson all had birthdays earlier in the month. We had dinner at the Church Street Cafe to celebrate and Belinda made the most amazing carrot cake in the shape of a Junebug.
Bruce of course helped Juney blow out the candles. Actually, she just wanted to grab them. Note the backside of the Junebug. Bel found these great green gummy candies from Japan, I think, in muscat grape flavor. You might also note the gummy centipedes along the edges that were Bruce’s favorite.
Bruce normally hates anything resembling a bug (they’re icky sticky dirty) … but he managed to devour a gummy centipede and worm while turning up his nose to carrot cake (normally his favorite).
Juney wasn’t so sure about the first bite of that cake.
She does decide it is quite tasty, especially as she contemplates her ability to do it MYSELF. I think her decision is obvious. Fork or fingers …. hmmmm.
Ooooh … sticky hands …. but I-must-finish-it-all!
Alas … it is all gone but for a pair of apple flavored, licorice antenna.
It was a fun evening and the kids learned a lot. Juney partook of her first birthday cake and got a basic idea of what to do with the candles. Bruce did amazing (other than one disappearing act). You don’t realize how important the symbols of birthday, candles, & cake are until you have kids. It really took quite a while for Bruce to catch on that this was a special event. I think it clicked in March. I was actually able to say that this was a birthday party and there would be cake and candles and he understood and was expectedly excited. This has been an important social, linguistic, and cognitive milestone for our boy.
[Anna] Bruce has been helping with stirring and adding things to the pot/skillet for almost two years now and I realized the other day that we didn’t have any photos so tonight I documented him making scrambled eggs. Cooking has been a great technique for us to help him learn about counting, control & coordination when at the stove or mixer, and stove safety. I’ve been amazed at what he can handle at such a young age, with close supervision of course. So far he has never burned himself or taken up a knife and cut himself … knock on wood. He has gotten the spoon stuck in the mixer beaters and it took a long time to convince him that the ingredients go in the bowl not next to the bowl.
The important but somewhat dull stirring of the eggs…
Pouring in the eggs …
The fun part …
The delicate task of artful presentation of the meal …
I’ve finally gotten the halloween picts together from the ZooBoo and a few other places.
Witchymama & angel baby
I liked the light on this one but I’m not sure how well it looks onscreen
Oops, I accidently shot that squirrel with my best love arrow!
Bruce and Sam contemplating Sam’s costume inspiration.
Sam and wagon.
Sam & Bruce SHARE the wagon.
Bruce & Ixchel SHARE the wagon.
The wagon was more popular than candy or animals!
Flamenco queen Ixchel with her royal steed, daddy.
Cupid Bruce tries to ride the wrong bucking bronco.
So this was taken a few days before Halloween but I’m just dying to know what they’re thinking. I’m guessing that Ixchel is thinking, “I can’t believe they’re making sit next to this dirty boy.” Bruce is thinking, “I’m cool - can I pick my nose now.” And Charlie the dog is thinking, “She’s looks more comfy.”
For Halloween we took Bruce to the ZooBoo and met up with his friends Sam and later Ixchel. They were all very cute.
Bruce (age 2yrs, 3rd Halloween)
[Anna] This is a rather long essay on unschooling, shyness, and socio-political commentary. If this bores you please skip down (or up) to the homesteading essays.
For the last few months Iâ€™ve been chewing over the idea that like-minded people that primarily live and socialize with like-minded people tend to create a polarized society. This can be seen in the increasing polarized Christian right and progressive left movements. These thoughts were stimulated by a study I heard about where they put groups of people together. Some groups were all situated on the left side of the socio-political spectrum, some on the right, and some were mixed. In the all-one groups people who were more moderate on personal surveys tended to answer to the extreme when the group discussed the questions first. In contrast, people in mixed groups who were extreme in their personal surveys tended to answer more moderately when discussed within a group that had mixed opinions on the survey questions.
What Iâ€™m mulling over is how this impacts my family, my values as an unschooler, sustainability groupie, and agent of responsible social change and community. Somewhere I read (Iâ€™m loosely paraphrasing) a debate about whether certain books should be recommended to new unschoolers or people exploring unschooling because those books might lead them back to the mainstream way. Is this a valid worry? Should we be steering new adult unschoolers anymore than we steer our children? A friend of the family has a book (that he devoured) on all the best rhetorical arguments in favor of fundamental, evangelical christianity. Does unschooling, or any of the lefty movements, need such a book? By the way, it seems to me that the progressive left is floundering and has less political power than the Christian right? Is it because not enough of us read the how-to books and we donâ€™t meet once a week to consolidate our faith in progressiveness and be lead on how to convert the wayward?
I attended two days of the Live and Learn Unschoolers Conference in Albuquerque. I wasnâ€™t able to attend the remainder because weâ€™re trying to finish up the barn studio/apartment on our farm and the weekends are the only time all the family workforce can get out there. Anyway, of the four fireside chat I sat in on, I felt that an overwhelming theme of the disparate topics was how to deal with the unconverted â€¦ those afraid that unschooling would create dumb kids. How does one deal with both family and stranger criticisms. I picked up (perhaps others donâ€™t) an undertone of fear of rejection or judgement by others â€¦ an overwhelming need to buffer oneself with like-minded people who support and understand what unschooling families are doing. Perhaps it was just the sessions I sat in on. Since my son is 2yrs & gravitated towards talks for newer unschoolers or unschoolers with little kids. Although, the diversity chat also had a similar undercurrent to it â€¦ are we looking for diversity among unschoolers or just plain diversity? And hour talk on that topic just left me uncertain on what we were supposed to be talking about. It was interesting but too short. I should have sought those attendees out and opened it up for more discussion.
Iâ€™m shy. I try to smile and make eye contact to invite others to talk to me but my husband says itâ€™s the wall-flower smile and doesnâ€™t work. As a result I didnâ€™t get to explore these topics Iâ€™m gushing on about here with others during the conference. I wish I had set up to meet with the others on the Homesteadinâ€™ Unschoolers blogring. I met Danielle on Friday afternoon and so briefly got to chat during a fireside session. We had to leave before I could chat anymore in order to meet with my husband. I realized looking at the blogring last night that meeting her in person changed how I read the blog and made it more personal â€“ even after such a brief meeting. Sam became a real person rather than just a photo. The effect was interesting. I started trying to view the other bloggers as real people and not just internet figments. Iâ€™ve noticed that each time I, or often someone else, joins a new yahoo group they introduce themselves by listing what theyâ€™re into (e.g., we â€¦ breastfeed, cosleep, EC, non-vax, cloth-diaper, AP, unschool â€¦). This seems to a be system of the developing soundbyte culture and seeing people as truncated labels rather than complex, whole beings. Perhaps this is contributing to the things that are separating Americans into camps. Perhaps we need to slow down, relax and get to know our neighborâ€™s complexity and not just their blog, internet personalities. Perhaps this is convoluted but I too am a product of Western, school-based education and have had to struggle to learn how to verbalize my feelings.
This morning I quickly checked the Harvard Anthropological Lit Review article research database. I found 15 articles for â€œhome schooling,â€ (most which werenâ€™t related to homeschooling as Iâ€™m thinking about it), 5 articles for â€œhome schoolâ€ and none for â€œhomeschooling,â€ â€œunschool,â€ or â€œunschooling,â€ Is there a dirth of research on the cultural aspect and impacts of this topic or what!
I think what Iâ€™m trying to pull together is this issue of family/stranger rejection of unschooling, fear of this rejection, & the need to create a like-minded cocoon to resist this rejection. Ironically I havenâ€™t had to really deal with this rejection. My extended family is supportive and Ericâ€™s extended family doesnâ€™t criticize enough to set my teeth on edge or get worried about it. They basically listen when I respond to questions and seem to be openminded. This may change as Bruce gets older but weâ€™ll cross that bridge when it pops up. As for strangers or acquaintances, I tend to either ignore them or put on my professor voice and after 5 minutes they retreat in horror of any further lecturing.
So this cocoon of like-mindedness seems very necessary for emotional support and sanity, especially when youâ€™re doing anything unusual like trying to live sustainably or, even worse, unschooling â€¦ basically whenever you are bucking the mainstream, the system. But what are the repercussions of this cocoon if it is too insulating? Iâ€™m not real sure. I think the various â€œcocoonsâ€ in American society overall are creating fissions that could exasperate social problems. On the other hand, I think the cocoons are a response to the degradation of community created by increasing mobility due to automobiles and loss of identity into the soundbyte society.
So my ultimate question is how does this affect me, my family, my parenting. I donâ€™t know. Perhaps being aware and vigilant is the main thing. I still desire the warmth of like-minded cocoon but I want to be open to new things as well and respectful of other peopleâ€™s choices even if I think theyâ€™re totally missing the point. I want to hope society and the planet donâ€™t get screwed beyond redemption. I want to help others become more like me â€¦ more sustainable â€¦ more in keeping with my family values â€¦ but, as any good, crazy anthropologist I also wonder in the back of mind is this really the best way. Am I being aware and respectful of the cultural relativity differences or should I just take my stand against unsustainability (including industrialized education) as one of those things that are immoral to all life, like nuclear weapons and female genital mutilation â€¦ Iâ€™m still finding my way around male genital mutilation but based on the label I used I think Iâ€™m starting to take a stand.
This is Bruce’s new love. Better than Power Rangers I suppose. At least there is no violence in the film. It really is a sweet story, although, a few of the plot holes really bug. I wish he wouldn’t watch it so much but I’m letting him figure out the TV thing for himself. I am trying to prevent him seeing anything with fighting in it. He totally acts it out, sword fights, martial arts, dinosaurs trying to get lunch … I end being the recipient. At least he doesn’t seem to care whether he sees the more violent flicks. He hasn’t quite made the congitive leap to why others get hurt & upset when he hits, bites, kicks, or headbutts. Thankfully he doesn’t do this to other kids yet, just family So Kiki is perfect … Blues Clues seems to be ok although he doesn’t like it as well. He does like Jakers the Adventures of Piggly Winks but often already has Kiki on before Jakers comes on on PBS.
[Anna] Now that Bruce is 2 yrs old we’re letting him watch TV (PBS) and DVDs (Nemo & Muzzy). I’m trying to take an unschooling approach that he’ll know moderation. So far I’m a little worried. He gets up in the morning, pulls me into the living, hands me the remote, and says “open.” He will watch all morning long with short breaks here and there. Then in the afternoon or evening he’ll watch 2 or 3 more hours. It’s been like this for about 2 weeks now. I haven’t decided yet when or if I should intervene. I have to admit that I’ve found his new interest rather liberating … I can actually get something done while he’s engrossed in Jakers or Cyberchase, when he doesn’t insist I watch with him.
I did find yesterday at the thriftstore a very partial, almost empty, tin of a tinkertoy construction set which he’s developed a love for. He insisted on taking it for a walk with us (although he let me hold it while we picked urban black currants) and that is the 1st time he’s ever really wanted to take a toy with us somewhere. He also played with it some while watching TV. So maybe that’ll at least change the stimulation some. We’ll see.