Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another week....

This is starting to become a ritual: spending my early Saturdays writing about Not Running rather than Actually Running. It is dark and rainy out there right now (4:41 in the morning). Dare I say I'm glad to be in the warm house with the computer on my lap rather than slogging around out there in the wet and gloom? Am I getting soft?

I used some of my free time to change the layout of this blog. Add some blue. Shake things up a bit. Change is good.

Aside from the whole Not Running thing, life is good, too. The kids and I started our homeschooling routine, such as it is, this month and it's going surprisingly well. Basically, we are unschoolers, which is a catchall term for homeschoolers who do not follow a prescribed curriculum.

We didn't start this way. Last year at this time, our first year homeschooling, I spent quite a bit of time forcing the kids to do workbook assignments: math, grammar, spelling, history, etc. The workbooks were mostly (I thought) for Nell's benefit. She had gone to public school for kindergarten and first grade and always seemed to enjoy her workbook assignments. Her teachers never gave any indication otherwise. So it came as a shock to me when she so vehemently opposed all of my assignments. We were both miserable. This power struggle lasted about a week. In order to preserve our good relationship I gave up.

I am forever grateful to Nell for holding her ground and showing me that she and her brothers are fully capable of learning everything they need to know without the assistance of workbooks, thank you very much.

Though I must admit that I insist on a page of math per day. This is a bit of a departure from the Radical Unschooling Terms of Contract, but I do need some structure in my life. And I think the kids need the math. We use an offbeat, highly visual book and we do it together. Sometimes it's even FUN.

I am amazed at how motivated these kids are to learn stuff, despite their relative freedom. Last week I pulled out a geography game about the Fifty States that my mother picked up at a garage sale a couple of years ago.

They must have played that game fifty times by now, first with me, then with each other. Simon likes it so much he plays by himself against his stuffed animals. They have made books about the United States and they jabber constantly about their Favorite States. (Simon: California, Nell: Connecticut, Ben: Mississippi).

We raided the library yesterday for books about the states. This "phase" will probably last a couple more weeks (last month it was musical instruments), and then they'll be on to something else. My job is to constantly supply them with the books and materials they need to keep the fires stoked. You just never know what will catch their fancy. That states game has been sitting around here for a year. Why now? Who knows.....

Homeschooling is actually kind of a misnomer. As anyone who homeschools knows, you don't spend all that much time at home. We take lots of weekly or monthly classes out in the community: piano, violin, horse, two different nature centers, art, yoga, farm, karate, gymnastics. Nell plays on a soccer team and swims on the swimteam, both of which I help coach.

We have been very lucky this year to meet up with a group of unschooling families on Mondays. This group has been together for years and we are thrilled to be a part of it. The kids get regular contact with other kids and the parents with other adults. All much needed (homeschooling downside: it can be isolating) and all good.

Anyway.......why all this talk about homeschooling on a running blog?

I tried running in the deep water on Wednesday, but it hurt my foot. It didn't hurt while I was doing it, but it did hurt later. That is the extent of my running news. Boring and unproductive.

Here's hoping I'll be out there again in a week!

1 comment:

  1. My sister and I spent the weekend in New York City - our annual trip that took us 2 years this time. (Life, and her husband's untimely early death got in the way.) So, we walked all over Manhattan in the rain and drizzle and at one point noted to each other, as a runner passed us early Sunday morning, that we are glad we don't have to run in NYC all the time. Couldn't even imagine having to dodge all the people and traffic. Hope you are feeling better soon Pam.


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