Summer Shorts

Since I can’t seem to keep myself writing on any regular basis, I’ll stick to publishing shorts.

-We are staying busy swimming, swimming and swimming. And now climbing. Yeah, every time we’d go to the university pool to swim, we had to stop and watch who ever was climbing. Yesterday, one of the guys working that area asked if Little Man wanted to climb, and he did! We went back today and he worked really  hard at it. He never got all the high, but he’s figuring it out, and working all his muscles to fatigue. This is the first thing we’ve found that really pushes him that hard.

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-On July 5, we got to join the youth group to set off firecrackers. Little Man really enjoys them and found that the little smoke bombs he could light himself, until he got a spark on his hand. That reduced his enjoyment some.

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-What, you don’t watch someone else on the computer while sitting on their shoulders? This is the preferred watching position of Little Man these days.

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-I was told on this day, “I am an artist.” And when he had finished he said, “I’m done being an artist.” I had always assumed ‘artist’ was a more permanent descriptor, but I guess I was wrong.

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turn your back for one minute….

We are still finding our summer rhythm… 5 weeks into our ‘summer’. The Hubby finished with his teaching duties back in the beginning of May, but with moving people out of houses and apartments and just general life, we never found ‘normal’. This week is finding a ‘normal’. And its so refreshing and nice.

Apart of finding normal is figuring out our daily rhythm when we are at home all day (Little Man and I, that is. Hubby is going into school to read and write that dissertation — home stretch!). This morning, Little Man declares he wants to finger paint. I’m totally good with this — fine motor skill development, creativity, a sensory experience and who-knows what other benefit is to be found in finger painting. He started smearing the paint up his arms (yes, I can handle this…) and I decided we’d go outside to clean up. I step away for about a minute (maybe 2) and come back to find….

Look what I can do!

Look what I can do!

Paint in his hair and all over his face. :::sigh::: After I took the picture he says “I want to see it!” Its a bit scary how much he knows about how the camera and phones work.

Last summer, we spent a lot of time out under the trees. These are huge Live Oak trees and they tend to sprawl outwards as much as upwards. And they cast a deep, deep shadow on the area underneath, which can easily be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the areas in the sun. After the rain we got on Sunday morning and 2 cool nights, the breeze is still cool, which makes sitting out under the trees a very enjoyable experience.

Summer days

Summer days

I’m thinking through what ‘science’ activity we might do this week. Maybe we will just focus on the general experience and less on any sort of discovery. I picked up to browse “The Well-trained Mind: A guide to classical education at home”. Its been good to read and remind myself of what is come and general expectations (knowing it could easily be a year or two off for any one child). At the same time, I picked up Natural Born Learners (free from amazon kindle last week. $3.99 now), which is a series of essays on unschooling. I’m philosophically attracted to both theories, and there seems to be one, very important, underlying assumption that is different between the two. In fact, I think its the assumption that sets unschooling apart from every other educational philosophy. The assumption is about how children learn (of course!), unschooling assumes that a child will learn. You put the information out there, you provide some interesting question and a child will learn. No teaching needed, no special methods needed, no formal sit-down-and-work needed. Children will learn whether you want them to or not. Every other philosophy assumes that if you (or someone) doesn’t “teach” it, the child won’t learn it. How you “teach” it varies from theory to theory. I put ‘teach’ in quotes because in some theories, its not what we imagine when we use the word ‘teach’, but its some form of active presentation of the material to the child. I suspect that I’m drastically simplifying the assumptions here and it might be that this basic assumption creates a continuum along which philosophies lie — some at extreme ends of you have to beat it into a child and the other end of not being intentional about presenting any new material. As I explore this, I hope to write about it. I feel like there is plenty written about all these things so I don’t need to add it, but I have this quite voice in my mind saying I can present a different view point which might help someone. Who knows… though we will find out!

Of course, the book I’m currently devouring is ‘The History of the Renaissance World’, but S.W. Bauer (same author as well-trained mind). I totally plan on purchasing all her history books… Ancient, Medievel and Renaissance is out. I’m hoping “modern” or some version is to be out soonish. Though it will take me a while to get through these three. The Renaissance book is *fat* at about 2 inches thick and 688 pages of text. The last 1/2 inch is notes, works cited and index.

And, if you are on goodreads.com, look for me (https://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?i=LTM2MDQ2MTUzNTg6MzY1) and if you aren’t on goodreads.com — you should be as its a great way to keep track of what you’ve read, what you want to read and what you are currently reading.

Summer

 

You might say that summer snuck in and surprised us. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t reach 100′ at all in May. And now, several days into June, and no 100′ days yet. Yes, we are seeing mid-90s regularly…. but is that summer? We are in central Texas after all, where our non-growing-seasons are July and August (not Dec – March, like most areas of the country) and its for the heat and sun, not the cold and snow. But when the a/c kicks on at 11 am, you know it must be summer, even if the thermometer is still suggesting that its spring.

The last several months have been busy and good. We traveled, we garage saled, we saw friends, we said good-bye to friends (both permanent-for-this-life and moving-away goodbyes). We helped friends move/pack up a truck. We are looking ahead to say good-bye to more friends as they move off to new jobs (ah, joys of grad school). We continue to wait. We are in the ‘approved and waiting’ stage for adopting an infant domestically, which means we wait. We are trying to wait well: with intentionality and expectation, while still living in this moment not in some future possible moment. The March, April and May in my flylady calender have very little white space left on them. June still has a fair bit and I hope to keep it that way.
I do have a few goals/hopes for the summer. First to work faithfully through “The Well-trained Mind: the classical education you never had”. I found that I really miss academics, so I decided to bring academics to me. If there is anyone interested in working through this with me, please let me know! I’d love to have a friend to talk with about the material (I’m delving into the history/politics chapter right now).
Second, I want to be more intentional about doing *stuff* (some might call it ‘school’, but my plans are so loosy-goosy, I’m not willing to use that word. Maybe ‘activity’ is a good word?) with Little Man. He turned 3 (!) in May, and is asking so many questions about so many things. He is all kinds of interested in stars, dinosaurs, what things eat, and what/who is a person. Its so exciting to see him exploring these various ideas, and I want to give him the fodder for further explanation.
For our first activity, we read a book about digging up dinosaurs and putting them together again (from the library). I had seen this activity as a pre-schooler fun activity, and a week or so ago, I froze 5 plastic dinosaurs in a bucket of water. I set Little Man up in the back yard with the block of ice in our water/sand table (emptied of water and sand!) with some water and salt (table salt and rock salt). I showed him how the salt causes the ice to melt and how the liquid water helps the the salt do its thing, and set him free. It was nearly 2 hours later before we got the first dinosaur out, and the others came quickly after. At the end, Little Man asked “can we dig more dinosaurs out?” He enjoys the activity, gets some good sensory and thought provoking play and I get a bit of on-my-own time to read or do my own thing. I’m always looking for these win-win activities.
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Getting started.

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salt.. and more salt... and more salt. Mommy, can I have more salt?

salt.. and more salt… and more salt. Mommy, can I have more salt?

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This little thing doesn't hold much water....

This little thing doesn’t hold much water….

Almost there

Almost there

Free at last!

Free at last!