I haven't been thinking or blogging about homeschool lately. Left to their own devices, the kids have been spending most of their time video gaming, teasing each other, and pestering the dogs. :-P
Seriously, even when following interest-led learning, my girls often seem to flounder without me. River likes to have me beside her, pecking away at a story I'm writing, while she works on one of her numerous novels-in-progress, and she prefers to have me watch movies with her. "If you don't watch it with me, I always wonder what you would think of it."
And no matter what I strew in her path, Eliza tends to spend a lot of time, when I'm not available, with a video-game controller in her hand. Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a big advocate of video gaming as a valuable learning experience in its own right. I don't mean the stuff marketed as "edutainment," but the games kids find exciting and challenging. On the other hand ... everything in moderation. And even I question whether Mario Karts is intellectually stimulating. :-P
Last night, I caught up on work, and I am hopeful I'll be able to manage it, from now on, in an hour or two per day. I've started pondering the things I only think or talk about doing when there are no spare hours in the day. Like catching up on reading blogs. :-P And I just stumbled upon this very inspiring post titled "Everyday Dreams,"by Susan at Learning ALL the Time, inspired by Christina's post at Interest Led Learning.
Travel around Europe for a year. Sell a screenplay. Learn a new language. Write a novel. Those are some big dreams I have. Dreams that will take a lot of hard work and dedication ... But there are other dreams we have, too. These are smaller dreams, dreams that we could achieve fairly easily, but we always seem to put them off. We get sucked into the other things going on in our lives, let ourselves get settled into routines and stop seeking out moments of spontaneity, of adventure, of joy.I love Cristina's post; I think it speaks volumes about unschooling and life. I find myself commenting that the kids seem to lack self-initiative, and I worry a bit that my teens seem to a somewhat narrow range of interests and are reluctant to try anything new. Yet I am not doing the most fundamental thing that might make a difference -- setting a good example. If I'm not being a role model, all the "strewing" and encouragement I can muster may be for naught. :-)
I’ve always encouraged my kids to go after their dreams, both big and small. Both my children are still young, but I’ve kept a notebook for each of them and we jot down games they want to play, places they want to go, and things they want to do. They have just as much fun playing a new game as they do visiting a new state. Most of their day is spent thinking up new things they want to do and doing those things. But how often do I do that for myself? And how often do I show my kids the little dreams I have and how I’m achieving them? How often do I show that that achieving small dreams can be just as rewarding and exciting as achieving bigger dreams?
The gist of "everyday dreams" is to choose things that are achievable in a day. Many of my "everyday dreams" are along the lines of things I could begin in a day or routines I'd like to start. Maybe I'll post about this weekly so you can keep an eye on my progress.
My Everyday Dreams (so far):
- Return to daily fiction writing or journaling.
- Resume our weekly family writer's group. This is something we started a long time ago, and I consider it tremendously successful, but it periodically falls by the wayside.We fix snacks for dinner and each family member reads something he or she has written. Anything goes: a chapter of a novel, a story, a book or movie review, a blog post, or a comic strip. We offer feedback and encouragement when we feel moved to do so.
- Take daily walks with my dog, Kramer.
- Begin an art journal -- I've been excited about this for a while, and I have several Pinterest Boards dedicated to the topic. I was also inspired by Jessica's post on art journaling with her girls at Teachable Moments. I've always loved art, though I have no discernible talent, and the idea of having a comfortable, private place to play, and combining art with writing, intrigues me. I bought a blank journal, a few sketching pins, and watercolors. My vision is to cover our huge dining room table with a shower curtain and spread out all the art supplies I can dredge up, along with tutorials printed from Pinterest, things to sketch, and anything else that occurs to me.
- Take a hike/do some nature study --I'm gleaning inspiration from too many sources to name, including
- Janell's latest post at The Labyrinth, Winter Nature Study
- Jessy at Our Side of the Mountain who posts about hiking, bird-watching and other nature stuff
- A post titled "Exploring God's Creation" at Adventurez in Childrearing -- This blog is a new discovery for me, and I am finding many inspiring things there.
- Make a piece of jewelry. I became excited about this months ago, and I bought some beads and supplies. They look very pretty sitting in a drawer in our dining room. ;-)
- Actually learn to use the fancy-shmanzy camera I talked my husband into buying me for Christmas years ago. It has all kind of cool fiddly things, but I've never managed to figure out how to do anything but point and shoot. I'd like to explore photography semi-seriously, and I'm continually inspired by the fabulously talented Tara at Periwinkles and Pine
- Piece and sew together a quilt block.