The children woke up this morning clamouring to do some maths puzzles. Where are our workbooks? We want to do multiplication! (You WHAT?! Um. OK. Whatever you want, kids!) It's a Saturday. I cannot break myself of the habit of thinking that maths is a chore I would never volunteer for, *especially* on a Saturday.
At the moment Martin is working from breakfast to bedtime on a Saturday. I'm not getting used to it. Saturday has felt, my whole life, like the one day that should not have claims on my time. Since we started haphazardly and imperfectly keeping Saturday as holy time, working on a Saturday has felt like an especially huge compromise.
Perhaps it's the familiar pattern of our past days, that I am at home and Daddy is out all day, but the girls see Saturday as the best of times to do school-looking stuff from the moment they rise.
(If anyone stops by and sees them sitting at a desk with work books and pencils, discussing the differences between animal cells and plant cells, I am not the controlling home-school mama forcing them to work weekends. Honestly. If they are doing multiplication at 7am on a Saturday, there is NO WAY it could have anything to do with me, and my maths teachers over the years would cite numerous failures to complete homework as evidence.)
After their maths-hunger was sated, they helped put some laundry away (from the Laundry Pile of Doom, which is still eating my kitchen doorway). Jenna wished for a cream cake during circle time. We decided to take a slow meander to the village to visit the bakers. I am determined that Martin's work schedule will not keep us confined to the house, although venturing out with sole responsibility for the four of them still scares me!
While I was attempting to get clothes on to the two younger ones, and to at least persuade Rowan to wear *something* other than pyjamas, Jenna and Morgan watched some of the Paralympics; cycling and swimming. They engaged in some wrestling which they assured me was play, until Jenna told Morgan to "get off [her] bladder!" They then had to look up what and where the bladder is using the human body encyclopaedia. They are making a life size human body model. I am guessing I will have to help them add a bladder to it any day now.
Just before we left, Jenna remembered that we didn't do any painting yesterday, and for once I stopped myself rushing them out of the door and pulled out their journals quickly instead. Partly I wanted to remember to go at their pace and that it isn't a race to get things done. Mostly I wanted the painting to have an empty house to dry in. ;)
When we got back from our jaunt we were all pretty tired, and Morgan had impressive grazes on all four limbs from tripping over her own feet (at speed). We played the new space board game we found in a charity shop, and spent a while discussing why Pluto is no longer classed as a planet. I did some work on a batik playsilk, with small "helpers" in and out of the kitchen. They watched a couple of episodes of Avatar. I separated warring factions after some "earthbending" turned into a contact sport... And Jenna read a couple of Rowan's favourite books to her.
They took it in turns to use the computer. Jenna wanted to play on a geometry site, and use the 3D model solar system. Morgan did some number games on Sesame Street. Rowan played on Poisson Rouge, and the others hung over her shoulder offering suggestions and trying to remember words in French. They had a contest to see who could remember all the parts of the body, and Morgan won. I made nachos for them to coax them away from the game, which was getting push-and-shove competitive. The fighting is pretty intense at the moment, but today was actually fairly calm - probably because they had so many other things they wanted to do!
More Paralympics were the background noise to a long stint with the human body book, a lift-the-flap book about the Solar System, and old Atlas, a few board books, and a baby sign book. This week Jenna and Morgan have both done more reading than in the previous month. Books are *everywhere* right now, and trying to corral them back on their shelves is a fruitless effort.
Jenna came and made the tomato sauce for dinner, and Rowan kept going back and forth and leaving the gate open for Talia to attempt Operation Eat Cat Food. They are not done yet. Jenna has another book out and is talking about the atmosphere. Morgan and Rowan are semi-bickering (as close as it gets to co-operating at the moment) over the dolls house and Sylvanians. Talia is banging a spoon on an empty mug with great enthusiasm. Avatar is queued up on Netflix but isn't playing right now (and pretty soon it's getting turned over to Doctor Who - whoop)! The Jenna-size body model they are making is still out, though every time Talia shows an interest in it I get palpitations.
This is what unschooling is like for us. And yet, at the same time, it isn't. Today is so ordinary, so typical, in many ways. In other ways it is like no day we have ever had. Things seem to cycle here - looking like nothing at all, then a few weeks later looking like a full time 24/7 education and a half. Jenna will voluntarily read a chapter book a day for a week, gorging an entire series, and then will resist reading so much as a product label for a few days more. The interests that carry them through project after project, some barely surface research and some lasting months and years, change as quickly as do these four marvellous little explorers.
I didn't set out to say anything in particular today, so I'll leave it there, just a flavour of our lives together, a glimpse into the best just as you often get to see my worst. And a picture of Morgan at the museum yesterday, pondering seriously the importance of getting the right crayon for the job!