Friday, May 29, 2009

If it has anything to stand on....

she will climb it.

I Finally Made Her a Map

E has been interested in maps for quite a while now. I think the interest was sparked by the map on Dora the Explorer and watching D and I get maps off the Internet whenever we are going somewhere new. She pretends that random pieces of paper are maps, and she'll give me directions in the car. She always wants to know what street we're on, how we're getting to where we're going, the city and street of our destination, and whether we're turning right or left. I printed a google map of the area around our house, but it was too complicated. It had too many streets that we never go on. So after having it in my to do list for months it seems like (or maybe only weeks, but still way too long), I finally got around to making a custom map that shows the street right about our house and the places that we regularly go.

I made it using the Paint program. Then I found clip art pictures of things to represent the grocery store, our house, the post office, the bank, the park etc. and taped those pictures in their spots. I taped the whole thing to a piece of card-stock like paper so it will be sturdier.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Is Good

We spent the weekend at the Life is Good Unschooling Conference, and had a blast! Thursday and Friday we only got to spend a few hours because we had to come back to work. Saturday and Sunday we spent the whole day, and Monday we hung out at the after conference picnic for about 3 hours.

I sat in on some great chats and listened to some good speakers. It was so fun and peaceful! I'm looking forward to next year already.

E spent most of the time in the pool.

L really liked the water too. It was her first time in a swimming pool- if you don't count the birthing pool she was in right after birth- haha.

The hotel is right on the Columbia river. E got to see one of the bridges raise up for a boat.

Here she is performing one of her dramatic song and dance routines.

L is escaping!

I didn't get nearly enough pictures of the different rooms they had set up for the kids. This one was a game room. They had video games, board games, blocks, DDR.

Another room was set up with toys, dress up things, balls. Throughout the conference there were "funshops" with activities like bubble blowing, clay, drumming, sing alongs, dancing, doll making, flag making, and so many other things I can't even remember. We didn't make it to most of those since I wanted to hear the presentations and E wanted to play in the pool, but we will probably check them out next year. There was also a talent show, and kids set up tables with their "untrepreneurial" wares.

The hotel manager told one of the conference organizers that he had never seen so many kids in one place who weren't fighting. I noticed that myself, too. I only saw a few minor conflicts, which were easily and peacefully resolved by parents helping kids talk things out and problem solve. I heard lots of pleases and thank yous, and the door was held open for me by kids of all ages more times than I can remember.

I saw lots of teenagers with colorful hair and piercings and interesting clothes- I saw them talking and laughing with adults and holding their mothers' hands. They also participated in a teen panel where they shared their thoughts and experiences as unschoolers. They told about what they liked and didn't like, and if they thought the experience had prepared them for the real world. Of course the answer was "we're IN the real world."

I saw lots of mommies and daddies babywearing. I only heard one baby cry the whole 5days- she was 4 weeks old and mama got her right to the breast.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Christmas Music in May

Jingle Bell Rock is a fun song! We sang it over and over in the car today. I'm not sure how the Christmas music in May got started, but after singing in the car, we came home and found this. I had to see if I had the words right- which I didn't.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I love this quote!

"If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you're pissing all over today."

Aparently, it's from Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, but I found it here.

Telling Time

E and I stayed up late together tonight after D and L went to bed. She sat with me at the computer, and we talked while I checked email and message boards. Then she started watching the hands on the clock. She had asked me to pull it off the wall earlier today when she was wondering what time it was. Every couple of days she gets interested in the time. She'll ask what time it is, what time the sun comes up, what time daddy is coming home. I always tell her and point to either the digital clock on the stove or the regular clock in the office. If she continues to ask I will pull the clock down and talk about the numbers and hands.

Tonight, she was especially interested in watching and waiting for the minute hand to move as the second hand went around. She said she was waiting for it to stop, and I told her that it wouldn't stop unless it was broken- Time doesn't stop. That was a big idea for a little girl.

Then I googled "telling time games" and found a few fun sites:

I guess I should say that we used them in fun, whether the designer liked it or not. Aparently, the second one is a "Tool for Teachers" and "For Evaluation Only." Good thing I'm not a teacher. E looked at those words and told me that there was a mommy O and a daddy O and an O for her, but no O for L. There are only 3 O's in "for evaluation only." I suggested that L could have the "L," but she said no. Instead she said L could have the number 8, because that is like two O's. Of course, none of that had anything to do with telling time so it's a good thing I wasn't using this as a lesson plan or evaluating anyone. hahaha

Anyway, I'm glad that people who have the skills to make those kind of interactive things do it, and make them free. That is really cool! She really enjoyed both sites, and I'm sure we'll be using them more as she learns to tell time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Days of tv and days without

Since letting go of my controlling attitude about tv, things have been much more peaceful around here. It has lost it's power, and it's no longer the "mind sucking zombie box," but simply another tool to be used.

I still find myself getting stuck in old thought patterns sometimes though. For about 3 or 4 days during the last week, E was watching a lot of tv. The same dvds over and over again, and movies on youtube. I've been pretty busy with work, and not feeling well, so I wasn't as engaging or interesting as I would have liked to be. I started thinking "She's watching too much. She's going to get stuck like this. It's rotting her brain."

I wavered back and forth about what to do about it, if anything. I don't mind her watching it if that's really what she wants to do. But sometimes she watches it just because she's bored, and nothing else interesting is going on. She's not really enjoying it, she's just stuck in her efforts to try to find something else to do. I wanted to strew lots of interesting things in front of her, play, and get outside, so she'd have lots of other options besides the tv. But I was busy with work, and tired, and then I just felt guilty.

So, I just observed her for a while. I looked for signs of boredom or feeling stuck. I brought her food, and watched with her for a few minutes here and there, and talked about the shows. I knew that at any time I could just turn it off, and say "go play," but I had made a conscious choice months ago to not do that. As I observed her, I could see that she was clearly getting something out of it. She wasn't just watching it, she was intrigued. And sometimes the intrigue would wane, and she'd play while she watched or leave to play and then come back. She could do that because she wasn't stuck or "glued."

By the 3rd or 4th day, I could see the interest dying down. She was getting antsy and looking bored. By that time, I wasn't so busy and I was feeling better, so it was good timing. I starting strewing things more actively. Instead of just reminding her we had games to play, I pulled out the memory game and set it up on the table. I also put out some paints and crayons and paper. I was tempted to try to make her do those things instead of watch tv, because I was still hearing those "too much" voices in my head. Instead, I told them to shut up, and just focused on being an active participant in her life.

The memory game and the paints sat on the table while we watched The Lion King together. I enjoyed the time spent together and the snuggles, but I went to bed thinking "I hope I'm doing the right thing. What if she never wants to do anything creative again?!"

The next morning, she was so excited that the paint was still out. We painted together, and drew pictures. She wanted to write numbers, so we did that for a while. Over the last few days, she's hardly watched any tv at all. We went to Goodwill, and picked up the game Yatzee. She played that with D for over an hour one night. She also bought a stuffed zebra, having been inspired by the zebras in the Lion King. We went for a walk to the store, and spent most of the way there talking about what zebras eat. Today that expanded to a discussion about what dogs eat, and that dogs in the wild eat different than pet dogs. Lion King also inspired talks about kings and what a king is and who is the King of Kings.

We got a toy drum, and I showed her youtube videos of Wipe Out and We will Rock You. She had a blast coloring everyone's toenails with a marker, and drew all over D's chest and stomach. She's been to the park, an indoor playground, a babywearing meeting, two walks, several stores and other errands. We've talked about zebra's and dogs and what they eat, and why mommy doesn't eat food with chemicals. We've talked about trees, and their leaves and flowers and seeds. She gave me directions (go right, go left) while we were driving and walking. She's pretended to make us food, be a dog, be a veterinarian, and put band aids on her "owies." She's read books, sang songs, told stories, colored and painted, played in the bath, rocked dolls, crashed toy cars and played catch. We've wrestled, tickled, jumped on the bed (and done some impressive flips), and stood on our heads. She's bought things with her own money, and helped me shop. And those are just the highlights of the last few days that I can remember at midnight.

None of those things were colored or hindered or lessened by the fact that she could have been watching tv instead, had she chosen to. Today we were out running errands for most of the day, and when we came home she watched SpongeBob and I played on the computer. After some time resting, she reminded me that earlier I had promised we would go on a walk. She happily turned the tv off in exchange for a walk down the street.

I found the Instruction Manual for Raising Children

Sometimes during moments of frustration I think "Why wasn't this kid born with an instruction manual?!" Thinking about that made me wonder, why didn't YHVH give us an instruction manual for raising our children?

I know that He cares about them before they are even born. David said he was "knit together in his mother's womb," and God told Jeremiah "Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb I set you apart." The Bible frequently calls children a blessing.

YHVH gave us very specific instructions about many things that he deems important. What we eat, the day we rest, how to have peaceful homes, communities and relationships. YHVH's not vague about how He wants us to live.

Yet, there are very few verses specifically about parenting. The ones most often referred to are the "rod" verses, which are often used to justify spanking, but are in fact about authority and leadership. We are told to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he turns not away from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

So, why didn't YHVH give us more specific instructions about raising, disciplining, and teaching our children? What is the "way he should go" and how are we to go about "training" them up?

I believe that YHVH didn't give separate instructions for raising children, because he had already given instructions for how we are to treat other people. YHVH clearly doesn't see children as a separate class of people that require different treatment from adults or He would have given us separate instructions. I believe that the verses that give instruction on how we are to treat others, include how we are to treat children.

The Bible repeatedly says to "love your neighbor as yourself."

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Mat 7:12

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Th 5:11

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 1Th 5:15

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Eph 4:29

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Yeshua forgave you." Eph 4:32

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Eph 4:2

The only thing different about the way we are to treat our children is that we have a responsibility to lead them and protect them that we don't have to anyone else. In addition to all the verses about being patient, kind and gentle, we are told not to exasperate them (Ephesians 6:4).

I often need to remind myself that raising my children starts with working on my own heart, so I can show them Yeshua's love.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Cr 13:4-7