Slow Reading

Are you a slow reader?

I don’t mean slow in that it takes you a week to read a book that might take someone else 3 days. What I mean is do you slow down enough in life to read? Whether for pleasure or information, reading is enjoyable and takes time to digest. The internet often interferes with this and actually worsens peoples reading attention spans turning us into hopeless skimmers (for a great article click here).

And what about these new-fangled e-readers? Do they serve a purpose? Can they replace books? Should they? For a positive spin from a true bookworm read here. After reading I was almost convinced that maybe they would have value. But then I picked up a book and took it to bed with me and changed my mind.

And then there’s this whole green movement. For those of us (and who isn’t in the homeschooling community?) who are very aware of the global impact and how it will affect our children, maybe e-readers wouldn’t be such a bad thing? But, yet again, I was rescued from the flawed logic by reading this wonderful post at a slow-reading blog entitled “Read a Book, Save a Tree”. Now who isn’t tempted by that?

It, of course, makes me think of my children and how I want them brought up…influenced…what memories I want them to cherish. Reading is a memory I want etched on their hearts forever. I do not want “education” to spoil this or the use of too much technology. I want to keep my kids immersed in fertile soil, always strewing books around that they can’t help but want to pick up, curl up in a chair and let time slip away. These are where the seeds of a new generation are born.

And the next book I will be putting on my library request list to curl up with in a cozy chair with a hot cup of coffee: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr.

Enjoy your weekend and read a book!

Play or Project Work?

I’ve been thinking a lot about project work and unschooling and relaxed homeschooling…about my children learning…about killing that with too much of my “to do”…about retention and memory and what’s really important.  Some of this is natural for the time of year…coming up on a new school year. How to proceed? More planning or less? How much did they retain from last year? What worked and what didn’t? Some of this is coming out of our frustration with a four-year old boy and potty training issues. Some of this is coming out of reading new posts at Camp Creek Blog (especially this one on hands-on learning) and rereading back posts that I had printed off and saved in my collective education journal. My husband would say I’m just thinking about it because I’m nerdy that way and it’s what I like to do in my free time. (Who doesn’t like to sit down and read a stack of articles, magazines, printed posts, and books on the pedagogy of education? Doesn’t everyone do that to relax in the evening?) But, whatever the case, it is on my brain and I am revisiting thoughts I had last year and wondering if I can even begin to implement them this year.

Lily being inspired by Curious George.

Galileo, watch out!

When thinking about how to implement project work, I get caught up in the details and seem to have a really hard time letting go of control (an issue I have in numerous life areas). Or I try it and it seems to fail (have a theory that is more about me and not them). But then there are days like this one where it just pops up unexpectedly (which, if reading Camp Creek right, is the whole point of project work). I see a deep interest developing. Because it wasn’t part of “school” I allow them freedom in exploring and brainstorming ideas and things flow. This week, as I was more cognizant of it, I allowed for some of my “to do” to be let go of and their “want to do” added in. It made for less stress, math and reading was still accomplished and everyone seemed to enjoy school more. This is what I want more of. Less of me…more of them.

This week it is firefighters, which happened on a whim of dress up play and an innocent question from me before heading to the library. We found just a couple of books and one sparked a for-serious interest. It has been a week of deep-interest playing, constant question asking, and the desire to make this world real. I’ve had to stretch my imagination and pull out the recycle bin several times in order to conjure up the wishlist.  But I see thirsts being quenched and I see project work being played out. I am trying very hard to stay out of the way, facilitate when needed and just observe and document (hence this post). These moments keep me from giving up on this particular learning style.

"Firefightmen" is the theme this week.

Homemade oxygen tank

Firefighter Jane

Fire Extinguisher

Walkie Talkie Radios

Of course, when these moments do pop up they seem more like play. My own doubts sway me to disbelieve that these moments can really become deep vessels of learning experiences because they seem to happen more with my littles (4-6 age group) then with my older. I need to contemplate on this…I need white space to think and wonder if it is me and my approach that is inhibiting the older child or if I am just not giving it enough time.

THE Recycle box...the one I am constantly questioning my own sanity over.

Our house after project work.

I will try and continue this discussion over the next few weeks as I am contemplating.

Summer Days

What is a summer day unless you can go outside in a brand new dress, find the one pot of water that we missed when overturning, mix a big batch of mud and cover yourselves from head to toe? Can’t imagine getting more basic then this!

247. Freedom to play as a child outside.

248. Instead of getting angry, grabbing a camera.

249. Hearing how good the mud feels between the toes.

250. Cold rinsing clothes and towels.

251. And talk about your ring around the tub!

252. Cold rinsing again the clothes and towels.

253. Cold rinsing a third time the clothes and towels.

254. Still needing spray wash and being so glad you just bought some more that afternoon.

255. Finally getting to wash the clothes and towels and being SO thankful that you have your good ‘ol top-loading washer back to wash more quickly and efficiently even if it does use up more water!

256. The biggest paper airplane ever!

258. Summer sundresses.

259. Everyone sketching in the shade of an apple tree.

260. Enjoying the basement air conditioning with friends.

261. Ice cream as a summer snack.

262. Being SO Glad (again!!!) that you bought Resolve spray and wash!

holy experience