Friday, February 29, 2008

An Unschooling Moment inTime

When people find out we are unschoolers, they often wonder exactly what it is we do all day. That's a hard question to answer, as every day is different. Some days we have more structured experiences (like attending a class or field trip), but much of the time we are just living in the moment and flowing from one discussion or activity to the next. Here is a moment in our lives from yesterday afternoon:

When: 2:10 p.m. on a frigid (-10 degrees Celsius!) but sunny Thursday in February 2008
Where: Living Room of McLaughlin Manor
Who: Karen, Noah (10) and Nathan (8)
What: Iggy Arbuckle is playing on the TV, the Juno soundtrack is blaring, Nathan is on the couch playing his DS (still in his pajamas, as is Noah). I'm helping Noah play with the Geosafari Laptop our neighbour gave us this past weekend and reading snippets from half a dozen different books I hauled home from the library earlier today. We're all working intermittently but with great zeal on a poster size Pokemon puzzle.
How: Loud (very loud!) and silly
Now, maybe nothing about that moment seems especially noteworthy to the casual observer. But I can tell you, there was definitely a lot of learning going on at several different levels. It just so happens that what it looks like from the outside is a family having a joyful, carefree time together. Half an hour earlier or later, and the scene would have shifted to something else. But the undercurrent of living and learning in joy and freedom while enjoying each other's company is what runs through ALL of our days together.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Cure For the February Blahs

February is usually one of those months that seems like it's never going to end (despite the fact that it's always the shortest month, even when -like this year- it's a leap year). This has been a particularly challenging year, though, due to the persistent sub-zero Celsius temperatures and the regular delivery of more snow. Needless to say, we've had a bit of cabin fever lately!

That's why yesterday was such a glorious gift. No, it wasn't suddenly beach weather, but it was definitely bright and sunny. Joe cooked up a batch of waffles, and we sat in our cheery, sun-filled dining room and enjoyed the waffles with homemade syrup and hot coffee. We then headed down to Princess Point for a family ice skate. I'm embarrassed to say that we've lived in Hamilton for over 15 yrs (and in our current neighbourhood, within walking distance of Princess Point, for over 10) and this is the first time we've skated there in the winter. Now I'm wondering what took us so long to get around to it! Unfortunately, I was suffering from "camnesia" (forgot the camera AGAIN!) but we had a fantastic time.

It's interesting to see what a different perspective you get of the area when you're skating around on what is usually marsh. The views are quite different than when you're on shore. There were several games of shinny going on, and Joe joined in on one for a while. The boys and I skated out towards the Carp Barrier. It was fun to take a look at it from the other side. While we were way out in the middle of the marsh, I noticed what at first appeared to be a very large dog walking along the adjacent Waterfront Trail. As I turned to get a closer look, I realized it was a horse pulling a small sleigh along! That's definitely something you don't see around here every day. There were many other families out there enjoying the beautiful late-winter weather, too. In Canada, we know that if you can't beat the weather, you might as well join it!

After we were all skated out, we came home for leftover pizza (and more coffee for the grownups). We had a nice family laze-around for the rest of the afternoon, then after a leisurely dinner, Joe headed out for his usual Sunday night hockey game, and I watched the Oscars while the boys amused themselves with Legos and DS's (Nathan joined me for the final 45 min or so of Oscar excitement).

All in all, it was one of those days you wish could go on forever.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Circus School!

Yesterday I took the boys to Zacada Circus School for the afternoon. This was a group outing with a bunch of other local homeschoolers. I had no idea this place existed before the trip was posted to our local homeschooling list. We were so excited to go check it out!

The boys had a blast! They got to walk a tightrope, swing on a trapeze, jump on a big trampoline, and do some cool stuff with these large fabric "ribbons" they had hanging from the ceiling. I really wanted to try it out myself (they do have adult and family classes, so we may be back!)

Unfortunately, my camera batteries died so no pics :( I think I would have had trouble getting good shots of my guys in that setting anyway, but it's a bit of a bummer that I wasn't able to at least give it a shot. If we go back I will definitely check the camera batteries well in advance!