“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss I can Read with my Eyes Shut
AA and JJ haven’t yet caught the reading bug, the one I clearly remember having as a child. I often find myself wondering if there is something else I could do to ignite this flame. Yet I am stumped.
Haven’t all these years of reading aloud to them introduced them to all the wonderful places reading can take them? The first half of this year was dominated by reading the Harry Potter series to JJ, which she loved. We then tried a few African adventure books written by Willard Price, we enjoyed reading My Side of the Mountain and most recently we’ve loved reading Seekers of the Lost Boy. If leading by example is what matters then I must surely be a living example of that person. You will often find me with my nose buried in some book or my kindle, reading anything from trashy books to books on economics, finding myself enthusiastically imparting some titbit I’ve learnt to whoever wants to listen.
AA has developed a distinct literary taste, anything to do with heroes and boarding schools. He loves Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Spud. I’m not sure what the message is here! There have been rare occasions where he has been discovered holed up reading, and he has read some of the Harry Potter books twice over, yet I’m still not convinced that he could be described as a passionate reader.
JJ, at nine, is more interested in her dancing, singing, piano, computer and online games (Sumdog, Minecraft etc.). She says she is too busy to read books. Although I witness her reading all the time, it is not books. The other day she was reading a long article on how to hide a Geocache, writing aimed for adults. Over the years she has started reading a variety of books and given up most of them, from Secret Seven to several attempts of reading Harry Potter. Trips to the library have proved fruitless and expensive - books returned unread and beyond the return date. Her latest book, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, has been ‘on the go’ now for several months!
This week I suggested, very unschooling of me, that she tries to set aside time for reading so we can include the books that she is reading onto this blog. I showed her that all the books currently displayed on the blog are ones that I’ve read, and asked her if she wouldn’t like some of the books there to be ones that she has read. Manipulative I admit. I was playing on the fact that she likes to impress our followers reading the blog – yes you However writing this down I feel the fall from grace unschooling guilt wash over me. Although I didn’t force her I did play on this need of hers to impress. It worked, as I hoped it would. Motivated by our discussion she picked up Percy Jackson and read the remaining half of the book in just over a week, completing it yesterday. She was so proud of her achievement and more importantly loved the book. Perhaps my interference wasn’t so harmful after all. I consol myself knowing that if JJ didn’t want to read she wouldn’t have done so. She chose to read and enjoyed the process, yet I did play apart. It begs the question, as unschooling parents how much influence do we really have on our children’s learning? and how much is initiated by them?
This meant she could now watch the movie (a family rule book first then movie), so we all enjoyed a family event of watching Percy Jackson together last night. This morning I discovered her reading in bed, the next book in the series Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. Could the tide have turned? I daren’t hope. Then AA stated that he prefers reading books to watching the movies and JJ concurred. Perhaps it is all coming together. I may have spawned enthusiastic readers yet, only time will tell.
Whilst reading Percy Jackson JJ pulled out our Greek Mythology books to work out how Percy Jackson would be related to the Greek gods. She ended up drawing her own Greek gods family tree to make sense of the relationships and apparently Percy is Zeus, and Hades, nephew. In addition these are conversations I’ve recorded:
JJ: Who is Echidna, it says here she is the mother of monsters
Me: I don’t know isn’t it an anteater? Let’s look it up
JJ: Let me see the picture its snakewomen!
A little while later
JJ: Who is Erebus
Me: Don’t know why not look it up … there he is. He’s the primeval Greek god of darkness
JJ: reading her book again
JJ: Mom what is obidence pronounced ob .. i (as in it) .. dense?
Me: frowning in thought: Obedience?
JJ: Oh yes got it and she continues reading her book
The second person in a week asked us if JJ was on holiday. I tried to explain that learning happens all the time, it is only school that requires, for logistical purposes, to have set times for education and holidays. Using the recent example of learning happening in our home at the ungodly time of 22:52. When the previous night I had gone to bed leaving JJ and her Dad hard at work. JJ was being taught how to use functions formulas on MS Excel by her Dad; adding, subtracting, greater and less than terms were all being discussed.
I had a lie in one morning, can’t remember when, but my twitter feed doesn’t lie. Whilst I was sleeping JJ wrote her part if the blog and AA knocked off three lessons from his online school list of things to do. This is another example of how unschooling works. Everyone knows what they need to do and they get on and do it without anyone asking them. I believe every child if treated with respect and given the chance to direct their own life choices would get on and do what they had committed to do. It is when children are coerced into doing things that they don’t want to do that relationships between them and their parents become fractious.
Cooking is not where my genius lies, as one of my friends would kindly note. However every now and then I get the urge to cook. I made my first batch of homemade yoghurt using @NotQuiteNigella recipe and it worked. I then made JJ a snack by placing halved baby tomatoes in muffin pan, topped with cheese and cracked an egg over the top, added seasoning to taste – then baked it in oven until the egg was cooked. She loved it.
We scattered my aunt Pam’s ashes today. I was feeling sick and didn’t feel I could take anymore grieving; this month has been very overwhelming for everyone. Afterwards we followed it up by a lunch out at a local garden centre. I do love my family at times like this feel extremely lucky to have them in my life. Whenever I think of Pam, as I often do, I feel this surge of overwhelming love for her and the gift of friendship that she extended to me.
JJ has done some Geocaching preparation this week. One offered a musical clue, so she printed the clue out to take to her music teacher for assistance. We broke the clue but haven’t been to the coordinates yet. On Sunday we went to two coordinates but didn’t find our cache. At one of the places we did discover the first clue, providing us with the coordinates for the final cache. Our plan is to return a second time following the new coordinates which should lead us to the hidden cache.
We had a morning trip with our home schooling friends to the Johannesburg science museum called Scibono. B and I left the children to explore and play freely on the vast array of equipment. Finally we all ended up watching part of the planetarium display on offer.
I spent some time on the website making a new menu tab aimed at visual learners, there are two in our family, to be able to follow the summary of our story easier through our 365DaysLearning weekly word clouds. Please check it out.
Interesting links digested this week:
I loved the 8 New Jobs People will have in 2025 particularly as an Unschooling role is outlined in number two.
Did you ever find school boring? Boredom Poison
An Ordinary Life: Rainbows, cakes and science!
Interesting article on The six functions of secondary school
I so want to try this: Bottle Light Inventor
Me, my dad and my brother played dominos it was really fun … I won … he he girl power. I asked dad how he made the numbers add up on the computer at the end so we could see what the results were. He taught me how to do it on Excel and when we finished dominos I went straight to my computer and started doing Excel stuff that dad had tought me it was so exiting he he.
I went to my ballet lesson then tennis after I realized that next week will be my last tennis lesson.
I read Percy Jackson and I really enjoying it. I read all day the one day and then I read instead of doing my hay bale house. I had only 5 more chapters untill the end of the book so I read all day but I got really tired so I went to bed. I finished it the next day yay then I could watch the movie. We watched the movie that night. I have started to read the next book now.
I went to my modern dance lesson it was awesome we learnt two new dances he he. I was searching up lots of longs on YouTube mostly One Direction. We went to see my dad’s cousin that had just come back from holiday she bought me a present it was so exciting. I went to homeschool ice-skating then I went to brownies and built a fire then I slept over at my friends house and we watched Katy Perry part of me then we watched Taylor Swift journey to fearless it was awesome he he.
I asked mom who Eribes was and she looked it up here is a picture he he http://bit.ly/16D5Mx0.
I did Minecraft it was awesome!!!!!!!!. I continued building my theatre in Minecraft it was sooooo big and I wrote theatre he he. I built more places in my hamlet and even built a glass house. I’ve watched lots of Youtube videos on how to lessons in Minecraft. If I want something I search for it and then watch the video. I can then do it on Minecraft.
We Found a geocache with a musical clue, printed it out to take to my music teacher to help me break it we found it out it was awesome he he. Then we found the geocache itself he he. We went to Scibono it was really fun we played with lots of the electronic displays he he.