Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It is that there is no such thing as Radical Unschooling or Unschooling. I felt that RU was category of parenting/educating and every interaction I had fell into RU or Mainstream, right or wrong.

There have been situations in the last few months were I didn't know how to react to my children. I have had the distinct feeling that there was a way I should react in those situations, but I didn't know what it was. I didn't want to do the "wrong" thing so I did nothing.

Finally, I began to understand what the other mindful parents online were trying to tell me. RU is not about dealing with every situation correctly. It's not gonna happen. I have learned from my mistakes in every other part of my life and adjusted my behavior accordingly. Since, I became a parent I have encountered many situations in which I learned what not to do.

It is the same with changing the way I interact with my children because I want to be a mindful parent. I will screw up and I will revert back to my habitual reactions, but I can choose to learn from it. I can formulate a better reaction for next time. That's something new for me, too. I used to make a lot of excuses for bad reactions. I feel that I was reinforced by the messages around me. I seems like parenting articles are all about cutting yourself slack and understanding that many parents are making the same mistakes. It's almost as if the message is "you don't have to feel bad about screwing up because everyone does and no is perfect". There's a difference between understanding that mistakes are unavoidable and taking responsibility to change and just making excuses for yourself.

I can see why some parents might be a little nervous when new unschoolers like me start throwing the term around like a badge, like we belong to some exclusive club. It's not a sorority, it's a state of being. It's a mind set that allows you to see your children as people. It allows you to care about your children's feelings, desires, wants, and needs without that huge "I'm the parent" ego trip.

It doesn't give you all the right answers. An unschooling parent is just like any other parent, learning as you go. The difference is that the children in an unschooling family are co-pilots in the direction their lives take, instead of along for the bumpy ride.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We finally got outta the house

We're all still coughing our heads off, but we were well enough to visit the park for a little while today. Finally, some fresh air and fun. The kids spent the weekend with Nanny and PawPaw and they didn't want to come home. They played the Xbox all weekend. Aria and Casey are working together to beat that game. It's nice to see them play together.

Aria was pretending with a dolly this morning. She was very sweet. I like to see her using her imagination like that. I can't wait to go to the park this Friday and introduce her to all the little girls her age.

Casey got PawPaw playing video games while they were there this weekend. They are playing along and Casey says, "Well, Casey, you dumbass." In a non-chalant kind of way. PawPaw looks at him. "Casey, what did you say?" He asks, incredulous. "It's okay, PawPaw, I called myself a dumbass." He says very reasonably. What a goof.

Connor has been all about the shapes and alphabet games on the Fisher Price website. He cracks me up when he tries to deal me he want the shape game because he makes the sound effects in the game instead of calling it by its name. It comes out a little like "P ch ch, P ch ch, shhhhhhhhh". Almost, like a train. He's so cute. Unlesss, he's throwing sodas on the kitchen floor, then I have to look a little harder to see my cute boy. Oh, well, that's part of being a mommy and well worth it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Lasers Go This Way

Casey was explaining to me what it's like without his glasses. "I can't see a thing." He says. I ask, "Is everything blurry?" "No," he replies, "I look this way." He's gesturing toward the left. "And my lasers go this way," gesturing to the right. I smile, choking back a giggle. "So, your lasers are just all outta whack, huh?" I say. "Yep."

We've been playing Xbox all day again because this ridiculous flu/cough/cold/bubonic plague stuff won't go away. Ronnie and I get tired of playing Fable and Casey says he wants to try. "Or, if you want to make me happy, you can play my game with me. He persuades. "I'm not saying you have to play with me, but if you want to make me happy..." Well, of course, a mom wants to make a boy happy. We beat the whole next level. We're an awesome team!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is this made from bears?

So, we had another quiet day at home. We're still recovering from this crud by playing the xbox and eating junk food. We did take a short drive to Nanny and Paw Paw's house to get out and to pick up a few groceries.

Casey calls me to the bathroom (where he'd been talking to him self while on the toliet for several minutes). I go in and he's got newspapers spread out at his feet and I pick them up. He says there's this cartoon on one of the pages and he wants me to read it to him. I was required to read it three times. Which I did happily because he wants to follow my finger under each and every word. The punch line was lost on him, but it was very comforting to me.

In the car, Casey is interested in his coat and the purpose of the bear on the front of it. He's thinking out loud when he says, "oh, it's got a bear on it 'cause the coat is made outta bear wool". OMG, how funny is bear wool. Then I read him all the words on the tag. He thought Peek-a-babe was a cute brand name.

Aria is feeling much better and she is contently back in her chair chatting away. Connor got up on the wrong side of the bread this morning, but we're hanging in there. Tomorrow I am hoping that things will be more normal and we can do some crafting or something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We're sick

We haven't been this sick in a long time. Everyone in the house has taken a turn coughing, running a fever, vomiting, and blowing their nose, except, for Ronnie. I was worried for the baby. His fever was really high, but he's much better today. He's so much better, in fact, he's throwing things at us, stepping on our lunch, and just causing general disruption.

I can't wait to get back to normal. We're planning on meeting with some of our group next Friday. Hopefully the weather will be nice for us. We also have plans to take a tour of the inner workings of the movie theater. I am hoping that we will have many more of these types of outings.

My current goals for me and children are just try new things. I want to craft, experiment, and see new things.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Park Day

We went to park day yesterday in Grapevine. Ronnie took the day off to take care of me 'cause I was not feeling well at all. I dragged myself to the park and I was happy that Ronnie got to go, too. He seems to talk so easily with people. If I hadn't felt like such crap I think I would have been more social, but there's alway next time.

The kids had a great time. Aria was bummed 'cause Rhianna wasn't there at first, but she arrived late and then Aria was happy as a junebug. Casey was having a great time 'cause the park was 'so cool'. And Connor is always happy to go the park.

The kids were all really great. There were a lot of kids there and yet there weren't a lot of issues. They all seemed very aware and considerate of each other. There was one poor boy who was getting chased down by a 6-year-old girl. She wanted to kiss him. He tried everything to shake her off, but she was tenacious.

The parents were very quiet, no one had to say 'no! stop! don't!' every five minutes. I really thought it was great that the children could play how they wanted to play and not how their parents thought they should play. In the past, we may have told the children they couldn't play by that creek. It was too dirty, we didn't want them to get wet, or whatever the objection was at the time.

I wish we would have brought the camera. Oh, well, next time. Tuesday we are going skating with a bunch of kiddos Aria's age. That should be really fun!

On another note. My husband has been so wonderful. He's taken care of so much while I've been sick. He got us to the park yesterday. He got me my medicine, took care of the kids and tucked them in last night. He did the dishes. He put off something he was going to do for work until this morning. So he's got to be at work on Saturday. What a guy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Science at home

I had a great, personal talk with Aria today. We felt really connected afterward. She joined us when we played with playdough and was thoughtful of me. It was a breath of fresh air. I just have to continue to be calm and reasonable with these children and they will be calm and reasonable in return.

Casey was very sick yesterday. The poor boy bemoaned his miserable state saying, "Mom, I feel really terrible." From a five-year-old, that is so heart-wrenching. He's much better today and we played at a science experiment. First, we added various amounts of sugar to water in four glasses. Then we added food coloring. We tried to layer the water, but it didn't work out so well. Then we layered different substances in the house. Honey, dish soap, colored water, vegetable oil, and rubbing alcohol. That turned out pretty well and we got pictures of that.

After we cleaned the glasses Casey asked if we could fill them and play music by tapping the glasses with spoons. They had a blast from beginning to end with these things.

So, we learned some measurements, some substances are more dense then others, red and yellow make orange, different levels of water in a glasses cause different pitches, honey sticks, rubbing alcohol smells bad, and a million other things I couldn't label.

Meanwhile, Aria is facinated with tornado videos on YouTube. She learned that tornados are caused, at least in part, by the mixing of cool air and warm air. (Thank you Sharkboy and Lavagirl for that lesson.) Ronnie and I both love storms. I told him we'd have to go storm chasing with her sometime.

Oh, and Casey explained to me how I can be the boss of my TV. All I have to do it go to menu or settings, scroll down to On Screen Options, and set my password. I thought, does our TV do that and how does he know? Then I realized he was repeating almost verbatim a commercial for TIVO or something. I had to giggle. He's going to be one of those guys on QVC. I, also, think it is so sweet that he tells about things he thinks I could use. He doesn't repeat everything, but he tells about shammies that soak up big messes, bags that keep your veggies fresh, and how to be the boss of my TV. What a sweetie.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A little down, but holdin' steady

The last couple of days has been a little tough. I'm trying to retain my positive attitude so I am only going to write positive things.

Casey made me laugh yesterday when he was excited about finding a computer game he wanted to play. I put in the CD and the game started up. His face is just beaming with excitement and he clasps his hands together. "I'm prepared to be ready!" He exclaims. "That's just something I say when I'm ready." He clarifies. He cracks me up.

Ronnie took the kids to the park this past weekend and then they went to Nanny and PawPaw's. They waited around for awhile because Nanny was supposed to go buy and new puppy. They went and picked up Ladd, their new border collie. He's black and white and oh so cute. Aria spent the night and Ladd followed her everywhere and slept at her feet all night. She didn't want to leave.

Aria is growing up in leaps and bounds. We are butting heads a bit but only because I haven't earned her trust yet and we don't know how to connect on a deeper level. We'll get there though. I just have to remember to be on her side.

Connor is still, Connor. He loves to play and he is a riot and a half. He wore his Superman costume all day yesterday. He got some cute looks in the Sam's. He even told me to call him Superman, not Connor.

We all spent a good amount of time outside the past few days because it has been unbelievably beautiful weather. I love it like this and it makes me second guess my decision to move back to MN. Especially, now that I am meeting new people and finding new things to do. I don't think I will be able to do this in MN. We'll see how it goes though. We may not ever have enough money to move or maybe we'll make so much that we can fly up there more often. The future is unwritten and we can influence the path it takes.

I took a great walk Saturday. I thought about all kinds of stuff and it felt great to exercise a bit. I want to become a cleaner person. More pure of body and more pure of heart. It's a difficult task for me because I am a habitual self-soother. I'm like a thumbsucker. I want things to stay comfortable and when they are not I eat or cry or get angry or veg out on the computer. I do anything that will gloss over the discomfort I'm feeling. Anyway, fruits, veggies and grains usually don't soothe me half as well as a big slice of chocolate cake.

I'm finding my motivation though. I feel myself beginning to love myself and, therefore, I can make difficult choices for the right reasons. Like eat well because it's healthy and not because it will cause me to lose weight and be 'attractive' to some faceless population who could really care less about me.

Ronnie and I were a little distant this weekend (my fault), but he's doing what he can to make some little changes that will help in the long run. He's still making my coffee every morning and taking out the trash. He's taking the children places and spending more time with them. He's keeping his game playing to a minimum. He's trying to find extra work. He's still getting up everyday and going to a job he hates. He's looking into programming school. He's trying to keep his mind open to new ideas and life changing experiences. He's a great man.

Positive energy out, positive energy in.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Still need improvement

Someone in my house really needs to grow up. Namely, me. I find that I am easily annoyed by being ignored, but I ask for it. I ask my family for their attention when they are in the middle of things and then I am offended when they don't converse with me. So, I vow to do better.

Casey amazed me today with his math skills. He was looking at the front of a workbook. It had pictures of groups of coins. He then proceeds to tell me that 2 and 3 and 6 is 11. Which was impressive enough to me considering we haven't done much in the way of math 'instruction' in the past. Then he describes to me the many ways those can be added. 2 and 2 plus 1 is 5. 3 and 3 is 6. "I can even do it by twos." He says.
I ask, "What's 2 plus 2?"
"Four," he answers.
"And 2 more?" He hesitates and counts it in his head and then answers correctly. We went all the way up to 16. He had to count out some (always in his head) and some he knew right away. Awesome! Both the boys know all their letters and most of the sounds they make. They will learn and there was no forcing. The love of learning will remain intact. Yeah!