Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Of Mates and Museums

Of Mates and Museums

It's Strewsday.

Our strewing this week has been both tangible and intangible.

Mates and museums.

Because I am a social being I tend to assume that my sons are the same.

Because they always had each other, seven boys Unschooling together, there has always been someone around .. to hang out with, talk to, play with, share with, argue with. And extras too.

So that now there is only one Unschooling son home during some days, the others all off at university, well, the extras play an even more important role.

It is nice for Anthony and me to have time together... You know, the youngest sometimes is rushed around in a large homeschooling family. And it's nice for us to have homeschooling adventures.

But I am also very busy with work. And, to be honest, Anthony also needs his time away from me, with friends.

With mates.

This last week has been strewn with mates.. Friends over for gaming and nerf gun sessions. Friends to take to a debate at a brother's university. Friends to hang out with, to go to drama class with, to go to rock climbing with, to have guitar lessons with.

A few special friends enrich our lives and the lives of our children. Thoughts, ideas, conversation, shared books/movies/music/games.

That's both the tangible and intangible strewing.

Alongside a tangible ... A trip to the museum. A spontaneous spur of the moment trip. Because we are museum members and were spending time with an older brother before he left for overseas.

We found the museum had a special exhibition.. Birds of Paradise. A wander around there and through the dinosaur section, a reading of an article on recent paleontology ,made our impromptu strewing, our impromptu museum visit, even more interesting.

Which brings home to me two points about strewing ... Strewing can be people or ideas or ourselves, looking nothing like school; yet learning happens.

And strewing can be spontaneous, surprisingly serendipitious.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


And so Tuesday rolls round again.

Time to think about our strewing this week, and share others, as Faith describes in her strewing blog.

My biggest strewing this week?

Conversation. Talking. Thinking out loud.

Thomas was reading the news. And mentioned the British PM and some of his quotes...including a poverty of culture. And then the discussion started, with four sons and myself. On the value of a liberal arts education, rather then education simply for utilitarian purposes.

After mass on Friday night (okay, a little bit during, too!) we made reference to liturgy and varying approaches to liturgy in the parish churches that we attend.

We later debated perseverance and ability and work ethic.

And discussed words and looked up root words.

We enjoyed banter and word play and quips.

This is strewing our conversation. Thinking out loud. Discussing. Sharing ideas and forming opinions and looking up information to round out the discussion or debate.

When they were little, we would play word games and I Spy and similar they are older we enjoy quips and quotes.

When they were little, sometimes this discussion centered on books...on why Edmund was jealous and mean in The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe.

Now they are older, is still centres on books...F Scott Fitzgerald...was life really
like that for the bright young things?

When they were little, I would think out loud. Do my Maths calculations so they could see and hear how Maths works in real life, how we did addition or rounding up or estimating.

Now they are older, I still think aloud..plans for the budget, for work, for life.

When they were little, I would model social interactions and conversation mores...well, now I still do the same!

Or I would apologize after a cross or grumpy word, hoping to be a better role model Next time, hoping to show how important it is to control temper and to say sorry if we forget to do so. Or to try not to swear. And now they are older, I still model these sorts of interactions.

So I strew my conversation. A planned conversation, about a saint or a virtue. A go with the flow conversation, about books and life and history and movies and music, meandering style. A practical conversation, adding up out loud, working on time or money management .

Conversation is a less concrete sort of strewing than, say, leaving a book around or getting out the box of Legos.

Less concrete yet no less important.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thank You

The other day I was riding in the car with my sons, 17 and 21. We have homeschooled for 15 years, easing into unschooling about 7 years ago.

We were talking about what we were up to lately, how we were managing our time and how to generally get done what we need to and also have time for life.

I shared with them about how I had to really make a decision all those years ago, to let go of curriculum and what the homeschool world was telling me to do and follow my heart, let them follow their interests and enjoy their childhood.

One son immediately, as if not even thinking or guarding his words, said "Thank you!" It was so spontanious, I knew it was from his heart. I started back and he said, "No mom, if you had not let me have that time I would not know what I loved to do and now I do. Thank you."

That made me smile and this is meant to encourage others who may be there.. not sure how much to let go and whether to trust their children. Trust- pay attention to their responses.. but TRUST.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

An Unschooling Mother's Prayer

An expanded Marian version of "Let go and let God."

Mary, take over and resolve what I am not able to resolve. Take care of those things that are beyond my reach. You have the power to do so. Who can ever say that he was disappointed in you after having called you?

Mother, take over at this moment when I see nothing, when there does not seem to be any light in the tunnel, this moment of doubt, fear, this hour of making the right decision when everythinseems to be going against me. Amen+

(Thanks to Suzie , from our Unschooling Catholics email list.)