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Entries in homeschool (2)


A Day in the Shire

 Today, Jasper and I spent the better part of the morning and afternoon reading The Hobbit in a redwood ring in the forest near our home. I suspected that the combination of Tolkien's spell binding descriptive writing and the evocative landscape of the forest would create a perfect literary moment.Thankfully, I was right this time. Certainly, parenting requires much letting go of the concept that your child will love everything you love. More than wanting to create a miniature version of oneself is the desire to have something in common. Goodness knows I am appalled at how much this kid loves math.Only kidding. To be more precise, I stand in awe as someone who does not find numbers fascinating. It has helped me grok how different our minds work and try to respect these differences.

 In the world of reading great fiction,however, I could not help but long to share what was always a peak experience for me in my own childhood. The pairing of a good book and a peaceful place in nature was the recipe for being transported out of my own life and into other worlds. I was a voracious reader and I spent most days at school dreaming of the moment I could go home and read whatever fiction I was currently absorbed in. I usually had a favorite tree whose branches would allow for hours of sitting and reading.

 Which brings me back to today in the forest with a picnic basket of snacks (an utter necessity when reading about Hobbits) and one of my favorite books.Aside from the gorgeous writing and epic dimensions of all Tolkien's work, I love The Hobbit because reading it gives me courage. If a comfort loving hobbit can go on a grand adventure, then I certainly can. I could tell as I read that Jasper was feeling the same way.Six years old seems a good time to realize that simply being scared does not mean you are not brave.What matters is just that you push onward. Actually, 35 years old might be a grand time for a refresher course in bravery!

 So I read until my voice was hoarse and could not go on without tea. After a discussion about whether Jasper may have "a little bit of hobbit" in him due to his own leathery feet,  Jasper suggested that we make models of Hobbit homes using the woodland debris around us.We spent an hour perfecting our little moss and bark homes. In the end, I think it was a most satisfying experience for the both of us. Not that we are at the end. Bilbo has miles and miles to go before we are on to the next book.

Jasper's listening perch

Jasper 's Hobbit Home included a chimney with moss smoke!


Giving Up Gracefully

 Today I had a sleep deprived( blasted raccoons!) inspired ephiphany about how to go about this new self appointed task of home school mother. With strong coffee powering me and not much else, I sprung Jasper and I out of the house, across the meadow and down into the woods where we ostensibly were going to sketch the landscape. As I began, I found myself chatting aloud about perspective and really seeing your subject. However, my own realistic drawing of a fence with a tree behind it begin to look pretty boring after I looked over and saw Jasper's  picture. He wasn't even pretending to draw the landscape. My dutiful rendition of lines and shadows looked terribly joyless compared to his colorful, funny picture of a giant strawberry with a mischievous expression. I closed my book and admired his drawing and realized that I had no interest in what I was sketching and that I was doing it as some sort of orchestrated art lesson.Which is exactly what I am not after by opting out of traditional schooling this year. There will never be another time period like this one for the sheer untainted imaginings of this childs mind. Why clutter it yet with concepts of art that he has yet to ask me to explain? This is a kid who never holds back when he has a question( as anyone who has ever tried to have a conversation with me can attest to- um , mom, um excuse me!!) and so he is the perfect guide for his own learning. It seems to me that my primary role as educational guide is to give him enough challenge and enough freedom to remain curious and in love with learning. Of course, it's much easier to surrender to this concept when I just don't even have the energy to fight it.

Um, excuse me?!