Looking back on the last two weeks, I don’t feel like much formal schooling was done, yet I remind myself that at one point I had considered unschooling and really we’re doing lots of other things outside of the book work – in the few hours we have together around my full-time job.
What stands out to me about Paul lately is his imagination. He has always played imaginatively with toys, especially cars. You wouldn’t think cars could elicit that much imagination but he often makes them into little families. Recently we were outside playing and he looked up and said he could see a turtle in the clouds – and an elephant – and a train! I asked him if Charlene, the sitter, makes up stories about cloud shapes with them but he said no, so it must all be imagination. So we watched the clouds for a bit and picked out the shapes we saw. A little while later in the car, he said the same thing, and another day he did as well. Cloud shapes means imagination to me.
Paul has also been very interested in dreams lately. I’m thinking he must be having them and then remembering some of them because he has been really interested in the concept. One night he came out after he had been put to bed (like he does every night…grrrr) and asked about dreams and nightmares and I felt it was something I could not brush off so we talked about it a little. Since then he has told me about his dreams every day, I’m not always sure his stories are real dreams, but I try to listen and validate them.
Speaking of families, Paul has been talking a lot about his father lately, which is ok and I encourage it. Interestingly, when we “painted a friendship” for a school activity, he made a red, brown, and black thing which reminded us of a bug we had been looking at that morning. When I asked how the picture was of a friendship he said that he and Daddy had played with the bug. Not so weird except the kids have not seen their father in over a year.
An unschooling activity we have done lately is grow caterpillars for a butterfly house. The live caterpillars arrived last Friday and on Wednesday they metamorphosed. Unfortunately one did fall down but it should be fine when it emerges. The morning that they began to change, all 5 caterpillars hung upside down from the ceiling of the cup and about an hour later they were different. Honestly, if I had realized it would go so fast, I would have sat and watched it happening! Tomorrow they will be hard enough to take out of the cup and hang up inside the butterfly house. It will take 7-10 days for them to emerge from the chrysalises. Insect Lore is the company that sells the kits and they supply painted lady butterflies which are resident across most of the country, in case you were wondering.
When I told my coworkers that we were growing butterflies at home (on the kitchen table) they thought it was gross – that the caterpillars themselves are gross. Do you think I’m weird? I feel like I’m getting a complex at this place. I just don’t fit in.
In addition to caterpillars, we also got a kitten. My mom was slowly trying to spay or neuter her neighbors cats, but when she took the female, the vet told her she was a little bit too late…so she ended up with a litter of kittens in her barn. We decided to take one of the females and she has been with us a week. Elizabeth is really the one who is taking care of her so far. I have hardly had to stress about it at all because we are able to keep the new kitten and the cat we already had, Percy, separated while we are gone and during the night because there is a door that conveniently separates the upstairs living area with the finished basement that houses the kids’ rooms. Elizabeth has taken on the responsibility of sleeping with the energetic kitten while I sleep peacefully all night. It’s been great! It’s also been fun to have a lively kitten around.
As far as the actual curriculum goes, we are slowly making our way through. We just finished up Unit 2 and will begin Unit 3 this weekend probably. I am pleased that Paul recognized the letter H on my shirt today, which was the letter for Unit 2 and he has been able to tell me what sound h makes, though he seems resistant when we are sitting down doing work together. Just like Elizabeth, he loves play acting. He is also very good with numbers and jumps at any chance to do math.
What fun, imaginative, science-y things have you been doing this summer? (And do you think I’m weird because I am growing butterflies on my kitchen table?) Share your thoughts below!