Thursday, June 10, 2010

june nine

Blueberry Muffins were the first order of our day, today.

A delicious beginning, to be sure.

Trev began his day with dinosaur research.
We picked up a four cd game the other day at the library.  He's pretty happy.
He'll be nine soon.  Guess that means he's been studying rather seriously (and intensely!) for seven years now.

Madd played computer games.

And she's played in the pool - and we tested out our new stopwatch that the parcel guy had tossed onto our porch.

(We're expecting the last package from our order today - so if you haven't entered into the drawing for the $50 give-away, you'd better hurry!)

Mama got to putter around outside with her roses while computer play was going on...

I can't even begin to tell you of the loveliness.  A thousand - then thousand!- shades of peaches and pinks.
Impossible, and yet not impossible, as I said here.
Spending a while in the afternoon sighing and absorbing is a pretty fine thing to do, I think.

The children puttered the day away, too.

Trev first helped and then took over an email that we were sending to an online friend regarding the Jurassic Park: Operations Genesis game. He was asked for some pointers, so spent half an hour trying to help.

Maddie and I spent time with JumpStart, and she completed the first level of first grade.
For those wondering - she's four, and would be entering kindergarten next year if we cottoned with such ideas.  I wasn't sure she'd be able to do much with JS World 1st Grade, as she doesn't read, and doesn't know all of her letters -or even numbers, as far as I know.
But actually she does really well with the game.  It is a lot of identifying letters - "match the letters" sort of thing, and while she can't always name it, she can recognize if it's turned the same way, which is what the game is requiring right now.  She is really good with arrangements and patterns, and so she is able to play and navigate well.
I absolutely love the JS World series - we have Preschool World through 2nd Grade - which to my ever-lasting disappointment is as high as they go.  (I'll bet your library carries the cd's if you're interested.)

There was play with babies, her Annabelle, and with the dinosaurs.

I walked through the den in the afternoon, and Trev was doing research.  Wikipedia research.  (His favorite.)
On The Lion King.
This is an interesting thing for a mama. As you know if you've been here much, our ways are pretty organic.  We read and speak, and words like "conjunctive" and "clauses" don't come into our ordinary conversations... so they are not brought up.  When the time comes that they are asked about, that will be when our language is dissected.
But for now, it's enjoyed in its whole, natural, and uninterrupted form. (Though we do play MadLibs, sometimes, so the children are somewhat aware of dissection.)
So... reading.
We don't have required reading, though we're often reading through something that I think of as a children's "classic" (I read them out loud to my babes).  Old Mother West Wind, George's Secret Key to the Universe, Harry Potter, Stuart get the idea.  Our last was Peter Pan, and our next will probably be either Call of the Wild, The Princess Bride, or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.
But Trev doesn't read these.
With the exceptions of some cool dinosaur stories I got for him when he was very little (not babyish stories), and of what he reads to Maddie, he doesn't read novels.
He reads encyclopedias.
He reads movie credits-- just about always, as long as he can see the words.
He loves the "behind the scenes" in dvd's.
He reads in his games.
And he reads very enthusiastically at Wikipedia.  All of it.  Without pictures.  (Have you read something like this on Wikipedia?  The paragraphs are like twenty-five lines long!  Dry as toast, to me!)
I tell you this not to bore or torment you  : )  but to say that a Mama could get a little edgy about this.
A Mama could ask herself if this sort of reading counts.
And I want to say that I don't believe it matters what it is.
It could be comic books.
It could be civil war heroes.
It could be the complete history of every creature Godzilla ever encountered.
I think it's easy for Mamas to get freaky and worry, but I think we should reconsider the value we place on things. 
I believe that things have value just because someone believes it's valuable.  Ordinary Life Magic comes to mind.  I greatly value my life.  Therefore it is valuable.
If one can't be excited about the content a child is currently fascinated with - we should at least be very excited about the fact that the child is eager to learn and absorb every bit of information she can get her hands on! We should be thrilled with the passion.  The thirst.  The seeking.
So that's where I am with the fact that my son doesn't (currently, anyway) read The Hardy Boys or anime' books.  : )  I'm okay with it.

So the day passed with lots of reading (Me), lots of research (Trev), and lots of lessons (Maddie).

Last night - early evening - Trev came into the livingroom, where I was. Er - reading.  :)
"So... how was your day today, Mom?  I didn't see you much."
"I know!  You were doing your dino research..."
"Yeah.  And my wiki research.  I had a lot to do, today."
"Mmmmm.  I missed you."
"I missed you too-- hardly saw you!"
"Yeah.  Tomorrow?"
"Yeah.  Tomorrow.  Definitely."
Then he went on to spend the next half hour or so telling me all about the things he had learned that afternoon....

Life is Fine.
And good.
And sweet.
And continues on....


  1. Isn't it interesting how they are a part of us yet so different from us at the same time? Reading the encyclopedia and dictionary does count, and if it makes you feel better, my husband does it too. :) He just may be a word authority someday, just like my guy. :)

  2. I used to feel weird when 1:00 would roll around and I would realize I hadn't spent so much time with my kids that day! But, it is always when they are thoroughly engaged in something!
    It is so cool to be able to watch them do their thang!

  3. Our library doesn't carry any computer games, such a bummer. We have the monthly jumpstart membership but it's not the same. Off to amazon...

  4. Sounds like a fine summer day to me.

  5. I think it's wonderful that he's reading Wikipedia. I think as long as he is interested, he is learning something. Even if what he learns is that he doesn't think something is accurate, he is learning something.

    Also, while I completely AGREE that as long as something is valuable to someone it is valuable, I also believe that we don't necessarily have to value all of the same things. I feel like your values are similar to mine, but then there are people who would think that more value should be placed piece of literature than another...I think some of it is interpretive, subjective :)

  6. Yes, life is good! I love that picture of the muffins by the window. :)

  7. Theresa - Absolutely.
    My sister and I had a discussion a couple of years ago (she homeschools), she had been reading this book that was making the point that we're all illiterate until we understand how to tear the Classics apart, via get to an understanding though this book (that she was reading).
    First of all, it seemed incredible to me that someone would presume to know exactly what the author (all authors!)was feeling and thinking while writing (unless the author had stated such), and secondly, I thought it was very strange that someone would presume to know what another's Truth was.
    If someone reads something that greatly affects their life and causes deeper understanding, how can someone even consider that that person's interpretation was wrong?

    I think that probably has to do with my own personal philosophies - spiritual included, but it seems outrageous to me to judge something as right/wrong regarding what someone's personal understanding should be.

    Wayne Dyer said a college wanted to use one of his books in a test, and wrote him for his permission.
    He gave it, but asked them to send him a copy of the test, with the answers, just because he was curious.
    There were three questions (I'm pretty sure it was three) about his book, and he got one of them wrong.
    The "answer" said that he had not correctly "interpreted the author's intent". :)

    It's not as if I don't value some things above others-- absolutely I do.
    But I also try to keep an open mind where learning and discovery are concerned.

  8. As you may know, I've got a "just the facts please" reader here too.

    Owen chooses almost non-fiction exclusively from the library and can be often found with manuals, how- to books and the odd reference book we have lying around. When he began reading the dictionary I got a little worried, thinking he would never have the joy of getting lost in a good story but he's a happy boy, growing his brain and very interested in his own process of info. gathering.

    I have to say it does my heart good to know that Trev is on a similar path - I'll stop worrying now! :0)

    P.S. Your roses are sublime.

  9. My son reads the same way. He doesn't like wii, but his little brother does, so he stands there and reads all of the 'talk' button things for him, and runs to google to look up where the star on world 3 freeze planet is, reads the whole thing, and then runs back to his brother to tell him how to do it. He reads entire manual for Mindstorms, he reads catalogs of LEGO, he reads Pokemon/Bionicle/INsect/Dinosaur/Spy books and instructions all the time. He is an awesome reader and he has never been 'taught' and doesn't read classics. He does love hearing those being read when he goes to sleep, or on CD. :) So long long long rambling short, they learn because they read what is interesting, they love to read because they can read what is interesting, and different things become interesting as they get older. Can't beat that! :)

    Sounds like a wonderful day.

  10. Isn't that funny?
    I'm reading (from Tara and Denise) that these three boys are "information" readers.
    They aren't reading to be entertained, they are reading with the intent of finding out information.... to learn something.
    To specifically learn something. Intentionally.
    :) Pretty cool. I hadn't seen it in quite that light.

  11. Great post. My Maddy doesn't read a lot of novels. She reads a lot more info on the computer or nonfiction stuff. She loves encyclopedia type books on certain subjects. Its' all good.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!