Saturday, August 28, 2010

the nittiest grittiest

I have it in my head that it's best to get up at six a.m. or so, and to have the house clean by 9:30.
I think that maybe it happened once and that I really liked it.
' Course... that doesn't leave room for the morning's meditation sans children.
And since "Aaaah"ing and "Om"ing is difficult to do among screeching and chasing and "I'm hungry"'s and the slamming of the back door... well. 
And it doesn't leave room for an early morning healthy, quiet, get-me-going-in-the-right-direction walk with my ipod and gurus.
Never mind actually checking out what is happening beyond the borders of this small plot of land I call Home.
You get the idea.  Some things just get wistfully sighed over, and then tossed overboard.

This morning I had an idea that I was going to resume the post that I had begun for this month's unschooling carnival over at Enjoy Life Unschooling.
And I really did try.
I was even willing to give it my best 'go' between the quiet hours of one thirty a.m. and about four this morning before I sighed and gave it up.  (I often wake up and wander around in my head in the middle of the night.  I don't mind that.  I'm big on wandering around in my head when it's quiet.)
The words weren't coming out right.
Too scattered, you know.  The concept too big.
This Unschooling Plus! business is complicated, after all.

The truth of it is that My Whole Wide Unschooled, Irreverent, Sometimes Frantic, Non-Conforming, Sometimes-Super-Organized But Mostly Insanely Messy, Unrepentant and Joyful Life is quite complicated.

Yesterday when I began that messy and long-winded post I mentioned, Maddie was singing  "Seven Natural Wonders.... of the world!...." which comes directly from Multiplication Vacation.  We had been listening to it (along with Here Comes Science by TMBG) while we were out shopping and erranding.
She was wearing the sweetest apron while singing - an art smock that I made her a couple of winters ago.  It has a calico kitty, a goose, and a birdie sewn upon the chest.
She also happened to be sporting long brown, pink, and red streaks of smelly marker down her nose area.
They're still there today, by the way.

And that, Friends, is my point.
This life of mine
-and Ours! though I am the current narrator and can only do the Telling from my own eyes and perspective-
 is romantic and disastrous,
serene and chaotic,
messy and sublime.

Yesterday was a "shopping for new Juice" day.
Oh, the Possibilities!
But, no.
With a Certain Age one finally can lay claim to A Certain Wisdom, so let's meditate in the still upon leaving the ego (and the Joneses, though I never pay them any mind, really) out of it, and instead contemplate and ponder the flow of abundance and trust and beauty, shall we?  We'll leave the Good Consumer title there for someone else to pick up on their way past the cash register.  And we'll just order up the superduper cool stuff.

So I ordered Family Math.
'cause we'd much rather be playing thinking games than practicing math drills.

And I've been eying some shinies at Steve Spangler Science, so ordered up those.

' Picked up some gorgeous papers, because Maddie and I love creating lots of different things with paper.

Ordered a couple of new dinosaurs to go with the new habitat that Trev is building in the backyard - a river area, this one.
Not because nearly a hundred prehistoric creatures isn't enough... just because they bring with them (those dinosaurs) so much Imagine, and Joy.  And I'm big on Imagine and Joy.

Checked in with the children a couple of days ago.
"Missing something?  Want a schedule?  Want to know what's going to happen when?"
You know-- just to make sure they're not out there feeling like they're flailing and lost.
"What??" said they.
"Want a plan?  We'll do this at this o'clock every day?  Now it's time for this.... here's the list?"
"No."  Unequivocally.
No - they didn't want that.
They are perfectly content with the current rhythm of our days, and don't need to calibrate with clocks and day planners.
Well.  Maybe they were born to the right Mama, then.

Now that's not to say that we don't enjoy an inspiring list, as you may recall.
We're very fond of passing our earliest morning hours by our individual selves (I think of it as waking up and into our selves), and then coming together to share news and ideas of how we'd like our day to go.
We come up with lots of things to do together - baking, games, walks, bike rides, fieldtrips, romps, visits, art projects... whatever sounds like a good idea for the day.

But in all of this choosing and projecting and hemming and venturing,
there is always room for the Whatever.

There's room for the mess,
and there's room for the frantic tidying up.  (Er... that would mostly be Me.)

We make room for the practical,
and we eagerly attempt to chase down the icecream truck.

We're quite alright with A Plan,
and then we're happy to ditch it if it just isn't jiving with us.

' Might leave grocery store bags (non-perishables) on the kitchen floor for a couple of days because we can't tear ourselves away from the new library books or the new glitter glues.

All things considered, I s'pose others might look at our life and say that we're chaotic or lazy.
But I'll tell you... it sure doesn't feel lazy.
It feels Happy.
It feels Engaged.
It feels Thriving.
And it feels free
and friendly
and open
and abundant
and peaceful
and safe
and loving
and joyful
and big.
Yeah - it feels Big.

And I s'pose that's what Unschooling means mostly to me.
I'm not overly attached to the word, but I don't know of a better one that describes the why and the how of our Life.
'Cept maybe Heretic. [Grin.]  That seems to suit us pretty well.

But this isn't a post about rebelliousness,
or nonconformity,
or obscene gestures flipped to the Status Quo.

It's just a slow, smiling meander through our life... our collective days.

In a conversation with my sister the other day, I irreverently excused my (slight) tardiness with a quip of "That's what you get when you hang out with Unschoolers!  They think they can make up their own rules!"
We had been discussing the How of home education.
And then I stopped, and thought about what I had said.
"Of course," I continued, "Everyone is free to make up their own rules... it's just that some folks know that."

And there you have it.
As Maddie paints and sings to herself, "...Mercury!.....Venus...." (from They Might Be Giants), I can only smile, and think that this life of mine
-this big, big life-
has room enough and Love enough
to embrace and enfold whatever it is we need
in order to to continue to grow
and Become.

There is always Enough,
since this life is ever expansive,
there is always room for more.


  1. Ah.

    I feel all warm and cozy after reading this post. And a little bit giddy. And, tingly.

    I wish my Benjamin could relax. He needs a plan. He prefers a To Do list. upon waking he needs to know exactly what we have on the agenda. I'm not sure where I went wrong? :(

    Maybe it was my cancer and all of the appointments and surgeries and other yucky stuff.

    Maybe he's just uber-organized like his mama and although he is just small and mostly still illiterate, he needs that *verbal* To Do list to be expressed each day.

    For people who do pretty much nuthin' 'cept hang out at home or at Maw Maw's house...he still needs to know the schedule.

    I hope one day he can wake and simply ease into his day-with nary a care in the world. Ha-maybe I should put that on his schedule. :)

  2. This is yet another inspiring post., you spoil us! I love TMBG, always have, like since 1985. Yes, I'm old.

    We just got this for a few science thrills:

    Thought I'd share since you're always so nice about sharing with me.

    Family Math looks great, checking that out soon!

    I have one who needs a schedule, and one who doesn't. We do what we can to make everyone feel happy. We try anyway :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

  3. I love to read your blog and see all the joy you've created in your home. I also love that I don't feel you screaming "everyone needs to be like me" thru your words. Hugs. :)

  4. Feedback coming soon to everyone...
    got family here so can't wax as I wanna.

    Respond soon!!

  5. Oh Stephanie. If only you were my closer-than-many-miles-away neighbor. You'd help me keep my priorities right. As it is, I just keep reading your blog and nodding my head in agreement nearly every day. :)

  6. Jess -
    Certainly I don't think there's anything wrong with that!
    I like a plan, too - even if it's just in my head.
    The problem I have is that I get really attached to that plan, and grumpy if things go awry!
    So I've learned to keep my lists super flexible and flowy. :)

    Penny - I'm 42. So there.
    And wow! I've never seen or heard of that... very cool! I would love to check out that spectroscope kit!

    Malina -
    (Funny, I'm used to still calling you "M"... :) )
    The word unschooling is such a provocative word!
    It brings about feelings of anxiety, fear, doubt, judgment....
    and that's of the outsiders and the insiders!!
    I resent a little that something so flowy and lovely and tolerant and respectful brings out such anxious feelings and doubts in us. Bums me out. :(
    "Everyone needs to be like me!" Now there's a laugh.
    Sheesh, I'd not wish that upon anyone!! lol

    MelodyFriend -
    I'm glad you can nod and smile a bit. :)
    I'm fond of nodding and smiling!

    xxoo to everyone.

  7. Yikes...i haven't read her in a while...catching up. So glad to read this post.

    Of course your babes were born to the right mama...they choose you. You are three (and hubby makes four) peas in a pod. It's exquisite.

    I love reading here because I feel like you are so like me in how you "plan" (or don't) your days. We just explore the possibilities of whatever comes our way. No to-do lists (not Isaac's thing at all) - just hanging out and taking it all in.

    When I read here, I never feel like I'm not doing enough (and what does that mean, anyway?) but it makes me feel good to have our way of living validated by your way of living. Does that even make sense?

    Happy Days to You!

  8. "There is always Enough,and,since this life is ever expansive, there is always room for more."

    Love this.
    Thank you for this beautiful post. Although I don't usually have time to comment, I love reading about your family's adventures and find much inspiration. Isn't it such an incredible blessed journey?


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!