Thursday, February 17, 2011

wednesday : shiny moments

As I was watching Madeleine talk and bounce at her daddy last night, I got to stand in amazement of her... and be completely in love, yet again.

Sometimes the shiny moments are hard to see in unschooling.
There are bright and more obvious ones-- the making of connections... learning to read on one's own... asking pointed and loaded questions... watching the becoming...
But there are everyday things, too. Things that glow in a typical, sparkly, unschooly way that we don't always see because it's a different light than what school shined at us - grades, teacher approval, test scores...
I thought of this sparkling, twinkling light yesterday as I was amazed by Maddie for the hundredth time that day.
She makes parachutes.
She spins paper airplanes.
She dictates letters to friends.

She came to me yesterday, "Mom, is this how you spell 'hat'?"

A little while later it was, "Mom, is it true that if you're in a wagon, and the wagon stops, that you will go like this.... that your body will move forward?"
"Yup. Sure will."
"What's that called?"
"An object in motion stays in motion - it's called Inertia." :)
I guess it's been a while since we've played with that one....

And so our day goes.

Trev resumes his prehistory lectures.

And sets up scenes in the front yard with his 'authenticated' papo and safari ltd dinosaurs.

We finished our beautiful tans for tangram puzzles.

And there was research and computer play.

Maddie made a book. It's called Dino Discoveries, and it's a book to teach others about dinosaurs.

We played our new game - Stixx. We ran our hands over the pieces, admiring the colors and textures. When we got to the business of playing, we decided that it's a good addition to our shelves.

Maddie played a game with her dad - Guess Which Dinosaur I Am? It's an acting and roaring/hissing game with clues. Ankylosaurus, Utah Raptor, Parasaurolophus, Brachiosaurus... amazed again, I was.

Most of us are used to the spotlight sort of light - glaringly obvious.... what the school mind comes to see as irrefutable proof (those same grades and test scores that I mentioned earlier). We get so used to that light that we start to watch for things that only show up there.

But unschooling is very, very different.
The light that shines in our home is more of a living thing. It shimmers with subtlety, sometimes. At others it twinkles and sparkles. Sometimes it even sparks and snaps with pops and little explosions.

Instead of assigned textbooks it's spontaneously and enthusiastically delving into one's own encyclopedias and researching on wikipedia.
Instead of worksheets, in our house it's playing games.
Instead of recess, it's "Here's my idea, mom... I want to set up a lab...." (that was last night..)

I love this way of living!
I love that it feels so alive and magical. I love that when my children (sometimes several times a day) come up with wonderful ideas we can implement them at almost any time. I love the art every single day. I love the way my daughter constantly hops and bubbles over with exuberance. I love that my son feels/thinks/knows that he is smart. I love constantly trying new things (like making music out of non-instruments), I love learning fascinating things from new library books, and I love saying "Let's find out."

It's a living, breathing, sparkling way of life for living, breathing, sparkling people.
It's the questing Self in glorious action, and for as long as we are breathing and seeking, it will always be Enough.


  1. *sigh*

    yes. absolutely yes.


  2. *love*

    I've noticed, that at least for me, compared to others I know 'in real life', the shiny moments are *easier* to see in unschooling. My breath is taken away at least once a day by each of my kids. Those I know who parent traditionally don't seem to notice those moments as often or as easily. Don't know why that is...

  3. I think you're right, Sarah.
    I maybe should have said "for outsiders" to see.
    Grandparents, hsers, neighbors...

    Our scope is different than people that live a life that is much different from ours.

    We're looking at the details, instead of waiting for someone else to point a light at them.

  4. Beautifully put. I am in awe of my daughter every day, and I am often sad about how infrequently I hear other parents in awe of their children. It's one of the reasons I like reading your blog.

  5. Ahhh. Couldn't agree with you more there. Shiny to a non-unschooler means writing letters, reading books, doing maths, showing an overwhelming interest in something (like dinosaurs) that can lead to schooly-type-learning. TBH, those things are shiny to me too - I love to watch their brains processing the world in any way they will. I just see the shiny in more things than those who look at the world from a more conformist paradigm.

    Shiny is now one of my favorite descriptive words.

  6. I love living the shiny life. It's just the best.

    I agree with you and Sarah about outsiders not quite getting it. It seems that they look to results as opposed to just seeing the "being" and "becoming" that is happening at every turn.

    My sister-in-law recently complained to me about her not-yet six year old because he always wanted her to play with him. She said to me, "I just feel like I've been there, done that." My heart broke for that child. It broke for the connection that they will never have and because she is more apt to see him as a nuissance than as the beautiful, shimmery, sweet soul that he is. Makes me so sad. Perhaps this is off topic. :)

    I'm so thankful to mamas like you, Stephanie who put into shiny perspective these gorgeous lives we live. Thank you. ~Debbie xo

  7. I love your sparkly life. :)

  8. I love this post Steph. :)

  9. yes!!! i was just thinking something along these lines, of how these things are happening ALL THE TIME and how amazing that we get to be there for that. my thought train reminded me to be more present to it; i am so seldom "separate" from my kids that i sometimes take the sparkly for granted...i got a jolt of "Wow" when i got to sit back and eavesdrop on a conversation btwn ani and her dad - all the questions, the observations, the bubbling over of life. it was a treat to be given that moment of realization.

  10. Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.....
    'Bout sums it, eh?

  11. Beautiful, Stephanie. Again you capture what it's about for me; what I'm seeking, the way of being we are constantly drawn to, and the shine that's inside and around all that. Thank you. So much!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!