Sunday, July 26, 2009

Juice and Worries

So I scooted off to the store this morning to get a couple of book cases.
My philosophy is that if it's in cupboards and storage boxes we don't see it, and therefore can't be Juiced (inspired) by it.
So our materials (art, science, crafts, and obviously books, etc) are on shelves.
Often in little plastic cubbies. And they get rotated through different areas of the house and bedrooms.

So.
Back to the Rumpus Room.
It's been a disaster for months.
Since about the time I decided I needed the shelves for upstairs... as an extension/shelf area of our kitchen table magic.
You know... science projects, ongoing craft projects, stuff we've been diggin' lately, etc. Things that we don't want looming on the end of the kitchen counter for weeks at a time.
So I dumped off one case full of musical instruments, and another one with dress-up things, puppets, and all the paraphernalia that go in that particular imagination station.
So... the room got messy.
Chaotic and crazy and a dumping ground through the holidays, etc, etc.
(The room is in the basement, and we never spend that much time down there, anyway.)

But...
The last little while I've been feeling the need for Juice.
Things seem a little stagnant-- certainly not particularly sparkly.
Always, when we clean and re-organize and shuffle things around, we get totally jazzed.
It's like we're seeing things for the first time-- or at least the first in a loooooong time. (Which, admittedly, is sometimes the literal truth.)

Today as I was cleaning Maddie was super eager be down there with me, and was so excited!!
She built with a wooden carpenter set, played Ned's Head, played with stickers, made lots of different music, did different puzzles (that are not currently residing in the livingroom cabinet), all kinds of things!
She was exploring and discovering and creating and having a wonderful time.

As I watched her, I started getting a little worried.
I was reminded that while this room and its materials is a paradise for a little one, we have another whom is quickly outgrowing such things.
Oof.
That sort of stopped me in my tracks.
I thought about how he isn't quite as crazy about our Children's Museum anymore.
I started thinking about how he has spent his last three days.... conquering his new game.
In a decidedly dedicated manner.

I got a little panicked.
What for Trev?
What for Trev?

What's here that is interesting and educational and intriguing and inspiring for an eight year old boy?!?
What kind of supplies can I buy?
Do I need to completely re-do things???
I called for Trev to come downstairs so I could feel him out a bit.

While I was waiting for him to answer my summons, :), my head went immediately to taught school subjects.
Reading.
Pff. Check. (I'm not worried even a little about this.)
The technical side? Language Arts?
No problem! We'll just break out the Mad Libs. 'Got plenty of 'em. And the child speaks beautifully and has an outstanding vocabulary... not a problem.
Math.
Seems to be interested and asking questions... don't think this is something to be worried about. What else ya got?
I started settling down quite a bit at this point.
Science?
Pff. Even my questioning self says Piffle to that. Not even on the radar. We breathe science around here.
"Trev?" he was with me, now, "I've been thinking and worrying a bit, and I'm wanting to know if there are things you'd like to know about or are interested in that we don't have." Which is kind of a silly question, a bit like asking "what don't you know?". But still, he had something to offer.
"I'd like to study cells, and play with Dad, and you know. Do things like that."
"And experiements?", asked I. "And still learning about interesting people, like Davey Crockett, and Helen Keller?"
"Yeah. Is that all? I'm done with this icecream, and wanna put the rest in the freezer, and get back to my game."
"Yeah, okay."

I looked at the shelf that I was sitting twelve inches from, and saw an American Heroes book called Daniel Boone. And one on Thomas Jefferson. And I thought of Captains Courageous that was sittng upstairs. And I spied our books on explorers, and I thought of the huge Historical Timeline book that I just re-discovered yesterday (purchased several years ago for my own studies).
And I thought of my book on kings and queens of Scotland and England, and DaVinci, and The Dangerous Book for Boys.
And I started to really settle and become still.

I'll teach him to play Othello.
And we'll read Shakespeare For Kids. (He loved Midsummer Night's Dream.)
And we'll put Edison on the timeline... and John Henry and Lincoln (favorites of his).
We'll read about kings and Ghengis Kahn and put more dinosaurs and mammals on the timeline, too.
We'll check out cool cdroms from the library, and buy JumpStart Third Grade.
We'll keep looking for new games of Carmen Sandiego, and play Math Blaster, and I'll wonder how soon I can introduce him to the game Master Mind.
We'll read our books about weather, and read again How Mountains are Made and The Spaceship Earth and all the other Let's Read and Find Out books we enjoy.
We'll continue to go to the planetarium, and the natural history museum.
We'll ask questions and watch you-tube and National Geographic videos.

:) We'll take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.

So, then.
We'll continue on.
Same as today.
Tomorrow does not come unexpectedly and disconnected from Today.

There are lots of interesting things and books lying about this home.
And we'll continue to bring in other, new things as we discover them.
It's no different.

So then,
All is well.

2 comments:

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

Oh, thank you for sharing your process of this all! I'm surrounded by traditional homeschoolers, and I have this idea that we unschoolers aren't supposed to worry or plan or even brainstorm (although I'm not sure where that's coming from). Silly, I know. But I also have an 8yo boy who seems ready for... More. And the question is then, what More to offer, and how?

MamaLou said...

My seven almost eight year old needs more too, and with a 3 and 5 year old I'm stretched thin...how to inspire/strew ??? ACK! With summer it seems we spend our days outside.....He doesn't read independently, yet. I am eagerly awaiting that breakthrough.....I know he can, he chooses not to. I think at that point it becomes easier for them to follow their interests....