Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Old Dan Tucker... and Other Insanities

WHAT is going on?! 
I have been hearing.... literally, Old Dan Tucker being sung for days..... Sung by my children.
I hear it being serenaded while I'm in the shower;
belted out from the back seat while I'm driving;
chanted while we're walking;
and finally dialed down to a hum when I've begged for a break from the Insanity!!
And of course next thing I know it's stuck in MY head too... and then I'm humming it. Where is this coming from?

Old Dan Tucker is just one example of The Insanity. This year something has shifted. Did I say Shifted? What I meant to say was my world has been Flipped, turned-upside-down. (yes, much like the Will Smith song. lol)

This year while planning our learning year, (as much as one can plan that), I started feeling curious about the Waldorf philosophy; which led me, quite surprisingly to browsing through curriculum. Let me say that again: CURRICULUM. For me this is darn-near Shocking. For anyone who knows me knows, I have felt pretty passionately against curriculum; and certainly against anything that looks like school-at-home. These feelings were re-enforced when Liv and I were struggling our way through Kindergarten curriculum, and later struggling through many other bouts of "teaching" and "learning" how to read. Little did I know, the source of our struggle was undiagnosed Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. All I knew, and still know, is this kind of learning was not worth it, or fun, or successful for us. And yet here I was looking through curriculum.

So why on Earth am I feeling good about this?! ....It still sounds crazy.

My outlook, as I was browsing the "curriculum", is that it could be just one more resource, among many resources, that we may or may not use; depending on where we're at with our learning.... okaaaaay.... To my surprise, I found that the Waldorf ideas of protecting the rites of childhood deeply resonated with me; and the bits of curriculum I was seeing looked so multi-sensory. I was having a very strong feeling that this could be a beautiful fit for us.

The other thing that shifted my outlook is that my daughter, wait for it...... ASKED FOR CURRICULUM!! Workbooks to be specific. 
**still shaking my head in disbelief**

Here I had brainstormed with her all the interests and goals she had for herself for the year.... I'm typing up a plan. One that deliberately looks nothing like formal learning, one that is full of games and activities.... and she says, "mom, did you put some curriculum in that? I mean, you know, some workbooks and stuff? Cause I'm thinking I'm getting older and stuff, and I think I should start getting better at math and my spelling and things." 


So then again, maybe I was browsing curriculum because somewhere inside me, my intuition knew that this is where we were heading; that this is what was next for us. I don't know how many articles, stories and blogs I've read with the same happenings: lots of free, active, spirited life learning and then with age and interest, reading, and math and eventually more formal learning. I just never thought it would happen to us. I really didn't.

I've picked out but, ahem, not yet ordered curriculum. I'm still looking at it as a resource, just another option to use or not. And as usual, I'm following the lead of my little learners.... and they are leading me to playing "school". I'm not even kidding a little. All of my deep-set opposition to "school-at-home" style learning is having to bow to my children telling me that, "NO MOM, This is supposed to be how it looks.... We sit here, and you are there, and you teach us, and we have to put up our hands... and.... and.... and." .....AND truth be told, they are having a ton of fun with it, and we are learning spelling. And while I do have some inner conflict about this style of learning, it's pretty impossible to argue with them about this one. Or argue with myself, as long as this "school" game remains THEIR idea!

See what I mean? Insanity. World. up. side. down.

Know what else?
For the first time in 6 years my daughter is not taking dance. We are still a part of a belly dance group, but she isn't taking dance. Given the option to explore some new interests, Liv chose to take a break from it. She's found herself a fantastic horse riding mentor, and is in love with horses! Which is helping tremendously with her learning challenges and confidence. I'm still in shock. No dance. HUH.

While browsing through the previously mentioned forbidden fruit, I stumbled upon a new book; Simplicity Parenting. Again, something inside me said, "you have to order that book." The blurb about it mentioned the theme is "Too much". As I looked around, I literally saw Too Much. Too much mess, from too much stuff, in every room of our probably Too Much house. I wondered if this is what the book was about.
We had been recovering all summer from the previous year of Too Much screens; we've been trying to create new limits and routines surrounding that. I wondered if that was the Too Much being referred to in the book. Either way Simple sounded pretty inviting.
I received my new book this week, and have been hooked. And it is what I thought. Our Too Much environment. Full of Too much stuff.  Full of Too Much screens. Toys. Clothes. Adult conversation.

Which leads me to my next insanity. Simplifying my house. AKA- pulling up the utility trailer and making repeated trips to the dump and second hand store. All of these changes have me feeling a little overwhelmed, lost, excited, confused, surprised.... very.... just Very. Is that a feeling? Again. World. Up. Side. Down.

And so, fueled by my new book; accompanied by my family singing Old Dan Tucker; and inspired by our recently discovered major addiction to watching Little House, and Longing for a simpler life.... I am taking on the Too Much mess. I might even blog about our progress, and take pictures for accountability! LOL

Alright. Enough with writing. Time. To. Simplify.

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