On Monday we went strawberry picking. After we were done, we had picnic lunch. At some point, 7 yo went to poke in the mud with a stick. 6 yo ( he's six today!) went to another picnic table to munch on his matzah in quiet. I was having a conversation with my sister about importance of being by yourself instead of a part of a group and how independent thinking can only be achieved this way. I was remarking how 7 yo did not ask to have playdates, see more friends, etc, but he spent a chunk of his time by himself. She was objecting, saying that my personality is more introverted than most ( it's true) and it would not work for everyone ( probably also true). As we were finishing this conversation, 6 yo suddenly says: "So, could Hashem multiply himself?" I'm pretty sure such questions do not arise from groupthink.
Later, as we started on our way back home, 7 yo said: "Everything in the world is made from something else, like tree comes from a seed." What a great opportunity to explain creation yesh meyesh as opposed to yesh meayin! Again, I'm sure that if he was playing with a bunch of kids previously instead of digging in the dirt, those thought would not develop.
Today, at breakfast, 7 yo asked a classic hagaddah question: why do we say that this year we are slaves, aren't we free? This led to a discussion of what is slavery and what is freedom.
This afternoon, the kid decided to sail cardboard boats in the bathtub. 7 yo made of his own design. Now, I can tell you a bit about buoyancy, etc, but it is one of rites of passage for a boy to design and test out his own boat. Nobody else will celebrate its triumph/failure, nobody will grade it, nobody will test it, but the lesson of making something with your own two hands and your brain will stick.
The homeschooling coop is planning a curriculum swap. This fills me with anxiety, especially being asked, now that I have a second grader, I must be using a curriculum. The truth is, I do not have a curriculum, and I'm questioning the need for curriculum till much older ages ( middle school? high school?). But I have a drive to get my kids to learn. And they have a drive to learn. Even if it involves digging in the dirt.
A friend of mine posted this:
She said it is especially for kids with special needs. I wonder if play deprivation creates kids with special needs.
As we were entering homeschooling coop today, my 6 yo grabbed onto two door handles and walked his feet up the door, till he was practically hanging upside down. No school would tolerate this behavior. I know that if he were in a traditional school, sooner or later someone would attach some kind of label to him. ADHD. Hyperactivity. Impulsiveness. Defiance. Immaturity. You think of one and slap it on. I know that by keeping him label-free, I get to see his other sides: generous heart. Overflowing gratitude. Kindness. Fairness. Intensity.
If I learn to look at my kids as just kids and not my ambassadors to the world, not test scores and brilliance and behavior issues, I will be able to relate to them as kids and not as problems.