Sep. 1, 2010

Wow, there isn't a whole lot to write about

I've been contemplating what my next 'real' blog post should be... and coming up with blank blank blank, for weeks.  I decided to just start writing, and hope that something slightly interesting comes out.  I can't say that I have anything profound to say about homeschooling at this age, since four years old is barely school-age (Junior kindergarten didn't even exist when I went to school!).  I used to spend a lot of time reading about homeschooling philosophies and figuring out what I will want to do.  I found unschooling, and various interpretations of it, to be the most attractive.  I would love to research more... but there is no time in my day!  It seems like by the time my children are old enough to give me some free time... they'll be too old for any of the research I want to do to matter anymore.  It can be fustrating at times, thinking about everything that I want to do but can't get done.  Taking a moment to just play with my children usually brings me out of that funk and back to reality... because my children are just so wonderful to be with!

So, what have we been doing this summer... since nobody here is in camp this year?  Well, we've been traveling around the city (by transit), to our favorite parks, our favorites friends, and our favorite places.  Lots of ice cream, splash pads, wading pools, sand pits, farmer's markets, big friends, little friends, etc.  Experiments with Popsicle making. 

We had a period of reading some very science-y books, followed by a few visits to the Royal Ontario Museum.  Temima was very sure the dinosaur bones would come to life, and hesitated to cross the threshold into that exhibit area for a while.  The books were part of a series for children, about nature and science.  We started with one about dinosaurs, that we found by accident, and it was so good that we started borrowing more from the series in the following weeks.  Sun Up, Sun Down is a great one, explaining about how the sun and earth and moon all work, and planets, and all that.  These books were great because the pictures were easy to understand visually, and they had sub-stories mixed in with the science explanations that really kept our four year old captivated.

What has Temima been learning?  Despite my lack of interest in formally teaching much at this age, she is steadily recognizing more letters and numbers, and sight-reading her name.  She is constantly counting, and experimenting with more/less, as well as primitive adding/subtraction... all on fingers or with toys.  The other day she held two pretzels in each hand, counting them individually and then all together, and then said, "Two pretzels and two pretzels is four pretzels"!!!!  I think she's got all her colors now, but I don't know for sure.  Yes, other children knew many of these things at earlier ages, but without pushing her, I think she is steadily adding to her knowledge every day, and enjoying it as well.

What have we been struggling with?  Well, as parents, we've been struggling with a few things.  Temima is a deeply emotional person, we think, and that makes her very  loving and lovely, but also there is a difficult side to that.  She is very astute at reading emotion in others and seeing through attempts at manipulation/control.  Its unnerving sometimes.  The fun part of her ability is how we can turn traditional parenting methods into fun games for her... she love 'playing' reverse psychology!

What I have noticed recently is that when Joseph is home, she is more volatile, more quick to temper, less patient with her brother, etc.  I'm not sure why, yet.  Is it because my attention is divided while I'm trying to get 'adult' conversation in?  Is it her way of expressing unhappiness at how much of the time Joseph is gone at work?  Does he parent so differently that she sees a way to manipulate us when he's home?  I doubt that last one, although on a surface level it looks that way.  I think its a combination of the first two, and possibly something more that I haven't identified.  When I'm alone with the kids, everything seems to flow.  I rarely ever resort to 'discipline,' and even at times where I might feel I want to, I can usually re-center the situation in a fun or funny way so we can move on.  Figuring out what happens when Joseph is home is something that I think we need to really focus on because its difficult for Joseph feel confident about our parenting choices when he sees most of the negative side during his hours with us.

Do you have any similar experiences?  What happens when your children's Abba comes home?  Have you figured out how to solve this problem?  Leave your thoughts, experiences, solutions in the comments.  I look forward to reading what you think.

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