Just Another Ordinary (Extraordinary) Day

Some days just seem so ordinary – but if we have eyes to see, the extraordinary will appear.

  • Miss 9 was awake watching television when I got up …

… She was also looking at a diary and last year’s calendar, and was using her new blue clipboard (a longed-for acquisition). She seemed deeply engrossed but slowly managed to raise her head from her paper world, and the questions began: “Mum, how do you spell February?” “Mum, how many days are in March?” Which naturally progressed to discussions about leap years, the history of calendars, and a little rhyme I learned as a child, to help with remembering how many days were in each month.

She was creating a calendar, which may have something to do with a certain upcoming birthday! It’s been beautiful to watch her embrace the organisation of her crazy hat dance party, making very detailed plans on notepaper (attached to the beautiful blue clipboard, of course!). But today it was all about calendars.

After a while, she disappeared and came back dressed up as a gangster. She had turned the rhyme into a rap and it was oh so hip and cool. I wanted to capture it on video but it would have ruined the moment. 🙂 It sounded a lot more awesome than my childhood memory of a class of school children reciting the rhyme with lacklustre enthusiasm, as part of a lesson about “months.” Such a contrast! I’m sure glad we’re on the fun side of the fence!

  • Mr 12 emerged from his slumber and we ate some porridge together …

 

… He very quickly moved into rallying us to get ready for a shopping expedition. He was very focused on purchasing much-needed items for his upcoming youth camp. He is SO excited and at the age of twelve is already a crew leader and will even be co-leader of a cabin, which could be quite interesting, being as he purchased a bull horn to use in the mornings to wake his cabin crew up!

It has been wonderful watching him rise to the challenge of organising himself for the camp. He has been contacting the big leaders regarding arrangements, he started packing a week in advance, he prepared a list of things to purchase and organise, and devised a plan for when he wants to do each thing on the list.

  • We went to the shops …

… conversing all the way. I love car conversations! Discussion today included radio music styles, family relationships, dog training and rescue, and the three types of group dances typically done at Mr 12’s youth group: say hello to The Macarena, The Bus Stop, and a Korean group dance called Gangnam. This obviously led to conversations about Miss 9’s upcoming dance party, and she requested that her big brother teach her the two dances she doesn’t know. He told her they wouldn’t be still doing those dances when she’s old enough for the youth group, which lead to me talking about the first two being popular even in the “olden days” when *I* was a kid! 🙂 Gasp!

One of the things that astounds me about our conversations is the fluid shifting between the giver and receiver of information. In one conversation I will know more and in the next, one of the children is likely to spout out something incredible that I’ve never known before. There is no hierarchy of who is the most knowledgeable in this unschooling life.

  • We bought things …

… There was much discussion regarding affordability, brand comparisons for quality and price, hierarchy of needs, cost variations, etc. The kids did lots of sums in their heads, because they wanted to work out costings, not because I asked them to or set it as a cute little assignment. I never cease to be amazed at their ability to do mental arithmetic without ever having completed traditional math workbooks or math curriculum of any kind. They learn by doing. Because they want to. Because they are living in the real world and mathematics is an intrinsic part of our society. It would be almost impossible to avoid it!

There will be an 80’s dance party at camp too so that gave us a great excuse to check out the fashions at the retro op shop, which inspired discussion about clothing from different eras, etc. We also got to have a few good laughs at some of the crazy outfits! After all that, we ended up sticking with his morphsuit that he bought awhile ago!

  • We drove home (do you like our car?)……

… where I received a phone call from Mr 16 (who is very independent these days) asking for the finer details of omelette cooking. Lucky he gets paid to make coffees, not omelettes! 🙂

I asked Mr 12 how he was feeling about his upcoming five-day camp. “Totally fine, why?” I was wondering if he was nervous at all but he simply said: “Why would I be nervous? I’ve been homeschooled my whole life and involved with YWAM (youth group) for half of it. I know everything will be good and there’s nothing to worry about.” This is the boy for whom school would most certainly have been a social disaster. What a privilege it has been to watch him blossom (probably not a great word choice to describe a 12yo boy!) and thrive from his home-base of connection, guidance, and safety.

  • We ate dinner …

… enjoying our new tradition of a weekly “Family Night,” started because we were finding limited opportunities to come together, now that our older boys are 16 and 18, and we have two shift workers in the family. I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, remembering that my role is to create and invite, hoping they will be drawn to participate, rather than expecting or demanding that they should. We often enjoy a fire bucket, darts, pool, or table tennis. I also hope to do photo nights on the big screen and other things.

  • Miss 9 played the guitar …

 

… She googled the songs she wanted to play, finding ways of learning how to play them! She’s never had a formal lesson, although she would like to. She has been shown a couple of things and learned how to find information. She persisted for hours! Every so often she would ask me for some additional help.

I love the way children and teens today can pretty much find out anything they want to know through the internet or other resources. Mr 12 has now decided he wants to learn the guitar too, and started teaching himself from a great website called Justin Guitar. I had piano lessons as a child but rarely play these days. I love seeing my children pick up an instrument purely because they want to, and find ways of learning it (with my help as and when they want it). They may choose to have formal lessons one day too. In my daughter’s words: “I have such a passion for the guitar! I really do love it so much. It’s such a beautiful instrument.”

  • I cleaned up the last of the kitchen mess …

… and found a half-completed science experiment on the table! I hadn’t even known it was happening!

I love watching my children discover and grow and learn because they want to, not because it has been scripted for them. I love the variation: some days that are really quite amazing, and others that seem very ordinary and more low key. I love the freedom we have to live and learn naturally, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary every day.

~ Karen

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