Friday, December 4, 2009

Steven Talks Turkey

Steven with headdress. And below with his family at the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day:

This is Steven at the Science Museum where we go every month for science and art class:

Still here and still homeschooling, of course. December is a very laid-back time for us. This month..oh, wow..I'm going to write about what he's doing this month and not this week, or just today... But yeah, this month he is concentrating on his Senior Orange belt for Taekwondo. He tests for it next week. And then the school will have their annual TKD C-mas party (Ice skating!), and then there is the Chaos Party on the Saturday before C-mas. Chaos is a blast: an all day playtime with the TKD kids and their instructors (none over the age of 20, I think). They play all day from 2-10pm at the studio with games set up, countless t.v.s and game consoles, and lots of dodgeball, pizza and snacks. It is the best time, Steven says.

He's working hard learning his lines for the play, it is also on the 19th, the day of the Chaos Party. It all sort of culminates to that Saturday and explodes, even for Lea who will be wrapping up school for the Holiday break.

Lea is thinking about going to school part-time, btw... :)

The day after Christmas we'll be going to the cabin for 5 days. We are all looking so forward to unwinding and doing nothing but being.

Steven and I went to the Humane Society yesterday and played with the animals. We volunteer there, but call it "playing" because Steven isn't old enough to volunteer, yet.
I didn't take photos because I've been bad about documenting events.

But above there are a few recent ones of Steven, and of him with Lea, Nicholas and Royce at the Turkey Trot!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steven Survives

while his Mommy waits for inspiration for a new strategy.

Yes, we are not following a curriculum, and no, I'm not a qualified teacher. No, we don't get approval from the school board, and yes, I don't know what I'm doing sometimes. Yes, we change our minds about 14 times a year about how we want to approach book-learning,...

And no, he is not going to school next year....

Because, while he is reading at a middle school level, he hates to read. Because although he spells well, he can just barely write his letters.

And because he thinks states are countries and countries are states, and doesn't have the slightest curiosity about continents or where they are located in what seas. And because his mind wanders more than it wonders when it comes to Math. And mostly, because he believes in Santa and wears reindeer antlers or an elf hat everyday as soon as we have our first frost. (He also sleeps late and sometimes eats candy for breakfast when he gets up while he watches marathons of The Simpson episodes he's programmed into the DVR).

Meanwhile, Steven is doing the play The Emperor's Nightingale playing a lead character, "The Lord-in-Waiting." He is nervous because he has the most lines, but it'll be fine. He is sharp and in good voice and as he told his teacher, "It doesn't matter what part I get, I just want to bring the play to life." :)

He is feeling a ton better physically and back in action at Taekwondo. He is bummed to have missed so much, but has a lot of motivation to catch up and he is working it out. He should be ready by December to move on to the next belt. I'm hoping beyond hope that we are done with viruses for awhile. It has been incredibly tough on him because he enjoys TKD so much.

He is sewing with Alissa which he loves, but his machine is on the fritz ~ Fingers are crossed that we get word that it's fixed for tomorrow's class. Thank you AS for letting him use yours, just in case.

Also this week: He has theatre workshop at the library, a class at the metro parks and will be going to the science museum for a circuits and art class. When we go to work, he'll see his best friends who are mostly grown-ups, but also, when he gets home his best neighbor friends will be here for the week with their moms.

And finally, he is planning on staying up really late one night this week, until midnight, and ordering a pizza.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steven Lives

We're still out here, but it's hard to catch up on the blog regularly.

On school nights we've taken very well to turning off the television and the computers after 6pm. No screens in the evening and we are having lots of fun. Nothing special is going on, nothing to brag about, we're just eating supper together and talking, mostly. It's so great to listen to the kid's giggling and being goofy. They still bicker and the usual, but they are spending time together, which is great to us. I didn't want to turn it into more time where I have to entertain them, we basically consider it free time and we can all do whatever we want. Sometimes we hang out together and play games, but mostly not. Mostly, I read my own books and catch up on various things and they find some kind of imagination game to reckon out.

We're are reading together every night, The Life of Pi, and I can't even explain how deeply I'm enjoying reading with Lea again. My heart honestly broke when I would think about the past and all the wonderful years we read together, and how I took it for granted...and how recently when I recalled the last time we read together not realizing it was the last time. How I began to miss her asking me, "Can we read tonight?" And miss her laying her head on my shoulder, playing with my hair, and us curling and uncurling our fingers, holding hands while I read. I never thought I would hear her ask me again and I really didn't think we would ever find the time or place since she is changing and needing me less in those ways. I thought it would be o.k. because we were finding other ways of being together... But, one night last week I picked up this book and started reading it aloud. She sat on the sofa behind me, brushed my hair and quietly listened.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steven Sick (again)

This is "Virus: Round 3" since school started for Steven who doesn't attend.

He had a big week planned with lots of stuff going on, but he managed only to make it through Monday afternoon's sewing class before he was down for the count.

This is potentially trans-formative for him though. It seems like he is understanding how much good food, rest and exercise (and hand-washing) play a big part in his overall health. That is a life lesson that far exceeds any other goal we set up for him this year, and hopefully one that is being etched deeply. It is no fun to be sick when you're a kid, but really no fun to be sick over and over again.

We did get his workbook I ordered. It is a DK book helping with math skills to accompany his Saxon math curriculum that is becoming a little overwhelming for him. I totally believe the children when they say they aren't ready for a task by either telling me verbally or exhibiting signs of distraction or frustration. I'm not going to promote to Steven that he must continue work that is discouraging for him, but I'm not going to let him give up too quickly on it either; thus, a satisfying and somewhat easy workbook with big happy fonts and cute pictures. Offering small successes is a key to supporting his development, I think. This is all new for him, book learning, and I want him to know books are a significant key to finding stuff out, not a detriment to personal exploration.

Anyway, what we didn't do yesterday was a class at the local metro park and his drama workshop at the library, and what we aren't doing today is going to gym class or Taekwondo.

But, as he laid around healing his bod yesterday he did watch some dvds I found at the library about Understanding the Universe, (plus "Gremlins" and "Transformers 2"), and today he is playing Runescape and resting as much as he can.

Together we are reading: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interrupting for a commercial break:

Check out the blog:


This is neighbor and friend, Hiliary (yeah, it's spelled right. that's the way it's spelled.) This will be a very, very entertaining blog to keep up with.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Steven Games

The last couple of days we have been getting our work done here (or there), and then heading over to the library to... game. I'm not sure why it's worked out this way, but it's been like this unspoken "thing" we've been honoring. So around 2pm we hop in the truck and go to the library to tag the Wii as "ours" before the Highschoolers get there. We have a Wii here at the house, it's just more fun at the library for some reason.

It's a great escape for us to unwind at the library. These colder days we'll go and spend afternoon hours searching shelves, and with a stack of books, a drink and a snack we'll scour through our treasures while sitting in an overstuffed comfy chair. We like to hang around in a kind of stasis from the outside world until ...well, until Lea walks over and meets us after school or when we're ready to leave, I guess. Steven likes to play games, I prefer to read, but he also likes for me to drop my books and grab a controller and play with him. And sometimes I do that. Even though I don't like the Wii as much as a PS2 or 3.

I was thinking about something yesterday while I sat there waiting for my turn to Mario Party with Peach. I was thinking about how much Steven appreciates my company and how much I'm grateful for his. I wonder often why it is I don't seem to need the socialization of my peers as much as other people, but it's finally occurred to me it's not that, I don't think. I think it's that I weigh my choices, and for now I'm so acutely aware of Steven's growing and going that I want to be present to him as much as he allows and wants. I recognize so intensely the movement of time and the fading of it that I can barely make out the shadow of the moment as it whooshes past me. I don't want to miss anything.

Now, here is a dilemma. Last night, Steven confronted me that I am not forceful enough or demanding enough with him. He needs a harsher mother to tell him what to do. He tells me that he thinks he is getting a cavity in a permanent tooth and that it is up to me to make him go into the bathroom and brush his teeth. He said that it would be best if I threaten him by taking away his DS or Legos. I said to him, "Steven, that's not really my way." He was like, "But Mom, you have to do this. You have to MAKE me brush my teeth or I won't do it. You have to yell at me and make me scared of you. Like at Tae Kwon Do where they yell at us if we don't do something we're supposed to." I said, "But I would think that if you don't want cavities then you'd want to brush your teeth. I mean, like, all on your own." He was shaking his head, "But that's not how it works, Mom." I said, "Ok." Then I said,"So, are we ready to read together now?" He shrugged, "Sure." I was like, "Did you brush your teeth?" He replied, "No." And so I went, "Well, go brush and we'll read." Steven said, "Ok, be right back." Meanwhile, I'll work on some ideas to pull out of my threat pocket for the next time he balks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Steven Rides

We had a great time yesterday with neighbor Hiliary when she took us out to the barn where their horses, Snazzy and Shiloh, board. Earlier, Steven had been chatting with Hil on Facebook. He ran into my room and asked me if we could head out to J-town with her to see "the girls," and I said, "Sure!" So, we skipped gym class with Q and headed out about 10am. Once we arrived, Hil opened the barn where the tack supplies are held and we watched some of the other horses grazing:

We walked around to the front of the property where Snazzy and Shiloh stay, and we waited for Hil to open the fence:

Steven got to lead Snazzy from her paddock to the barn. They made fast friends:

Hiliary showed Steven how to groom the horses and what to do to get them, and a rider, ready for riding the back 4o:

And Steven was on the trail in no time:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Steven Stargazes

I was looking forward to a week which had less structure, but... I think we need structure. Otherwise nothing gets done. If I have it on the calendar, we do it; if I don't, we don't. Or rather, we get it done slower and more grudgingly.

Yesterday was not the easiest day to work at the shop and homeschool, but we managed. Steven worked on handwriting and math. He also put together his Galileoscope with his Uncle Rob.

Robert is an amateur astronomer who has built several of his own telescopes, so I thought this would be a piece of cake for him, which it was.

We went out last evening and found Jupiter in the eastern night sky right where Rob said it would be. There were several problems, however; the first being that we didn't have a tripod so it made the telescope difficult to hold in one place and we are all naturally a little shaky so it was hard to keep any star or planet in sight. The other thing is there was a lot of atmospheric interference, so we couldn't see any real details. Then, ofcourse, town's ambient light is a pain in the ass.

Robert lives in a rural area, has a reflector telescope and a shed that he built for it at the back of his property. I asked him to let us come out there for an evening of sky watching so Steven can get a real understanding of what can be seen. He agreed, ofcourse :). Hoping that we can go next week or the week after. We also are going to the local Observatory in November. I'd already planned to take Nicholas, but we're going to make it a family affair and fingers are crossed for clear skies.

Galilean Nights

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The week is going ok so far. I'm a little frustrated with the kids (all 3) , but I also might be dehydrated, eating badly (this is for sure) and trying to do too much. And, it's true that when I overwork, they seem to underwork to compensate; but you know, you wants to be nagged anyway? I remember shutting down the moment someone started bitching at me to do something. I'll try to make better decisions today about my attitude and demands.

ANYhoo, Steven has been very active this week.

He went to a pumpkin farm with friends:

And he also went on a library tour. Which I forgot to take pics. But this was very fun for him and we're grateful to friend, K, for setting it up. This library is a second home to us and we've never taken the time to tour it before. It's fun to be privy to the innerworkings of WPL :).

He also attended a Science class at the library which he didn't like at all. There were too many kids breathing down his neck, he said.

Last night Steven received his orange belt. Here he is with his instructor, Mr Perdue:

This morning if it's not too cold, we're going to plant tulip bulbs and Steven has gym class with Q. Schoolwork is still happening and we spend about an hour or so a day with math, handwriting and spelling. I'm hoping to find a Social Studies book soon, but really not sure how to fit it in, yet.

The house is going to hell in a handbasket, but I figure there will be years and years of an empty home, clean and clutter-free, later. We'll revel in the chaos, meanwhile.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Steven Globe-trots (at least in books)

Geography: A Literature Approach is something I've had around here for quite a few years. Linda, my sis, used this w/Kevin and recommended I keep it for Lea when the time came. Well, the time came, but Lee-lee was in school by then.

I decided to keep it in case I knew of someone who might want to use it someday. I didn't think it would be something Steven would want to work with, and last year, he didn't; but this year, he does.

It's so interesting how people change and develop over time to become more adapted to certain experiences, particularly children. Well, no, that's not true. It's everyone. I notice it in myself as well. For example, I'll read a book one year and get something out of it, and then read it another year and the understanding of the book is the same, but also different; so the original feeling about it is as it was the first time, but my consciousness holds it in a new way, a new dimension of it opens and the experience of it has deepened.

Can Steven know that is what is happening to him? I don't know. I don't think it matters. It's much more interesting just to watch him absorb himself in the experience of a new awareness, and to see his eyes light with understanding because a thing, whatever it is, has just been revealed to him simply because he is ready now.

The first book to be read along with the course is called Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling. It's about a boy who lives on the northernmost part of Lake Superior who one winter finds a piece of cedar and out of it carves a man in a canoe. In the Spring, the boy releases the little boat he's named "Paddle to the Sea" and on the bottom he's also etched,"Please put me back in the water." So, Paddle to the Sea is set free to follow the flow of the Great Lakes, with minimal interruption, all the way to the St. Lawrence Seaway, to eventually be found by a lighthouse keeper on the shores of Newfoundland.

I was excited today when we found this little film online:

Paddle to the Sea

And we watched it together in the quiet house before Lea and Nicholas came home.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Steven Kicks

Just a word or two about Taekwondo and Steven. In the past, I had Steven trying out a mess of things he really didn't like, just to try them. The latest was swim team at the local Jaycee pool which he mostly cried over. That wasn't the best choice we ever made.

Since I had a bad experience at a Karate place with Nicholas when he was younger, I was skeptical to try it...even though in the back of my mind, I thought Steven really might be of the temperament to enjoy it.

The Taekwondo school that Nick attended was demanding respect from him without really earning it, and had this sort of "code of honor" thing that felt contrived, it was troubling. And they seemingly were only interested in turning a dollar which they did from us to the tune of about $1500. I paid it all up front because it seemed the cheaper option, but it's not the cheaper option if your kid hates it and doesn't go. So, for me, after the experience, that was it: I was done with the farce called "Karate." (In my mind, right up there with soccer and gymnastics...)

A few months ago, however, my friend and close neighbor Hiliary asked Steven if he wanted to join Noah (her son) for a "buddy day" at his Taekwondo class. Since it was free we were totally up for it, and so, ofcourse, being me, I proceeded to forget to write it down and we forgot to go; but, Hil and Noah, being the gracious type forgave us and told us that we could still come to a free class. We did and it was FANTASTIC. Steven was offered 6 weeks for $50 to try it out. It totally sounded like a scam, but hey, for the summer it was better than comforting him in the early mornings, soaked with pool water and tears, shivering in a speedo. For Steven, once he was kicking, making moves and Karate yells he said sayonara to swimteam and has never looked back.

Getting him to go to class was/is never an issue, he likes it. We signed him up for a year at the end of the six-weeks intro to continue his progress. He likes the events that they offer and he likes the teachers and the children (and some of the teachers are children). He loved their Summer camp, their game day (all day gaming from 2-10 with pizza and snacks and... yes, I mentioned it, all day gaming. :)). He is nurtured and dealt with kindly; he's rewarded for hard work, but never falsely; he's respected and taught well.

This week he is testing for his orange belt. He's advancing enough to get his sparring equipment which is an important rite of passage for the kids. In a few weeks he will be joining the group for their annual Halloween party because they really know how to have plain old fun. And then, come November he'll be attending his first tournament. It's all very exciting and it's wonderful to see him pursuing something that he likes and does well.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Steven Adds

I was given a Saxon math book several years ago. I think it might have been Kevin's old book that Linda let me borrow, and you know how it goes: What comes to Karen, if she likes it, stays with Karen.

I put it in my book bin and when I cleaned it out like I always do in the summer, I realized that Steven would be in 5th grade this year. I had an actual textbook that would be appropriate to his age. I was very excited.

I love Saxon for the main reason most people (who like it) do: it's practical and it makes sense. Steven learns a new math challenge every time we open the book and all the while it is a review of what he's already learned. I was worried about starting him into a 5th grade math curriculum when he has not had any kind of organized learning in math concepts, but he seems to take to it quite well and understands what's being asked of him.

I think at this point it comes down to memorizing math facts which is something we drill on the days we "do school," and then, going page by page as time allows. He already "gets it," it's just going to take time to memorize the basics.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Steven Digs and... Acts!

Yesterday afternoon Steven joined in with a group at the local Metro Park and took a class called "Subterranean Safari." Here he is digging for bugs and taking notes.

Afterward we picked Lea up from school and headed to the library where Steven joined in with Theater Workshop they offer every other week. He loved working with his teacher, Michael:

And was happy to meet another 11 year-old boy who was there who enjoys acting as much as Steven and who is just as silly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Steven Sews

Steven joined his teacher, "Creatrix Jane," for a morning of sewing.

This is Steven's first real experience with the machine and he is a natural. He loved the class and can't wait to do more.

I want to let "Jane" know, he said he wishes he lived in your house :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Steven Spells

I've been using Spelling Power with my kids for a long time, I really don't even know when we started using it but it was on recommendation from my sister, Linda. Linda has been homeschooling since the beginning of time and has lots of good advice.

My kids are all naturally good spellers and readers. At school our daughter Lea was tested as "gifted" in this area and it really doesn't surprise me (I'm not sure what that means, but it was on a letter with a diagram that we received from the school. I guess it means she's a smartypants, which isn't big news.). My older two children started reading quite early all on their own, and Steven started reading later, but again, on his own. I read to all the kids as they were growing, from the time they were infants, but I never "taught" them to read.

A curiosity is this though: None of them read voraciously. None of them really enjoy perusing fiction regularly. They like short stories and articles in magazines; they all read well and comprehend well, but none pursue it with a passion. I have a theory that they would probably enjoy high literature, but haven't taken the time to read it with them. Perhaps the future will prove my theory correct once they are in college.

But, they do/did like Spelling Power. All of them enjoyed this book and I use it mainly as a brush-up because spelling correctly has been important to the older kids, and now to Steven, my token homeschooler.

I've tailored it to fit our very laid-back way of educating. I don't force Steven to write because in my experience, asking a boy to write is like asking him to pull his arm hair out with tweezers. It's tedious and there is lots of moaning and writhing going. So instead, we sit down with the book and I ask the word and he verbally spells it. If he misses a word, he does use the sheets (yes, writing) that I have copied from the book to help him to learn the word(s) he's missed. To my way of thinking that is a wonderful method to learn: teaching yourself what you don't know and cutting out the busy-work.

There are games and activities suggestions if we need the support, and also, in the newer version, there is a cd-rom option now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Steven Letterboxes

We were invited to go letterboxing with friends yesterday:


BIG fun and so was getting lost in the woods :). Thank godnesss for friends who remember cameras ~ this pic was take by T. Thanks for sending!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Steven Asks

Steven is curious and asks lots of questions about lots of things. I've found that it's in the car where we have our most interesting discussions, where so much is revealed about the both of us and it's a key place where the intimacy of the homeschooling relationship is developed. It occurs to me sometimes that it is so unique... and brief, so it is something to be served and nurtured. I realize this especially because I have a child in school and one at home. It changes when they leave.

And it could also be his stage in life, but there is a deep abiding trust that my words are integral to his current understanding of the world, and so I take his questions very seriously. He is a growing boy.

My mom used to hold the tiny hands of my oldest son when he was a toddler and say, "Look at these," as she would caress his little fingers, "one day these will do a man's work." It was amazing for us to imagine, this stranger, this miniature "other" becoming a man. I think about her holding those hands often these days as I walk this razor's edge of figuring out when to speak and when to be silent, when to teach and when to allow Steven to roam on his own. I understand what she was telling me though, and it is not just with hands that a boy will become a man, but with his mind and his heart. I choose to approach this with a delicacy and an intention. I am his first love. I am his first relationship with his "other."

There are days that I can't schedule learning. It just arrives, and it's when the questions are lingering, the motivation and inspiration are there, I've found that (and this was a long time process for me) I must veer toward the thing he is asking, not the thing that I think he ought to be learning. He, as a man in the making, knows what he needs to know. His thought is directed by millions of years of purpose and determination. I choose to trust that.

When he began to ask me recently about the facts of life, I knew that math and social studies had to be put to the side. I realized he was basically asking the oldest question in the world, "Where did I come from? Why am I here..."

I easily answered a lot of his questions. There isn't anything in me that feels uncomfortable speaking with him about anything he asks, but I wanted him to know that he can learn on his own, too. Because the subject is so personal and I honor a person's natural modesty (that seems to me is so often ignored or exploited in this culture), I asked him if he would like to read a book about it, too, and he was eager. One with pictures, please :).

So, I offered him this book and I really recommend it to parents who have children who like quiet corners to read on their own as much as they enjoy discussion. It is for girls and just as much for boys, which is not always easy to find:

Steven Works Out

Steven started gym class with Q yesterday. It was a pretty intense experience because of the size of the class. I tried to count the kids, but all I figured out was that there were a lot of them. He misses his buddy Mason.

He was forlorn when he said, "Gym without Mason is like School without Mike in the Twilight books."

Oh. Ok.

... erm..., what?

Steven explained, "It's not the same without the showoff." Ahh, gotcha. But afterward, when I asked him how it went, he said he was hungry. So there you go. Life continues.

Here he is sweaty, with teacher, Q:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Steven Rolls

The week is going well so far, fitting in actual school has been a bit of a problem though. We are incredibly busy with life to figure out a time to sit down and do flash cards, but I found out that last week when I put it on the calendar we managed it much better. It's hard for me to get used to, and for Steven, as well. Academics...or at least scheduled academics has never been a priority for us. Steven just learned stuff. He woke up and he caught a whiff of something that would interest him and he'd learn about it. Great concept, but not great preparation for someone who wants to pursue a more organized approach to learning, like online schooling. I'm finding that there is really nothing wrong with this if it suits a personality and with Steven, we'll see how it goes. He does seem receptive to it and I'm fairly organized. We'll just put it on the calendar from now on.

Yesterday we met with some homeschooling friends to organize field trips and playdates. It was very nice and good to meet some new people and young friends. We have several volunteers and it looks like we're going to have some fun. We already have a pretty full schedule, but Steven wants to stay busy and see people, so here we are. How can I be anything but grateful? The kid is open and ready to adventure. Ok, little dude, I'm down.

First day of Steven's gym class starts today at the center.
I have work scheduled in the afternoon; and yes, math and spelling are scheduled, too. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Steven Wisdom

"Asking people on television to help you with a relationship problem is like asking a walrus to poop goat cheese."


Steven Cooks

Steven is learning to cook. He was going to take a cooking class at the rec center but it was canceled. I figure he can learn to cook at home just as well. Last week he made Apple Crisp. Today we made Chili:

Chopping jalapenos. He wanted to do it and I was like, Dude, are you sure? he was like, Oh I'll be fine mom. (He is at present blowing on his hot fingers and just put away a cold compress he had been applying to his face.) CALIENTE. Chop with caution:

Chili. Full of peppers, veggies, meat. Steven has decided he is going to be a vegetarian but this was after we made the chili. He said he wants to explore the idea that animals are his equal. Yes Steven, I understand, but you are not chopped up in a crockpot of chili:

Daisy, Steven's dog, who waits while he cooks. The kitchen smells amazing and Daisy is waiting for a taste...maybe.... (please...)..?

Steven Parties

Steven as "Bandito" with his cousin, Zack. This is at his grandpa's 75th birthday fiesta:

Steven Goes Fishing and Builds Stuff

I took Steven fishing one afternoon at an organized event at the local Metro Parks. He didn't catch anything, but had fun waiting:

And making friends with the bait:

Last week, Steven and I went to a science museum to sign up for Science and Art classes and we spent the day in the museum playing. We had the place almost entirely to ourselves for hours. We've spent quite a bit of time there over the years and they know us from homeschooling events so they let us roam freely. Steven is striking a pose for the Infrared camera:

Here he is taking a "cloud" class with one of the Senior education teachers:

And here is a piece of heaven for us: playing with Snap Circuits. We made an FM radio (Finally. This has been an ongoing challenge..). It was great because we had the sets all to ourselves and it hadn't been rifled through yet, so everything was neat and organized:

Steven Paints

Steven went to an art show where the work of some of his favorite artist friends and their children was displayed. Happily they set up an art table for the children to make their own artwork there, and here is Steven making a painting of his character, Dr. Octogonapus:

Steven Supports

Steven is here with his dad and sister after his dad ran a half-marathon. Steven finds great enjoyment in supporting his people and he is always eager for any adventure:

Steven Chops

Steven received his yellow belt in Taekwondo! Here he is with his dad.

Steven Blogs

This blog will consist mostly of photos of extracurricular and activities that Steven attends and enjoys. He is very funny and says very random things so I will include quotes and stories sometimes. I may include some academics for his teacher who assesses him, or for Steven to look back on to remember what he was studying (I don't remember learning in school, I just remember friends and the books I read), and then again, I may not. It depends on how it evolves.

Steven was born at home on July 4th, 1998. In America, this date is a celebration and a National holiday in recognition of the signing of a document called The Declaration of Independence which affirmed America's independence from Great Britain. On a smaller scale, for us, when Steven was born at 12:05am on July 4th it always seemed appropriate that Steven came to us on this day because he has always been an independent sort of person. But to explain, he is not obstinate or difficult or even rebellious; but he is naturally creative, interested (and very interesting), thoughtful and so curious. And hopefully this is not sounding platitudinous, but as I've searched myself over the years in getting to know him it's certain to me that Steven's the one person I know whose heart is truly free.

The ages of 11-12 has always seemed to me to be a magical time in the growth of a child, almost the epoch of childhood innocence, playfulness and curiosity. Not that it all goes down from here, it just changes; but I wanted to capture what I could of this brief occasion, and commit to being totally present to him while I am here in this time with Steven.