Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Steven Waits

Steven doesn't want to be home today. Although he is so sweet that he wouldn't show his displeasure with me, if he has any. He tells me the things that make him unhappy, but he is mostly so optimistic and patient that he sees or finds the bright side, in his own way.

He did say that he is really bored and wants to go outside and do something, but I'm having an "outside" issue today: It's really cold out there.

He said also that he wants to spend time with me (very nice, thank you, Steven :).), so he brought his laptop up here to be with me. Leaning back on his dad's pillow he is playing Roblox Builder's Club while I read. I have a Roblox account, too, but I'm not all that interested in playing it today. He's o.k. with that, too.

We also forgot to go to gym class today. So he missed that.

While it's not the ideal homeschooling situation (one complete with schoolbooks and paper), I do think it's a life lesson to learn to be accommodating to people and finding creative ways to still be together without being demanding of one another's time. It's a real give and take in relationship. I let him know that I'm a little burnt out and somehow he can relate to that. He finds empathy and allows me to be myself, yet realizes that I still need him close. It's a side-by-side experience of the most authentic kind.

I'm not capable of making demands of my children to be any more or less than their truest selves. I'm just not. I don't have a lot of set rules. I don't tell them what to do all the time. I give them lots of room for learning (sometimes hard) lessons and I definitely encourage them to stop and breathe and listen to their inner needs when they believe it's time. We all need time to think or even to... not think

I'm glad that they often allow me this same wide berth to be in whatever emotional space I seem to require. I also believe that as they develop and begin to understand the lapse of time better, they can understand that emotions aren't the things by which we use to navigate through life, emotions rise and they go as swiftly as the tide, but they are often flags to pay heed to, and help us to know when to slow down or speed up or, in my case, to anchor. I think I've got some mixed metaphor going on there, but, you get what I'm saying :).

So, a question might be posed to Steven,"What did you do today?" and his answer might be, "Nothing." And for us, that's o.k. And for him, he seems o.k. with that, too. But he did make a kind and loving choice to be a marvelous companion for his world weary mom who could curl up with him beside her and read books and listen to his little anecdotes* until the first sign of a warm day.

*("Hey mom. Did you know that Nick's dad had a sign posted over his garage that said, "Trepassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again?""
No, I didn't. That's a good one, Steven :))

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Steven Goes

And Momma waits.

But, wait. It's not as gloomy as it sounds because over the years mothers figure out ways to keep themselves busy while their homeschoolers are attending classes. We often carry multiple bags of crap wherever we go. These are mine:

There is always a snack of some kind and a water or juice box in one of them for the kid (it's a healthy snack, of course, because we have to keep up the appearance that our kids are eating healthily even though they are home all day and not receiving the typical "Type A" lunch -ugh- served at school. Which is mostly true for many of us, but for some of us oldsters, it's often not. After a few years, we just start to grab what's on the counter).

But, we also carry "things to do" so we're not idly sitting by, and often so we don't have to talk to anyone if we don't feel like it (It's true, don't say it isn't!). And since most of us are too smart for our own good, often these bags contain various creative or intellectual distractions. And these include things we can do while we are chatting with other mothers, or even things we can do if there is no one we know or someone we don't want to talk to.

Besides my purse, which inside is alllll the mystery of a typical handbag (I call my it my "Black Bag"), is my "Green Bag" and it contains my knitting or sewing, a notebook to keep track of stitches, and also, my sketch book. There are also colored pencils, regular number 2 pencils, and various pens I've stolen unconsciously. Right now in the Green Bag is the purple scarf I've been working on for a year, and the lavender baby blanket I started last Spring for my nephew's new baby who was born in August and who will be a year old (at least) before I get it to her. I can also find the drawing book that I received as a door prize for arriving early to a craft show (Yay!)...

....and what I've been using as a "Doodler." Yes, I started doodling and it's become an art form:

Done doodle:

Doodle in progress:

In my "Colorful Bag," the one with the little bird on it (this is a tote I made for my books and surprisingly that is what I use it for!), I can find the books that I'm currently reading or the books that are overdue at the library. Right now I'm timely, so these are just the books I'm reading:

And yes, there is always a magazine to save me from ADD moments when I couldn't concentrate on a paragraph in a book if I tried. "Real Simple" has a dual meaning in this case.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I signed on to fix some spelling and punctuation, but now I don't feel like hunting the culprits down.

It's a home day for Steven and me. I need to go to work everyday now, but he is reluctant to go with me at this point and I don't want to leave him to his own devices for hours at a time. I really encourage solitude for all my kids because I think extraversion is overrated, but I don't want him to feel out of the loop. I want him to know that I want him at work with us, and that there is a place for him there. He does like it sometimes when it's busy and his buddies are there (My brothers-in-law), but he gets bored because he's not quite old enough or mature enough to work on anything, and frankly, it can be dangerous. I do bring books, the laptop and various things for him to do, but he's a homebody and prefers his familiar.

Some people think we do him a disservice by keeping him somewhat insulated, but you know, I defend that by offering that he really has some good insight into things that comes from independent thought. He doesn't speak in catch phrases or cliche. His voice is his own ~ It's interesting. He can trust himself because he doesn't have adults in his life who don't trust him.

I read back over this and it sounds like I'm a bit defensive... which may be true. I might sometimes worry whether we are doing the right thing by him.

His brother Nicholas has said to me with some grief in his voice that he "knows too much." That we've taught him to "think too much" and it's troubling because he says there is no one his age who can understand him. I've heard this from other adult homeschoolers as well, that they are always on the periphery of their peers and feel like outsiders most of the time. Even though, I point this out to my young friends, they are often admired for the reason they feel different; people find them enigmatic and are drawn to them. I understand though, but, I also believe it is a fallout from being a young adult and that most young people feel this way either way, schooled or unschooled.

Ok, so I'm better now. The kid will be fine. And also, I am listening to Steven giggling his head off in his room where he quietly closed the door so is most certainly watching something on YouTube that I would disapprove of, but will keep my trap shut because his laugh is so reassuring.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Steven Holidays

So many pics, so little time. There are various photos here of Steven's December. We went away to a cabin in the hills like we often do and Steven hiked and played in the hot tub. He played Killer Bunnies and put together some snap circuits and his new Playmobils. Steven ate very well there and had lots of fun. Earlier in the month we went to a friend's house and made gingerbread houses. There's also a pic there of Steven with his friend, Orb and the cubes they made with their sewing teacher, Creatrix Jane. Oh! And for Christmas Steven got the suit he asked for. He likes to dress up. Recently he added a new shirt and tie to his assemble (not pictured).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Steven Continues, part 2

Steven also did a splendid job last month as The Lord-in-Waiting in the play "The Emperor's Nightingale." His drama teacher told him after the play when she was giving out accolades to the kids, she asked him what he thought The Lord-in-Waiting meant for The Emperor and Steven answered, "He needed him." And she said, "That's how this play was for us. We couldn't have done it without you."

Nice. And she can be a serious bitch, too, but, for some unknown reason my kids are drawn to her.

When I dropped Lea off to her first class with this teacher a few summers ago, we arrived just as the lady was screaming at all the kids to SHUT UP and hollering about how they better pay attention and to start UNLOADING THE PROPS because... WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET TO WORK!. Lea desperately wanted to stay. I turned to her, patted her shoulder and said, "Ok. So. Good luck then."

Steven Continues

This week Steven starts homeschool gym, his drama workshop, classes with Candace and Taekwondo. And, as far as organized learning we'll just continue with what we've been using so far: The "You wanna try this?" method. Somehow the kid keeps learning stuff, how can I argue with what seems to be working?

Last month Steven tested and received his Senior Orange Belt:

I can't seem to add anymore pics, but will try in a little while in another post.