Friday, September 18, 2015

August-September update

A fragmented post on our kids' education, so I don't forget:

Deep thought on schooling the last couple of months was: environment matters a lot. It's so much easier to invest time and energy into the kids' learning when they've spent time outdoors and run around a lot (and where that didn't feel like an tiring investment on our part, as taking the kids to the park so often did). That is to say, our new home is a wonderful, almost surreal, place to raise Noah and Eli, and it's been more clear to us that they really do learn no matter what.

After a long break, Eug and I recently looked back on our goals for the kids for 2015:
  • Learning to swim
The idea was that this would guide how we spent time over the course of our days, weeks and months. Swimming was great in summer, but we reached our limit when winter came, and Noah and Eli were both fairly hesitant to put their heads under water with us. Recognizing that it was going to be a couple of months before it will be warm enough to swim in the ocean or outdoor pools, we decided to try swimming lessons down the road from us, in an indoor heated pool in a family home. Lessons are wonderful! It feels wonderful to see other adults investing in our kids, and interacting separately from us.
  • Learning to ride a bike
They're still using training wheels, but I think Noah and Eli might be able to go without the training wheels in a couple of weeks.
  • Praying/connecting with God
This is so hard to think about in a non-contrived way, but we're trying out talking about stories in the Bible. Right now, a lot of helping our kids connect with God seems to be related to admitting when I'm wrong, and apologizing. But I'm hoping we can practice praying together more in the next couple of months.
  • Reading
Our realization somewhere in the middle of the year has been that our kids may not be ready for structured reading lessons, but that we can focus on reading them really great books. So that's what we've been doing. It's not that we weren't doing that before, but I had a sense that I should try for more explicit and goal-oriented literacy for Noah, which I'm less concerned about for now. Anyway, here are some pictures that show our days a little more:

following toads around

catch and release

Our neighbour's dog lives with us, apparently... Here, he's trying to lick our baking bowl..
Noah's perspective on our farm. He goes around with the camera finding interesting things.

It's getting warm enough for the beach, but the wind is a bit crazy.

Eli spends a lot of time posing.

Our neighbour's dog managed to kill this giant Cape Dune Mole Rat. We kept it in our house for about 24 hours, which I think counts as some kind of science project. Then we buried him underneath an apple tree...

Noah's perspective on mole ratty.

Physical exam.
A moving burial...
Eli can actually move the wheelbarrow, if it's not too full. Hooray, another apple tree!
 We've started baking and cooking more together, now that our kitchen is settled and I'm less stressed. The kids love stuff where there's a real output, and real danger. So chocolate covered raisins and strawberries won their time on this occasion:

Cardboard airplane.
Another one of the goals we had for this year was for both kids to be able to ride without training wheels. We didn't get terribly far yet, and the kids' bikes were stolen from my parents' garage. So we recently bought them a bike to share, and they've been riding every day (with training wheels) up and down the street, and most recently, inside our (broken) reservoir. 

Lastly, the kids got a bed-- made by Eug. Lots of storage and generally awesome. The baby's bed rolls out at the bottom. But it turns out if you don't give your kids a bed for, like, their whole lives, and then suddenly you do, they're too excited to sleep. May it be short-lived...


Susie said...

Looks amazing. Wish we could visit you again!

Susie said...

Looks amazing. Wish we could visit you again!

Concrete Gardener said...

I wish you both could visit again, also! Maybe before you return to the UK, you should have another holiday here =)