Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This week is off to a good start.  Three weeks back in to learning at home and we're establishing a pleasant rhythm.  The first two weeks felt like we were groping in the dark for the light switch, tentatively adjusting to the big idea that we didn't need to get up, make breakfast, get dressed and drive to another building across town, all before 8 a.m.  So not morning people we are.......not.  Right now it's 9:40 p.m. and I feel like I'm revving up for the day!  The teenager is also bouncing around (he's cleaning out cat boxes).  A nice soothing activity before one retires for the evening, yes?

Here are the two main reasons for the increased demand in cat box reconnaissance:

Squidge and Tova

Squidge and Tova are foster kittens from the city shelter.  They've been the teenager's charges for just over a week, living in his room, keeping him up at night.  These two are teaching him tremendous concepts like what's required to take responsibility for other living things, by paying a little more for nice-smelling litter, your room stays fresher longer, and, of course, how to stay up all night.  Six weeks old.  Total cuteness, sharp claws and stealth stalking topped off with tiny vampire bite marks all over your ankles (when they aren't biting each other, they are biting us).  It's really fun to hang out in his room!  S & T will be here for another week and then will be off to new life adventures.  We are doing our best to give them a safe place to test out their teeth and learn to appreciate humans.  Sweet babies, both of them.

After bandaging our bite marks yesterday, we watched this movie on Netflix:

It's an inside look at three game developers and the victories and trials they experienced bringing three independent video games from concept through design/programming to market.  Incredibly stressful (in a first-world sense) about sums it up.  The teenager was familiar with two of the three games and the developers and was thus enthralled with the movie.  He wore a permagrin the entire hour and forty four minutes.  I enjoyed watching him grin out of the corner of my eye knowing he was sparking on something, that we were hitting closer to home.  In the twenty-four hours since viewing this movie, he has researched all sorts of related topics from graphic design to gaming conventions to computer components.  I was inwardly horrified by the lack of daylight/exercise/any-activity-other-than-sitting-in-front-of-the-computer the developers exhibited.  All three pasty-faced guys had a penchant for fast food and other video games, too.  One of them had a cat, at least.  Listen to me.  I spend an awful lot of time in front of the screen.  The guys were incredibly talented and skilled.  It was fun watching them bring their dreams to fruition.    

What's interesting about this is that two years ago when we were homeschooling, I wouldn't have chosen this movie to watch with him.  He would have watched it in his free time when we weren't working on 'school' stuff.  A documentary on slavery or a movie based on a book we read would have felt like a better fit then, because I wanted him to learn about slavery, etc.  I doubt he even remembers the documentaries I steered him  toward.  He won't soon forget the Indie Game:  The Movie, though, because it connected with something he's already jazzed about.  That makes for a good fit and I'm starting to understand now.

Today was even cooler because he went to work with his dad and hung out with the computer guys all day.  They taught him how to build a computer and how to write a little code for Linux.  He came home, ate dinner and bolted for his room so he could continue more research on computer componentry and operating systems and pet the kittens.

Flow happens when you lose track of time and lose yourself in an activity.  That's what best describes the heart of unschooling.  I witnessed it yesterday and today.  Flow certainly won't happen everyday; when it does, step aside and GET OUT OF THE WAY.  Best advice I could ever give you.  Best lesson I am learning as a homeschooling parent.

*Although a good movie, it may not be appropriate for kids younger than 13 or so, or whatever age you deem best for your kids.  The developers, one in particular, are fond of colorful expletives and they are sprinkled liberally throughout the dialogue.  Know this before pressing play!

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