Sunday, March 30, 2014

Open Symphony

One of the great things about the city (close to the little town where we live) is their free symphony orchestra program for kids.  About 4 times each year, the kids (and their lucky adult accompanist) are invited to meet one of the musicians, learn about the instruments, and attend half of the concert.  It is just the right amount of classical music for kids - long enough to relax into and enjoy, but not so long that they get antsy or bored.  Today we heard Mozart - Symphony No. 40, Mahler - Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, and Wallace - Acacia Street.  And did I mention it is FREE?  This is the third year that we have attended, and although William and Charlie are definitely the oldest kids there, we all still enjoy it.  I wonder if I can still bring them when they are teenagers?  Because, really, free symphony tickets are all good with me.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

On expectations, and Yellow Stripes

The boys thoroughly enjoy soccer, swimming and hiking all summer long, but we haven't traditionally done as good a job of finding ways to stay active in the winter months.  After all, in my mind the best part of winter is the whole fireside-book-tea-and warm blanket scene.

This past fall, William and Charlie decided that karate might be interesting, and they both joined a club that meets in town.They have been loving it, and now that I have gotten more accustomed to watching them sparring, I am enjoying it, too.  Their Sensei is great woman that they both hated after the first night, and have loved ever since.  She is strict, holds high expectations of them, and doesn't tolerate any silliness for the kids (or the parents either, for that matter).

 She has reinforced to me how great a disservice we do to children by assuming that they are incapable.  Of course children are, well, children.  They have had only limited years of life experience, may not be clear on the social expectations of different situations, and have less experience in managing their energy and impulses than most adults.  But not knowing what is expected is a completely different spot to be in than not being able to comply.  The first few classes with Sensei, the boys were hesitant, a bit confused, and sore from the extra push ups that she hands out when the kids miss step.  Rather than being turned off by the experience, though, they both noticeably focused their attention on figuring things out.  They were all eyes and ears, watching and listening to Sensei and the other students until they picked up on the expectations regarding their behavior that were clear, although not clearly spoken.

By not stopping the class and explaining things to the 'new kids', Sensei communicated to them her faith in their ability to figure things out on their own.  Her approach shifted the focus from confidence in her abilities as a teacher, to their abilities as students.  It is a subtle shift, but one that came across loud and clear to the boys.  They both approach their karate practice and their involvement in class with a whole different level of respect and maturity than I have seen in other clubs or classes.  It shows up in everything that they do there, from helping out the  new, new kids, to the respect and deference that they offer Sensei and the more advanced students.  Most importantly, it shows up in themselves - in the confident way that they hold themselves, and the attentive way that they take direction and practice their new stances and moves.  The bar was set high, they reached it, and they know it.

Two very proud new yellow-stripe belts.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Missing This Space...

I can't believe that my lost post was in June of 2013.  I know it has been a while, but seriously!  I have been missing this space a lot lately, partly because it is such a nice way to log what we are up to and to keep connected to family and friends far away.  I also realize that, on those days when work, busyness, and life as a whole draw me away from our homeschooling journey, this space reminds me how much our learning happens all of the time, regardless of what I do (or don't do) to orchestrate it. 

So, I hope that you will forgive the huge chronological gap in postings, and bear with me as I try to catch up!

What's so fascinating, and frustrating, and great about life is that you're constantly stating over, all the time, and I love that.
~Billy Crystal

Friday, December 6, 2013

Go Storm, Go!

Great night out to a Guelph Storm Hockey game with the boys and their Cubs pack.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Raptor Encounter

Raptor encounter at Mountsberg Raptor Centre - a behind the scenes visit (thanks to my wonderful sister Bonnie who works in the Avian and Exotics department of the University of Guelph Veterinary Teaching Hospital and has some great connections).  The boys had a chance to see the housing, feeding, and care facilities of the center, meet some of the staff, and learn about the eagles, hawks, vultures and owls.  The highlight was, of course, being able to take turns visiting up close with a screech owl.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Little Alice

William has been loving spending time with his 10th Birthday present, Alice.  It has been a great learning experience for all of us about the differences of adopting a puppy as opposed to an adult dog, but she is well worth the effort (most days, anyway).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beautiful Finds

William has been enjoying the time he and Alice (his new-ish puppy) spend going for walks together and today when they came back he had a beautiful little find with him.  He and Charlie spent a fair bit of time sitting at the kitchen table checking out this moth, looking it up in the field guides, noticing how 'furry' it is, and just admiring its beauty.  Whenever something like this happens I am reminded of a study I once heard / saw (can't remember where or who it was by) noting that most people can easily identify over 100 common brands, but cannot identify even 10 species of trees that grow in their own neighborhoods. I am trying to shift that focus a little bit for our family.  How beautiful our world is, if only we take the time to look at it.