I haven’t posted here in well over a year, but I’m back, and looking to get back to documenting our lives a bit, and talking about what education is, and can be.
The major reason for the hiatus was that at the end of 2012′s summer full of loveliness, we came down to Boston from our home in Vermont to spend time with my Dad while my Mom got a break from caring for him, and discovered just how much help they needed. We started looking for housing and work immediately, and began our move to Boston in October, moved all winter long, and finally sold our Vermont house in July.
Notice how that encompassed the entire school year? Yup. Thank goodness that I have three little autodidacts here, and that they had already learned how to use Google, and that 2/3 of them already knew how to read well enough to use it. We dove into workbooks for sprints between Uhauls, took great field trips when we had the opportunity to do so (Bunker Hill, Dead Sea Scrolls, Aquarium, North Carolina to see family, etc), and, generally, they grazed as they liked, and learned TONS. (Remind me to tell you about Big D’s and my conversations about flight mechanics!)
Biggest influence on their education this year, aside from the chaos of the move, has undeniably been Minecraft. Santa and Uncle George thought they’d like it, so we each have an account, and we all love to play together, doing collaborative work, building near one another, rescuing each other from skellie snipers… like you do. The kids started watching YouTube videos about the game, then Big D started using them like video encyclopedia of the game, searching for how to do cool things she’d heard about, then watching over and over until she nailed it (things like redstone wiring), and back into the game she went, and still goes, nine months later. Beara took Minecraft to a more social place, wanting to chat, decorate, and watch videos of her favorite Minecraft hero, Cupquake. Beara is begging me to help her make her own gaming videos now, and we’ll see. Buddy loves running around, helping out, but isn’t very good at acquiring his own resources, preferring to get them from the rest of us. Great environment for us all to interact in, though, and I think I talk to Big D more in chat now than I do in actual speech! Anyway, more on Minecraft later; this has been an incredible educational sandbox for them to play in, and I have a lot to say about it!
So, here we are. Had we been public schoolers, today would have been Buddy’s first day of Kindergarten. A rite of passage for him, at least by mainstream standards, as well as one for me; bundling my last baby off to school. Both Beara and Buddy will be taking one class a week at our local public elementary school; music for her, art for him. (D has opted out.) Being part of a school at all will be new for us, but this way we can wade in, and test the waters, rather than jumping – or being thrown! – into the deep end of public education. We’re having public school a la carte, so to speak, and I’m optimistic that we’ll like it.
We don’t start wading until next week, but we began some back-to-school dining last night; we had some public schooling neighbors over for a relaxing ice cream party last night. Both parents had hit different, overcrowded malls for last minute stuff all day, so they needed it more than the kids did! The kids, K-6, had fun being kids together, and we parents chatted about anything and everything BUT school. Their kids are now off in first day outfits, doing all that First Day stuff, while Daddyman is off at his first non-orientation day of his new job, Buddy and Beara are both still fast asleep at nearly 10 AM, Big D is watching a video about a game that she says is like Minecraft, but with asteroids, and I’m here, writing about this last year, and dreaming about the coming one, excited that, yet again, I get to spend it with my kids, watching all of us grow.