Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The State of Things

After being absent all summer (and spring, and winter), the sun has finally come out. When it gets high enough to shine over the trees. Not entirely coincidentally, I recently decided to scuttle school in the mornings in favor of going outside. I needed more fresh air. The twins needed more activity in the morning, or they failed to fall asleep until 4:30 in the afternoon, and then had to be woken for supper, and it went downhill from there. The hard part has been persuading the big kids (OK, D1 mainly) that the great big world out there is in fact equally if not more interesting than that of books and drawing.

The main culprit in the aversion to outdoors has been the spiders. This has been an unusually good year for spiders, and for most of September one could hardly take a step outside without getting entangled in a web. Cars parked overnight would sport webs in the morning, sparkling over the slug trails.

As a counterbalancing measure, we read Charlotte's Web and Spiders by Seymour Simon and learned to identify and distinguish them, but academic interest could not entirely overcome the icky sensation of an unexpected face full of web. But the spiders are starting to die off with the advancing fall, and there are compensating activities: raiding the last of the raspberries and huckleberries; making stone soup; spotting rare squirrels, heron nests, and gopher snakes giving birth.

At the same time, the Washington Bar rule change finally became effective and I can qualify for active status again if I take 45 hours of continuing education; half of that has to be live. Then another fifteen hour class for good measure. Fortunately webcasts count as live classes for the first requirement, but even so getting it all in over the next two months so I can be active at the beginning of next year will be daunting. It also looks like the legal research I've been doing will be picking up, for another 15-20 hours a month. Which doesn't seem like that many hours on paper, but it does when someone wakes up early from naptime.

And school? Well, they taught themselves to read last year, so we're already ahead of the game. Why rush matters? They have their whole lives to be chained to desks; best to get them out and running while they still can. Besides, I still hold the best and simplest method of education is to leave a child idle in the presence of heaps of books. It worked for C. S. Lewis and Samuel Johnson. And, less illustriously but more practically, for me. Why not the ducklings?


Rachelle said...

The sun has been beautiful! Definitely best to be outside. Sadly, mine are sick. And the research bears you out...Unschooling at this age produces better results later. Even though I know this is true, I remind myself often when life is too busy to even contemplate a normal school schedule. It helps with the guilt. And I don't have to do 45 hours of CLE in the next couple months.

Wendy said...

So happy things are picking up. Sun helps, doesn't it? I second (third?) the do outside while you have the sun. We are doing the same here after the horrid hot weather and before the horrid cold weather.

My family comes from Washington and I miss the huckleberries and the salmon berries. Oooh, and the waterfalls! And the big trees and mountains and stuff! Not so much the spiders and slugs, I must admit.