My Cup Runneth Over…

As a mom there are many, many times if you wonder if you are doing okay. If you are guiding your children in the best way and if you are showing your love and understanding. You wonder if they will be happy and love life, if you have instilled a sense of wonder, joy and belonging.

Mother’s Day is a day of reflection. A day where mom’s are honored for their time and dedication. Today I talk with, watch and listen to my 3 kids and I am in awe of who they are as little people and am proud to be their mom. Not because I am doing an amazing job, 100% of the time, but because they are truly amazing, loving and fun little guys.

I started off this week telling people that one of the things I miss about my children not going to public school is that they don’t make the cutesy mother’s day crafts that I could proudly display on my ianmantle or fridge. That I didn’t get a tangible token of their love and proof that I was a good mother. I wanted, and in some sense needed, the validation. But what I got was so much more.

I got to spend time with my 3 little men and tell them how much I loved them. In return they gave me the best gifts ever…their love in return.

Yes, my 9 year old did make me a necklace (and a beautiful one I might add!). But it was a stone he picked out just for me at a rock show and created it with the help of his dad. It was his idea and a unique gift that wasn’t forced on him to make because all the other kids were making one too. I will treasure if forever. Not only because it is beautiful but because he is so proud of it himself. He even, personally, put it on me this morning to make sure I would wear it. He loves it and so do I. I also got to walk him to his friends this morning. He talked enthusiastically about birds and bees (the real kind), their hives, nests, colors, differences between males and females and he held my hand as he did. My cup runneth over…

My 5 year old gave me owenkisses and hugs. He helped his dad make me some chocolate covered strawberries and made sure to keep a couple for himself because he LOVES strawberries. That I even got one is a true testament of his love. He showed me that he is happy and learning. As a homeschooling, and specifically unschooling mom, this is enough validation for Mother’s Day for me! He spontaneously started doing adding and subtracting with his toys, strawberries, forks, etc. “Mom is this 4 plus 4?” (4 toys in one line and 4 in another). “And that makes 8, right?” And numerous other similar examples. We made Perler Bead Yoshi eggs together and Minecraft diamond swords. And I got to witness him enjoy a completely unhealthy, bright blue, bubblegum ice cream cone. His laugh is loud and contagious. His love of life is so apparent. My cup runneth over…kellan

My 2 year old…well he is just so cute! He is constantly giving me kisses and hugs and blowing kisses when he says goodbye and darts around the house on this plasma car. He dances when he hears music and tells me new things with more words every day. Today’s new word…strawberry. He says “please” and “thank you”. He, just now, gave me the biggest, most beautiful smile and huge hug. Sure he often makes messes, locks doors and gets into EVERYTHING, but now, having 2 older children, I have learned to relax, guide him safely and to see the learning and curiosity he has about life. The world is his oyster. He still comes to me with his “owies” to kiss. My kiss, my arms, can make everything better. I cherish this time. My cup runneth over…

And I can’t forgfamilyet my husband. His support and love for his family is amazing. He follows along in my crazy dreams and trusts my instincts and intuition. He builds us great things (he built our house!), works harder than anyone I know and still shows his family love…I am eating some amazing french toast this morning courtesy of my dear husband. This guy is my partner in life, love, business. He loves me for everything I am and for everything I am not. My cup runneth over…

So today I realize that I do not need a class project on my fridge, I have the real thing. I have so much love, understanding and I realize I am a lucky, lucky girl. I have the privilege of having these amazing people in my life who call me the mom. My cup runneth over…


Minecraft Marathon

My son has been immersed in minecraft for the good part of the past 7 months. Being a “new” unschooler it was, I admit, really hard. It was hard for me to give him the freedom to immerse himself in something that he enjoyed so much bleaping iansecause of the constant reminders of how “awful” of a parent I was for not limiting his screen time, for not controlling his server access and for not hovering over him and okaying every new friend he met and chatted with on skype.

I can hear it now…

“How do you know he is safe?”

“What about the possibility of becoming addicted?”

“What about the neurological consequences?”

“What about the __________________ (fill in the blank)”

Have I thought about all of these, yes. Have I worried about all these at one point or another, yes. Did I choose to let fear take over and control my, and his, life? No. But it was a struggle. It really, really was. I didn’t discuss how much time he spent online. Many of my peers have strict controls on screen time and I understand that desire, I really do. I still don’t think that being in front of a screen during all waking hours does the body or brain any favors. Although I also do not believe that having some time to be learning through technology and video is as bad as some believe.

I did, however, choose to trust my child. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t voice my concerns, point out the effects of being online a lot. I reminded him of what frequent hours of being on the computer could do to his health and ian squimwell-being or point out the things he was missing in the rest of the world. But I chose to give him information, and let him choose. (as a disclaimer I still believe it depends on the age and maturity of the child)

7 months later…he is done. 7 months! He still loves minecraft but he is ready to embrace new experiences, to be diving into some new interests in his life. He will continue to play minecraft and I am thankful for that because he really has benefited from the game in many ways. Just some of the things he has learned:

1) Spelling. Spelling was a struggle for us for the past 2 years. He HATED writing and never seemed to care or want to spell anything correctly. He is now not a perfect speller but he is so much better. And I never had to open a worksheet. Yay!

2) Reading. His reading has become much more fluent and his vocabulary has increased. (Yes including some not so great “vocabulary” I admit)

3) Social skills. He has a whole new set of friends. He has favorite skype friends who accept him and are like him. He doesn’t have to change who he is to belong somewhere. His self confidence has bloomed.museum

4) Geography. He had friends from all over the world. On Christmas he was skyping with a kid from Australia. Yesterday he was skyping with a girl from Britian. Not to mention he met his “best” minecraft friend from Canada and other cool kids from all over the USA.

5) Computer knowledge. He know knows how to navigate around a computer more easily and although I still help him with things he knows how to research where to find information. I don’t know how many times he has come to me wanting me to help him with a mod or a server and just places the computer in front of me. “Mom here is a  youtube video on how to do ___________. Can you help me with it?” I know he could probably do it himself but he has been told to minecraftnot download anything on our shared computer, just to be safe. If it was his own, he most likely wouldn’t even “need” me.

6) Eventually he learned that he has the choice. He really immersed himself in the game for quite a long time. He learned how to build amazing things, how to cooperate with his friends and how to simply walk away from kids who did not treat him nicely. And yes, there are some, not so nice kids on minecraft.

I didn’t just leave him unattended to discover this new joy. We talked about internet safety. I got involved and interested in what he was doing. Heck I even knitted a creeper hat! I helped, at first, to navigate through social hiccups. I helped him spell words and figure out rules.

Although it fplantseels like ALL he did was play minecraft for 7 months. When I look back this is what I see. He also still played soccer, downhill skiied, traveled half way across the US and Canada, saw Mount Rushmore, watched the whole series of Liberty Kids on DVD, listened to my US citizenship questions and answers over and over in our car, participated on a swim team, read, played with friends, jumped his bike off of ramps, went to museums, watched his favorite animal planet and discovery television shows (ya ya…more screen time), hunted, fished…and more.

But, really, minecraft really wasn’t so bad. He found a place he loved to be, for awhile.

Now onto new adventures! Let’s just hope it isn’t snake breeding like it was last Spring! Although we are attending the Seattle Reptile Expo next weekend…