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Monthly Archives: April 2013

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as unschoolers and members, we were invited to preview the new exploratorium down on the embarcadero at pier 15. we were there from 10:30am until 2pm and saw about 1/4 of what there is to see, if that?! as we walked onto the main drag an “explainer” walked up to us and handed us a pair of mirror glasses. when you wear these you feel as if you are walking on the ceiling – a change in low to high clearance makes you feel like you are walking over a cliff. the girls loved them and were immediately making sounds of frightful glee. this was only the beginning of a jam-packed day of exploration through a maze of new and old exhibits. we saw our homeschool teacher ken finn touring a group of press folks around – there is a chance we might even end up in the june issue of sunset magazine. “hey, look at this!” was the mantra of the day. they have a tinkering studio, a biology laboratory, a freshly fallen 330 year old tree, a library full of books, a learning center, crazy mirrors, 3D glasses, a stop-motion animation studio, a colorless room, a rupe goldberg-like station, and a model of san francisco/pingpong ball track made out of toothpicks that took 37 years for the artist scott weaver to make – and the list goes on. we highly recommend a visit (or twelve). we are so happy to call this amazing resource our “school”. we cannot wait for the homeschool program to start up again – until then, we will no doubt spend many hours getting to know their beautiful new digs.
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my sister sent this via post for viv and ida moons ago. we unearthed it a few days ago – it had literally been buried and not seen since it’s arrival. as a result, we had not yet realized how great the book was!

i now believe it’s immediate disappearance was the work of some benevolent force – one that knew we were not yet in need of it’s contents. this book came to the surface three days ago – april fool’s day! however, we did not read it right away, we waited a whole 24 hours.

coincidentally viv spent the afternoon/evening of april 2nd until midday on the 3rd wanting to return to school. her desire came through a flood of emotion and tears – we listened – we were ready to adjust to accommodate her – it was the first time this had happened since we decided to stay home. since we had been having an amazing time (from my perspective) i was shocked and felt like i had missed something completely – so i acted right away and emailed her teacher and head of admissions from the charter school she attended….out of curiosity was her spot still available, had it been filled?

that night in bed i leaned over to the night stand and grabbed randomly from the sea of books – a beautiful red and iridescent UNBORED. this was totally unintentional for i knew not what it contained. i just started to read – we were all tired and a bit sad. as the words spilled out, i could not believe how perfect the book was for the moment. a sort of manifesto for unschooling. i was a little self-conscious of pressing this on viv, so i stopped and asked if we should read something else. no, she definitely wanted me to continue. we read from page 10 to page 31.

we woke up the next morning and viv was still thinking about returning to school. still determined to have her way. i took her very seriously and continued to adjust mentally and offer my support. we waited all morning for a response from the school – nothing. just after 3pm viv came to me again, really wanting to talk. one of her closest friends was over, so i was a bit surprised she wanted to talk. we found our own space to do so and she told me she had changed her mind. she said that the reason she had been feeling this way was because she felt like the only one who was not in school. she felt “weird” being the only one. we talked about how neither choice was perfect. we also talked about how it can be difficult doing things differently than everyone else. she remembered out loud what she did and did not like about school. in the end, she realized that she was choosing once again to stay at home.

i do not base her entire decision on the book. i know she is actively getting to know who she is and what she feels. she is learning how to decipher and decode all the input and put it into a language that makes sense to her. that said, UNBORED offered us yet another reminder about how important it is to have a strong foundation in the way you live your life. this book speaks to how i want to live my life. i can only hope that my girls will feel the same: “explore the world, test your limits, dare to be different, have fun, get unbored” and “use the world or the world will use you” – among other things.

it also introduced me to another family who has paved the way for us – helen cordes and eric selbin – i have put a link to their manifesto under my influences. their daughters are now in college. they chose to keep them out of school for reasons quite similar to our thinking.

language is such an important part of community. this book reminded me of the community i belong to. while not necessarily tangible day to day, very easy to access through the written word. (thank you sister!)

at dinner last night we heard from the school. there would be room in the class next year for second grade and she could get on the waiting list. i told viv.

“nope. no way. i am an unschooler.”