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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tea and Buddhism

While I was online, Jalen woke up and said "the sun woked up, we play fisbee now?" He'd been wanting to play frisbee late last night but decided it was better to wait for the sun and some warmth....we cuddled and he told me that monsters go in your mouth when you "bleshoo" (bless you, which means a sneeze actually).We had a chat about monsters and where they go while Markus asked him questions about them.

Sierra was waking up out on the couch by this time. She helped me clear the mounds of laundry off the table and we had scrambled eggs, tea, toast and apples for breakfast. Nathan (schooled friend that stayed overnight because school was out for today) and Trevor wandered up a bit bleary eyed after staying up late playing Halo2. They wrestled with Jalen for a while and played with the hamster. After eating breakfast they took off downstairs again.

Markus came out of his office and took a break from working to eat breakfast with us stragglers. We sipped tea and talked about painting the main living areas. This led to a discussion of replacing the door that goes between the front of the house and the back, which involves replacing the entire door jamb and molding. One thing led to another, and pretty soon he was ripping off the molding so I wouldn't have to mask it. Jalen and Sierra jumped into the activity and helped him scrape the built up paint from around the edges. Jalen grabbed a nail and hammer and started "fixing" things.I told them they could help Daddy build decks when they get a little bit older. Markus says "oh no, I won't be doing that anymore" and Sierra says "Well I will"
"I thought you were going to do makeup?" Markus asks."Nope, I'm going to build decks" she answers. I interjected with "Hey, you can do both you know...and more."

We don't have much in a material sense, but these leisure mornings of tea and talk and family projects bring a peace and joy to our lives that no material possession could ever give. We have enough for what we need, but more time for connections than most anyone we know. That means everything to me.

They got done scraping all the molding and paint crud. Jalen started tapping a scraper with a screwdriver, making a triangle type of sound. "Do you like my song?" he asked. We sang "Jingle Bells" while he frenetically tapped.
They started fighting over a tape measure. Trevor walked in to use the bathroom and said "what the HECK?" over the missing molding and door jamb mess.
I couldn't find another tape measure (in a contractor's home??) so I handed Sierra a level and asked her to check stuff around the house while Jalen measured. He had moved on to hammering a wall anyway.
They both looked pretty interesting at this point, since they dug out sunglasses to use as safety goggles. With sheetrock flying, it was probably a good thing. Jalen smashed pieces of sheetrock on the floor while Markus filed. He's more talented at destruction at this point in life!

I finally got dressed around 1pm. We ran to the bank and Sams Club where Jalen found kites for sale. Picked out a colorful dragon kite which he proceeded to carry around the store swinging it in every direction. I kept trying to get it in the cart, but he insisted on carrying it. When Sierra and Jalen took off for about the fourth time, I decided enough was enough. We grabbed the last few things and headed out. The cashier was nicer than most and when Sierra asked me to push the buttons on the credit card machine, she offered her scanner and let Sierra help. Everytime something scanned, she got this big smile and started giggling. I wish everyone was so kid friendly!
Jalen needed pizza, so we stopped for a couple slices on the way out. They were big, gloppy slices that ended up mostly on shirts and faces. One more quick stop at Albertsons for ice cream, root beer and a few grocery items and we were done. One of the bags broke when I came down the driveway which resulted in a few broken eggs. I handed them to Jalen and Sierra to let them throw against a tree, they thought it was pretty cool.

All hell broke loose when I brought the groceries in..you'd think I starved everyone! Kate Woverton showed up right in the midst of all the chaos to pick up Nathan. Both Trai and Shai were here too, so it was pretty crazy. The dragon kite HAD to be put together right away...they tried running up the sidewalk to launch it, not the best way but they sure gave it a good effort.
Sierra went down to Shai's and the boys headed back downstairs, so it calmed down quite a few notches.
I got online to answer some emails while Markus was in back playing some Creed, Jalen was watching Ninja Turtles and Sierra created coffee filter art. Jalen joined her by throwing everything on the floor while Sierra yelled "QUIT!!"
We got things straightened up and figured out what to cook for dinner, which was a really good thing since the Armstrongs were coming over! Trevor really NEEDED pizza, so we ordered some Pizza Hut and started chicken and rice for non-pizza eaters. Sierra and Jared were helping me light the log for the fireplace and all the candles. This is a big deal since matches intimidate Sierra quite a bit.
As I was lighting the porch candles by my Buddha statue, company showed up. When the Armstrongs come over, we really TALK. Politics, religion, learning styles, relationships, art, creativity....you name it, we talk about it. Lots of fun and laughter ensues. Sierra got tired of all the talk though. I got out some paint and she spent the rest of the evening painting pictures happily and presenting them to me at the hearth, while I kept on chatting. She mixed glitter in with paint at one point, giving a textured finish. Very cool. Kate and the boys played Halo2 some, then hung out with us. Jalen slept most of the time.

After they went home, the kids started asking about family stories. We ended up telling them all about our move from California when we were first married...how we had to sleep at a rest stop one night and stories about when they were little. This went on for some time, because my voice was feeling pretty ragged. They wanted to see pictures of when they were younger and we pulled out two of our homeschool memory books. It was really fun to remenisce about all of our trips and fun learning adventures, also very inspirational as we haven't done much traveling lately. Jared fell asleep on the last album and after I walked away for a bit, Sierra crashed. They were squished together on one couch, sound asleep.

Trevor and I were left awake, talking about all sorts of things. He wanted to know about a discussion evolving at unschooling.com about the Not Back to School Camp in West Virginia...a gathering of unschooling teens. Somehow we got onto religion and he wanted to know about a quiz I took online that tells you which religious paths your beliefs match up with. So he took it and ended up with Unitarian Universalist at the top, same as mine. We talked about different beliefs we each had and all the places where he isn't sure what he believes. I personally think he's a buddhist in the making.:) We decided to go to the Unitarian church together sometime, since Unity hasn't really "clicked" for him like it has for me.

He's very at peace with himself, so unlike myself at that age. His beliefs or lack thereof aren't a point of concern, just another thing to learn about and another journey to be had in life. I'm a bit jealous. We talked about Margaret Starbirds research a bit and then I remembered that I'd rented "Cracking the DaVinci Code" and plan to watch it together tomorrow night. He shared many pieces of information on buddhism and enlightenment he'd picked up and how meditation can help calm your mind. I shared some things I'd learned in my buddhism class.We must have chatted for over an hour, it was so nice to talk without all the distractions. Jalen woke up and asked for some chips, which I brought to him in bed. Trevor got settled on the couch and I peeked in on Jalen, who was asleep again with the chip bowl next to his head. So cute! Time for some sleep, so I can keep up with these beautiful souls tomorrow!!

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