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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......

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Midnight tea

As we were winding down the day, I offered Jalen and Sierra some toast and tea before we went to sleep. Jalen got all excited about tea (we only drink it daily!) and ran into Sierra's room to retrieve the miniature "tea party" set. They laid out their special placemats and tea things, pouring sugar and cream into appropriate china.
It was midnight.

I sat there with two happy children, enjoying their musings and conversation, thinking about what I would miss out on if bedtime was more important than impromptu tea parties. After the tea and toast ritual, they were ready to go lay down...just tired enough to honor my need for sleep.

Earlier, Jalen had poured 1/2 and 1/2 into a baby bottle and fed his bear. It's interesting that he even knows what a bottle is for, having been nursed as long as he was! This particular bear gets a lot of nurturing (as do his many "pets") in the form of clothing, feeding and getting carried just about everywhere. He also ironed several of his T-shirts with the children's iron (circa 1970's) they keep with the doll paraphenalia. This sweet boy of mine loves putting makeup on Sierra and I, often insisting on giving me a makeover right before bed!

I can't help but think that school, with it's many insidious social messages, would cause him to feel shame about some of the things he loves. Ironing, bottle-feeding baby bears and applying make-up would not be well recieved topics of conversation amongst the average 5 year old boy. Not even in today's "tolerant" culture. We've got a long way to go if we are going to really be a tolerant society....in the mean time, I will do everything I can to allow him free exploration of all that interests him.

It wouldn't be any kind of issue that Sierra loves to use power tools or wants to do traditionally "masculine" activities. But if a boy enjoys anything "feminine", heaven forbid. It's sad. I wonder how many little boys hide their true feelings for fear of ridicule. What is it that people really fear? A boy that can iron clothes, feed a baby, act nurturing...gee, sounds like a good partner to me!

They just finished up another tea party and are back outside in the light dusting of snow we got last night. It's been warm, almost spring-like until yesterday. They're thrilled to get more snow, even a mere inch. Jalen dressed his bear in warm clothing and they headed outside together. Trevor and Jared only lasted a few runs down the hill and decided it was too cold.

Sierra insisted I go sledding with her first thing this morning, so I've already had my morning exercise. I should run up and down that hill everyday, it'd sure keep certain muscles tight! Anything to fight gravity at this point in life. It seems to affect certain body parts more than others...what's up with that anyway? :)

4 Comments:

Blogger Louise said...

Hi Ren, I have tagged you on my blog for the 4 things meme. Basically you can answer questions with your 4 things. If you wanna do it, have a look at mine on my blog. It is friendly :o)

5:32 AM  
Blogger Sandra Dodd said...

Socialization, that thing people think homeschoolers will all miss, involves (among other things we don't like to talk about so much) increasing the differences between males and females, and between children and adults. Cultures often tend to emphasize and enhance natural differences to exaggerate them. Women DO shave their armpits and legs; men do NOT. Women SHOULD have long hair, men should not. Hair grows the same on both (heads anyway) so all that cutting and shaving is to widen the gap.

I love seeing what children will naturally do if they're not herded toward their gender-edge of the world, and liked hearing of Jalen's interests.

The adults your children will be someday long from now will probably have sweet visions of midnight tea parties.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Sandra Dodd said...

Socialization, that thing people think homeschoolers will all miss, involves (among other things we don't like to talk about so much) increasing the differences between males and females, and between children and adults. Cultures often tend to emphasize and enhance natural differences to exaggerate them. Women DO shave their armpits and legs; men do NOT. Women SHOULD have long hair, men should not. Hair grows the same on both (heads anyway) so all that cutting and shaving is to widen the gap.

I love seeing what children will naturally do if they're not herded toward their gender-edge of the world, and liked hearing of Jalen's interests.

The adults your children will be someday long from now will probably have sweet visions of midnight tea parties.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

What a wonderful entry. We often have impromptu parties before bed- usually at midnight or so. Most people are horrified that I don't force my kids into bed at 7pm. I can't even imagine...

12:35 PM  

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