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Posts Tagged ‘Bamboo’

Boredom simply cannot co-exist in a place like this:

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We are fully one week into summer vacation, and already we have tackled some of the most daunting of educational tasks set forth for parents – tasks not otherwise taught in the classroom, such as:

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Always a step ahead, I posted this on the fridge shortly after school dismissed. Just in case.

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A couple of trips to our fave local swimming hole have highlighted our first week of summer vacation. The pretty pink and green and peach beach bungalows line the street to the right and face the beach, and a short walk under the bridge toward the dunes takes you to the sea. Everyone’s so busy looking seaward, they often don’t see this little gem with clear waters and a swift current in the middle, but calm enough near the shore for children to play without worry. Tourists cannot be found here, but the best shells can, which get cast aside by the current along with fun fish and marine life to swim with. It is known as “the lagoon” to all but our three-year old, who begs daily to “go to the ‘goon.”

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We go back and forth between the sea and the goon in any given day. There was some nice surfing and boogie boarding to be had yesterday. I was going to post some of these yesterday for the Weekly Photo Challenge (theme: Today), but once we got home, we had four children to de-sand and we were exhausted. Phoo. I’ll have to find another picture for the Today theme. In the meantime, here’s my “Yesterday” theme:

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As a child therapist, I recommend children have no more than two hours per day of “screen time,” defined as any electronic activity, including video games, television, movies, computer, etc. “Educational” screen time is included in this limit. Excessive screen time changes the neurological pathways developed in children’s brains and inhibits their ability to master critical tasks such as delayed gratification, independent thinking, imagination and creative problem-solving. It also invites symptoms along the lines of ADHD, traumatic stress, anxiety, oppositional-defiance and various unwanted house guests.

Here is a picture of what our screen-deprived 13-year-old did with his free time his first week of summer vacation. He was reading a book about local edible plants over one of his uncountable bowls of cereal (he’s at that age, y’know), and rode his bike around looking to harvest elderberry, understanding that only the berries and flowers are non-toxic. He soaked the flowers and concocted a very yummy drink, and took the stalk and hollowed it out and made this, with the intention of making more and selling them at an outdoor market or crafts fair:

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Here I was, afraid he was going to saw off his arm when he took off out of the house with a sharp implement. And then he brings this beautiful instrument to me, concerned because he accidentally made the hole at the right too big and unsuccessfully tried to cover it with Scotch tape to make it sound right. It didn’t work. So off he went on his bike with the saw again, and this time came back with a big harvest of bamboo. Maybe that will work better than elderberry.

I’m curious how he hollowed it out, but I’m afraid to ask and just grateful he has all 10 fingers, got a good grade in algebra last week and that his garden is yielding awesome produce for us to enjoy. I will remember those things when he comes to ask me why his baseball jersey is not clean in time for the Monday night game when he forgot it was crumpled in a heap on the floor of his bedroom instead of tossed in the laundry basket….I will remember, having one math geek, one science geek, one special needs and one with a major-not-yet-declared, that some of the best learning happens hands-on and outside the classroom.

God, thanks for summer vacation, for creative pursuits and thinking outside the box. Thank You for children and the beach and “alternative education.” Help us to savor the days….God, thank You for teaching us all in Your own ways, for showing us that learning happens in a variety of ways and places and formats, not just where we expect it. Thank You for allowing us to transition from homeschooling to regular schooling and, for the summers, back to homeschooling. Thank You, God, that education is a lifelong process, no matter how old we are.

Oh, yeah…I was supposed to return to the small campus of a women’s university in Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains this weekend for my 25th college reunion. Was it worth instead being at the goon and engaging my children in non-classroom educational activities? Heck, yeah!!! (Who else would have assigned the 9-year-old sentences for making oral fart noises?!). Priorities…

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