I’m an idle parent, as I’ve said before. With four little ones, you have to be. I can remember doing a tour of private schools for Lucy back in the yuppie days. I was very excited about one school that talked about their “student-led learning.” I thought that was interesting for the kids. The teacher started the day with some ideas or themes and the kids ran with it as deeply as they wanted to understand. Though, I have a feeling they never explored the art of playing Lego StarWars all day in your jammies. But of course, you can take any topic and apply math, physics, science, art, computers, economics, reading or writing or what-have-you to it. As it turned out, I didn’t pay people for this privilege. Now that we’re out here on the farm, with so much to do and me not playing Polly Playdate or Activity Adiba, the kids have been thrown into the “student-led learning” deep-end. Today, like many days, the kids ran off and led themselves. My only role is to unblock them should they get stuck with a stapler or in desperate need of a really nice camera and oh yeah can you print my pictures that I took of each letter of the alphabet? –cuz I’m making a book. And let me tell you, when a kid gets blocked, anger ensues. Minty stapled her way off the edge of that big, white paper of calm. Those people who make staple refills have no idea how frustrating it can be when one of those staples gets stuck in Mommy’s red stapler. It drives kids to tears. Nothing will sharpen your multitasking skills like unblocking four projects while working on two or three of your own. Because when life gives you a big pumpkin, you must make pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and pumpkin purée before Mr. Pumpkin gets all moldy and yucky-like and fed to the chickens.
So they each made a book. I think Otto started the madness. Lucy’s was in French about a witch. She also set out to make chocolate soufflé. Her first soufflé. Which we agreed upfront would taste wonderful even if it didn’t do the whole soufflé thing. Minty’s was inspired by Blake’s 7 and entitled, “Vila Does a Hiding One and Says Something Silly.” If you know anything about Blake’s 7, this fundamentally describes every episode with Vila in it. Otto photographed the entire English alphabet in found objects. Most of the rounded letters were achieved through crackling (when life gives you a really big pig, you must make crackling). I have an acute fondness for his letter ‘i.’ After the books were published (i.e. stapled in firm, green paper), we all ate pumpkin pie. These are the crazy days. These are the days where you think, “holy crap what a lot of kids, what a lot of madness.” These are the days you will miss when they’re gone.
… oh yes, Zélie’s project this day was exploring the gravitational pull of smiling wood and plastic objects and their potential supersonic attributes.