• Malialani Dullanty

October Learning Club

Why interest-lead learning isn't more widely done baffles me. My children are, obviously, saints and they never raise an eyebrow at me, much less their voices, but let me tell you - the one thing we actually never fight about is school and/or school work. My kids never tell me they hate learning, which was definitely one of Rory's preferred comments when he was in Kindergarten. They love reading, writing, building, drawing, painting, math (dear god, please let my son do math equations in his head and not out loud), science, biology, anthropology, history, geography, and everything else you could imagine.

Rory is "at grade level" or above in every possible subject and is a truly talented artist. Jinora knows her alphabet and numbers and has a deep passion for dinosaurs.

So the adventures continue.

Blessed is the day when all the other kids go back to school. Suddenly the parks and beaches and museums are all empty and my ambivert heart rejoices. And oh, the glorious Story Time starts back up again! Ms. Sharon makes my kids laugh and wiggle and be silly once or twice a week, after which the children rejoice at having the opportunity to play on computers and pick up books and movies.

Sticky Sticky Sticky Bubblegum = LIFE

We discovered the Life On Earth books several weeks ago when Jinora demanded we get EVERY dinosaur book from the Animals section and have now requested all of them from the Library system. I think they will end up being ones we purchase. Page after page full of facts about Dinosaurs, the Ocean, the Jungle, Space, and more - plus there are flaps. Can we just talk about if there were flaps in every books, children would never complain about reading ever again? Something about the joy of flipping the flap up and discovering what's underneath is just so satisfying to them.

Jinora spends at least an hour every day with these books all by herself. She loves figuring out which dinosaurs ate meat and which ones ate leaves. She lives to tell me about Piranhas and Electric Eels. The words cannot come out of her mouth fast enough as she describes to me in detail the different theories about why the dinosaurs went extinct. Then she asks to watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom... again.

Rory loves his comic books. But lately, he is specifically finding books he is able to read, going into the "early reader" section and finding books with 1's or 2's on the cover. Sometimes telling me that the number system is dumb because "This 3 book is way easier than that 1 book, Mom. Why isn't it consistent?" Smart kid. Smart smart kid.

This month has been beautiful, which means I don't have very many pictures. When it's Summer, you remember to take photos because the weather just IS nice. But in the Autumn cold, you hold onto the sunlight as if it were gold. Jinora learned to ride a pedal bike without training wheels, because, you know, she is 3 going on 10. Rory is back into running as fast as The Flash. Both of them adopted the tiny little weeping maple in our backyard, trimming away the under branches to make them a house - complete with a dowel they hang their binoculars on. There is a medical kit, in case of emergencies, and lots of other things I don't understand, but I love that they have.

Obviously, October is when Fall gets into full swing for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. And it is. The leaves are glorious and have provided numerous crafts and activities for us. We made "pumpkin catapults" with a small group of other homeschoolers and went on so many hikes I can't count them all. And then, there is Muertos.

Tis the season.

Paper ghosts and pumpkins, skeleton heads and grave stones, witches and black cats are sprinkled across every window on the bottom floor of our house. There are window clings in the doorway windows, painted pumpkins on the stoop (some that were apparently too pretty to paint), squash and dried Indian Corn displayed neatly all over the house, singing skeleton bowl of candy. And, of course, a Muertos altar with candles and skulls, flowers and tiny skull lights, pictures of our dead and cookies. So many cookies.

Before you ask, yes we celebrate Halloween and our children DID Trick-Or-Treat last night (let's start calling it something else, please? No one "tricks" anymore. You get arrested for that now. People have "age limits" for kids to go door to door because we live in a fascist country and the last time I saw toilet paper on a house, it was done by a church youth group to raise money............) - but it isn't our priority. Because Muertos is so infinitely better. Three days of partying versus one night of candy? Please.

Our darlings are Spiderman and The Little Mermaid for the next several days, because those are the costumes they chose at Costco in August - you know, when costumes come out. Jinora wanted to be Wonder Woman, but all the ones in her size were sold out. Obviously, I should have been more on top of it and purchased the kids costumes back in July.

I suppose I should be thinking about Christmas shopping as well.

I love Fall. I love the leaves and the hikes with the kids. I love the cups of hot cocoa with my kids and the snuggles on the couch while we watch so many terrible episodes of Scooby Doo I think I might die. I love warm days and the cold nights. I love the heavy rain and the frost mornings. This October has been about all of those things. Just being with my littles. There is nothing specific we have learned (except so much information about dinosaurs), nothing specific we are "studying," not even anything specific the kids are diving into. Just life.

And this is the perfect time for that.




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