Sunday, October 17, 2010

an ending and a beginning

Today saw…

us saying good bye to our house guest

who managed in one short week to

• almost break his arm doing jumps on his bike

• fall into a creek just before tennis (which he then played, left handed and dripping wet)

• go on a hike where he…

ran down a very very very steep hillside

swung from vines (so that everyone else had to swing from vines…).

and looked at a view.

He also managed to

• play hours and hours and hours and hours of piano (left-handed) and drums (left-handed).

• teach my boy two new piano pieces, composed by him

• be outwitted (but only barely) by me in countless games of Abalone (well, I counted, and it was 8 games, of which I won 5)

• swim and dive and frolic (when his arm was better) two days in a row (which meant my kids swam and dove and frolicked too)

• help my kids make a board game for my husband's birthday…

which involved planning, designing, discussing, inventing, enjoying, laughing

and which my husband loved
(that's my husband concentrating because the game is complicated!)

• give my girl's soft toys whole new personalities

(like her favourite husky dog who, in his hands, became a rapper with a profound fear of corn and a need to sing, non-stop, songs about his fear of corn)

• enchant my kids so that bedtime became later…and later…and later

• and make us laugh so much I cried

(yeah, he enchanted me too. He's a good, good kid.)

Today saw…

us going to the Big Smoke,

for our first ever baptism,

…where we watched a gorgeous, two-toothed baby smile delightedly to the gaggle of kids crowded at the pastor's feet

…and where we listened to a sermon,

…which was my kids' first time, and which led to a big, rambling talk with them on the drive home about faith and judgement and Jesus and differences and Christians and Muslims and Holy Books, and good and bad and truth and forgiveness, love and kindness

(and I felt full-to-bursting with pride at how much my kids aren't afraid to wonder, and question, and embrace, and respect. I do love them so)

and us returning

from the Big Smoke

…where the kids instantly went to their favourite things in the world:
My girl, her art. My boy, his books

…and where my girl designed a wedding chapel for her toys, complete with flower arbour, so that Silver and *other doggy I don't remember the name of* could get married

…and then she could barely eat her dinner

and had to go bed…

at the not-even-dark-out hour of 7pm…

because she was an incredibly over-tired, over-swum, over-laughed, over-hiked, over-art-ed and over-happy-ed little girl.

And my boy stayed up late to draw…

a near-flawless picture of Obelix

and then he went to bed.


today sees

us here.

With a busy, beautiful week behind us…

in which the kids "didn't do any school work!"

(this being what they kept saying, as they described their week with our guest. Like it was extraordinary, insane, just plain kooky.)

And I wonder…

Will they ask to do school work tomorrow?

Will they want to be free in the way I imagine and hope?

I have a list of all the things they want to do this term—make things with clay, finish writing a book, make a car with a motor, sew a skirt, draw cartoons, read history, discover graphic novels, play games.

Will it count, for them, as learning? Or will they marvel at the end of the day, "We didn't do school work today either!"

I wonder…

will they ask for structure or will they relish space?

will my son seek out his workbooks and timetable?

and will my daughter do any maths ever again?

I wonder…

What will the Freedom Experiment bring?


It sure will be a lot quieter than the week we just had.

It could be scary.

It might be extraordinary.

Or the most unusual, unexpected,

amazing combination

of both,

and of everything that is



  1. I accidently deleted my previous comment so I apologize if this is a repeat....

    I am so very happy you commented on my blog! I just read your last two posts and agree that we are walking down similar paths. Tonight when my girls are asleep and the house it quiet, I plan on reading your back posts!


  2. Well I am glad to hear all about your "guest" and what he got up to last week :-) However, I got a *slightly* different score on the abalone game (something along the lines of him winning more, but he wasn't entirely sure!!). It sounds like he had a fabulous week!! Thanks again - you guys rock!!

  3. Thanks for coming by, Jessica! (I love to browse and read and contemplate at night too, when the house is quiet, and all my own, and the cat finds my lap and settles in so deeply that he snores…aah.) You'll see we've used a lot of the same curriculum as you and have had very similar realisations along the way…!
    And you're so so welcome, Simone! We had such an awesome time with your boy. And I love that he's gotten so terribly muddled that he thinks he was winning the Abalone games. Tell him this: 5:3, 5:3, 5:3 (just keep telling him so it sticks)

  4. Sounds like you have all been having a wonderful time! Your part about the christening reminded me of a couple of years back when we attended a catholic baptism for a friends baby. My kids were quite outraged when the priest asked all the children to come up for a blessing at the end. He worded it something like "I would like to touch all the children" to which my little darlings quite loudly replied, "He's NOT touching ME...pedophile!" Talk about embarrassing!

  5. Oh, Karisma, yeah, that does sound embarrassing! Hopefully the rest of the baptism went a bit more smoothly for you all! :)

    It was very moving for me, watching my good friend who I've known for 22 years, stand up there with his wife, seeing them so full of love and pride and connection to their community, watching them watch their little girl as she went through something deeply personal and beautiful for them as a family. The questions my kids had were very open and loving and wondering and I just felt so lucky for us to have had the experience. It was a really magical day.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.