Wednesday, April 6, 2011

stretching time


Our days are flashing by.

Days are whistling by our ears;

time's like a blizzard, whipping past sideways,

while we stand

in the middle,


Our days look different every time

There are not-schooly moments and schooly moments

ever-changing moments and moments of Still

Days that, as they fly by,

stretch out, and fill up

to the brim.

Days like Today.

Where my girl had to tell me, first thing after she'd woken up,
about her incredible dream where she was a lion cub.
And her chair got stolen so she had to go in a van (with a chimpanzee called Michael sitting on top), to the robbers' underwater cave,
where the robbers had magic watermelons, oh no!
but luckily she was saved by a friendly mouse…

And when my girl was done describing her dream (and the other one where she was on a pirate ship), we had to go downstairs to type it up, and my girl had to start illustrating it with Paintbrush

…while my boy read Tintin on the couch and the cats chased each other through the house.

But then my girl did some maths too
kind of to keep my boy company… 'cos a little after breakfast, he started slogging through a really tricky chapter in Life of Fred.

At some point I went to help him
and thought, Oh, man. This is HARD! Impossible in fact!
We almost gave up, but then… we started talking the New Concept through together,
began to wrap our heads around it
until we had it! We figured it out.
And we high-fived.

Meanwhile my girl had been ambushed by her 4 times tables on MathsBuddy . They'd sat on her until she called a time-out. Together we worked through the last few questions and when we looked at the results, she'd got 2 questions wrong.
She said, "I don't like getting questions wrong."
"Yeah," I said. "Me neither." We smiled at each other then.

And she said, "I want to get a Platinum certificate on one of these levels one day,"
which is the first time she's mentioned wanting a certificate. I actually forgot they offered them.
A Platinum certificate means she has to get every single question right on one of the levels. I think: if that's something she wants, and she reaches for it, then I'm sure she'll get it.

After all, that how it's supposed to work, isn't it? You want to learn, you learn. You want to achieve, you achieve.

So much better than being told what to reach for. Reaching only because you think you should.

So then we decided to do Astro—um—Wednesday because we'd been way way too busy two days ago to do Astro-Monday!
In fact, we really should call it Astro-Whenever-We-Feel-Like-It, because that's more our style…:)


We sat together and talked about Planets
and what they were
and we looked in books together and the kids summarised information and wrote it in their own words…
and we found out that the word Planet came from the old Greek word for Wanderer,
which led us to look up Greek to English translations,
and my boy pulling out his book on Mythology with its ancient Greek alphabet…

And then I found an awesome experiment where you put a saucer over a candle to see the carbon deposits from the flame and the kids were
spun out! I read out that when a star explodes it leaves carbon clouds that drift through the universe—wild. We drew with our fingertips in our very own carbon clouds, our homemade solar dust.

Then we found another cool activity where you go outside and hold binoculars up at the sun—you direct the light onto white paper
and voila! You see the sun and a whole bunch of sunspots!
Which was stunning, but we only saw it for a second because
the sun went behind a cloud
and stayed there.
It probably felt a bit self-conscious. I mean we were kind of staring.

So then we ate our lunch surrounded by books on space.
The table was so crowded with books, and drawings, and notes, and coloured pencils and paper,
that I ate my lunch with my plate on my lap.

Then it was time to walk the dog
because even though it has been raining for two days
it wasn't raining now.

So we got about 15 minutes in, we were just across the big park,
when the rain CAME DOWN.
It was a total downpour, like walking through a carwash.

We hid under someone's avocado tree,
my girl, the dog, and I,
…while my boy danced in the rain.

After a while, we kept on walking.
Loving the thrill of it, getting soaked, splashing through puddles…
and we walked past our local school
where the kids were standing by the windows looking out.
They pointed at us,
and I grinned back.


When we got home, we dried ourselves off, changed clothes. We washed our feet in the bath. Standing in the bath with my girl as we ran warm water over our toes? Bliss.

Then it was time for Pole to Pole,
a documentary from 20 years ago, with Michael Palin. We love it, just as we loved his first documentary, Around the World in 80 days.
In this episode we went across Turkey and the Mediterranean. Michael had already traveled on ice over the Arctic, listened to Finnish football songs and drunk home-hewn vodka with Russian film-makers. We learned about Soviet history and Lenin. This time, he was checking out Turkish minarets and English tourists, and talking to an ancient tomb-guide in Egypt.

We looked up where he was on the atlas, and where he was going. He's following the meridian of 30ยบ E, so we traced it with our fingers.

We sat with our feet warm, munching apples, side-by-side and cosy on the couch.

Then my boy had band
so outside we went again,
and while my boy played jazz piano,
my girl and I read for a whole hour in the carpark.
Just us
and the silence.

And then dinner came, and more sitting together happened

with another movie called Fox and Child
which was beautiful but we left unfinished
because we decided it was bedtime.

And cuddle time and smoothing hair time and kisses time and last few waking words time. The end of day time.

And, just like that,
the day was over.

A day that was
in fact
just a single day, no more, no less.

Time had flashed past

Perhaps feeling kind of special
and kind of speedy.
A bit like a superhero, a bit like a shooting star.

Perhaps it wanted us to be flustered? All White Rabbity and overwhelmed? Amazed at how fast it could be?

Not us.

We sat on our day like it was a suitcase.

One we'd crammed full
with joy and fun and learning and meals together and talking and walking and dancing and writing and drawing and playing and cuddles.

We said,

Let time flash by
and the days pile up behind us.

Those days are our treasures.

And time?

It is

bendable, extendable.

It sings with Possibility.

M.C. Escher


  1. Your words are always so soothing to me.

    I love Life of Fred for just the reason you described...there is so much reward when you "get it" is not merely just a math problem, it's part of a whole story. I love it so much that I look forward to doing it again with P!

    We are learning about Planets as well :) There is just something about being open to the universe, which when I read your posts, I feel like you are open to the universe. I try to leave myself open and just go with what happens. In the instance of planets, we had finished up the Greeks, were about to start the Romans, picked Isaac Newton for a bio/Science sidestepped learning about geocentrism which lead to a study of the planets...which incorporates both Greeks & Romans! Love how it all works together!!

  2. Well that was just lovely. My days have been filled with dirty dishes and laundry and boring school stuff because I am not crafty or inclined to be so. I am growling and rumbling and grumbling and shouting at my son and really, really want to just drop his butt off at public school and say "Here! You take the responsibility! I AM FED UP!"

    But, other than that, I'm just peaches and sunshine.

  3. Ah...another lovely day of learning. Our week has been spent in an absolute whirlwind with one boys learning revolving around "when he has time" you see he has a friend in Canada who goes to school and is only available to play/talk in the mornings, then his other friend is only available in the afternoons so he has been playing his games at all hours. He woke me up at 6 the other morning to tell me he had done his math and could I get up and get on with his theme work thank you very much as he has a schedule to keep. LOL! I declined gracefully of course and told him to do his own theme work. 6am is ME time!

  4. Loved your day! I want to come over! I really liked your dancing in the rain, looking in at the school kids who were looking out. Loved it!

  5. Theresa, thank you! Yes, I love the wandering days, where you are fully open to seeing what happens, what the Universe offers…and it does end up working all together so beautifully, doesn't it?!

    Thanks Tracey—and oh, so funny! I'm sorry you had a day of grumbling and rumbling and I hope you made your way to the peaches and sunshine fairly smoothly :) I have had those days before…and I've taken myself to bed! It always helps.

    Karisma, how funny (sort of) about your 6am wake up! I'm impressed he's so motivated; hopefully next time he needs to work at dawn he can do it solo :) I've come downstairs before to find my boy at his desk—it's pretty amazing every time.

    Thanks, Ingi! Yes, it was a magical day. I felt so lucky when I saw those kids inside. I wonder if they were thinking the opposite, "We feel so lucky to be inside and dry while those crazy people get drenched!"

  6. Busy and happy, indeed. Wow. And don't forget, you then sat down and blogged about it all, and shared with your online friends the lovely, fun-filled day you all had. And I can't quite see how you did have time, but I am glad you did.

  7. I love to read about your days Helena. You just describe them so beautifully I feel like I am there with you. [I WISH] :)

    Don't you love those moments when they 'get it?'. Of course with Kei's Math I have moments that I 'get it' too. ;) I tend to forget most of that stuff.

    I also love that I read Theresa's post about the planets and come here and read yours! It is so cool how often that happens with all of us.

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