Sunday, March 20, 2011


After re-reading my last post and mulling things over quite a bit, I have had a revelation.

I may be stuck in a bit of a rut, but my boys certainly aren't. They have a spark, it just doesn't need any flaming from me. Yes, I am talking about their new video game, Little Big Planet 2.

See, after thinking things thru, I've realized just how beneficial this game is for them, and why they are so consumed by it.

Not only are they practicing their reading and spelling when they take the game online (while learning how to communicate with people on the internet), but Little Big Planet 2 has this awesome create mode where the boys can create their own game levels. And when they are online, they can check out levels that have been created by other gamers.

Mostly what they do create is very repetitive. They put hundreds of the same thing in their level. But repetitiveness is how kids learn. I see this now. They are completely unhindered with their creativity when they play this game. They can use whatever tools they want, however many times they want, and can create anything their little minds think up. In doing so, they are learning what are the best tools to use. What works well together, and what doesn't.

Do they create awesome levels that will be loved by gamers everywhere? Not even close. But in a few years, once they have all this experience under their belts, they might.

Would I be disappointed if my boys jumped head first into the gaming community? Not at all. The gaming industry is huge, and still growing! There is a lot of money to be made, and a lot of creative ways to make it. I sometimes wonder where people find their passions (since I don't really seem to have any) so it's interesting to me to see it developing in my children.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Down Time

Let me start off by apologizing for not posting for a while. First I got sick, then the boys got sick, and to top it all off, we've been in a bit of a lull lately.

I've done a lot of research on unschooling. I've read books, articles and other people's blogs. From what I gather, it's normal for there to be periods of time when it seems like not much is getting done. These periods can last days, or weeks or even sometimes months. We're experiencing one of those periods right now.

Last month the boys got a new video game, Little Big Planet 2, and they've been obsessing over it. It's all Nico can talk about, think about and pretty much the only thing he wants to do at home. Of course there are times when video games are taken away from him. When he can't keep his hands off his brother for instance, he loses video games for a day. Even then, he hasn't really been interested in much else. Lucas, too, is pretty consumed.

So far this month we have had to miss two co-ops, and a really awesome field trip to Reptile World, to watch the snakes get milked. I think the boys would have really enjoyed that one, but since they were both feverish we just couldn't make it. We also had to miss several birthday parties, due to the illness that spread like wildfire through our home. We did get to take a pretty cool tour of an equestrian center here in town. The people there were super awesome! Even so, the boys really didn't seem all that interested. Sure they went along, and they liked petting the horses, but it didn't spark anything in them.

Nico did suggest a picnic in the park one day, after we were all well again. I couldn't think of any reason to say no, so we packed a lunch and headed out. It was a quiet, peaceful lunch, on a beautiful spring day. The boys played outside for a bit, which really helped to get out some of their pent up energy.

I wouldn't say that the boys haven't been learning these past few weeks. We still talk, a lot! I like to incorporate words in our conversations that I think they don't know, just to challenge them. With out fail, if they don't understand a word I use, they immediately ask me what it means. A day or so later I will hear them use the new word. I have to say, I love the way my children speak. The words and phrases they use are well beyond that of typical 5 and 7 year olds.

But what I think we've been missing is that spark of curiosity. We haven't had any big questions, projects or interests emerge this month, so it seems like we're stuck in a rut. I'd be lying if I said I don't worry about whether or not I've chosen the right path. At times like this it's difficult to trust that they will eventually learn the things they need to know. I feel like it's partly my fault we're stuck, because I've been so busy with my own stuff (work and school) that I haven't had much time to introduce new things to them. But like I said, I've done a lot of reading. I know eventually, things will turn around, and they will take off again. It's hard to hold children back, once that spark is lit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Huge!!

That's the catch phrase for a local go cart park called Fun Spot here in Orlando. The boys and I love going there, and racing. The other day I got an email saying they were looking for extras to be in their new commercial. How could I resist?

So Monday morning we got up early, and headed out. Lucas decided he didn't want to do any singing or dancing, so he sat out on the sidelines. Nico and I learned a couple of quick dance steps, and joined in the mob scene portion of the commercial.

Nico (not being a morning person) was grouchy, and didn't understand why we had to rehearse so many times. Then when the filming started, he didn't understand why we had to do so many takes? I tried explaining, but when he's in one of those moods, logic just doesn't seem to penetrate.

Nico and I also got to drive one of the go-cart tracks while they were filming, but so were a lot of other people and who knows what portion of that they will actually use in the commercial.

After our part was over, we got to hang out and have drinks and pizza with the rest of the extras. They gave each of us a $20 gift certificate for participating, and free all you can ride arm bands that could be used that day, or brought back to use another time. Even Lucas got one, even though he mostly just watched.

All in all it was a fun experience for us. Nico had been saying for a while he wants to do commercials (he hears the radio ads, but doesn't understand how much time/money is involved in such endeavors), and I think this has satisfied his curiosity; for now at-least.