This week, we have been mostly.....
No, I didn't make them sit down and learn this stuff, but the left side of my face being swollen up led to lots of questions along the lines of: "What's the matter with your face?" (Sometimes they do act like typical teenagers. They ask each other that question all the time.) And: "Well, what are you doing about it?" and "Why?" and "How does that work then?" and, "Oh, so what are the symptoms of septic shock?" We actually sat together en famille and made the joint decision, well in advance, at what point to call in medical help based on the pros and cons of doing so.
I'm frequently amazed by the difference between my own childhood and that of my children, and that was definitely one of those times. I'd have been told nothing. If I'd have asked questions, I'd have been told to go away, as would the children of many families at times of stress I think.
Tom, voting for the first time, asked how he was supposed to know who to vote for. I suggested Google and he went off to search, but came back disgusted with the paucity of online information about local candidates' views and plans. All he could find were their names, addresses and phone numbers. He even tried Googling their names: nothing. We dug out a couple of leaflets we'd received from the Lib Dems and Labour local offices recently, so he could look at those. We've received nothing from the Conservative candidate or local office, so they lost any chance they may have had of receiving his vote, I assume.
No party has been canvassing up here, as usual. I was telling the children that ten years ago, when we moved in here, they came up our street knocking on doors and chatting to householders, but never since. I miss that. It made me feel like someone might be interested in what individual voters actually thought, beyond the cross on the ballot paper. I'm increasingly disillusioned by the depersonalisation that results from party politics.
Lyddie discovered a box full of art and craft stuff on our bookshelves and has been quietly filling our dining table with fascinating pictures. She's splodged paint on paper, covered it with other paper and peeled off to see the effects. This, in various forms, kept her busy for about a day and a half. Then she started painting with her fingers, hands and feet. Finally she discovered the glue and started collaging. The brilliant thing is that all this was totally self-directed and we could clearly see her thinking it all through: "What happens if I try this?" "Oh wow, look at that," etc. She kept bringing the end results to show us.
We've found that natural learning is strikingly different in terms of intensity, from adult-directed learning. Lyddie has been using the craft box for about 5 days in a row now and is passionate about working out what she can do next and improving on what she's doing now. She's totally immersed and involved in the process of developing these ideas and producing the results that she sticks with it for hours without rest. I predict that she'll reach a natural finishing point sometimes in the next few days, and possibly not want to do any art work again for a few weeks or so, when she'll start another intensive few days' work on it.
Prior to that she was writing incessantly: names, mostly, but any words would do. And I've just heard her reading a story to herself, so she is still doing other things besides.
It was one of those discussions that went on for ages and covered the issue from many angles and considerations. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They really are excellent company.