Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sowing the Seeds...

I have been feeling a little out of sorts today.  I don't know why, just feeling very tired and legs have been heavy and reluctant to move.  Not very nice and I'm not used to feeling that way. An early night for me I think.

Anyway, enough of that self-pity nonsense, what have we achieved today?  Not as much as I would have liked to, but that's ok. 

First thing, I sat with the children and talked about an 'experiment' I wanted to try.  I'll try to write it here as best I can, but it probably won't make much sense to those that don't actually know how we work here in the P household.  The children have a lot of freedom.  They choose what they want to do each day, and are able to follow their own interests.  In those terms, we are unschoolers/autonomous.   In other areas of their life, they are controlled by me.  What they eat and when for dinner is one example, bedtime is another.  We have always been relaxed about bedtimes, and just requested that they go upstairs for a certain time, but they can watch TV/read/play whatever in their rooms.  This works well, but the 'control' aspect bothers me.  I believe that sometimes children need guidelines - for example, they need to know that running into the road in front of on-coming traffic is not a good idea, or jumping into deep water when you have no idea about swimming, may lead you into trouble - but, I do think that many children can be trusted to make their own judgements.  I also think that sometimes children need to be able to experience things and make their own mistakes.  Not things that are going to do severe harm, but I don't like to wrap my kids up in cotton wool all of the time. 

I have trusted my children to follow their own interests and they have learnt so many wonderful things.   This took a lot of sacrifice on my part.  I prefer to write plans, organise the day through list.  I like to know what each day has in store for us all.  I soon realised that actually more was achieved by allowing the children freedom.  That they would learn more and do more if I just left them to it.  Initially, I panicked as Joe spent far too much time on the Playstation, but that novelty wore off when there was no restriction on it. He didn't feel the need to play on it for hours as he knew he could return to it anytime. 

Today I took it one step further and announced we were having a no rules day.  This didn't mean I was suggesting complete chaos in the household where the children could run amock and do what they liked.  We still have our family 'principles' which we agreed to a long time ago, but now have a copy printed out and on display.   Such things as "Speak to others in the way that you wish to be spoken to."  and "It's good to think of how our actions affect others." still apply, no matter how much freedom is given. Today I completely relaxed (it was difficult!) and 'allowed' the children to eat what they wanted when they wanted to, and go to bed when they wanted.  I also didn't ask them to do any chores.

So what happened?  Was the day a complete and utter day of chaos and laziness?  Errr, actually, no...

Can you believe that the children actually did more around the house than usual?  Yes really they did!  They hoovered, mopped, emptied and filled the dishwasher, washed the dishes by hand where necessary and helped me with the laundry.  Food intake was not very different to other days, and they didn't just scoff themselves silly with crisps, cakes, and sweets as I had feared they would - they ate a good range of all sorts.  Yes, I think the novelty value was pretty high and they wanted to prove that this 'experiment' could work so it continued long term, but it was so nice not to feel as if I was ordering them around and nagging at them to do things.  To see them helping out willingly was a really nice feeling - it made me all warm and fuzzy buzzy inside :)

My Clean Team: 

My Clean Team

(Apologies for the poor photo quality - I was in shock and wanted to snap it fast lol).

We will continue with the 'experiment' and see how things go...

In other news, we planted our seeds! About bloomin' time...

Sowing the seeds...

We are starting them off in small pots before re-planting them into larger ones when the time comes.

We also have sunflowers growing...

Sunflower Growers

and beans...

Bean Growers

Need to get the canes in place for those soon.

We have a large pot of potatoes too.

After a morning of rain, rain, and more rain, it was nice to have a dry spell. Tiegan made the most of it...

Fun

Oh, and our caterpillars have grown...

Caterpillars, day 3

4 comments:

  1. Well done, glad it went well!! Why do we always worry about things that we don't need to worry about? I'm the same, haha! I think it's just Mum Syndrome! xx

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  2. Love the doggy pawprints on the trampoline:-)

    "but it was so nice not to feel as if I was ordering them around and nagging at them to do things. To see them helping out willingly was a really nice feeling - it made me all warm and fuzzy buzzy inside :)"

    This was one of the big things for me.I hated that large parts of the day semed to consist of negative interactions. As we began to let go of restrictions the atmosphere changed...

    Hope your "experiment" continues to work for you all:-) x

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  3. Forgot to add - Hope you are feeling better...

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  4. Very interesting post Jules.

    My two eat what they want when they want during the day and I usually make an evening meal. They eat pretty sensibly and are concious of healthy choices even though they don't normally choose fruit and veg, equally they don't fill up on biscuits and cake IYSWIM. For us it has to be like that because of me working all day.

    Hope it works well for you too xx

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