13 December 2010
unschool monday :: order and chaos
I've always found parenting to be a balancing act between elements of order and chaos. In the ebb and flow of our weeks we'll have days where everything goes smoothly. We've all had fun, tried a few new things and the living areas end up fairly orderly by the end of it all. Then there are those days. The owlets have certainly learned some things, but there's been fighting and things lost or broken. Nothing seems to flow right, everything gets on top of us and by the time Huz walks through the door, it looks like a cyclone has hit. Usually at least one of the owlets is running through the house naked and the other is screaming or hurtling by on a scooter or something like that... Ahh its just normal family dynamics, I know, but I do rather prefer the smooth, orderly days and falling into bed feeling like we've made the most of it.
I've been reading around on other blogs and talking to friends and I know I'm not alone. Even in unschooling there's room for order. An element of chaos helps and surrendering to that will help keep your sanity, but I've found for it all to mesh right, aiming to maintain the order is what works best for us. Even when the owlets were tiny I remember the need to stop and tidy up the toys momentarily, otherwise the play would stop, and things would get out of hand. If all the toys were on the floor in a big pile, they couldn't see what was what. They didn't know what to play with and there was nowhere to play if they wanted to. Fighting started, things would get broken and the cyclone swept through while I ducked for cover, usually behind a computer screen. Now I know to stop everything and clean. First, there's the daily tidying that we do to keep on top of things. Sometimes just whipping around and putting a few things away on my own, but usually these days the owlets tidy as they go too... with some reminding, but they understand the benefit of being able to find things.
Sometimes I'll have to set aside a little more time. Cleaning out the craft cupboard seems to be a seasonal job... When I do it the owlets seem to get all inspired again. Perhaps its an attempt to restore some of the chaos, or maybe its the ultimate in strewing. This is little owlet's shelf in the craft cupboard. The basket is full of her works in progress while some other little bits and pieces she's enjoying working with are placed at her eye level, ready for when she flings the door open or wanders past.
Every now and then there are the really big jobs we've left and seem to get to once each year. Recently we sorted through all the random and had a big de-clutter and throw out. Then the other day I sorted through the enormous box of pencils and dried up markers. Yay for throwing stuff out and finding homes for things!!
Then we cleaned up all the crayons and gave them a new life, combining big owlet's love for craft with little owlet's love for cooking. The fabulous thing is that we cleaned up, restored order and found inspiration for a whole new bunch of activities and creative projects... oh dear... here comes chaos again!!
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