Humanity vs Light physics – Because I’m just like that.

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Photo: http://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ripple_effect_on_water.jpg

In physics theory, light can be a partical or a wave. Its the same as both but it is also different. These types of mechanical theories exist and are accepted. I wonder why then, we cannot accept the dual nature of humanity. That we are the same yet different…

Human life is a spectrum of sameness and difference, the path of each family and individual varies considerably via a vast collection of variables in choice, culture and personal identity. Yet, we are social creatures that require the collective to thrive. Something many forget is that our variety is not mutually exclusive of belonging. We do not need to all be the same to wholely belong within society’s framework.

With the advent of huge social networks and digital places accessed so easily, one could be led to believe that this age is the pinical of human belonging, that our species is thrilled with the idea we know all about everyone in our circles. But when you stop and think about it, how divided we are behind our screens filled with others lives, how easily it is to simply cut off anyone with the touch of a virtual button. How seperate we have become when we no longer feel comfortable dropping by a friend without messaging first and all the chance conversations we miss when asking for directions.  Within the automated social network one gets used to a false group mentality as a result of their dire need to belong somewhere. A particular way of viewing those who choose further catagorised areas of life differently. We judge and say outsiders are uneducated or not prioritising correctly to belong because we think we need that particular box above all else and are fearful of loosing it. I know this is true because I’ve done it plenty of times in the past, we think we need that box to justify our actions, but really that’s just fear of judgement and exclusion. In some ways our opinions are so strong that we simply scare others off with our very different ideals and our copious quantities of information (any opinion can pull together “facts” to prove one way or another they are correct) further fueling the seperation and catagorisation of our species into a single nature type system.

I’ve seen and experienced people (including myself) on both sides of virtually every choice be so terrified of eachother and lash out in defence of their own decisions, or worse, attacking eachother rather than just simple acceptance that people are different in varied ways. The logical conclusion here is if we keep going like this every single person will be lonely in their own box full of lables and feel entirely misunderstood due to the loss of their belonging. I see very little tolerance from every extreem end of that life spectrum and it’s very distressing once you notice, especially given the obvious similarities humanity has to the fore mentioned  physics theory and how simply our dual nature can be accepted by just believing it as truth.

If I had one wish for humanity’s recovery, for its much needed healing. I would encourage people to strip off the lables once they are of no real use (mainly beyond the information gathering phase,) and just be themselves, not normal, not abnormal, (I have recently come to see that I despise those words as descriptors because they imply only the average is acceptable.) I wish for them to just be them in their unique member of humanity form. Whole in their sameness and in their difference. Belonging as much as they need to without donning the facade. The fakery that claims so much of their shine.

One day.

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Bedtimes & Control

A neuro-typical human (in this case a child) is capeable of doing away with arbitrary bedtimes.

Pretty bold huh?

Not really, you are a human and you know when you are tired (wether you listen to your body and get off the internet at 3am is a choice you have to live with). Babies can self regulate their sleep too (it’s super annoying, but they still do it). Parents are encouraged to follow the baby, rest when they rest, demand feed etc. I’m still wondering why it is that parents switch from following their baby to controling their child in really arbitrary ways at the most random of times… its kinda weird.

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This bedtimes thing is a really good example. (Meals and eating are too, but will save that for another day 😉 ) here are some questions to ponder if you are in the headspace of controling your childs sleep;

Do you see your child as a whole human in their own right or part of an adult?

What drives you to decide on an arbitrary time to force a child to become tired and fall asleep at?

Do you fear they cannot self regulate sleep?

Were you sleep trained as a child and struggle with sleep as an adult?

Do you feel sleep training is needed by your child or would they eventually work it out?

Do you have the patience to wait that out?

Do you feel you are needed when it comes to regulating your childs sleep?

Do you enjoy that feeling to the point where you could be subconsciously seeking it?

Do you really need them out of the picture in the evenings or could they be left in a quiet space with books or a few toys to relax in their own way before falling asleep naturally in their own time?

Do you see controling bedtimes as part of a trusting relationship with your child?

If yes, is that true or are you justifying your need to control?

Do you genuinely believe trust is important in that relationship or are you comfortable without or with less trust?

If no then do you believe it is worth the deterioration of trust in your relationship to force your child to be going to bed “on time”?

Is that control satisfying your needs or theirs?

Do you feel you know when your child is tired before they do?

Do you think condition a child out of their natural sleep cues via sleep training, controlled crying or school age bedtimes only to end up having to manage it for them for their entire childhood is beneficial to your child?

Hope that has given some food for thought.

Me ‘n’ My Lazy
I do have some small inclination to self interest. I’ve heard people say things about natural parenting along the lines of “this is making a rod for your own back” …I’m 99% sure it is the other way around, I’m lazy, I wouldn’t do this if it didn’t make it easier in the long run, the effort of letting my children work this all out is in the quantity of patience it requires initially to get a workable solution. Once that is done. Bingo! Less work for me hehe. It’s a win win.

Cues and Tiredness
Tiredness changes depending on the quantity of activity for that day and how someone is feeling at the time? I’m a human just like my kids and that’s how it works for me. Even when one is a working adult tiredness can vary so using school wake up time to control when a child sleeps really doesn’t make sense unless you have already removed self regulation. A child may be conditioned to rely on someone else to name the feeling of tired and act on it for them (basically so they don’t have to think for themselves) but deep down they instinctively know what it is. This doesn’t mean they like the idea by the way particularly if they are also conditioned to think anything other than rest is very much needed by your body. (It’s actually a whole scope of trust that leads to a successful no bedtimes life but it’s a good place to start trusting your child again.)

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Learning Self Regulation
So if you remove the controls, how do they learn? First up, they already know, their natural body clock just needs a reminder and this can take a very long time to get back. I’ve heard that camping or doing away with unnatural levels of light can help but I haven’t tested the theory. Aside from that, there are consequences to not having enough sleep, generally speaking people learn from consequences if they are allowed to freely experience them. The aparent privileged of going to bed when they choose helps them be aware of the logical consequences of their actions through trial and error over years of practice. Parents tend to be a tad impatient and don’t like the idea of kids taking the time required to work this out again, especially if they have kids who naturally are ok with less sleep. (We have one night owl out of three, life is a little different when one child is still up past mummies bedtime.)

Control and Fear
The mainstream view in the western world is one of control over other humans by placing their worth as greater than another’s, kids are just an easy target, we call that childism and just like every other form of prejudice, it’s immoral. It may be a survival instinct from our detatched culture. Though it really doesn’t make sense, it is much harder working against the child’s nature than with it. Control seems so counter productive when they are capeable of solving it themselves. Sleep control, food control, education control, even controling how others spend their precious hours on the earth… It’s all unnessassery, maybe that is the fear, your parental control is unnessary, you are not needed for such things, logical consequence is a far better teacher than another humans control and your lack of necessity to the situation is playing on your need to be needed. When you attempt to control another human they will resist, trust will suffer and  they will suffer, you will too with guilt eventually. People die regretful of this misunderstanding of love. When you stop trying to control another’s time in their life and just love them unconditionally they will return the favour and forgive others for being human without resentment. Wouldn’t that be a nicer world?

Do unschoolers hate schools?

Some do and some don’t. I’m in the camp in between, it depends on the learner more than anything else, I dislike the lottery parents feel they are forced to play when selecting a school (if they even have that choice) and ending up with teachers that may or may not be kind to children. It can work beautifully (for the few who fit in or desire to be there) or it can be a disaster. Most of the time, the risk of disaster is just too high for unschooling parents because they remember their own not so groovy experiences.

MY STORY
I hated primary school, the teachers were babysitters for the most part. Plenty of my questions went unanswered due to being off topic. I only remember feeling like an idiot for remedial English classes and feeling like I was above others for advanced math classes. The in between was pathetically boring, hopelessly uninspiring, the rewards and real life uses for our education were distant and unseeable, it felt like make work for gold stars, (woo hoo! so useful those gold stars were, why do we belittle kids effort like that?)

High school was different, my overall nerdy was valued and I had some amazing teachers and mentors;
One who though classes outside for geography were the way to go (by far the most excursions happened in this class).
A tech drawing teacher that included visits to the wood and metalwork classes to see designs being built, our schematics being used.
A biology teacher that was more like a friend, (I remember ice pops in the science office and just chatting about random stuff).
A physics teacher who hung out with us during breaks chatting theory and encouraging us to mess around with real life physics… with cars in empty car parks!
A chemistry teacher who let me mix stock solutions for the labs of other classes, helped me find my work experience placement and trusted me to mark younger students papers when she was tired and pregnant.
A math teacher who told us the most hilariously lame math jokes and crazy riddles.

TEACHERS
This brings me to the idea of teaching. What is a teacher? To me it is simply someone who passes information between generations, much like a human version of a book or the Internet. They are a generalized or topic specific mentor. However, to others they are figures of authority. They have power over children. They are the perpetuators of the educational system’s indoctrination. Teaching isn’t loaded for some and is for others. It’s down to personal experience with that concept.

Power struggles and resentment never came into my school life with my teachers once I hit high school, fear was only around exams which is above the schools control (something I believed was a necessary evil at the time) and the people I talked to consisted of teachers, administrators and other students of all ages, without any issues. But I’m not so blind to think it was or is like that for everyone.

SCHOOLS
There’s bullies, arbitrary controls and peer pressure built into that system. Confidence can get broken in a moment and not return for years, there’s friendships and relationships, there’s distractions and emotional investment, there’s exams, grades, assignments and heavy textbooks, there’s lots and lots of lost sleep with study. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it can break people. I think I was just lucky.

Unschoolers (and home schoolers in general) challenge the notion that kids need this environment to learn. To be honest, looking back on it, schools are not ideal places for absorbing the most information even if you are lucky and survive it. You study, you pass and you move on to the next exam. It’s too stressful to retain all that information with everything else that is going on.

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Schools are also false communities, they take one age, one demographic children and pit them against each other for grades and other extrinsic rewards, they pay no thoughts to the realities of how varied learning can be and the much higher value of intrinsic reward in the learning process. They disrupt flow with change in classes which can make the absorbed learner quite frustrated. (I suffered from this a lot all through my schooling.) Even in the more communal classrooms, students are expected to all behave in the same way. What if your kid is quiet? What if they are the loudest? What if they like or don’t like groupwork? What if they need to move to think? What if they want to stand up or sit on the floor to learn? What if they learn best by doing, not taking notes. What if the content of the curriculum is of no interest to them? Will it ever be of interest to them? Will they need it in a decade or two’s time when they enter the adult world? Who decides what they need then and do they even care if they are wrong?

Handwriting class is a good example, why? We scrawl notes that only require a few to read, print is required on forms, we type or voice almost every other form of communication so being forced to learn perfect letter formation on the lines in Victorian cursive is wasteful yet schools all over Australia dedicate plenty of time to teaching it. In essence, schools fail students because they put classroom management and current economic climate over the needs of the individual learner preparing for adulthood many years into the future.

THE ACT OF TEACHING
The obvious follow on question from there is does one need to even be taught if current schooling methods are so far from learners needs?

Humans can absolutely survive without it in a schooled sense. The concepts everyone seems to care about, (reading, writing and basic math) come in their own time to children who have their intrinsic motivation intact and are immersed in a learning rich environment. It just happens, they can’t avoid it much like learning to talk or walk, it’s part of our daily lives. But if we think ahead, those skills are not where humanity is unique. We are uniquely creative beings, those skills are merely tools to express that. Creativity is something kids are born experts at.

Kids may not need to be taught but some might want to be to master more complex tasks. It’s like a useful shortcut. It’s convenience. Like any convenience it has a cost, (a decrease in respect of what one learns in this case.) Being taught is like a sometimes food for learning. One wouldn’t eat convenience food all the time for your health, teaching is the same for learning, it can (if used all the time,) damage intrinsic motivation which is part of a healthy learning diet. On the flip side, we only live so long, if we want mastery of something then standing on the shoulders of others to attain it is the path of least resistance to successful mastery.  That is where teaching comes in along with any other tool used to access information faster than figuring it out individually. Teacher, mentor, facilitator, static information access and learner are all part of the one movement of information, I don’t think they can even be separated,  It has been like this for most of humanity in one format or another, we would all be sitting here discovering wheels without that process.

We often also feel the need to teach, I believe this desire stems from our genetic memory, to pass on to the next generation. The entire animal kingdom does this, humans are no different. The how for us is what is askew. We would do it naturally but that would look nothing like what mass society describes as teaching in schools.

UNSCHOOLING AND SCHOOLING
Unschooling is defined by John Holt as living as if school doesn’t exist. That isn’t necessarily the institution itself, it’s just a building after all, and humans can be natural learners anywhere. It’s more about the mindset of modern schooling and the motivations behind that system of mass indoctrination.

This mindset is as follows:
Adults forcing (denying them an exit) a child to learn (by being passive in their education) a particular set of facts (designated by someone unknown as important for their life 15-20 years into the future) in a particular way (likely not suited to their individual learning style) inside an institution (a false construct of a community where segregation is based on birth date, demographic or even gender) via a teacher (whom is from the learners perspective, an arbitrary individual that has power over children and their life choices) for particular hours of the day (which may or may not align with the learners natural capacities to absorb information) while adhering to behavioral standards (which pay no heed to culture or individual personality.)

So after all that, can an unschooled child attend school and still be an unschooler?

This might sound contradictory but yes they can, provided there is an exit strategy and they have made that well informed choice themselves.

An unschooling parent would first ask the child why they wanted to attend. They would then actively listen to the answer. Based on that answer a parent could then try to satisfy the child’s needs via alternate means, with anything from after school classes, more or less group activities to on line study. If the child still feels they wish to attend there is no real change in trust or respect, every effort has been made to allow them the freedom of that choice. The parent must then allow them to choose and if school is where they are at so be it. They are living as if the schooling mindset does not exist and by their own choosing are willing to take on the constructs of that system knowing they can stop at any point.

That freedom is theirs continuously. They are trusted in their actions and they are respected to do as they please with their own education. This is why I can say it depends on the learner more than anything else with regards to my like or dislike of schools as an unschooling parent. It isn’t my place to decide that for my children. That’s pretty much it.

Thanks for reading, from Becca.

Unschooling means your child is the boss right?

The extremely short answer is no. But I’m also not the boss of them either.

Something that not many get until it smacks them in the face is that unschooling is a family way of life, I don’t think it ever should have been associated with the phrase “child-led” because it isn’t the kid is boss scenario, that would be like reinventing the wheel over and over.

We guide and mentor our young for a reason and have done so since the begining of our existence. Having said that, there is no better teacher than experience.  Decision making needs practice and unschooling to me means you are on equal footing with your child in the decision making process to give them practice at using their opinion, thoughts and instincts for the greater good wherever the opportunity arises. That process works best if it is excecuted with very honest needs from both parties that are not founded in a schooled, controlling, manipulating or any kind of conditioned mindset. Some things need to be done, some things we generally don’t like doing, very few of those things with a bit of creative forethought cannot be solved to the point where both parties are comfortable with the outcome.

So how does one achieve this?

What unschooling families need, (just as much as the rest of society I guess,) is the time and space to think creatively. Rushing is the enemy of honest, clear and concise decision making in everyone. When we are rushed through that process we find ourselves either manipulating and controling to get a quick answer or being manipulated as is the case for children most of the time. It’s such a waste of natural trust which is a perfect tool for natural learning as it feels safe, it means our kids can get on with their job without that worry.  There is no need while they are learning the ways of the world to put that extra pressure on them, they have plenty of time. Unschooling provides a flow of trust and encouragement in their primary relationship without that need to rush through life.

Humans are not as grand as we think we are. The rest of society could probably do with a dose of slow down too, especially if we want the inner voice of ourselves and of our children to show through the high speed crazies of the world. We no longer have the upper hand on speed or time so there is no point pursuing that end. The digital age has surpassed us, we must focus instead on our creativity with passion and purpose, that which makes us us. That takes space to think and time to process. The rewards are worth the wait. 🙂

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Journal 52 – week 2 Just Be

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I’m trying out mixed media. It’s hard not being neat and inside the lines. There are really no lines here lol.
The process was really different creating this page so I thought it would be cool to document it.

1. Wide brush with blue and white poster paint, fairly dry brush.

2. Glue (I normally hate glue but this wasn’t too bad with a gluestick) torn paper on the top and bottom edges. Then some circles of tissue paper the kids and I had punched out ages ago.

3. Dry

4. Roller stamp flowers, stickers and embellishments.

5. Watercolour flowers and paint white bits on circles.

6. Dry again also known as coffee time.

7. Go to town with every glitter pen you can find writing on circles, flowers and randomly listing hobbies that I really love doing including journaling now hehe 🙂

8. Glue more hand made paper on for title and hit the copic markers to blend it all together.

9. White out pen to write the quote (I wrote it a few years back but almost lost on my old blog, not lost now, even the spelling mistakes were all meticulously copied over to my journal.)

10. Breath and go wash hands cause it’s weird having glue and paint on them instead of ink and a lap full of pencil shavings.

Middle miss is still working on hers, we did them together. Was fun. Needed some time just with her. 😉  Anyway, hope you enjoy. It’s such a great fun play space on a blank journal page.

Journal 52 – week 1 Pathways

It’s a long road, this post is about going home. Full circle journeys are so weird. I’m avoiding the temptation to think why did we leave in the first place. I know why, to breath and process. Kiall and I were together at 19 and 20 years old, we had a child when I was 21 and the rest is a roller coaster of jobs, no jobs, two more kids, school and going against the norm with no school, moving, wedding and life. It was full. No time to take a breath, well at least it felt that way. Leaving was a breather. A space to process the last ten years of our lives and work towards better things, finding the place we really wanted to be as parents and as adults. We are not there yet but we have started and that’s always half the battle. Most people figure all this out in their 20’s. We were young parents then. This coming decade, with the kids getting older is now for us just as much as it is for them. We have goals and aspirations some big and long term like Kiall getting his pilots licence, others small like growing more of our own food. I have every ounce of stubbornness imaginable so we will get there eventually.

We now have some dates in mind so it’s feeling more real. Latest leave date is early July after the tax is done. We will have 5 fortnights on the road arriving in WA by September. (My birthday is the only one on the road hehe, I like that lotsa) This gives us enough time to sort out pets properly (including the right gear for traveling with a dog,) recover the money we lost with the repairs to the car, save up for emergency money, get the right insurance, leave this house on good standing and set the car up well enough to make it a comfortable and easy journey. Roughly 6 months of serious planning, spending, saving, clearing out etc.

It was ironic that the prompt this week for journal 52 was pathways. This is what I came up with. A river heading west and this poem. Hope you like it.

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The Sharing Debate

My gosh I find it so facinating that there are so many ideas about sharing and young children.

On one hand there’s the idea that learning to share should be forced from a young age. Then at the other end of the spectrum there is this idea that forced sharing is entirely damaging.

I don’t agree with either. As always we run a middle ground.

For us sharing is sometimes a necessity as well as a giver of happiness, I don’t buy three packets of the same coloured pencils even though I have three children who use them, I can’t afford to do that. There’s experience in it for my kids to learn to take turns and share at any age, even I share respectfully with them. We all do art together and share those supplies, it’s more fun that way. Aside from impractical things like underware lol, almost everything in this house is shared like this.

My 11 year old shares his tech with his three year old sister. He doesn’t have to but he likes to see her happy so he does even though she’s a bit rough and he knows we can’t replace it if it breaks. He trusts her and holds her happiness over the value of a possession, new or otherwise. When friends come we share, and if we have the capacity to help a stranger with something, we share then too. (Shirts off backs to strangers have happened in our family.)

I’m the weirdo that would loan out literally anything to a friend. Car if they needed it, money if we had it, food I have given plenty of times. The perceived value of this stuff is not equal to another’s happiness and a dear relationship.

Sharing is caring. If you care for the other human, to make them happy you share and experience things together, if you do not have an unhealthy attachment to possessions this would make you happy too. I find encouraging attachment to possessions is the same as encouraging materialism. Stuff is not precious, people are.

As adults we share public transport, libraries, roads, parks, hospitals, police services, schools etc, you pay for those so you could claim part of it is yours. (It’s roughly 11 km per aussie person for roads if anyone is interested) If you recieve government payments you are even sharing money. I’m wondering why it is that even though that is forced sharing we are ok with it if ownership and autonomy over stuff is so important? I think because it works out better that way.

Sharing usually works out better. One can help others, its less of a burden because of its inclination to minimilisim, one can find joy in giving, it can strengthen friendships and entire communities, lotsa warm n fuzzies. When a parent allows (and seperate themselves from the learning opportunity of) a child who feels justified that their possessions are of higher value than a friendship. It does the reverse. They decide on their own that it’s ok not to help others, they decide on their own that people are less if they have less, they decide more is better and in the long run they decide community comes after autonomy with regards to possessions.

Is it possible for a small non-coerced child to share possessions? Yes. It is. It’s a learning curve but provided non excessive attachment to possessions is modeled consistently, it is possible. Excessive fear of loss of possessions isn’t something one should humor in good faith that it will change. It’s just stuff, not the end of the world, that is the reality, just go look at a dump at how much we consume that disappears from our lives daily. It doesn’t really disappear. Less is more.

I also find it really hard to either force/guilt any one of my children to either share or deny a sharing opertunity to them. If I can give or share it I will and they, more often than not, do the same because we encourage them to do so.

I remember I tried to set up a shared science toys library for homeschoolers in the area. I got the idea from the shared and gifting economy books I was reading at the time. Some people got it others missed the point. “Where did you get that and we need one” was the most common response to the idea… not what I was going for.

Minimalisim lends itself to sharing, intentional communities are based on sharing but it seems that the majority miss the point just like this. You do not need one of everything, you need trust and relationships in your community. This starts when you are very small. Practice is as always key.

I’d also like to add that possessions are not the same as ones own body. Bodies are not objects. That difference should be made abundantly clear to a child well before pretty much anything else. I used to ask my children if I could change their nappy or put warm clothes on them. Respect of the body is not the same as generosity of possessions.

Possession are not alive, they don’t need you and the vast majority of times you don’t need them all to yourself.  I believe this is what should be modeled by parents for their children. Hopefully they catch on in a sharing saturated environment.

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2014 in review of Sandy Toes & Dusty Boots

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Thank you all for your readership and for your support. 2015 will see plenty of content in

  • Tonnes of tavel and touring by road around Australia as we make our trip back West to live.
  • Natural learning ponderings.
  • The continuation of journal 52 pages.
  • Craft Wrap will be back in full swing as of next week…

and a few other surprises including some weekly fun for you 😉 hopefully 2015 is going to be lots of fun, catchya all next year, ‘ave a good ‘un 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 780 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Journal 52 – week 52 circles

I gave myself the creative constraint of circles when I started this project, you see them everywhere, in nature, in man made structures, circles are the base of almost everything so I figured this would be the easiest prompt ever… nope… being down one constraint was harder. I had this amazing idea of painting (yeah, me and paint are not friends) an aborigional style dot painting with the back of a pencil and the back of a paintbrush. It was all in my head and looked kinda neat. I had envisioned sharing (with the mostly not aussie group online) and recording the dreamtime story of the Glasshouse Mountains, (an old but striking volcanic range near my home on the sunshine coast in Queensland, Australia) in my own journal before we headed back west using the inspiration from local walking trails and the topographic maps of the area (enter circles). My first attempt at putting paint to paper looked kinda like umm… a bumpy bit of mud… would have made great camo paper.

Having my own art not look like how it looks in my head is a new concept to me… I’m not a fan. It kinda put me in a bad mood. I fixed said bad mood by ripping out that page, throwing it across the room, dumping my journal in my craft box and madly crocheting till my hands got a cramp a whole skein of yarn later… I’m a sore loser.

Second attempt was only slightly less infuriating. I dumped the style I was going for and tried to focus on the content without all the detailed me + paint thing. Discovered pens actually run out if you use them for a whole background of tiny water-like circles, who knew? Managed to find something similar to finish it with only to have the same problem happen on the other half of the page. I was kinda going for the juxtaposed ideas of dreamtime story vs the touristy, classy thing going on with the places that have views of this mountain range but even with all that very meta kinda fancyness to my idea. It just didn’t make sense. Here is my half finished second attempt.

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So here I was at attempt three four days later and quite frustrated with the whole thing. Not something that normally happens. However, I’m stubborn and I like art journaling so gotta try again. This time I ditched my expectations of super complicatedness and just hung out with my middle kiddo and her art stash for the morning. She always makes art look so free, just playing and having fun with colours on the page. She likes the end pictures but it is so much about the process for her, eight year olds are very clever like that. 🙂

Just after Christmas with a new art journal and some brand new watercolour pencils in front of her, she plays at the kitchen table with art, humming or whistling random movie tunes and parading around in dress ups, I’m watching with my own journal in front of me open to a blank page. Wee miss K is darting around in dress-ups also chatting to herself and randomly combining toys like mathomats and peg boards. It’s very girly here, daddy is only occasionally in the room and the lad is away on a sleepover. Just me and my girls. I had another circle thought whilst chatting earlier in the morning to daddy, it was dancers from the top or a ferris wheel with the idea being more about the circular motion than actual circles but I wasn’t sure how to create it, the picture in my head was hazy at best. Then the universe punched me in the face. Middle miss started humming that excessively repeated song in our house…. I’ll let you guess which one it was…

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She was right you know, kids are way smarter than grown ups. So I just stared sketching, had no bloody idea what it would look like at the end which is super scary as I basically copy whatever image pops into my head normally but without that mind pic what was I even doing. As I watched middle miss create with this new medium it was clear she was still learning how to manipulate it. We’ve never had watercolour pencils before. She’s not brilliant at it yet but you can see she’s trying to figure it out and that it totally didn’t matter how things looked along the way. She was experimenting, exploring and playing on the page. I wanna be able to do that!

Morning went on and wee miss K wanted to play with my hair putting in tiny pony tails as I worked on this unknown page. I let her do her thing when normally that would bother me (I generally journal while she’s already asleep or is engrossed in something else).

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Middle miss went on to other things and eventually I came up with this

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It’s the closest you will get me to painting. It’s not perfect, it’s not some preconceived vision, it’s just playing on a page. I think adults learn a lot from playing too so that’s going to be my inspiration for journal 52 2015.

Play.

I hope you all had a safe and happy Christmas and a happy new year, thanks for reading
From Becca.