Monday, October 12, 2009

I feel I am in love again with my children. My new vow:

I will love you unconditionally
I will respect you
I will nurture you
I will listen
I will try to see from your perspective
I will learn from you how to be a child again: pure, beautiful, intuitive, loving, creative, playful, imaginative, funny, humorous, thoughtful, uninhibited, daring, energetic, alive, charming, joyful, being in the moment, focus, clever, adventuresome, curious, inquisitive, artistic, original...
I will validate and sympathize your feelings
I will be your partner in your journey of life
I will recognize and support you for who you are not what I want you to be
I will love to be in your life again in my next life: in whatever forms: your mother, child, lover, sibling or a guide
I will try my best to provide a healthy, secure, loving and fun environment
I will dust the stage so you can put on the best reality show of your life that makes everyday a masterpiece
Thank you for being in my life and bringing so many beautiful and miraculous things to my life.
It's interesting that relationship workshop led to understanding that the same principles apply to parenting that respect is the center message.

The new way of thinking makes the old way look more like child abuse: mental abuse who Bends whose will.


It is fascinating to see how the children explore and make sense out of the world thus to learn. It doesn't make sense to limit their learning to packaged, structured, preselected, taken out of context and very limited subjects when the whole world is the subjects with real application. We intend to teach them how to learn or learning as a tool yet they intuitively already know how to learn. By teaching them how to learn is really trying to teach them one way of learning which we learned from school while there are so many other ways of learning that are more effective.

Yes unschooling approach makes more sense to me. As parents what we need to do is not to obstruct children's natural learning, rather we need to provide the resources.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How come I still feel I am a new mom after four years being one?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A fun day

It is amazing that we are having fun and happy day almost everyday since I changed my way of parenting.

Woke up happy and eager to get started. I kissed my two beautiful children. My happiness passed to them. They passed it back to me.

O Played WII car games for over one hour. When I suggested other activities, he didn't disagree. He moved to build his train tracks. He has been building amazing track structures now. I am glad I didn't get the tracks glued to the train table. He is creating new configurations at lease once or a couple of times a day.

We decided to get some warm clothes for M. Headed out to North Park. Bought a load of comfy clothes at Macy's at very reasonable price. Happy shopping. Once we got what we needed, we didn't look at others things.

We started hunting for ice cream. Had great fun eating ice cream (actually it was sorbet). Didn't go through "sugar fight". Everybody was happy.

I now put ice cream sandwich at lower shelf. The consumption today was 2 or maybe 3. But no fighting.

I said yes all the time now and made suggestions when it was No in the past. All well received. I think I have got at least five or six "I love you" from O.

Life is good

The call to briliance

I finished the book "the call to brilliance" today, feeling awed, inspired, touched and moved.

I love many kinds of books, some of them could be dry, but as long as I like the content, I keep reading. But some books are like poem, it flows and flies. This is one of the books.

What I noticed was the seamless flow between quotations and author's own words. Sometimes I have difficulty noticing which is which.

I love her writing. She is inspiring and gifted with words.

It stirs up all the excitement I experienced when I was "seriously" curious during my school years. I am amazed all the cruel test-based school years didn't kill my passion for knowledge, adventure and burning desire to learn. That is not accurate. Actually it has "killed" it, but now it has been revived.

I am so excited. I want to rekindle my desire to learn. Suddenly I have so many projects I want to start. Just a couple of days ago, I didn't know what to do with my children in terms of activities or any "learning" experiences. Now suddenly it is unlimited. Since O likes to build things, one of my ideas is that we actually start building things, starting with small project, a bird house, a tree house...and we can start working on building our "dream house". The list can go on and on.

I feel I am a new person with a new life. I cannot get myself to bed, since I have so much to read and to research. I cannot wait to wake up and start doing things!

I am inspired by what her children have achieved. I believe my children are born brilliant too.

Reading craze


I love reading, but often not in a steady pace. Sometimes I read a lot, sometimes I hardly read at all.

Recently I entered another reading craze: reading 5-6 traditional books and 3-4 kindle books at the same time. Here is part of the list:

You can tell parenting is the dominating theme. :))

reading list:

Paper books:

1. Learning All The Time (Paperback)
by John Holt

2. If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways. (Paperback)
by Daniel Quinn

3.The Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators (Paperback)
by Resa Steindel Brown

4. What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education (Paperback)
by Guy Claxton (Author)

5. Radical Unschooling - A Revolution Has Begun (Paperback)
by Dayna Martin (Author)

6. The Unschooling Unmanual (Paperback)

7. Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children (Paperback)
by Sharifa Oppenheimer (Author),

8. Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (Hardcover)

9. Peripheral Visions: Learning along the Way

10. The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life

11. Composing a Life

12. The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections

13. Sandra Dodd's big book of unschooling

Kindle books:
1. A Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World's Greatest Market Jim Rogers

2. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling John Taylor Gatto

3. The Call to Brilliance Resa Steindel Brown, Joseph Chilton Pearce, M.D. William Glasser

4. Experience And Education John Dewey

5. Caravans James A. Michener

6. The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-Tested Strategies for Staying Smart, Sane, and Connected While Caring for Your Kids Melissa Stanton

7. It's a Boy Andrea Buchanan

8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

9. I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids
by Trisha Ashworth, Amy Nobile

10. The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education
by Maya Frost

11. The Third Chapter
by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

12. A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing by Jim Rogers

And plus travel book on Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, New Zealand. And I picked up another BIG book from the library. "Texas" by James Michener, which I read the beginning before and lost the book. I was telling myself, once I start THAT book, no one will get my attention for sure: Mama is in reading craze. :))

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First home made popcorn

Scott and I went to a friend's party. It was nice and food was great. But like any other parties, you shake many hands and say many "nice to meet you". And that is about it. It is very hard to get into in-depth conversation.

We left early and we were eager to get home. Kids were so excited to see us. It made me feel that was what being parents was about.

O built a very nice house out of legos and a high rise building. Lately he has created many new structures. I suggest we try popcorn making. I have never made popcorn myself and this is O's first one too. He got so excited. We got on you tube and got some ideas of how to make it. When it started popping, it was really exciting! Later we all sat on the kitchen floor and ate our first popcorn!

We danced and we did our pillow fight before bed. Happy and Happy

Before and after

Shifting from "conventional parenting" to "unschooling parenting" has generated some amazing differences just after a couple of days or weeks.

Before:
1. Constant fighting over "ice cream sandwich and candy"
2. Constant fighting over TV time
3. Constant fighting over teeth brushing

Both O and I were exhausted by the end of the day. I was not in a good mood. He often told me "I don't like it, I don't like you"

After:
One day I brought an ice-cream sandwich to him with a big smile. You should see how surprised his face was. We both enjoyed one together. He was happy and cheerful. By constant denying, it doesn't encourage good mood for sure.

Now when he wants to watch TV (video), I let him and sometimes watch together.

Basically whatever he wants to do, I let him do it. Guess what:
1. He consumes the same number of ice-cream sandwich (2 or 3 a day)
2. He watches less TV
3. He WANTS to get his teeth brushed.

and more:
4. He tells me he loves me at least four or five times a day
5. He is much more cooperative
6. I let him make plans. For example, when we get home from going out, he will create a plan like this: wash hands first, drive car car, read a book and take a nap. But in the past, I have to force the same plan upon him. Now he carries out his own plan very well.
7. He is very considerate. Sometimes he almost makes me cry.


What makes the differences. It is ME.
1. I respect his needs, desires and personality more
2. I play with him more instead of trying to get him off my sight, so I can do "more important" things.
3. I am more playful. For example, climbing the stairs instead of walking the stairs. It always makes him laugh when I do that.

All in all, I step aside and joyfully see his life unfold in front of my eyes. Oh, Gosh, it is so beautiful.

Last night when we all slept together, I put his foot in one hand, and my daughter's foot in another hand. One is one year old, one is four years old. The difference in size marks the time he has grown into a little wonderful human being. I was so thankful that they were alive and well. (I was sick in bed actually)

I told my husband, "I think I am onto something. I must have done something right. Now he is happy and I am happy. "

Unschooling is a mind shift more for the parents than the child. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go.

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I want to make the tree a nice one, so we can produce better apples.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

feeling sad about O's school

Today I officially pulled him out of school. I feel sad...
The teachers are so nice and loving
He enjoys school most of the time, though he doesn't miss it now, would rather stay at home
He just made two new friends
He has made some new changes, opened up a little bit

I am still very positive about my choice of unschooling. I don't see him missing school either. Nevertheless, I feel sad...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Didn't go to school and don't want to go to school

This morning, O said he didn't want to go to school. I happily told him he didn't need to go if he didn't want to go.

We had a full and fun day. Played in the playground in the beautiful sunny autumn morning. Watched our neighbor's house got demolished. Amazed by the big machinery. Hang out in the bookstore (my mother triggered alarm by going to the exit door.) Napped, watched "classic baby music" DVD and played WII sports, pillowfight before bed.

While I washed him, I asked him if he wanted to go to school. He said he didn't want to.
me: "Why?"

O: too much work

me: work? I was surprised

O: yes, too much work: circle time, playground, singing, sensory table, cooking, snack time...I just want to play with blocks.

It got me thinking. He doesn't like to rotate activities the school does. He wants to follow what interests him.

That sounds he likes "child-led" education. :)

Made two friends in school

Yesterday I picked up O. He was so excited and couldn't wait to tell me that he made two new friends. They tickled each other and laugh and laugh. Great fun. He said "mama, I have lele (the friend he made in Italy), Luke, Henry and Ben (in another school during summer camp). How come I have so many friends?"

I was just about to pull him out of school to unschool him.

I hesitated.

Look it up in your computer

My son asked a question about caterpillar. And he said "Mama, look it up in your computer".
--He knows computer/internet is one of the sources that we can learn

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Poop and parenthood

One of my 2009 New Year resolution is to write one hour a day. It is midnight right now and I am going to write my first blog entry.

I was an active member of an online forum, famous for my writing on food, travel, philosophy and some off mainstream thoughts and comments. Also I was well known for my outspoken opinions on parenting even though I didn't have and didn't plan to have kids.

And things happen. I got pregnant by accident. While I was expecting, I was still active posting philosophical comments. One respondent wrote, "Soon you will talk about the color of your child's poop". I thought he was kidding or at least didn't mean it literally. Gee, how wrong was I! Soon after my son was born, I pounded the forum with tons of questions about my son's poop!

That was not the end of it. At that time, my mother was there to help me through the first month. The only thing I did was to recover and breastfeed the baby. Until one day, my son had a blow up with poop all over his clothes AND my mother was not around. I had to do it. When I stuck my hands into his...poop....it was revolutionary moment. From that moment, I became a real parent.

Tonight, my three-year-old son had another poop accident. It was all over him, his clothes and the floor. It was no big deal for me to clean up. My husband came to help and later on he hand washed the poop stained clothes and baby carrier. At that moment, I fell in love with him again for what he was doing: a real dad cleaning up his child's poop.

He is smarter than me. He wore gloves.

Oh my, parenthood.

P.S. Thank you, my love. I was greatly touched when you washed the poop clothes at midnight after we went to bed, so I don't have to do it and I can get some sleep.