Monday, June 20, 2016


At the heart of unschooling is the idea that a person should let their passions guide their learning.  As Liam's interests bring him in and out of various groups, I also hope he will find people with whom he can connect - his "tribe."

It happened at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, when we met a couple of young adults who were happy to cast spells and write about them in special spell books, excitedly and lovingly sharing details of the movies with Liam, a new inductee into the fan-world of Harry Potter.  I could see that in this group, he was immediately accepted.

It happened the first time Liam sat at the keyboard during Rock Band class, he was fully engrossed in the musical conversation and was able to follow along.  He "got it" and he was in.

Today, we're taking a bigger step and starting Rock Band Camp - three hours a day, four days a week for two weeks.  I hope the smile I often saw on his face during Band class stays.  I hope that music can be for him what Theater became for me.

I was the kind of kid who was perfectly happy to spend hours reading, drawing or writing by myself.  It wasn't until I fell in love with acting, that I found something that REQUIRED me to be fully engaged with a whole group of people.  Music may do that for Liam.  Or it might not.  At the very least, it will shake up our daily routines and that is never a bad thing.

Rock On!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Double Digits

Since Liam loves numbers, I thought it only fitting to share that he achieved double digits at the end of May. The big one-oh. On the day of, we returned to his favorite place, with a new friend from Urban Homeschoolers, Jasmine. Universal Studios gave him a birthday pin and he got lots of special treatment, from being invited up to do the show in Olivander's Wand Shop to front of line passes for his favorite rides.

On the weekend, we had a party with a theme Liam chose - a Goombirthday Party.  Temperatures soared over 90 degrees (and our back patio is all concrete), sooooo the outside party I'd planned was quickly re-invented as an inside party. We had 9 kids and 11 adults in our little house. I set-up t-shirt painting using drawstring garbage bags as aprons and larger, cut-open lawn and leaf bags as a dropcloth in our newly-airconditioned sunroom.

Around the house we set up "Goomballoons" - balloons with sets of eyes I drew, attached with double sided tape and mouths drawn on with a sharpee to look like Goombas from Mario Brothers. Brown cake plates were cut for feet. Liam created a Goomba cake topper too.

After the planned activity in the sunroom, which is usually our gym, the kids spotted the mini-tramploine leaning against the wall. John helped break down the tables and chairs and what started as a "bounce-off" turned into a full cage match. The girls at the party are both studying Krav Maga, so they were in the mix too (and kicking the boys' butts, by all accounts). In the end, my husband had a pile of kids on him, all trying to do a takedown. By that point, Liam had retreated to his room, as he had off and on throughout the party. He never minded kids coming in and joining him there, but I think the chaos of so many people kept him out of the mix.

For the record, it was Liam who insisted on a party. And ironically, every year, he insists on having a cake, which he never eats. I think he just associates birthdays with blowing out candles on a nicely decorated cake while everyone sings "Happy Birthday." And so we did. This year, I picked the cake - Chocolate Grand-Marnier Mousse from the best cake-shop in town - Porto's Bakery. The kids may have come for the shirt painting and cage match, but the grownups come for that cake!

And I know it was a great party. Because I forgot to take a single picture of it. That's right. Not one picture! Later, John and I joked about the Louie CK routine about parents watching their childrens' recital through the lens of a video camera,"Check out the definition of the live performance - it's incredible!"

There may have been no pictures, but I got several wonderful take-aways from that day.

1) Our friends are awesome. The people at that party came from many different areas of our lives and they all meshed together so nicely.

2) Liam is different than other kids, and kids are cool with that. There is something about Liam that engenders acceptance and kindness in kids around him. Liam recently got hooked on singing old nursery rhymes and was singing a few during the party. Instead of teasing a 10 year old for singing kiddie songs, the others joined right in!

3)  Planned things are fun, but unplanned things are even better. I was a little worried that I wouldn't have enough in our wee space to entertain the kids. I forgot how easily a group of kids can make their own fun.

After the party ended, we left the Goomballoons to gradually deflate and have enjoyed watching their expressions change. Here is all that is left of a happy, 10th Goombirthday!

Happy birthday, kid!