Before we jump into the events of the past few days, I must send a big thank you to Pat Farenga. In case you are unfamiliar with him, Pat worked closely with John Holt until his death in 1985, and is now the President of Holt Associates Inc as well as being the former editor of Growing Without Schooling magazine. Earlier today I sent him a link to the PBS Metrofocus piece in which we were interviewed, and he posted it on his blog along with a link to Green Mangoes. (Thank you!)
Because of Pat and the people at Holt Associates, John Holt’s words and works are available to anyone interested in how children learn and alternatives to compulsory schooling. I highly recommend Pat’s blog, as well as the Holt Associates site, on which all back issues of Growing Without Schooling are now available. Whenever I get discouraged that there are not enough positive voices for unschooling out there today, I think of Pat Farenga and Holt Associates and am immediately re-invigorated.
Speaking of needing to be re-invigorated (hows this for a segue?) our family is suffering the effects of a low pressure system that has taken up permanent residence, so it seems, over New York City. For almost 7 days now we’ve had temperatures in the mid-70’s, cloudy skies and humidity so thick you can cut it with a knife. It’s awful weather – too cool to have the A/C on, but if the windows are open the apartment is so humid that sheets, rugs, clothes all feel slightly damp. Ugh! So I periodically close the windows for a while and turn on the air conditioner in an attempt to dry things out a bit. That lasts until we’re all wearing sweatshirts in our living room, at which point the A/C goes off and the windows are opened in a vain attempt to let in some ‘fresh’ air. We have a hygrometer on our windowseat, and this morning when we got up it was past the 100% mark.
In other words it should have been raining in our apartment.
I’m convinced that the weather is the source of our extreme grumpiness this past week. My usually even-tempered son has suddenly taken to fits of anger and massive outbursts of tears over such tragic occurrences as a Lego trade gone bad, or defeat by Bowser on the Super Mario Brothers game. (!) We’re all snappish and argumentative; you want to get a Magnolia cupcake but then walk a block and sit at Starbucks to eat it with coffee? Are you INSANE?! What a horrible idea!
There was actually an argument in our living room this evening over the fact that our apartment door was not completely closed. Because really, why get up and go push it shut when we can all argue about it being open?
These are the days that try my life learning spirit. Days when I want to grit my teeth and scream JUST DO IT! Go to bed! Clean your room! Eat the food that’s in front of you! and for god’s sake Stop Complaining!!
You know, those days. (I managed to not say any of those things except stop complaining. Thank goodness perfection is not a pre-requisite for this chosen path.)
And so, in honor of our grumpy week, I give you The Grumpy Song. (The real title is simply “Grumpy”) This song was one of our favorites back in the days when the kids were little and we watched Noggin. (Now it is Nick Jr., but Noggin was better because in lieu of commercials they played music videos like these.) It is sometimes highly appropriate. In fact I threatened to sing it today….twice.