So much of my role with Rilla is staying out of her way. Giving her vast stretches of time to draw and play, giving her space to get messy in. (Actually, she’s kind of a type A artist—very precise about her materials and workspace.) And of course strewing, strewing, strewing, the good old Sandra Dodd coinage* that captures the essence of my approach to family life: leave neat stuff where the kids can find it—and be around to talk about it when they’re ready.
She spent half the evening working away at this owl. Yesterday it was a pair of goldfinches, because they’ve been delighting us at our feeders.
Here’s the book that has captured her fancy: Drawing Birds with Colored Pencils. Amazon tells me I bought it in August, 2011. It saw a brief period of use then, with Beanie I think, and has mostly lived on the field guide shelf until now. I don’t know if it was chicken or egg—whether Rilla found the book and decided to dive in, or went hunting for help because she wanted to draw birds. I’ll ask her tomorrow, if I remember. All our drawing and nature books are stashed on shelves in our dining area, right behind Beanie’s chair and directly in Rilla’s line of sight.
*Sandra’s strewing page begins with a quote, “I just strew their paths with interesting things,” captioned “long ago, AOL homeschooling boards.” I was there, reading along, nursing infant Jane, when she wrote it! And now, many strewn paths later, Jane’s preparing to head off to college. We made the first big dorm shopping expedition today. I can still see those early AOL conversations scrolling across my screen—I got my first modem and my first baby in the same month—and thinking, Ohhh, this homeschooling thing has possibilities, I’ve gotta talk to Scott. Amazing.
lesley austin says:
You bring up alot for me, Lissa…Maria Montessori’s “preparing the environment”, which was my style during my homeschooling years (tho’ I prefer “strewing”!). The dorm shopping, goodness, there was something very strange and poignant about wandering around Target and encountering other parents and children with the same things loaded in their carts. And yes, those early days online talking about the possibilities of learning at home….the way the websites looked back then!
I am glad to still hold onto the thread, through you and a handful of others online where I can live that vicariously….
On August 3, 2013 at 6:30 am
We have that book! (The drawing birds with colored pencils one). Your Rilla reminds me so of my Calli — both the level of artistic talent, the type of space and environment ideal for their learning and growing and art and books. It’s fun to read your Rilla stories, and remember my Calli back when.
And Sandra Dodd good gravy of WOW. Yes 🙂
I do love this homeschooling life. Dorm shopping oh.my. What a life it has been for you and Scott and Jane. So happy for you and excited for her.
On August 3, 2013 at 7:24 am
Melissa Wiley says:
Ellie, did you write about that book two years ago, by any chance? I’m sure I saw it on someone’s blog—yours is a good bet! 🙂
On August 3, 2013 at 7:40 am
when you write AOL, immeditely a pinging sound followed by the static of dial up enters my mind.
On August 3, 2013 at 10:04 am
I may very well have Lissa, because we got it for her along with other drawing books and special supplies, but I’m not certain exactly when! Since the brain tumor anyhow …
On August 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm