Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Swallows and Amazons Childhood

I loved reading the Swallows and Amazons series of books when I was a girl. Actually, I've read some aloud to my kids and some silently now I am an adult, a mother.

The series tells of the adventures of four children, their exploits, their adventures, many of which are set in the Lakes District of England.

I loved the picture of an " idyllic, yet often realistic, depiction of childhood and the interplay between youthful imagination and reality".

Last night, after a CAFE meeting at our parish ( Catholic Adult Formation), dh and I were chatting to some of the friars. I mentioned our often late dinners and late nights and Fr. said something to the effect of " Perhaps it didn't matter as much since the boys did not have to be up early and rush aound to get to school".

It is true. Our schedules , as homeschoolers, and particularly as unschoolers, have a certain freedom. We definitely have routines and pegs, activities piggybacked onto other activities until good learning habits are formed; and we have many outside activities. Yet my children's days have never been dictated by a school schedule.

My older four sons can set themselves to a work and university deadline, so the lack of a school schedule has not created unorganized, undisciplined young adults.

However,my children have had the kind of childhood of which I dreamed and read about when little. A Swallows and Amazons childhood, with time to read, imagine, play, explore. Whilst still learning some good habits and self discipline, for the most part, along the way.

Like today. Yes, we were up early after a late night of CAFE and of Harry Potter reading - up early, not for school but for Mass, attending our Francisan parish, praying and participating in the Portiuncula Indulgence.

Then breakfast at McDonalds, home for chores and free time - playing piano, reading, playing computer games.

We will do some Maths and/or English and/or Latin activities ( university assignment for Jonathon) before going to the grocery store and bank and chemist, to a doctor appointment and to lunch at the home of another homeschooling family.

Lots of play and talk there to be sure!

And on to work at Kumon together ( we spend a great deal of time together), Anthony cooking dinner, probably watching another episode of Stargate on DVD tonight and more reading and prayers at bedtime.

Tomorrow it's First Friday Mass, having one of Anthony's homeschool friends over ( most likely with lots of fun running around games) , going to homeschool ice skating, music lessons for two, work for teens, parish youth group for some, time with mum and dad for Anthony .

A different sort of schedule to the schedule of those who attend conventional schools. Who have children attend conventional schools.

A weaving of learning and routines, of have-tos and want-tos, of play and work, of imagination and exploration, of community and home, of Faith and of life.

A Swallows and Amazons childhood.


Cindy said...

Wonderful. Your boys have received quite a gift from you and your dh- an idyllic childhood.

That is what it ia all about!

Lovely post.

Alice Gunther said...

Leonie, I LOVE THIS!

A Swallows and Amazons childhood is so rare and so worth pursuing!

Wonderful thoughts!

Leonie said...

Alice, I know you are another Swallows and Amazons fan! :-)

Cindy, you are right - memories and living life are what its about, well, mostly. :-)

Surprised by Joy said...

Leonie I love hearing your success story! I love your happiness over your boys childhoods, you are always an inspiration.

Leonie said...

Thanks, Molly, what a lovely thing to say!

Cindy said...

Well, yeah, mostly... I knew that wasn't quite right when I posted it. But it IS important, builds relationships and is a gift we can give the kids, though it is not always easy.. takes our time and love. :)

Leonie said...

Cindy! You are so right ~ it is not always easy and yet you do seem to be better at this with your boys than I am with mine.

I need to remember relationship first - or that quote rom the Pope, that you have on your blog ie "To evangelize is to teach the art of living."

Cmate said...

Looks like a good book.

HopewellMomSchool said...

I loved S/A and first read it after finding Amblesideonline at age 43!! I so envy your boys. We are getting ready to trudge thru another year of public school.....

Maybe I'll try again to get the kids interested in Swallows. What almost-13 year old boy could resist a girl named...Ti......[you know the one!]

Love your bulletin boards! Maximillion is such an inspiration.

I'm back from break at

Leonie said...

SO glad to see you are back - left a comment at your blog.

And lol! re the Ti... comment - I understand completely. :-)

Some people I know have had good success with listening to the Swallows books on tape or CD - we haven't found them yet, but they may be in your public library.

And just think - the Swallows went to school but did all these great things in afterschooling. Thats how I see your life, when I read your blog..