What did we do today?

There’s a lovely energy in the air today. Maybe it’s the cooler almost-autumn air that feels so good, or perhaps it’s because their dad came back after a few days away for work. Whatever the reason, there’s a fun buzz about life. In fact, thinking about it, yesterday was very much a cocoon sort of day, so perhaps this is just what was preparing to emerge.

C and I went for a bike ride. Well, she rode her bike while I ran beside her. I figure this could be a real win/win. We both get some exercise and it’s fun at the same time. It was interesting watching her navigate the (gentle) ups and downs of the track we were on. We’d never been that way and there were some unfamiliar little hills. After all the years spent accompanying young children on bikes, I still noticed my slight tensing up as I waited for her to brake on the way down (which she always did). I was struck by how our responses condition so much of their experience, and how that’s such a key part of unschooling. When you know it’s all going to be okay, you have to trust and hold back. Me jumping in and shouting ‘Be careful, brake!’, when deep down I know that’s exactly what she’s about to do, sends a message that I don’t trust her and that she’s in danger.

After that we relaxed and painted some pebbles in the garden. This was followed by a good chat about keeping safe online. Now that she’s starting to read and write, C wants to use the chat in Roblox, so D and E shared their ways of keeping safe (and just generally avoiding bad vibes) in games. These included never giving any personal details, reporting people if they were offensive in any way, ignoring comments if they were unpleasant, turning off the voice chat option, and finding games that were well moderated. They’re very conscious of the pitfalls and have some firm boundaries in place. It seemed great that C could hear their thoughts on it. They know a lot more than I do.

E is still working on his coin collection, and has been checking out the Royal Mint. It seems they do a tour of the Mint, so that’s on the list of things to do next time we’re in London. He had an idea of a series of commemorative coins they could do and has found a place on their site which lets people submit ideas, so he’s getting ready to share his thoughts. He’s also been on eBay checking out coins and notes and has found a site where he can register each of his coins. Under his profile a very cool map of the world now comes up showing where all his coins are from.

He’s also been researching RAF records to see if there are any survivors from the squadron his great, great uncle was in during the Second World War. This uncle was a pilot and died in action at the age of 20. We worked out what age any survivors would be, and they’d be in their nineties. So perhaps there’s hope. He’s going to email the RAF records office to find out. E’s been working on our family tree for three years and spent a lot of time yesterday on it. Every now and again he’ll have a little breakthrough, like finding a photo, or a new lead. There was probably some inspiration for this particular search from a visit we made to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford in the UK this August. There was an exhibition about the Second World War attended by two volunteers, both of whom were children in London during the War. We were lagging a bit by the time we got to that part, but everyone came alive at their memories of hiding in the air raid shelters, seeing the bombs fall over London, and their mothers giving up the family’s saucepans to use for making Spitfires.

D has been under the weather for the last few days and is fed up with feeling bad. He’s on the mend now and anxious to enjoy some good health. Being a fan of all things Roman, he’s decided he wants to copy a Roman diet and have lots of fish, seeds and celery. I’m thinking I should join him in that. We also talked about Catalan independence, Cuba, and what a jury is, and now he’s putting together an Eiffel Tower model from a kit he was given two Christmasses ago, and which he rediscovered untouched in a drawer in his bedroom a few days ago. He’s also been figuring out how to save up for both a Warhammer starter kit and a VR headset. D is impressively organised with his money. Wish I was as good as him.

We’ve had lunch and I’ve settled down to write as everyone just gets on with their stuff. Mariano is taking C down to the dog shelter this afternoon to walk a dog. She’s going to take her dog breed book down with her to see if she can identify what mixtures the different dogs might be. The dog shelter is a wonderful place. C’s perfect afternoon right now is to take a dog for a walk and then just hang out in the yard, playing with the dogs and helping out with the grooming and feeding.

And that’s our day so far. I wonder what else the afternoon will bring.

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