Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun Discipline

Even with unschooling, discipline can be fun.

Rose has started holding her bedroom door over everyone. She locks her siblings out, she slams it when she's mad, she's not quiet coming in and out at naptime when I've asked her repeatedly. So this morning there were lots of slams and siblings banging on the door and Jade crying to be let in (after all, they do SHARE the room now). I decided that perhaps Rose needed to live without a doorknob for a few days to fully appreciate it. So I removed the handle and explained why. She seemed undaunted, as she always does when punished.

Thirty minutes later, Matthew and Rose come bounding downstairs and ask me if they can have the "big American flag towel" from the bathroom closet. I agreed but was curious and asked them why.

"Well, Mom," Matthew started. Talking fast and excited, he explained, "We're putting on a bit of a show and we need the towel for our flag. Rose is going to cut out circles from brown paper and make coins and since she has that hole in her door now, we can use it to sell tickets through!"
[Somehow, I feel that the punishment has become something fun.]

Rose continued, "Yeah, and we're going to do the show about the Presidents!"

Matthew is my instigator. He comes up with grand plans and starts to organize the other kids around him into getting the plan accomplished. He isn't a big do-er, he's more of the director who doesn't dirty his hands. ;) My (first-born) brother would probably say it's a first-born thing but whatever the reason, that's how Matthew is. So he wanted to learn about the Presidents a while back and we started on Washington and that was fun. Then came Adams and let me just save you the time - there *is* no entertaining book about John Adams out there for children to read. Believe me, I've scoured the library and Amazon. It's just not there. Sad but true. So we kinda got stopped dead in our tracks. But with Hubby out of town this week, I was reading bedtime stories in his absence and Matthew picked out the Jefferson book. MUCH better reading. I guess history just knows more about Jefferson's life. After we finished it, he asked me to read it again. So I suppose this is where the grand plan came from.

Another grand plan he's working on is one he came up with purely on his own. The neighbor's grandson has spent a lot of time at her house this summer so all the kids played together a lot. For the past month, Matthew and Jacob have been trying to figure out how to make money selling stuff. First it was going to be a garage sale. I decided that would involve too much of me making sure they didn't have price tags on, say, our new TV and with my back issues, I nixed that. So then they decided to make a Koolaid stand. They made signs and taped them to the outside of the house, they attempted to color the entire driveway in different swatches of color, they sat outside yelling at people walking their dogs to come and have Koolaid. The only problem with the plan was the lack of Koolaid. Hmmm... He decided that they needed a better "draw" and asked me again about having a garage sale. It was at this point that I realized he was very determined about this idea.

"Honey, why do you want to have a sale? What toy are you trying to purchase now?? The new set of Bionicles you've been drooling over, I guess?" He looked up at me with those sweeter-than-sweet baby blues and said, quite irritated, "No, Moooom, we're going to donate all the money we make to people who don't have any money."

My heart melted, as would anyone who heard that from her child. And I felt a little shamed that I hadn't helped him more with his quest of such noble intentions. So we put our heads together and started to think of how he could accomplish this feat and came up with an idea. Our homeschooling group has been wanting to have a garage sale in which we would donate the money to a local humane society. Perhaps they would allow him to set up a Koolaid stand at the garage sale with his proceeds being donated to Feed The Children or a similar charity.

He's very excited at the prospect. He informed me yesterday that Jacob told him that he just has to get the Koolaid Blast flavors because they're MUCH better than regular Koolaid...and people would be willing to pay more money for it. He's talking about signs to make and donation jars to decorate and making a stand. He can't wait to get started.

He and Rose constantly are having new ideas about the house they're going to live in together when they grow up. How they'll work out two families in one house and who can paint and who can cook and who can mow the lawn. Of course, even so, Matthew is still the director and Rose is more the do-er. But it works well for their relationship.

In conclusion, I'm not sure that *my* point was made about the door handle but I'm fairly certain they each learned something about it anyway.


Heather said...

Hmm, Rach has several about John Adams she loves--well vicariously about John Adams. She LOVES the books about Abigail Adams and Will you Sign Here, John Hancock? I believe A Picture Book of John Hancock and a Picture Book of Samuel Adams both refer to John Adams as well (she LOVES biographies, especially the "A Picture Book of" series and If you were there" series.) From what she says most of the info on John Adams is vicarious--he was rather private if I remember correctly.

Your son and my oldest are SO MUCH alike. She loves having yard sales as well, and we get my brother to carry stuff.:)

April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...

What a great post! Your kids are so creative!

Good luck to your son and his Kool-Aid stand for charity. That's so sweet. :)

Jena said...

Wow, what a great glimpse into how unschooling can be. I absolutely love it! Kids are much more imaginative and industrious than we give them credit for. Good for them! and great job, mom. :)

Cathy said...

How fun! This is exactly what I love about my kids being home and having the luxury to create all kinds of fun things based on their interests. They really are curious little beings, aren't they?Cathy