Monday, 20 April 2015

Losing Control

This unstructured strewing lark is hilarious (as long as I keep my sense of humour about it, that is!)
I got my "books to strew"out the other day so I could reference them and put the details on the blog, and while they were piled up next to me, the boys kept coming and pulling books out of my pile so they could look at them too!  Youngest pulled out "How Things Work" and went all the way through it in order, lifting one flap at a time, totally absorbed in it.  I managed to not be frustrated and just made a mental note that it looked like being a successful one to strew.

Middle went and hunted out our seashells (that I had earmarked for a Provocation) and started making pictures out of them, like the "Spiky Hedgehog" below.  Again, I chose to relinquish control, drop any irritation that he was playing with them at "the wrong time" (yes I have control issues), and be glad that he was freely playing and exploring.  I chose to see it as proof that I had read the season correctly and they were ready for a season of Provocations, strewing, and investigative play.

 Then I ordered a book recommended on Facebook that I thought Middle would enjoy, and was really pleased when it turned up on Saturday while we were on our way out.  Having opened it, I propped it on the side ready for me to strew later this week.  No chance!  It disappeared almost immediately, and I later found it in Eldest's room where he had obviously taken it to read.  At least he then recommended it for reading to his brothers!

The most difficult one to manage was when they found our "Window Art" kit and immediately asked to do it. My first thought: "Oh, I was going to use that kit with its limited resources during the month of strewing which doesn't start until Monday".  Second thought: "Get over yourself, woman, and let them play with it when they are inspired to".  Third thought: "Actually they will need a degree of supervision, not to mention a clear space in which to work, and time to complete each piece - none of which are feasible right now"  Decision communicated to the boys: "Let's do it another day when the table is clear and I can sit down with you and all have fun together".  It actually worked - after a busy few days, today we had a clear table and time to give it our full attention, and we had a really lovely time.  Youngest tackled a quite complicated picture but was able to focus well and made a beautiful dragon.  Middle chose to do a funny frog and a space rocket. Youngest would have liked to do more, but I asked him to wait until Eldest had decided what he wanted to do as we didn't want to run out of the gel paints before he had had a chance to make something.  Eldest did a great space shuttle, and by then his younger brothers had moved on other things...

The "mini-invitation" - simply the box opened and contents laid out, ready to go...

Middle's rocket-ship

Middle's "King Frog"

Youngest's dragon

Eldest's Space Shuttle

So this morning we have had lots of pretty chaotic fun, my only input being to help when they got stuck on their respective MathsWhizz exercises, sitting with them and helping with a bit of craft, and leaving a selection of books out to see where inspiration is sparked.  Eldest spent over an hour reading his new Pokedex reference book, while Youngest completely ignored the strewn "How Things Work" (well, he had already read it last week), and pulled our "Paper Flying Dragons" off the shelf, joyfully oblivious to my plans to strew that one later in the week!  I helped him to make his Battle Dragon, and then helped Middle to make an Ice Dragon and Water Dragon.  They all fly really well, which was a relief as they were a bit fiddly.  Middle then found the "How Things Work" book now shunned by Youngest and spent a good while poring over it (hooray) while Youngest found the (deliberately strewn) "Learn to Draw Sea Creatures" book and proceeded to draw a picture of a pufferfish for Eldest.  Just as I was rejoicing at how well my strewing was working, Youngest also found a Horrible Histories book on the "Stormin Normans" (unstrewn - just pulled off the normal bookshelf) and read it for a while, proving the value of educating siblings of different ages - I never would have thought to leave a book like that out for Youngest (as it's a paperback using mostly text with only a few illustrations), but because his brothers have it, he has access to it too, and obviously was ready for it today!

 this kept Eldest occupied for ages!

Middle's Ice Dragon

Youngest's Battle Dragon

Middle's Sea Dragon

Youngest's Puffer fish, drawn for his biggest brother

surprise read

Once the boys had all completed their choice of activities for this morning, we reverted to one part of last term's plan in as much as Mummy chose the first TV programme to watch over an indoor picnic lunch. Today was an episode of Deadly Pole to Pole, about wolves.  Wildlife documentaries always go down well in this house, so there were no complaints.  It was a nice peaceful end to a slightly manic morning.  Manic in a good way though - creativity firing off everywhere, and me surprising myself by enjoying the lack of structure... long may it continue!


  1. Sounds very much that all is as it should be! Long may you enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Ross! I certainly plan to... ;)