Bugspray the Cat

I do not know where to draw the line between education, life and just plain fun. In our house, the lines are even blurrier than in most. We do what we do and look for ways to enrich whatever experiences come our way and to encourage the children in what they are most interested in and what they do best.

For Eric, it is definitely creative pursuits. He also enjoys pure learning and trying something difficult and getting it right. But his greatest strength is his imagination. His comics are getting better and a few have actually made me laugh out loud. The ability to do that could be worth a lifetime of income. So we encourage his art. He participates in some online forums where people share their art. One of them is Flipnote Hatena. Flipnotes are a game that comes with the Nintendo DSi. It’s like when you draw a cartoon on the corner of a notebook and on each page the character moves a bit. Flipping the pages creates a moving animation. This is done electronically and is a tool for kids to use to make their own animated cartoons.

Eric recently has been very interested in getting random people to comment. I guess he wants to see what it takes to get people to comment. It’s not easy to get readers to look at what you do and be bothered to write something. It is an inexact science and I don’t know the secret. In some forums, you just go around saying nice things to people and they come back and say nice things to you. I saw that on one writing site. Someone had a Thanksgiving poem with each line starting with a  letter in the word Thanksgiving. I can never remember what those are called, but I did them in second grade. So I was less than impressed when I saw this author had dozens of comments after only a few hours. “T” is for the niceness of the day. “H” is for how am I gonna thaw this bird in only four hours. “A” is for and I don’t even like turkey, and on like that…

So Eric has been trying to involve his readers. He has tried a couple of strategies, but his most successful is Bugspray the Cat. Bugspray is not even an animated cat. He has one page with a very nice pic of a splotchy cat and the words wrap around the cat: “Here is Bugspray the cat. You can send him toys, water and food. If he does not get enough, he will die.”

So those who want to participate can not just write comments, but can participate. I thought for sure he copied the idea from somewhere. But he says no. And one of his commenters said, “cute and original! Here is some stuff for Bugspray.” And there was a painstakingly hand-drawn picture of a water bottle labeled H2O and a bowl of food decorated with little fishes. Also a mouse toy and what looked like fish crackers.

He has nine comments after two days. He has collected for Bugspray: one smashed bug (with the comment “here you go”), a dumptruck load of cat food (“by all means, Bugspray will  never die!”), a personalized food bowl with built-in water dish and a couple of toys, and many other nice items, each drawn by hand by people who took time to play Eric’s game he made up. This kind of creativity floors me. I can’t believe he built a game that people like to play and they invest quite a bit of time in drawing stuff for Bugspray the cat.

Eric told me last night that he just likes to make other people write the word Bugspray. He laughs when he sees he made someone write bugspray. Now I laugh too. If I were given an assignment to get random strangers to write the word bugspray in a public forum, I don’t know if I could. But Eric assigned it to himself and it’s working!

I was going to write about naming animals. We have always had fun naming animals.  Now we got mamma cat named Pillage (her littermates were Pirate, Pilfer, Plague, oh, and Plunder). Her kittens are Pumpkin, Pandemic (guess who thought that one up) Parachute, and Popcorn. Sometimes we fight over the names. Our previous litter, now grown, was Applesauce (destroyer of iphones), Pineapple, Soy Sauce and Efflie, short for efflorescence.

It’s all lots of fun and we think of names for animals we don’t have. Like Ginger and Sesame. Or Namikuji.

The little kids are reading the Wild Wild World book with hundreds of paragraphs about animals. Eric says Cassie wants to learn to read so she can read that book. And she can read many of the articles now. Sometimes our most fun times are also our most productive times.

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We have decided to start this journal to keep track of our children's life lessons learned in our homeschool journey. We believe that as parents we are accountable for our own children's education. It is up to us to make sure we prepare them to be active and responsible citizens, not a drain on society. So this blog will be a place where we can share our daily lessons and activities that we incorporate into our homeschool.

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Mother to 9 children, 5 on earth and 4 in heaven.
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Christian Unschoolers
Unschooling is learning as you live life. All of life involves learning. This is what we "teach" our children.


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