Sophie is reading everything lately. She'll sit with magazines, comic compilations (Garfield is a favourite), easy readers, novels, newsletters, anything, really, and I'll hear her reading aloud quietly to herself. The other two learned to read more internally, silently. It's fun to witness the progression.
Weather is pouring rain today and cold, so I'm trying to inspire some spring cleaning indoors. Success is limited. The kids polished the piano and tidied the living room floor.
The art show last weekend was a great success. It was the exhibition marking (almost) the end of the year's art classes for Noah and Erin. The teacher mounted the artwork nicely and made nice display cards with the kids' names. The exhibit was in a real gallery space, following an outdoor community event, so there was a huge busy influx of visitors, just like a real art show opening. It was great for the kids to hear people oohing and ahhing over the work of themselves and their friends. And everything looked so professional in that setting.
When their paintings and drawings came home this week I was inspired to hang it at home with a little more care and respect than usual. It looks really nice. I've been thinking lately about how a parent responds to a child's creative output is a balance. While you want to demonstrate interest and support and encouragement, you don't want to give the impression that you feel every scribble is a work of art, or should be. I think too much focus on the end-produce stunts creativity and joy. I think it's important for kids to understand that not everything has to be worth displaying on the fridge, that creative work is valuable even if (or perhaps especially if) it doesn't yield a highly-polished end-product. I find that specific comments about the art, rather than general praise, makes a good strategy. "You made some really intriguing colour choices in this one. I think the blue and brown really work together nicely, and the orange just jumps out at you and draws attention to the centre. That's really neat." And I find that if I let the artwork they produce linger a little in piles that in a few days or weeks the kids are quite clear about what they consider worthy of display.
So today we have two beautiful walls of construction-paper-matted artwork, distilled from reams of stuff the kids have produced over the past 8 months or so. It's quite inspiring.
We're (I'm) having a bit of an issue with the amount of screen-time in this family. I feel a family meeting coming on with this at the top of the agenda. A couple of weeks ago the computer crashed and wouldn't reboot for love or money. Alas, Chuck took it upon himself to fix it that very evening. Lack of parental communication. Some intentional procrastinating would have been most appreciated by me. Still, there's lots of outdoor play happening too, so there's some balance there.