Friday, January 14, 2005

Sketching and skating

Yesterday was Pearlie's day at Allie's mum's house - she and Allie go over there mid-morning for a French lesson, then Allie goes on to work.

So Leo and I had the day together. We decided to go out sketching. Leo wanted to draw trees and people leaping, so we went to the Level, a nearby park with a skatepark in it. We spent about an hour drawing the skaters and bike riders, and some interesting structures elsewhere in the park, as well as having a quick play on the swings and seesaw before stopping for lunch.

I enjoyed it enormously. I am not an artist, and have never thought I was any good at drawing. My sketches of the skaters are quite rudimentary, though I did manage a nice enough picture of a bridge, which obligingly stood still long enough for me to draw it.

Leo, who is an artist, was clearly inspired by the activity to add wheels and an appropriate air of movement to his usual clawed superhero style pictures. He drew the bridge too, and some pillars that stand next to it - that kind of thing is not something he normally draws at all. He enjoyed it too, and we stayed there drawing well into our normal lunch time - I had to drag him away in the end because I was too hungry.

I was impressed, as usual, by the dedication and skill of the skaters and bike riders. They spend long hours practising to improve their techniques and learn new tricks, with no external incentive at all. From what I can see from the outside, it is a remarkably supportive culture - they aren't forever laughing at each other's mistakes and teasing. They seem hardly to speak at all when they are all working on their own things, in a shared space. And they are not self-conscious about using their whole bodies - skateboarding in particular seems to demand some very graceful and balletic gestures and the use of the arms and upper body to control the movement of the board.

All in all, I think they are a fine example of autonomous learning in action.

I spent a ridiculous amount of money on wool in the Co-op after lunch, and Leo chose a lovely shiny, velvety top in a charity shop, to be part of his supper-doggy costume.

After P. came home, they disappeared off into their own world for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Sometimes that bit of time is filled with rows and bickering, but yesterday they just seemed to work it out, and spent several hours on their own downstairs, dancing, writing a story on the computer, playing Top Trumps and doing other secret things. They surfaced for their tea and then went away again.

I had to do a fair bit of negotiating to get them to stop playing when Leo's approximate bedtime came round, but he did eventually go up without any crossness on either side.

P. is planning a dancing show for her cousins on Sunday - we printed out flyers and I delivered them on the way to work this morning.


Jax said...

ooh, what have you been buying wool for? I've got to start crocheting my squares - I'm in a swap club!

Allie - thanks for your comment on my blog earlier - a good point. I can't quite recall the age difference between your two, but it sounds like it's similar to what we've got here - about 3 1/2 years.

Dani said...

I am overwhelmed with knitting commissions - my children have great faith in my newly rediscovered abilities. I was buying wool for two stripy cardigans. I'm hoping they'll be ready by next winter!