Why Huckleberry School (By Mama)

Why

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Edie says I’m allowed to write a few posts on her blog. I write my own blog too, but she gets so much more traffic than me! I thought I’d start out by sharing the main reasons behind the Huckleberry School project. Huckleberries are a plant that grows wild from sea level to the mountains, and the red tart berries are one of Edie’s very most favorite food. She ate them by the fistful all summer, and there is something about that voracious, eager, sensory activity out in nature that captures what I want for my wild eager child. Bright, natural, local, easy, delicate, tangy, and wide ranging.

Memory. The number one goal of every Huckleberry School post is to save our memories of our adventures with family, friends, and all the good things out there. Edie talks about good things and bad things, and all kinds of crazy things, mostly because we want to save these moments. In the course of a day, Edie makes discoveries that will never surprise her again, and I like that they are stored here to replay later. What would the world be like if all grown ups could look back and understand their earliest discoveries through the eyes of a child?

Family. Having our special moments saved and shared online makes it easier to include our family scattered far and wide, and including family is a high priority that I am not always good at expressing. Fortunately Edie is better at it than I am. By family, we include dear friends that contribute to Edie’s life and development, and the friends who wish they could and are too far away. We love all of you, and hope that your days are brightened by Edie’s messages.

Documentation. While teaching preschool before becoming a mother, I fell in love the Reggio Emilia practice of documentation, where teachers make extensive records of children’s developmental progress and they ways they express their learning through their language, projects and play. Having photos and notes on hand make it easier to remind Edie of the new experiences and ideas she’s had, to inspire continued processing. It also makes it easier to reflect on our activities for me, so I can plan interactions and adventures that build on previous exploration.

Community. In a broader way, I hope that Edie’s experiences give something of a reference point for other children (and parents). It’s fun to share our special activities, but we also try to document something of the quiet moments in between and the gentle rhythm of life we stretch to capture- and sometimes succeed. We try out new ideas and revisit the things that worked for us before. Hopefully we don’t leave out too many rough spots and give a distorted picture… but naturally when Edie’s in her worst moods she doesn’t feel like composing a big message, and we can’t seem to get clear photos …. There is definitely some filter bias.

Inspiration. For me, the biggest benefit I didn’t expect is the opportunity each post affords for me to look closely at my daughter and try to really understand her experience and help her communicate it. This may surprise some of you, but Edie is not quite so proficient a typist or speller as it may appear from blogs only. It is a precious practice to me to sit with her and try my best to see through her eyes, drawing on my own childhood memories to decode the confusing bits. Fortunately she now has enough words to get across what is important to her mosy of the time. We have this brief window of time when I can give her relatively full attention, and I love the moments when we make a deep connection. I couldn’t bear to loose one. But for all my teary pre-nostalgic rambling, don’t be fooled. It’s all her idea.

Whatever it is, it’s all her idea.

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