The End Virus: A Minecraft Novel - Kindle edition by Asher Basden. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
The End Virus: A Minecraft Novel - Kindle edition by 9-year-old Asher Basden.
We just published Asher’s Minecraft-themed novel for the Kindle! He’s already started writing the second book in the series, but is thrilled to have “The End Virus” out in the world. Homeschool win! http://www.amazon.com/End-Virus-Minecraft-Novel-ebook/dp/B00LKSITXQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404833218&sr=1-1
So today is the first day of “summer camp.” Back in the states, I would have signed Asher up for a different camp each week—things like lego animation camp or wet and wacky physics camp or soccer camp or computer gaming camp. I also would have had to speak with the camp directors for each camp months earlier to tell them about Asher and his intensities and make sure they were willing, and equipped, to handle him and any challenges that came up. And of course, even with that heads up and understanding in place about what could be hard for Asher, there would always be a few that just didn’t work out. Last summer we were 5 for 8… the other three wrote me reimbursements checks.
Because I’m homeschooling Asher I wanted to come up with a way to differentiate “summer” from the “school year,” and so I’ve come up with 7 themed weeks of “camp.” Between now and the end of August, minus a few weeks for holiday, we’re doing week-long explorations in nature, architecture, comic strips, documentary filmmaking, sewing, Minecraft-themed art, and guerilla art. Camps will run Monday through Thursday and Friday will be a beach day with friends.
It also felt like it was important that we change up our routine a bit for the summer – though Asher thrives with structure and routine, he seems to need a break from the same general daily flow we’ve done over the past nine months. So we’re making some shifts.
The biggest? Asher won’t be doing screen time on our camp days. This was his suggestion by the way (huge!) and I’m so curious to see how it impacts him. He’ll likely OD on screens the other days of the week, but for the sake of this experiment, I’m okay with that.
Another change? We’re going to be doing daily “sit spots.” This is something my friend and parenting / nature-based coach Margaret Webb turned me onto. A “sit spot” is basically a place in nature where one goes every day rain or shine to sit quietly and reflect, notice, and simply be. I’ve certainly noticed that some of Asher’s most present moments happen when we’re sitting together in nature – he’s tuned in, engaged, and aware. So I’m curious to know how he responds to this being a new daily ritual.
My other hopes for our summer of camps is that we’ll spend lots of time outdoors, get lots of exercise, read lots of books, be more playful, and that Asher will gain more independence and more fully step into himself.
But of course, as I’ve learned throughout my first year of homeschooling, things don’t necessarily work out the way I intended. In fact, chances are high that I’ll be looking back on this post at the end of August and have a good laugh at the naiveté of my finely laid plans. But that’s okay. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year it’s that we always end up exactly where we’re supposed to be
As I’ve written here before, travel is often tricky with Asher.
Between the lack of routine, exposure to a slew of different sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, and being asked / expected to do things that might not be exactly what he would choose to do, there’s lots of fodder for inflexibility and outbursts.
This trip has been different.
My sister (she’s visiting from Baltimore), Asher, and I took the train to London on Monday morning, and we’ve spent the week riding the tube all over town, logging miles of walking, listening to audio tours, and visiting famous sites, including the London Eye, the Tower of London, and Hampton Court Palace.
We’re just wrapping up day 4 of the trip, and the final count of angry outbursts or tantrums for the week?
Of course there have been occasional complaints and grumblings, but what 9-year-old wouldn’t have an opinion about exactly how many lines he is willing to stand in during an 8-hour period?
I’m curious to know what it is about this trip that is making it go so much more smoothly. I didn’t have the signed contract like I did for Portugal, and though we prepped for the trip by diving into British history and briefly outlining our itinerary, the days were much less structured going in.
Here’s what I’ve come up so far regarding why things are going so smoothly:
We’re traveling with my sister and not Derin. I think Michele’s presence changes things up enough that it’s breaking the “cycle” we tend to go through as a family when it’s Derin, Asher and me. Asher has someone different to engage with, someone with stored-up patience and curiosity, and someone he loves to boot.
Asher is working on empathy. He knows that this trip to visit us in Amsterdam and our side trip to London is his Aunt Shelly’s “big trip’ for the year and therefore it’s important that we do what we can to make it a positive experience. He is taking this role seriously and has been incredibly flexible and open because he wants his Aunt’s trip to go well. (Yay Asher! See the pic below of Ash and his Aunt Shelly on the London Eye.)
London feels familiar. There’s no disputing that being in a country where English is the primary language and store and food chains from the states are everywhere feels comfortable and familiar to Asher. No doubt he feels more at home here than in other countries we’ve visited.
I’ve been oozing patience. This trip gave me a chance to keep working on being empathetic and respectful in all of my communication with Asher. Also, because I know I’m the sole parent on this jaunt, I’ve stepped up to the plate in the same way I do when Derin is traveling for work — by working extra hard to be loving, patient, kind, and joyful in my parenting. It can be tiring because it requires that I be uber present and continuously make conscious choices in what I say and do around Asher, but it positively affects my parenting energy, and it always results in a better relationship between Asher and me.
That’s all I’ve got so far. I’m sure there are more. I’ll keep thinking on it.
Tomorrow, we’ll visit Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station and check out the science museum before heading back to Amsterdam, where Asher is excited for a weekend of serious Minecraft modding with his dad.
Oh, did I mention that for the first time ever Asher said “I can’t wait to get back to Amsterdam.” More than once.