One Big Adventure
An opportunity to log in some of the thoughts and activities of our homeschooling family of eight. We love books and good food and aspire to a Christ-centered, multi-generational, agrarian life.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Light Tree

Owen loves to build things. He has for a long time. When he was little, he could name every piece of construction equipment at a job site we drove by, although he had no interest in letters, numbers or colors--except for the yellow construction equipment!

Before he was ready to learn to read, his school assignment for the day was to 'build [something] for Momma'. The "something" varied from day to day and sometimes it really was something and he got to decide what to build. This went on longer than it might have for some other children, but by the time Owen was nine, he was ready to hit the phonics hard and it wasn't long before he was reading at his grade level and devouring any book at home or from the library that had anything to do with building.

Since then he has built a number of things, some small, some big, some obviously useful, some less so--but he always learned something from what he builds. This past summer, we were incredibly blessed for Owen to be able to work with the man who built our new home. He worked hard, right alongside the crew, during the two hottest weeks of our already hot southern summer. He learned a great deal and grew tremendously--in physical strength, in confidence and in real self-esteem-- the kind that comes from actually accomplishing something and pressing yourself further than you thought you could go.

Now that we are in our house, Owen has LOTS of ideas for things he would like to do and build to improve our new homestead. (We have quite a few ideas for things for him to do too :*))...

Because all work and no play makes Owen a dull boy, we try to let him have some fun, sometimes, and Vern's Christmas Break and a gift from Nona (my mom) resulted in two days of fun with a little learning and a pretty ending thrown in for good measure. Vern helped Owen with some of the calculations on the first day and a little power-sawing on the second. Owen set to work to lay out the plan and most of us came out to watch the light tree go up.

Owen figured out how to make the star for the top work...and look like a star!

Becca assisted Owen in getting the tree pole in the ground. The sandy soil here made it easy digging, but also required them to 'dig deeper' to get a stable base.

Once the center pole and the spikes were in place, it was time to string the lights. Daddy steps in to help again.

James fulfills his responsibility as supervisor and cheerleader.

The final strand is in place. When Owen plugged it in, all the lights lit and then some of the fuses blew. After replacing a number and blowing yet more fuses, Owen brainstormed with us about how to make it work... and trying to figure out why it wasn't working. We came up with a plan, which he tested, and it worked!

At first, this didn't seem like such a great time for this project. But I'm glad I kept my mouth shut (I don't always). Owen's enthusiasm at receiving the lights motivated him to pursue the project, to see if he could make it work. He was diligent in his work and now we have all the pieces in places to have a lovely Light Tree in our yard next Christmas!
Love, Stephanie


Nona said...

The Light Tree is BEAUTIFUL Owen - 'GOOD JOB' as Mom would say!! I'm really tickled that all those tangled sets of lights were put to such a good use. I really appreciate your perseverance and determination, and that Becca, Daddy and even James helped (and anyone else that may not have been mentioned). I especially appreciate that Mom (or someone) documented the whole process with photos. It will be fun to look forward to seeing it up next year. Love you,

The Skelly Family said...

Daddy, Mom and Hannah helped in the photo documentary. Katie cooked, which is always important! Carrie stood by with encouragement when she wasn't digging her own hole! It really was a good family thing. Stephanie