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artistic imagery android style

Playing with a couple new photo apps, I created these images. The first one Aidan posed with his blanky in natural light. I ran it through Pixlr-o-matic. This is a post-processing app with many filters and features to affect overall image, background, and framing. It’s really versatile and free to boot.

This next image was run through an app called Paper Camera. This app is used to capture and apply a series of effects to the image all at once. The range of effect possibilities is not as full as with Pixlr-o-matic, but what’s neat about it is that it allows videos to be captured with effects applied. For a $1.99 it offers some fun possibilities for whimsical image making on the go.

Go make something today. It’s fun.

aidan’s big break

Aidan debuted in his first big stage production this past December 6, 2011 with the Stage Play Musical Theater Company. He played two roles–the Brave Combat Hero Soldier Prince and the Huntsman. Both were speaking parts and the latter included a full scene with a song. The show took place at the Lockport Township High School in an auditorium designed to hold 1500; while it wasn’t a packed house, there were at least 375 people there that night.

Aidan and his cast-mates prepared and rehearsed for 14 weeks leading up to the big show. A lot of work went into it–both through group rehearsals and many individual hours or running lines, memorizing song lyrics, practicing dance moves, and understanding the technical aspects of stage “blocking.” By show time, it paid off. Everyone did wonderfully, and Aidan pulled off his part without a hitch. You could kind of tell that he was a little nervous, but he knew his lines, he delivered them with conviction, and he performed his song with perfect timing. To see the look of personal satisfaction and pride come over his face after his main scene was absolutely priceless.

He danced; he sang; he acted. Aidan worked really hard to get to this show. For a kid who struggles a good deal with social anxiety, he was right in his element on that stage–and often seems comfortable in the performer’s spotlight. Chris and I are so proud of him, and we love him so much.

astra taylor on the unschooled life

Astra Taylor is a 31-year-old Canadian-American filmmaker well known for her films Zizek and Examined Life. She is a writer as well, and her work has appeared in numerous magazines. In 2006, Filmmaker Magazine listed her as one of 25 new filmmakers to watch. Astra was unschooled until she was 13, an experience she says shaped the course of her life. While she has chosen to give various “schools” a try throughout her adult life–including a short stint at Brown University, a BA from the University of Georgie, and an MA from the New School, she embodies the spirit of autodidacticism. In the lecture embedded here, she talks at length about her unschooled life. It’s well worth checking out if you hope to better understand what unschooling (or life learning) means. Here you can here it first hand from a grown unschooler. Please watch.

As a side note, I was watching Taylor’s lecture the other night, and my 7-year-old son Aidan (who is unschooled) came up and sat on my knee. He was drawn in from the other room when he heard me listening to the talk. He sat there with me for the full hour and 15 minute long lecture, completely engrossed. It’s neat to see how curious he is to hear others talk about the unschooling life. He, and other unschoolers I know, seem to be keenly and critically aware of their own educational experiences and processes–in ways that traditionally schooled kids are not (at least the ones I know). Maybe this is because they are choosing these experiences completely of their own free will.

If you’re interested in hearing more adult unschooler perspectives, check out the blog of one particular adult unschooler Idzie Desmarais. She is in the process of collecting a series of interviews with unschooled adults.

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