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Showing posts from August, 2010

Our first adventure together

The last time I took the girls to The Museum of Natural History they were in a double stroller.  It was a frigid day.  We went with friends and had to walk about 40 blocks to get to the museum because my friend was apprehensive about taking a stroller on the subway.  I remember thinking the museum was okay, but not that great.  Yesterday, about five years later, it was interesting to see how my opinion changed little.   This time Lilah would not allow us to take the subway.  She has developed a fear of crossing in between the cars of the the train and subways.  This is very limiting in New York City!  But, since it was 90 degrees and the heat and smells of the subway would be overpowering, we splurged on a taxi.  Alas, it was not the cash cab!  But we enjoyed the ride anyway. Our mission in New York City was to visit the museum and see how many items we could find that were in one of our favorite movies, Night at the Museum.  When we arrived, rather than being greeted with the front of …

NOT a school night for us!

Tomorrow the public schools in our town have their first day.  We kick off our not-back-to-school week.  In the past the girls have walked to school where they were greeted with a balloon arch and a welcome back to school sign.  I would stand on the sidewalk, kiss them hard, hug them harder and send them on their way inside to begin another school year.  There is excitement surrounding this day.  New clothes are purchased, and school supplies are packed inside brand new backpacks.  New lunch boxes hold not only snack and lunch but at least from me, a love note as well.  Friends are reunited after the summer break and teachers, both old and new, are usually standing in doorways waiting to welcome the children into their classroom.  It is a big deal.
Since this is our very first un-first day of school, I figured we better make it special.  Tonight we went to a local frozen ice parlor for the very first time.  Grace chose blue raspberry, Lilah picked swedish fish and Greg and I had frozen…

Busy Bee

Since experiencing her first bee sting in June, Lilah has been very curious about insects. This summer she has undertaken a self-study of creepy crawly bugs. Surrounding herself with books from the library and her growing collection of field guides, she set out to make a book of facts. Since she is not yet able to summarize the information into her own words, we are working on a bibliography so her readers will know where she copied the facts from.Many nights I would find her working in our learning lounge, long past her bedtime, begging to just finish one more insect, or to complete the page she was working on. How could I deny such a request?















My favorite memory of this project was taking her to the Sacred Heart University Library, to work along other scholars in an institute of higher education. It thrilled me and her as well. This year I hope to visit as many new libraries as possible, including the local community colleges, surrounding towns, hopefully Yale (with my niece a…

What is Learning?

I have come to realize that Grace does not consider anything to be learning unless it has a letter grade attached to it. Apparently five years in the public school system has done this to her. Yesterday we were discussing with a friend what we have done this summer. Grace was asked if she did lessons and she replied that we did not. Remembering my previous post, I chuckled and asked her to share all she had learned. She was silent. I was in shock. Grace! Tell her about your summer of weather. Again, silence. I asked her if I needed to start with what she had learned and I began to list some of the things she has accomplished. Then she smiled and began talking about some of her favorite things.I was deeply concerned. Here I felt my child has learned a great deal about something she is passionate about. She recognizes the work she has put into the projects like blogging, hurricane tracking and writing mini-mysteries but she did not consider it “learning” because #1 it was n…

Tracking Danielle

Grace has a passion for weather. While we have not done “formal lessons” this summer, I have considered her learning to be project based. Since June she has: listened to two audiobooks; Night of the Twisters and Escaping the Giant Wave she has made several blog entries about the local tornado (which involved much learning about blogging and computer skills)she read the Magic Tree House books Twister on Tuesday and Earthquake in the Early Morning.She has learned the difference between weather watches and warnings. She has a better understanding of doppler radar. She now knows the warning signs for severe weather and what to do to stay safe. She has watched several Weather Channel online videos about severe weather in addition to Storm Stories on their cable network. Just tonight she watched KATRINA: RIDING IT OUT which is part of Hurricane Week on The Weather Channel.She has begun to write and illustrate a book of weather facts. She wrote a realistic fiction story about two girls…

Hopes and Dreams for a New School Year

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. Having one child home for learning was fine. We had good days and not-so good days. Having two at home now is a little unsettling. All my curriculum is ordered. I am waiting for Grace’s Horizons math to arrive along with Rosetta Stone and Drawn into the Heart of Reading. My plan has always been to start September 7th. When the girls were in school, I always wanted them to start the day after Labor Day and would feel frustrated when the start date kept creeping earlier and earlier into August. This year, they get an extra week of vacation. We plan on using the week that their friends go back to school to do local trips. We will go to New York to hopefully meet new friends and visit their father at work. We will head up to Massachusetts to visit their Great Aunt and swim if the weather is still warm. I have been promising Lilah I will take her to the Yale Art Museum and Grace to the Peabody Museum. I am looking forward to this w…

Golden Rule

I detest hypocrisy. I try very hard to educate myself on social issues, political issues, and moral issues so that I can make an opinion, defend my opinion and then live my life accordingly. For me to be true to my religious beliefs, I must strive very hard to live them daily, not just listen to them weekly. Honesty, integrity, charity are all important to me. I always tell my children “if God were in the room with us right now, what would he say? Would he be happy or sad, proud or disappointed?” I feel it helps to guide our decisions, reflect on our choices and help us grow in our faith. Several people I have come into contact with in my adult life proclaimed to be faithful. They wore the jewelry, they talked the talk, but when it came to walking the walk, they did not. I don’t think they just stumbled. The vicious intent of their actions led me to believe that behind the smile that they turn on so effortlessly, they are not kind people. Thankfully, some of these people I…

Hero

After traveling 26 hours via military transit, my brother touched down in Afghanistan yesterday. I have been thinking of him constantly. I wonder if he has slept, how much he has eaten. I wonder if he is surprised at the landscape that now surrounds him. Is it what he expected? Will his training keep him safe in harms way? I pray. Today we sent our first care package. The girls and I stopped at our local Rite Aid and they were each allowed to pick two items. We sent him the ESPN College Football magazine, today’s NY Post newspaper, Mike and Ike candy, Chex Mix, mints, hand wipes, sunflower seeds and of course three letters. My brother is a hero. Not because he is defending the rights and freedoms of our country, but because he is looked up to by four adoring children. Over the years, these they have thought their uncle has the strength to lift airplanes. They thought, and still think, he is the smartest person in the entire world. He is certainly the coolest. The four o…

10 Things about Me

I was reading a new blog I discovered at Unique Family Vision and loved the way the author captured the important things about who she is. Since I have a few new faces in my followers area, I thought it might be nice to do the same. I am convinced that God steered me towards becoming a teacher so that someday I would find the confidence within myself to teach my own children at home. Before I was a teacher I worked in the relocation industry, mostly international. One of my favorite clients was the United Nations. At my desk was an open World Atlas where I would highlight the many countries I moved people to and from. To this day, it still haunts me that I helped relocate thirty UN relief workers to Rwanda just weeks before the massacre. I still think of them and pray that they made it out alive.I never thought I would be a stay at home Mom. I always held the belief that women must be able to support themselves and their children at all times. It was hard to let that go and t…

My Students!

Grace is athletic. Watching the Olympics while sick on the couch led to her skating in competitions by the time she was 8. Now she enjoys basketball and hitting an occasional three-pointer. She is determined. A talented musician, she enjoys both piano and flute and is looking forward to playing in an ensemble this year. She has a passion for weather and dreams of becoming a meteorologist when she grows up, or a vet! She has volunteered for a local pet rescue and enjoys reconnecting lost pets with their owners. She would like to run a pet sitting business from our home. This will be Grace’s first year of homeschooling.








Lilah is an artist. Creativity runs through her blood. She enjoys making beaded jewelry, printmaking and flower arranging. She is learning to sew. Her goal is to become a baker with her own shop on etsy.com. She bakes both at home and in specialized classes. Her friends and relatives are lucky to sample her treats. A voracious reader, it is nearly impossibl…

Circle of Friends

I have a theory that the best place for children to experience personal failures and the harder life lessons is among friends. When the girls were younger, we would have our friends over for dinner to give them practice with their manners. Then when we would go to a restaurant they would know what was expected of them. I remember having dinner with friends and their child was having a particularly hard day. He was having a hard time sitting still. He spilled his drink. He did not like the food he ordered. He was five. I had been in the exact same situation and still am on many occasions. I smiled at my friend and said there is no better place to keep practicing, than with understanding friends. Something happened today that make me recall that afternoon. I have been giving my girls greater freedom in walking unsupervised to our neighbors house. They can walk and ride their bike around the neighborhood. They can run back and forth from friend to friend since we all live on…

Welcome Letters from the Teacher

This time of year most children are rushing to the mailboxes anticipating their letter from their new teacher. When I was teaching, I enjoyed sending these letters, introducing myself, sharing my hobbies and summer highlights. When my girls were in school, they looked forward to this letter, or postcard, every year. The welcome to school letter is the first connection the child has with his or her new teacher. This year I had the idea to write my own welcome back letter. I thought about the supplies we would need and how fun it would be to shop for things other than an 8 pack of crayola crayons, three notebooks of specified color, three folders in corresponding colors and a pencil case (not to mention the boxes of tissues, antibacterial wipes and cleaners we needed to contribute). We will still need basic supplies like lunch boxes for when we picnic at the Audubon and folders for transporting our research safely to and from the library. We will also need the not-typical back …

Reality TV

Yesterday my Dad asked me if I felt like I was living a reality tv show. I had to laugh! Let’s take a look at my week:
This time last week I was relaxing on the beach with my knitting, The Help, and a coffee, watching my children frolic in the surf. Then........
My Grandfather passed away changing our vacation plans. My sister and I drove 2 hours for the wake, 2 hours back to the Cape to pack up the house. We woke up at 5:30am to pack the cars and drive 2 hours to the funeral then 2 hours home after. My brother, home for one week before leaving for Afghanistan was supposed to be on the Cape with us the days of the wake and funeral. Needless to say that did not happen and we were very disappointed.On Wednesday of our vacation Grace hurt her achilles tendon while skim boarding. She cried off and on for 24 hours and would not walk properly. Our wonderful pediatrician recommended a trip to the nearest walk in center. Greg did this while I was driving to the wake. Diagnosis was a …

Sibling Rivalry

I am still straddling the two worlds of public school and homeschool even now that both of my girls are officially homeschooling. My experience with homeschooling has been that age is not a factor in friendships. Lilah is as much a friend to a 10 year old girl we see often as her 10 year old sister is. Granted, when the age gap is great, siblings seem to pair off by age, but no one is left out. For the most part, playdates include all children. This summer when Grace was invited to the beach with the older girls, we hosted a pool party for the younger siblings. It is balanced, which you know is my new favorite word!Of course Grace will be keeping her school friends. This can throw things out of balance. Today she was invited to watch the Teen Choice Awards at her friend’s house. Lilah was not invited. Things suddenly were out of balance. Lilah was intensely jealous. So jealous, she did not know how to handle her feelings. Her perspective is that her sister has the best of…

Rest

I took a break for a week to do some of this with my family.
The rest was wonderful. Thank you Mom and Dad.
Now I am home and home is good too.