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Showing posts from January, 2013

What We Are Listening To

Last summer at a library book sale I grabbed an audiobook version of Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman.  I thought perhaps it would be a good fit for use with our Story of the World History study.

This book is a gem!  I knew it was historical fiction but it is actually a living book of this period in history.  The main character, “Birdy”, is an outspoken, clever, cunning, and smart thirteen year old girl.  She feels repressed by her status of a knight’s daughter, destined to marry and spend her days as a lady of a manor, when she would rather be following the Jews as they emigrate from England during the Diaspora or join her uncle on crusade, her brother in a monastery or her best friend in the goat yard.  
Through her diary we are given a glimpse into what her life was like in the 1200’s.  We know what feasts were celebrated, what was eaten, what daily chores were, how the feudal system operated, how sickness was treated and how hard it was to survive.  
I recommend it as an acco…

Three Years: How I Know It Is Working

We have been homeschooling three years.  It is hard to imagine that three years have passed so quickly.  Three years ago Lilah was just seven years old and in 2nd grade.  I do remember the feelings of anxiety, of trepidation, and of concern I had for her and for our transition.  I remember my challenge to not be too critical of school, which was not a good place for one of my children, but was a fine place for my other.  At times I know I was too critical, but the more I reflected and wrote about my experiences with my daughter’s public school education, the more I realized that perhaps public school is not for every child.  It is not necessarily the best place for those who are not willing or able to give the teacher, and ultimately the system, what it deems necessary to "prove" or evaluate success.  

For our family, the past three years have truly been a journey of self-discovery.  This is my journey.  It is not perfect, but I am proud to own it.  I am blessed to share it. …

Art Journaling: Try Something New

Saturday morning in yoga class, my instructor made me think of what our body does in the space of our yoga mat. Over the past three weeks I have challenged it to do what I thought was no longer possible, even without my leg injury. Quite the opposite was true in fact. My body needed this challenge, and it is healing.

Because of yoga class I am breathing better. I do not have asthma or even an acute condition like a cold or bronchitis, but I actually notice my breathing now and it feels better, deeper, more productive. It was something I never noticed before, not even while I studyied karate all those years go. Now, it feels like the slow, moderated, conscious breathing exercises we do works to not only fuel my muscles with oxygen, but also to provide my lungs with a workout! 

My instructor challenged us to compare what we do on our yoga mat to the rest of our life. How can we challenge ourself this week? Listen to a new piece of music? Read a new book? Consider a different point…

Week of January 25, 2013

In My Life This Week:  Growing up in Massachusetts, I remember coming home from school, rushing to get my ice skates, grabbing a thermos of hot chocolate and racing across the street to the frozen pond where a battle would ensue between my friends who wanted to skate and the boys who wanted to play hockey.  Eventually we would settle on our designated space but inevitably the puck would sail by us followed by boys who had no consideration for our need to practice spins and twirls.
My girls have very few memories of pond skating.  We live just a few houses away from two ponds but we have never skated on them.  They never look safe to me.  We are keeping our eye on another pond in our neighborhood....that one must be safe by now.  Not that I want to skate in this frigid weather!  
I know I should not complain that it is 20 degrees in Connecticut in January.  Not after the relatively mild winter we have had so far.  But man it is cold!  So cold, I have not been getting up early to write.  …

Art Journaling: Quotes

If you saw our group’s art journal pages on display, I wonder if you would be able to guess how old the artists are.

Their work is mature beyond their years.  

I wonder why this is...Is it talent?  It is interest?  Is it passion?  
I don’t know.  What I do know is that magic happens when they are together...  

...and that I love every single minute of it.  

Downton Abbey, tea and crackers...

16 years of marriage.  Crazy work schedules.  Gone before I awake.  Home when I am dead-tired.  He may watch Monday night football while I sleep on the couch.  Sometimes a good book will keep me awake, but that is rare and even so, it is not a shared activity.  Needless to say, during the week Greg and I seem to be like ships passing in the night.  There has not been much quality time over the years, sad to say.  
I have Downton Abbey to thank for injecting some quality relationship time into our home and into our marriage.  We love it.  I look forward to 8:30 when I hear the train whistle from the comfort of my home, signaling to me that he will be walking through the door in five minutes.  He eats his dinner, visits with the girls and when they are preparing for bed and reading quietly in their rooms, we have our “Downton Time”.  
It may be silly, but this has become a bit of a ritual as we are trying to catch up on two seasons worth of drama.  While I pull up the episode from Ruku (s…

Week of January 19, 2013:

In My Life This Week:  There is a particular person that I follow on Instagram that always posts pictures of cozy little nooks of her home.  There is never any dust or clutter.  There are always fresh flowers in vases and blankets lined up just so on the couch.  Part of me wonders if this is for real or if the camera were to span just a little to the left would we see a pile of books and the remnants of the Sunday paper........Life is not always what we present it to be on social media.  However, these photographs are beautiful, which is why I follow.  They inspire me to declutter my home.  Now is the perfect time to work on this never ending project.  
Our Christmas Village takes up an entire room.  It spans the length of my mantle, encompasses my entire hutch and a chest of drawers.  It takes more than one day to get every house and every accessory packed up and moved back into the attic.  I am not putting back every little pottery piece, every plate, every picture frame and every emp…

Balancing Act

I feel the push and pull of following a curriculum and following your heart.  We slip back and forth between the two.  Some weeks we are home and we just plow through work.  Other weeks are filled with interest-led activities, like taking two hours with a sewing exert to wander through Joanne Fabrics in search of the perfect material and the right supplies like snaps, grommets, zippers, and thread.  That is valuable is developing an interest and a talent in the same way doing a math lesson is developing a skill and addressing a need.  

I have my “educational” goals for the week: as much math as possibleone chapter of historyone chapter of sciencewritingreading

Then there are our interest-led “lessons”: bakingsewingweather studyelectronicsMinecraftfashion design

There are what would be called “specials” in school but are really “vitals” in our home: pianoguitarart journalingdrawingbasketballice skating

When we have had a day like Monday where our morning was taken up by a two year o…

Lucky Dog!

Watching my child do something that she is truly and totally passionate about brings me such joy.  Lilah can bake for hours and hours.  This weekend she and her friends met for 7 hours to work on LCC, and even that was not enough time!  She has so many plans and even though she makes the most of every single moment, it just is not enough to do all that she wants!  

This meeting was for the dogs.  They thought it would be a great idea to bake treats for the local dog shelter.  I don’t really believe in luck anymore.  Too many things happen that luck just can’t explain.  I guess serendipity would be a better word to explain how on this very day there happened to be a dog adoption event sponsored by the shelter volunteers.  I did not know about this in advance.  In fact, I was concerned the shelter would be closed before the girls had a chance to make their delivery.   Quite the opposite was true.  The shelter was busy and the volunteers and Animal Control Officer welcome the girls in.


Gratitude #2

Sometimes I worry that children who homeschool have to wait to see their friends.  They don’t have 5 min to chat in homeroom or while they are rushing to lockers to switch out books.  They don’t have gym class together or eat in the cafeteria.  They don’t ride a school bus or walk to and from school.  I worry sometimes if they feel lonely or if they need the frenetic energy that comes from being inside a school building with hundreds of children.  But then I read that the Middle School my daughter would be attending was in lockdown this month because 4 ignorant people were in the field behind the school with air soft guns. They were taken into custody.   As we all know, lockdowns are a necessary drill, right alongside fire drills, but I will never ever forget the stress and anxiety the practices created for my children when they were in school.  I cannot even imagine what the real deal would do to their well-being.  I am grateful we homeschool.

I worry that my children had a cataclysmi…