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Showing posts from April, 2013

Herb Fairies

I try not to post too much about what we have in progress because sometimes we don’t finish the program or we choose to stop and then I am left feeling like I was not authentic in my posting.  

But I am going to share this, even though we just started it, because it is cool and I like it very much.  Herb Fairies was just re-released for a short time.  I have waited a year to purchase this curriculum and in hindsight, I am glad we did not get it a year ago.  It would have been out of context.  Now is the perfect time to begin this study considering our intensive study of  health this year and the  increase in awareness we now have about holistic health practices, and the fact that we are now well aware of the medicinal value of herbs and plants.  I have been a distributor of Pure Herbs for over a year.  We use these herbs on a daily basis in our home to treat everything from back pain to cuts and scrapes. I cannot tell you the last time I used an over the counter product in our house. 


B…

Work in Progress....stream of consciousness

From the outside looking in it can seem that everything is simple, it is easy,  and that it just comes together.  However, there are times in our homeschool experience when nothing is simple, or easy, and in fact, everything is so disjointed that they magical flow of learning ceases and some large questions have to be asked.
We are at a point like that now.  I have one girl who is struggling to find things that interest and captivate her.  I have another who is at a point where I question how well I can provide her with what she needs.  
When the learning seems to stall and the anxiety seems to build, we have to take a look at what we need to fix or change, add or delete from our lives in order to restore the balance which allows the flow of learning to begin again.  
I have a tendency to go back to basics.  For me that means putting on my teacher’s hat and doing some planning.  I conferenced with each of my girls about what they liked, what they did not like, what they want to learn and…

literacy, language, laughter and life

When I posted an email on our homeschooling Yahoo group looking to start a writing group, I had no idea where it would lead.  All I knew was I wanted to give my girls a shared writing experience with older girls who enjoyed writing and sharing their writing.

I never imagined they would start a blog.I never imagined they would start a traveling journal.I never imagined they would want to write in the park and at the beach.I never imagined they would begin emailing each other.I never imagined they would become such close friends.




Part of me thought this would be a group of girls who wrote together much like the writing groups I used to belong to.  I enjoyed my time and I learned from their tutelage but I never opened myself up to friendships.  Writing and friendships were very separate for me. 
Once the friendship switch was flipped, there was no turning back for this group of girls.  They range in age from 10 to 14 and while writing provided the connection, their friendship was by choice.…

Beginnings

All winter I look forward to the feeling sand between my toes.  This thought sustains me as I pile wood in to the wood stove in November, when I am shoveling out from a blizzard in January and when I am watching the dirty snow melt in March.  By April I am sick and tired of wearing jeans with Ugg boots and turtleneck sweaters.  I long for skirts and flip flops and toe rings.  
We are almost there.  Days like this let me know that one season is ending and another one is beginning.  I like beginnings......





Counting My Blessings: Making the most of what we have

What do you do when your desire for something else is so great that you lose sight of what is right in front of you?  I have been longing for something different.  A different set of scenery outside my kitchen window.  A different town to call my own.  A different set of responsibilities and a different home to call my own.


Perhaps this will happen.  Perhaps it won’t.  It occurred to me that I can either become weighed down by what is not, or I can embrace what is and make it the best I can until God leads us in the direction we are meant to go.  I am counting my blessings.
I have a home that I truly adore.  I love the nooks and crannies of our home.  I love the inlaid wood floors that were nailed in by hand almost 100 years ago.  I love the arched doorways, the sun room and the three season porch.  I love the smell of the full attic and the gleam of our wooden staircase.  Over the next month we will be giving our old home a bit of TLC.  I am embracing the concept “be the change you wis…

Bored

Lately Lilah has been complaining that she is bored.  Bored?  I asked myself how she could possibly be bored.....we are busy every day with activities.  We see our friends often.  She is outside almost every afternoon.  She has her art products, her books and her toys.  Bored.  Hmm.......

......after much thought about this, I realized that she is not bored with how we are living.  I think she is bored with what we are learning.  I think our lessons have become routine and uninspiring.  We are pushing to get things done and that always takes the joy out of learning.  I think it is time to shake things up a bit.
It is hard to admit that I constantly have to remind myself to not get bogged down by what I feel we must do.  Like we must finish Story of the World by May 31.  We must complete the geography page on Africa.....today.  When I get like this, I close the door to the spontaneous learning opportunities that the girls love so much.  No matter how hard I try, there are times when I sl…

Gummy Bear

Here is this week's 7 Cool Homeschooler's video featuring my two silly gummy bears......


4 Dozen

48 cupcakes.....the most Lilah has ever made at one time.  This is what she offered to donate to an interfaith community dinner our church was sponsoring for families in need.  Actually, she offered to donate 7 dozen since the last dinner served 80 people, but the organizers said that 4 dozen would be perfect.


Baking 4 dozen cupcakes from scratch takes time, especially when you are 10.  Lilah baked from 9:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon.  She measured, sifted, beat and scooped until her arms were sore.  The result was one dozen vegan chocolate cupcakes, one dozen traditional vanilla, one dozen vegan chocolate half with peanut butter chips and half with white chocolate chips, and one dozen traditional orange flavored cupcakes.  All had homemade vanilla cream cheese frosting (which negates the "veganess".....) piped from a mechanical pastry bag and topped with beautiful edible sprinkles.  


These were her best cupcakes ever.  I consider our family to be cupcake conn…

Look for the helpers

*This photo was posted on Facebook.  I have no idea the original source.

A Time For Every Season

My children have a completely different lifestyle now than when they were  learning in a classroom.  Back then in order for Grace to skate competitively, she had to come out of school early every week.  She would skate until the evening, come home tired and sore, drop into bed, and wake up tired to start her next day at school.  Now If she has a piano performance or festival coming up she can spend hours in the morning when they are most alive and energetic giving the neighborhood a concert. If Lilah wants to bake 7 dozen cupcakes for an interfaith dinner for the needy, she can spend all day doing this in order to deliver fresh cupcakes at 5:00pm.  Grace can spend 4 hours every Wednesday at the university working among college students developing her interests and connecting with mentors that can guide her education in this area. They have the ability to use the time when they are most energetic to devote to their talents and passions rather than the time when they are worn out and ti…

Rights and Responsibilities

Living in Connecticut puts my family in the bull’s eye of the gun control debate.While we do not live in Newtown, one of our town’s residents was killed in the Sandy Hook Shootings. You cannot escape the debate right now, especially here. I have been hearing the words of Rahm Emanuel in my mind over and over again.  "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."   Through the tragedy of Sandy Hook, the government has seized the opportunity, through crisis, to take away more of our constitutional rights. We should not deviate from our founding father’s documents.  The Constitution is not living and breathing.  It is not meant to shift and morph with changes in public opinion and social standards.  It is our guidepost, our beacon of light that keeps Americans free.  My children have already seen a huge shift in the American way of life.  The America I see now, looks very very different…

Giving Up to Get Much More

Why do we think we can have it all?  That must be the biggest lie that has been sold to us.  I realized this when I was trying to balance motherhood with a full time job while supporting my husband and his full time job that included a 4 hour commute and travel.  I could do this.  I just could not do it all well.  I could not give the best part of myself to other people’s children 8 hours a day and have the same level of engagement with my own children.  I could not enjoy family time on weekends when I had a pile of papers to correct and tests to grade.  Something had to give.  I gave up my full time teaching position in favor of spending my days with my child.  I have never regretted this decision.

Homeschooling websites and how to books often espouse the same idea that we can have it all.  Can we really have it all?  Of course not. We can’t have the security of an A+ on a report card or a diploma.  We don’t have the external feedback from a teacher conference and we don’t have honor …

Geography / Story of the World

This is the time of year when I look at what we have been working on and what needs to be accomplished before we break for summer.  Because of our hectic Destination Imagination schedule last year and the time required for projects, rehearsals, and fund raising, not to mention the trip to Tennessee, we ended up working until August.  
This year I want to be done with bookwork and enjoy the moments of spontaneity that happen in the summertime.  After this long cold winter, I want to wake up on a warm summer morning free from responsibility and commitments.  I want to enjoy mid week camping trips, weekly beach nights, and swimming in waterfalls.  I don't want to say "we can't" because we have a class, or a workshop, or a lesson to complete. 
In order to have this happen, we need to work hard over the next few weeks to finish up with our book work.  Last week we completed 4 chapters of Story of the World.  We learned about the ongoing battles between France and England, a…

Baptism Gift

It has taken me weeks to complete a gift for my soon-to-be Goddaughter’s baptism.  I knew I wanted to do something special, something unique.  I wanted to do something that would actually be from me, not from a store.  Playing around on Pinterest, I came across a unique product called The Child’s Training Bible.  It is a compilation of scriptures that pertain to different experiences a child person will have such as jealousy, anger, stealing, laziness.  
The guide works by using color coded tabs and matching Sharpie highlighters to highlight passages in the Bible and tab them according to the topic.  When complete the Bible is brightly colored, highlighting God’s words urging us to forgive, to share our talents and our gift with others, and to respect one another.  


My only criticism of this product is that it approaches raising children from a negative point of view and refers to the Bible as a disciplinary tool.   Those of us with young children know that if we are looking for negativ…

7 Cool Homeschoolers: Video #3

Learning that took place for this video:

addition of background musicadjust speed of videoadd special effects (shutter sound)add photographsadd text to photos

Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor,
Not every child is alike.  Please do not assume that because you treat children you know my child.  You may know her name and know her medical history but you don’t know all there is about her that makes her wonderful and special and unique.  You don’t know the effort it takes just to have her appear in your office and appear to be relaxed.  If you knew her, you would know that she is not relaxed or calm...she is a child who is anxious and needs kindness, patience and understanding.
Please do not tell a child what he or she is feeling.   If they tell you something hurts, please don’t tell them it is just pressure, not pain, for that is when I lose my mind just a little bit.  That is when you need to be reminded that there is no benchmark for human emotions and feelings. One child’s pressure is another child’s pain.  Stop and listen.  Administer your doctoring accordingly.  Ask yourself if you would treat an adult in the same way. 
Your skills may be exemplary.  I have full c…