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Showing posts from June, 2013

Brody

The girls had the opportunity to dog-sit my sister’s new puppy.  He is a ball of fur and energy.  Very cute.  Very exhausting!  The girls did just about everything except get up at 4:45am to keep him company.  There may have been some tears when he went home.  Lilah scored a high five for great use of a vocabulary word.  “Grace is abject because the puppy is gone.”  While she is not 100% correct in its usage,  I know she understands the meaning of the word.  






The girls hope they get this opportunity again someday soon.

Dreaming is a form of planning

Grace’s guitar lessons are now an hour long.  Rather than wait in the car as we have been doing, Lilah and I decided to venture out and use our time to discover great things.
We found a used book store.  





We bought many books.




We have been reading non-stop lately.  It makes this Mama so very happy.  Ecstatic really.




Then we popped into a new bakery who just happen to be winners of one of Lilah’s favorite shows, TLC’s Cupcake Wars.  This is market research.  





I told Lilah that my dream is to own a used bookstore with lots of fabulous books, a cozy reading nook, tables to work on, and a cafe offering the best coffee and treats.  I would run the bookstore.  She would run the cafe and Grace would play acoustical guitar (or perhaps a piano) on weekends!  Ah to dream........



Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. Gloria Steinem

Steinway Factory Tour, Astoria, Queens

The Steinway Factory in Astoria, Queens offers tours by schedule.  This weekend they opened their doors to the public for a 160th Anniversary Celebration.  





If you have a child interested in math, science, technology or engineering, this is a tour you may want to schedule, although I would recommend a nice fall day when the temps are below 70!  The fifth floor of a factory gets mighty hot on a 85 degree day....
We met engineers who determine if the wood is the right dryness and quality.  The grain is laid at specific angles to achieve optimum sounds. Coders input custom codes that guide massive drills to cut the most intricate details.  Strings are laid at precise tensions.  Keys are weighted.  Wood is bent, shaped and treated. I would like to schedule another tour in the fall after the information we absorbed is processed and we can better understand the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into the making of one piano.  










Now I understand that the cost of these instruments is indeed jus…

Afternoon Hike

Write Around Town

Write Around Town was a concept that came to me suddenly.  The girls have a few stories they have been working on that I would like to see finished.  Lilah is still working on her story from the fall which is 17 chapters and 16 pages long!  I thought it would be fun to write around town, visiting a new location with our beach blanket, a snack, and our journals.  
An email was sent out on our homeschooling yahoo group to see if any other local homeschoolers would like to join in.
We wrote in the children’s department of our library.We wrote in the cafe at Barnes & Noble.We wrote at the beach.We made a new friend.

Making a new friend was the highlight of this week.  The girls did accomplish my goal of moving their stories one step closer to completion, but while this was taking place, a new relationship was being created.  That is pretty cool to witness.  
This is why I homeschool.  It is not always easy.  There are times when you have to make things happen.  You have to put forth the t…

Overcoming

A close family member was the director of a major scientific learning center in New England before retirement.  When I told him we were going to begin homeschooling, he shared an unflattering opinion of homeschoolers from an educator’s perspective.  Generally they are late, unreliable and often not well behaved.  Ouch.  That is one heck of a reputation to overcome.  I swore that would never be me and my girls.
I am entering year four of homeschooling.  I am no longer a novice homeschooling parent.  I can easily rattle off a long list of the pros and cons of homeschooling.  I can analyze this opinion of homeschooling, break it apart, and understand it.   
I will say that there have been times when I have seen badly behaved homeschoolers.  I have also been in the company of public schooled children who behave quite horrifically as well.  Homeschooled children need to be taught group dynamics in a public setting.  They have no experience raising hands and walking in line.  When moderators …

Collage Friday

Top Left Clockwise
Flag:  We hung an American Flag on our side entrance.  We used to have one but the bracket broke in half during a storm a few years ago.  Every week we try to add one new thing to the yard.  The garden is growing and the lettuce and kale are soaking up this never ending rain.
7 Cool Homeschoolers: This week’s theme was “what is on your device”.  
Write Around Town: I am trying to add some fun back into our homeschooling.  Looking back over 10,000 old photos from the past 2 years (no exaggeration....I let 10,000 photos collect on my laptop which caused some serious system disc issues...) I realized that we need to inject our days with a bit of fun and whimsy.  I put an email out on our homeschooling yahoo group that the girls and I would be “write” around town, visiting local places to write in their journals and would love other children to join us.  We met a lovely 11 year old girl through this activity.  We met up three times to write, at our local library, at Barnes…

Art Journaling and a commentary on social media

An artist I follow on Instagram recently posted a picture of a post it note she wrote telling her followers to use their own imagination, create their own art and “stop copying hers”.  I stopped following her because I found it very mean spirited.  
When we use social media like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and when we blog, do we honestly think that our ideas are not going to be used by others?  We are putting Ideas on the world’s stage shouting “look at what I did!” and we seek feedback from an unseen audience.  Sometimes the feedback is awesome and sometimes it is not, but we put it out there, so we lose control over how it will be interpreted.
I don’t consider myself an artist but I do feel I am artistic.  I make no money off anything I write or create.  I put things on this space or on Instagram because I WANT them to be copied.  I WANT people to try to make their own deodorant, granola and cleaning products.  I WANTchildren and adults to find the joy in art journaling.I WANT pe…

10 Things You Will Find in My Kitchen

I am not part of the iHomeschool Network but many of the bloggers I read every day are.  Their posts have inspired me to have a bit of fun on my blog.  
In the spirit of the Top 10 Posts, here are my top 10 things you will find in my kitchen.
Coconut Oil.  I would be lost without this, seriously lost.  It is the base for my homemade deodorant.  It is the base oil in my homemade granola.  It gets melted and mixed with patchouli oil to sooth me on a stressful day.   I fry up my quesedillas in a pat of coconut oil and I sautee all my veggies in it (or olive oil).  I would love to know what your favorite use for coconut oil is.  
Granola.  I eat this every day.  Lately I make a double batch and freeze some of it.   Granola is my breakfast and often my late night snack.  A bowl of this with ice cold soy milk is better to me than ice cream, and that is saying a lot because I used to have a serious addiction to ice cream.  Since going cow-milk free, I can’t stand the taste of it anymore. The re…

Common Core

Once upon a time I was a teacher for a public school district that was one of the top ranked school systems in the state of Connecticut.  Each year I was handed a three ring binder that contained everything my students were expected to learn in the course of one school year.  Our curriculum guide was written for the teachers by the district’s school administration.

It was comprehensive, challenging, appropriate and thorough.  Imagine a chart with every conceivable topic broken down into quarters.  By the end of quarter one the student should meet the designated criteria.  These benchmarks became progressively more challenging from quarter to quarter.  There was no room for interpretation.  You were given your binder and you were expected to present information in a way that met each child’s needs so that the child could move from one benchmark to the next.  
Do you know what I was not given? Textbooks or any required teaching material.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Just the binder.  It was th…

Art Journaling: Beauty in Imperfection

This week we began a weekly art journaling workshop with two of our friends.  Filling a sketchbook can take months and months, but this is a project that can be completed in a shorter amount of time - 5 to 6 weeks!
To begin, I needed toddler board books of approximately the same size.  These will be repurposed into our journals.  At Savers, a local thrift store, I was able to find just what I needed for $.69 a book!  


I primed the cover and the first two pages with 2 coats of matte finish Gesso and sealed the page with Krylon acrylic spray.  I did this on a sunny day to let the journals air out before bringing them in. 


Each page will be unique but the book will be focused on a central theme - favorite quotations, or simply, words to live by.  The girls and I collect quotes on a Pinterest board and we simply pick one that resonates with our soul.  



I decided to make my quotes biblical.  I envision this book as a gift for my Goddaughter.  One of our friends is focusing on Harry Potter quot…