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Showing posts from October, 2013


As families get older and children somehow turn into adults, it can be hard to hold on to traditions.  There are 9 children on Greg’s side of the family.  Two have not lived in our area for a few years now and we miss them dearly.  Two are now in college and one is living at boarding school. My girls are the youngest cousins.  

It has been a long time since all the “children” have been together.  This weekend seven of the nine kids gathered together for our annual pumpkin carving festival.  Watching my girls handle steak knives still makes me a bit nervous, but they did a great job.    They cut, and scooped, and carved.  They laughed, and danced, and played.  And then when the night was over, they displayed.  

Kindness....pass it on.

LCC (Lilah’s Cupcake Club) was the project that Lilah poured her heart and soul into last year.Once or twice a month she would get together with two friends and bake, and bake and bake.Usually vegan.Always gluten free.The girls would decide an local organization to be the recipient of their baked goods.

This year Lilah's focus has shifted to her Etsy shop, LAcrafters, but she has not forgotten about LCC, and thankfully her two friends have not either!  

It just so happened that our next door neighbors, an elderly couple who are like surrogate great-grandparents to my girls, was having a hard day.  They needed assistance and had to push pride aside in order to get the help they needed.  What better pick me up for this dear couple, than a homemade, still warm, cupcake, made with love by three girls?  The girls hoped their gift of yumminess would brighten their day.

You can’t really teach children kindness.  You can demonstrate it in your everyday life and hope that they pick up on it.…

Mapping the World with Art

Karen @ Homeschool Girls recommended Mapping the World with Art to us.  Grace has a natural interest in geography and she expressed interest in doing more mapwork.  I was given Mapping the World by Heart which is a very different program and focuses more on mapping from memory.  It has sat unopened for a year because I find it a bit overwhelming and not very user friendly.  

I adore Mapping the World with Art.  It is a beautiful blend of art, cartography, geography and history.  It is not a sole history curriculum, but it complements everything we have learned in Story of the World.  I recommend it as a supplement to any history program.  

Every Friday we work on a lesson with the girls who come for writing group.  I schedule 90 minutes for each lesson, even though some of the videos are as short as 3 minutes.  We watch the video once without our pencils to get a feel for what we will be doing.  Then we watch the video a second time, following along with the teacher as she draws her map…

Reset Button

Some days just suck.  They just do.  No matter if you are working, or working at home, if you are in school, or if you homeschool.  Sucky days pop up now and then.  If you give in to the downward spiral it can literally feel like quicksand pulling you further and further away from peace and tranquility into a state of distress.
One thing I have learned is to not get pulled under.  Even though Greg is not here physically during the daylight hours of each weekday, he has made a commitment to be the best father he can in absentia.  If I need him, I text him and 99% of the time he is able to adjust what he is doing at work to help me.  He has such a nurturing way with the girls that I have coined him my “reset button”.  He will call from work, talk with the girls, talk with me and help us to work through whatever crisis we are experiencing.  He pulls us up and out of the quicksand.  
Homeschooling Dads don’t often get credit for what they do behind the scenes.  In most families the educatio…


Many states and many many colleges and universities recognize American Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language.[1].pdf
I do not know anyone who came out of high school, or even college, fluent in a second language unless they already had exposure to that language at home.  Despite taking two years of French in middle school, a few years of Spanish in high school and three years of Italian in college, I cannot speak any language other than English.  I do not come from a multilingual family, and found that while I could understand the languages, it took a very long time for me to formulate the words in my head.  By the time I knew what I wanted to say, I was already too far behind in the conversation.  This led to anxiety.  I skipped the oral part of my Italian final my senior year in college.  I could not stand in front of my class fo…

Project Based Learning: LAcrafters

Lilah naturally gravitates to project based learning.  If left undisturbed, she would be found in the back room, which once was an art/writing studio, and is now her workshop.  You would find her at her table, surrounded by duct tape, ribbons, bows, yarn, scissors, glue guns, exacto knifes, blades, her iPod playing her favorite songs, with a dog curled up at her feet.

If left undisturbed she would be there for hours.  And hours.  And hours.  
Over the summer I decided to turn over the control of my empty Etsy shop to Lilah.  She and her friend list items they have made.  So far she has made three sales.  Building a business is a slow process, especially one with a small niche market.  This project is teaching her patience and perseverance.  

Over the past few months she has learned how to incorporate social media as a form of marketing.  Her Instagram account, LAcrafters, has 550+ followers.  We allowed this account to be public.  With this decision came the understanding that I would cl…

Natural and Organic First Aid Salve

Another Saturday Spent at Yale

Sometimes homeschooling parents wonder how well their children would do if/when they attend school or college.  Will the be prepared?  Will be adjust to a classroom and a lecture style of learning?  
I had a little glimpse this weekend into the world of “school” and it left me both upset and reassured.  Yale University is offering a series of 4 physics classes for middle school girls.  My girls registered and I took them and their two friends to New Haven for the day.  I was quite surprised at the number of children who registered for this free event.  I am guessing at least 100.  They were broken up into 4 groups and the groups were paired up for some of the lessons.  
After some finagling, I was able to get the younger girls in the same group with their sisters.  For some reason, they were separated, off in groups alone.  It was not due to age, and Lilah was very concerned about navigating a group this size, in a strange location, on her own.  It was not until I handed in their name t…

History: Ireland's Great Hunger Museum

History Update: Love it! Having Grace design our program for this year has been such a great experience. Her first book was So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847. To supplement her reading, we completed the DVD, Out of Ireland, which I highly recommend.

We used our field trip day to head to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum which is part of Quinnipiac University, located in Hamden, Connecticut. I have driven by this museum many times never noticing it before, but now that I have been, I am having a hard time forgetting the haunting works of art that it contains. Something that struck me is that pain and suffering are universal. These pieces could have been found at a holocaust museum or even one dedicated to our own country’s struggle with poverty and hunger (on a much smaller scale).