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Showing posts from January, 2014

Nature Journaling at SoundWaters

When the girls and I did science at home every Monday, we incorporated nature journaling into our day.  Years ago the girls kept the most beautiful journal when we were studying botany, but our practice of blending science and art fell away when that study came to a close.  

I asked the girls to bring their journals to SoundWaters and to use their journal as a place to record information about an animal and the learning that took place that day.  It is a quiet time of reflection and study.  They each pick their own place among the aquariums and work. In addition to their learning that day, they record the date, the temperature and the weather conditions.

The practice of journaling is spreading among the group.  Right now my two girls and two others are using the time after class for nature journaling.  I am expecting more to join in next week.

The details are on Instagram

Not too long ago I wanted to move. I felt there was no beauty surrounding me and thought I could find beauty in a town with rolling green hills and pastures. I was, and am still, tired of the congestion, of the background hum of I95, of graffiti, of loud car stereos and light pollution that blocks the stars at night. When we made the decision to stay, to turn our home and tiny plot of land into all it could be, I made the choice to look for beauty where ever I am. 

When we are driving and something beautiful catches our eye, we don’t just drive by. We slow down. We turn around. We look. We listen. We take pictures. Instagram has changed the way I look at my life. While it is a record of our homeschooling experience and our life in general, I try very hard to focus on taking pictures that capture the beauty before me. Perhaps it is a breathtaking Catholic church. Or a seagull stretching his wings pre flight. Or the way the light enters a room. Or my view of what my gir…

Anchoring our Week

I like having anchors to start our week and end our week.  It is too easy to roll out of bed on a Monday morning, stay in pjs, drink that second cup of coffee and rationalize why it is totally okay to let the girls sleep until 9am, after all their bodies need it......
Sometimes their bodies do need that extra sleep.  They seem to grow in their sleep and wake just a little bit bigger and just a little bit older than when I kissed them goodnight ten hours earlier.
However, I know that we have better days, and better weeks when each day has a plan.  In the fall, SoundWaters kick started our week.  The weather was beautiful.  The girls had a great class with friends, and I was able to spend time with one of my friends as well.  When class stopped, I kept up our routine of science Monday and invited one of their friends to come join us for the day.  We began with oceanography which led to chemistry (the periodic table), and included field trips to UCONN and Yale’s Peabody Museum.  We made ti…

Cupcake Club supports the Firefighters

My last post started off as a recap of Lilah’s latest cupcake club meeting but as it turned into more of a stream of consciousness post, I chose to leave the cupcake club for another day.

Cupcake Club always makes for a memorable day.  It is not always an easy day for three families have to coordinate a time, usually on a Saturday, when older siblings are off on their activities, husbands are home and errands are plentiful.  There is travel involved too.  I drive about 15 min to pick up the girls whose parents each have to drive about 30 minutes to each other’s homes to coordinate drop off and pick ups.  There is much that goes on behind the scenes to make these days possible.  However, the energy expended is always matched by the energy generated by three young girls.  Usually I end the day with my energy level higher than when I started because I am just filled up with the love and generosity, kindness and friendship that these girls ooze.

I shared with them that there was a horrible …

She is more than a number

This has been an exceptionally hard re-entry to a schedule.  I know pictures on Instagram or posts on a blog make everything look peaceful and happy and joyous, but the reality is that even while we do have moments of bliss, the back story is that there may have been moments of anger or frustration or exhaustion just before the shutter snapped.  

However, there are days that are just about as perfect as one could wish.  We need these days to cling to on the days that are less than rosy, when the air is bitterly cold, and the body is weak, and the mind is tired.  These days are our anchor.  They hold us steady and show us what we are capable of.  These are the days that reassure us when doubt creeps in.  These are the days that we strive for, knowing that if they happened once, they will most assuredly happen again.

My struggle right now is how to do I reconcile the life I have chosen, the one that I know is best for my family, with what I know other children, those that attend school 8 …


I could fill a blog responding to the things I hear parents say.  Last night two parents were talking about the commitments our children have to sports and how much time it takes them away from the family.  I was involved in my own internal struggle with sports as my girls had their gymnastics class, which they love, but also had their first basketball game just an hour and a half after the end of gymnastics class.  They were sore and tired, and that dampened their excitement for basketball.

It seems that my children’s commitment to a once a week non-competitive gymnastics class and an 8 week recreational basketball league is nothing compared to what some families are putting themselves through.  I cannot imagine having a 14 year old who leaves my house at 7:00am for school and does not return until 11:30pm due to basketball games and then has to study until 1:00 or 2:00am to keep on top of her grades.  Just can’t imagine it.  I also cannot imagine having multiple children playing mult…

A not so simple question

I cringe when people ask my girls what they are learning.  It does not happen often but when it does, I can pretty much guarantee that they will look at the questioner with a blank expression as they struggle to find the words to answer that simple question.

Except that question is not so simple.  We don’t really categorize our learning by subjects.   They could say, “In current events we learned about the challenges facing Washington in 2014” - yeah right.  Or they could say, “In math I read that Fred is attending a conference and with the money he received he bought an 800 serving ice cream machine to feed the audience and demonstrate the concept of long division.” - not gonna happen.  Or they could say, “I’m still working on a collaborative piece of fiction with three other girls and it is about a boy who gets kidnapped and his rescue and we have been working on it for months and it is pages and pages long.” - but that won’t come to mind.

Tonight I was watching Little House on the Pr…


We don’t do New Year Resolutions.   We would just be setting ourselves up to fail.  We do what feels right when it feels right.  We had the idea to quit cable so we quit cable.  We I don’t miss it one bit!  We phase in and out of daily green smoothies.  Right now we are detoxing from overindulging in holiday sweets, so we are smoothy-ing almost every day.  We try to exercise as much as possible, but we realize this is an area that we can improve on.

Our lifestyle should allow for more exercise, given that we have the freedom to schedule it in, but we find ourselves with very little time.  Greg gets off the train at 8pm and going for a run in the dark is not very appealing, especially in the snow and ice.  I loved and craved my yoga classes but my girls do not like staying home alone at night in the dark, which makes my 6pm class impossible to attend.

We realized that for less than what we were paying for cable television, we could join the YMCA.  If we change our weekends just a bit, we…