Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things we are thinking about . . .

The Sheep and Wool Festival! : Around here we are thinking about all the wonderful wooly things we will want to make over the next year. We are headed to the sheep and wool festival in about a week and a half to stock up on roving and yarn for the next years projects.

Our summer rhythm: We are gradually slipping into a new pattern of getting the morning work done and heading to the park/lake/woods/friends house/garden. In the summer we do not do as much house work as we are hardly ever in the house! The things we learn are kept in our head, or our field journals/handwork bags. I am hoping to add some basket weaving this summer. We also are focusing on our local feathered friends. We have a pair of Barred Owls in the back yard. The Easter bunny brought the girls some bird houses to paint and we are learning how to attract hummingbirds to the yard.

The Fairie Festival and May Day: This weekends big plans. I can't wait, and neither can the girls!

And honestly, we've been working hard to understand where we are right now. Hazel is adamant that no one in our family is ever going to die.  We just are not. I just say okay. I know she knows this isn't true, its just her way of feeling powerful and providing a comforting thought to herself.  I'm grateful she has taken it in this direction rather than fearing we are all going to die. You can not tell a child that only old people die when they are grieving the loss of the baby they were hoping for. Lyra is struggling with the helper/caregiver nature. She wishes she could make us all feel better. All of the wishes she wishes these days are for us. And my husband is making sure he is there for all of us.

Today as the girls painted their houses, and David came in and out on work, and the other children were napping, and the house was full of soft music and sunshine, and I rolled out crust for our dinner quiche- these were all the things running round in my brain. They left me full and blessed and grateful. Honoring our place and the places we've been and the places we are going, together. Namaste.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I must admit to a bit of teariness as we celebrate this morning. It's hard not to feel a little emptiness in the place I should soon have been feeling movement. I had expected our Easter pictures to feature an extra someone yet to come. As I watch this two littles explore their baskets and treasures, I'm filled with the joy of the blessings they bring to our home. I couldn't wait to load up the photographs and see what treasures I had captured. I realize that since Hazel's forth birthday last month I have caught many images that express her spirit perfectly.  It is such a gift to have these photographs where her vivid energy is so lifelike, even a century from now, it will still be felt.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In honor of Earth Day

A photograph of Lyra after helping at our CSA's farm. The farm is small, a 60 share CSA, within the limits of our small city ( big town) in the suburbs. It's a small farm with big ideas, ones we are honored to be a part of.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Irritated. That is how I feel.

So in browsing my blog stats I came across this link . It is to a site that gathers information from blogs when people say "I feel". And copies it to the end of the sentence. Identifies the feeling and gives it the bloggers demographics and location. Then it compounds everyone's feelings into on big pot so they can be analyzed and we can learn where/when people are happy, or sad, or the angriest. Well, I feel. like I'm gonna put a period after the word feel. all the time now. To think that a computer can categorize the my emotions and then organize them according to weather and location is insulting. I guess on days I feel. joyful it is not related to me specifically. Or all the sadness about the baby, that must have been all the rain we are having. And I recognize that these things effect us, and also that they are looking for larger similarities over a larger number of people. But still, that my emotions be mis-interpreted is not okay with me. It is a lot of work to understand how you are feeling, and take into account everything from outside and within. It takes strength and courage and patience. And I do not like this one little bit. So that is how I FEEL about that!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing For Our Homeschool Portfolio Review

It's that time again. This will be my forth review, and if all goes well- I will only need to be reviewed once a year from here on out. I review with the county board of education where we live. I have not encountered anything but helpful nice people at my reviews, so why oh why do I spend an uncomfortable month not looking forward to them. Well, this is why .   .   .

-A review naturally implies that I am being tested in some way
-I do not follow a curriculum but make my own
-My curriculum is philosophically different than the county norm, in many many ways
-Because I am being reviewed, I feel the need to finish projects we are working on or photographs to show     our work, but its not the end of the year- and we're not done!

None of these are big deals, now that I know I get a little excited the month beforehand. I can talk myself down when I hear my head talking about how I don't DO enough and I remember I am enough when I worry I'm not.
My daughter is right where I had planned she should be at the age she is, and even if she wasn't I know it wouldn't be due to faults on either of our parts.
Truth is, in a world where I have to spend so much time explaining our beliefs to others (and then all the time needed to follow our beliefs); I don't really feel that it is a valid use of my time to be organizing myself and preparing for this review right now. And I think I might actually be warming up to this umbrella group idea ( now your stuck with me Mariah Garret!).

Update: Our review was wonderful, once again. And now I'm back to feeling totally comfortable in my skin and my decisions. And even happy I have the opportunity to be an example in the way I am educating my children differently from the traditional education in my county. 

It seems this post gets more traffic than most. Below are a list of things I have learned from my reviews and what I do to feel prepared.

-I make a list of the topics and themes from each subject, and locate examples.
- I bring everything. All the books (although you could bring a list), all our work. I would rather have more than I need then not enough. I put a few select pieces of work from each subject area on top. Then only dig down deeper if necessary. I put our big projects on top.
-I bring my computer with a copy of all our pictures. I used to print these out but found they rarely asked to see them. I would much rather print the pictures I want, not just to prove we did something. So now I bring a digital copy.
-I do the talking. I am confident. I am excited about our work. I do not ask them questions. If they want more they will ask. Sometimes they ask questions like " does she do spelling words?", when she was in first grade. I have to say no. But I explain why. The educational philosophy I follow does not teach spelling words, I explain why and the progress I have seen from following the philosophy. Explaining why I trust it. In other word, I have educated answers that sound like I know what I am talking about. Because I do. I believe in what I am doing, and I believe in my child.
-I do not get flustered. If they want to see something I don't have or we don't do- I just say okay. I can think about it later, figure if it is necessary, something I should discuss later, or maybe it is something I should do.
- I have not yet ever brought my child. For two reasons. It is stressful for me to be reviewed, even though I have a regular reviewer I am comfortable with. I don't want any distractions. Secondly, I do not want my child to be confused by the review. I would rather come how and exclaim how impressed they were with her work. If at some point they do question our work, or philosophy, or I get a reviewer with something to prove- my child does not need to hear that. I think I will at some point bring her, I just don't feel she is ready yet.
Please feel free to post questions. The review process is daunting, just the thought of it. That's why I did this post initially, to vent about that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

today is . . .

yoga mama biscotti day a spring ritual that always comes at just the right time when yoga mama's really need a little distraction and tiny reminder that celebration is in everyday- just waiting for the right bubble. And today, we need a little music and a little mess to shake out the deep thoughts and deep rhythms of winter and our late winter sadness and replace it with the freer more outward world of spring.