Home Days   Leave a comment

Home days.  We require at least a couple each week.  Days where we don’t have to go anywhere or necessarily do anything but whatever we are drawn to do.  These are the days we contract into our own little world here in the comfort of our home, process inspiration, and from inward, create.  Of course, for me this includes laundry and the usual maintenance of the household.  But it also includes a lot of freedom for creative projects…  For the kids it usually entails a certain amount of internet usage and lots of creative endeavors.  We make an effort to get outside and get fresh air and exercise, too- but that is one of our weaker areas typically.  For them it includes the push and pull of siblings that are six years apart and whom both love and are easily agitated by each other.  I suppose for me it includes this too… I try to let them work most of it out themselves and depending on the day, sometimes involve myself in a way that helps or sometimes in a way that doesn’t.  We live and learn and just do the best we can. 

Today is a home day.  A pretty typical one.  The girls have had their share of getting upset with each other and are currently working together in the kitchen on making a batch of cookies.  Yum.  I won’t complain about that, especially since they will be gluten free and sweetened with maple syrup… (I will note, in case it isn’t obvious, this is a project they came up with themselves.  I did not suggest it OR tell them they had to work together.)  They were doing some beading projects earlier, and we all played around with gluing decorations inside old jar lids to eventually be made into magnets and given to friends and family as gifts.  The season of giving approaches and we are all thinking of different ways we might be creative in gift-giving.  This morning I finally cleaned the grilles and panes of the two giant picture windows in the living room, which had accumulated some black mold and desperately needed attention.  I have more windows like that to deal with but it feels good to have made a dent in the project and taken care of the biggest ones.  I also (after washing my hands extremely well) have been working on putting our abundance of cherry tomatoes into a mixture with chopped onions, garlic and peppers and salt to make a fermented salsa.  I was glad to get the garlic from our harvest this year and the peppers and onions at a local farm yesterday.  I have a few more goals on my to do list today, including a walk up and down the big hill, stacking some wood, getting a package ready for mailing tomorrow, vaccuming the stairs, felting some soaps… we’ll see… I rarely check off everything on the list but it’s nice to have some time to work away at things I choose to do.

Either way, my goal is always to be available to my girls as they might need me throughout their day.  Like, if they need me to sample a cookie in a little while, I’ll totally do that.  😉

Life is good and home days are essential.

 

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Posted October 15, 2013 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized

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reflections on “Taking my Unschooling Credits Here”   4 comments

When I reflect upon my recent post about claiming my due credit for doing what I’m doing with the unschooling with my family (because I’m happy we’re doing it because it feels right for us)… I realize a few minor things that need editing, perhaps, or at least clarification.  I figured I’d just go back and edit it, but thought instead I might write about the process and reflection… since life IS a process…

I recognize that in my defense of what I interpreted as judgement*,   I pointed a finger back, and though claiming I had no judgements, used a judgemental “tone” (the way I used the words I think gave it that tone of criticism).  I realize when I think I am being told what is “good” and what is “bad” and I don’t necessarily definitely fit in the “good” category, I get in defense/attack mode. When in truth, I believe “to each their own”.  And “live and let live”.  In truth, I want peace.  Don’t we all?  So, to clarify:  I don’t think unschooling is for everyone.  (Or maybe it is but maybe not just yet…)  Or rather- my point is- it doesn’t matter to me what you choose in your life… so long as you do no harm.  And I as well wish to choose my path in peace and I am a big fan of supporting each other in pursuit of our passions and what feels right for each of us.  I also wish for peace for all.  So whatever brings that to each of us, I wish it ours.

However, in noting this it brings to mind a Course In Miracles quote:  “In my defenselessness, my safety lies.”  It talks about how “Defenselessness is strength.” and I think I agree.  I have found myself getting defensive more than just this once lately.  Like, really agitated by things that could really be taken in much lighter ways.  With a grain of salt.  Taking only what’s useful, leaving the rest for whomever can benefit from that. 

So, on that note… I hope to be more aware of my fears (perhaps I worry what other people think of what I do too much?) and become better able to let them pass through me without stimulating defense.  I need not prove a thing.  To anyone. 

May true peace dwell in your heart and in all people’s everywhere… Namaste.

*(being told it is “good” that my daughter was saying she wanted to try high school, I responded in my thoughts with “I don’t judge you for sending your kids to school without giving them a choice about it.”  — I feel like this has a very subtle tone of judgement, similarly to the comment that stimulated it.)

… for an update she told me last night she is not really sure she actually does want to go to school- I told her it’s up to her, she can keep her options open and do what she wants and that I will support her choice, whichever it is)

Posted October 11, 2013 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized

Reflecting on the Latest Inspirations and Learning (all the time)   3 comments

Okay,

so I haven’t been intentionally keeping track of things, but I hope that by my next entry, I have done a little better with that…

But,

right now my daughter Isis (12 years old) is working on making flower sushi in the kitchen.  She decided last week she was going to make this and is doing it now.  Here’s how she is figuring out how to (she’s a big time Youtube learner): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjnuMJRANLw   I don’t know about you, but I think that’s kind of awesome.

My younger daughter who is 6 is taking photos on a PBS kids app.  She’s all psyched about it.

Earlier the three of us went on a scooter ride to try out the new scooter we got over the weekend at a yard sale (we have 3 different kinds of scooters now!)  It works great.  We also picked and ate some Autumn Olives (Autumn Berries/Russian Olives) after we discovered that they are perfectly ripe, better than we have ever experienced them!!!  There is a huge patch down the road.  We plan to go back (tomorrow) with containers to fill.

Siddi got a letter in the mail from her cousin this morning (must have come Saturday but I guess we didn’t check the mail over the weekend), which was an awesome result of her sending out a bunch of letters to some of her favorite loved ones last week.  She was so happy to receive it and to make a new card to send back, which we put in the mail already.  She’s been into the idea of “pen-pals” and seems to love corresponding with her family who live in different places.

Another thing we did today was find a website online where we started laying out her Family Tree.  This was inspired by last night when we read before bed (this book: http://www.amazon.com/Its-So-Amazing-Families-Library/dp/0763613215) and I read her the title that it was about Families and she got excited and said, “everyone has a family, because everyone has ancestors.”  I was like, “what do you know about ancestors?” and she said, “well, they are people that lived before us that we didn’t get to meet because they died before we were born.”  And I was like… “cool.  I don’t know how you know that.  But it’s neat to me that you do!!!”  These kids.  Learning all the time, all over the place!  She wanted to learn more about her history and roots and where she came from, so we decided to do a family tree. 🙂

What else have we been up to lately… well, we spent much of one of our days last week figuring out how to get a strong rope over a very high (strong) branch so we could set up the rings/trapeze bar that we found in the shed that we had gotten years back.  We all made efforts and cheered each other on but it wasn’t until Papa came home that the problem was solved.  I did the knot, though.  Had to make sure it was SOLID.  The girls have been enjoying spending time on that, working on tricks.  It’s been fun.

What else?  Isis has been working on making her Halloween costume, which I must say is coming out quite nicely so far.  She is going to be Louise from a show called “Bob’s Burgers”.  Louise wears a pink hat with bunny ears and ear flaps and Isis made one just like it out of an old wool  sweater.   (I will add a picture of it if I can figure out how to!)  She is looking for material in the right tone of green so she can make the dress… and then has to figure out how to get her hair to curl up at the bottoms in a very unnatural way…  and… yeah.  It’s so much fun watching her do these things.  I help her when she needs it, but she mostly does it all herself.

Oh, and we joined a local homeschooling co-op which is also a 4H group.  Isis is doing a 4H project with other kids around her age (on the topic of Drama) as well as a class on “topics in US History” and “Digital Photography”.  Siddi is getting a lot of her favorite subjects in with art class and free time to play with other kids her age.

Both girls are also doing some ASL- Siddi is focused on learning the letters since she got a picture book with them and Isis is reviewing lessons she did last year on Lifeprint.com, a very user-friendly free website for learning sign language.  This is especially cool since we have a friend who is deaf, and though she reads lips well, it would be ideal to be more fluent in her language.

Oh, yeah, and over the weekend at a yard sale we got this heiroglyphics set of stationary and stamps and Siddi has been writing things with the stamps.  (different picture symbols that stand for one, two or three different letters each)  Neat.

Isis has also been self-motivated in the math department lately.  Right now, her plan is to go to school next year (which would be 8th grade) because she is interested in high school.  I showed her the website for Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/) and she is taking time most days to plug through the lessons.  She seems to be doing well.  I like the website- their mission “is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”  The aquarian age is a great age for home schooling.

Oh, and I guess she wrote my mom a nice long email earlier- that counts as writing, yes?

What else…?  Hmmmm… welp- it seems that now Siddi is making her own sushi- I think she was inspired by Isis’ fine creation (came out great, will post a pic of that too if I can figure it out!!)  And she just brought it in for me to be “the taste checker” and I am quite impressed by how well put together it was!

Okay, we’re getting to that point where I’m thinking, that’s enough for now, at least in terms of documenting.  I mean… I’m not going to dig around and there’s no way I’m going to document all of what we are doing/learning, but I figured it would be worth sharing glimpses.  This is some of what we do when it seems to some like we might not really be doing anything… since we aren’t at school, ya know…  We are always busy.  Always.  Learning, all the time.

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Isis’ homemade “Louise” hat

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Isis’ Flower Sushi

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Siddi’s Sushi

Posted October 7, 2013 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized

I’m Taking my Unschooling Credits Here.   4 comments

As an “unschooling” mom, I find most people don’t really understand it.  I get the vibe that a lot of people think what we do is next to nothing, and that my daughters are being deprived of learning- or at least the “proper” kind of learning.

I feel like I have evidence on a daily basis that my kids are thriving and learning and loving it.  I don’t doubt it.  But I do find it frustrating when I get the sense that others do.  Especially when it’s family and close friends.  I get the questions and the furrowed eyebrows and the very obvious sense that they think since we don’t sit down and force standard academics down our kids throats that they will never survive in this world.  When I tell them my older daughter wants to try high school so she intends to go to school next year for eighth grade to prep herself, they say, “Good.”  And I think to myself- please stop judgingyou have NO idea how GOOD this has been, what a gift unschooling has been for us!  (and I don’t judge you for having sent your kids to school without giving them a choice about it!!!)   But I don’t say it.  It’s like, people feel so comfortable with the idea of learning when it comes to a school.  But so uncomfortable with the idea of learning freely, by following each and every interest wherever it takes them.  It’s a little sad to me.

I also understand that maybe people know schools have certain standards and they figure they must be good ones.  They have no idea what standards we operate by, and how should they?  I don’t really explain it (well, I’ve tried, but I don’t get a whole lot of encouragement and enthusiasm, so I don’t really waste my breath…)  Anyways.  It’s okay.  But I’m considering taking more time to “publish” what we do so that families, friends and people everywhere can have a better idea of what we do.  And hopefully, if anything, find it to be an inspiring way of life.  For the record, I’ve been wanting to document more for a long, long time.  It’s not something that comes easily or naturally to me… It’s hard for me to find the time to sit and focus on something… especially if it is about the past, because there is so much else to do, NOW and in the near FUTURE!!!  However, I can see how it would be neat to keep a loose sort of journal, to realize and look back at what we are doing in all our FREE time 🙂

Another note I’d like to make:  I work hard as an unschooling mom.  It’s not easy but I tend to my children’s interests and requests in the best way I can in each and every moment.  I sacrifice my ability to think a complete thought more often than not because I make myself available to them.  Much of my 12 year old’s learning is self-directed, but she still calls for my assistance- here, there, now and again.  And I help guide her process when she is stuck.   My 6 year old’s learning is mostly led by her interests as well… and she asks for a lot of assistance but she also does a lot on her own.  When either of them expresses interest in something new, I help them find the resources they need to pursue that.  I offer my own ideas as well, and if they are receptive, we pursue those.  I see both my daughters as having very rich lives in that they almost never tell me they are “bored”.  I’ve maybe heard it five times.  Ever.  It’s pretty amazing.  They know how to find something to do that they enjoy, and they do.  I used to not give myself credit as an unschooling mom.  People (not family, more people I don’t know) would say, “wow, you home school!  I give you a lot of credit!” and I would say, “oh, no- we don’t homeschool like you think- I couldn’t do that…”— as if being the kind of homeschooling mom that directed my children’s learning should get more credit than this way…  I knew that “traditional” homeschooling wouldn’t work for us- I didn’t want to butt heads all day forcing “learning” upon them- and so we didn’t take that route.  And I believe the path we’ve taken has served us very well and  I am happy knowing that.

Posted October 7, 2013 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized

Because I want to document some of this good life…   Leave a comment

I’d like to do this blog…

I think it will have a lot to do with pictures

gratitude

and documenting the things we do because we wanted to.

It will help me remember, on the cloudier, foggier days, that the sunshine does shine bright.

Posted April 27, 2012 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized

Hello world!   Leave a comment

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Posted October 3, 2011 by becauseshewantedto in Uncategorized