Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Unschooling and gardening

Recently, I was finally released from working a part time job that was wearing me down. I had prayed about it and then just waited to see what was going to happen. Whew! One of the reasons I wanted to stop was because I want to move on to greener pastures. Literally. I want to start a community garden mostly for young children in my area. Since we live in So. Cal. we have a very long gardening season. Plus, the amazing amount of learning kids can achieve in a good garden motivates me to no end. I am not completely sure where to start but I can't seem to get it out of my head. This is usually an indication that I should pay attention and at least check to see if I can find some open doors.
One of my inspirations right now is a little urban homestead in Pasadena, CA called Path to Freedom. Check out their website and then tell me what you think!
Additionally, I am working on a name for my nonprofit corp. (This is what I need to be able to really do the garden right!) Any ideas are welcome. I wanted it to be something like Growing Green Kids, but that is already taken. Ideas? Ideas?
Somehow, I will include organic sustainable eating, composting, measuring, colors and sorting, weather, plant identification and sustainable water and solar practices. I am so excited about this!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Santa Barbara Weekend

We went on this great weekend with some of our Bible Study family to the beautiful Santa Barbara. We rented a huge house together and hit the beach, State Street, the Farmer's market...just generally a great time. It was raining that weekend and the morning we were going to leave we woke up with fog all around us. It slowly burned off, heading toward the mountains. I told the kids, who were all sleeping on our bedroom floor, to "Quick, look out the window! The clouds fell out of the sky! They are on the ground!" They all rush to the window...
Adriel, ever the vigilant says with some disdain, "Uh, mom, that's called fog."
Love it...

Toddlers to Tikes

Next week my twins turn 3. There is a bitterweetness to this reality. If I were still having children, I would either be pregnant or have a very young child right now. That I don't isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a bit thought provoking. When hubby got his surgery, adoption went on the table. Well, at least my table. For him, it is still a bit of a fantasy of mine. What can I say? Four kids just seems like I am doing things the easy way...

Yesterday, we had peas with our dinner. One of the twins made the brilliant discovery that those little green things fit perfectly inside his nose. With giggles abounding, the other twin quickly tried to see if it worked with hers too. Her laughter became tears almost immediately, while his grew in intensity. You might think I am a terrible mother at this point but I was still putting hot food on the table and missed most of the discovery interaction. They are FAST, these little ones! "Mom!" I heard, "I have a peas in my nose!"
Fortunately, no trip to the urgent care was required, nor was minor surgery. They have learned well how to "blow" and with some prompting we got everything out so that we could finish dinner in They were scolded, warned, then we tried to scare them with how their brain could rot away if the food decomposed inside their noses. The older two were convinced. No pea, or hopefully anything else, was going to find its way into anything but their mouths! However...about an hour later, while getting jammies on the boy I noticed that his nose was bleeding just a tad. Nothing unusual for him, he has nosebleeds with every change in the weather. I got a kleenex, had him blow...and threw away the two peas he had stuffed in...ew. What do you do with that?!

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day of School

This is normally where we take the sweet pictures and sigh with a bittersweet feeling as we send them off. Unless you are homeschooling!
Today was our first day of school. Last night I spent some time figuring out and writing out a schedule so that we could stay on track and keep the pace going. I posted it in our little yellow school house, (I'll post a picture later), and prepped a couple sentence strips for our calendar time. I felt accomplished and ready; nothing like those days when I was teaching and expecting a brand new class, complete with a new set of parents and personalities. I know my students this year, perhaps too well at times...
We went to the gym after breakfast,( it is the only time that it works out with their childcare hours). All 4 kids were excited at the idea of starting school, though only the oldest has any kind of idea or expectation. I have liked the idea of having "school time" to kind of give us a place to go and time that is structured. I am a strong believer in routines and structure for young kids. At least my kids seem to function and even sleep better when they have a routine. Now, at the end of our first day, I think it is going to take us a few months to get the hang of school at all...

Friday, September 5, 2008

What was I thinking?

You can't imagine my relief on the first day of school, when I got all the kids dressed and ready without any time pressure and loaded them up to go to the gym. I had a great workout and they all did some fun crafts. After avoiding a couple of school related questions from the childcare woman, we loaded back up and went home for a leisurely day of pool play, (they don't know that a 1.5 foot pool isn't as fun as an underground!). Since my hubby is a teacher, I had decided we needed a few extra days to recoup after a summer of having him home before diving into the next adventure, namely, homeschool.
My oldest just finished a year of private school where the tuition and the drama went up a few notches. With three others at home, it was a logistical nightmare getting them all ready everyday. I was tired. Plus, after going to school for years to get my teaching credentials I figured we shouldn't have to pay for our kids to be educated when I have all the tools, (and supplies), to do it myself. (This was not as easy a decision as I make it sound. I agonized and prayed and fretted for months! Once the decision was made peace came...)
So here we are.
Home. School. WHAT?! What was I thinking?! Today we sat down, the two girls, (age 6.8 and 4.8), to do a functional activity. We are making a book to appreciate all the wonderful things that Gramma and Papa do with and for us. Then we can sign it and send it to them so that we don't have the leftover clutter at home. It was great for about 10 minutes. Then one of the twins, (ages 2.8), dumped out the whole box of crayons and proceeded to spread them all over the floor, making cleanup SO much easier...okay. Great sigh. So we finish our book tomorrow. Today wasn't technically the start day anyway...

My philosophy of homeschooling
: To educate my children using real life situations and moments, using advanced level books and art to stimulate self learning and to create an environment in our home where learning is encouraged and exciting. Organic learning to go along with our organic eating.

My practice is going to take a while to match my philosophy. Coming from an educator background it is HARD to shift things to make it less about structure and standards and more about each child and their strengths and did we go so wrong in our school system? More on this later.

So...we start on Monday. For real. Figuring out how to manage and occupy the twins will be the big task, I think. I have some ideas...we'll see how they work.