Dec 28, 2010

Sometimes you should just listen to your instincts!

Something told me that I didn't want to go anywhere this holiday. I don't know why, it wasn't that I wasn't feeling merry or in the gift giving, joyful mood of the season. I just knew for some reason that I didn't want to go out and about. I pushed myself through this train of thought, thinking it was just me getting way to deep into my own head, missing Noni and wishing for times when things were a bit easier and less stressful at this time of year ~ but really what would the holidays be without at least a little bit of stress? Any-who - I now know that I should have just listened to my gut, because if I had, my whole household wouldn't have come down with the wretched norovirus that is running ramped around here!
We went to my sister's house on Christmas Eve and everyone who was there that evening went home and had a wonderful Christmas morning, but by Christmas night we were all far from well. We got a call from my wonderful sister, the nurse who after calling in sick to work was told by the hospital that she works for to make sure that she notifies everyone that she came in contact with to quarantine themselves for 72 hours after their first signs of illness! Yeah - so we have done very little besides trying to keep some sort of food in our systems the last few days! Luckily - and very strangely I must say - CJ did NOT get sick, so he was able to plow and make some money during the blizzard that hit on Sunday!
Thankfully KM and I were able to get out and about a bit today, because I think one more day in would have driven us all KOOKY! DN will be here until Thurs and is under lock down until then as he didn't start vomiting until Monday afternoon. Lots of laundry and disinfecting will be done today and tomorrow and hopefully that will be last of it.
Next time I am just going to listen to my instincts and STAY HOME!!!!

Dec 23, 2010

Stop the Madness - Incredible Video

This video brought me to tears. My friends and I were in the generation at the beginning of this craziness! We were given label upon label and many of us often wonder WHERE we would be if we hadn't been. We have friends that AREN'T around, is it because their dreams were squashed? Because they were told they needed to be fixed? Because they were told they weren't good enough? Because they were CHANGED into what others wanted them to be?

Stop labeling children! Start supporting the incredible things that make us all individuals!

Dec 22, 2010

Three years have past...

since we started down this road and I don't know where the time has gone.  Looking back to my first few posts about homeschooling I am amazed at how our family and life has changed since taking KM out of PS in December of 2007. When we started out we were much more of a "school at home" family, I didn't know any better, as the only learning format that I had ever been exposed to was the public school system. So when I abruptly took KM out of PS midyear of 5th grade, I knew I could educate her better than they were, but it never occurred to me that she would be such an independent learner and I would become more of a research assistant and event coordinator than a "teacher".

We have had so many fantastic adventures and I cannot imagine where we would be if CJ and I had made a different decision. I am so grateful that we had the confidence to make this choice and I can't wait to see where the next year will take us!

Dec 18, 2010

City of Bones - Teen Book Review By KM

The City of Bones is an incredibly well written thriller with suspense, action, and myth. This book is a favorite of mine and I believe that others, teens and adults, will agree that Cassandra Clare is an incredible writer who is always throwing things at you that you would never expect. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

~~~I have asked KM to start adding her own posts to the blog to get a teen perspective, so hopefully we will be hearing from her more often! 

Dec 16, 2010

Update - Rather Hectic Week

We school year round, but at each solstice and equinox we take "book work" breaks. It always seems to be our busiest times and we generally aren't home for days on end with whatever seasonal sport we are doing, - ice skating right now - performances, field trips while the "schools" are not taking them, and all of our normal running around. When we are home, it is lots of baking, cooking, and preparing for whatever season is beginning - right now we are working on holiday gifts and crafts. We try to make time as a family to remember what each season means to us, what joys have passed and what we hope to come. This week has been an exceptional busy one, here are some highlighted moments -

Dec 10, 2010

Baking, Baking and More Baking...

I began feeling better just in time to start baking for our Bonfire Bash this weekend. We spent the day filling the house with the sweetest smells of the season....rocky road & butterscotch chip brownies, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles & challah bread! 

Dec 7, 2010

Update - Feeling a bit under the weather

I have not been feeling so fabulous the last few days. Luckily KM is a trooper! She has been very busy with friends and getting the last of her fall lessons completed, while nursing me back to health. I just have some sort of head cold, but it is making it nearly impossible to sleep and my sinuses feel like they are going to burst. She was very understanding when I offered to make a quick run to the library for her to pick up books this morning in lieu of me having to sit in the freezing cold ice rink this afternoon - THANK HEAVENS the mangas she requested were in through interlibrary loan! I am hoping if I rest up one more day I will be up for taking her to the rink on Thur and if need be I can stay in the warm room with some coffee and a book! I have to be better by this weekend, as we have our Bonfire Bash coming up!

Dec 2, 2010

Afternoon on the Ice

She hadn't been on the ice in a VERY long time, but she was confident that she wanted to try. Though she mostly stayed near the side, she made huge improvements in the short hour and a half we were there. Many, many thanks to all the wonderfully encouraging moms who were cheering her on along the way.

Please disregard my horrid video skills...I am still getting used to doing it again.

Since she had such a fabulous time and she knew she was going to be keeping them, she came home and made them her own...
To see the finished product take a look HERE!

Nov 30, 2010

The Freedom of Pure Thought

We just finished reading Joy Hakim's The Story of Science: Newton at the Center, the second in this three volume series, and we absolutely LOVED it! The first was great, but this one had so many entertaining stories and was written in such a way that truly kept us engaged through the whole book.

In the last chapter Hakim asks the question, "Why did science, the quest to udnerstand how the universe works, flourish in the Western world long before it did elsewhere?" and in her attempt to answer this question she writes ~
"Thinkers elsewhere were apt to be more practical. But the Greeks celebrated thinking - they called it reason - even when they had no idea where it was going to go. And pure thought, allowed to flourish in freedom, often finds itself in unexpected and splendid places. It's like exploring unknown territory when you don't know what the goal will be. Often there are dead ends, but the surprises makes it worthwhile. The Greeks had the courage to go where their minds took them. 
Note that word freedom. Science just doesn't get anywhere when there are dictators or even well-meaning leaders deciding what scientists should do."  - Pg. 429
This paragraph explains to me why I love her writing so much. Her books are not just textbooks stating facts, figures, experiments, proofs, equations and so on, but truly tell the stories of how simple situations, errors, and sometimes luck, brought about some of the most incredible advancements in history. Her ideas and writing flow seamlessly into our day as a time when we get to see what happened next, instead of an "Ugh do we HAVE to read another chapter" moment of drudgery.

I am fairly certain that most of us have had those moments of amazement that have resulted from allowing our children the type of freedom that Hakim mentions ~ the time to explore whatever realm they choose. I am quite astonished at the incredible amount of information and varied directions that these quests for knowledge have often taken us on. I am so grateful that our path of home educating allots us so much freedom to meander our way through ideas and switch courses whenever we want.

I highly recommend that everyone read this series. Even if you don't think you are a "science" person, these books might just change your mind!

Nov 29, 2010

Update - Stupid Internet Signal

So my internet signal is not working at home, so I am taking a few seconds at the library to quickly post some pics from our fabulous Thanksgiving weekend....will be back as soon as signal is restored at home...PROMISE...

Hope you all had a FABULOUS Turkey Day!!!

Nov 24, 2010

Preparing for Thanksgiving

We are joining my sister and her family for Thanksgiving this year and since they are opening up there home, we are opening our oven to help out. KM and I spent the day making all sorts of goodies...

from spice cookies to pumpkin and apple pies

from boiling eggs to be deviled to snipping marshmallows because the mini ones just don't cut it here!

Today we made pumpkin spice cookies, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. Tomorrow I will be finishing off the deviled eggs and making sweet potato casserole and KM will be making her wonderful green bean casserole, with EXTRA French Fried Onions.

We also got some rather interesting news today. We have known for a few weeks now that I will be becoming an Auntie again, but the SHOCKING news is that there will be TWO new "Littles" arriving in early June. Just another thankful blessing!

Hope you all have a wonderful and very Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 21, 2010

Becoming Unplugged

Unplugged Parenting...Unplugged Education...I have been coming across these terms a lot lately, at first I thought what are they unplugging from? However as I have researched I have begun to realize that  there ARE others out there that have the same ideas as I do.

I have been bouncing around the cybersphere trying to find that little niche that feels right. Where I can read something and think to myself “EXACTLY!” It can be rather difficult with all the labels floating here, there, and everywhere that can seem to mean one thing, but as you look deeper it turns out that most of the people there don't actually “feel” or “think” the way you had thought they would.

From what I have gathered, in this philosphy “unplugged” means breaking away from the mainstream. Moving away from the traditions that we perpetuate because they are habits and not because we believe that they are right. Here is the clearest list that I have come across -
Unplugged parenting includes:
      •Unplugging from Mainstream 'standards'

        •Freeing yourself from others ideas of what happiness is

        •Kids Self Esteem & sense of inner peace are very important to you
        •Education of the whole child is of highest priority
        •Holistic Parenting is the center and mainstay of life
        •Natural Living
        •You live by Homegrown Values
        •You live out-of-the-box and are truly authentic

If this seems like something that might speak to you take a look at these fabulous sites -

You might also want to take a few minutes to watch these videos by Laurette Lynn that give more insight into this new and exciting trend - 

Nov 19, 2010

General update....

Things have been flowing rather nicely lately. We have found a very steady groove, but we are both getting at the point where we just want some down time and needing some time at home. This upcoming holiday week should be just the start that we need. We will be finishing up some lessons for the end of our fall session and will be beginning to work on our holiday gifts. KM will be making all her gifts again for her grandparents and aunts. One lucky relative will even be receiving her first attempt at knitting. Postings may be a bit slower than they have been lately, but I will try to stay steady over the holidays!

Nov 16, 2010

Volunteer Day - Cradles to Crayons

We volunteered, with some other local homeschoolers, at a fantastic organization this morning, Cradles to Crayons
Here is some info on the organization - 
Cradles to Crayons was founded in 2002, with the mission of providing to children ages 0 to 12 some of the most important basics of life—free of charge. These basics include clothing, school supplies, toys, and much more. In other words, we provide all the physical goods that children need to be safe, protected from the elements, and ready to learn. And by supplying them with high-quality used or new goods, we make children feel valued.

 Our job today was to sort clothes and put together outfit kits for little girls - this was the perfect job for my fashionista!
She was very particular about the outfits and had to make sure that they all coordinated and could be mixed and matched.

   The efforts of our small group alone helped 65 children in need today! This was a great way to start off a season of giving and to help us remember and be thankful for all that we are blessed to have! We hope to be able to go back the Giving Factory at least once a month to help out this incredibly worthwhile cause.