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Archive for June, 2010

As a homeschooler, this “end of school” time of year feels stranger each year the children get older.  What is it we are ending?  Are we going to stop learning and reading for the summer?  Of course not.  We will put aside formal math lessons, history lessons and other curricula that is more “schoolish.”  We are all hooked on reading aloud (almost done with Tolkein’s four books, I hope they remember it because I’m not doing it again!)  so we’ll keep that up.   So much of what we do is related to learning (just like in all educated families – homeschooling or not) that the line called “school” is getting more fuzzy for us.  We don’t have the dramatic transition that school families do.  Most of our friends are not homeschoolers (there aren’t many around here), and most of my kid’s friends go to school.  My friends who send their children to school have shared that they are relieved school is over, now they can relax from the schlepping, homework and busyness that surround it.

Since we school at home, what is defined as “schoolwork” and what is a really fun project (like my daughter learning to design and sew 18th century costumes for her doll) is something we are sorting out.  If I call it “school” I get groans, if I say, let’s learn about the stars this summer and go to a planetarium – I get excitement.   For us, I guess summer is more of a fading of some formal studies in favor of projects and spending more time outside with the animals, farm and garden chores, an occasional camp for the kids and a family vacation trip thrown in somewhere.

Still, my kids want some of the same rituals school kids have.  Since the school kids around here all have a “last day of school” party,  I bought a box of Lucky Charms cereal (probably the 2nd time that sugar “breakfast” aka dessert has been in our house) to celebrate.  For our school party, the kids inhaled the evil cereal, we picked more snow peas, played with chicks and gave Flynn (my much fawned over horse baby) a bath.

He's white! It will last about 15 minutes.

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The snow peas are in.  We try to eat them as fast as they grow but we are woefully falling behind.  We’ve eaten them everyday, sometimes for lunch and dinner.  I even went out this morning and ate some for breakfast!  This is the way it is with a garden, you eat what’s in season.  I remember laughing about Barbara Kingsolver’s stories of endless, unavoidable zucchini in her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.   We’ve tried freezing snow peas in the past and it’s just disappointing so we would rather share them and turn green eating them.   While the garden is in we sacrifice variety for fresh homegrown vegetables.  It’s an easy trade-off.    My son is amazed at the value of a package of seeds.  “So, it only cost $2.00 to buy all the seeds to grow all these plants and all these snow peas?!”  Even though there is some work involved, a vegetable garden really is the ultimate bargain in so many ways.  If you don’t have much space, the book Square Foot Gardening is a wonderful system.  Keep it small and grow only things you love to eat.

Fresh and just barely done.

Here’s a simple favorite with snow peas:

Heat a wok to medium and put a dash of olive oil in it.  Throw in a bunch of snow peas in and toss constantly until they are a bright, uniform green.  Salt lightly or use a dash of Braggs liquid aminos and enjoy!

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