Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘homeschooling’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

Well after three weeks of turning our eggs and hopeful anticipation of many fuzzy chicks to play with, we hatched one.  Yes, you read right, 36 eggs and one baby!  So the children and I used the failure as a science project.  We hypothesized that perhaps the thermometer that came with our new incubator was inaccurate.  We gathered five thermometers from around the farm and put them in the incubator and found that the one we used was 5 degrees too cool.  So we believe that we cooked our chicks.  When we thought we had them at 99.5, they were actually at about 105 degrees.  We can’t figure out how we have one live chick that survived this sauna.  He was our biggest egg which led to more theories.  Here is a picture of “Buddy” as my son named him, I think “Miracle” is more fitting.  He shivers quite a bit and seems to like being right under the heat lamp, hmmm.

Buddy the Wonder Chick

We think his Dad is “Officer” and his Mom is “Triple Time Cuteness:”

Dad, our sweetest rooster named "Officer"

Mom, "Triple Time Cuteness," an Araucana who lays olive green eggs

This weekend we will test our hypothesis by putting a batch of fresh eggs in the incubator with a new, tested thermometer.  So back to waiting anxiously for three more weeks!

Read Full Post »

The peas and tomatoes are sprouting!  We put the same seeds in the same soil and give them the same conditions but some come up sooner than others.  I began wondering about that and then noticed that within a few days they all catch up with each other and the seedlings are generally the same height.  It reminded me of some advice a school headmaster gave me years ago when I worried that my children weren’t reading much at the ages of 6, 7 and 8.  He said that if all the right reading conditions were in place (parents modeling reading, plenty of good books in the home, continued support and instruction) children will catch up and be reading fluently later on.  I still worried and bought every phonics/reading program known to man.  Now, it has happened.  All that worry for naught, they are reading beautifully now, they just got there with time and the right conditions.

The peas are up and smiling!

When you home school you feel totally responsible for every success and failure in your children’s learning.  As the children get older (now 9 and 12) though, we am working to increasingly shift the responsibility for their education to them.  I realized that until I decided to “own” my education, I didn’t really learn much or retain it.  We have conversations with the kids now about what is an education, who is it for, why have one?  It has awakened in all of us the fact that we are all responsible for our own learning, that seems obvious as I write it but I don’t think I previously owned my education the way I do now.   I have discovered a great resource and inspiration for this in the Thomas Jefferson Education Consortium, www.tjed.org.

So while my children are happily reading, I have more time to try new recipes with all the eggs we find in the hen house everyday.  One of our recent favorites is simple crepes filled with just about anything.

Healthyish Crepes

Put a large saute pan on your burner on medium low to heat up.  Put the following in a blender or vitamix:

4 eggs (you can substitute 2 egg whites for each egg to cut down on yolks)

1 cup lowfat milk

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Blend all the ingredients and then spray your warmed up pan with cooking spray and pour a little less than 1/3 cup mix on the pan.  This is the tricky part, immediately swirl the pan to spread out the mix in a thin layer all over the bottom of the pan.  In about 40 seconds or when the top looks dry, flip it and you are done it about 20 more seconds.  We have them plain or with maple syrup or Nutella or jam or whatever you’d like to try.

Yummy crepes, enjoy!

Great to take to someone’s house with bananas and Nutella in them!

Read Full Post »

For many years my husband and I have worked towards our dream:  living in the country with animals, educating our children at home, growing some of our food, and working in our own business that somehow makes the world a better place.  It’s not for everyone but it works for us.  In all these aspects of this dream we now live,  I discover life lessons, humor and inspiration, sometimes seeing threads that connect them in startling ways.  I hope to share these reflections in this blog, encouraging others to create the life they dream of.  Depending on the season, we also create and learn a variety of things living here, working with fibers is a passion of mine that I look forward to sharing as well.  I took the photo in the header of our farm this morning.

Our 100 pound dog that we finally trained to not kill the chickens, more on that in another post

Read Full Post »