Sunday, May 30, 2010
First let me tell you what homeschooling is for us. The activities of our family are the foundation of our girl's education. This education that began at birth fostered in an environment of love and caring (for oneself and the world). Our home environment is carefully prepared, created to be rich artistically, culturally and scientifically. The world outside of our door was also created to foster curiosity and if you yield to that curiosity and spend time exploring it, education happens. Education that is not forced but rather is a result of living. Living and learning should not be separated. I in no way wish to recreate school in our home.
I have yet to find my niche within the homeschooling world. Some people think I homeschool because we follow Jesus. No. That doesn't make sense to me because as Christians we are to live in the world not create our own little bubble. I do not use 'curriculum'. (the stringent time schedules and demands of certain popular curriculum sets I believe is the downfall to many a homeschooling moms) We are not unschoolers in the truest since of the word. I choose not to be a part of any homeschooling co-ops that recreate school-even if only for a few hours a week. My children attended Montessori preschool. Having your children attend preschool isn't the homeschooling norm. My oldest daughter chose to go to public school in the 6th grade. We allowed this because she was accepted into a small, wonderful, arts magnet school very close to home. (Another time I will address this transition for her.)
Okay so why? Why do we homeschool? We chose to homeschool because I have no faith in the public school system. I do not agree with 'No Child Left Behind' or what it has created in its' wake. I put very little on standardized testing-although state law requires my children to be tested each year. Historically public schooling is a relatively new concept begun with wonderful intentions, but it has gone off track. It is my belief that parents are genetically designed to nurture and educate their children and children to learn from their parents.
My children are very social and can and do interact with people of all ages. Well meaning family members have asked how they will be prepared for the 'real world' with out school. It is a ridiculous question because the real world is not socializing with only people your own age in a competitive and rewards based environment that you have no choice but to attend. Public schooling focuses on social behavior where we focus on social development.
All this said the main reason I homeschool is that I want my children to be cared for and about. In turn I want them to care for and about others. I do not see much of that in schools. I read an article recently about the socialization of school age children. It was so bothersome to me! The article suggested peer rejection is caused by the rejected child's "social skill deficits" or "behavior problems" and gave parents tips on how to help their child become more socially accepted. It was basically coaching you on how to get your child to conform to whatever the norm happens to be. I disagree that most children which are rejected by their peers have something wrong with them that needs correcting. I do not want my child to feel the need to conform to another's standards. Why instead wouldn't we try to educate children that differences are okay. I want my child to be respected as a person should their actions merit it and I feel this is lacking in our schools, child to child, teacher to child, and child to teacher. In short public school would undermine the very qualities I hope to instill in my children. Confidence. Caring. Curiosity. Self motivation. Peaceful. Generous. Honesty. Humility.
I hope you don't think I am an over protective mother who shelters her children from life. Unfortunately I don't have very high regard for humanity and do prefer to keep my children away from a lot of it. But not from life. The girls are exposed to a lot. They have seen birth-and know how the baby got there, watched death, lost loved ones to addictions and suicide, been exposed to the consequences of horrible accidents and cancer, we have travelled through out the States and Europe, they spend a lot of time in a tattoo shop, they know Chinese deities and Buddha, don't believe in Santa, believe in Jesus, are aware of Haiti and the recent oil spill, I could go on and on. I just want you to know we are all for them experiencing life along side of us. I just refuse to believe public school is "life".
And that is why I homeschool.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Looking through some photos I realized we do a lot of "washing" here in the pink house.
A little bit of water, bucket, soap/vinegar, washing cloth and a drying cloth are all you need. I caution you though, do not think of this as a great way to get your children to clean your house. I assure you it makes more work for you. (remember either clean up any "messes" with them or clean up when they don't see you do it) The desire is for the child to feel successful when they complete the activity and feel proud they did something useful.
Here is a picture of the window washing I have prepared on a shelf for them.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
My brother is visiting from out of state and that is all the reason we needed to get together for a breakfast party. (I could say 'this morning some of our family came over for breakfast' but that just doesn't sound as fun) We did an oatmeal bar where you could build your own oatmeal. Pina colada, s'more, and pb&j were a few variations. I brought out a puzzle that has been sitting in our living room for over 9 months. It is as mystery puzzle about the Titanic. Have any of you ever done a mystery puzzle? It comes with a short story and a mystery to be solved by putting together the puzzle for clues. This means there is no picture reference to look at while working the puzzle. Challenging! That's me, Solanah and my niece Amy doing the puzzle. This picture reminds me of countless others I have of the three of us together. We are all very similar, yet distinct in style variations. You wouldn't believe the clothing that has passed between us. (I may just have to do a post on that.)
I wore this olive dress that had been packed away during pregnancy. I took a picture of the back because that is the cutest part. I picked it up while visiting Ohio a few years ago.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I have too much stuff and I have decided a lot of it must go. Here is a glimpse of my first sweep. You see my girls had fun playing with all of it. They also claimed a few things for themselves! I am trying decide if I want to go to the trouble of a garage sale. I didn't bother showing you all the 'uncute' stuff... cookware, dishes, etc... I'll post more as I gather them up!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
This is our girls' playhouse. Isn't it cute? My dad and Mav built it 10 years ago for Ruth. How wonderful we have had three additional girls since then that will all enjoy it. Our house, built in 1916, has hardly any insulation, but the playhouse is well insulated and has a heater for those cold winter days.The front door and window were taken from a very old phone booth that once stood in a bar. The hanging light is from the 20's and purchased at an estate sale in Orange, Ca. The little table and chair set are from the 40's and I plan to repaint them someday. (Maybe pink and teal?) The stove and refrigerator have been in Mav's family the last 20 years. The vintage chiffarobe is perfect for dress up and baby clothes.
We just did our spring cleaning and thought I'd give you a peak while it was spiffy!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This in turn means Dotty also spends a lot of time there. She was once content to sit up in her high chair, but not any more. She wants to explore! A few weeks ago I began washing fruits and veggies and placing them on a kitchen towel on the floor. I tell her their names and leave her to use her senses to discover them. It is important to- when we have the option- first introduce our child to the real object. Seeing a picture of or playing with a toy orange does little to help a child understand what an orange really is. Here you see Dotty with an orange and it didn't take her long to discover that underneath the peel was a yummy treat. Of course she would have probably eaten the peel but once she had a bite into it I removed it for her.
I use the names of the foods often while she is working with them. "I see you are rolling the watermelon." or "The pineapple is rough." At some point, maybe even another day, when I serve her a food she has been introduced to in this manner I repeat it's name. Above you see this with a cantaloupe.
This is just one way I can help her get to know the world around her.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Here is "a month of Sundays" worth of outfit posts. I try to dress a little nicer for church, which means at my church I am way over dressed! I wish you could better see the skirt of #4. I'll just have to wear it again soon. I love this bowed headband. Doesn't it look like a hat? I picked it up at Forever 21 for like $5. I can never resist a bow!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Just click the little icon on my page.
I especially like that FB just changed their wording away from "FAN page" Now it just means you like me, and well, I like you too.
My goal, and the reason for having everything they need accessible on the shelf, is so they can do it on their own. I still am helping at this point but they need me less each time. I usually need to leave the room to give them space and keep myself from offering unneeded help/direction.
Remember it should be fun so don't get too caught up on "etiquette". Each time you do it the children will pick up more and more etiquette naturally.
I confess there are times when I introduce a new activity like this, and it bombs! Try not to (I have to tell myself this) see it as a reflection of you, the activity or your child. It simply wasn't the day for it. Give it a few more tries at another time and if things still aren't coming together, reevaluate.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Yes, I attend Weight Watchers every Monday. I have lost 21 pounds. I should be proud. I will be proud and here I start!
I have never been a small girl. Upper average with the occasional low. When Mav and I married I was at a low- 130 and I haven't seen it since. I have had 4 babies and each one has, at this point, left me with an added 10 pounds. Yes, that's right I weigh 168. (I am 5'6" if you're curious.)
What I am going to do, what I have been contemplating doing for some time is not only stating my weight but also my measurements. This causes my heart to beat a little quicker as a slight panic sets in. I just took my measurements for probably the 3rd time ever. I have always been too afraid. Why then would I want to do this? ACCOUNTABILITY. I have zero self discipline and with out concrete evidence of my situation I will easily slip into denial. So here you go (my heart quickens) 38-32-47.
(Now I must kill you. Just kidding.)
So above is my "before" picture taken today. I also took a picture of me dressed today. Because I carry my weight in my hips it is easy to camouflage it with a full skirt as pictured. For this reason I have always worn full skirts, but oh how I would love a wiggle dress!
It does scare me and I'm not sure I will post this. (Funny I hate for Mav to see this and he sees me naked daily so I don't think he'll be surprised. But I'd like to pretend he would be.)
The plan is to retake those measurements one month from today and hopefully see a change. I began the Couch to 5K running program last week in addition to Weight Watchers and I hope knowing I have to check back in with you will keep me motivated.
I want to end by saying I know as women we compare ourselves to others. My numbers are not a judgement on anyone else. I don't want to be judged by them and hope you won't either.
PS I do see the irony in posting this right after my "fried pie" post! : )
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Last night was fried pie night at our house. We are pie bakers by heredity but fried pies seems to have dropped off our menus. I decided we needed to do something about that. So my mom dug out my Grandma Lois' hand written recipe and we got busy. I can imagine fried pies were a hit with Okie's because you didn't need an oven. (not to mention because they are yummy!) I had imagined Solanah coming over and us baking beautiful fried pies to perfection. Of course my girls wanted to help and Ruth's best friend Keziah was invited over. My nephew Josh and his little boy Oliver came for dinner. (it was one of the few times I make an all vegan dinner) The excitement over the pies was contagious and Oliver couldn't be left out. Even Dotty wanted to be a part of the fun. After a moment of adapting my expectations I began to see what perfection truly was. Perfection is 20 happy hands creating fried pies, traditions and memories all in my kitchen.
Here is the recipe:
(just as written by my grandma)
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cups shortening
- 1 can milk
Mix liquids and add dry ingredients which have been sifted together.
For best results let stand overnight-but you don't have to.
warm the milk and put lard in it then add the rest
I always heat the milk and put shortening in it then let it cool until warm
before mix the rest
We chose chocolate, cherry and apple for our fillings. The chocolate was the best. Here is what we did.
1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa mix together and put 2 tbsp on rolled crust, top with a pat of butter. Fold over, seal, and crimp with fork.
Have oil hot in cast iron skillet. Fry the pie about one minute each side. They cook quick!
I hope you enjoy them. We did!