Summer thread!: Feeling good about not doing what we don't do anyway :) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 06-19-2013, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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May the blessings of Solstice be yours!

 

Tell us about your day: the good the bad, and (you know you have them) the ugly.  Tell us about one particular day, or catch us up on what you've been doing.


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#2 of 31 Old 06-20-2013, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been busy, and today starts with a sleep-in and Chamber of Secrets while dd2 (6.5) is in full curiosity mode.  She is ecstatic about her new understanding of zero ("that's why zero is round--it's nothing!") and wondering why Chester the robin has his breast feathers puffed up.

 

I've been reading a lot about the history of the English language, and I'll tell you that "wunder" in OE meant "atrocity".  Fun stuff.

 

This weekend the girls and I went to a girl scout workshop for leaders that will certify our troop for outdoor overnights.  This was a special workshop where we could bring our daughters.  They played with the camp counsellors, boating and hiking and playing games and doing crafts while the parents and leaders took our workshop.  It was loads of fun, and exhausting.  Being Solstice time, we stayed up really, really late, sitting around the campfire, singing songs, doing impromptu skits, then finally playing flashlight games until full dark.  I think the girls didn't get to bed until after 11, because it's still a bit light here at 10:30.  They slept in their own bunks (!!!!!) and on the way home, they said they wanted their own beds, so I jumped on it and arranged the beds (still in our 1 bedroom) and they've slept there for 3 nights so far.

 

Last night was our last busy day, being Girl Scout night.  We had our last regular meeting, a party and some extra playtime at the end, and the girls went to bed late again, after tucking the chickens in.  They've been taking on some of the chicken chores, filling feed, changing water.  It's been nice for me, and especially since they've chosen to take this on themselves.

 

Today is getting back to the business of housekeeping and daily routines.  I'm liking not having gymnastics every week, but at the same time I can hardly wait to get back to it.  I wish it would stop raining here, if for no other reason than the slugs every other foot can be daunting for the girls to get outside.  Our garden is growing, the coop needs to be mucked out.  The girls have peas to harvest, and spinach.  The slugs have not eaten everything.

 

We are still struggling to share and get along.  It can be frustrating, extremely at times.  I'm giving myself permission just to set aside what I need to give the girls more attention (also meaning: time to get off this contraption!)

 

We have a summer filled with car camping plans, GS day camp (we will camp out at a nearby campground instead of staying with relatives--more fun, keeps the commute time down.)  We will be playing with GS friends (so grateful for that!) and our neighbor down the road (when the slugs retreat).

 

And right now, dd1 needs some assistance behaving properly around her sister.  I wish she'd learn.  Being nearly 8.5, I'm getting impatient, and have violated my rules about not holding their age against them ("you're not 2!" for example).  Well, I try.

 

As I sign off, a mama deer and her tiny fawn just passed by our window.  I love having such a casual view of wildlife where we live now.  I've seen deer peeing (right on the edible wild plants--changed my view of that!) and chiding each other, grooming themselves.  Not usual behaviors most people are privy to.

 

 

Happy Solstice all!  I think we'll be staying up late tonight to celebrate, avoiding the slugs, drinking fizzy cider, watching the bats....


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#3 of 31 Old 06-23-2013, 06:30 AM
 
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Hey!   I love the history of the English language!  Keep it coming. 

 

We saw the supermoon yesterday.  It looked really big the first time I saw it, then whenever i went back to look again, including at 4:39 am this morning (which according to some site was the time it would be nearest to my location) it didn't look as remarkably big.  Looks like my expectations rose more than the size of the moon could keep up with.  It did look extra bright though.

 

I like the title of the thread :-)
 


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#4 of 31 Old 06-23-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The moon was amazing last night!  I realized that it wasn't dark, even for a minute, from dusk to dawn because of it.  By the time the sky should have been dark, the moon was rising, and by the time dawn was creeping in (slowly, around 4am) the moonlight had faded.  Sometimes I wish I was able to keep myself awake to gaze at the night sky, but it is so hard.  The night before, the low moon was shining through our douglas fir in a light mist, and the moon rays were phenomen...sleeping.gif


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#5 of 31 Old 06-23-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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Haven't seen the supermoon here yet. We've been through ten days of rain with more to come over the next four days at least. There have been washouts, power failures, road closures. Nothing serious is affecting us, and it looks like water levels have pretty much peaked so there isn't much risk of things worsening, but there's lots of water around and it's been kind of a depressing week. 

 

The good news is that my shitaake mushroom spawn is probably loving the wet weather. I have a rack of birch logs behind the house where I "planted" about 500 spawn plugs in the hope of a mushroom harvest in a year or two. Fingers crossed.

 

I'm madly working more than full-time trying to get the summer music program organized for early August: accommodations, meals, four orchestras, chamber ensembles, all the music chosen, scanned and emailed, payments made to service providers, performance halls, classroom space and camping booked, faculty contracts and travel finalized, pianos procured, tshirts designed and ordered, etc. etc. 

 

And I can't get the darned laundry dry.

 

So I feel underwater both literally and figuratively. 

 

Yesterday my three older kids and I played music at a memorial service for an old friend. It was beautiful music that we did a pretty decent job with, and much appreciated. I love that we can make such amazing sounds together.

 

My younger two girls are doing a lot of the family meal prep. They're also playing a lot of SkyRim with their two older siblings, and everyone except me, it seems, has spent the rainy spell addicted to Game of Thrones. This is the time of year when I'd love to be outside full-time. Maybe next week summer will start.

 

All my kids are working right now. My 19yo is back at her café job for the summer, plus gigging a bit here and there, playing weddings and gallery openings and the like. My 16yo is working at a small museum situated in a nearby ghost town. The 14yo is a prep-chef at a nice local restaurant where her kitchen efficiency is very much appreciated. My 10yo is working periodically as a housekeeper at the apartment that the hospital keeps available for visiting locum doctors or medical students. Every time one person arrives or leaves she's in there for 3 hours to do a top-to-bottom cleaning and ready it for the next person. She makes decent money ($10.25/hr, student minimum wage here) and she's really *really* good at it, probably better than a lot of adults would be. She was able to afford to buy herself an iPod Touch which arrived last week, and she's thrilled with it.

 

She's my one real home-learner, so a bit more about her...

 

She finished her introductory Spanish course with the local Grade 8 school kids and took her first ever final exam, doing very well, top of the class. After waffling a bit she decided to write the Grade 8 math exam that the kids at school wrote, but at home, in order to kind of measure herself against the yardstick of a school curriculum and help make a decision about whether she wanted to take a math class next year. She did very well on that too. We had an end-of-year meeting with her homeschool liaison teacher and he's happy to have her in math at the school next fall. Due to the self-directed nature of the school program, it's just involve 2 hours per week of multi-grade math seminar plus whatever, if any, independent study time she wants to make use of in the school's "Facilitated Learning Centre." Two hours of school a week sounds about right to her.

 

She's been on a world geography kick. She started out at the beginning of May trying to memorize the list of Canada's provinces and territories (being appalled at herself for not knowing them) and then moving on to states in the US, countries in Europe, and then building on that with map and globe and such. She's got a couple of geography learning apps (Tiny Planes, etc.) on her iPod, and has been playing Geoguessr.com which has become another family obsession. We highly recommend this. You get dropped fairly randomly into a location somewhere on the earth in Google Street View, and you have to figure out where you are. You can move about, and travel fair distances along streets, and need to gather clues as you go, eventually putting a pin on a world map to make a guess. You look for the language of street signs if you're in a city, the dress and appearance of pedestrians, which side of the road cars are on, the colour of the earth, the profile of the terrain, the apparent climate, the vegetation, etc. etc. Very addictive, and also very educational as you find yourself learning the Cyrillic alphabet, researching cultural cooperation between Paraguay and Bolivia, finding active volcanoes in Japan and noticing Scandinavian influences in Estonia. Our family record score for a round of five locations is just over 32,000, which means we got within 2-300 metres for all our guesses. 

 

We're reading a neat children's novel by Iain Lawrence called "The Giant Slayer," about the polio epidemic, and have been Googling iron lungs and such. We had read another of his called "Lord of the Nutcracker Men" about the First World War. I think he's a very under-appreciated writer: his novels are beautifully crafted inter-weavings of story and history, both incorporating story-telling within the story in unique metaphorical ways.

 

Because we don't have access to a public library, and are so far from bookstores, and our bookshelves are already overloaded, I've been buying more eBooks than printed books recently. However, the DRM was annoying because it meant that unless I surrendered my iPad for days on end I could not share the books with other family members: they have iPods, but linked to their own email addresses and accounts, not to mine.

 

So a couple of weeks ago I bought a little Kobo mini e-ink reader on sale (similar to a basic Kindle, but supported by Chapters/Indigo, Canada's biggest bookstore chain). It's a family device that we share around. Because I'd been buying books through Chapters all along using their app, all of my old purchases are available on the Kobo, and my older two girls are delightedly catching up with all the books I've read that I knew they would love. And two of us can read the same book at the same time on the iPad and the Kobo, which has been fun. We all love the e-ink for reading out in the hammock on the deck, where the daylight glare -- even in the rain -- muddies the LED displays on the i-devices. I almost wish I'd bought two Kobos. Reading has definitely picked up around here!

 

Miranda


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#6 of 31 Old 06-24-2013, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yikes!  What a monster day!  Screaming, tears, bullying, agression, paranoia.... ouch!  Needless to say, I bundled the girls up and went on some errands.  Worked a little Retail Therapy in there (bad mommy!) because dd1 had saved up $17 for a horse game she has been eyeing for *weeks*.  Splurged on Monopoly and Story Cubes.  Went to te library at our girl scout office to pick up some adult guides.  I found a knot tying game thumb.gif and (even though I passed them by for now) SNAP CONNECTOR SETS to borrow!  Both standard and "alternative energy".  Woohoo!  

 

Stopped by the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge on our way back.  Paid $3 for the parking, but I didn't want to say no.  Nice walk, but energy flagged.  Last minute grocery shopping and then home to play some games.

 

Then more screaming (sigh!).  Even while I help my voice together, I did resort to "dinner and bed" and that finally stopped it once and for all.  They are behaving now.  I hate those moments, but holy cow!  

 

Things are better now.  Playing some games, getting some snacks.  Firing up Monopoly.  Hopefully this day will end a bit better.

 

ETA:  Things did end far better than they started.  This morning the girls and I played dd1's new horse game, which was more fun than any cheap-horse-gimmicked game has any right to be.  Amazingly, the 3 of us played it all together.  Monopoly was fun to play again.  We did it the "long way" to show how it's done, but we suggest passing out the properties randomly at the beginning to shorten the game.  However, I used to come back to this game day after day when my sister and I played--though we won money on free parking, which makes the game longer.  We are not doing that "rule" now.


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#7 of 31 Old 06-28-2013, 05:15 PM
 
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Oh summer! 

 

We've been busy, but not too busy. 

 

I guess the biggest news is that I found out I'm (very newly) pregnant with number 3! Still so new, and probably too new to announce but it's a journey and I'm on it good or bad. I'm hoping everything goes well, and I'm feeling okay! A wee bit sore in the boob-area, and a wee bit tired but nothing crazy. We've been swimming a ton *the kids could live in the pool* and that's basically the highlight of our days. My daughter taught herself to swim with help from DH, and my son (who's just about 3) is learning too. So swimming, playing on the homestead with the animals, gardening, doing our chores, cooking..the usual. 

 

But now that summer is here there's so much room for adventure! Each week we are going to different parks, going on nature walks, setting up our calendars for museums and festivals and things like that. I try to not over-load us but there's so much to do! My daughter did a farm camp for a week and was gone most of the day, and she has been doing her horseback riding and has horse camp for a week in August but whew, that's it! 

 

And the kids are going to G-mas for 3 days and I have a HUGE stack of books to read. HAPPINESS! 


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#8 of 31 Old 07-05-2013, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This post is about my time.  The girls were signed up for girl scout day camp in Carnation, WA.  Day camp does not work from where we are, but I found a campground 5 minutes away from.  I'm sure relatives would have loved us staying with them, but the 8:45 drop-off time sounded tortuous to this mama with an hour+ commute on top of it.  It was odd camping in a location more urban than where I live, but the Snoqualmie river valley is still gorgeous and worth the trip.  

 

I had thought about running errands into Redmond or some other civilized place, but in the end I stayed put.  The first day I reviewed some girl scout leader stuff.  This was my view of the pedestrian bridge from my camp chair next to the tent:

                                                                         

The second day I walked down river to the end of the park, a quiet spot at the end of a gravel bar and I sat.  This little gal (spring azure, I think) joined me, happily slurping up moisture from my wet shirt and the canvas hat I kept soaked (it was hot!)

 

 

The last day, I had less time, packing up camp, but I still had time to explore, this time along the Tolt river, which flows in the Snoqualmie just south of where we camped.  I found this one tiny shady spot where part of the river flowed over stones to meet a rushing flow in the main channel:

 

 It was totally worth lugging that camp chair around.

 

Never since I became a mother did I have so much time to do nothing.  I don't think I would have enjoyed doing so much nothing before I became a mother!  orngtongue.gif


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#9 of 31 Old 07-06-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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Are you saying that while your girls were at day camp you stayed in a campground?  So when they came home from camping you were still camping? 


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#10 of 31 Old 07-06-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes.  They just stayed at day camp, came back to the campground at night.  It was loads of fun.  Unfortunately, it was too hot for a fire the first night when we had dh and some visitors.  We never lit a fire, and the marshmallows stayed in the car.  I had planned some easy campfire meals for each night, but they wanted to play in the river all afternoon anyhow so it all worked out.


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#11 of 31 Old 07-08-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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We've been lazy. Our days are literally the same - we wake up and I have my morning coffee/writing time while kids do media (Ipads, computer, a video etc..) than we are either on the pool, on an adventure, or doing homesteading stuff. We had a wee bit of a heat wave and the pool water was like 80-something degrees so I couldn't get my kids OUT of it! This week we are going to be dog-sitting a little dog (for cash, great responsiblity for kids too) going to a bubble show, and  the museum/aquarium so it's going to be busy and great. 


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#12 of 31 Old 07-09-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommariffic View PostWe've been busy, but not too busy. 

 

I guess the biggest news is that I found out I'm (very newly) pregnant with number 3! joy.gifenergy.gif

We are just hanging out!!! I love the summer. OH we are reading a few books (audio book- break form ME reading)

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#13 of 31 Old 07-12-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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It's Arts Camp time around here. This week my middle dd (who attends high school) has been involved in the local Dance Camp. She has had only a handful of very low-key dance classes, all within the past year, so she went in as pretty much a complete novice. She's done great! Five hours a day of training, grouped with the older four girls, three of whom have had years of dance experience. She's learned so much! They're doing a range of stuff: contemporary, hip-hop, classical expressive, and so on. Also learning about training principles, injury prevention, nutrition, warm-ups, stretching and such.

 

Next week my unschooled youngest dd was supposed to do the younger version of the same Dance Camp, but it was cancelled due to insufficient enrolment. She was very disappointed. I keep thinking back to when she was 6 and we had a very experienced dance teacher come through to give a workshop on Baroque Dance to music kids in the region (so they could know what Minuets and Gavottes and Bourrées really were meant for) and my dd took to it all like a fish to water. She was asked to join in on the sessions for older kids including the one for teens, and the dance teacher grabbed my little one at the end of the workshop, brought her to me, looked me sternly in the eye and said "Get this child dance training!" Alas, rural living, missed opportunities, unrealized potential... we haven't been able to do so. I feel badly that when we finally had the chance at a week of dance classes for her it ended up falling through at the last minute.

 

She opted not to do Drama Camp this week (which she did for the past two years) in favour of doing Dance next week, so that was initially kind of sad, since she's now missing out on both. But it was a lucky thing, I think, as the attitudinal milieu at Drama Camp has been terrible. The most vocal and assertive handful of kids in the class are oozing negative attitude and even the instructors (who are wonderful and highly experienced with this age group) are feeling bullied and demoralized. Ughh. I'm involved in the umbrella organization that oversees all these programs and it breaks my heart to see how horrid these few kids are being. I really think they should have been removed from the program on Day 1 or 2.

 

Anyway, the upshot is that my 10-year-old, because she did not do Drama, and will not get to do Dance, agreed to volunteer to help with the introductory Music Explorers program for 3- through 6-year-olds. She's been asking for a while whether there was any way she could volunteer in a preschool environment, so I suggested she offer to do a show & tell with her violin at the Music Explorers camp, and the teacher was very enthusiastic. She went in to do so at the beginning of the week, and had an amazing rapport with the kids. She talked and played for them, and then gave them each a turn with the tiny violin she had brought along....

 

 

 

 

It turned out the main teacher was not well. She's had to leave part-way through each day, and has now been referred out of town for a bunch of urgent tests and won't be coming to the last two days at all. So the assistant teacher has had to pick up the slack, and asked my dd to stay on throughout the week as a student helper. She's working hard ... herding kids, modelling activities, prepping some of the materials (costume-making and fitting), preparing snacks, wiping down tables, taking kids to the washroom, tidying equipment, etc. etc. She's tired: it means early mornings (and she still likes her late evenings with her teenaged siblings) and as we all know little-kid group energy can be tiring. But she's being a huge help and the assistant teacher says she couldn't have done it without her. I think she'll probably get paid a small stipend, which she amply deserves. 

 

I want to take a moment to brag about my ds(16). He is no longer unschooled: he attended high school part-time during 10th grade and full-time during 11th. But who he is and how he copes with life has been largely shaped by his unschooling.

 

This summer he applied for a job as museum assistant at a little sliver-mining ghost town near us. I expected that like most summer jobs around here he'd either get it or not based on his expression of interest. In our relatively unpopulated somewhat summer-touristy area summer jobs for teens are pretty easy to come by and most are recruited word-of-mouth or by recommendation and personal knowledge. Everyone knows everyone, so most employers just recruit who they want. But this job is funded by a grant procured by a non-profit society, so they ended up doing the entire due-process arms-length hiring thing, and he had to submit a CV and cover letter, and then do a brief phone interview and then an in-person interview with a hiring committee. My ds is highly introverted with not a lot of experience or comfort putting himself out there for evaluation, so this was a bit of a stretch for him. The first surprise was how impressive his CV was thanks to his unschooling: website authoring, volunteering, string music and choral achievements, computer programming, travel experience, etc..  The next surprise was how much his personable style one-on-one and his ability to relate well to adults translated into strong interview skills. So he got the job.

 

Then reality hit home: he'd be working with a rota of experienced adult part-timers, almost all of them with, er ... challenging personalities. Most are ex-hippies who moved to the area in the early 1970s who have a variety of psychiatric problems, personality disorders, social skill struggles, anxiety disorders, loneliness... the usual mish-mash of personalities in a workplace, but to a really extreme degree. And he'd be working with -- and to an extent supervised by -- each of them one-on-one. And even better, they dislike each other intensely and actively try to undermine each other as they go off-shift and prepare the place for the next person, with my ds being the only continuity ... a possible ally for each worker, or not.

 

That personable style he's got, the quiet confidence and ability to relate well to adults, it's letting him thrive. He adapts to whomever he's working with. His alliances are diplomatic; he is adept at never taking sides, walking a line carefully as each employee slags the other. With Andy he's all dry wit and creativity. With Judy he works so hard and efficiently that she doesn't need to do anything -- and he can give her the time to herself she needs. With Sue he's chatty but hangs in the background keeping track of details. With Dan he takes over the customer relations and tour-guiding. He is carving out personal boundaries with needy co-workers and is finding ways to let the aggravations roll off him.

 

I can't imagine myself dealing with these people day after day, but he's doing it. At least the pay is good. And while I know it's not easy for him, he comes home smiling and pleased with how he's handling all the crazy personality challenges. Some of the stories ... wow!

 

He's the sort of kid who could have really had his confidence crushed if he'd been in school from the get-go. He's small, highly introverted, quiet and very sensitive. Unschooling gave him the opportunity to grow up comfortable with being that person, confident that he is someone with a lot to offer. His emotional sensitivity, attached to that strong sense of self and buoyed up by confidence in his ability to handle people of all sorts, is serving him very well. 

 

Miranda


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#14 of 31 Old 07-12-2013, 05:41 PM
 
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Had a magical moment with my 9 year old today. I'm doing a kind of informal horse camp with the barn regulars here, and she turned to me in a moment of pure joy and laughter with her new friends as they bathed a pony and had a water fight, and said, "Now that I don't have to go back to school, I can do this all day, every day if I want!" She's so happy. She's been "deschooling" since June after 3 years in school, 2 of her choosing and one out of necessity for us that she really hated. It's just now sinking in that she really doesn't have to go back. She keeps mentioning all the things she can do now.

 

"I can play the guitar instead of the clarinet like I had to at school!"

 

"I can study for my pony club test instead of the state test!"

 

"I can go to the waterpark with you instead of staying home for school!"

 

"I can read Harry Potter again and again and again!"

 

"I can learn 6th grade math, not boring 4th grade!" Cracks me up. Her 3rd grade teacher this past year refused to move her up another level after giving her 4th grade math just to avoid "friends" cheating off DD on their daily worksheets, because she was getting 100% on everything when she was doing 3rd grade math and the other kids caught on quickly. Much to the teacher's chagrin, DD found 4th grade math boring too and begged all year for something higher, but the teacher said she couldn't because it would "not promote a cohesive classroom environment," and "wasn't the standards taught to 3rd graders." dizzy.gif Texas: promoting mediocrity and discouraging excellence in EVERY student!

 

 

How wonderful it is to join in her joy and say, "You certainly can!"


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#15 of 31 Old 07-12-2013, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dizzy.gif Texas: promoting mediocrity and discouraging excellence in EVERY student!

 

 

How wonderful it is to join in her joy and say, "You certainly can!"

                          orngtongue.gif


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#16 of 31 Old 07-14-2013, 05:02 PM
 
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We have been indoors a bit more lately, during a few of the more brutal days this summer.  My son has been rediscovering his enjoyment of miniature skateboards and BMX bikes.  He first fell in love with these toys just before his 3rd birthday, when he broke his femur and spent a few months in a cast covering most of his body.  We were so grateful for these toys that let him enact the things he'd just been starting to learn.  We spent hours and hours watching X-Games and such, where he learned how to do these amazing stunts with his tin toys.  We bought lots of ramps and items to create a miniature skatepark/bike park.  I swear, these things totally got us through that really difficult time of near-immobility for our very active toddler.

 

Well, he'll be five in a month, and has really been spending tons of time with these toys again.  I wanted to share, because I'm realizing just how much he's learning and growing from these things.  Right now, he and his father are deeply involved in the design stage of creating his own custom mini-park made from concrete.  This child is really shining with creativity and logic/ critical thinking.  He's learned gobs about gravity/physics, of course.  There's the geometry of using/designing surfaces for grinding, getting high in the air, and centrifugal properties of skating/biking in a swimming pool type bowl.  Banks, hubs, pyramids, half-pipes, grinding rails, stairs...  It's seemingly endless how scientific and artistic he's becoming.  I don't know how many of you have kids that would be into something like this, but it's a really fun addition to similar such activities like legos, minecraft, keva blocks, etc.  It's also great for fantasy/imaginative play, since the end result is something in which he can actively engage.  Our plans inclide building a dedicated table for him to be able to walk around the edges to maneuver his bikes and boards around the topography he designs.  He currently arranges the pieces he has (wooden & plastic ramps and such) out on the floor.  Sometimes we create dirt ramps and courses out in the back yard, as well.

 

There are myriad videos on YouTube for people who are into fingerboarding" and "fingerbiking".  The most affordable/easily accessible toys are sold on Amazon and at Target by the brands FlickTrix (bikes) and TechDeck (boards).  There are higher end products for the enthusiasts, such as Blackriver Ramps and Aphlikshun brands.  I'm talking $60-$300 hardwood obstacles and such.  There are even specialty boutiques dedicated to the activity, but none near our home.  we're literally immersed in this lately.  It's the most popular activity of the moment.

 

Other than that, we're also coming up on about 3 months of Peter Pan obsession.  We have two versions of the story- the chapter book and a more condensed illustrated version.  We have watched the live-action film from 2003 and the more recent 2-part movie called Neverland (streaming on netflix) that is a prequel to where the original story begins.  Basically, it's how Neverland came to be, and how everyone got there just before Peter meets the Darling children we all know so well.  It's really really great.  Both are.  I don't think we've actually watched the cartoon version more than once ever.  The 60's musical is not such a hit at this time.  I know EVERYTHING about this story now, and am glad for it.  I love it!

 

Hope you all are having fun!

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#17 of 31 Old 07-14-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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#18 of 31 Old 07-14-2013, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was about to ask that you post a picture, then there it was.  Thanks!


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#19 of 31 Old 07-15-2013, 02:15 AM
 
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Pretty cool morning today (well, yesterday). My oldest has developed a bit of an interest in furniture and crafting. She saw a cool tutorial on making a penny mosaic as a table top ( http://www.epbot.com/2010/09/money-money-money.html ) and wanted to go to a local swap meet to find a small bedside table to try it on. Off we went early in the morning. She found a table she wanted right away ($12) but we spent about another hour exploring since this is a new scene for both of us.

 

Next stop was the bank. DD wanted to use nickels for a silvery finish rather than a coppery one, so we had to do some calculations: the comments section of the tutorial said the people spent $20~ in pennies for their desktop. DD told them what she was using them for and like the commenters on the tutorial, the bank employees got into a bickering match about whether it was even legal. They asked a higher-up who assured them (and us) that it was legal to use and modify coins in furniture and decor so long as they weren't being used as legal tender after the fact and weren't being melted down for their materials. Whew. Glad to know the federalis weren't going to bust down our door for a tween's end table!

 

Dumping the nickels out in the living room, we marveled at how heavy they were and how gosh darn MANY there were. Younger sister went through each and every coin looking for interesting ones (old ones, mistake ones, damaged ones). She's not much of a hobbyist but does keep interesting coins in one of her little boxes. ODD graciously let her have as many as she wanted since we figured there'd be some extra. We found some really cool nickels, including ones with letters on them made in the 1940s. We jumped online and found out they were "war nickels," and though most aren't worth a ton, they are very interesting and many collectors like them. One of the ones she found in good condition we found out was worth anywhere from $30-100. She wants to take it to an appraiser and see if she can sell it and offered to split it with big sister if they get some money for it. Cool. We spent $15 on nickels (300 of them), figuring we could always go back if we needed more. Turns out we greatly underestimated the size of a nickel (even though we held them up in the car to compare with a penny -- they space out a lot differently when we laid them out on the tabletop) and had many more than we needed for this little end table. We maybe could have gotten away with $10, but oh well. Live and learn!

 

Today we're painting the table black and cleaning the nickels, picking out the shiniest ones. We'll see how it turns out! I looked online to see if anyone else has doen it in in nickels or even dimes, but so far, zip. Wondering if there's a reason but we'll see. 

 

Who knew a simple craft project involved so much!?


Peaceful, homeschooling, UC/HBing, select vaxing, breastfeeding, intactivist mama to a bunch of small people.

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#20 of 31 Old 07-18-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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It has been a super busy summer here!  We've been traveling quite a bit, but we are basically settled now for several months more.  We did some off-grid camp living and visited some veteran unschoolers, we went to a really cool natural spring and now we have a new kid added to the mix, a kid I take care of.  We've spent a ton of time in the libraries and read lots of books this summer.  My oldest dd has developed or redeveloped a very bad bug phobia...like a "I can't use the bathroom, there might be a bug in there", sort of thing.  NOT Fun!

 

Other than that ddalmost3 is obsessed with the ABC's, learning colors and numbers and lots of songs.  She also picked up a stutter, which I think must be diet related since our diet had to change in circumstances where we couldn't get the foods we were used to getting and she had a lot of wheat, which we have sensitivities to. 

 

ddalmost6 is resisting learning to read, not that I'm trying to force her at all.  Honestly she's kinda driving me crazy and I don't know what to do with her.  I guess all summer and the past few years she's always had people her age or older to play with and my youngest dd only ever had 2 kids around her age that she regularly played with.  At this point, we only have 1 kid that we are around most of the time and he is the age of youngest dd, which is good for her, but although they all play together, it seems to be not as good for ddalmost6.  I know I need to somehow find a challenge for her but she is so very difficult to even make a suggestion to.  

 

She's doing a lot of imaginative play, but a lot of that is chaotic and mean... she's been playing the piano, but not nearly as much as she could.  She doesn't want to go outside because of bugs & mosquitoes.  TV is a pretty bad thing for her...I can literally and easily see how her attitude changes from watching TV.  She is already a very dramatic person and all the kid's shows she watches are overly dramatic and negative themselves, and she then takes on those characteristics...the bossy, whiny, naggy and bully-like characters on these shows, or the spoiled one's who always get their way and/or throw a fit.  

 

I have gotten away from the TV, but I can't get her to direct her energy on something positive most of the time.  On the plus side she usually goes to sleep much better than she used to.  We have talked about making our own shows, like we used to, but I can't seem to record anything on my new computer and I'm still working on getting my old computer in working condition, also I left the charger to my camera, so there is not battery left to use that one.  I am desperately searching for something to stimulate her creativity and on a budget.  

 

I decided I need to introduce the daily calendar game that we used to do in the winter/spring and help her make plans and goals the night before.  We have just moved and I guess it's just a waiting game as she adjusts, but my youngest has adjusted quickly and easily.  

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#21 of 31 Old 07-28-2013, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently noticed all the projects dd2 has left around the yard, and decided to do a photographic tour.  These have occupied her time for the last 2 weeks.  At nearly 7yo, I am impressed with the sticking power of mud, so to speak......  

 

Shall we begin?

 

 

 

 

1)  This one was called "Mud Man".  2)  The mud pot 3)  "Dirt and Water in Jar"  4)  Not sure... I'll call it "Mud Man Revisited"

 

 

 

 

 

 

5)  The mud pit for full-body immersion (our soil makes brilliant mud!) and 6)  Algae farm experiment.  She is nurturing this batch, and is proud of the results, though the cat keeps drinking the water.

 

If a jar or pot or bucket or pot gets left out, you can bet that it will end up filled with dirt and water, or, conversely, water and dirt.....

 

Our morning was rocky, but we read some Harry Potter together, played a game of Jumping Pixies with a scoring system the girls invented, dd2 played with her Plan City road and track dh set up yesterday, and dd1, after reading her horse book (again--the Kingfisher Illustrated Horse and Pony Encyclopedia, well worth buying new) watched more rhythmic gymnastics on the computer, and watched synchronized swimming for the first time.  Really wish I had the money to sink into training this girl.  I think she's getting short-changed by our finances.  Oh, well, what can you do?


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#22 of 31 Old 07-30-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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Rough day here! I have THE WORST PMS IN THE WORLD 

 

My kindle is coming in the mail today though, so that's a happy thought

 

We went to children's yoga this morning and were the only ones there so DS was easily distracted (goofing off, not listening etc..when there's other kids he's more likely to happily follow the "older" kids..) afterwards we went to the diner but he was still being a booger..although now that I'm home I'm seeing it's more ME being a huge, hormonal grump...we visited kittens at the animal shelter (and I emailed DH about a bird) and now we are home. Will go to the park later if I'm feeling up for it, but mostly we are going to veg/read and play. I can't be around people, HA 


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#23 of 31 Old 07-30-2013, 11:26 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mommariffic View Post

 

My kindle is coming in the mail today though, so that's a happy thought

 

That is a happy thought!

 

We have personal (rather than communal) laptops and iPods in our family, which everyone uses for ebooks so we never considered buying an e-reader, but this summer we got tired of not having a way to share books. If I loved a novel that I'd downloaded, I wanted to be able to share it with my daughters without surrendering my iPad for a week at a time. Same with dh sharing with me, or vice versa, or the kids sharing with us. We all have the devices linked to our own accounts, so other than purchasing again we couldn't really share without loaning our devices out. We ended up often reluctantly paying more for paper books in order to share them. So now the eBooks -- at least the ones we potentially want to share -- are going primarily onto a Kobo Mini. I got it on sale for under $60 and I've already saved enough money buying ebooks rather than paper to offset the cost of the device. I'm considering buying a second one linked to the same [family] account if they come on sale again soon. We're doing okay sharing the thing, but we often have three or four people reading different books on it at the same time and there is an occasional bit of jostling for priority.

 

I thought e-ink was pretty cool when I first saw it, but I didn't appreciate how much of a difference it would make to my reading enjoyment. At the beach, or waiting in the minivan to pick up some kid, anywhere that daylight exists. Being able to go outside and read in the hammock again is so brilliant!

 

Miranda


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#24 of 31 Old 07-30-2013, 04:12 PM
 
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Yesterday we discovered that there's a million apps we can add to the chromebook we have...so we added everything we could, that was at all relevant to our ability.  We saw 3D anatomy and 3D solar system.  My oldest dd5 has also played games on Spanish and discovery kids...and reviewed some sight words...unintentionally on the games.  She realized she DOES know how to read/spell some words...like Go, no, stop, etc.  

 

We tried to sign up for the free version of chess kids and that was a frustrating experience.  We also tried to use a learn piano app that we couldn't do because we had to plug in the keyboard and we were in the bedroom and trying to stay in the bedroom to solidify our "calming down before bed" routine.  

 

The girls have been cleaning more and have helped to make smoothies, soups and pizza, as well as folding clothes.

 

We've been going outside and watching a few movies.  The girls found a Russian book that belongs to the kid I take care of learned a lot of interesting things about language they didn't understand before(and my 2yo probably still doesn't understand).  My 5yo now knows that I can't read everything or speak every language.  Then we found some videos of a few children who speak several languages and dd5 asked to hear people speaking specific languages (Spanish, Russian, Japanese).  Then she played a game on the chromebook that helped her to "paint" Japanese letters.

 

Now they are making crafts out of non-alcoholic beer bottles and paper(making paper flowers in vases) and she's helped me design her website that we're working on. 

 

We've also been looking at a lot of other homeschool/unschool kids projects online...like the project-based learning website and the pictures you guys have posted in this blog.  We're doing a lot better now...I'm feeling myself again, but still hesitating on telling the girls(mostly dd5) about the miscarriage I had last week and why I've felt so bad for so long.  

 

We've also been reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, although we haven't read the others...and The House On Mango Street...before bed. 

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#25 of 31 Old 08-06-2013, 11:21 PM
 
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DD was away at grandma's house for a good chunk of the week. She went fishing up there and tried knee-boarding for the first time! Yesterday we spent the whole day at the pool and today we went to the mall with friends. DD tried some berry teas and lots of different foods and restaurants this week. She's getting the idea that new can be good!

DS is just destroying anything and everything he can get his hands on. Oi!
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#26 of 31 Old 08-17-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just finished up a day event with our girl scout troop.  It started as a camping skills event, and with a change of venue, it gave us the opportunity to do some beachcombing and fishing (finally! dd1 got a chance to fish, and I learned enough to know what to look for when I buy them their first fishing rods).  As we kept brainstorming and preparing for activities, we kept scaling back on the badges.  Decided to let the girls decide what they wanted to do-- they all wanted to do some fishing, and yes, work on badges.  We did throw in some first aid, we had found an out-of-council badge for our beachcombing activities, decided the girls worked hard enough to do a make-your-own badge for fishing, and wound up earning 4 Daisy petals, when we had narrowed it down to 2 and still put it in their court!  Craziness.  Most of the camping stuff stayed in trunks.  

 

DD1, who is the only Brownie and not earning the Daisy petals, earned a (shhhh!) leadership badge from the next level up.  Well, hell, if we were awarding Brownie badges to Daisies, why not award a Junior badge to a Brownie?  She really stepped into her role.  She is a natural leader.  She also tends to be a natural dictator (wonder where she gets that from 2whistle.gif) and we have this conversation regularly about how a leader makes and keeps followers.  She's learning, and is better with other girls than she is with her sister.

 

I was teaching a bit of first aid, turns out right in front of an army medic dad.  Talk about self-concious!  Luckily, I think I got everything right (we were focussing on cuts and burns, and he showed us the contents of his trauma bag.  Unfortunately, we had several opportunities to use real first aid, but no one was seriously injured)  

 

This troop is so awesome.  Fishing moms, medic dads, boy scout leader dads, former boy scouts and generally skilled dads and moms.  We have girls that want to camp and fish, that is when they are not playing.  This is, after all, a group of 6.5-8.5yo girls. I don't know if I'm ever going to get them interested in survival training and tracking like I want to learn, but I think we are in for some memorable fun.  

 

This was also my last big planning day.  Next week is camping at the beach (Olympic National Park).  It looks like summer might come to an early close here, so we need to get outside as much as we can.

 

Last week was our county fair.  Phew!  As exciting as Christmas and waaaay more tiring!  So, the next state or county fair you attend, take some time to fully appreciate the amount of time these kids and their parents are putting into this, and how much work led up this.  And the men and women taking on the role of barn superintendents, who do everything short of camping out in the barn and have to choose between showers and sleep, who are left behind to work after all the kids and animals clear out.  You know we will be back next year!


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#27 of 31 Old 08-18-2013, 06:16 AM
 
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Sweetsilver - we love our county fair. DD is in 4-H and this year she didn't have much besides a small booth, but it was still so exciting to see a poster she had done with the other girls at the oh-my-gosh FAIR! This year all the 4-H fairs were in the same week *grumble* which was annoying, because we like to space them out vs cramming them into ONE week. 

 

Besides that, we've been busy! DD turned six and we had a pony here for the day, and we had an amazingly fun playdate this week and went on a few adventures (brunch, playground, etc..) and today my entire family is coming over to celebrate her birthday, which means I need to clean more! My family are super neat freaks, it's like OCD at it's finest and my house is totally not up to their standards (and I'm messy in addition to that..) so yeah, lots to do! And a rainbow cake to bake! 


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#28 of 31 Old 08-18-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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We've just come through Suzuki music summer school, which I sort of organized this year. In the past my mom has been the main organizer, but she moved away last fall and it fell to me. Eight-three students, plus their parents and siblings, accommodations and travel arrangements for faculty, t-shirts to design and print, dinner and evening receptions, catered lunches, every child with four different classes a dya plus recitals and rehearsals, plus evening events and their rehearsals and set-up ... it was crazy to schedule. But it came off well and people seemed really happy. There will be a "next year," I guess. This was our ninth year. My three younger kids were involved as students, the middle two having managed to swing the time off from their summer jobs. Dd10 was in her first string quartet. They performed the first movement of Mozart K.157; she played viola. They also did this: 

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151608116043925

 

(Ds16 is just left of centre in the black shirt, dd10 is the tiny thing right of centre in dark shorts and dark shirt, dd14 is off to the right wearing a pink shirt. 

 

Here's something I did. I created a string quartet arrangement of Billie Jean as an encore for the senior-est quartet (featuring ds16 on viola, in the lime-green shirt):

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=714268105265520

 

Then, just when I felt like I needed to sleep for about 22 hours straight and do nothing for a few days, my mom arrived for a visit. Then dd10 got head lice. Then my older three kids were working crazy overtime shifts, requiring all sorts of complicated taxi-ing about. And the traditional music school has been going on, which has had me involved in meetings and administration (to a music lesser degree, but still...)

 

Anyway, we've intentionally done as much in the way of nothing as possible, trying to find space to breathe.

 

As of yesterday we were back to "normal." Dd19 had a day off work, and my mom, who has rheumatoid arthritis and can't do much exercise, left for the airport. So my 19-year-old, 10-year-old and I did an alpine hike -- six hours, climbing 1000 metres of vertical into a lovely basin of glacial lakes, and then back down again in the midst of a deluge of a thunderstorm. The descent was crazy, but the girls were keen to enjoy getting soaked rather than hunkering down and waiting it out under the tent fly we had brought. Unbelievable amounts of water. We ate tons of huckleberries and collected a lot of wild elderberries.

 

Shot of the basin, skies still blue:

 

 

Twenty minutes later, before I packed the camera away in a ziploc:

 

 

Huckleberry tongues:

 

 

Miranda


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#29 of 31 Old 08-18-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The first link wasn't letting me see anything, but we watched the Billie Jean video, which was great and dd1 really enjoyed it.  It had me singing my best Michael Jackson (which, admittedly....)  It was fun for her to see some faces to all the people that take up so much of my time on this contraption!


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#30 of 31 Old 08-18-2013, 01:42 PM
 
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Oops, fixed permissions on the first video. Sound quality not great at all, but it should be good to go now.

 

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