June 2014 Unschooling Thread - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 34 Old 06-02-2014, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Arrow June 2014 Unschooling Thread

Anything goes here, but how about a few day-in-the-life posts? We haven't done much of that recently. Just tell us about the details of a random day, warts and all.

Miranda

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#2 of 34 Old 06-02-2014, 09:38 AM
 
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We are recovering from a really busy weekend. We joined our GS troop for a "Scout badge night" at the Hands On Children's Museum. The badge was "Letterboxer". I was worried that we'd be going into this fun space and be stuck in a room, but the organizers really used the entire museum, inside and out, for the event and the girls and tagalong family members got to enjoy themselves. Well done!

It was a glorious evening, and the water feature out front-- park size concrete "creek" with rocks and bridges. Essentially a giant block-size fountain made for kids to play in. It was built by the local water company whose office and education center is across the street. And always, the HOCM's maze by artist Patrick Dougherty was fun to run through. We came home with our letterboxer kit, our badge, and my coleader brought the cookie incentive prizes that we have waited so long for. The girls dug right into their journal. DD7 started writing about some dreams she's remembered. DD9 likes to keep track of what she did, kind of in a reverse-scheduler style.

We returned home at 9:30--insanely late but still light outside. Next morning we headed to the Big City for 2 birthday parties. Had loads of fun, got home late. DD9 fell asleep in the car for the first time in years.

Last week a raccoon or weasel grabbed one of our chickens-- a Sultan with a poof of feathers on her head making her nearly blind. What she was doing so far from the coop I have no idea, but she was very vulnerable and she got nabbed. We called her Useless Chicken because she really was rather Useless. But she was sweet. And oblivious. Her inability to see much made her impervious to the cues of other chickens and their attempts to shun her went completely unnoticed and so she earned a rather odd spot on the flock. That weird, tagalong sibling that everyone finally resigns themselves to having along for everything.

Slept in. Lazy morning. Unfortunately we do have o leave the house for a doctor's appt. and gymnastics. The girls are looking forward to that in part because last week's class was cancelled due to the American holiday of Memorial Day.

June already-- wow! The sun is setting so late and it's light outside until far into the "night". It's inviting to stay up for it, but difficult to sleep in at the same time. We just go to bed at the same time. I love crawling into bed when the sun has set but the sky turns bright and look out the window and watch the light fade. I used to be able to do that sleeping outside, but grass allergies prevent me from doing that now without medication and that's not perfect either. So, I'll just enjoy the bats out the window and listen to the birdsong echo as the light fades.

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#3 of 34 Old 06-02-2014, 11:11 AM
 
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We are super busy..

Let butterflies go
watched a baby bird for 1/2 hour
went to the park to see baby ducks
reading about Dinosaurs
reading about butterflies
2yr old making eggs - w/help LOL

I'm enjoying this time of year. Don't know about the kids
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#4 of 34 Old 06-02-2014, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Such a slow and unproductive day here so far.

I got up, made lunches, did some dishes and then took the big kids to school. Then dd11 got up and together we...
  • went back to town after the post office opened to mail an eBay parcel.
  • went back to town yet again to get milk and baking powder, as we are in a food-making frenzy for various grad-related potlucks and community teas and we need to make use of every opportunity to cook and bake.
  • finished making 12 lbs of pulled pork and put it in the freezer.
  • worked on a Powerpoint slide show of each of the grads for Saturday's ceremony, trying to take a bit of the work-load off ds17
  • made the dough for 8 dozen pinwheel icebox cookies
  • did a wee bit of trigonometry
  • took the bokashi bin out to the compost pile and emptied it and cleaned it (big kinda-nasty job)
  • did regular house-keeping: mostly laundry and kitchen-cleaning today

We'll pick the kids up from school soon, and then we'll be heading to town for ballet technique and dance conditioning classes. I'll do more grocery-shopping while she's at class. Home by about 8:30, I think.

This is my 6th trip to Town in 8 days. At three hours round-trip it's a lot of driving. This insanity won't end for another 15 days, though I do have a brief respite next weekend, with three days in a row without needing to go because all the craziness is happening locally. It is going to be so nice to have a place to stay in Town next year. I had originally agreed to two regular trips a week, but there's always extra stuff that comes up, especially in June.

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#5 of 34 Old 06-08-2014, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Starting to think Fiona has a potential career as a caterer. She really enjoys helping out with the kitchen and serving tasks involved at community events. This weekend we had a party for about 20 people at our house, a banquet (mostly potluck, but considerable set-up required) for sixty at one of the community gardens, and an afternoon reception for 150 at the school. She helped with all of it, doing planning, prep, serving, dishes, and so on. It's one of those small-town volunteerism things that our family just naturally seems to fall into, and when I think back to my own childhood I don't remember doing any of that sort of thing, so perhaps she's accumulating a valuable skill-set that not too many kids get. There's lots of planning and mental math and multi-tasking required, as well as cultivating that overall big-picture view that lets you see where the needs are, and what you can busy yourself with to keep things from running out or piling up.

I have to say I am also getting much more confident with the planning behind community meals and events.

Anyone else volunteer in similar ways?

Another volunteer thing we're doing tomorrow is to play background music at a youth art exhibit opening at the little local gallery. We have about an hour's worth of 2-violin duets that we'll play. I suppose it's not really a volunteer thing, since there's usually a pot out for "tips for the musicians" and I expect Fiona will go home with twenty or thirty bucks. Should be fun, though.

In the department of Unschooling Myself. Today I attended a workshop and learned all about electric fencing to deter bears from crops and livestock. Feel like quite an expert now. SweetSilver: sorry to hear about Useless Chicken. Heard lots of similar stories today at the workshop, and was reminded of the day a couple of years ago when we lost our entire flock to a bobcat.

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#6 of 34 Old 06-09-2014, 07:58 AM
 
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Such a slow and unproductive day here so far.

I got up, made lunches, did some dishes and then took the big kids to school. Then dd11 got up and together we...
  • took the bokashi bin out to the compost pile and emptied it and cleaned it (big kinda-nasty job)

Miranda
Miranda - This is a slow and unproductive day for you? It sounds great! Quick question... did you learn how to do bokashi on a website or through a particular book? I'm interested in starting a compost (townhouse, no yard available) and have heard bokashi tossed around as an option.

Cassandra
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#7 of 34 Old 06-09-2014, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Miranda - This is a slow and unproductive day for you? It sounds great! Quick question... did you learn how to do bokashi on a website or through a particular book? I'm interested in starting a compost (townhouse, no yard available) and have heard bokashi tossed around as an option.

Cassandra
LOL, I guess what I meant was that our day was consumed mostly by pressing housework and cooking.

Todd the Bokashi Guy lives near us, and I sort of learned from him. He's just a guy who has a business selling kits and does a lot of outreach stuff to promote the approach. I first met him about three years ago at the Garlic Fest, a community event which brings five to ten thousand people to our community of 600 for a day-long festival of food, crafts and entertainment in September. Dozens of food vendors, thousands of meals consumed in a full-to-bursting municipal park, and with the eco-friendly co-operation of the vendors, we got through the day producing just five bags of actual garbage. Everything else was recycling or bokashi. The drums of fermented bokashi were used in the school garden about 6 weeks later and didn't attract bears. I was sold!

The bokashi system allows us to dispose of food waste in the compost pile in a form where it doesn't attract bears, and breaks down really quickly. Further, the closed-bucket fermentation system means we don't have to shovel out the long path to a frozen compost pile all winter long. We have three 5-gallon buckets, each taking about a month to fill for our family of 5-6, so I only have to do a couple of trips to the compost pile across the snow with a sled each winter, rather than near-daily trips with kitchen scraps. Also, although we don't eat much meat I like that meat, dairy and oil-based food waste can go in, as well as shredded paper.

Todd's website has some decent how-to information on it. I think the most important thing is to have a reliable source of good microbial starter. We're fortunate that bokashi is popular around here and our local hardware store carries all the essentials.

Happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Miranda

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#8 of 34 Old 06-09-2014, 08:50 AM
 
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I haven't done any big planning for events, but I used to work in kitchens at Rainbow Gatherings-- cooking for 100- 300 over wood. My greatest moment came when I stepped up to make bread when our fabulous bread maker went to town. Suddenly I had 4 people behind me asking me what to do. Calculated my favorite bread recipe to make 12 triple-sized loaves--started with 96 cups of flour, yes, measured out one cup at a time! Also had to figure out how to use a wood fired oven. This one was a steel box-oven with a thermometer that is placed over a fire. And figure out how to lead out of necessity being the one with the most experience, even though it wasn't much.

I loved working the local Gatherings because I could be there from start to finish, from set up through clean up. Amazing the amount of work going into even the small ones.

These days I am just doing my girl scout planning, but dd9 likes to plan meals for parties. Recently she planned her birthday meal for a crowd-- mini pita pizzas, corn chowder and some drinks and desserts. She's as talented at planning as she is at public speaking--she will make a great leader one day.

But nothing very big.

I remember the pictures of the bobcat in the chicken coop. Kinda cool--but not really. I know we have bobcats around here in general, but ours is still far less wild than in the mountains. I would be surprised to actually see the bears, bobcats and cougars that I know must move through here occasionally. I don't even think it was a weasel who grabbed Crown (aka Useless Chicken) I think it was a daytime raccoon. They hang out because of the bits of food left around, despite being pretty careful. Rural area, same urban problems!

My girls are making projects inspired by our chickens. They like picking up feathers and cataloguing them one way or another. With fair "around the corner" I am quizzing them fair-style. "What is the breed of your bird? What is the variety? What is the breed's purpose? What class does this breed show in? What do you feed your bird? What are 3 diseases? Demonstrate how to check for mites or lice. Show me the primary flight feathers...."

Two more collections of Mythbusters. On top of all the fun science, the girls are learning about skeptically questioning what they see. Which pleases this hippie. Questioning things leads to great conversations about movies, advertising, authority.

I've been working a lot this week on getting a former 4-H family's house ready for sale. That this *empty* house is taking so long to clean (3 decades old, though) makes me feel better about the effort it takes to clean our house (which I don't make the effort to clean! But at least I feel better about it!)

DH is busting his ass working (gardener/landscaper) then when he's home he is working on finishing the basement with his brother.

What the girls have been doing, I have almost no idea. I've been too bleary-eyed and sore to pay any attention. When I'm home and not wasting time on this thing (mornings, usually) I'm doing those essential chores. Chicken chores with 27 chickens is considerable, even considering 17 of those are only 2 months old. I'm lucky to get the girls in the tub every 2 weeks. I haven't had time or energy to deal with their hair, and I'm pretty sure dd9 has dreadlocks now. DD7's hair is a mass of tangles she keeps clipping out of her eyes and she just doesn't care and I don't have an ounce of energy to care about it either.

At least they are enjoying their days outside. Two more GS meetings, a few more gym classes, 3 more riding lessons and we have nothing but camping and fair schedules for summer. Planning some individual badge work for GS. Hoping to pitch the tent in our tent-spot up the hill and spend a few nights up there.

Looking forward to the ?break?

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#9 of 34 Old 06-09-2014, 08:15 PM
 
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ARGH!

Help me understand the competitiveness!

Me: "Wow! You tried climbing the rope with your legs in pike? That sounds hard!"

DD9: "It was hard!"

DD7: "It was really hard!"

[Silence for a couple of seconds]

DD9: "Not as hard for me as it was for you."

ARGH! They just won't let anything get by! I'm sure that pause was her brain thinking how she was supposed to word her comeback. Any statement of success or any superlative like above needs to be challenged and the ante upped. Every. Frickin'. Time.

I was not super competitive growing up. I already had 2 sisters who were always bigger, older, stronger, faster. My response was always leave the race (that I didn't even know I was in.) I embrace the option of leaving the race. Why do you think unschooling comes so naturally to us? I don't do it so that my kids will get to Point A to Point B faster and better. I do it because I question the destination-- any particular destination-- and the existence of any sort of real race in the first place.

When my sisters raced to the be the first into the lake, "I'm not included" was my cry--one I got teased for mercilessly-- but, I preferred it to staying in and losing and being the "rotten egg" which was the awful fate of the loser. Not entering the race in the first place was my salvation.

When the teenage Battle for the Bathroom started when my older sisters were in middle/high school, I watched them from the comfort of my bed. No, I would not set my alarm 15 minutes earlier to get there first. The middle sister started waking up at 4:00am, and finally my eldest sister gave up. I learned to need as little as possible in the way of grooming. I just didn't care enough.

Now I'm dealing with two kids who are so very unlike me that I need help wrapping my head around their need to be better than the other. In every way. No leaving the race, the race must be raced!!!!

GAH! I don't get it!

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.

Last edited by SweetSilver; 06-10-2014 at 07:23 AM.
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#10 of 34 Old 06-09-2014, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish I had some advice about the competitiveness but I'm like you: I just prefer not to be in the race, and my kids -- thanking my lucky stars here -- are like that too. I mean, I've talked about how comparing yourself to others can create hurt feelings, but I've only rarely had to call my kids on it.

She only made twenty bucks from the violin-ing at the gallery opening, because most of the patrons attending were youth with characteristically empty pockets. It was fun for her to play for her kid/teen friends though. And there were cookies.



This juvenile bear has been hanging out at our place for the past couple of days. We're trying to annoy him enough that he'll learn his lesson and move on. Fiona is getting pretty good about yelling, throwing stones and getting the dog to chase him. Haven't seen him since this morning. Fingers crossed. He's very sweet, and very young: we don't want him to become a people-bear. At this age (just shoo'd away from his mother) he's very teachable. In another couple of months his behaviour may be much tougher to change.

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#11 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 07:26 AM
 
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Awww.... it is tempting for we who live near bears but don't see them to be all soft on them when we do see them. But of course, it makes sense how unwise that would be.

What do you do about the big bears if they make your space a routine?

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#12 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 07:47 AM
 
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Todd's website has some decent how-to information on it. I think the most important thing is to have a reliable source of good microbial starter. We're fortunate that bokashi is popular around here and our local hardware store carries all the essentials.

Happy to answer any other questions you might have.
Thank you! This helps a lot.
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#13 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Big bears we actually don't worry about so much since they're usually smart enough not to stick around. Now that we don't have chickens (and now that we know how to use electric fencing properly even if we do get chickens) they tend to just wander through on their way to somewhere else. If they do linger, we try to scare them away by yelling, then we use the dog to harass them, we slingshot them with stones, and the final tier in our deterrence strategy is a pellet air rifle that hurts a bit and usually sends them skittering away, but doesn't actually cause injury. We've probably only needed the pellet gun once or twice a year -- usually when the cherries are ripe. There's a humungous feral cherry tree growing in the forest beside our yard, and short of felling the tree there's no way to keep bears off it, and no way to clean it of fruit.

Thinking of using temporary electric fencing around the apple, plum and pear trees, since we often have to pick those before the fruit is fully ripe in order to beat the bears.

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#14 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 08:17 AM
 
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We haven't had any trouble since moving here full time, but as occasional visitors, we had severe damage to our young fruit trees, especially the asian pears which need chill before ripening. Why bother climbing when you can rip the tree apart?

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#15 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 09:38 AM
 
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Trying to figure out how to post a picture, but I just finished an ugly-but-correct origami flower from the Japanese instructions included in the paper. Now to make it pretty....

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#16 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 12:49 PM
 
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ARGH!

Help me understand the competitiveness!

Me: "Wow! You tried climbing the rope with your legs in pike? That sounds hard!"

DD9: "It was hard!"

DD7: "It was really hard!"

[Silence for a couple of seconds]

DD9: "Not as hard for me as it was for you."

ARGH! They just won't let anything get by! I'm sure that pause was her brain thinking how she was supposed to word her comeback. Any statement of success or any superlative like above needs to be challenged and the ante upped. Every. Frickin'. Time.

I was not super competitive growing up. I already had 2 sisters who were always bigger, older, stronger, faster. My response was always leave the race (that I didn't even know I was in.) I embrace the option of leaving the race. Why do you think unschooling comes so naturally to us? I don't do it so that my kids will get to Point A to Point B faster and better. I do it because I question the destination-- any particular destination-- and the existence of any sort of real race in the first place.

When my sisters raced to the be the first into the lake, "I'm not included" was my cry--one I got teased for mercilessly-- but, I preferred it to staying in and losing and being the "rotten egg" which was the awful fate of the loser. Not entering the race in the first place was my salvation.

When the teenage Battle for the Bathroom started when my older sisters were in middle/high school, I watched them from the comfort of my bed. No, I would not set my alarm 15 minutes earlier to get there first. The middle sister started waking up at 4:00am, and finally my eldest sister gave up. I learned to need as little as possible in the way of grooming. I just didn't care enough.

Now I'm dealing with two kids who are so very unlike me that I need help wrapping my head around their need to be better than the other. In every way. No leaving the race, the race must be raced!!!!

GAH! I don't get it!
Check out "Is There Really a Human Race?" by Jamie Lee Curtis. It's on my Ziggy Marley family time cd.
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#17 of 34 Old 06-10-2014, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Trying to figure out how to post a picture, but I just finished an ugly-but-correct origami flower from the Japanese instructions included in the paper. Now to make it pretty....
Cool! As far as I can see with the new forum system there's no way to directly upload a photo to MDC. You have to upload it somewhere else (Flickr, Dropbox, etc.) and then use the URL of the image there to link to an [img] tag here.

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#18 of 34 Old 06-14-2014, 09:25 AM
 
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Unschooling life threw mama a schooling bone: dd9 has been studying her "American Standard of Perfection", the bible for showing chickens in the US. I picked it up recently from our former 4-H poultry leader. Not only is she reading it and learning about the deeper aspects of poultry (she wants to be a judge now) last night she started talking about angles in bed (I get both exasperation and joy from these bedtime conversations). 90º, 80º, 70º.... Apparently "squirrel tail" (when a rooster's tail is raised more than 90º unless for Japanese Bantams) is a disqualification. There is a nice illustration showing the angles.

I have no idea what happens in upcoming 4-th grade math. We've really focussed of life math skills, which include fractions (in baking) and mental arithmetic, understanding what a percentage is even though they don't know how to work with them yet, and now (yay!) angles. Money. But beyond that we haven't done much. I'll see what the CAT has in store for us, though I've learned I can order a checklist instead of a test. I have no idea what's on the checklist. I'll give the test another "go" since this is the last year that only one of the girls needs to take it--next year both girls do. I thought the test was just fine. (For those reading, we are in Washington state in the US, and these tests/evaluations are required every year once "declared" at age 8yo, but the results are kept only by the parent.)

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.

Last edited by SweetSilver; 06-14-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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#19 of 34 Old 06-14-2014, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So it turns out there is a way to attach images to a post without having them uploaded elsewhere on the internet. You just use the paperclip icon to upload them as an attachment, and they'll show up as thumbnails in the post, and when you click on them you see the full-size image. (There's a slightly-techy workaround to load the full-size image in the post, if anyone's interested.)

We had our year-end review. (We're in BC Canada where we can either chose complete autonomy for our homeschooling, or can opt for some oversight in exchange for some financial +/- other support. We've opted in.) It was even more blasé than usual, because the teachers are about to go out on strike and unless the strike is resolved very soon there won't be report cards for kids from K-9. Plus I had essentially already written a report card on our liaison teacher's behalf: I had emailed him my usual 2-page summary of homeschooling highlights for our year, broken down for him in subject-by-subject edu-speak. He usually just gives Fiona an A in each subject and copies&pastes my comments into the report card. And I keep a blog of her homeschooling highlights which he can also refer to. I make it pretty easy for him: I've been at this racket for over thirty cumulative kid-school-years.

So we showed him gymnastics videos, chatted about the high school staffing situation, got some advice about how to interface with the program next year while he's on sabbatical, and were done in 15 minutes.

My middle two kids finished their last days at our local school yesterday. (They'll have to write some final exams, but probably not all of them ... we're waiting on that info.)

We'll have to wait and see what the course schedule is like for next year, but I suspect that for the first time in six years I won't have a kid attending. My eldest started part-time in 2008, and this year Fiona attended for math, alongside my two middle kids who have been full-time for 2-3 years. I really love our local school, even if it hasn't necessarily a good or perfect fit for my kids at whatever ages and stages they're at. So I feel a bit sentimental about this passage.

It's cool, dull and rainy here, so the girls are watching nature documentaries and ds is trying to finish up his Math 12 Combinatorics unit. I just received the DVD set of the new Cosmos series, but I haven't told my teens yet because I know they'll want to mainline it, and they have some academics yet to wrap up for the school year.

I'm supposed to be doing income tax returns, so I'd better get busy.

Miranda

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#20 of 34 Old 06-16-2014, 10:26 AM
 
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Our mornings are spent on the couch. I've been getting about 30-60 minutes to myself in the morning.

The girls watch TV, I fix them breakfast and eat mine in front of my screen.

I let the chickens out into their various pens. Later, the girls will spend a fair chunk of time with them, especially the new batch.

Today we are out and about, finishing with gymnastics. 3 more classes before we take a summer break.

Tracking down all we need to fix our mostly-feral kitty ward, Holly. Her kittens are old enough, we are whisking her off just as she is showing signs of going into heat.

Lots of questions about chicken reproduction (and inbreeding) and genetics, bot what I know and don't know (I don't know what will result when crossing a buff bantam cochin with a silver sebright, I don't think one-off first generation inbreeding in chickens is the end of the world and we'd eat the eggs anyhow. I know a little of how inbreeding becomes a problem. etc.)

Lots of ninja movie research. Just watched Shibori No Mono on Youtube last night. Far better than I expected, but as a former martial artist I prefer sparring over sneak attacks, but good plot considering it's a ninja movie, it had the requisite ninja masks, and there's more to the story. We also learned how to tie a tshirt ninja mask. Ordered some library books on ninja history and found a maybe-acceptable graphic novel. They are not yet into anime, too close to the dreaded "animation" they are trying to grow out of.

Kitchen inspiration comes in waves, and when it rains it storms and I find that incredibly frustrating. DD9 gets a kick out of growing and harvesting our own food. DD7 filled the ice cube tray on her own. I have a hard time saying "no" until my back is against the wall. The kitchen has recovered from last night's adventures.

Chicken chores at night again, putting them back in their pens, stories, bed.

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#21 of 34 Old 06-17-2014, 05:40 AM
 
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We are listen to Tuck Everlasting audiobook.
My MIL gave us a math workbook
painting
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#22 of 34 Old 06-17-2014, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Nazsmum View Post
My MIL gave us a math workbook
How did that go over?

Miranda

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#23 of 34 Old 06-17-2014, 05:32 PM
 
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Not sure what she was thinking?? My 8yr can do this book with no problem. So he has started "doing" it just for fun. LOL
Math is a fun part of the day around here. We are always cooking. And adding this subtracting that. Even my 5yr old is like this book is funny

Thanks for asking. Sorry for mistakes b/f my 2yr old
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#24 of 34 Old 06-19-2014, 01:04 PM
 
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We found a booklet M.C. Escher & some other Optical artist (very cool)
SweetSilver likes this.
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#25 of 34 Old 06-19-2014, 02:31 PM
 
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The ninja thread we have been following has been incredibly interesting. I ordered two books I thought the girls would be interested in. One, "Nija: First Mission" by Chris Bradford has becomes dd9's first chapter book she has read on her own. She hasn't like reading any fiction on her own, because her skill has been comfortable enough to thoroughly enjoy it, but this has really clicked for her.

The other is a slender history of ninja and ninjustu, complete with some historical figures we just watched (well, artistically) on screen.

Trying to find a punching set up for them. Cotton wrapped posts and other traditional and common punching apparatus places too much stress on growing bones. Thinking on this. The furniture is not enjoying this.

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#26 of 34 Old 06-22-2014, 06:01 PM
 
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Marie Curie and Iron Man- So we started talking about Marie Curie and her studying Radium and the building blocks of the atom. (not sure how this all got started??) That turned into how Iron Man used palladium to make his Arc Reactor.

So we watched part of the Iron Man movie for school...
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#27 of 34 Old 06-23-2014, 08:58 AM
 
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I find it fascinating, amusing, and yes, just a little bit weird that my 6 year old will sit and watch his favorite shows (like the Wild Kratts, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, etc.) in languages like Thai and Arabic and be perfectly content.
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#28 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 07:23 PM
 
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The night is darkest before the light. DD9 had a very rough day. She'd been cleared of her wheat allergy, but it's still out of the diet. I relaxed an inkling, wanting to try a Vietnamese cafe. She ordered stir fried tofu, veggies and rice. It had soy sauce, and possibly hoisin, which contains actual wheat flour, all in tiny quantities. No physical reaction anymore, that was encouraging. But for devilish behavior the next day, we are batting 1.000. It can always be attributed to something else, but every time--EVERY time-- we've purposefully or accidentally gotten her exposed to wheat, she gets day like this. She is not the raging machine anymore, but it brings out very spectrum-y behavior. She will get fixated on a game that involves her sister, and if she doesn't get 100% compliance, she follows her sister around, blurting out sideways insults (or direct ones, like "dumb") and singing or whistling or acting like a dog in close proximity. She cannot leave her sister alone, and she cannot, will not, is not capable of preventing herself from tearing her down.

So we had the "S" talk, I was pretty angry. We know she hates the idea of school, I do to. But I told her she had the summer to work this out or we'd enroll them in the 1/2 day school program 60 minutes away for homeschoolers. She *hates* threats and I don't blame her, but at this point, I am so flippin' angry. "I need help". Well, holy crap, I've been trying to help for 2hrs and she erects these walls at every attempt. Sorry, honey, but I can only help you so far. I told her I'd think of some things we could practice but she needs to meet me halfway. I am not going to try helping, then get scolded for not helping just because she doesn't like what I'm offering.

Calm down time. She's looking at her recipe book and I bring over a notebook and pen and start writing down what she's describing to me. I start starring the recipes we can do without buying anything. We are watching Gilligan's Island. I tell her my idea-- that every day for a week we sit and plan what we might do that day and where to put everything. We start with today though it's half over. I offer some suggestions, letting her know we don't really need to do everything. She nods and tells me where to put it. I add what I need to do along the side in the appropriate spots. Then I head off.

I'm reading her Girl Scout badge she's working on--My Best Self-- and one step is to find out what to do when something's bugging you. The suggestions gave me an idea. She really loved our star system before, but I didn't like the rewards and the tug of war, and dd7 hated it. But the badge gave me the idea that she could award herself with a star everytime she redirected herself to something constructive. I told her she earned 2 stars by turning on the TV and reading her recipe book. Another for getting in the bath. The stars were only for her records. She could count the number of stars she gives herself each day, or set a goal, or look for patterns. They were hers. I even gave myself a star for starting dinner before 5pm.

Ironing had been on the list we made. She ironed most of the napkins and some hankies (I don't iron hankies, but she enjoys it). She gave herself a star for that. Then for turning on gymnastics on youtube. We had agreed to make corn chowder for dinner. When she was bored again (meaning she's not able to play what she wants) she allowed herself to be redirected to make corn chowder. She helped with everything, and even ran outside to harvest some fennel fronds to match the dill in the picture.

All these things I know she loves, but she has a very difficult time redirecting herself when she has a certain idea. Eating grains negatively exacerbates this. It's been incredibly frustrating.

So we are making dinner and she chats with me and shares that she wishes she could have dessert after dinner. Since I have dessert after nearly every meal I listen and decide that if they help make dinner, help set the table, eat together, they could have a dessert *at the table*, but no candy. Check check and check.

It was a nice about-face. I like what we are trying this time around. I like that we are able, even after some harsh words to each other, to work out something that might actually be helpful. I think she needs more intention in her days, I have always thought she would, but as someone who likes flowing through the day, if she seemed content I never sought out putting more intention in. I could really use it. My brain is pretty scattered and I don't use my time well. I waste it, taking small, random breaks but never truly feel rested because the action and the non-action is without intention, dedication or anything. It's not being here now. It is being here now with my thoughts everywhere else but here.

I think she and I can help each other out with this. It's not her fault, it's partly the way her brain works. It's not "bendy", to use her own words. I'm hoping this afternoon is a good start, for both of us.

Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#29 of 34 Old 06-24-2014, 08:21 PM
 
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Wow. Hugs sweet silver. I can relate to so much of that: the challenging times and I really like to flow through my day, as well. I hope the self star system works for you. Keep us updated I might like to try something like that.
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#30 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, SweetSilver ... pain can be a powerful catalyst for positive change, but that doesn't make it any the easier to endure. Hugs! How have the past couple of days been?

I can't believe June is almost over already. It seemed so huge to me when I was on the other end of it, but now that it has crashed over me like so many waves, it's hard to believe it's gone. (We had countless year-end trips for gymnastics, ds's graduation hoopla, the teachers' strike affecting the older two, university admissions complications and a very chaotic course-completion and exam situation with the big kids, some issues with my 15-year-old, a big renovation job and mess.) And then I've been mired down in administrative work day and night getting things in order for our Suzuki institute the first week of August. The most pressing biggest part of that do-ahead work is now complete, but it has taken me into my own little sphere and out of involvement in my kids' lives for a week or so. Fiona (11, the unschooler) has been spending a lot of time left to her own devices, in her bedroom reading or on the computer.

So yeah, I feel like it's time for a deep breath and the opening of a new chapter.

Some sparks that might help light the way....

Her interest in violin has waned since her recital at the end of May, but a couple of days ago she received her ensemble assignments for the Suzuki institute. She'll be playing Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Schubert Quartet no. 1, the Capriol Suite by Warlock, the first movement of the Vivaldi concerto for four violins in b minor, a string orchestra arrangement of Hendrix's Purple Haze and a very cool show-piece called Csardas by Michael MacLean. Lots of really awesome repertoire, and she's super excited and has started practicing really hard.

She's discovered that she's really close to getting her back and front walkovers. She spent most of her discretionary practice time at gymnastics this past term working on bars, and on floor she was focused on front hand-springs. But she can get over her walkovers on a minimal slope on our lawn, so she's psyched to get them mastered this summer.

She's been cooking and cleaning a lot. My 15-year-old told me last week (and it's true) that she would make the world's best housewife. She followed that by saying that since she's never planning to get married and have kids, the world will never benefit from her talents, too bad. Anyway, the pair of them (my two youngest girls) are quite something: they easily handle pretty much all the cooking these days. That includes stuff like home-made bagels, amazing entrée salads, brined chicken dinners, BBQs, gourmet pizzas, muffins, crumpets, chocolate tortes, pies with the most amazing flakey pastry, tapas-style dinners and so on. Dd15 is the real pro, but she's passing her skills along to her unschooled sister really nicely.

So ... there is a bit going on, even though I haven't been part of it for the past while. We'll see where it all goes as we head into July.

Miranda

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