December 2016 Unschooling Thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 55 Old 12-01-2016, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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December 2016 Unschooling Thread

day to day, everyone welcome ... add what you want to this thread.

Miranda

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#2 of 55 Old 12-01-2016, 07:22 PM
 
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I am hoping December is a very slow, easy going, relaxing month. I desperately need time to decompress. (a mom can wish- can't she?)

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#3 of 55 Old 12-01-2016, 09:33 PM
 
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Well, some things that went awry at the end of November have been straightened out:

a) we have water
b) we have a new alternator, thanks to Son's installation skilz
c) the check engine light, on since before the catalytic converter was replaced a couple of years ago, is OFF, following alternator installation.
d) Yana will be singing in choir and taking voice lessons at the college next semester.
e) I'm going to pop over to a pianist friend's house to do some sonata playing after lessons next week. And...I'll find out if she will work with Yana on piano. (Zela casts a very long shadow in this young person's life, having jumped right into fairly sophisticated playing without the preliminary steps. Yana will not be able to do this.)
f) My wasp stings, got two days ago at the well pump booster house, are going down. My right hand, stung on the right side, halfway down the palm, didn't really puff up and itch until last night. The one right above the top of my neck made a hard raised area about the size of a quarter, but it doesn't itch. So in a couple of days I'll maybe have matched hands again.
g) The house has been holding its heat pretty well even though our nights have dropped into the thirties; it's 35F outside and 63F inside. I'll probably get a little cold this weekend because the cold front is bringing clouds, and we want to rewire the space heater with a stouter cord before using; the plug gets hot. There is another in the main part of the house, but it's up on a wall and the ceiling fan is not turning on. The guy who owned and worked on this house for years was a sculptor, and neither he nor his friend who did the cabinetry and woodwork seemed to have much of a grasp of wiring; we have couple of nonfunctional things, and they just laid Romex on ceilings without any conduits, and did stuff like drilling holes through beams and threading extension cords through to power lights. A similar setup, a power strip run through a wooden tunnel, takes electricity to the kitchen island. Which of course I have a microwave plugged into. One of these days, bit by bit, maybe we can fix this stuff...

unfinished: the hood has not arrived. I will likely have to take it on another 400ish mile round trip hoodless, to pick up husband from the airport. On the plus side, I could NOT have picked him up (because of the alternator) this week, when we THOUGHT I'd bought the ticket for, without some sort of elaborate car swap with kids or friends. I am pretty good at doing this (remoteness is the mother of invention), but why do so if you don't have to?

On the minus side, the snow forecast has come back for Sunday, with a temperature range of high 37F/31G. that following a rainy Saturday that is not much warmer. Well, Friday will be nice. (I hope it's only cats at the vet...the dogs have to go outside. But that almost never happens.)

I have re-integrated one of the oldest cats back into the house because of the cold, and because she's evidently too dense to go into the foam box I provided for her. So the other cat (who absolutely cannot come back in the house, ever) has taken hers. (I'm going to have to put some thought and elbow grease into the outside cat shelters.)

Time to go out to feed Paws(ley)...actually it was hours ago, but I got home late and I keep forgetting.
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#4 of 55 Old 12-02-2016, 11:34 AM
 
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I am finished with all the Christmas Cards! I think about 250 this year? Now when to send them out??

Well, N (11) wanted to listen to MacBeth. He has a dot-to-dot book that has a picture of the 3 witches. That has been very interesting. I'm enjoying the play very much.

D (7) is all about Pokemon cards.
L (4) is playing her heart out. It is very nice to see.
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#5 of 55 Old 12-02-2016, 12:27 PM
 
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As Miranda pointed out yesterday, it is actually December. My floor is covered with labeled models of hormones -- he managed to build 6 before he ran out of carbon atoms. And scissors, bits of paper, and colorful cut out unicorns. Kids are watching a video of the immune system to better understand histamine (one of the hormones on the floor). Windy and cold, but maybe we'll go skiing later. It's my birthday today. I think I should make myself a pie.
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#6 of 55 Old 12-02-2016, 05:19 PM
 
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#7 of 55 Old 12-03-2016, 10:26 AM
 
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Mmmm... pie! That sounds like what I would do for my birthday, and I'd hoard the entire thing for myself.

Rainy day today. Cold is setting in at last and we might see some snow next week.

I'm trying to budget my studying for my geology final next week. So hard with all the chaos in the house, and I'm leaning on xh a fair amount to get some studying done in peace. Last night was a bust as one of our cats (and next year's county fair cat) started having breathing issues and my girls totally started panicking. My youngest especially can't get a grip on the idea of "we might never know; the vet might never know; we just need to wait this out". Which I totally understand. I was happy to escape the house, cat in tow.

Today is the Waldorf winter fair. They really know how to host a great fair, and we've never been students there but have enjoyed it for years. Then a big gymnastics thingamadeely. I'm so tired that the girls' dad agreed to take them to the fair (I will miss it once I stop being so tired this morning) and we are doing a switch midday.

Next week I am taking my invalid friend, who obliterated her wrist, to surgery and to hang out, and later in the week to help her run errands or whatever. She doesn't know I'm bringing my cleaning equipment. I'll study for my test while hanging out during her surgery, and I expect she might want a nap after, so that's my window. She can barely open a bread bag, and not without her teeth, so cleaning and changing sheets I'm sure will be appreciated.
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#8 of 55 Old 12-03-2016, 05:40 PM
 
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The house is holding at 59, even though it's 37F outside. One more day of gloom and dripping and cold, and then we can collect some sunlight again. The ceiling height heater hasn't come on yet; was thinking of adjusting the thermostat up a little to check it; is set at 60F. It's on the "roof" of the bathroom; our house has some enclosed rooms under a taller ceiling. I'd like to turn the one over a small walk-in closet into a reading nook sometime maybe, but not with the Romex running across it like it is now...

Lela spent last night here, and will come back for tonight because her mom works early tomorrow. (She can go to work with me.) I put new strings on her violin. Unfortunately, the new chinrest I got for her not only makes her violin not really fit in the case (it is an in-between violin size, I'd call it a 3/16 I guess), but the chinrest is really too tall and has hardware that sticks into her neck. Will I have to make one? Or could I hack this one down and put more standard hardware on it, from one of my worthless spares? Lela does not like the way I am going to micromanage her access to the violin until she has a stable physical set up, but...that's how it is!

Deborah

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#9 of 55 Old 12-04-2016, 09:32 AM
 
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Zela and husband are on the ferry to Peaks Island. It's 38F there. I'm on the bed with two large damp dogs that I had to wash after they and Yana's dogs had a MudFest in the pit they dug through the landscaping cloth in the back yard. It's 38 here, and foggy,damp, dark, cold, and drippy. (That about covers it.)

My wish came true...only a handful of pets at the vet this weekend, three dogs (one picked up), two cats. And I worked Friday afternoon and set stuff up, so about half the usual time for hte job. Which means that I've been playing online with Google Sheets, have a work project in mind. So far the options just keep expanding; that's fun, don't have to decide on the design yet!

Deborah
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#10 of 55 Old 12-04-2016, 04:47 PM
 
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It's cold and snowy and sunny and beautiful, and I have a sprained ankle. Did a great ski day with half the kids in town yesterday, and was totally fine with the skiing part, planning an actual backcountry adult ski outing for today, which would have been my first for the year. Then, walking across a flat lake in loosened up ski boots, a playing dog rammed me at full speed in the back of the leg. Didn't see it coming at all, and I fell and totally wrenched my ankle. So, instead, kids are out with my husband, and I am feeling useless and sorry for myself and making applesauce.

Katmai made a video about all the hormones he built the other day, painstakingly editing out every pause or "um" in his speech:
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#11 of 55 Old 12-04-2016, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Left Fiona home alone for the weekend. She had friends over to watch movies on the projector/screen, and a couple of them spent the night. There is a risk in this situation, especially since her friends are a few years older, of the house getting targeted for party activities. She chooses her friends well, though, and she didn't tell most of them until they got here that she was alone for the weekend. They ate junk food, watched YouTubers and Christmas movies and it sounds like she really enjoyed it. She's introverted, so the socializing takes a lot of energy.

She was pretty productive here on her own for the rest of the weekend ... practicing, doing Christmas shopping, studying, cooking and cleaning, doing some Christmas crafting, bullet journaling.

Her dad was on call back in our village, I was doing a Fri/S/S symphony gig out of town so I couldn't get her home to be with him, and she didn't want to deal with getting a ride with some adult she hardly knew. This was her first full weekend on her own. She's feeling pretty good about it even though she missed her dad.

Drywall will be going in upstairs this week in the House-in-Town, and at least some of the flooring. Wow! It's been an unexpectedly long and expensive process getting through the asbestos issues, but things are moving fast now. I think the last window will go in soon, too, which will make things warmer. It's supposed to be -11C tonight (12ºF) so it will be nice to get more fully closed in! Right now it's just layers of 6-mil plastic in a few places.

The big kids will be getting home between the 14th and 21st. That's when the holidays will really start for us.

Miranda

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#12 of 55 Old 12-05-2016, 11:03 AM
 
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Going on week 2 of both kiddos and I down with head, chest, throat gunk. Ugh. Trying really hard to accept this enforced down time but it's hard to miss out on lots of fun things going on and just regular Solstice Countdown stuff we usually do.

We did all get out for a brief walk a few days ago on a warmer day when we all had a little energy. A big roadside cutter was chewing up everything along the road just before we came through. The bonus was that we found a Yule tree to drag home. My son was so excited. One side was chopped pretty clean off but it was perfect on the other side. Put it up against the wall and it's great! ;-)

Also checking out all the different holiday themed shows.

Also giving me the opportunity to slow down and really observe both my kiddos. Always a good thing.
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#13 of 55 Old 12-06-2016, 05:29 PM
 
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We went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them today. WOW! What a great movie. Now my kids want to read the Harry Potter books. So we will be going to the library tomorrow to check that out.

We are still listening to MacBeth in the car. I am amazed that they are understanding the story with very little help from me. Great and amazing at the same time.

I am not ready for Christmas. What do we have 18 days or something like that??? No...no...no!
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#14 of 55 Old 12-06-2016, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, is everyone here celebrating Christmas / solstice / Hanukkah / similar ? How do you do it?

We do Christmas in a seat-of-our-pants humanist fashion. I've always tried to minimize the consumeristic part and focus as much as possible on making memories and on giving. It's evolved over time but for most of Fiona's recent memory, Christmas has been about siblings returning home for some shared cocooning. And it's always been about working together to create the Christmas we all want. In the past few years this has consisted of nightly feasts for a week or so. One is the traditional Christmas spread, and the others are internationally-themed (typically Italian, Greek, Thai, Mexican, Japanese and North African of some sort).

This year her sister is bringing an international student or two back for the holidays, and Fiona, despite being super enthusiastic about the idea when she was first asked for input ("omg, that's so cute! I love sitcom tropes! they can stay in my room"), is now feeling both disappointed about the loss of uncomplicated sibling time and anxious about possible social awkwardness. To what extent will we need to be "hosts," vs. just doing what we always do and including them? How much work will be involved? How much will we have to change? It's all weighing heavily on Fiona's mind, feeding into the anxiety she's experiencing this fall.

Not sure if I've mentioned The Anxiety here. It is definitely becoming an issue. She is having sleep difficulties, and she feels stressed most of the time. Not in a debilitating way, but the feeling is ever present. She has a lot of insight and is coping well, but I am watchful. I think she might be spurred to develop more resilience and strength as a result. She is happy with her life. It's mostly about no longer being in control of certain aspects of her life (eg. the level of intellectual challenge, the pace of learning and the parameters for success, when she sleeps and for how long, when she gets up, etc. etc.). Yet she wants to give over some of that control to school, and likes the tidiness of clear external expectations... and she doesn't want to be bored silly by just jumping through hoops, desiring interesting new challenges. But The Anxiety is -- so far -- the unwanted side effect.

She's working on relaxation routines. She has a guided relaxation audio track that is working well for her at night. She's attending to 'sleep hygeine' issues and is taking care to build in some unwinding time before bed, usually with me and lubricated by warm drinks. Getting back home on weekends when possible seems to really help (it hasn't been possible in a couple of weeks), holiday preparation rituals seem to help, and I think when her brother gets back in a week things will start to feel better for her. Just a bit of a hump right now to get over.

Miranda

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#15 of 55 Old 12-07-2016, 05:13 PM
 
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Fiona sounds so mature for a kid that age! It seems like her ability to recognize and address that anxiety is about seven light years beyond what my own coping skills were like as a teen. Your descriptions of her always amaze me.

Christmas: No one in my family is religious, and I'm not a huge holiday person (though I do like Thanksgiving). Left to our own devices, it's possible my husband and I would not have done the Christmas thing at all, but the grandparents would have none of it. They also didn't let me tell the kids Santa was imaginary right off the bat, like I wanted to (I try to leave Santa out of the conversation, though). I really do like decorating the Christmas tree and making one batch of cookies with the cute little cookie cutters, but most of the rest I could do without. I think it would be cool to have all sorts of wonderful non-commercial traditions, but I've never been inspired to create any. So I buy the kids a few presents, give some other people some jars of jam, and call that good. My daughter's birthday is only a week after Christmas, so that's always a scramble to get ready for both at once.
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#16 of 55 Old 12-09-2016, 11:09 AM
 
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Kid Brag: kiddo is on schedule to earn 4.0 this term. This should leave him with 2 semesters left at the community college (depending on how lab sciences are offered) and he could transfer to the state university next year this time. This term he took 'Banned Books' which was a look at several books that were challenged, banned, etc and how the first amendment came into play. He did reports on The Great Gatsby, The Diary of a part time Indian and The War of the Worlds. His second class was 'The history of Rock Music and Culture' (this counts as a history credit- go figure) and of course he had Calc2.

The only 'final' he has is Calc2 on Tuesday and its simply the last chapter test. Going into this he has 97% in the class.

For my own mental health we are taking a day off on Saturday and headed up north a couple hours to see some holiday displays. I am super stressed by insane family demands and my response is to ignore all of it. I am a grown adult, I live across the country and DO NOT BOTHER ME. I'm going to take my kid and enjoy the holiday season. ba-humbug.
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#17 of 55 Old 12-10-2016, 04:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
So, is everyone here celebrating Christmas / solstice / Hanukkah / similar ? How do you do it?
Miranda
We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. I invite people over for dinner most of the 8 nights of Hanukkah. This year I am having a hard time getting everyone together because of the overlap with Christmas...We light the menorah and then go around the table and each say what we are thankful for.

Christmas is also a time for family. We are not big on gifts. It is more getting together and sharing time.
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#18 of 55 Old 12-11-2016, 06:07 PM
 
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We are into full swing holiday mode. We spent Saturday night up north and I needed the break from the madness. Much relaxation and enjoyment for a full 24 hours. Kid had a blast and today he up the rest of the decorations under the tree (lego holiday set etc).
I made brownies with peppermint frosting (omg so yummy)

I don't have company over or a party for the holidays- I've spent ALOT of energy over the years putting miles and psychological distance between myself and a toxic family.

No holiday plans for this coming week. Kid has final Tuesday evening and a much needed haircut on Thursday. I imagine things will pick up speed after Tuesday evening again.

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#19 of 55 Old 12-11-2016, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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a much needed haircut on Thursday
My ds is due home in a few days. When I asked if he needed an appointment with The Gentleman Barber after he got back like usual, he said no, he'd just got his hair cut a couple of weeks ago.

Mind. Blown.

The boy is an adult.

Miranda

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#20 of 55 Old 12-12-2016, 12:10 PM
 
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My ds is due home in a few days. When I asked if he needed an appointment with The Gentleman Barber after he got back like usual, he said no, he'd just got his hair cut a couple of weeks ago.

Mind. Blown.

The boy is an adult.

Miranda
So glad your DS is going to be home soon, how exciting- I know Fiona will be super happy!

My kiddo is a bit special when it comes to his hair. He will ONLY see the lady who does my hair (and i have very curly, frizzy, horrible hair). This woman is magic. My child was blessed with my thick, ringlets of goodness- minus the frizz and he has shoulder length hair. We basically get the same haircut LOL. At the ripe old age of 16 he gets an eyebrow wax as well. Such the man I have.

We are having a lazy day here- lounging in bed, on the couch, not getting much of anything accomplished.

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#21 of 55 Old 12-12-2016, 01:19 PM
 
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An interesting few days here...for example, the "adult" children removed SO MUCH from the "secret stash" of chocolate that I reserve mostly for husband's lunches (he has few vices; coffee & chocolate & local beer, all in extreme moderation), that I was forced to hide the remaining two bars. (I got enough to last for a couple of months, during last Tuesday's trip to the Big City to pick up husband from his trip to see Zela.)

To backtrack, last Monday I got called in to work at the vet because the receptionist was sick, so the animal care person becomes the receptionist and I become the animal care person. When I got home at noon, there were a couple of muffled phone messages for me, from 8:30ish: the freight guy wanted to deliver the hood, but I had to be home. He was leaving town at 9. So, I frantically called the freight guy and got him on the road, he'd already left town, my next chance for delivery was Thursday. (At this time, I still had hopes that the hood could maybe be installed before I went to pick husband up the next day.) So, I said, where are you? "Halfway between Yourtown and Nexttown" (which means, he'd been back through my town. So I said, do you know where Acme Automotive is? (this is much condensed, of course, in the interest of brevity)...My son works there, he can take the shipment, you can spot him because he has dreadlocks. And he said, I know him, I make deliveries there all the time! And then I called Son, who was astonished at my audacity and told me to NEVER NEVER NEVER do anything like that again (arrange a delivery to his place of work) without contacting HIM first, and I explained that I knew this, but had to think fast because I WANTED THAT HOOD. So that night Son called and said the hood was safely in his truck. We will see this truck again in...

Chapter 2! So, Son showed up on Saturday night to install the hood. So we all had some dinner and chat time before even though it was dark and getting late, but Son said first he needed to run his truck down to the road and back up, to keep the engine warm enough. (This truck is a recently acquired Ford F250 that was new a few decades agao, the kind of truck that "everyone has owned", dark blue with a nice rust patina. So we got in the car and I had to fit my feet around a big toolbox on the passenger side floor, without crushing the hat behind the toolbo, and son got to the business of starting the engine and putting it into gear, which apparently involved fiddling with some cables behind the steering wheel. And then son got out of the truck a couple of times to mess with something outside, and the truck started to roll, and I tried to throw myself at the brake, but being frustrated by the tool box and not seeing the right number of pedals (it's an automatic, all of our vehicles are manual), I OF COURSE pressed the accelerator to the floor, the truck sped down the driveway and fortunately the wheel turned (I don't remember if I had anything to do with this, and instead of running down to the turnaround halfway between the carport and the road and off the embankment and down the hill, hit the curb that separates the drive from the front yard, went over, spun sharply to the right in the gravel bed of the front yard, and ran into the adobe garden wall. And Son had somehow managed to get into the cab, although I had dragged him down the hill and bruised him on the curb on the driver's side. He said, "That's a good wall." (This curb is about a foot high and a foot through, with sharp edges. So after the confusion had cleared, there was the truck, neatly sandwiched between the wall and the curb. I cleaned the mounds of gravel out from under the tires, and we tried to drag the bed of the truck sideways so that he could back the truck out in the opening for the garden walk, but it was dark and we decided to wait for morning. Husband (who is a better Homes and Gardens type of person at heart, and hates the way that my violin has little peck marks from my fingernails all over the varnish) said some dark things about the two black marks on the white wall, and the slight cracking in the plaster on the other side, but he seems to have recovered from the experience better than I thought he would, especially after I pointed out that everyone makes mistakes, like the way he melted down in front of his psycho boss... And THEN...son put the hood on the car, and of course had to take it home for the night, because his truck was obviously going nowhere.

Chapter 3: Son came by the next day and was able to drive the truck out with little trouble. In the process, he managed to step on a ceramic sun/moon disk that I had in the front yard, something Zela and I picked out from one of those roadside establishments that sell imported stuff like mariachis mode out of found materials and talavera frogs and stuff like that. So now part of it is splintered and I'm not sure if it should stay as it is, or if I should try to put it back together. Maybe some things shouldn't be fixed? Son has become extremely eager to help fix our cars, likely to atone for his part in this multipart failure (who in his right mind puts a vehicle in gear on a fairly steep driveway, without having SOMEONE in the driver's seat?), so the next job will be tracking down the reason my dad's old work vehicle is losing coolant so efficiently. Son also feels confident enough with his new mechanic skilz to spend a weekend rebuilding the engine before it fails catastrophically.

Chapter 4: So after husband went to work in the newly rehooded car (goldish with black hood, doesn't look bad, may keep it that way, depending on how sturdy the primer is), I found a horrid mess in a corner of the carport. Apparently when Son took husband to town yesterday to recover our car, he had to throw a bunch of stuff out of the passenger seat to make room for his dad: a regular hoarder's next of fast food detritus and cans of beans and other foodstuffs of somewhat questionable quality and Lela's backpack and school lunch box and clothes etc...took me quite a long time to sort and dispose of it. And then to make room for sweeping, I picked up an ice cream bucket half full of some toxic car fluids and spilled quite a bit of it on the floor, had to clean that up as well as I could, will take another pass.

Just another entry in a Journal of My Redneck Life.

Deborah

p.s.I tried to attach a short video of Zela's gloves, knitted by hand in one piece on a knitting machine (her school is heavily into the fiber arts) but "mp4 format is not allowed". So I screenshot a grainy frame. I think it is rather cool...
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#22 of 55 Old 12-12-2016, 02:32 PM
 
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The glove does look cool.

I'm still hobbling around on my sprained ankle, but getting better. My daughter is at school again. She's been a lot of times in the last two weeks, including on an overnight field trip they did to go to the Nutcracker, because she's going to be part of their Christmas Nutcracker program. She's excited and loves it, and doesn't at all mind the random kindergarten busywork they give her when they're not practicing, even though she's far beyond all that stuff at home.

At home, both kids have been binging on bio and biochem YouTube videos. Cell parts, and cell division, and hormones and signaling, and all of it... They seem, especially my son, determined to learn all of high school science before age 9. I wonder about all the passive watching, but it's hard to come up with a good reason for why he shouldn't learn about which plant cells are involved in photosynthesis right now?

They're also both in a phase where they're willing to practice reading some. Both at the same level, which is kind of fun. They were reading Frog and Toad yesterday. I think my daughter (almost 6) will soon be be better than her brother (almost 8). He has more stamina and knows more phonetic rules, but makes far more bizarre errors. Like: "He jumped up and down and screamed." turns into "He jumped up and around the stream." and many of the word endings seem invented on the spot.
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#23 of 55 Old 12-13-2016, 11:26 AM
 
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Glad the ankle is getting better. My occupational issue is that I keep getting scratched by the boarders at the vet; last week I missed music with a friend because of a split on the top of my left index knuckle (which swelled and made my finger not bend properly or quickly) and today, thanks to a little dog that resisted pilling, I have a 2" scratch across the top of my left hand. Note to self: make someone else pill this dog!

I just heard someone walking around in the house...and then realized from the clicking of toenails that it was the Small Dane, wandered in from the back yard to check out if the bed is free. (Well, sorta, only I and the big fluffy dog are here.) The back door is wide open, the sun room is collecting sun: we have a few days of this before the next icy blast, from 74F to 19F in a couple of days. At least "ice pellets" has disappeared from the forecast, and contrarily to usual, the coldest day will be sunny.

I planned to go "to the mountain" today but decided to take advantage of the warmth to leave the house open and let the pets come and go and get the laundry done, and try to summon the discipline (where ARE you??? ) to work online, which I am starting now, before the second load finishes. I decided (because all of the tools are available and because my workplace has Google mail accounts for all, under the aegis of the institution) to redo an old horrible Excel Spreadsheet program with everything hard coded in with Google Sheets, lotsa fun so far. Except I keep finding NEW and ENTICING stuff, so the project is, as projects do, rapidly outgrowing its initial conception.

Lela's Montessori Christmas program is tonight; they what used to be a theater, stripped of all of its interior, down to the bricks. There's a yoga space upstairs in the front, and an enclosed patio that is also used by the restaurant next door, and an enormous 10 bladed fan on the ceiling that moves very slowly (in the season when fans are needed) and doesn't seem to disrupt music. (Zela's jazz ensemble performed there regularly.) Anyhow, there will be a stage and recitations and refreshments and mingling, and I might get a chance to talk to some parents who have asked me to teach their children, which is nice because I have two students there already not counting Lela; a cohort of 5 & 6 year olds makes a nice base to develop a group from. The first over-the-tailpiece chinrest I got for Lela was perfect except that it was too tall and dug into her neck. So I ordered another, and it's Just As Tall, but without the unpleasant hardware. If this doesn't fit, maybe I'll have to hone my woodworking skills? (Or get a 3D printer, make custom chinrests for all???)

Yana's dogs are spending most days with us now. Yana leaves to visit her sister for 10 or so days soon, it would be nice to have an outside dog shelter for Slim the special needs dog before she goes. (Slim spent two nights out in wet, sub-freezing weather, sleeping in the exposed part of the yard. The first morning his ears and his back were coated with a thin layer of snow. He (or someone) tore up thequilted cotton cot mattress I left out for him.

okay, to work!

Deborah
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#24 of 55 Old 12-18-2016, 05:48 PM
 
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We are in the full holiday swing here. We went to two parties today. Tomorrow will be another party & Wed yet another party. Then, Hanukkah (1st night) and Christmas eve are the same night. But we are just rolling with it.

L (4) & D (7) rapped the presents today. Yes, they look like children rapped them...but we had a blast.

We are reading the Harry Potter books. I'm enjoying them as much as the kids.

Hope everyone has a great week!
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#25 of 55 Old 12-19-2016, 08:04 AM
 
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It's so hard to believe we are a few short days away from christmas.
Overall I'd say we had a very good year- all things considered. Kid made excellent progress in school. I even managed to start another grad school program. We have some very loose goals for 2017(I hope to keep up with my program and Kid wants to transfer to the 4 yr uni) We may not renew our lease at the end of 2017 so there could be some pretty big changes in the works. However, right now is a time to celebrate and enjoy the next couple weeks of holiday time.

Christmas still consists of Lego, books, Video games and movies.(and coffee). I def. have a teenager.

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#26 of 55 Old 12-19-2016, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mckittre, that's cool that you have another practice-reading jag going. I also love hearing about the biochem and cellular biology interests... how primary interests get connected to secondary ones and the learning continues, and how siblings get swept up in each others' interests.

We have Noah home now, though he has the inevitable end-of-university-cramming head cold so he's not good for much.

Work on the House-in-Town is now at the interior finishing stage. I'm doing the painting myself which I didn't think would be a big deal, but I've never taken on this much painting under pressure of various contractors' schedules. They are all juggling busy schedules with a variety of jobs and the hope is that I can have things painted before they do the various flooring-related work (installing radiant heat, tile, hardwood, stair treads etc.). Because I'm going to be back home, away from the House-in-Town, for the holidays, I've put in three very long evenings... blisters and backaches ... phew!

The older two girls are scheduled to fly in tomorrow and the next day. Weather forecast doesn't look great; I'll be very surprised if Sophie makes it into our dodgy tertiary local airport tomorrow, and I'm dreading having to drive through all this snow to a further airport to meet a diverted or alternate flight, especially if an alternate flight gets pushed into the next day. That will mean having to pick the two girls up at two airports 5+ hours apart (Spokane WA and Kelowna or Cranbrook BC) on the same day. Not sure how it will work, but I guess we'll figure something out if it comes to that.

Fiona, who has had an ambivalent but mostly positive relationship with the structure high school has imposed on her for the last three and a half months, is finding it hard to be off school, especially without the sibling activity buoying her up as she had expected. (It'll come, once Noah rallies from his cold and the older girls are home.) So she's been making to-do lists full of cleaning and cooking items, and checking them off. She is feeling good about her school experience so far. She feels successful, loves two of her teachers and is fine with the others, finds the material interesting, and her grades are pretty close to 100 so I think we have her slotted in at the right level. Next semester she'll have some Grade 10 courses (this semester has been all Gr11 or 11AP stuff) so she may find it less challenging; we'll see if it's enough for her.

I'm struggling right now with some joint issues. My mom has very resistant rheumatoid arthritis which has left her disabled (she can walk short distances with a walker but it is difficult and painful) and in the back of my mind I'm worried I might have something similar starting. I ran a strong marathon last spring and qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2017, registered and thought I was good to go. But a mild chronic left ankle swelling has over the past three or four months been compounded by an inflammatory right knee. The inflammation itself isn't all that painful, but the swelling pushes the joint out of alignment and then it hurts to run unless I've doubled up on anti-inflammatory meds. I now have pretty significant muscle wasting in my right quadriceps because I'm just not able to push that leg at all. I'm on the verge of having to give up on my Boston dream.

Instead I've been XC skiing a bit, and I just got a new "smart" bike trainer that allows me to do virtual rides with the Zwift app. These activities aggravate my knee after the fact, but they don't hurt, and they're allowing me to keep my general cardiovascular fitness level up. Zwift is super fun -- very immersive and interesting.

It's snowing like crazy here. Time to go repeat the shovelling I just did three hours ago.

Miranda

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups

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#27 of 55 Old 12-19-2016, 12:43 PM
 
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Miranda: Winter transportation is always a crapshoot here as well. My mom was supposed to get in yesterday, but hopefully is coming today. If it's snowing, or dark (lots of dark in the winter) the small planes can't fly. If the seas are too rough, the boats can't go. Boats and planes neither leave from nor arrive at the same place, so if the road that makes the 45 minute drive between them is bad, that's also a problem. I hope your daughters arrive without too much hassle! And I hope your inflammation isn't anything major -- my aunt has rheumatoid arthritis also, though hers is better controlled, it really doesn't look fun.

I have to share my 5yo's cell bio video she made with you guys:
My son has done a bunch of this kind of thing, but she's always the one who's been a little less outwardly impressive with her learning, so I think it's kind of cool for her to have her own chance to show off. And I love that this interest has wrapped both kids into it so thoroughly. My son goes deeper, but both love talking about and drawing and arguing and discussing about cells.

The reading practice thing is interesting, and I wonder sometimes if I'm sort of skating on the edge of unschooling there. Not for my daughter--she just likes it. My son does not like to read. But he thinks it would be fun/useful if he knew how. Discussing it with him, he thinks practicing every day is a good idea. So I remind him every day (set out our schedule obligations, ask him to pick a time he wants to do it, remind him when it's that time). I wouldn't push him if he fought it, and every time I re-open the discussion, he still thinks practicing every day is a good idea. But still, he's doing something he doesn't inherently enjoy, that he wouldn't do if I hadn't reminded him.
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#28 of 55 Old 12-19-2016, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very impressive and very adorable video!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post
I wonder sometimes if I'm sort of skating on the edge of unschooling .... My son does not like to read. But he thinks it would be fun/useful if he knew how. Discussing it with him, he thinks practicing every day is a good idea. So I remind him every day (set out our schedule obligations, ask him to pick a time he wants to do it, remind him when it's that time). I wouldn't push him if he fought it, and every time I re-open the discussion, he still thinks practicing every day is a good idea. But still, he's doing something he doesn't inherently enjoy, that he wouldn't do if I hadn't reminded him.
When I was a kid I learned violin through the Suzuki approach. If you're not familiar with it, children can start very young, using a playful parent-involved format that leverages imagination, learning by ear, a common repertoire and mutually supportive group-based experiences. At the centre of the approach is a belief that all children can develop very high levels of musical ability if their musical intelligence is nurtured lovingly and (especially early on) in a manner similar to how they naturally learn to speak their native language.

As Suzuki students get older, aspects like reading music and orchestra playing and independence from parents and self-chosen repertoire would be introduced, so that the day-to-day stuff looked not all that different from ordinary music lessons ... but still at its core, the Suzuki approach rested on that foundation of a mutually supportive community of relationships and a belief in each person's ability. My mom started one of the first Suzuki programs in North America, and saw a ton of students go through her program to attain professional level playing abilities, and it would drive her crazy when parents of some of those advanced kids would say "My child used to be Suzuki, but now she does traditional." Sure the day-to-day stuff, which had been quite different from traditional teaching (and much more developmentally appropriate) when the child was 4, were now less different for an advanced 13-year-old. But the beliefs and values of the Suzuki approach were still there underlying it all.

I see what you're describing with your son as similar. It's not that his relationship with reading is straying out of the unschooling realm. It's that at this point, his needs and wishes and maturity are making his current version unschooling look less different from traditional homeschooling. On the surface there is that daily structure, the parent-initiated reminders, some work that's not inherently sunshine and rainbows, there are goals that entail a bit of grunt-work that isn't necessarily fun for him. But beneath it all he is in the driver's seat, and you are being the facilitator he wants, and the goals are his. I think it is normal for unschooling to look less different from schooling for many kids as they get older. Goal-setting and deferment of gratification ... these are things young children can't do, but older children often can, and want to.

Miranda

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#29 of 55 Old 12-19-2016, 09:42 PM
 
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GOOD NEWS!!
The boy is on insurance (and I do not understand the matrix of insurance rates) but my premium decreased?? He is researching drivers ed courses and will give me info this week to call around for classes. Looks to be about $600 for classes and testing- oh well that does include classroom, in-car plus license test. There goes his xmas money from grandma.

He has 6 months of a learners permit so there really isn't a rush but yeah- we are making progress---- slowly slowly says the sloth.

Forgot to add, kiddo grades posted for the semester- 4.0 - as expected.

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#30 of 55 Old 12-20-2016, 04:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
GOOD NEWS!!
The boy is on insurance (and I do not understand the matrix of insurance rates) but my premium decreased?? He is researching drivers ed courses and will give me info this week to call around for classes. Looks to be about $600 for classes and testing- oh well that does include classroom, in-car plus license test. There goes his xmas money from grandma.

He has 6 months of a learners permit so there really isn't a rush but yeah- we are making progress---- slowly slowly says the sloth.

Forgot to add, kiddo grades posted for the semester- 4.0 - as expected.
Great!! So happy for you guys.
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