Category Archives: 2013

The End or A New Beginning

You cannot change what you are, only what you do.
― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass


How do you know when a good thing has run its course?
How do you know when it’s time to make a change?

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in awhile. There’s a reason for that. It’s because we haven’t done anything worth posting about. Well, not in an academic sense, anyway. We’ve played a lot of Minecraft, learned how to make animated gifs with photoshop, done a lot of drawing, read some books, and watched a few too many Disney shows on Netflix. But, we haven’t learned any math, or history, or science, or…well, you get the picture.

And, so, having disclosed that, I will also disclose that we are sending Lillia back to public school. Yes, in the middle of October.

I’m sure that some of you will think we are making a mistake (or, if you were never a big fan of us homeschooling in the first place, you are relieved). But, here’s the thing: my motherly intuition (and yes, it is a real thing) is telling me 100% that this is the right thing to do, just as it told me that homeschooling was the right thing to do last year. I wish I had a neat little paragraph that could summarize all of the reasons why we are making this decision, but it comes down to two basic ideas:

1) I will never be comfortable with “unschooling,” and for the past six weeks I have found it nearly impossible to engage Lillia in any meaningful way. She’s bored. I’m frustrated. Let me be clear — it’s not burnout. I was really excited about this school year, but I discovered a couple of weeks into it that Lillia was just not interested in what I had to offer. It was a daily struggle to get her to do even the most basic stuff. And, since I’ll never be okay with her playing Minecraft all day while her peers learn multiplication, division, and the five paragraph essay, I (that should say we) feel that this is the best decision we can make for Lillia right now.

2) We always knew she would go back to school eventually, and I guess “eventually” arrived a little sooner than we expected. She is ready, and looking forward to being with her friends again.

We had the chance to meet with the principal and both of the fourth grade teachers yesterday. We discussed Lillia’s strengths and weaknesses, how to challenge her and how to nurture her (which are one and the same thing according to a smart lady I know). I do feel sad, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to feel a sense of loss about what could have been. I love the idea of homeschooling. I love poring over curriculum materials, making booklists, and thinking up cool field trips to take. But, the reality of homeschooling is very different than what I imagined it would be. There seems to be a pervasive idea on the interwebs that if you are having a miserable time homeschooling, you are doing something wrong. You, the parent, are a failure. Well, let me just counter that by saying that homeschooling is really, really hard. There’s not a lot of reward for the amount of frustration involved. Some people seem to have it all together, but I would guess that a) it’s not as easy as they make it look, and b) they’re in the minority. It seems to me, anecdotally speaking, that there are probably particular combinations of parent-child temperaments and interests that make homeschooling easier for some and harder for others.

Do I still have major qualms with our public education system? Absolutely.
Do I still think teaching to the test is total garbage? Yep.
Am I just choosing the lesser of two evils? I believe in the concept of “good enough.” Right now, homeschooling isn’t good enough for my standards. We’ll see what the school has to offer.

I plan to keep this site up for the time being. I like that we have a record of our year, and the time we spent together (see, I do feel sentimental about the whole thing). If we do things education-related I will certainly write about them here. Your comments are always welcome.

If you are thinking about homeschooling (or not homeschooling) and need advice or moral support in either direction, I’m happy to chat. Just shoot me an email


Filed under 2013, 2014

Field Trip // Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We took this trip at the beginning of July, but my computer was out of commission for the past month so I am just now getting this blog updated. For our second big field trip of the year we visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. The MFA has an excellent collection of art from the ancient world which gave Lillia the opportunity to see artifacts from some of the cultures we studied this past year.

Ancient Near East

This exhibit gave us the opportunity to see some famous finds from the ancient near east. Lillia got to see a cuneiform tablet and a mosaic called the “Striding Lion” which dates to 604-561 BCE, among other things.






Ancient Egypt

Lillia was really excited to see the Egyptian exhibit. She has been fascinated with Ancient Egypt for some time and I feel like a lot of other kids her age are, too. There must be something about this culture that appeals to preteens. She was really enthusiastic about seeing the mummies, but when we got to them she said she was scared and asked to hold my hand (so sweet).








Ancient Greece

We briefly toured the Ancient Greece exhibit but by this time Lillia was collapsing from exhaustion (we had driven in the car all morning to get there so some people were full of energy and some were worn out, depending on their personalities). I was really exited to see the gold libation bowl (Oresteia, anyone?) as well as the bust of Homer (which Lillia was less-than-thrilled about, as is attested by her expression in the photo I took of it). We still have some work to do on Ancient Greece so we might make a return visit in the fall, which we should probably do anyway so that we can also see their collection from Ancient Rome (our second unit of the coming year).










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Summer Vacation

I have a whole bunch of photos from our last field trip, and I really want to write a wrap-up post about our year. It’s been on my to-do list for the last…oh…six weeks or so. But, right now, I’m on vacation. I’ll be back sometime in August! Hope you are all having a great summer.

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Often when I read about homeschooling in other states I am reminded about how fortunate I am to live in NH, where homeschooling is very mildly regulated. While the state has virtually no control over what we teach or how we teach it, we are required to provide annual evidence of progress in one of two ways: a portfolio evaluation performed by a certified teacher; or standardized test results at 40th percentile or above. In the past, this evidence was submitted to the district for evaluation, and could then be used to determine the legitimacy of a home education program. As of last summer, this changed. While we’re still required to show evidence of progress, it no longer has to be submitted to anyone and it cannot be used to terminate a home education program.

I keep a portfolio of Lillia’s work, but I am not too keen on presenting it to someone to be “evaluated.” It feels like a situation where I would have to “explain” the why and how of everything, and I’m just not interested in doing that. I’m also not a huge fan of standardized testing, for many reasons, but just once in the spring seems okay to me (and Lillia actually likes taking the test, for some reason).

So, today was test day. Our district allowed us to take the test they use (the NWEA MAP Reading & Math). As usual, Lillia’s Reading scores were through the roof. Her overall Reading score was 232, which puts her in the 98th percentile for her grade, nationwide. I’m not going to mince words here — she is reading better (by quite a few points) than the average 11th grader. I’m actually a little overwhelmed by this knowledge, but not exactly surprised.

On the other hand, her Math score was 203 which is, literally, the national average and puts her in the 50th percentile for her grade. Last year, her percentile was much higher. I’m still trying to sort through this but the most obvious explanation is that we just started learning multiplication, whereas her peers have been studying it all year. As I’ve mentioned many times we are using the Life of Fred books, and I love them. I am not blaming Fred for the drop in her math score. The Fred books are doing something completely different than what the district is doing (not coincidentally, the district is preparing students for the test that my daughter just took). I chose to go back to the beginning of the Fred series, even though the work was easier, because there are a lot of concepts that Stanley Schmidt introduces in the early books that Lillia will need to know later on. I didn’t want her to miss anything. But, because of that, we are just now getting to the books dealing with multiplication…so Lillia is behind. I’m trying not to agonize over this because I think that what we are doing has value, above and beyond preparation for standardized testing, but it will be helpful when I’m planning what to do next year. Math never came easy for me, and it’s possible it won’t be easy for Lillia, either. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see her scores at the end of next year when we have finished the Life of Fred elementary series. My guess is that there will be a big improvement.

Here are Lillia’s actual test results: Lillia MAPs 2013 (the notes are the test administrator’s)

And, here is the entire text of the law that I referenced in this post:

Section 193-A:6

193-A:6 Records; Evaluation. –
I. The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials relative to the home education program. The portfolio shall consist of a log which designates by title the reading materials used, and also samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child. Such portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years from the date of the ending of the instruction.
II. The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the child’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with the child’s age and ability. The child shall be deemed to have successfully completed his annual evaluation upon meeting the requirements of any one of the following:
(a) A certified teacher or a teacher currently teaching in a nonpublic school who is selected by the parent shall evaluate the child’s educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the parent or child;
(b) The child shall take any national student achievement test, administered by a person who meets the qualifications established by the provider or publisher of the test. Composite results at or above the fortieth percentile on such tests shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency;
(c) The child shall take a state student assessment test used by the resident district. Composite results at or above the fortieth percentile on such state test shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency; or
(d) The child shall be evaluated using any other valid measurement tool mutually agreed upon by the parent and the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal.
III. The parent shall maintain a copy of the evaluation. The results of the evaluation:
(a) May be used to demonstrate the child’s academic proficiency in order to participate in public school programs, and co-curricular activities which are defined as school district-sponsored and directed athletics, fine arts, and academic activities. Home educated students shall be subject to the same participation policy and eligibility conditions as apply to public school students.
(b) Shall not be used as a basis for termination of a home education program.
(c) Provides a basis for a constructive relationship between the parent and the evaluator, both working together in the best interest of the child.
Source. 1990, 279:3. 2006, 13:4, eff. May 12, 2006. 2012, 227:2, eff. June 16, 2012.

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Filed under 2013, Progress

The Thirtieth Week

This is going to be a super short post because I have a ton of cleaning to do (toddler + bowl of corn chex = mess). If I have a chance, I might add some pictures at a later date, but it’s text only for now, folks!

Lillia’s Adventures

We’re cruising right along in our study of Ancient Greece. This week we learned about the Myceneans and the early Greek cities or ‘poleis.’ Did you know that the city of Mycenae had more gold than all other Greek cities combined? We also learned about the Dorian invasion. The theory goes that the Dorians were a people from the North part of Greece who invaded and conquered the Myceneans. Our textbook speculates that the Dorians were able to defeat the Achaeans (what the other Greeks called themselves) because of their superior iron weapons. The Achaeans were still using bronze weapons, and iron is a stronger metal. The only city that was not overtaken by the Dorians was Athens, though some Achaeans fled to the west coast of what is today Turkey and formed colonies there — these people were called the Aeolians and the Ionians. Whether or not it actually happened this way is still a matter of controversy, but it was proposed as an attempt to answer what happened to the Mycenean culture and language.

This week we also started using these handy “Book of Centuries” templates from Tanglewood Education to record information from our Humanities lessons. I find it’s easiest to print out 3 or 4 pictures that have something to do with our lesson and then let Lillia write descriptions for them. That way, she has to do some independent reflection but she’s not overwhelmed by trying to remember everything we read. We don’t adhere 100% to the Charlotte Mason method, but I do love many things about her educational philosophy. The “Book of Centuries” is a concept that many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers use, and I am quite fond of it. It’s so nice to have something to look back at when you come to the end of the year, and it satisfies my need to have tangible evidence of Lillia’s learning. We started out doing our own pages, but after the first unit we got quite lazy and stopped doing them entirely. However, these templates make it so easy and Lillia actually likes to do them, so I’m planning to have her do a couple of them for those units we skipped.

In Math we are continuing to work on addition, subtraction, and multiplication. This week we reviewed the multiplication facts we learned last week, and we also learned how to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number (ex: 14×2). I am so impressed once again with the way that Stanley Schmidt chooses to teach more complicated math concepts right from the beginning. Instead of waiting until we’ve learned all of the multiplication facts, he introduces the concept of two-digit multiplication when we only know a few…but we know enough to do the problem, so we feel smart and successful! I know I say this every week but I LOVE LIFE OF FRED!

Just Added: This week’s digital drawing. You can see that she’s been working on eyes. This drawing also has some really nice shading. It took her about 4 hours, total. She says it’s a “Telzerath.”
species concept

Zane’s Adventures

Zane had a language explosion this week. He is using so many words now. I still have to act as translator sometimes but he is really working hard on his verbal communication skills. We’ve been taking walks with “Dada” (my husband) every day at lunch and Zane loves to see what’s going on in the world. He always points out interesting vehicles, other kids (there’s a child care center at the end of our street), dogs, or whatever strikes his fancy. If we don’t acknowledge his discovery immediately, he will continue to yell “Mama” or “Dada” until we say, “Oh, yes, Zane. That is a beekawoe (motorcycle)!” He’s definitely not a “baby” anymore, which is heartbreaking but also exciting.

His current favorite book is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, because it’s about trucks, of course! He’s been requesting Baby Beluga a lot, too. He calls it “Baby Babooba,” which kills me. He’s also become very demanding about reading time. If he wants to hear a story, he will throw the book at you and say, “Read. Now.” We’re working on please…

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The Twenty-Ninth Week

greek wayI have changed my mind…again. I decided to return to our history-based Humanities units. I had originally planned to go from Prehistory through the Roman Empire this year, but it looks like we will only get as far as Ancient Greece. Though there are those who might disagree with me, I think that the Roman Empire actually has more in common with the Middle Ages than Ancient Greece, anyway. Because of the breadth and depth of Ancient Greek culture, I am sure this unit will take us to the end of the year…and possibly beyond. My father-in-law lent me a copy of The Greek Way, by Edith Hamilton, and it was truly illuminating. She presents a very convincing argument about how different Ancient Greek culture was from any civilization before or after it. I highly recommend it as an introduction to Ancient Greek culture. And, Hamilton’s prose is so beautiful that it is worth reading just to be in close proximity to a truly gifted writer. (A great deal of The Greek Way is available on Google Books, or you can buy it on Amazon.)

It is Hamilton’s love of this culture that I hope, above all, to bring to our study of Ancient Greece. Here is a brief excerpt from her book:

Of all that the Greeks did only a very small part has come down to us and we have no means of knowing if we have their best. It would be strange if we had. In the convulsions of that world of long ago there was no law that guaranteed to art the survival of the fittest. But this little remnant preserved by the haphazard of chance shows the high-water mark reached in every region of thought and beauty the Greeks entered. No sculpture comparable to theirs; no buildings ever more beautiful; no writings superior. Prose, always late of development, they had time only to touch upon, but they left masterpieces. History has yet to find a greater exponent than Thucydides; outside of the Bible there is no poetical prose that can touch Plato. In poetry they were all but supreme; no epic is to be mentioned with Homer; no odes to be set beside Pindar; of the four masters of the tragic state three are Greek. Little is left of all this wealth of great art: the sculptures, defaced and broken in to bits, have crumbled away; the buildings are fallen; the paintings gone forever; of the writings, all lost but a very few. We have only the ruin of what was; the world has had no more than that for well on to two thousand years; yet these few remains of the might structure have been a challenge and an incitement to men ever since and they are among our possessions to-day which we value as most previous. There is no danger now that the world will not give the Greek genius full recognition. Greek achievement is a fact universally acknowledged. (Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way (New York: W.W. Norton Company, 1983), 12-13.)

With that in mind…

Lillia’s Adventures

Lillia and the ever-present headphones…

As mentioned above, we began our study of Ancient Greece this week. We are using R.E.C. Burrell’s Oxford First Ancient History as our spine. This week’s readings were about the Minoans. We learned a lot about this mysterious civilization. Did you know that the Minoans used three different languages and that, so far, we have only deciphered one of them? These include the as yet undeciphered Cretan hieroglyphs and Linear A. The one language that has been deciphered is a descendant of Linear A which we call Linear B and it belongs to the Myceneans (who we will be studying next week). While we may know a lot about ancient cultures, there is still so much work to be done! Two whole languages yet to be deciphered! Our ignorance of Minoan languages presents us with the opportunity to show our children that there are still mysteries to be solved, and that there are many ways to make contributions to our knowledge of the past.

DAulairesB_0For the literature portion of our Humanities unit we are reading first D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. While there are many books of Greek myths written for children, this one is ubiquitous. I have seen it on many reading lists, and it is quite popular with those who follow the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. I was concerned that it might be a little too “young” for Lillia, but she loves it! This week we read about the union of Gaia and Uranus (Earth and Sky) and about the birth of their many children. We learned about the cast of characters that make up the Greek pantheon, their home on Mount Olympus, and we started to read some of their individual stories (Zeus, Hera, Hephaestus, and Aphrodite). I’m glad I purchased this book because I think it will be something that Lillia will want to refer back to, even when we’re done with this unit.

We finally have in our possession the next Life of Fred book. In this volume we are diving right into multiplication. This week we learned 2×7, 7×2, 3×4, and 4×3. Lillia also had to do several Algebra problems involving these multiplication facts (such as 3y=12, solve for y). We’re definitely behind the school district math program in regards to multiplication. But, Lillia has learned so much extra math (important stuff that will make learning concepts much easier in the future) that I am okay with the fact that we didn’t cover all of the multiplication facts this year. She has plenty of time next year to catch up, and I’m sure she will.

Zane’s Adventures

One word: TRUCKS.





Mama’s Adventures

I received my final grade and am now a college graduate. I was a college graduate before, actually, because I received my A.A. in General Studies in 2005 (when prospects were bleak and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish my B.A.). But, even as a teenager I always envisioned myself finishing four years of college. Four years turned into thirteen and half, but I did finish what I started and I am proud of that. Although it means nothing to them now, I hope that someday my children will look at my accomplishment and see that if you really want to do something, you will do it. It takes perseverance, toil, and a lot of support from friends and family, but anything is possible. I truly believe that.

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The Twenty-Eighth Week

We made it through the illnesses and the vacations, and now we’re back in school full-time. This is going to be a quick overview because I don’t have much time to write today.

Lillia’s Adventures

Due to an oversight on my part, we didn’t get a chance to do any work in the next Life of Fred math book because I failed to order it! Thankfully, the last two pages of the current book were rows of problems, so we just divided them up and did a little each day. Doing the whole thing at once would have been too overwhelming for Lillia, anyway.

As per our Oak Meadow syllabus we studied life in the Arctic. Lillia drew this beautiful sketch of all the different types of Arctic animals. We are debating whether or not it needs to be colored, as many polar animals are actually white (though I’m fairly certain that elk are not…).

arctic animals

We also spent some time working on writing words in cursive. Lillia has a lot of difficulty with this. She feels that it’s an unnecessary skill. And, she’s not entirely wrong. In the 21st century there aren’t a lot of compelling reasons to learn to write in cursive. As a historian I would be at a serious disadvantage if I couldn’t read cursive, and the best way to learn to read it is to learn to write it. Many primary sources are written in cursive, such as wills, marriage licenses, personal letters…the list is endless. And, as my husband pointed out, learning to properly form letters and developing that level of fine motor control will really help Lillia if she wants to continue to improve her artistic abilities. So, there is a case for cursive, but it might be a bit too abstract for a nine year old to understand. I will continue to encourage her to do her best, even though it’s difficult for her and seems pointless.

Truth be told, so much of Lillia’s “learning” is spontaneous. For example, today she started working on a new story, tentatively titled, “The Unmistakable Life of Autumn Fladora.” If she will consent to give me an excerpt, I’d love to post it here next week. And, last night she told me that she wanted to learn how velcro works and how superglue is made. She said she wants to learn about “sticky things.” So…I guess I’ll be doing some research on that for next week! If you have any good resources, please let me know!

I decided that I would like to keep sharing Lillia’s artwork when I can. It’s such a big part of her life, and something she spends a lot of time working on. It seems right for it to be on this blog. Here is a recent creation:


And, just for perspective, this is her first digital drawing, done way back on September 30th. Look how much she has improved in just 8 months!


Zane’s Adventures

Trucks! Cars! Trains! Motorcycles! Is it motorized? Zane loves it. He even brings his trucks to bed.


His vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds, though he still uses his own “language” a lot of the time. But, he’s trying. Here are some of my favorite Zane-isms, spelled phonetically, and their English equivalents:

Nane = Zane
Meow = Cat
Oof Oof = Dog
Cock-a-woo = Rooster
Bub = Bug
Tide = Outside
GuhnGuhn = Car/Truck
MroomMroom = Car/Truck
Butt = Bus
Beek-a-woe = Bicycle
Bopee = Coffee
Deeoo = Water (I’m still trying to figure out how that happened)

I wish I had more photos of Zane to share this week, but I guess I just haven’t had my camera out much. I did post a bunch of photos of him on my other blog this week, so you can check those out if you need a Zane fix.

Mama’s Adventures

I’m officially done with my class, but I am working on refining my paper for publication in an undergraduate research journal. When I get my grade in a couple of weeks I will be an official college graduate. I’ve been using my newly discovered free time (mostly while Zane is napping) to do all kinds of things. I’ve been reading, sewing, blogging, and working on an exterior painting project. It’s nice to be able to be able to do something other than take care of my kids and do research. I’m also looking forward to having more time and energy to devote to homeschooling, now that my own “schooling” is done.

Also, I’ve been reading about “unschooling” lately, and I’m intrigued. If I have more to say about it in the future, I will certainly do so here.

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Long Break

Lillia was really sick the week before last…more so than she usually gets. I had thought to myself, “Well, I guess we’ll just call this vacation week,” since April break was coming up. But, after giving it some thought, I decided that was fundamentally unfair. Vacations are for fun, not for languishing in bed with a head cold. So, last week was our “official” vacation week (which coincided with the public school break in our district).

I thought this might be a nice time to share some of Lillia’s digital artwork. Here is a small sample of what she’s been working on lately in Photoshop (which she now uses with some degree of proficiency, mostly self-taught):


We’re looking forward to getting back to our studies this week!

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The Twenty-Sixth & Twenty-Seventh Weeks

So, last week got away from me, and I apologize. I am now fully immersed in my own schoolwork and I just haven’t had the time to blog. That doesn’t mean we weren’t doing anything, though.

Lillia’s Adventures

Last week we finished up our study of the Ancient Far East. We finished The Tao of Pooh and we also read The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching, by Demi. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I decided that this would be our last Ancient History unit for this year as I ordered the Oak Meadow third grade curriculum and I really wanted to try it out. I just decided to start with the beginning of the third semester work and we’ll see how far we get. I’m not following the math curriculum from Oak Meadow because we really love Life of Fred, but we did dive into the Science and Social Studies material.

cactus-hotel-big-bookThis week we were instructed to study desert plant and animal life for Science, and the history of our local area for Social Studies. We checked out some books from the library and read them during the first three days of our school week (we don’t do school on Tuesdays right now because of my class). Lillia really enjoyed Cactus Hotel, by Brenda Guiberson and so we decided to make a page for our science journal based on Guiberson’s idea of a cactus that houses many small mammals and birds. Note: Oak Meadow is “Waldorf-inspired” and so they encourage using a pre-bound “main lesson book” for each subject. We are making individual pages on drawing paper and then putting them together at the end. The idea of a book that couldn’t be changed (i.e. if one makes a mistake) was just too overwhelming for our little perfectionist. Here’s our first page for this unit (it didn’t scan very well, but you get the idea):

04-12-2013 02;25;13PM

I made a really interesting discovery about Lillia during the creation of this page. Lillia loves to draw and write but if you ask her to do either one on command, she freaks out. This is especially true if what you are asking of her is a multi-part process (i.e. draw the cactus and animals, color it, and then label it). But, I had a moment of clarity and remembered that she really likes doing “collabs” (collaborative drawings) and often asks me to do them with her. Usually they are just silly pictures and we take turns drawing different absurd things, but I thought it might also work in an academic setting. You know what? I was right! Although it took some patience and persistence on my part, what we made is the first really complete piece of work I think she’s done this year. I feel so relieved (and satisfied). If she needs to work collaboratively, then that’s what we’ll do. We didn’t make our page for our town studies yet because the weather has been terrible (for example, today we had freezing rain and snow) and we haven’t been able to get out to any of the historical sites. We did do some map work, though, and I’ll post that when we’re finished.

Zane’s Adventures

The past two weeks I have been working really hard to establish a rhythm for the kids. I’ve worked out that Monday is painting day, Tuesday we have off, Wednesday we do a seasonal craft, Thursday we go the library, and Friday is baking day (treats — not bread!). So, Zane has been very busy…




…making some pretty birds for our nature mobile, (we used these patterns from the Downeast Thunder Farm blog — bluebird, robin, chickadee — but we made ours with paper instead of felt),



…picking out “Zane books” at the library,


…and baking with his sister.



Mama’s Adventures

Identity crisis, anyone? In less than a month I will be a college graduate. This is kind of a big deal. I have been in college either part- or full-time for the past 13 and a half years. All told, that’s more than 40% of my life so far. I’m incredibly excited to move on to something new and to finally accomplish what I set out to do more than a decade ago. But, it’s going to be weird. I became an adult while in college (literally and figuratively). I got married, had children, had jobs…but I was always a “student.” I have a lot to think about, and if I’m not blogging at full capacity it’s not because I don’t care or things aren’t going well. I have so many things I want to blog about, but right now I need to focus my mental energy on crossing this threshold into the next phase of my life. Then I’ll be back full steam ahead.

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The Twenty-Fifth Week

Do you ever feel like you are being watched? I’m sure Lillia does…


Lillia’s Adventures

This week we continued to read chapters from the Tao of Pooh. I think Lillia’s favorite chapter was “Bisy Backson,” in which we learned all about how living like Rabbit (constantly on the go) causes a lot of undue stress. I think I can fully appreciate this now that our lives have really slowed down. I was already working on cutting out the “Bisyness,” but choosing to homeschool was really the tipping point. One of my ongoing projects is to create a home that allows my children to live their lives at their own pace, without always being rushed, and most of the time I’m pretty successful (except Saturday mornings when it’s time to leave for ballet lessons…).

In Life of Fred we learned more about sets — domains and codomains and how they are used in relation to functions. For example:

A function: A rule that assigns to each member of the domain exactly one image in the codomain.
A constant function: A rule that assigns to each member of the domain exactly one image in the codomain, and it is always the same image.

The coolest thing about the Fred books is that I end up learning things right along with Lillia. I think that any adult suffering from math phobia would really benefit from doing this series.

As usual, Lillia spent many hours this week drawing and being creative. When she was little I thought that her love of animals would lead her into a science-oriented career like zoology or veterinary science. Now that she is older and becoming more of an individual I can see that her real talents and passions lie in the realm of the arts.

Here she is doodling on the floor of the garage with chalk.


She also created a magazine for me. She got mad when I tried to photograph her making it because, as she exclaimed, “It’s a surprise!”


Here’s my favorite page:

Zane’s Adventures

This week Zane experienced a kitchen remodel…on a small scale. Our friend gave us an awesome piece of play kitchen furniture a while back but it was just too big for Wee Little Zane to use. I switched it out with a little bookshelf we already owned, and now he has a just-the-right-size kitchen.



He spent a lot of time playing outside. I’ve been trying really hard to work outdoor time into our daily schedule, so we definitely got out more than usual (the warm weather helped).


And, as usual, Zane spent a lot of time playing with is sister. Yep, it’s true — two kids do fit on a rocking horse. They had to prove it to me.


Mama’s Adventures

This week I did a lot of soul-searching and thinking about the rhythm of our home life. We didn’t really have much of a rhythm this year and I think that was a big contributor to some of the stress we experienced, in regards to homeschooling. My first order of business in tackling this issue was creating a snack/meal chart that we can use every week. The snacks and lunches will be the same each week so it’s a no-brainer when it’s time to shop and, more importantly, the kids will know what to expect. I’ve taken many early childhood classes, as well a year-long professional development course about caring for children ages 0-3, and time and again my instructors emphasized the importance of rhythm and routine for little ones (and all children from about birth to seven). I’m embarrassed to say that I’m just now putting that knowledge into practice in my own home but sometimes we have to spend some time doing the wrong thing in order to figure out how to do it right. Lillia is more independent and her food needs are somewhat particular. She has a lot of sensory issues and this manifests itself strongly in her dislike of most foods. Still, the rhythm is there for her, even if she doesn’t eat the snacks. I’m still tweaking my chart but when I feel like it’s pretty much done I will post it here.

My next order of business is developing a schedule for our special activities. I’m thinking of painting on Monday, seasonal craft on Tuesday, playdough or modeling clay on Wednesday, baking on Thursday, and trip to the library on Friday.

Do you have a structured rhythm? If so, what aspects of your home life do you include?

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Filed under 2013, Weekly Update