Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday April 29

A lot of crazy happenings at our house today
pigs were passed
faces made
games mastered
Add Image

Unwittingly Prepared for Next Year

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are purging our toys and all of the contents of our cupboards. Yay!

Now, I came across an astonishing amount of good intentions.
I had piles of books, little games, art projects, etc. that have sat in the cupboard.
All year.

How could this be? I am constantly scratching my head with new things to make the month interesting and ways to inspire me and the kids with our learning. And all this time they laid buried in the cupboard.

Well, not anymore, friends!
Because look what I found in my cupboards:

Paper bags!!! Not just any ordinary paper bags. Paper bags that are quickly becoming my redemption. Because I labelled them as followed:
Yes. The months of the year.
I'm making gift bags for myself. I'm stuffing into each of these bags all of the different art projects and doodads that I've been meaning to do but totally forgot they existed.
I can hardly wait for next's years homeschool year when I go to the closet each month and bring out fresh ideas! And you know how excited my kids will be when they see a mix of old toys and new things to create with.

And guess how clever I am?
Oh yes, I stuck seasonal things in each bag. This year I AM READY for fall time crafts and Rememberance Day celebrations. I am on it!
Thank you Lord for good ideas and for dropping them into my brain!

quick tip: Don't forget to mediate yourself while you go through your stuff. Asking yourself the essential questions of:
1. Why have I not used this? (did I forget, not really interested, it didn't fit the theme of our learning this year)
2. When could I use these? Will my children be interested in this? How could we tie it in with a seasonal or biblical theme?
3. Do I know anyone who could get better mileage out of this than our family?

There you have it. Now, go to your closets and organize for next year.
I hope you have pretty, sparkly bags too!


I mentioned the other day that I was interviewed on TV.
Not a big deal.
It was from the station I used to work for.
They wanted to talk to a homeschooling mom about making the choice to stay home and raise my kids rather than pursue a traditional career.

They arrived early and set up lights in my kitchen.
I fiddled with the mic and wondered if my hair looked ok.
They said they were ready and I prayed that I was.

Q: Why did you decide to stay home and raise and homeschool your kids?

A million answers zip through my mind.
Should I start with the fact that I love my kids and they are the most fun people ever and, of course, I want to spend time with them?
Should I break in with the huge announcement that homeschool is not school at home but rather life unfolding and teachable moments meeting us at the intersection of household responsibilities and snuggling on the couch?
Should I launch into the fact that educating my child in the Three R's pales in comparison to the opportunity I have to disciple my children and shepherd their heart?
Where to begin???

I think I said something along the lines of "The moving force behind our decision to have me stay home with the children was our desire to be obedient to things that God is asking our family to do. That's my highest aim in life--to be obedient to Him. I'm honoured that He's entrusted me with the gift of raising these children and there is no greater privilege than to shape and mould my children's character and instruct them in God's ways."

Q: Do you ever feel as though you are missing opportunity for financial increase or career advancement?
Hmmm...well, the sound of financial opportunity blowing past me at high speeds is a sound I'm used to.
Did it use to bother me? Yes.
Does it still? Occasionally. Depends what time of the month it is! :)
Missing out on career advancement? Absolutely.
But I've learned that following Christ is not about going higher but about bowing deeper. It is all about laying your life down and serving His dream for your life...not your own.

My answer went something like this:
I think that when you first transition out of a professional career there is a temptation to think you are crazy. You have left a place of productivity where you could see your results daily and suddenly you enter into a career where you do the same repetitive tasks over and over again. (ie. Laundry, picking up toys you just put away, etc.) But somewhere in the midst of these mundane tasks the Lord meets you and works on your heart and develops character in you. And you, in turn, are able to direct and lead your children in a way that will develop excellence and quality of character in them.
This life isn't without sacrifices. You'd be naive to think that you wouldn't have to lay some things down in order to pour your life into your family. But like any good cause that we fight for, it's worth it."

And it really is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Change: Not just loose coins in your pocket

We've taken to eating differently.

We're almost raw foodists.
It's easier to say that then sugar-free, gluten-free, meat free except for farm fresh eggs and the occasional salmon and dairy free except for organic butter (because I will not give up butter, no, no I will not)

Anyway, it's brought a lot of interesting discussion.
Mainly a resistance to change.

Can you bring your family to a place of change concerning food? You betcha!
here's how

Define the Problem (Intentionality and Reciprocity)
Do we like having these particular health issues? What do we need to do to solve them? How can nutrition change or help our bodies?

Long-Term Options (Bridging)
What do you think happens when you don't feed your body good things? What does the Bible say about our health? Do you think we can glorify God with our food habits?

Pay-OFF (Infuse Meaning)
How is it going to feel when our bodies are cleansed and we've got all these detox nasty things out of our bodies? How do you think we'll sleep? Do you think we'll be grouchy?

One thing we have taken the time to do, is to find out what is in the food we eat and what part of the body it effects.
For example, we drank some vegetable juice with parsley in it. We talked about how parsley cleanses our kidneys and helps them function like they are supposed to. Then we talk about how the kidney has been made to recognize what is good and only let in what is good for this organ. It is constantly bombarded with things that aren't meant for it but rather than having to identify what is bad and shouldn't let in, it focuses on what is good and only looks for the good things to take in.
How does that relate to our relationship with God and living holy? Do we have a long list of things we need to say no to or do we familiarize ourselves with all the things He loves so that we can immediately focus our hearts on what is good for us?

Changing taste buds, changing hearts can all be done by using mediated learning and some carrot juice.

Tuesday April 27

Today we were interviewed by a Tv station about homeschooling.
And after that we rolled in the mud.
Mischief mess making!
But before all that. We played some Blokus
Yesterday we made a rubber bouncy ball using borax and glue. Today we are dying it green.
Buddy is after our gift of gluten-free muffins from our friend Ange
Scary robot-monster

Little pieces of beauty

Toy Downsize: ML style!

Do you ever have too many toys in your house????
Ok, well, I'll tell my little story and perhaps one day you can pass on these tips to someone else.

Sometimes your closets can become overwhelmed with a lot of toys.
You have three options
1. Throw everything away behind your child's back
2. Move to a new house to store your stuff
3.Teach your children the blessing of purging!

I love to clean and get rid and minimize. LOVE IT!

And it has come time to thin out and weed out the toys.
Here's how you can teach your kids to do it using Mediated Learning techniques.

What will happen if we keep all these toys? Where will we put them? How can you play with them all? Do you play with them all? Can we get new toys if we don't have space for them?
Bring them through the thought process of change and help them discover WHY they need to get rid of excess.

2. Take it outside.
I have a wee little house and storage is limited so we have to purge continually. We also don't have a lot of space in the house to go through things. But our yard is very spacious and a great way to put everything out where we can see it.
This is the bin for Yard Sale stuff. Our goal today is to fill it to the top!!!
3. Follow the rules of SPACE
SPACE stands for Sort, Purge, Assign a Home, Containerize and Label and Equalize
(I love you, Julie Morgenstern creator of such smart thinking)
Make a game of the Sort part of Space. Have your kids group and classify their toys. Cars, balls, dolls, marbles, etc.
Make them into little groups and then go through each group of toys one bite at a time.

4. Stay Focused
Kids will play with toys. Obviously, so keep them reined in while you go through the toys. Playing with them is fine but remind them of the larger goal and why they are out here.

I love forcing comparison here. Get rid of half the toys by picking up two toys and saying, "Which would you rather keep, this one or this one?"
I gave a basket of balls to my daughter and asked her to choose 5 balls to put into the yard sale pile. She did it quite easilly and found a sixth ball she could do without. Yay!!!!
Here are some other questions:
Do you want to keep this, give this to a friend or put in the yard sale pile? ( I recommend only giving friends up to three toys as it's a headache to try and get the toys to the friend and no friend need more of your old stuff)
Why do you want to keep it? Why is it important to you? What do you think you could buy if we sold these two items for $2.00?

6. Respect
I love to purge. I would gladly throw away a great deal of junk from our place. However, my definiton of junk isn't the same as my child's. If they really want to keep something, find out why.
Sometimes we hold onto things because of the memory that the item evokes in us. Here are some questions to move beyond the memory and helping them determine if they truly want to keep it:
Why do you want to keep that toy? What makes it so special to you? I remember when we played with this toy and ____ (insert their memory). Wasn't that a fun time? You know, I wonder what we could do to remember this special time? What do you think we could do?

WAIT for their answer. They may say take a picture of the toy, or write a card to that person or keep the toy forever. (If they want to keep the toy ask them if they want it in their room or put away in their heritage box--that's what I have for my kids).
Sometimes they will freely part with the memory if they know that they can still preserve it another way.
One idea that comes to mind is having a memory journal. Together you can write down the memory and keep it safe...and then pass on the toy to someone else.

Hope that helps. Happy Purging!

Taking time to say thank you

On Friday, a few Wisdom moms and our kids went down to visit our local MLA. (He's our political representative)
The original reason was because we had heard some rumors about the government making some changes to the way homeschooling is set up here. In particular, rumors about changing contracted out homeschool authorities.
We banded together and wrote letters and were ready to make our case.

And then, thankfully, I had new information given to me that the issue has been put to the side for now.

We went forward with our meeting but with a new agenda. Gratitude and Blessing!

Our kids had the unique experience of watching their mom's thank the MLA for all his hard work and firmly say that we love the way things are, please don't change anything. And then the mom's got to watch as their kids thanked the MLA and asked him questions about his life in office.

This opportunity was very interesting as we learned about who he is and the highs and lows of his work and his devotion to his family.
At the end of our time, we asked him if we could pray for him as we wanted to bless those who were in authority. He said that he'd be honoured.
I almost got teary with this opportunity. What a treasured moment to be able to pray for those in authority right there in front of us. And what a great lesson to teach my children: we can pray for anyone, anytime,anywhere.

This is a good time (if you live in this province) to meet with your MLA and thank them and communicate with them that we don't want anything changed. Our province has a lot more freedom then other provinces. Let's be thankful for what we have and let those in authority know about it!

Thursday April 22

The day started with a surprise in the cupboard...Hello Buddy!
Then we went outside, built a fort.
They folded laundry while I read. Ah, the homeschool life! (snicker,snicker)
Then we planted.
And looked at stuff crawling up through the ground
Then came in for some carrot juice and some mischief!
And back out to complete the gardening...

...or in this case, start again

Thursday, April 22, 2010

All bets are off because the cape is at the dry cleaners

Ok, so Poetry days are off. I can only handle so much and this is one ball that is going to get dropped so I can juggle the others.

And I might just need to clarify something...
I am not super-mom. I am a super mom to my kids, but not The Super Mom. My cape is at the dry cleaners and therefore, I don't have it. And as we all know it's a universal truth that you can't use your super powers unless you have your cape.
So, there.
Not so super anymore.

And to prove it. Here's why I have not been blogging of late:
I'm spring cleaning.
Now in a tiny place like ours you think that'd be no problem.
But ...we live in a tiny place with very little storage. So everything must be gone through.
And then I thought, why not do things Laura Ingalls style and wash down walls and all that jazz.
I did not factor in the fact that I had kids.
It would seem that my mediating skills left me and I felt it necessary to just shoot from the hip. Bad idea.
What began as scrapbooking the very last of my pictures...
Soon brought the realization that my garage needed cleaning at the same time as my house. Which lead to this. (A great mediating post coming up on having your kids get rid of STUFF!)
But while I spring cleaned the kitchen, mischief happened in the hallway
(that is not a box of Crispy Rice at the bottom...because we would never eat junk! It's a universal truth that super heroes don't eat cardboard with vitamins added to it).
So I turn around to straighten and organize my hallway, but the kids escape and I find their hideout (I didn't lose all my spidey-sense when I dropped off the cape to be cleaned)
Yes, so when you clean a tiny space that really has no room to move in, and your kids co-operate by voluntarily cleaning out other cupboards, you realize that being a super mom is not for you.
You call the dry cleaners and tell them that you won't be picking that item up and that they can discard it for all that matters.
There is something more important to do:

It's called sleep.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Um....hat in hand...explanation

OK, so this whole 24 days of poetry was a much better idea in my head then in practice.
It needed a little more lay out than I planned.
Poorly planned, poorly delivered.
I haven't posted for a few days and I have been B.U.S.Y.

Nevertheless, I have a poetry assignment today for those who want to contribute.

The assignment is:
Write an apology in verse

Agony of heart
Weeping of soul
You came to my blog
Saw no verse or poem

Hat in my hand
I humbly beg pardon
For lack of ideas
to make a poetry garden

Now ready for more play
And rollicking rhyme
Let's write more haikus
To pass all our time

How about yourself?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have Your Limerick and Eat it Too!

Today's poem theme is make a poem about the food you eat.
In particular, a limerick.

A limerick is limerick is a five-line poem written with one couplet and one triplet. If a couplet is a two-line rhymed poem, then a triplet would be a three-line rhymed poem. The rhyme pattern is a a b b a with lines 1, 2 and 5 containing 3 beats and rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 having two beats and rhyming. Some people say that the limerick was invented by soldiers returning from France to the Irish town of Limerick in the 1700's.
***definition found at***

A poem can take minutes to put together and you can do it with your children while you make food

Here is ours

There once was a man named Duke
Whose eyes were made out of cukes
He looked so tasty
I wasn't so hasty
I ate him up and then I puked

I know, I know. Not quite Shakespeare...but I'm thrilled that they got the rhythm done and that we could use the word hasty.

Here's another one

I have a coconut I like to call Fred
Sometimes my coconut's eyes get red
He likes to jump
and makes a thump
when he falls out of his bed

How about you?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poetry Blues

Sorry everyone. I have not kept up my end of the deal with my big poetry partea.
It's a long that starts with, "On my other blog, I was doing a blog party...and ends with 'thought I could do both' "
I was wrong.

On top of everything else, I am spring cleaning and buried underneath my box of drawings that I have from my kids...since they were two.
Time to clean.

But, for those who keep showing up...and yes, more mediated posts will soon be up...
but for those who come for poetry, I will leave you with one of my favourite poems.
Things should be back on schedule...cough, cough...tomorrow.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Make a Poem...Happen!

Today we are making this poem happen.
We are trying some of what this poem suggests (pictures to follow):

31 ways of eating Peanut Butter
by Charles Wilkins

On a biscuit
on a bun
On your finger
On your thumb
with a little wild mustard
with a little mild custard
in the North
In the West
In a seer-sucker vest
on the back of a toboggan
on a roller coaster ride

baked or

Take it with a grain of salt
Or a little pinch of snuff
Eat it off your elbow if your tongue is long enough

In the closet
In a bed
On a piece of brown bread

On a fork
On a stick
When you're well
When your sick

With a peanut in the middle
With a cherry on top
You can drop it down your gullet
with a peanut butter plop

Standing still or on the run
And that is thirty one
...or is it thirty-two?

All the many ways there are of eating peanut butter
And none of them is really any better than the other

So if you like to spread it on the bottom of your shoe
And scrape it off and eat it
It's entirely up to you

Will it really matter any way in 50 years or so
How we ate our peanut butter 50 years ago?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mother Goose strikes again

Read a Mother Goose verse. bring back the classics and have a little giggle over "Old Mother Hubbard" or "Wee Willy Winky"

Mother Goose is the name given to an archetypal country woman. English readers were familiar with Mother Hubbard, already a stock figure when Edmund Spenserpublished his satire "Mother Hubbard's tale", 1590; with the superstitious advice on getting a husband or a wife of "Mother Bunch", who was credited with the fairy stories of Mme d'Aulnoy when they first appeared in English.[2] Mother Goose is credited with the Mother Goose stories and rhymes; yet no specific writer has ever been identified with such a name

Write a Couplet

A couplet is a two-lined verse. Both lines rhyme and usually have a rhythm to them.

I'd like to ride upon the bus
And sit next to my friend named Gus

Happy are the willow trees
whose branches pray on knotted knees

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shakespeare Celebrated

Today's poetry assignment is to listen to some Shakespeare.

Head over here to listen to Tales of Shakespeare from Charles and Mary Lamb.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poetry ParTEA Starts Today!!!

April is Poetry Month. We are celebrating it with writing,singing, acting,reading, reciting and creating poetry. Come back every day to find out what your poetry assignment is

Assignment for today:Act out a poem.

We chose Humpty Dumpty
We grabbed our eggs and called them all Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great push....I mean, fall
All the kings horses and all the kings men

Couldn't put Humpty together again

Happy Egg Smashing!

I'll put Mcklinky up laster as I gotta dash to an appointment! Please comment to let others know what you are doing until then

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The tree, as planned, is filling up. Tomorrow morning we will add some more as we sing about the Wondrous Cross.

Welcoming April

Tuesday April 6th
24 days of Poetry
I'm hosting a Poetry ParTea!
Stop in and find out what your poetry quest for the day will be
Link up and share your iambic pentameter with all of us!

The Accidental CM-Unschooler is Going Green

Today I was thinking about how I've become an accidental CM-unschooler.

I'm reticent to use the full term of unschooler because I truly don't know what it means. I should probably Wikipedia it, but that takes time and I'm too busy blogging to look up definitions! (CM stands for this)

Anyhow, my journey to becoming an almost CM-unschooler started because of my closet.
It's true.
Closets have that kind of power over people.

I was new to homeschooling and had just finished reading this book by Lisa Welchel. (Great read!) And then I read A Well-Trained Mind about a classical education. While the book was well written I came to realize that I hated Latin and Greek and started to squirm at the thought that I would have to teach these subjects.

Then I read up on Sonlight and I didn't like the price of it.

Then I read about Charlotte Mason. They recommended reading six volumes of The Original Homeschooling Series. I dreaded the thought of reading six volumes and searched for a Cliff Notes version--thank you Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and Catherine Levinson.

I liked the Charlotte Mason method because it is about nature study, short quick lessons and laying down habits. I was really excited about that part because...I wasn't too good in the routine and habits part. As in, I didn't have any...routines or positive habits that would be building blocks for the future.

I'm a run-by-the-seat of my pants, follow the idea that pops in my head kind of girl.

And then came time to choose curriculum.


And I couldn't do it. I read Cathy Duffy's Top Picks and it gave me an idea of where to start but when I totalled it up it came to $1000.00...for grade one! I believe in investing money into my child's education--but what if I spent $1000 and found out that it didn't suit her learning style?

So I did what every other mother has done when they are too chicken to make a decision...I did nothing (which turns out that it is a decision, whether we recognize it or not). I couldn't fathom spending so much money on a book or curriculum that my child may or may not resonate with because I may or may not have matched them up correctly.
The pressure was too great--so I cracked.

And then I saw my closet.
My kids closet.
The one that was stuffed with paints, arts and crafts, a magnifying glass, some wacky science experiment books my sister sent me and a whole lot of string.
And I thought...what if I could homeschool for very little money? Like, what if...I could go green and use what we have in the house to teach my kids about life, art, music, science and everything else?

Suddenly it was a challenge to me. Could I empty my closet of all it's resources and cover the basics of learning with my child? It was game on. Remember I'm a run-with-the-idea-you-have kind of girl. And I've been running since in an unschooling kind of way.

The only curriculum I've ever purchased is Math-U-See. I like the blocks and I like mastery. But we spread it out with tons of other math things.
The all from my closet.
In the spring I take $20 and go to the town rummage sale. That's what we do for spring.
In the summer, we live outdoors and plant a garden and follow our noses into all sorts of wonder.
In the fall, I panic and think I need curriculum, but then my girls birthdays come and everybody buys them tons of supplies for creating and learning.
In winter, Christmas comes and we're inundated with more things to put in our closets.

Now I spend money on our library card...and (sigh) the fees that we sometimes end up owing!

But the fees haven't ever cost me $1000.