Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What do you want to be when you grow up? A Blacksmith!

Tonight at dinner Chase asks me if Brianna 'has' to go to college soon. I said "well, she doesn't "have" to go to college, but I think she'd like to become a chef and I think she'd like to go to a cooking school. She has mentioned more than once that she'd like to go back to Rhode Island and go to Johnson & Wales. I guess that would be nice because of all our friends and family already there that could help her out during that first time away.

Then Chase says "Would I have to go to college?" I said well that depends on what you want to do for a job when you grow up. Some professions require a college degree and other don't. So do you have any idea what you'd like to do for a job?

"I want to be a blacksmith." Ok that one stumped me. I said "really - a blacksmith?" and he added "or someone who works with wood...you know makes things with wood."

He was so matter of fact. I guess the cool thing about his interest at the moment is that I can find ways to assist him with outlets for his interest. We actually have plans for a bat house that we got after the Nixon Park Nature Center class about bats. John is really good at building things. It quite amazes me actually. How he can even build things without a pattern and just figure them out. I think Chase is much like his Dad in this respect.

Blacksmith...huh. I wonder if you can make a living as a blacksmith? I was just reading this book about old "Yankee" homesteading skills and blacksmithing was in there. I kind of glossed over that thinking "yeah that's not something I could do" and moved on to the gardening and animal section. Now that I think about it, whenever we go anywhere that has a blacksmith - like recently at Mystic Seaport - Chase always spends a lot of time observing. I'll bet as he gets older I can find someone associated with the CSA to teach him... it is definately one of those dying arts....

Wow - unschooling really can open your eyes to possibilties that you never considered before.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is why I got Satellite Radio...

See there's something you discover every day while homeschooling....and using Satellite Radio ;-)
Alien In My Nose by Trout Fishing In America

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Eco-Friendly Halloween

This was our most creative Halloween. I finally remember to purchase ahead of time the Fair Trade Trick or Treat pack from Global Exchange. So we got Fair trade dark chocolate minis - along with some info cards to pass out about Fair Trade chocolate. I realize that I am the wierd one in the neighborhood - and especially living near Hershey, the chocolate capital of the world. My DH bought candy at the dollar store to make up little gifts for his clients kids and when we opened one of the bags the Jr. Mints were moldy!! So I took them right back and said "this is why I don't shop at the Dollar Store!"
So we also got a Mexican made skeleton garland thing that we put up to be festive and made cookies to eat while we worked on our pumpkins.

The kids did the best job with their costumes. Lexi wanted to be a vet and we did have a nurses smock in the dress-up bin, but she didn't have anything else that she wanted such as a stethoscope. So after two days of saying that we needed to buy one she finally made one out of cardboard and string and it looked really good. She carried around her stuffed cat, Lena - and very clearly was a vet. Chase already had a ninja costume in the dress-up bin that he wanted to use, but wanted a ski mask hat. So on a trip to the Salvation Army I found a large black snow hat that would fit all the way down to his neck for 99cents so we brought that home and cut holes in for eyes.

Brianna wanted to be a gypsy and so we went to the thrift shop to get bangles and beads and a scarf. Lexi found a pin with a cat on it. So we picked it all up for under $5.00. So I bought nothing new - and I am sure they will all make their way into the dress up bin for further use!

And I was the only person who gave out Fair Trade chocolate...although one mother had a set-up with a cauldron and was handing out apple cider - which was really great because everyone seems to get thirsty on the way.

Now our pumpkins! We found this great warty pumpkin and decided to make a witch out of her! So we used radishes from the farm for eyes, and the stump of a warty gord for the nose and a chili from our garden for the mouth. Brianna also made these really cool looking goul things. Chase says they looked like deer...

Overall it was a really fun day - and I was seiked that I was able to make it eco-friendly as well.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Going to the Symphony!

Friday, October 19, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.

We spent this morning in Baltimore at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as they open the last dress rehearsal up to school groups. My friends Homeschool group had reserved seats for us. The upcoming symphony is Frankenstein and looked really cool. In reality, we have never been to the symphony before so this was really kind of special - but the rehearsal was just that and they played the same section over several times. As it wore on, most of the kids got bored so we left. But I think it was a neat experience overall. The first violinist was so animated! I think this was inspiring for Lex who has been struggling recently with her violin. As the pieces become more difficult, she doesn't enjoy playing as much. But her teacher has really been encouraging and it was good to see that even those professionals, who you think are perfect are still practicing the same section over and over!

But now, I would like to actually save up the money to go for real! The conductor composed a piece that was his interpretation of the Frankenstein character, based upon Mary Shelly's book.

The one theme that you find over and over with unschooling is that one thing leads to another. We recognized some of the bits of the song and my friend went home and looked it up and we played it. The kids came in and out while that particular CD was playing and remarked that they recognized that piece. Well, they should as they heard the little sections several times! Then, we want to read the original book - which leads my husband to quoting the silly lines from the Frankenstein movie (the spoof one) - which now I need to go rent.

I will say that Chase was not as inspired and had bioncles in his backpack ;-) But he is like that and seems to need something to do with his hands as he listens. This applies whether it is reading or TV. He doesn't sit still very long to watch or listen and you would almost think he is not paying any attention and then he will come out with something profound that lets you know he really was listening.

I really thought for us that this was a neat experience, because going to the symphony is so costly for our family. If we had waited around for the whole rehearsal they would have had Q&A. I was kind of bummed to miss that but really the kids had met their limit and we wanted to respect that.

Overall, it was a really interesting day!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What Harry Potter Character are you?

Which Harry Potter Character Are You?

You are Hagrid. You're an outcast with a heart of gold. Despite your own problems, you always find time to help those in need.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Awww..I was sure I'd be Hermione ;-)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Manitoulin Kids Camp

I haven't posted for awhile so I probably missed a whole lot of really good stuff that we have been doing. However, we just got back from Manitoulin Kid's Camp in Ontario Canada. It is so beautiful there - and I have so much fun with the kids. This is really what it means when we say "The World is Our Classroom"! because it really is!

Canada is so beautiful! We did some serious camping sans electricity! The best part was counseling at kids camp. John and I had a great group of 11 year old girls. They really broght out the goofy in both of us ;-) Well, let's just say that it wasn't too far of a stretch for John!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well this is a little belated - but here is to another Happy Year!

I like to do a little reflection at the start of a new year. There have been so many projects; mostly personal that I have started this past year and things I will be finishing up this coming year.

I would have to say that this past year I struggled with some personal issue with homeschooling. I really feel that to successfully unschool, one needs to be completely available to do all the fun things that your kids want to do. I feel like I wasn't up to my usual perky self for many reasons, and some days I was just glad to get through the day. With that said, I have worried on those bad days that perhaps my kids would get more in school. Knowing that this is not true - and would be dependant on many factors I just really want to try harder to be more present, to make the time available to each one individually and help them accomplish some of the many things that they want to do. I have been feeling restless and bored. What is amazing is that I really do not have time to be bored - but what it is, is I am tired of the same old routine. I feel like I lack the emotional energy to pursue my own interests. I realize that I will get by this and that a lot has happened this year.

Starting the New Year off, I mailed a manuscript of a children's book that I had written and tweaked over the year. It has sat here on my computer, with my thoughts telling me, that really I am just going to get a rejection letter, so why bother. In reality, nothing can ever get published, if I don't put it out there. Even, if I get that subsequent rejection letter, well at least I actually sent it. Who knows - I visualize seeing it in Borders - or being able to have a booth at my CSA with the book there.

I have met some really creative people over the past year. I hope that I can just learn to let my own creativity through and be an example to my kids, that it doesn’t have to be perfect. There is so much that is artistic that appeals to one person and not another.

I will be completing my graduate degree this year. Somehow this does not feel like a major accomplishment - but I have really enjoyed the process of continuing to learn new things, interact with others in the class and have access to that really great on-line library from the college. I suppose if I was going to run out and get a job it might be more climatic, but I think I am going to miss going and will have to find ways to get my intellect going.

Someone asked me if being home, homeschooling my children wasn't mental stimulation enough - and I felt embarrassed almost at this assumption that if I am not content to just be with them that something is wrong with me. On the other hand, I feel like going to school has always been my way of having "something else". Something of my own interests. But I have seen it almost as a weakness that I need to have 500 things going on all at once to feel fulfilled.

This year I want to actually buy a camper and be brave enough to learn to drive it all the way to Canada for our annual camping trip.

This year I hope John's business continues to flourish so that I can pay off debt and I can save for that farm type property where I can have animals - and my neighbors won't complain!

Wouldn't it be really cool to have enough money to plan a really neat trip for our 15th anniversary - or take the kids somewhere really cool - like Mexico or Spain- to practice the Spanish we are learning? Ok, in reality Brianna would be the only one able to speak - as she is the one who seems to remember everything!

We are going to do another play. Hopefully, I will be able to have a role in one this year. I know Brianna and Lexi are planning for some of the auditions - but I need to go ahead and fit this in somehow.

Oh - and exercise...I really want to be more active. I know this is a cliché resolution - but I find I have been putting it off in a big way. I am going to be swapping babysitting for yoga classes so that is a start.

The kids don't really have "goals" for the New Year. To them, I think it is just another day. Which in reality it is. I just hope to have a really good year as a family. To get to do all those fun things that the kids want to do. To get the monkey off my back of insecurity or lack - or whatever it is and move forward. To be a more mindful parent, to listen more than I speak, to help my children grow into who they are as individuals and not who I think they should be. To be thankful for my many blessings, to embrace abundance and not be afraid of it, to make my marriage stronger, to allow for greater trust and intimacy with others, to not be such a chicken when putting my feelings out there, to figure out exactly what things I want to do and work toward them.

I welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been!