Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Eclectic Quilt

After doing the self-analysis about our homeschool style and realizing how much I like Waldorf I purchased an e-book from

The author is the moderator of one of the Yahoo Groups I joined to learn more, and I am so impressed with her! The e-book is a Kindergarten curriculum (so to speak- since Waldorf Kindy is not very structured it is more like guidelines) and I am excited to incorporate the simple traditions and concepts into our daily rhythm.

I know that we will never be Waldorf "purists"- for one we are just to eclectic, and of course there is that 61" monstrosity that my husband loves so dearly, which sits so perfectly squared to our sectional couch (Ok I admit I am often quite fond of it myself). I AM proud of how we've allowed the broadcast programs to re-enter our lives, and how we've all cut down on our usage of the Digital Versatile Discs- but our media exposure is not quite what most Waldorfians would approve of, and I haven't even mentioned our 3 computers- each with it's own desk to support and cradle it's magical portal to other worlds of wonder, information and entertainment.

Of course electronics aren't the only reason! Overall we could never be purists of any method- "totally committed" is just not how we live our lives. I am all about change, variety, diversity- and exploration. I'd like to think that on the sliding scale of commercialism vs naturalism we are constantly drawing closer to the natural side of things, but being Thoroughly Modern Millee means that I am always tempted to jump on (and start a blog about) the bandwagon with the big banner that reads "Latest Trend"!

We are forever changed by the fervor with which I jump into something new (raw foods, veganism, green living, homeschooling, respectful parenting, earth spirituality, etc) and the footprints of these "trends" are left scattered across our formerly fast-food, consumer-driven, dumbed-down lives. We eat at home more often, and the meals are more frequently organic and raw- but our eating habits are by no means inspiring. We are more ecologically conscious- we compost and have a worm bin- but we still buy water in plastic bottles (we recycle them!) and use straws. We have an unschooling approach, while we incorporate other methods to see what they are like. We have a lot in common with Attachment Parenters, although we never co-slept and have more rules and expectations than most true APers.

I piece together ideas & philosophies much like patchwork- my values are the rotary cutter, facts & opinions (books, blogs, research) are the layered blocks, our family's personality is the batting, our past experiences are the stitching, and our environment the backing- and the result is very much like a cozy quilt. Warm, familiar, imperfect and ultimately a personal work of art.

Some day I am going to make a real quilt, too. I'm sure I'll be quite obsessed with it, as I am with everything new thing I learn about. I hope that Grace inherits my passion for learning... and Shawn's habitual persistence. And maybe there is a fairy godmother waiting to bestow self disciplined consistency.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Webrangers & Pokemon Cards on ebay

Another homeschooler posted this on one of my Yahoo Groups today. We signed up and did 5 online activities- Grace thinks it's really cool. I haven't checked it out much, but I think she said you can even get "badges" or something... anyway it fits right in with some of our objectives this fall.

Happy Friday!

Oh, has everyone heard about the hilarious story of the mom with six kids who posted some Pokemon cards on ebay? It is pure fun! Click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Entering the Charter School World

Well it's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have gone and changed my mind again! We enrolled in a charter school called Sky Mountain. They are fairly new, but managed by IEM who has 15 years experience in administrating charter schools. I was drawn to them for the money, I must admit. They offer $1800 per year in educational funds, and support many different learning styles and teaching methods.
I am now really looking forward to getting started- we pushed our "First Day" back to match the schedule of the charter school so I have just under two weeks, and we will start school on Sept 4th, the same day I have a sonogram so we'll *hopefully* find out the sex of the baby. I am using for planning, and I think it will be very useful when meeting with our EF- both for putting together a PO for supplies and showing an organized lesson plan with examples of work.
I am going to be doing mostly unit studies in a Waldorf style. The charter had a self-analysis tool that helped me narrow my focus, and that is really helping me be concise in how we do Kindergarten with a low emphasis on academics yet an organized and balanced "lesson plan".
Grace is enjoying the last couple weeks of summer, today we are going swimming at a friends, and tomorrow we are working on yet more clearing out of clutter and making room for baby- now that the family room and homeschool room are done, and the office is half finished, I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow I'll attack all the closets and I think we'll actually be starting our school year in a fairly clean and organized home- for once!! Friday we will spend cleaning out the garage, where much of the clutter has gravitated, for our end of season garage sale. It amazes me that we seem to always accumulate enough, or decide more things aren't as necessary actually, for yet another garage clean out and sale!
Next week I will have free to plan the specifics for the first month of school. I feel suddenly behind, like where has the summer gone- but I think it is mostly because I was so indecisive all summer- it is nice to have finally chosen a path that seems to work for all of us.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Food & Nutrition

We started our last summer theme today- Foods and Nutrition. I love being able to expose her to my idea of the best food choices, since we have been leaning more and more towards a raw, vegan lifestyle.

We both played detectives investigating the sickness of so many stuffed lovies. We found clues along the way and jotted them in our notebook. We discovered that the "junk-food joke-ster" was behind it all, and we interviewed some witnesses. A kindly firewoman (it was the only hat I could find that fit me!) gave directions so she could draw a map to the 5 scrolls of food groups (Veggies, Water & other Superfoods, Fruit, Dairy & Grains, and Meats & Treats) We talked about how some people ate of the last group and began to worship pyramids of food. And how several people we knew had allergies to the dairy and grains so that maybe we should go easy on those if we choose to eat them.

We started a report for the police chief, compiling our notes and planned out how we could learn enough to capture and defeat the junk-food joke-ster. We learned about the 5 senses and how important they were both for being a detective and for preparing food. Healthy Sally helped us with a few tips and showed us how to make a "magic green elixir", it came out a lovely shade of green so we froze what was left into popsicles for tomorrow. Recipe below if you are interested. We both loved it!

We juiced the following (all organic)-
4 small leaves Lacinato Blue Kale
6 Romaine leaves
1/2 zucchini (just the skin actually)
2 large Red Leaf Lettuce leaves
a bit of cilantro from the garden just for fun!
1/8 honeydew melon
3/4 Pear

Then we blended the juice with
1/2 pear
1/2 zucchini (the flesh left after juicing the skin)
1/8 honeydew melon
1/4 cup frozen chunks young Thai coconut
4 oz Aloe vera gel

Tomorrow we will continue the investigation, or maybe the next day- since it is so hot and with Shawn already having to drive into OC for work we may just go to the beach all day.


Shawn last finished Da Vinci's Last Supper in Nov! No time for puzzles this fall- can't wait until we are in our own place again!!
Are you a puzzler? Want to trade?