Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here we go round the Mulberry bush...

It's that time of year...
The berries come.  
We used to think they were just garbage trees...

the birds loved them and showed it upon our cars and mailbox.
But after some research we found that they are in fact...
Crunchy and sweet.
Juicy and rare.
You can't just go to the store and buy them.
You have to fight off birds and pull on branches.
Foraging in empty lots and in the brush barriers between suburban homes.
But the rewards are great.

We have three (a fourth is about a year from fruiting) such trees on our property.  
None were planted, and that's the way the Mulberry likes it.
The birds do the dirty work (on the cars and mailboxes of the neighborhood.)
and the mulberries spread.
On the fringes, in the neglected areas, they pop up quickly and with strength and determination.
Tenacious as any of the traditional berry bushes are, but with the glory of a tree.
What have you foraged for lately?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Part 2...a journey of homeschool....

I've been working on the story of why we homeschool...It was a oddly quick decision that was made almost overnight when our preschool situation was not working out for us.  
The whole family jumped in with all 8 feet.  Research via internet, reviews of curriculum, calling my sister, writing writing writing to sort out ideas...creating a budget (I quickly found that if I didn't things could get quite costly.)

Later (as in about 6 months later) my mother in law admitted she thought we'd gone off the deep end, but had come to the realization that we had made the right decision...and she as well as my mom were very supportive of our decision.

And away we went...
Buying curriculum, sorting it all out...
(good ole husband did a great job organizing since that is not my forte.)

Structuring days.
Finding home school groups.
Finding friends that support your decisions.
Dealing with a polite way of dealing with people saying X way was the only way and we should do it too...
Realizing that the real education is in the journey of discovery...
Making things fun.
Trying to overcome a severe case of Type A personality.
Trying to read all of Charlotte Mason's writings.
Exploring our world and finding new joy in every moment.
Finding the kids are best friends.
I am learning along with them.
Finding I am infinitely currious as well.

When the husband is home, I am discovering why he has always been such a sought after teacher.
We all love listening to him spin a tale of history and why things are the way they are.
How different life is when you have a teacher that cares.
Seeing the magic of everyday moments.
That is what learning is all about.

How did you make the decision to educate your child the way that you do?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A very happy birthday to who?

By the's my sister's birthday today!
Happy birthday Country Sister.

Our first year...

Our first year of being one of "those homeschool families"  has come to a close.
What a year it has been, full of fun and frustration.
I've started our story several times, erased it several times, and yet again am attempting to tell our story.
It's a tale to be told in a few parts, as it began to get quite wordy...
My husband and I sent W. to preschool as all good suburban parents do at the tender age of 3.  With a new baby and two full time jobs, we thought it was a great idea.
Two mornings a week, he went off into a room full of children who were 3 as well.
Then it began...
"Mommy why isn't the green monster in school anymore."
We figured out that "the green monster" was a fellow classmate who was kicked out for behavioral reasons.
"Ann said it was okay...his mom gives him XYZ all the time."
Fill in the blank with all sorts of things W. was not allowed to have/ watch/ do.
Somehow he finished the year having done 100 crafts all with hand prints.
Summer came and went...we started noticing him having difficulty with things his now 18 mo sister could do.
Utensils, dressing, shoes...all mysteries to our dear W. but our little C. was able to do each task with ease.
We could no longer ignore these delays...I began to worry.
We signed him up for 4 year old school.
I began working on each of these tasks carefully.  Each outfit was picked based on simple ease of getting it on.
During the summer, W. also began wearing a brace on his chest to help his ribs grow correctly as his were growing too fast for the rest of his body and caused a dangerous protrusion.
I called the school to inform the teacher about it.  I had fears that he'd tell her we squished him, tied him up...or otherwise.  She never called us back.
Lack of communication should have been a warning light.
I asked if there were parent/teacher conferences...after all I'd like to know how he was doing.
Until one day when I got a notice about parent teacher conferences the next week (thanks for the heads up...working parents need more time to rearrange schedules.)
W. broke his leg and he was out of school for a month since they couldn't (wouldn't) accomadate for him.
Snow days and cancellations caused it to be pushed back to after Christmas break.
Finally, at drop off she said she'd speak to me.
She announced that she thought it best for him to spend another year at preschool.  She was certain he had fine motor delays and language delays (side note...I'm a speech therapist for early intervention...his language was fine...he just chose not to obey...a big difference that a preschool teacher should be able to tell the difference between.)
(Insert image of the citysister with her jaw on the floor.)
Calmly I asked...isn't an imagination a good thing?
He never went back to school.
We began homeschool immediately.

To be continued....

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Lots of things have been happening around here...
Potatoes are blossoming.
Spinach has bolted.

The chickens have been moved to their permanent scratching grounds after using them to kill grass and fertilize our new corn "field" (small patch about 10x15.)
This is where being tired comes from.  See I have little to no carpentry skills.  My husband is a wire cutter and saw pro.  Somehow we managed to cut windows in the chicken coop for better ventilation and then attach mesh over them so there are no escapees.  Then we built a little box with wire mesh to act as a tunnel from the coop we rebuilt to their wire dog cage.  Then I remucked their coop (why's nice sometimes to just start fresh.) 
We managed to fill the compost pit.  I am thinking about letting that decompose while I build a real compost bin and use that.  Our compost pit is beginning to not serve it's purpose as well as it used to. 

A sock has been almost finished (one of my year's goals.)
And June is just bursting out all over here.

We got a new camera after months of issues with the old one, but there is a distinct lack of pictures here due to the screen on our camera compatible computer (say that 10x fast) now won't turn on so no pictures now.
Sorry it took so long to post, but we've been working from after work to bed time for about a week to get everything finished before the blazing heat began.
So I am about to go learn how to use the new camera and then maybe try to fix the old screen...wish me luck.