Monday, April 30, 2012

homeschooling dynamics ~ togetherness

 Dynamics between homeschooled siblings are different than between school kids, because of the huge amount of togetherness.  Sometimes it can be glorious.  They can spend hours lost in their own imaginary, ever-changing world, helping each other through hard times and obstacles.  And there are obvious challenges.  Too much togetherness can cause friction between anybody, even if they are very skilled at negotiating compromises and differing opinions.

Now that Camille has returned to homeschooling, we are all adjusting to this togetherness.  It has been really and truly, mostly good, even great, but when it's not, my skills at helping them manage their strong emotions are put to the test.

One thing that helps us is to change up the dynamics.  I try to spend some one on one time with each of my girls whenever I can, even if it's just bringing one along to the grocery store when Papa is available to watch the other two.  These times are cherished and are the scene of some of our best, most meaningful conversations.

 One thing that has been working out beautifully for us lately is stopping somewhere where Camille and Sylvia can play together while Ayla naps in the car.  If it is one of our OUT days, this is a big highlight and can (usually) prevent melt downs.  The two girls get a sense of independence and adventure, Ayla gets a quiet napping spot, and I get some time to daydream, knit, read, or in today's case, sit by a pretty little river.  I stay within earshot of both the car and the two older ones, though they usually prefer to go just out of sight on their adventures.  We often stop at a park with a playground, but today we stopped at some nearby Native American Panther effigy mounds.  I think this will become one of our regular spots.
 We live about 8 miles from anywhere with a grocery store, library, etc.  Quite a few more miles if we are going to the bank, grocery with a natural foods section, bookstore, craft store or anything else.  So, we try to consolidate our trips as much as possible, but sometimes there's nothing else for changing-up a tense or restless day than to just GO.
 So sometimes I make sure that the girls get a break from each other and sometimes I try to get them a little break from me.  They love this!
  I find that if I am really present for them to help them work through their frustrations and negotiations, (and even better, to shake things up before they get to the point of frustration) then our world is much more joyful and peaceful.
Today my girls got in a loud, drawn-out, angry argument.  Want to know what they were fighting about?  Who would be the one to drive Ayla around and take care of her, when they both had their driver's licenses, but Ayla didn't yet.  They figured out that Ayla would be nine when Camille was sixteen.  It's actually a pretty sweet thing to argue about, but they were getting very upset with each other.  No amount of interjecting that they could have this conversation when they were a little older deterred them.
I try to help them work through tone-of-voice issues, and remind them to take slow deep breaths when they are getting angry, how to be respectful of others' feelings, but sometimes I need to step back, speak less, and just get us all out the door.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

ordinary goings on

We went for a wildflower hike with our homeschool co-op this week.  It was a lovely sunny day.  The children ran ahead and stealthily planned to ambush the parents as we came upon them hiding beside the trail :)

 trillium and rue anemone
 wild ginger

There was also a related craft where the children made bookmarks using pressed flowers and leaves and contact paper.

 There has also been lots of chickie love as our eggs have been busy a-hatchin' in the incubator.
 Even two-year-old Ayla lovingly and gently plays with them when they are ready to move into the brooder.
 We also had some indoor-marshmallow-roasting since it was chilly enough to warrant a fire in the woodstove one afternoon.

And more chickie love.....

 There was some book-style learnin',
 about China and animal facts.  As well as US History on the computer via this cool, free website.

We've been making home made sorbet every day.  It's just a variety of frozen fruits run through our juicer.  (We have a Champion juicer.  I don't know if this works in all styles of juicers.)  Even completely unsweetened, it is delicious.

 I cleared off the crazy clutter that mounds up on my sewing desk with one project in mind, but I finished another, already-cut dress for Sylvia instead.

 And Camille added ties to the one that we made for her earlier this year.  She didn't like how shapeless it was.  I think this is a nice improvement.

 um, chickie love, again


 Our puppy walk went off-road as it often does...

mmmmm, garlic mustard

 ahhhh *sigh* more chickie love

That's quite enough pictures for one post I think.  All is well here.

Friday, April 27, 2012


 It took about eight hours from when we first noticed the crack in the egg until this little chick had bravely made her way out into the world.  Then another couple of hours to dry her feathers in the incubator before being introduced to her two other brooder-mates, with many more to follow.  This particular egg was laid on the 7th of April (hence the 7 on its shell) and hatched on the 27th.

We had many more fertilized eggs than we had expected from just one rooster, so we may have some chicks to give away when all is said and done, or we'll just keep on increasing our brood, and find some customers for our organic, free-range eggs from happy, well-loved chickens :)

Someday they'll be so big....