Wednesday, October 30, 2013

autumn stroll

 Out the door and up the road to appreciate autumn's somber beauty....



“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Magic is Afoot (500th post)

Somehow, I have managed to put up 500 posts on this little blog.  Thank you for visiting and sharing in our family's simple magic and learning and challenges and joys!

Learning Magic
 I can't tell who is more proud and excited of Sylvia's progress with learning to read, Camille or Sylvia herself.

 Even without her times tables memorized Camille is learning long division, adding decimals, etc., easily and enthusiastically thanks to Khan Academy.

 Sylvia loves potions and scientific messing about.
 fizzy fingers

 Camille and Sylvia have been enjoying learning perspective drawing and shading from the book by Mark Kistler, You Can Draw in 30 Days.

Sylvia and Ayla made paper bag monster puppets at the library.

Ayla put on a puppet show featuring "brave, strong princesses".

Natural Magic
 As the length of daylight shortens, so does the amount of eggs our hens are laying.  Ayla still gets excited to collect them every day, even if there's only one.

One little, two little, three little witches
Fly over haystacks, fly over ditches
Slide down the moon without any hitches
Hey ho, Halloween's here!

 If you have three witchy daughters, it's no mystery how they came to be that way :)
Fun Magic
We joined the local Girl Scout troop for an exciting day of rollerskating and dress-up fun.
 Under the limbo stick.  

 Every time the word crocodile was sung, the skaters were supposed to lie down and kick their legs in the air.  They were playing the song, Crocodile Rock, so they often didn't get very far before it was time to fling down and kick again.

 ghostly witches

 I can't do anything fancy, but I can still rock a pair of roller skates!

Whether it feels too simple and plain, or messy and complicated, or everything in between, Life Can be Magical, if we let it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Colors, chores, church, and pumpkins

How's that for a mix of topics?  It's what was on my camera from the last three days :)

 Sylvia made red, yellow, and blue colored water, and held them to the light in different combinations to see what colors they created together.
After mixing the colors visually, she took a pipette and mixed them in cups and on paper.

Ayla joined me in the garden for planting garlic.  Before long all of the kids were out, digging up potatoes and carrots, pulling out old tomato and sunflower plants, and having a generally fun time.

Photo: a little Saturday night algebra with Camille

plotting points and connecting the dotsI never make my kids help me in the garden.  They could be inside watching cartoons or playing on-line games or just laying in the grass or ... you get the idea.  All people (yes, kids, too!) have a natural motivation to put in effort towards things that interest them.  That's why I don't worry about limiting screen time or requiring chores.  Why wouldn't kids want to dig up carrots (or graph equations, or help tidy the living room, gather firewood, etc) sometimes?  If I required them to do these things as chores, maybe they would never choose to do them for their own reasons.

Actually, right now Camille is making a cottage pie from scratch with local, organic ingredients including potatoes and carrots from our garden (from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook).  It's all about supporting their interests!

When we were done for the day, we brought in the rest of the clean-up crew.

As I was closing up the chicken coop for the night and bringing in firewood, the silhouette of this very tall pine tree in our front yard caught my eye.  Those things commonly referred to as 'chores' can be a source of joy and satisfaction, too.

I'm still working on adjusting towards that mentality for myself when it comes to indoor chores, like dishes.

Some time last year, Camille expressed an interest in attending church.  While we have many conversations about faith and God and religions and spirituality and the Divine, we hadn't regularly attended any type of religious observations with the kids.  In true unschooling style, I supported Camille's interest and we tried out a couple of different local churches.  When we attended a service at this beautiful 139-year-old country church near our home and found a woman pastor who regularly preached about acceptance of all people and the importance of environmental and social awareness and justice, we looked no further.  Camille now enjoys being a part of the church community and is looking forward to being in the Christmas play.

We carved pumpkins and made delicious garlicky roasted seeds.  All of the girls wanted to do a skull theme inspired by Dia de los Muertos.  A quick google session brought up these templates and they set to work.

Recently, when I called Ayla a li'l pumpkin, she informed me that she is, in fact, a big-girl-pumpkin now.  All other cutsie terms of endearment are right out, too.  She is a big girl from here on out.  Oh, I love her three year old attitude and self-awareness, but it is bittersweet.  My little honey bunny pumpkin buns.
From left to right: 
Sylvia's - She did more than half of the carving and asked for help with the details.
Ayla's - She helped with the eyes and nose and then wanted me to finish it. 
Camille's - She carved her own without any help!

So, there you have it, three more days of unschooling goodness in this sweet life.  Thanks for visiting!