Friday, February 18, 2011

On a Clear Day You Can See Our Homeschool


Cami and Delilah both missed the cut off for Kindergarten this year. Next year they would both make it, but Delilah would be very young, barely five years old. And she is young inside too. I like to crunch these numbers as if there is a magical formula, or as if I'm actually going to walk them up to the brick school house and then come home for a day alone. Sometimes I try that fantasy on for size. But truth be told, we have homeschooled for fifteen years now. It's not our school. It's our way of life.

Some days I wonder if I am yet qualified to take on the education of a child. And other days I marvel at how much children learn just by being with an adult who will answer their questions. I marvel at how children follow the natural rhythm and flow of a day when allowed to stay in touch with their own internal drive. And I marvel at the depth and height of the perceptions of children when they are not boxed in to a certain grade or certain curriculum. I suppose I will always wonder if it's "enough", but I will never doubt that it is good.

So, what does it really look like? At this age, homeschooling is simply being present in the moment and respecting moments of special learning opportunity when they appear.


On this morning, Cami drew two pictures after breakfast. One picture was of Jesus. She wanted to know what he looked like and I told her we really didn't know for sure, but some artists had tried their best to draw him. She decided she would draw Jesus too. And he looked very much like a hip hop star. Who's to say?

Cami also drew her vision of the universe. In my humble opinion, just the fact that she can understand and think about planets and stars up in the sky and then put that vision on paper is nothing short of amazing. Abstract thinking is a strength for her.

While Cami was drawing, Delilah was watching her. Delilah doesn't care much for drawing yet, unless you count markers drawning designs on her skin. So.......


Delilah ate Jelly Beans! And she learned about sharing.

The rest of the day was punctuated by puzzles and books. Delilah loves the wooden puzzle of the world and Cami enjoys the United States puzzle. Both are challenging for me and I'm surprised at how much they are able to do on their own. They are beginning to understand where they fit in physically in the world. Our state is part of the US which is part of the earth. We talk about China and also Australia because Lauren is headed there.

The afternoon was spent constructing a fort of chairs and a sheet and choosing some things to bring into this sacred spot. After dinner, both girls were content to pretend the fort was our igloo and they listened actively to the Usbourne Book of Greek Myths for Young Children, a book I thought would be too old for them. Again they surprise me. They were hungry for more stories of Hercules and Eurystheus, long after my voice was tired. Again I am amazed at their ability to follow stories of a time and place so far removed from their life.

Each day is special. Some days we struggle with just the simplest of interactions, keeping everyone in a peaceful place, reconciling differences, and fighting demons I cannot see and they cannot remember. But other days, the sky clears and I see our life with different eyes and I am pleased. It is enough. We are doing great together. The journey is only beginning.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day


We spent Valentine's Day morning at the park with some dear friends. From the moment their older son and Delilah met, it was true love. Although they don't see each other very often, they still talk about getting married. Delilah wants to look for a wedding gown (which she calls a "marry dress") on Ebay, and Aiden notices the wedding cakes at the grocery store and requests chocolate flowers.

For now, it is pure, innocent, sweet, and heavenly young love. A relationship without complication. And Delilah could not have been more impressed when her friend brought her potted red tulips. How Romantic!

And there is just something special about the look on a girl's face when she has just been given flowers!

funny valentine2

It was a fun time for everyone to play together.


Notice the lunatic driver in the car below. The beauty queens in back are very brave!!!!


Until the next time our paths cross, we'll carry happy memories of our day together........

Valentine gang4

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What the Camera Saw

Nothing feels quite so FREE as getting out of the house on a winter's day!



I promised the girls we would FINALLY take their scooters down through the neighborhood to a place where they could ride on a smooth surface without having to watch out for cars.

They were so excited! Then we had a small accident. But Delilah gave her well known battle cry which usually follows her mishaps. "I can still walk, Mom, I can still walk".


(And yes, I know my girls are not wearing helmets. There is a reason for this, which might be a blog post of it's own. Meanwhile, if you feel really uncomfortable when moms bend or break rules, then I suggest you click away right now......cause it's only going to get worse!)


We ran like the wind!


And we watched the clouds tumbling together promising snow!




And then it happened!!!!

"What does this sign say, Mom"???????






And there is only one thing to do!


Look completely innocent and then make a fancy getaway!





Safely together again and ready for the long walk back home........ Stay tuned for more adventures of the "Together in Crime Girls"..........


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Paradox of Older Children


Lately they come to me,
smelling faintly of
smoke and leaves
and other people's cars.

They come
for renewal and validation,
they come begging,
like street performers
hiding behind
tricks, or grades or funny stories.
Aching for approval or more often,
for money,
willing me to open
the mother wallet
and let the spirits move
to finance their dreams,
or their snacks,
or gas for their car.

They come to me
all false bravado and devil may care
never knowing
I see
the trembling hand
or lowered shifty eyes revealing
haunted hurting hearts.

At night
they come to me
still needing some small goodbye ritual
and never knowing
I can still see them
all blankets and thumbs and small feet kicking.

They come
with more questions than answers.
tilling secret gardens,
proof they are growing away from me,
don't need me

But still,
they come.
Finding their way
in from the cold
They let me reach for their hand
For a moment
I pull them close and smell their hair
and know they are mine.

Behind stubble and bangs of a nameless color.
they still sweat grass and pool water and wind.
mixed with a secret scent we share,
branded onto my heart
from the first day
I knew them.

Even though they have again stolen my sleep,
overtaken all my prayers
and recklessly wrapped themselves up
in most moments of possible peace.
There is hope
down the hallway
they come.
To me.
To home.
hearts still open wide.

The Sensory Box

The Sensory Box

Recently I put together a Sensory Box for Cami and Delilah. My hope was to begin to empower them with a tangible tool they could use to help themselves when the world around them felt too overwhelming.

I imagined they could reach for their sensory box instead of ........ pulling my hair, kicking wildly, or falling out in the floor in a heap of helpless sensory overload.

I will add other pieces to the box in the future, but I started it with several items of texture and movement, in hopes this sensory input could could peacefully replace the sensory overload they were feeling in a particular moment. Some of the toys light up or can be molded, giving their little brains something specific to focus on and begin to calm down.

The girls love their little boxes and I would love to hear ideas of other items I could include if you have knowledge in this area.

Something I was not prepared for was the hilarious conversation surrounding these boxes. Yesterday, D was having to wait for me a few minutes while I finished the dishes before we could start on a project I had promised them.

So the two girls are sitting at the table. D says, "I think I'll get my Sensory Box".

C says, "Are you getting ready to have a meltdown, Nan?" (Nan and Cam are their sister names for each other)

Cam continues, "Nan, Nan, are you going to have a meltdown"? NAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN, ARE YOU HAVING A MELTDOWN? IS THAT WHY YOU NEED YOUR BOXXXXXXX?

Still no response from Nan who is quietly playing with the items in her box.


Hmmmmmm, me thinks someone else needs to get their sensory box and climb inside it....LOL

And then I had a funny vision of Cam and Nan as 70 year old women and Cam saying, "Nan, are you getting ready to have a meltdown? NAAAAAAAAANNNNNN........ANSWER ME"!

So it was really funny in the moment. Maybe you have to need a sensory box to understand. By the laptop is my sensory box..... you just gotta understand.....I need it often. LOL

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yoga for the Brain

I recently discovered an art form called Zentangles!

The idea is simple. The outcome is an intricate and complex design. The process is something of a meditation. Claims of clearer thinking, relaxation, better decision making, and more are touted by those who learn to Tangle!

There are a variety of good sites online if you want to learn more. Basically, you need only good quality paper and a black fine tip felt pen to get started. You can find instructions for different Tangle designs online. I also ordered a book which teaches designs step by step.

Getting started is easy. Choose the size paper you want to work on. Small squares about 3 x 3 inches are good to work on. Using a pencil, put a dot in each corner. The second step is called "threading". Think of what it would look like if a thread dropped randomly onto your paper. Starting on one dot, draw a continuous line of loops, circles, or other shapes until your pencil has passed lightly over each of the corner dots. Your design can have many separate spaces or only a few. Then you work on each individual shape by itself. One space at a time. You will be amazed at the end result!

Oh! After putting the dots in the corner and then connecting them, put your pencil away. From now on in the Tangle, you will use only a pen. There are no mistakes, just unexpected art!

This method of drawing connects the brain and body in a unique and comforting way. If you are looking for a way to relax, maybe you will give it a try.

Below you can see a sample of my "tangling". The second image is by my 21 year old son who developed an interest in this art form! He claims he cannot draw and the Tangle pictured here is only his second try!

© Drawing Maps of China
CoffeeShop Designs
Damask pattern by Sassy Designs, Inc.