Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Visit to Sam

One of the things I love about living in a small town is that my kids have made friends with people who I doubt they'd make friends with in a city. In a city each kid would have there own friends of the same age and gender as them, but here it is not so. One of the people we're friends with is 87 year old Sam who lives and breaths photography. He has his own dark room and since we still don't have a digital camera he's happy for us to use it. The kids love to help develop our photos, not to mention the wonderful stories Sam tells. Today we took the trip we take every few weeks to visit him. Of course Noah was car sick and Katherine got really restless a few times but mostly it was wonderful. He's a pretty amazing guy. He has a farm, lives more in the middle of no where than us (!), is faster than most of my kids when it comes to cross country skiing and yes, he's 87!
We've got some pretty great pictures too (and film, which he supplies full of charge).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Crunchy are you?

While surfing the web I found this quiz.
I'm a 120 – 205 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama!!!!

How do you rate?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Happy Farmer cont'd

Hailey had her lesson today and proudly played Happy Farmer for her teacher. She's been begging to play it at the recital tomorrow but I''m not so sure. It's scratchy, and well not at normal recital level. Then again Twinkle, Twinkle has been going on for ever it seems like and listening to her play something else is wonderful. I decided that our violin and viola teacher who happens to unschool her kids and be a good friend of ours would know best. She listened to Hailey's first line of Happy Farmer and beamed. Scratchy or not Hailey will be playing Happy Farmer for the recital along with Twinkle, Twinkle. Her siblings are so proud. She is now wanting to ware her "farm clothes", we'll have to see about this too.

The super strict curriculum

The soon-to-be school has been asking for curriculum or rather, the people running the will-be school have been asking for curriculum ideas. So, my kids decided that they would send in a curriculum. I'd thought they would send in something very unstructured maybe even a letter ranting about how no curriculum was needed, but I could not of been more wrong. They've spent hours writing it out. If the "school board" chooses this (which I hope they don't because it is horrendously structured) there would be absolutely no planning needed, my kids have it timed to the minute as well as every single textbook and workbook you could ever want, probably more than you'd ever want. It doesn't suit the philosophy my kids have been brought up with and when asked if they would use this curriculum there was a definite "no way!".

Monday, June 4, 2007

Happy Farmer

Hailey has been eager to play "The Happy Farmer" for quite some time. The name intrigued her I guess. Her violin teacher has told her that she should just get a bit more skill and then she can play it. Hailey wasn't having this, she wanted to play it now. Sarah is helping her learn it right now. Hailey is making a lot of mistakes and can only play line one but it is so wonderful to see her eagerness. She's wearing a typical outfit of hers: fleece pants, nightgown, crocs, and hoodie and looks so cute with her 1/16 size violin. The Hailey is defiantly a happy farmer. Always so eager to be with our animals or harvesting. Maybe this should be her theme song.

Busyness of June

June is such a busy time for us.
The kids decide to go on a structure binge since the school year (which we don't follow) is coming to an end and I guess my kids should show that they've done at least a tiny bit of "school work".
The year end performance is coming up. It consists of music (whole family is involved), dancing (whole family is involved and I'm the teacher), gymnastics (whole family involved and Ian's the teacher), acting (whole family is involved since Lisa is directing Hamlet) and speech arts (some of family is involved). As you can probably guess, that keeps us quite busy.
We have our farm to look after.
There's a homeschool non competitive track and field meet. Which is more about staying fit and accomplishing personal goals than winning.
We want to spend more time outdoors.
The next member of our family is due to be born any day.

June has only just begun to and I'm already exhausted.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Playing with Picasso

Martin is naturally drawn to art and has been taking classes since January. The art teacher was quite reluctant at first. Teaching a just turned 4 year old? However, after seeing that Martin really did have some skill she took him on. They have explored many artists and today they did a project an Picasso.
None of my other kids want to take art class (which is fine for me) but are always keen to see what Martin has done. The Picasso project looked so fun they all wanted to do it. First they drew each others faces and then changed them so that they looked less realistic. This was fun! They then set up a "Like Picasso" area at their stall. It was more of a success then the other things. The goat cheese was fairly popular but there are too many others who grow rhubarb.

Goat cheese and rhubarb pie

The kids have set up a stall on the street like they do every summer. Right now they are selling (or trying to sell) our home made and home grown rhubarb pies and goat cheese. Sales aren't usually very big but we do sell a bit. The kids do most of the work. The baking of the pies, picking of the rhubarb, milking the goats, making the cheese, selling ect... What we sell changes frequently, mostly it's food but sometimes you can by Christmas tree ornaments, candles, once we even sold Italian "dictionaries".
When we first started (when Sarah was 7) we decided that the money would go to seeds, homeschool resources, and "Green Team". It has been like this ever since.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our town has a school!

Our town (after 21 years without one) has a school, but my kids refuse to go. It isn't a public school, the curriculum will be followed loosely, kids will set personal goals ect.... The idea of having a school gets suggested on and of but now, the vote has swung from "no" to "yes. Ian and I have always been in favour of having a school (not that we ever thought our kids would go). Some kids (and parents) find school works for them better than homeschooling and most of those people leave not long after they get here since the nearest school is a long and sometimes dangerous drive. Also building a school means that our family (as owners of the hardware store) will get more money to by our kids resources.
When I told my kids that our town is now building a school which will open in September and asked them if they wanted to go I got just the response I expected.
Sarah said she'd had enough school (one day) to last a life time and that she would probably find the work to simplistic (the school will be K-8).
Lisa rolled her eyes dramatically and dropped to the floor saying "never!".
Noah gave me a look that said "no thank you".
Janet made a strict looking "teacher" face and said "Naughty Janet, you shouldn't pull apart your family computer even for educational purposes." Then shuddered.
Katherine said she didn't want to be inside all day.
Martin said he would have to "learn" how to read all over again, and stuck his nose back in his book.
Hailey said with glee, "I'm to young, so I can stay with goat." She actually calls me goat!

Mom, you're a goat!

Hailey, like everyone else at that age, is so cute. Last night she told me "Mom, you're a goat." I asked why and she responded "I'm a kid and baby goats are called kids so you must be a goat."
I laughed my head of, this girl is too funny.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Teaching Company

When I asked for a good intellectual challenge for Sarah I was told of The Teaching Company. I (and my group of kids) to a look at it and everyone seemed to find a course they wanted!
We've settled on : A History of European Art, Dutch Masters: The Age of Rembrandt (Martin is a Rembrandt worshiper!), World of Byzantium, Vikings (Katherine's request), Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (Lisa will not miss anything Shakespeare) and High School Level-Chemistry.
Thank goodness our homeschool group like the sound of it and were willing to pitch in with the money!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another fun day

Today didn't look quite so drab, the morning was actually warm enough to go out for a hike and paddle on the lake.

However, the afternoon was very cloudy.

We retreated inside and had a wonderful afternoon. First we watched TV, ( we hardly ever do this in spring) Canada: A People's History. Then we did a few science projects from Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry 1& 2.After that we talked about ideas for the community "Green Team" and did some Latin. In between was 3 hours of cello lessons (thank goodness Grandpa teaches them and lives next door).

I'm loving life right now.

Sarah wants a challenge

Sarah asked me a few days ago if I had any good ideas for an intellectual challenge. She's already finished Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra and is eagerly awaiting Algebra 1. She's read Galileo's Dialogue, is on her first draft of a 521 page novel, is a talented musician and dancer. She can spell about 50% of words from "Spellbound", has been reading adult books since she was not quite 9, loves brain teasers, speaks Italian, German, French and some Latin. She seems to be good at everything. For many kids that would be plenty, but not Sarah.

When she asked me for a challenge we decided to put an article in the community newspaper. The suggestions we've gotten have been very disappointing:

"Take some high school courses."

This doesn't work because:
a. The high school is about three hours away
b. Sarah is only 11 y, she would feel very uncomfortable being there.

"Read, read, read."

She does read. But that doesn't challenge her.

"Get a curriculum, obviously unschooling isn't challenging her."

Where do they think she's learned what she has. She's only been to school for one day, many years ago. Sarah is becoming more structured with her learning, but she has told me she never wants to use a curriculum.
I'm sure we'll find something to do, but, right now, any ideas??