Because some days, don’t we all want to? Due to the nature of the internet, I feel it is necessary to preface this post with the following disclaimer. I love my kids. Most days, I feel blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of raising such remarkable little people. However…there are days. Unbelievably challenging, never-ending afternoons of horror. Days that stretch me to the very breaking point. Today was such a loathsome 24-hours. I’d had enough. Beyond frustration. I’d taken a breather, and a short walk. Neither helped. There was nothing left to do…so I quit. My husband received the following resignation letter this afternoon.
While my husband was training for his new job in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the kids and I took a jaunt to the Oregon Coast and spent 5 glorious days flying kites, observing nature, building sand castles, exploring miles of pristine beaches, discovering tide pool creatures and generally having a jolly good time.
The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area was one of the highlights of our trip, and I thought I’d share a little for anyone in search of a ruggedly beautiful place to vacation this summer.
Welcome to this month’s edition of Recent Reads!
The Sign of the Beaver – Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.
Note from me: My kids loved this book. Great adventure, a little danger and themes of understanding people different from ourselves.
I just completed a phone survey about kids and television. My blood is boiling. Forgive me for this rant, I have to unload somewhere. Prepare yourself.
We made the decision to get rid of television in our home 6 years ago. I find television news a passive approach to information and despise being spoon fed opinions on current events. I prefer to get my facts from the source rather than filtered down through various editor’s desks, being wrapped in makeup and lighting, and finally disseminated in the most politically correct way possible. Television news is a business. This kind of “news” is meant to garner ratings. Period. I find it pandering and insulting to my intelligence. How’s that for breaking news? Continue reading
In the crowding darkness of sleepy bedtime, with heavily lidded eyes drifting to dreamland, my mother’s voice beckoned slumber with this song. I’ve continued the tradition with my own kids from their infancy. It is the most requested lullaby at in our home, beating out Mary Poppins classics “Tuppence a Bag” (feed the birds) and “Stay Awake” for top honors. My children have yet to recognize that voice is a pale wisp compared to Julie Andrews. It’s going to be a sad day when they no longer shower me with “Mommy, you sound just like Mary Poppins” compliments at the conclusion of their bedtime songs. Continue reading
Around these parts, one of the most eagerly anticipated portions of the day is late afternoon, when Hydro and Gazelle come to hunt for remnant seeds beneath our feeder. Hydro is so skittish, that until today I wasn’t able to get a good photo. As a side note, you’ll often hear that Seattlites don’t have an accent. Not true. I thought “skittish” was spelled “skiddish”, because that’s how people from the Pacific Northwest pronounce double “t” in the middle of a word. “Seattle” would never be spoken like it looks around here. It comes out “See-addle”. Now you know our secret. Listen for it next time you’re conversing with a Northwesterner. Back to Hydro.
Thankfully, the weather was incredibly warm today and our sliding glass door was open to let in a breeze. Usually the noise of it is what makes Hydro and his momma scurry away. Tonight I managed to noiselessly slide open the screen and get a couple of shots in before the dash from evil me and my clicking lens. Continue reading
It’s a well known fact that I enjoy making a big deal out of the little things in life. My kids know to expect unexpected fun and anticipate special occasions even on the most blah “holidays”. For example, May Day. Leaving a basket of flowers and treats used to be a very popular tradition on May Day. The tradition dates at least as far back as Louisa May Alcott writing about May Baskets in her book “Jack and Jill” in the 1800s. Welcoming spring with a special basket/bundle of flowers, ringing the doorbell and running away is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. And that makes me sad. What kind of world is this anyway?
One of the most common questions I get regarding Classical Conversations is “You are just filling their head with rote memorization. They don’t understand half of it. What good is that? All that stuff doesn’t even mean anything to them.”. While it is quite true that many of the facts we memorize mean virtually nothing to my children (what 5-year-old cares about Newton’s Laws of Motion?), there is a purpose and a path in our style of schooling that begins at the beginning. With young children who, like sponges, absorb every ounce of data around them. We all learn from infancy by rote memorization. How to speak by repeating the basic words our parents babble to us. The alphabet, the Pledge of Allegiance, The Lord’s Prayer. Kids can sing every song in their favorite movie. Recite entire books that are frequent bedtime stories. All these things are retained and recalled because of rote memorization. I’d like to share a little from Leigh Bortins book “The Core“, and then a story of my own to demonstrate these principles in action. Continue reading
Last week, I had the opportunity to observe an Essentials class at my CC Community. Even if the next level of classical education is a few years away for your family, I’d highly encourage anyone with a Foundations child to take a looksie at an Essentials class. It broadened my view of this whole classical journey, and renewed my excitement for the process. Seeing English and Math memory work come to life in real application was a great motivator to keep plugging along with all those songs about gerunds and verb conjugations. Bonus, I saw math games in action that I immediately stole, and have been using at home ever since. Including this fun game, called SNAKE.
You can play this as a multiplication or addition game. We learn skip counting in our Classical Conversations memory work, so my 6-year-old can rattle off multiplication as fast (maybe even faster) than his addition facts. We play both multiplication and addition to reinforce both as a good math foundation. Continue reading
That’s right. I make up words. A Youme Journal is something my husband and I have been working on with our kids for the past 5 months. The idea developed from an attempt to get more writing practice for our son, and soon morphed into an activity for our daughter as well.