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Posted on Jun 14, 2017 | 1 comment

Out with the Old, In with the Older; Back to Homeschool

Out with the Old, In with the Older; Back to Homeschool

I had The Talk with my significant other. Our relationship is not quite right even though we get along and we love each other’s families. Today we made it official. We are breaking up. Tomorrow, we exchange our CDs. That last sentence will give you an idea of how long it’s been since I actually broke up with someone. What do the kids do nowadays – change their iTunes passwords? You see, I didn’t break up with a person today, but a school. My kids’ school. A dear, good school, with whom my family and I share thousands of treasured memories. We will genuinely miss one another. But staying together at this point would be like staying in a relationship that doesn’t fit anymore. If it ever did. We are returning to our homeschool. We know it’s the right thing to do but we are torn. Nothing is ever 100% right. There are very, very special things about this school and it’s people. We will miss them. We may...

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Posted on Apr 14, 2016 | 0 comments

Life Goes On – In the Garden

Life Goes On – In the Garden

Like most of botany and other life sciences, this is simultaneously super cool and gross. With one question (“Which are the girl flowers and which are the boy flowers?”) we were launched into learning about the reproductive life of squash today. Very interesting and sooooo, uh, familiar. Ahem. And with the added delight of edible ovaries and stuff! (Squash = ovary. Yep. I said it was gross!) Here’s an enlightening explanation of the birds and bees and pistils and stamens, in case your little farmers ask you any questions about their Halloween pumpkins you wish you had answers to. Just try not to blush as you tell them. And if your squash plants are taking off but you don’t love squash, just eat the flowers. Here’s a fantastic recipe that is shockingly easy. No stuffing, no deep frying. I even eliminated the cheese from the batter so it’s just a few ingredients. Save any extra batter for the next day and it still turns out great. We’ve been doing this daily and marveling at...

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Posted on Dec 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Glitter Emergency!

Glitter Emergency!

  Out of glitter? A common conundrum, I know. It’s right up there with sparkle shortages and fairy dust droughts. If do you happen to find yourself in a glitter emergency, toss some aluminum foil in your cross cut shredder.       That was a close one. Glad I could talk you through it.   It can also make kinda awesome tinsel. Ghetto tinsel. But tinsel.       Happy Winter Crafting! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Sep 23, 2015 | 2 comments

Protected: It Comes and Goes

Protected: It Comes and Goes

My kid is campaigning to be unschooled. He doesn’t know it, of course. He’s never even been taught what that is. Typical unschooler. I just happen to provide 1) supplies (they are shoved out of the way in drawers and bins, under a bunch of other stuff) and 2) opportunity (I’m in another room contemplating whether walking once a month counts as exercise) and he just does stuff. He taught himself to write, which was alarming but not exactly dangerous (unless you count the spilng). He taught himself to climb on TOP of his outdoor play house. Why? I don’t know. Because it’s there. From there, he hoisted his swing up as high as it could go and still accommodate his tush. Now he needs to climb out the second story window just to reach the swing. <sigh> I don’t think girls do this sort of thing… Finally, he taught himself to stitch. With actual needles. Without my explicit permission. While I was still naively encouraging him to finger knit with nice fat baby yarn,...

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Posted on Aug 11, 2015 | 8 comments

End of Summer

End of Summer

Here’s what we did today to celebrate August, the summer harvest, and the ending of the season. It required a book from many seasons ago. Those cringingly cute craft books you see for 20 cents at yard sales or used book stores (or when Nana cleans out her garage)? Go ahead and pick one up – you never know.   Instructions: 1) Assemble materials. 2) Painfully drag kids through making one object each. 3) Do the rest yourself.     This is a fairly intricate project for 4 and 6-year-olds. Mine kept up fairly well with the tracing, pooped out on the cutting, and revved back up for select gluing, painting and stuffing. Be forewarned. Even with all the hand holding, it was worth the afternoon, I think. I finally got something that celebrates the end of summer up on our seasonal banner. (Click here to see the original banner that turned into a holiday and seasonal tradition.) And it led to a sunny late summer evening outside, painting other items from...

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Posted on Apr 16, 2015 | 0 comments

You Win Some.

You Win Some.

A cheering little conversation between my four-year-old son and me (which I really needed today!).   Son: I’m a teacher today. And an elf. Me: A teacher and an elf? (rhetorically) What could be better? Son: (thinks for a moment, suddenly points his finger at me) A mom!   Lesson: Even on your worst day as a teacher, or an elf, you’re still the best mom to somebody.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Apr 6, 2015 | 0 comments

Baking Bread

Baking Bread

My mom says she used to bake all her own bread as a young housewife. This was before KitchenAid mixers with dough hooks, and also before I was old enough to eat any of it, so I can’t be sure. By the time I grew teeth, she had moved on to store-bought bread, albeit whole wheat and without preservatives. I do recall being asked what I wanted for my birthday – in high school – and I requested the mystical, foreign substance known as Wonder Bread. This early bread-baking habit of hers was always something I lumped in with drinking chamomile tea and not letting me wear toy makeup as a four-year-old. I always thought it was because she was a crazy hippie nut job. While my mother’s reputation remains secure, I have realized you don’t have to live in 1970’s San Francisco, man, to make food from scratch. Or, to want to. I have begun to make my own bread. Because it is approximately 4,000,000 times better for our bodies than anything from...

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Posted on Mar 1, 2015 | 0 comments

March Homeschool Themes

March Homeschool Themes

This month in kindergarten, we are learning about spring, St. Patrick, shamrocks, the number three, green, emeralds and gold, rainbows, the letters P, R, S and T, sheep/wool, potatoes, Ireland, and the wind. Here’s a drawing of all our themes of the month. (See if you can spot all the 3s and the letters!) This month’s yoga pose is Cloud pose. We lie on our backs, imagining a puffy cloud bed. As the days go by, we add components: Breathe in and out and become the “wind.” Tense our muscles as hard as we can, one by one, then relax, becoming soft as a cloud. Carrying over last month’s “water/rain” theme, imagining our cloud is dropping raindrops down to earth. We talk about the part clouds and air play in the water cycle. We continue to do art, sing songs, go on nature hikes looking for things in the shapes of the letters of the week, tell stories (leprechauns, luck, and spring time), cook (Irish Soda Bread, green tea shamrock shakes, potato...

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Posted on Feb 20, 2015 | 0 comments

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Did you know you can make your own candles right now? Out of two ingredients you already have at home? This is a strikingly impressive project and just as easy.   If you’ve got oranges and olive oil, you’re in business.   If you want to get fancy, you can cut some shapes out of the tops, or stick in some cloves.   But that’s totally optional. I only added those steps so my kids would have something to do.   The rest of it pretty much just involves cutting an orange out of its peel. You know, Big Person Work.   Cut the oranges across the middle. They don’t need to be exactly in half. They should sit flat after they’re cut. Put them on the table first to get an idea of where to cut so they will sit straight. Then, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Make sure the pith in the center of the orange stays attached to the bottom. That will be your wick. It’s really...

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Posted on Feb 13, 2015 | 4 comments

Be Still, My Heart

Be Still, My Heart

I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I am a…homeschooling mom! I know, I know, I KNOW. What kind of oddball hippie rebel in a hand-sewn dress am I??? Well, I can tell you that only one of those adjectives applies to me (and I’ll let you guess which one – it probably varies, depending on who YOU are!). I began this vast undertaking recently and, as you might imagine, I am fairly overwhelmed with the fantastic possibilities and the myriad opportunities, as well as the enormous pressure to do well by my children. I want to live up to their potential. They deserve a great teacher! How’s it going? So Far, So Okay. I jumped into these waters entirely unprepared. We officially made the call on a Sunday night, and on Monday morning, we were homeschooling. Talk about having NO idea how I wanted to do things, much less having any formal curriculum prepared. What I do have going for me is that I’ve done a project or two with these...

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Posted on Jun 18, 2013 | 1 comment

What Do You Get a Nonagenarian For Her Birthday?

What Do You Get a Nonagenarian For Her Birthday?

My Grandma is turning 95. She’s my role model in many ways, including her striking long-livedness. One of my favorite things about her is her joy in being outdoors. For her birthday, she wants to go on a picnic. She selected the entire menu herself, including the directive of “no vegetables.” On your 95th birthday, you’ve earned the right to skip the salad.   For her gift, I chose something inspired by the outdoors that the boys and I could make together; tissue paper flowers. Then, I invited Martha Stewart to teach us how to make them.   The first thing you do for this stunningly impressive gift is you go to the store and buy a pre-assembled cellophane package, complete with pre-cut flowers and instructions so basic, you can practically hear them enunciating verry slowwwwly for you to comprehend them. Then, you mess them up first thing, just to get it out of the way.   The package mainly consists of tissue paper, cut all fancy, and promising...

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Posted on Apr 4, 2013 | 0 comments

Lava Lamps

Lava Lamps

I got this idea from Play at Home Mom. This project appealed to me in particular because 1) it was easy, and 2) it was cheap. In fact, I already had everything in the house except the trashy oil. (I wasn’t about to use my organic extra virgin olive oil for this).   The kids spent the morning outside and by the time they were ready to come in, I was just about ready to deal with them. Ha. So I assembled all the materials.   Clean jars with screw lids.   A funnel, said trashy oil, and water.   Food coloring and denture cleanser. Play at Home Mom recommends Alka-Seltzer, which is probably better. My denture cleanser turned everything blue. Beautiful, but blue. (Since you asked, I have denture cleanser because it’s a great way to clean a retainer, or a tooth whitening tray. Little bonus tip for you).   First, pour in the oil. You’re aiming to get your jar 3/4 full, but if you run low on...

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