Jun 11, 2010

Outdoor Adventures- Tut Tut Looks like Rain






It's raining and raining and raining today.
I love summer rain....everyone else is complaining...all this rain lately.
The garden is growing...the grass is green...the air conditioner has sat dormant for many moons.

The Cabin Faced West Jean Fritz
I love pioneer stories...everyone else thinks they are old fashioned....except my munchkins
The end was great...I wont spoil it for is based on a true story.
The husband built a lean-to for the milking stand
I love those strong manly muscles...the do so much for me...did I mention the wood floor?
Milking in the rain is joyous now.
It was cold enough to snuggle up in a blanket
I love snuggling...all the kido's brought their blankets...I even fell asleep in the middle of the day
I hope it is cold again tomorrow :)
Tut Tut....I enjoy it when it looks like rain

Jun 10, 2010

Summer Schedules

Do you do school in the summer?....Yep, because school is life, and life is school and since we are not taking the summer off from life we will be continuing school. And for a few of my friends just starting to homeschool this summer I thought that I would share with you a bit of wisdom I have learned in my three summers of schooling. Summers are my time to learn.

Now, I learn all the year long, lets be honest, I also cook, clean, work, practice, run errands, and worry all year long too. But not in the summer (just kidding) I do all those things in the summer too, but since we eat outside and we play outside and we go and do and see the world we are home a lot less and so the cooking, cleaning, working and practicing decreases, and actually so does the worry....everyone else is getting the summer off from learning so anything my kids get to learn is extra credit right?

The kids love living in the summer and so do I. I love that I put a blanket in the back of my car and an armful of books and where ever we end up will be enjoyable...provided someone filled the stainless steel water bottles :)

I once heard the DeMille's say that summer is for family and for relationships. What is better than playing, reading, sitting, working and exsisting together all summer long. So while they are playing and running and living and learning I will sit on my blanket and read and read and read....minimal cleaning up involved.

So here is our summer schedule...which will ofcourse last about a week.

5:30 Wake Up'ish
6:00 Milk Goats/Animal Care (dude takes over for Dad, Chip feeds, Chipper waters)
6:30 Breakfast Outside on the deck (made by marvelous moo)
Devotional (right now we are reading the Book of Mormon, The Illustrated Story of the Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and The Old Testament

7:30 Family Chores...8 jobs for over 8 year olds, 6 jobs for 6 year olds
8:30 Devotional (right now we are reading poetry, and library books)

9:00 Family work....deep cleaning each part of the house
10:30 Reading Time (I read a biography, I read a chapter in a book I want to read and I read a
chapter in a book I want them to read. Each day I finish the biography...these are not too
long. In about two weeks I finish the and the book I want to read, and I never finish the
book I want them to read...if they want to finish it then they have to pick it up and read
it :) ..although sometimes I sneak back in and finish it myself)

11:30 Mommy Time. Once a week each of my kids get an hour to pick what they want to do
with me...all by themselves for the whole hour. Moo and I have been reading some books
together, Dude and I have been working on scouts and playing games, Chip wants
swimming lessons and so I gave her a goal to be able to work on holding her breath to
show me she REALLY wants lesson and is willing to work hard to do it, and Chipper he
just likes to spend time together reading, talking, coloring, playing, anything.

12:30 Lunch...Picnic taken to wherever we will be spending our afternoon.
Free Time at an undisclosed outdoor location where there may or may not be mommy
directed activities but there will be lots of running and climbing and chasing and
exploring and mommy will be reading and reading and reading all my stacks of books.

4:00 Dinner, outside on the deck and clean up.
5:00 Family Activities....too many of these in the summer. These summer evernings are the only thing that makes me wish for winter, going to bed early, snuggling up on the couch, reading a book together. Summers look like work, and fun and others....those things are good too, but sometimes I'm going to sneak a blanket and snuggle up with someone.

8:30-9:00 Way, way, way, past my bed time. Good night.

Outside Learning- Whooping, wailing and whistling

Day two of the Outside Learning the kids asked if we could go to a "real" know, one of those parks that other "real" people go to. So we went to the park named after our city. It is a large park and has many varieties of things to play with. I parked myself on a blanket about 75 feet away from the park. I don't need "real" people or "real" park activities. :) And I proceeded to spread my 10 books I brought as well as all the water bottles and snacks around and enjoy the overcast day...not too hot, not too cold AH, just right.

I was enjoying reading Charlotte Mason, and a Activity Learning Book for Teachers, and The Well Trained Mind, and Fascinating Womanhood. And I would glance up every once and again to make sure that I could spot all of the children playing and so I could observe things at the park. Sometimes I had to look up just because of loud, jarring noises and make sure that the world had not collapsed around me. Several of these times it was a mother, yelling at her children to do what she was telling them to sad. Even more times than that it was children yelling at other children to do what they wanted them to comment. Okay, I'll comment. Moo came and sat with me and we were listening to some of the yelling going on at the "real" park and I said, "Moo I really don't like it when children yell at other children. It is so unnecessary and unneeded, and poor communication skills, and really...they don't have any authority anyways." She agreed and so we talked about why....why do children yell at each other. a.) because their parents yell at them. b.) because they want to be in control of something...why not other children. c.) because they have not learned how to communicate with other people etc. Now, my children are not perfect in their communication with others, or with each other, but they know it is not appropriate to speak unkindly or harshly with another human being, especially with a child. I was wishing a few more mothers might work on their communication skills. Gotta love "real" parks

After I had finished half of my books I decided that I'd better take these half to the sometimes you need to move about and stretch. So I walked to the car and placed them in and on the way back to my spot I was whistled at. At first I was off in my own little world...and then it registered and I thought...did someone just whistle at me? I looked around to see if anyone else was around and found four construction workers looking my way....hmmmm. Now, It's been a long time since I've been whistled at. In fact I cannot recal the last time I was whistled at, but I'm sure it was way back when I didn't have four kids in tow and a mini van. Now, I have something important things to say about this whistling. I was in a dress. If you didn't know, dresses are pretty uncommon at the park. But since reading Fascinating womanhood I have worn a dress every day so the park isn't going to be any different, or the cannery, or camping (luckily our camping this year is a pioneer trek, so I have to be in a dress anyway and all the other women will be in a dress I won't feel SO out of place.....but I digress. Most men will tell you that it doesn't matter if you wear a dress. I'm going to disagree....and I'm going to use this nasty whistling incident to back up my point. There were many young, attractive women at the "real" park wearing skin tight levi capri's and skin tight t-shirts and cute little ball caps that are so popular right now (and I love btw, but I just can't justify wearing them with a dress, so no more ball caps for me) and yet I, a 30 something mother of four kids with an armful of books and nothing tight fitting was the one who got whistled at by the construction workers. Why? I'm going to argue that it was because of the dress, because I was feminine and becasue men really do like a girl who looks nice, dresses up, and flows along softly in the grass barefooted in a skirt that reaches her ankles....or they might have been mocking me in which case I'll feel more at home and better about myself. I'm used to social persecution. :) Gotta love "real" parks

Lastly, a reedeming feature of the "real" park...some "real" people like to go there. I was reading my books...sprawled everywhere and a very nice lady with a few kids was blowing bubbles near me. They were being a bit roudy...who isn't with bubbles and she was worried that they might be disturbing my reading. I am however used to kid noises and can tune them out when needed (like when I'm writing a blog post) and so they were not bothering me. But she came over and visited for a minute and noticed the books that I was reading and said, "I think we could be friends." A redeeming moment at the "real" park...there are other women out there who read?....just kidding. Since all the women I know and love read this really is a quip, but I really didn't expect to find a kindred spirit at the park. Gotta be okay with "real" parks sometimes.

Needless to say, today, we are not going to a "real" park. But again, we had a great discussion on the way home about the kids that called my kids names, and the kid that punched my kid in the stomach, and the kids that use poor language, and the mom's that laugh and talk with their friends, and about how we really don't want to be a part of the "real" world again anytime soon.

Anyone know of any great escapes in northern Utah where kids can just roam free and not get beat up, called names, kidnapped, or abused? If so, share!

Outside Learning- Small and Simple Things

A good friend of mine recommended reading the Original Charlotte Mason homeschooling books. So I started reading one. I really enjoyed the 15 pages that I read before I got distracted onto something else. ( I'm still reading them Lazy...I'm just reading them slower than you are) But I have been implementing what I read in those 15 pages....that's half the battle right?...applying the things you've learned. So every day this week we have spent our afternoons for hours and hours outside enjoying the world around us.

Our first outdoor enjoyment day we drove around for a while, got lost and couldn't find a great place to hang out so we ended up at the elementary school down the road from us....I know, I know...of all places to go, an institution I totally disagree with :) But if you go there in the summer all of the other people are avoiding that place like the plague so it ends up being a great place to go and have some peace and quiet. The kids played and played and played until they got hot and then they came to join me under my tree. And so we tried out some of Charlotte's outdoor activities. They found something that didn't belong....not to hard. They found something that didn't belong that was beautiful....a little bit harder. And finally they had to find something that was useful...It took some of them quite a while to do this one....but it was because they were putting a lot of time and effort into it. So we came home with a jacket that had been burried in the dirt, a thoughtful child brought me a some water from the sprinklers...pretty usefull, but we didn't bring that one home, and lots and lots of garbage, and a few things that are only usefull to smallish type people but not to mommies, so those promptly went in the garbage too....we'll we did our civic service for the day and picked up 10 things of garbage off the school lawn. Unfortunatly and amazingly there is still many more days worth of things left to pick up....luckily no one else will be there for 90 more days so we might go and enjoy it again.

Actually what I really liked about the whole experience was the learning and discussion that we had each time they brought something back...why they picked that, what they noticed, where did they find it, why it was usefull to them. It is nice to learn from small and simple things.