Monday, September 23, 2013

Four Weeks into our School Year

We started back with our formal lessons on August 26th. Most of Bear's friends went back about a week and a half before, but we were too busy being at Disney World.

Nah nah nah boo boo?

All the local Florida schools were back in, too, but there were a LOT of European families there!

It's kind of fascinating (I think that's an oxymoron...) to me how different our first month looked this year as compared to last year. We were completely different homeschoolers a year ago. We were brand new to the game, unsure of how to relate to each other in this brand new way. Bear was still bitter with me about making her miss out on participating in drama club (which got canceled, anyway) and Project Ascent (which is cool, but nothing we can't do at home) and being with her friends all day (I won't even get started on that one). I was still actively struggling with the notion that school at home does not have to look like school at school. We were having fun and learning a lot, but I think we learned more about ourselves and our relationship than we did about Ancient Whatevapotamia or the SuperDuperFancy Equation.

We weren't floundering, as I approached everything with caution and tried very hard to be okay with discarding things that didn't work for us. But we were definitely finding our way. And after some ruthless but judicious weed cutting, we've found ourselves on a really lovely path. There are flowers to smell to the left and caterpillars to stare at to the right. There are volumes of historical fiction dangling from branches right at eye level. There are clear spots to stop and rest, to lay down a quilt and enjoy the silence, the freedom, and the power of choice.

It's going really well.

Lest you think me an optimist (the horror!), there is no pie in my sky. There is usually pie in my refrigerator, because I am a compulsive baker and also PIE! PIE! But you know, every day has its hiccups. It's not all caterpillar watching and flower smelling. There are days when it takes me five or ten "gentle reminders" in an increasingly loud voice to get Bear to mosey downstairs and PUT THE DAMN POET IN YOUR BOOK OF CENTURIES! My favorite delightful challenge as of late has been the crapping out of my printer, which I need to make copies of our math and grammar pages and sometimes other fun stuff, too. Not to mention the way Bug seems to believe read-a-loud time is also scream-loudly-about-milk-or-some-unintelligible-yet-crucial-Thing time.

But I gotta tell you—after a full year and one month of this life, I cannot imagine giving up this in the middle of the morning for anything:

My babes, sharing an apple in their cushion fort.

It's been the right choice for us from the word "go". I hope everyone's school year—home, private, public, magnet, Montessori, military, whatever—is going fabulously. And I hope ours KEEPS going fabulously. *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Really Good, Really Simple Meatball and Hamburger Recipe

At the request of a few family members at Bug's birthday party last month, I'm putting up a link to the recipe I use for meatballs and hamburgers. It's not my original recipe and it is available online, so etiquette dictates that I should link to it rather than copy/pasting it.

I assure you, though—it is worth a simple click-thru. This is a really delicious beef recipe. I found it in the hard copy of Kentucky Living Magazine (June 2013), but you can see it online HERE.

Mmm, simmering meatballs...

Top it off with a little mozzarella, and YUM.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

...the things that they find floatin' 'round my brain...

The past month or so has been extremely busy, between traveling to Florida for my brother's wedding and hosting Bug's birthday party (he's TWO. TWO). So rather than put together a real, decent blog post, here are some of the things that have been occupying my head space over the past few days. It is a very random, very profanity-laden list.

I don't like "Blurred Lines". There, I said it. I love a fun, upbeat, summer song as much as the next Joe, but this one makes Robin Thicke sound like a poor man's Justin Timberlake. It's too muddled to be slick and too produced to be raw. Thicke's vocals are not particularly strong throughout the entire song. It sounds cheap to me and I don't get its appeal. And that's not even taking the whole VMAs/Miley Cyrus/Foam Finger Seen Round the World incident, which is something I will do my best to never, ever reference on this blog again.


It is unacceptable to me that the media is discussing Princess Duchess Kate Middleton Cambridge Windsor Wales Buckingham England's body. At all. Like, before she got pregnant, and now. Do not discuss her plans to "bounce back". Do not discuss her courage at having the audacity to not hide behind muumuus while her uterus shrinks back to size. Do not crow about her diet or her workout routine or her ankles or her hips. Just do not. I don't fucking care how famous she is, it's crass (she said, as she dropped an 'F' bomb), it's trash, and despite your best intentions (yeah, right...), it feeds our societal obsession with the shape of the female form.

Do not try to even it out by talking about the occasional famous man's body, either. Stop doing it to all celebrities. Kim Kardashian's belly is none of your business. Jessica Simpson's belly is none of your business. When one of them goes to the grocery store a few months after giving birth, she is not "debuting her post-baby body!" She is buying milk. So just shut the fuck up, media. S. T. F. UP.

Look at her, grocery shopping and shit. Who does she think she is? Source

Old wives' tales that will not die. Things like, "Plucking gray hairs causes two to grow in its place!"  While plucking them is not a good idea (that I totally do anyway), it's not because two hairs will suddenly start growing from a single follicle. Science, people.


I think I've mentioned before that I love Charlotte Mason's philosophy about education and child development, and that we are adopting many of her ideas. That said, we are very "Charlotte Mason light". I use a lot of her ideas and things as guidelines, but the claustrophobic side of me comes out swinging and clawing for air if I try to put us in too tight of a box.

For example, CM espoused the importance of having a child "narrate" back what they've learned, through a variety of methods, and I totally agree with that in principle. But I don't plan a narration activity every day or for everything we study, because I find that it's often unnecessary. Bear does a lot of things on her own that I think count as "narration," such as asking deeper questions about the material, playacting the stories we've discussed, or telling her friends all about what she's learned. So while I keep my Reading Comprehension Cubes handy, I only pull them out on occasion. I like to think Charlotte would approve.

Doesn't she look like a kindly woman?