Friday, March 30, 2012

One foot in and one foot out

We have entered into the world of homeschooling slowly. 

One foot in and one foot out!

Since February one of my boys is home 3 days a week learning about Math, Geography, Writing, Reading, How Machines Work and more.  Since I didn't plan this from the beginning I am having to develop a vision for what I expect an education to look like for our children as I go along.

This is no easy task.  Especially with a mid-course direction change.  We have one child on the brink of middle school, one semi-homeschooling, one in 1st grade and another almost ready for preschool and with all I'm finding out about schooling vs. education - well, my head is simply swimming. 

A few things I can tell right away...

* When my child is struggling with a concept I can quickly see that a new approach is needed.  When he is excelling and a concept is already mastered we are able to bypass some of the repetition and gain ground also much more quickly.  As his momma I am able to focus on what needs attention right away instead of with school finding out much later from a progress report what is lacking. 

* "Schooling" is not the same as education.  I have only just started researching methods, theories and curriculum but one quote I found from Charlotte Mason is this:  "The question is not, - how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education - but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care?...and therefore how full is the life he has before him?"  I think this sums up what I hope for my children.  Curiosity that develops into a knowledge of history and of nature and of how everything is inter-related and connected.   Understanding and compassion of different cultures, social issues and how the world works...with all of it's goodness and imperfections - all of it!  Then of course finding their own purpose is the goal but I knew that part all along!

* Ignorance is bliss.  Self governing is very hard (as my friend Leah put it).  It would be much easier to continue sending my children off to public school and letting the National Education Board decide what an education is.  Or in a different light, it would be much easier to eat everything from everywhere buying right off the grocery aisles without considering things like local, organic, & fair trade instead of striving for eating locally and seasonally in order to better my community.   But one final and very important thing I've been learning is that community is what makes life beautiful, deeper and more meaningful.  Whether that means knowing the farmer that grew our grass-fed beef for dinner tonight (my lovely 80 something year old neighbor Betty)!  Or it may mean having our children home schooled so they can be part of our business (not as child labor, heaven forbid) to be present to learn the details about how business works and to be included in the adult world...  and much much more! 

So these are my thoughts so far on our new venture into homeschooling.  Next year has not been decided yet as there is so much to weigh.  I wish the answer was easy and obvious and laid out clearly before us but like all big and important things it's not and much deliberation is needed!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thinking Local

Hi there!  Since spring has only started in the way that makes March weather completely unpredictable (including snow, hail, rain wind & sun in the same day) - I have done some more winter reading instead of the gardening I am dying to do!  I recently read two books about eating locally and living with less Year of Plenty and Plenty.  They have me pondering just how ridiculously complex our system is for the process of securing food for our family and farm animals such as chickens. 

Today I looked into making chicken feed from scratch to supplement our mostly free-ranging chickens diet.  They are full of ingredients that I don't even know how to get and many are certainly not local.  The whole idea of eating locally requires that we eat more whole foods, know where they come from and live without many modern conveniences (such as premixed, ground and bagged feed).  It would also require eating seasonally which is very uncommon and not so easily done!

I ran into a similar problem with making soap.  While it can be made with tallow from the local butcher and lye (you still have to order lye from somewhere else unless you want to get REALLY adventurous) and the end product is considered inferior by some and offensive to others (because it isn't vegetarian).   So many handmade soaps by local artisans are made with items shipped all over the place before they meet up and are made to saponify into a lovely soap product.  This is where the romantic in me idealizes that thoughts of going back to the olden days!  So in many ways simplifying isn't so.... simple. 

The reasons I am contemplating all of these ideas are many.  I desire to spend less money, live more simply, become a better steward of the resources we have, support local farms so they don't disappear, care lovingly for the creation all around me and become more self-sufficient.  Another big reason is I want to eat and feed my family real food.  Most of the food in the stores and even in our own cupboard has a long list of ingredients that I don't know and don't believe to be real food.  Then we attempt to eat more healthfully and have chickens that then require bags of food with ingredients I again don't recognize.... so it is a process of learning how far to go with these ideas.  We actually began eating many organic, whole grain and homegrown food years ago so it has been a process we've been at for awhile.  Still,there is much more to consider! 

Any thoughts on this subject would be welcomed! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Looking ahead...

This one came home yesterday with a packet for MIDDLE SCHOOL!  Whew!  I just don't know how a momma readies her heart for these kinda changes!  I mean entering kindergarten as our oldest a mere 6 quick years back was hard enough!  But my girl?  She is so excited!  She is one to rise to a challenge and she looks forward to meeting new friends, gaining new experiences and growing up!  I love her confidence and her optimism and I hope it always lasts!  If they must grow up (and I'm told they must) then I guess I will let her!  I am thankful for the responsible and sensible girl she is and has always been so at least I can trust her to make good choices (for the most part) along the way!  Anna, you are a darling and a dear, I am prouder than proud to be your momma!

About Me

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wife & mother of 4 beautiful children, 2 girls & 2 boys. small business co-owner; catering and a restaurant/alehouse, writer, gardener, lover of freedom and humility found in christ, small town enthusiast, book reader, admirer of noble truths, beauty and love