Thursday, February 26, 2009

sunflowers on the wall

Zoe wanted her room to be painted yellow, because yellow is her favorite color. In fact, yellow was her first word. Really. She's proud that she is different from all the other girls she's ever known, who favor pink, including Ashley. Not wanting to paint the room, we compromised with yellow sunflowers, which I painted today. I just love sunflowers. We'll see if I can control myself and not add a couple more...

Monday, February 23, 2009

fieldtrip to the WOW children's museum

Some homeschool friends invited us to WOW, the Lafayette children's museum, this afternoon. We went there once before, with Heather and Sophie, and we loved it, so I jumped at the chance to go again.

Ashley loves real life trains, but models, not so much ;-)

Zoe in the bubble.

Zoe up in the pirate ship.

The coolest part of the ship I think, is the underneath, where Ashley is heading in this photo. There is one port hole, which you can climb through to get inside, as well as a small opening by the wall. Inside is the back of one of the fish tanks, so you feel like you're under water, and there are pillows and books. Our friends and I read one of the books. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip :-)

Zoe said she liked the cash registers best, but the costumes were a close second. I really should have been snapping shots of the girls all dressed up, and the dance/stage area. Oh well, next time. I'm so tempted to get a yearly membership, I think they're pretty reasonable.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

longs peak this morning

View of Longs Peak over the museum.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

the discipline to homeschool

Often times I meet women at the playground and they say they applaud me for homeschooling, that they just don't have the "discipline." Always that specific word, "discipline." I am too shy to tell them I am also lacking in discipline. Too shy to say that when I hear that word it conjures up images of some military boarding school, the farthest thing from my home school.

Three definitions for discipline from the dictionary:
1) training to act in accordance with rules
2) activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training
3) punishment inflicted by way of correction and training

I am afraid that if these moms knew how much fun we were having by learning in a natural way, without pressure or grades, tests or judgement, then they would think I was failing to properly educate my children. I am afraid that all my children's knowledge would be discredited due to the method in which it was received.

"Teaching children" is more about behavior control and inputting of information than playing, exploration, values, human experience and quality of life. Society tells us that educating is and must be painful. This kind of structure is a discipline most of us moms find unpleasant and exhausting. Come to think of it, most of our children's teachers feel the same way. And many children in today's society don't even know how to play, yet another reason to send them to school, where they can be given constant direction.

At home parents fall into the trap of television to ease the bored child who doesn't know how to play or what to do with themselves, only to find the same frustration return when the show is over. It's a vicious cycle. Resa Brown writes about children making the transition to a home school:

"At school they never had to dip into their own resources to find activity and direction. They were well trained. The teacher told them what projects to do and when. Released from this regimen, these children needed a readjustment period. For many that meant boredom (and no T.V. to fill the void). Some recovered quickly, but it took many a full year before they rediscovered what they liked to do."

Perhaps the hardest job of homeschooling really is finding the discipline. The discipline to let go of school concepts about learning. The discipline to help our children find their strengths and passion; patiently. After all, isn't happiness, confidence and fulfillment what every parent hopes their children achieve in life? Resa puts it well: "Without the reward excitement brings, why would anyone bother to discover anything?"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Dresses from NiNi

Zoe and Ashley call my Mom, NiNi. We think it's because when Zoe was two, my Mom had knee surgery, and we were always talking about her knee. So Zoe named her, NiNi, and it stuck. We all like how different the name is. Anyway, NiNi, sent these adorable dresses to the girls for Valentines Day, among other things. Andy and I are fondly calling them the "Jane Austen" dresses. :-) They are so sweet that the girls haven't taken them off for two days now! Zoe even slept in hers last night! hahaha

Here's a little sister love for ya ;-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fairy Puzzles from Grandma

Grandma Patti sent this puzzle and another one from the same series for Valentine's Day. Is she awesome or what? These puzzles are so pretty and whimsical I want to put them together myself! And that's actually how it began. Often times Zoe gets to thinking that she's bored, but then she refuses to do anything I suggest to remedy this. Rather than get frustrated, which can be difficult, depending on the level of complaining going on, I usually just start doing something myself. I believe I picked this idea up reading, A Charlotte Mason Companion, a long time ago. It works so well.

Sure enough, I had done less than half, when Zoe came over and took over. :-) Then she was so proud of herself for each piece she place correctly. She had it finished in no time, and we can't wait to do the other one! From the time she was a baby, puzzles have been one of her favorite things to do, but it can be a challenge finding her ones that are neither too hard, nor too simple. This 100 piece set was just right.

I found them on amazon, click if you're interested:
They are made in the USA.

Friday, February 6, 2009

a big day

Today was a big day. It was another fine spring-like day here in the Colorado front range, and the girls asked to ride their bikes. However, Zoe rides a kind of half bike, you know, it has only one wheel, and it attaches to an adult bike. So for her to ride, means I must also ride, and besides that, all of the tires are flat from these thorns they have here in the high desert. So I let them take out Ashley's trike, and Zoe climbed on the back while Ashley sat in front. We passed our neighbor, and she said how it looked like we needed a new bike. I really wanted to give Zoe a new bike, I just didn't have the money.

So I brought the girls inside and opened my laptop. I found a thrift store, right nearby, and called them up. "Do you have any kids bikes?" I asked. "How much are they?" I said. "Fifteen dollars? I'll be right over." And just like that, Zoe got her first bike. Boy did she scream when she saw me take it out of the car! "I'm loving this bike!" she told me after one trip down the block and back. I was overflowing with pride.

I remember the day I got my first bike like it was yesterday, don't you? And I'll never forget today. Twenty years from now, I'll still be able to picture it, the day in February, it was 65 degrees, blue skies and very windy. Her polka dot jacket, with the same hot pink in it as the bike. The training wheels that Andrew put on while she waited impatiently. Her smile so big and wide. Awesome.