Friday, June 8, 2007

One Skein Projects Update

It's official. I love the projects in One Skein!

These hats were very quick and fun to whip up. Now to find a newborn recipient for the small one and post the bigger one to England.

Yeah, I can do cables! Oh chunky yarn, how I love thee. A2's scrummy hat took one day.

The one problem I have with US knitting books is getting the appropriate yarn. I got this one wrong as my Ruffle Cravat is a lot bigger than the one in the picture and took TWO skeins. Still nice and fast though!
My current W.I.P is Daphne's Baby Cape from Knit 2 Together.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

By request...home-learning

I was asked to share a little about our home-learning journey, why and how we homeschool. Unlike the fantabulous Rachael, I don't have anything written down...hmmm...perhaps I should have something written down? Might help keep things like this short and succinct, huh?

Why do we homeschool? There must be as many different answers to that question as there are homeschooling families. So I'll share a wee bit behind our thinking. We first explored the idea of keeping M7 at home when she was very little. We were very intentional choosing to have children, and want to be intentional about all of our parenting choices rather than following the status quo without question. So the education of our children seemed to be a pretty major area to do some heavy thinking on.

Even Dh & I approached it initially from different viewpoints. He was concerned with the spiritual aspect of sending Christian kids into a non-Christian environment without having provided them with critical thinking skills as a framework to filter what they were exposed to.

I was basically an intellectual snob, who wanted my kids to be exposed to as much learning stuff as possible, and I knew this would not be happening in a class of 30+ kids. I was also concerned, on a much more basic "over-protective" Mummy level, with how my delicate, introverted "good" child would do in large classes where her love of learning could be quickly extinguished.

The more important reasons for us now centre around simply being with these kids that we've chosen to have, and living life with them. We have goals and adventures planned as a family, and it makes no sense to exclude our children from the very mundane "getting the family work (chores)" done to helping us decide on the "big picture" family stuff. It's very straight forward for Dh. It's our responsibility as their parents to educate them and we shouldn't "outsource" that responsibility (spot the IT geek).

How do we homeschool? I can tell you how we don't homeschool. We don't replicate the classroom at our kitchen table. No timetables, no curriculum (except for Maths), no assessment.

The journey has been a very organic process for us, changing as our family needs change, as we develop our philosophy a little more, as Mummy reads another good concept in a homeschooling book.

My early reading got me interested in the concept of a Classical Education as espoused by Dorothy Sayers and Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. However, it seemed too rigid for someone of my slightly lazy disposition to be able to "implement upon my children" without driving myself mad.

We are what I'd label (if I had to) "relaxed homelearners" now; leaning heavily upon a Charlotte Mason/Living Books approach with a bit of Unit Study stuff thrown in for good measure. It hasn't been difficult for me, as a book-a-holic, to put emphasis on my kids reading good literature (yes, The Saddle Club is a dirty word in this house). It gives me a chance to re-read, or even jump into for the first time, fantastic books with the kids. We don't do a lot of formal stuff at all.

Personally, I greatly admire Clay and Sally Clarkson, and Sally's writings as a Christian homeschooling mama have been a huge encouragement to me.

I'd love to say more! Pop over for a coffee or tea and we can really get into it. I'll finish by, hopefully, dispelling a myth about what "kind of people" can homeschool. I am often told "oh wow, I could never do that. You're so amazing." (Ok, I really know they're thinking "freak!") Spend a day with me and my kids and you will see that I am a normal, average mother who believes that God's will for our family is to be and learn at home together.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Favourite Things #2

We love home baking! Husband is our resident p√Ętissier, primarily because he has the patience for the dough to rise. There is nothing better than home-made brioche (white chocolate and boysenberry) and hot, fresh coffee.

Happy Anniversary! Thanks for thirteen years of morning coffees and endless patience with me. Love you!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Food and Us

It's important for our family that our children appreciate the fact they have food, respect that food, where it comes from and how it is prepared.

We don't grow or kill our own food, and dreams of self-sufficiency are a long way off. The nearest we get to connecting with the source of our food is our local Farmer's Market. The kids can hand our money over to the people that have worked hard to grow and make what they're going to eat.

For weeks, I've watched the preparation of the Harrington's lunchtime paella, but have never been there once it's ready to eat.
Yesterday, Mr Paella asked if anyone wanted to help him stir it. I5, my little chef at home, leapt at the opportunity.
She did a great job, and her hard work earned Mummy & Daddy a free lunch! While she stirred I chatted with Mr Paella about his children's interesting names, his favourite movie and other topics. You don't get that connection with a can on a supermarket shelf!
Yes, my children prefer the sugary, jam-filled beignet to paella. All the more for Mummy & Daddy.
Something for everyone at the market. Daddy enjoyed the talented young jazz buskers and it was great for the girls to be able to give them a bit of monetary support for their entertainment.

We're keen to get our winter garden up and running, but we'll continue to support our local food producers too.