Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We're busily preparing for Sarah's Cafe -- the pop-up restaurant Sarah's running tomorrow from 12-6. Once the house is slightly more civilized I'll be taking some pictures of the prep but, for the moment, you'll just have to imagine the bustle!

We did our usual morning dancing to get the blood flowing, then played school for a bit because Sarah didn't want to skip too many days (tomorrow we're going to be a little busy madly chopping, cleaning, and cooking to do any reading, I suspect).

The plan is to spend the next 3 hours cleaning and finding supplies (where are the aprons, again?). Then, this afternoon and evening, we do the first 1/3 of the food prep -- early this week Sarah broke the steps of each recipe down, to figure out what we could do the day before, what we could do the morning of, and what was going to need to wait and be prepared as needed.

I'm really excited for her -- she's excited, her friends are excited, and I love the fact that she dreams such big dreams.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tips for a Nature Study

I love this so much I'm posting it everywhere

"What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out." - John Holt

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The busier we are, the harder it is to find time to sit down and journal, of course -- but the more I want to capture these rich days, to remember and reassure myself when we're having weeks full of drudgery or doubt.

I'm enjoying working my way through the posts here on various homeschool curricula and how different families approach the question of using a curriculum. I have plans to get together with a few homeschooling moms soon, to talk about resources for next year, but I wish I could extend the conversation to my whole homeschooling network. Everybody's so spread out, though, both geographically and philosophically. I'm hoping to write more about my thoughts for next year, but that's not going to happen today.

We spent last week at my parents' in the North Country. There was kayaking, boating, swimming, ice cream, cooking, breakfast in the tree house, rollerskating, mini-golf, a visit to the Herkimer Diamond Mine (breaking rocks in the hot sun, visiting the museum, admiring the rocks we collected -- which include calcite and stromatolite), organic mexican food, naps, reading, campfires, s'mores, campfire singing...

We took the week off from playing school. It made both of us so enthusiastic about getting back to "school" that I think we'll take another week off later in the summer.

We're continuing with the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History -- we're reading about dinosaurs right now, just finished learning about the first fish and first reptiles -- and the Intellego Weather Unit (still doing nature studies, weather observation, reading about weather vs. climate and getting an overview of what creates weather). We're making slow progress with Coffee Break Espanol, and will be looking for a Spanish conversation buddy in another couple weeks.

We're continuing to work our way through the Native American stories in our Sacred Myths book, and we finished the cultural geography exploration in Oak Meadow. We're just getting started with a broader map/geography study, using _The Book of Where_ and _Map Mania_.

Sarah's expressed a desire to "catch up" in math, so we're putting some of the exploratory math projects to the side and focusing more on drills and basics for a little while. Starting soon, though, we'll be doing the projects in The Good Time Math Event Book, and she and Joe will be continuing with multiplication and division games.

She and I haven't been doing much independent work, so she hasn't been doing much copy work. I'm noticing that her improvements at spelling have stalled a bit, so we may restart copy work next week. (she was continuing to improve even without the copy work, so this might just be a normal plateau -- I'm not concerned, it's just serving as a reminder that I want to include copywork at least a couple days a week.)