March 26, 2011

Animals, Animals

Once a week, on Mondays, we take a little drive to Ms. Jessica's Ranch for Sophia's horse riding classes. One of the perks of this weekly rendezvous is the animal watching on the property. I have never seen more varieties of chickens, bunnies, ducks, geese, guineas, and goats, in one place. And there is a noisy rooster too, and a small dog that comes and goes. We've yet to be able to get up close and pet any of the chickens, bunnies, or guineas, but the goals never seem to leave us alone.






Over the last few weeks, a few of the older children have been working on digging a reservoir for the ducks to have a pond. When I see moments like this, I see one of the many perks of homeschooling, and love that children are learning through real world experiences--how deep do we need to dig? how do we get water to flow into the reservoir? This is math and science, coupled with some good physical activity.


Sophia is doing really well with her lessons. She's learned how to stop her horse, walk, and is now learning how to turn. Below, she and her good friend Skye, help tack Mr. C. She is the proud owner of official saddle boots too.


March 24, 2011

[Field Trip] All About Bees!

We took a field trip yesterday for homeschooling families to learn about beekeeping. It was wonderful for the children to learn and see how the bees work together, how bees are responsible for 1/3 of the food we have, what foods they help pollinate, and the sweet story of honey!


Pointing out the Queen bee (she is marked with a red dot)





The children got to roll their own wax candles at the end.


Picnic at the park. A few bees even buzzed by to see if we had anything to offer and nobody freaked out. Imagine that!

Queen Bee and her Worker Bees by Sophia

Some fun new vocabulary the children learned:


March 21, 2011

The Little Schoolhouse

Big things are going to happen in this little house.
It never ceases to amaze me how the universe lines things up.

March 20, 2011

Selfless Acts of Giving

The disaster brought by the earthquake followed by the tsumani that crashed into Japan on March 11th, has been such a terrifying and heartwrenching event.

So when I saw on facebook that two of Sophia's dear friends, along with their mommies, had made cupcakes and delicious quinoa bars to sell at the park to raise money to send to Japan, I gathered up my brood and we went to support their efforts. Before this event, Sophia didn't know what an earthquake or tsumani was. This tragic event has given us an opportunity to have some deep discussions. What these mamas did was a wondeful thing. A gift to our children of awareness, selfless giving and service to those in need, even when they are halfway across the world.

March 15, 2011

Ebb and Flow

With the arrival of spring, my mind has been whirling around like crazy. Many things are stirring in our lives. I feel like I'm constantly researching, reading, researching, and reading more. Researching expanding our veggie garden, learning about sustainable landscaping (still stuck here), getting ready for Domi to graduate in June (such an exciting time!) but even moreso, heavy on my mind is trying to soak up and gather as much information on homeschooling co-ops because, yes, it's that time for my almost 5 year old. My eldest is finishing up his schooling, and my youngest is preparing to begin her journey.

Kindergarten roundups are right around the corner, and I just can't bring myself to enroll her in our public school. The idea of it puts my stomach in knots. Don't get me wrong, I know if I had no other choice, she would be fine in the public school system. She'd get good grades, she'd pass the standardized testing, her teachers would love her.

But I want more for her.

And now with the budget cuts our state is facing next year, makes this option even more appealing. The elementary school we're zoned for is over capacity by 200 students. The school under construction set to open this fall to alleviate overcrowding in our district, has been halted because of the budget deficit.  I honestly feel, I can do better. I can do better outside of the 4 walls that enclose an over-crowded classroom, and over-extended teachers. I believe, that a group of like-minded mothers and I, can do better working collectively.

Still, this is new territory for me. Even as a certified teacher, with a Master's degree in Education, I'm a bit nervous. However, I am relieved that I'm not doing this alone and have a support system and community.   I've got to just go with the flow.

March 03, 2011

Our New Addition

Now that Sophia is going to turn 5, Mike and I felt the time was right to bring in a furry friend to our home to offer companionship to our family. After a month of searching, today, we finally met our match! A beautiful 2 year old female Labrador!

After we made the decision to adopt a dog, we decided that the best fit for our family would be a Labrador, and it was NOT easy to find what we were looking for. I love that labs are devoted, obedient, friendly, and most importantly, good with children.

This morning, Sophia and I went to the Humane Society to visit a different dog that we had seen on their website. I called Mike at work to meet us there so he could be with us during our visit. While we were waiting for a staff member to get the initial dog for us to visit with, I turned and saw "Lana", and I was immediately drawn to her bright and soulful eyes, and her sweet and calm demeanor. She is a tad older than what we were looking for, but after we visited with the 11month old [super energetic and rambunctious] lab mix, I wasn't sure about the 11month dog. I wasn't feeling it. So, I asked if we could visit with Lana. The staff member said she wasn't sure if she was still under clinic care, but would check. Her file was pulled and we were told she did test positive for heartworms and will require treatment at home. (They don't do treatment at the humane society because it's too stressful for an animal for peaceful and quiet healing). Asked if we still wanted to visit with her and I said yes. She was very excited at first, yet was so gentle and sweet with Sophia. I knew instantly. I wanted her. My mind was made up.

So we will begin heartworm treatment in the coming week, which will be a long 2 month process. We'll have to keep her calm and severly restrict her exercise during this time. The timing is perfect though since I'm at home, and she will have a peaceful restful recovery.

I can definitely see our forever friend being a calm house dog, playful yard dog and intense field dog, all on the same day. She's already proven that today.

We are all in love! Now we just need a name...