Thursday, February 26, 2009

The world through Vivian's lens


mama, Catalina

the wall

the tv and globe
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The things you can do...

With some colored masking tape, a little construction paper, a smock dress, and time...

I like this one because you can see that's she's reading a book...
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The coast

Our friend Allison was in town for a job interview in Lincoln City, OR, so we made the trip down there to check out another part of Oregon. Stayed at a dog-friendly hotel right on the beach. Spent a good part of Saturday in Newport...

Watch out for the snapping turtle at the Aquarium.

Sitting on the whale.

Heavily-laden daddy-o, walking down to the beach.

Rainbow on the ocean...made the misty rain actually quite nice.

Had lunch (fresh dungeness crab) at Gracie's Sea Hag in Depot Bay. Yummmmmmm...
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Science Lesson

One blue tub is not strong enough to support a girl who wants to get her hair washed in the sink (beauty parlor style). BUT...if you stack several of that's another story. Sabine came up with this after we told her that one would not support her...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Homeschool article on Etsy

(Click on the title of this post to see the article.)

For those of you who haven't heard of it, Etsy is "the place to buy and sell all things homemade." Very cool.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The story of my life

No, not mine...Helen Keller's...

I've been reading a book for an upcoming Multnomah County Library book discussion group, so I had to put down this one for a few weeks.

I'm now coming back to it (well, after I finish Tales of Beedle the Bard) and wanted to share a couple of quotes that I found interesting, from a homeschooling perspective.

In case you care, I'm quoting from The Restored Edition, ISBN 0679642870.
In order to understand how Helen Keller was able to articulate this insight at the age of eleven, how language became her mind's wings, we must look at Anne Sullivan's methods as a teacher, reminding ourselves that The Story of My Life is above all the story of a unique education. John Macy commented that Sullivan's method was both a "natural method" and "a deconstruction of method." By this he meant that Sullivan did not teach Keller language in a series of structured lessons, but rather she created for her--and immersed her in--a total environment of language. (xix)
I like this because it's kind of how we immersion in life.
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower.

Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks. (33)
I like the ideas expressed here...that children can be exposed to a lot of things, and while we might not witness their learning right away, they're soaking it all in. I also like the idea that children need to feel empowered to learn on their own...that no one can make anyone learn anything. However, if we can provide the right materials/opportunities/things they need at the time they need them, our children can't help but learn.
But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined. Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and "faced into the light of common day." Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college.

The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, where one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep sweet chord to in the soul that until then has been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures--solitude, books and imagination--outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day. (79)
I didn't necessarily feel this way at college, maybe because Cornell College uses the block plan, where you take one class at a time for 3.5 weeks then move on to another class, but I feel grateful that my kids have the luxury of time...with their thoughts, and to pursue their interests.
While my days at Radcliffe were still in the future, they were encircled with a halo of romance, which they have lost; but in the transition from romantic to actual I have learned many things I should never have known had I not tried the experiment. One of them is the precious science of patience, which teaches that we should take our education as we would take a walk in the country, leisurely, our minds hospitably open to impressions of every sort. Such knowledge floods the soul unseen with a soundless tidal wave of deepening thought. "Knowledge is power." Rather, knowledge is happiness because to have knowledge--broad, deep knowledge--is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life. (83)
Knowledge is happiness. Yes!

I'm looking forward to getting back to this inspirational story.