Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We're saving the world!

Love this article...it's from a Canadian, eh? Read the whole thing here.

Unschooling, by contrast, starts with the realization that you 'own' your time, and have the opportunity and responsibility to use it in ways that are meaningful and stimulating for you. When you have this opportunity, you just naturally learn a great deal, about things you care about, things that will inevitably be useful to you in making a life and a living. Your learning environment is the whole world, and you learn what and when you want, undirected by curricula, textbooks, alarm clocks and school bells. You develop deep peer relationships around areas of common interest, once you're allowed to explore and discover what those areas of interest are. And the Internet and online gaming allow you to make those relationships anywhere in the world, to draw on the brightest experts on the planet, and to communicate powerfully with like-minded, curious people of every age, culture and ideology.

Anti-anti coloring books

Growing up, I remember my mom getting us the Anti Coloring Books -- they're still around -- and even have a web page. From said page, Anti Coloring Books:
Allow children to be creative, not just robots coloring inside the lines.

These books let children use their imaginations:

  • exciting motivation is provided
  • a scene is set
  • children get to put on their thinking caps
  • exercise their imaginations
  • and turn on their critical thinking

Most of all they have fun!

I haven't gotten any of them for Sabine or Vivian yet, but Bret often brings home (non-confidential) recycle paper from the office...which we sometimes use for printing, but occasionally Sabine turns them into coloring pages...

Have you ever seen a prettier MANHOLE COVER?

And I think the Portland lady looks just lovely...
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What's not to love?

Above is the view out our front living room window...

And this is out the dining room window (there are two other windows on either side...so it's actually a bigger view of the gorgeous trees...but I liked how this one was "framed")...

Another pink tree in our neighbor's yard just started blooming, and the apple tree in our back yard is now white-blossom-covered. Wow. Be-you-ti-ful.
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The Madsen ad

In case you're wondering...the Madsen banner that is at the top of my blog right now is for a contest to win a free Madsen bike on July 15...they're a new company based out of Salt Lake City. I actually took one for a test ride last week with Vivian and Sabine in tow -- I was amazed how well it handled. And it looked like you could haul some serious stuff with it (and it's pretty!!!). Maybe someday one will be in our world.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From Jeff Sabo...

...unschooling dad extraordinaire...this is from the middle of his (long but well worth reading) post entitled: "Great" Expectations. The post is directed towards dads, but I think it applies to everyone...

But here's the creepy thing; I think we actually have more control when we unschool than if we don't. We like to think we can control things like what a child learns, what job they have, how happy they are, how healthy they are. We infuse our children constantly with what our expectations of them are. And then we send them to off to school, where we have no control over what they learn; we send them off to college, where we have no control over the direction their lives will take; we control what they eat in our house, where they only spend 20% of their waking hours; and we control what activities they participate in in pursuit of happiness. What we do not do is give them the trust and tools they need to make their own choices and set their own course, thereby putting them in the exact same position as we were once in - unsure, fearful, with the parent's definition of happiness and success. And then, when they become parents, they'll have to start at the top of this page and read the whole damned blog just to catch up. We create the illusion of control for ourselves and our children, and then we use it to build a house of cards that we pray won't fall down until the kids are too distracted to notice.
I love it...the whole control thing really hits home. And how we really can't MAKE our kids be/do/say anything. They are their own people, even if they aren't "allowed" to be them until they're "grown up" and making their own choices.

Thanks, Jeff, for the inspiration.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More canoe play...

This is from Kat and Marley's visit for Handmade Nation...(I'm linking to Kat's post, as it's likely I'll never get my post on that done... :) )

The girls are playing on a slack line (don't worry, they don't walk on top of it...) Bret improvised with our hammock stand...we got rid of our (rotten) hammock when we moved, but kept the nifty metal stand...

And a few photos of the under-represented 2nd child.

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Little movie star

Must remember to get the girls their own sunglasses...mine keep getting absconded with...
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These photos aren't great because I wanted to kind of sneak and take them...didn't want to interrupt what Sabine and Vivian were doing...just being sweet. They were actually drinking the Emergen-C (I had prepared for me...) in one cup with two straws, on the front porch...it was really cute. I love that even though they are 3.5 years apart, they have these moments of closeness and sharing.

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Pattern blocks

You can click on the title of this post to see where we got these blocks (Discount School Supply -- I did a lot of research online (after calling the local toy stores who were all out of them) and these were the cheapest available -- I think they're made in China, and they're not 100% perfect, but they're adequate!). I think I bought 2 sets of them this past fall when Sabine was going crazy with the smaller Melissa and Doug set that someone gave us. It's really fun to have LOTS of them to make into interesting patterns.

Happy 7 year old.
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Poor man's hot tub

So the hot tub we bought with every penny of our wedding gift money (plus a little extra) finally died our last winter in Jackson...with minimal problems, it gave us 10 years of excellent service. It's one of the things I would like to add to a house when we get the opportunity to buy again (anyone wanna buy a cool house in Jackson, Wyoming???). However, we are nothing if not resourceful, so we put the cooler Boopy (Carolyn's dad) gave us to good use over the past several days...

Axel and Vivian enjoy the restorative waters...

Vivian solo...

Sabine actually fit in it too (by herself) but we forgot to take a photo when she was in it...
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Wyoming comes to Portland

The Klomparens Crew (Julie, Shawn, Birch and Axel) came to see us over the kids' spring break. We've known Julie and Shawn since way before kiddos...went on a sailboat trip with them to Key West about 10 years ago, Julie and I had our first babies about 3 months apart, and we traded kinder-care for the first year or so our our girls' lives...Birch is the reason Sabine misses Wyoming so much! I wasn't sure how it would go with them having not seen each other for so many months...but I needn't have worried. Birch and Sabine basically picked up where they left off...and PLAYED for 4 straight days. They even made a LIBRARY in the basement. It was very sweet.

At the zoo with Vivi, Axel, Sabine and Birch.

Bret's new canoe was the object of much backyard imaginative play.

We celebrated Sabine's (and my) birthday a little early...

Even the grown-ups had fun (that's Karmin's back to us, Dave in the grey shirt, Julie, Shawn, and me). We were supposed to go out that night with Dave and Karmin to celebrate their April birthdays, but our babysitter got sick. So instead we got (sensational!) take out from Mai Thai and celebrated at home...
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

They Won!

Congrats, Anne and Pete! Prairie Home's site says it will be listed on their website on Monday (4/13).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Our brush with fame

We've been keeping busy since March 24th with a welcome stream of visitors -- first Kat and Marley from Corvallis (we met them at the Life is Good conference last year) -- Kat and I went to the Portland premiere of the movie Handmade Nation -- and then the Klomparens family from Jackson. We've been having so much fun that I haven't made time to blog about it!

I'll post some photos from those visits soon, but first had to share that our good friends and musicians extraordinaire, Anne and Pete Sibley, will be playing on Garrison Keilor's A Prairie Home Companion's Great American Duet Sing-Off live, tomorrow night (Sat. April 11) at 6 pm eastern. You can vote for your favorite act (Anne and Pete, of course) online -- click here to vote.

I dug up some photos from our past musical adventures with Anne and Pete...

Pete's one of those guys who can play ANYTHING...and make it sound good. He also knows how to trap a monkey with a banjo.

There's Sabine enjoying music as a baby, and later on at about age 4, I think, joining Anne and me on guitar.

Hopefully you'll get a chance to listen to them!
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