Friday, January 14, 2011

I was homeschooled

Well, I wasn't...but my girls are, and the author of this article was (thanks, Grandmother Joan for calling to tell us about it!). One of my favorite points she makes is also about why we homeschool:

When I asked my mom why she decided to homeschool my brothers and I, she said, "I liked being around you." People expect a massive critique of society, which she can also do, when she feels like it. But underneath that is something much more straightforward.

I think that people want homeschooling to be incredibly complicated because school has become incredibly complicated. Education has become a messy, chaotic topic that we, as a nation, can't stop talking about. "Waiting for Superman", budget cuts, teen suicides, charter schools, healthier school lunches, colleges flooded with applications, student debt, student loans that go forever, elite preschools, KIPP, abstinence only sex ed, gay kids at prom, no child left behind, teachers' unions, rubber rooms, standardized testing, teacher suicides, cutting music and art classes, where it all is going, what we might be able to do, whether we should do it, and if it really works at all.
As Bret and I both have lots of experiences in public schools (as students, a librarian, student teaching and as coaches), and have many friends who are currently teachers, we know how hard it is complicated because of the sheer size of schools/school districts. There's nothing better than having a teacher:student ratio of 1:1 (even though I'm home full time with the girls, I feel that they "learn" as much from me as they do from Bret...and we learn from them!). Or even if you look at it as a teacher:student ratio of 1:2, it's still pretty darn good.

While there are days when I long to just run a few errands solo, or feel that I am giving up a lot to stay home, in the "big picture" I know that this time will go quickly, and they will be grown up...knowing their parents well...all too soon!

The author of the above mentioned article also also writes at:, eat the damn cake (heck yeah!) and the Huffington Post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

art, gingerbread house, pantry, theme cooking

Really, just some random stuff from the past several weeks...

Sabine's been doing a lot of drawing lately -- this is her "Mr. Toast" -- in this one he might be a fairy (see the wings and wand?) but then again, there's a baseball cap...hmmm...

We wanted to make 2 gingerbread houses, and got half way there. The girls had a blast decorating this one (bought pre-assembled from Costco...someday I'll make my own gingerbread/royal icing/etc...but not this year...)

And for Memet...the pantry! Bret built the shelves -- it really makes my (not overly cabinet heavy) kitchen WORK to have this space. While I sort of miss the doorway that used to be there, it was totally worth it.

We went to a Mad Men (1960s) themed holiday party in December. I had found the orange flowered tray recently, and it made the perfect vehicle for the cucumber herb butter mini sandwiches. The mandoline made easy work of creating ultra thin cucumbers.

Us, with friends Ben and Kristen at said party. My dress was bought at Deseret Industries for $6 (and it's hand made!), gloves belonged to my grandmother, Mimi, Bret's vest and tie are from my Great Uncle Lionel -- the tie clip says "GE - The Golden Value Line of the 60s". Classic.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

awesome art classes

The girls have been able to take a couple of classes offered by Becky at Portland Art Adventures. She's a super facilitator for creativity. Her classes have a basic structure, but she really understands unschooling and letting the kids take the projects where they think they should go -- there's no "This is what your finished product should look like" just lots and lots of amazing materials (she said most of them are from yard sales/S.C.R.A.P. and the like) and help/guidance when asked for.

These are the mini worlds the girls made back in December.

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die cut machine

I've been coveting a die cut machine for a while's one of the tools I got to use when I was working in the library world, and I always thought it would be fun to have one of our own.

After looking into the different options (computerized vs. manual) I came up with the Sizzix Big Kick...mainly because it's simple enough for the girls to use, it can cut fabric, it can take different brands of dies, and it's one of the few die cut machines that you can use the 40% off coupon to buy it at Joann's (the Cricut and many others are excluded from the coupon).

The first day we had it we made a ton of paper dolls...very fun!

Sabine made a mushroom house for my fairy doll...

Someday I'd love to get a computerized one that can make customizable cuts, but for now...this is great!
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