Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for May 2009

My little Anna hit the six month hump this weekend. She now wiggles to get to toys she wants to reach, likes her rice cereal and demands lots of attention.

We are thinking it is time to get serious about the baby sign language because she is getting harder to read. She has the same screech for a plethora of needs and this gets confusing and irritating very quickly!

We used sign language with our oldest and it worked really well for helping us meet his needs before the fit starts. It is a very useful tool. There are “experts” who say that using baby sign language doesn’t help babies develop speaking skills any faster (or slower) than not using it.

I think these people are missing the point entirely. It’s not about having a super-advanced baby, it’s just about learning how to communicate more effectively with your child while you are waiting for the verbal skills to catch up.

New babies are easy to read. They have only a three or four basic needs. The older they get the more complex their needs become and the harder it is to discern whether they are hungry, want a change of scenery or just want some floor time.

The sign language helps to bridge that gap. I loved it and I really need to get crackin’ on showing Anna how to use it.

I also wanted to show you all this:

DSC05437 Seasoned potatoes and tofu steak! This is my husband’s home cooked meal for last Friday’s lunch. As I wrote before, my husband is home with the kids and this is one of his first attempts at a real meal since taking over the duties at home. It was very good and I am very pleased. I asked him to make it again tonight for supper. Besides, these are one of the few dishes my kids will actually eat.

Can you believe that he actually got them eating raw veggies? It took some salad dressing but I can make my peace that.

Anyways, he is starting to get into a routine at home now and life is getting easier for us all. I have also received a three dollar an hour raise and that does make being away from home more worthwhile financially. I still miss being home but the kids are in good hands! 

It is harder for me to find time to read, paint and sew etc. though. My scrapbooks are getting pretty behind. 😦

Why must nonconformity be regarded as a sin? Why must the black sheep have the stigma? Why can’t the white sheet get the stigma? We could accuse them of being ignorant and boring.

Anyways, I started reading Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. Gatto was an award winning school teacher in New York City for over 30 years.

1008When he the New York State Teacher of the Year award he responded with a speech that just blew my socks off! His speech dripped with seething and resentful remarks about how school is ruining our children. About how parents and educators have handed the education of their children to strangers who make big salaries by creating a little assembly line of self-conscious, apathetic, conformed children who will later be the paper pushers, gas pumpers and cashiers of the future.

The teachers teach and treat the children in a way that allows them to become confused about what they learn, how they learn and why any of it is relevant. They teach that kids are stuck in class hierarchies and produce kids that are indifferent to learning (why do you think that today’s boys and men loathe reading?) and dependent on others for their intellectual and emotional fulfillment as well as their self esteem.

He writes that these things aren’t meant to be taken as ironic or sarcastic. These are real and his success as a teacher depends on his compliance to these disturbing norms

I don’t want to give too much of his speech away but this book is priceless. A critic from the inside exploiting all of the nonsense that children are taught.

If you want your child to be truly brilliant, to love learning and to seek fulfillment from his or her work you need to read this book.

If you want your child to be self-reliant, have self-confidence and the ability to achieve whatever he or she wants to achieve, you need to read this book.

Take your kids out of school. They’ll thank you forever for it.

This one isn’t for me though. A friend of mine is having a baby in a bit and I offered to make her a sling. The one she bought was much too large for her and now she’ll have her own custom made one. She even picked out the fabric.

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This picture shows the lining:

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And there was even enough fabric left to make a coordinating present. This one is a surprise though!

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And what a wonderful, beautiful day it was.

First we went to this celebration (May Day???) at the Waldorf playschool in the city and the boys had a wonderful time. We all got wonderful tans.

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The boys replant some Marigolds.

DSC05335wI made Anna a little crown when we were there. Now she truly does look like a beautiful princess. She got her face painted as well.

Here she is making a new friend (with the hat mommy whipped up for her this morning):

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The hat looks a little smushed in the picture but it really did turn out fabulous. I am very pleased with it.

 

 

 

 

The kids were very excited about all of the games and all of the wonderful treasures they got to bring home (more about that in a few pictures.

This (below) is a picture of the May Pole. It was overflowing with kids. I heard that they don’t usually get this kind of a turnout but there weren’t even enough ribbons for all of the young kids.

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I loved that they had musicians on the inside of it. There were a couple guitars and a violinist as well. And it looks like there was a flute as well.

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This is the finished (potted at home) spoils of the day (minus the bubbles).

The boys obtained the lady bugs and shells and flowers etc. at different stations throughout the event. Trey loves having his own plant. Plus, who can’t help but feel chipper around such a happy blossom?

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Then we came back to “the park” for Trey’s T-Ball. It was extra special because it was the first time that daddy got to see him play. Usually his games are on Tuesday nights and Kevin has classes those nights. He also had a few extra fans in the crowd today because Aunt Vicki as well as Grandpa and Grandma came to watch him too.

He is quite the hitter. He has a pretty good batting average for his experience level. Granted he was hitting off of a tee in this picture but I was pitching for him a couple of weeks ago and he was able to make bat to ball contact quite a few times.

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Trey waits for his turn to run.

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Looks like sewing fever has really taken hold this weekend. I finally decided what to do about my boring skirt. I embroidered a funky flower on the left hem and that added quite a bit more interest to the piece. It also matches this nice pink shirt of mine so now I have a whole outfit.

And I finally finished my lunch bag. I had started it a few weeks ago but got frustrated and left it. I am fairly pleased with the outcome. Some of the stitches aren’t straight etc. but I don’t care right now. It is so hard to get some of those pieces under the foot that I have had to forgo perfection and simply accept that my sanity is just more important than a perfect bag…or a broken machine.

Anyways, without further delay:

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And I am not the only one.

My hubby and my kids also love their local library. The kids love playing in the library. It’s more of a social function to them than it is about the books but still…

Here are some real gems that I picked up today:

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Gosh! I just love that I can go and pick books up for free and have a chance to really read them so that I can determine whether or not to spend the money to buy them. There have been so many books that have looked good on the web or in the book store but end up being pretty lame at home.

I am definitely buying the Sew Pretty Homestyle one. I just loved the ideas in there. It made me want to sew up my whole dang house!

I am not planning on buying the serger one but it has been a real life preserver. I was having so much trouble with my serger and a few little tips from this book and my serger is working better than it ever has. Plus the illustrations in this book are much clearer than the illustrations and instructions in my manual.

Yay for the library!

Here is my completed sewing project for the evening:

DSC05217It looks rather boring. I am thinking it needs some embroidered accent or something but since I plan on wearing it to the office I am a little hesitant to get too creative. Hmmm…any ideas?

Obviously it needs some ironing too. Ha ha ha.

Another thing I am loving about my library is that it lets you borrow CDs. I like being able to listen to new artists this way. I would never buy a CD from an artist I didn’t recognize and this is a fun way to try some new styles.

Plus, I really like the documentaries too. All of this for the price of three or four movie rentals.

My friend L (check out her site for more pictures) and I tried our hand at doing some sun painting. We painted some silks for the kids but we also painted some little shirts for one of her co-workers who recently had a baby.

Here are some pictures:

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The one below was painted by my son Trey.DSC05198

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