Monday, October 26, 2009

Love of Libraries, whaledreamers, and Meaningful Stories

One of the best things about homeschooling is that we get to go to the library and check out all kinds of books about whatever we are interested in. While we were browsing among the whale section, I cam across a video that looked intriguing. It is called whaledreamers, and was produced by Julian Lennon. It talks about the connection between a tribal culture in Australia and the whales they had a special relationship with. It follows this tribe as they host a gathering of other indigenous tribes from around the world and share their stories of their connections with whales. The respect and closeness they developed between cultures was inspiring. The video also brought up issues of genocide and forced migration from ancient tribal lands. These topics were explained well, but would be best for older children. This video was over the head of my two children, and parts were more intense than I would like them to see, but the video and its message made an impact on me.

I started thinking again about the power of story. I have put my writing on hold for awhile after Aaron's cancer and job loss and beginning homeschooling and having surgery. But I started getting that "itch" again, remembering why I write and how meaningful writing can be. I thought also about the power of stories in our own home, on a more personal level. We begin our days with story time - snuggles, warm and cuddly, the two children sleepy on my lap, letting them gently wake up to begin the day. Stories later in the morning when we all need a break. Stories before nap to get Annika ready for sleep. Stories at bedtime, snuggling again with a child on either side, warm pajamas and blankets. Books for one of them when emotions overflow, helping them to calm down and become grounded again. Children loving reading and learning, asking questions and soaking up all kinds of information without even trying. Children hearing stories from all kinds of cultures and genres, looking at pictures and illustrations from wonderful photographers and talented artists, as well as creating images in their own heads with their imaginations.

What would we do without stories and books? Have you had any experiences with the power of story or books? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I have spent the last week in quiet luxury. Well, sort of. I had surgery on my ankle and foot, and have been spending all day, every day, in my special chair (except when I am napping). My parents took the kids for a whole week, and they spent two days with hubby's sister and her husband. I had the whole week to recover in peace and quiet, waited on hand and foot by my dear hubby. I worked on some knitting projects, spent a lot of time on the internet finding all kinds of cool stuff, and watched tons of TV. I worked on my website a bit, took naps whenever I wanted. Heaven, I tell you! I got so spoiled. But I did miss my kids. They came back yesterday, and today we tried to catch up on cuddles and stories.

One of the things I knit was a toe hat to keep my toes warm with my cast on.

I've also been working on Christmas gifts for people. I got some mittens made for the kids.

I have some other projects I've done, too, but don't want to post them because they are going to people who read this blog. I love knitting. I think I have 6 or 7 projects going on now. I am trying to finish a few of them before starting new ones. I don't want to have to buy new, duplicate needles.

A few days before my surgery I took the kids to the Aquarium. It was so wonderful to go when there weren't very many other visitors. There were mostly tourists and a few moms with toddlers. We got unfettered access to all the interpreters, and didn't have to get pushed around by the exhibits.
The kids fed sea urchins, observed the octopus, watched the otters and seals, and checked out the coral reef exhibit. My favorite part was that Gabriel got to put some water from the Sound under a powerful microscope.

It showed up on a TV so everyone could see it. The interpreter told us what we were looking at. He spent several minutes with Gabriel answering questions and showing him how the microscope worked. It was so nice to have that much attention. The kids loved having this outing and I was glad to spend that much fun time with them before my surgery.

I've been discovering all kinds of cool stuff on the internet to use for our homeschooling, but I'll save that for another post.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Big Helpers

The kids have been involved in some projects around the house in the past week. We are making a wood shed in the back yard. I should say, my husband and Dad are making the shed, I am supervising. We have lived here for over 6 years and are finally going to have a winter without blue tarps in the back yard. Yay!!!

Gabriel and Annika both helped move part of a load of gravel to the construction area, and then spread the remaining rocks in the driveway.

Happily, we will also have a winter without mud from the driveway getting tracked into the house. Wow, I feel so grown up. Today Dad came up with some panels he had put together this week for us, and a friend joined the men to help start raising the walls. Gabriel was out there with them for a bit, learning how to use the level to make sure the foundation blocks were level and true. We talked about the process at the dinner table this evening, filling in the blanks of understanding for him.

That's one of the coolest things about homeschooling for me. I love the conversations we have, just by living life. I have some more ideas about how to build some math lessons into this project, too. Math is one of the harder subjects for me to figure out how to teach my son. He is decidedly not a worksheet type of person, but I want to make sure he gets a good foundation in math so he can be successful in science or engineering or architecture or whatever he decides to pursue in life. It's also really good to see my boy out there working hard along the men. He needs that!