Friday, June 30, 2006

Starting Off Slowly Today

This morning has been one of those languid, lazy summer mornings. A morning lesson didn't happen, and it's not going to. We didn't walk the dog...I wanted to but Papa hung around this morning and soon we were all singing Beatles songs in the bedroom. I still need to take a nice aromatherapy bath (I sure wish I wasn't out of epsom salts).

I'm okay with where we are. I've decided to take a systematic approach to recontructing our school days. This weekend I'll do more planning, taking a close look at our natural rhythm so I can figure out how to add things in without it seeming rigid or forced. I need to talk to Papa about when we can be spontaneous and when we need to stick to the rhythm (it completely throws off our day when he goes to work late). I'm going to make a plan for learning the movement songs and activities. And then we are going to add in just one new activity every couple of weeks, be it a recorder lesson, watercolor painting, etc.

We're actually losing a lot of next week. Papa will be home Monday and Tuesday, and Tuesday will be filled with 4th of July activities. Wednesday we're going to the swim lagoon, and Thursday we're having our homeschool "park day" at a family's home. So we'll have only 3 days for schooling, and 2 of those will be afternoons only. I won't even try to add back in the practice time until the week after, other than playing a few games of sight word bingo and having number writing worksheets available. Also, we're not going to work with the number qualities of "11" and "12" since next week will be short.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Feeling Lost....

We just haven't been able to get back into a groove. The basic framework of the rhythm is there and is working well, it's just me. I'm not feeling very inspired to put back in some of the things that have fallen by the wayside. That would be fine, if we weren't talking about important activities like movement, music, arts and crafts, and even sometimes the secondary lessons (practice).

I want it all to fit in and work, but I also want it to be natural and real. I suppose that it won't always feel unnatural - they don't always like the morning walk, for example, but if we did it regularly it would at least become a part of the rhythm and they might come to enjoy and even anticipate it. There wasn't total resistance when we were going before, except to actually getting out the door. These days I know the resistance is mine - I don't like the heat.

(The dog has also been restless, and we're wondering if a regular walk would help her. At the same time, anything she does regularly becomes expected and then she gets super anxious when left home.)

Then, do I want to wake up early or do I want to sleep in? I actually have come to enjoy getting up a little earlier (not so early that I feel sick and grumpy all day), but T-Guy wants me to sleep in and if I don't he starts his day really poorly and I feel guilty. Conflicting needs.

I seem to be in a summer slump. Low energy (but I still can't nap and have trouble sleeping at night) plagues me. It isn't a good time to be outside, but inside I'm not very motivated. I am sleeping poorly, even with medication (I am a chronic insomniac).

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Reading Kari's blog, I realized that I am in serious detox right now, which may be part of why I don't feel well physically and my emotions have been all over the place. And what did I eat for lunch? A piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter on it, two foods I know I should avoid. For people who don't have intolerances, you can't imagine the pull of the foods that you shouldn't have. I really have to get the leftover (from camping) gluten foods out of the house, and have some discipline when it comes to peanut butter (because J-Baby seems fine with it). When camping we let a little dairy in, and then I wanted more (cream cheese on a bagel, sour cream on a potato). I actually get a relaxed feeling once I have casein.

We didn't eat a lot of nutrient rich foods while we were camping, and I know that affects my energy. I still suspect low iron (since I am bruising easily and am almost always anemic when I am not supplementing), but I am reluctant to treat it until I am tested. Everything is such a dance with me; my health isn't what I want it to be, although I am moving closer. My goal is to be active in a natural manner (part of my lifestyle), to be at a thin, healthy weight, and to be off all medication, including hormones. I've come so far, but it may be a year before I can be rid of all medication. I am going to wean off sleeping meds this fall, when we are on our break.

Really, the only way I know to achieve that is to eat a whole foods vegan diet, avoiding gluten and all the other no-nos (HFCS, hydrogenated fats, preservatives, artificial anything) and to really work on pinpointing my allergies. The diet has to be rich in beans, fruits, and vegetables, especially greens. When I was feeling great late last fall I was eating about half of my diet raw, with beans and greens everyday. Not coincidentally, that is when I was losing weight pretty quickly.

Anyway, most of that doesn't have much to do with Enki, except that teacher health is a big part of Enki. It is addressed more from an emotional/spiritual aspect, but in reality, without good physical health it is very hard to be the teacher and parent you want to be. That has been one of my inspirations to really turn my life around and get serious about my physical health.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Daily Plan 6/28/06

Breakfast, clean up, dress
Start laundry, fold towels from last night, dry sheets
Join Roots & Shoots
Snack
Main Lesson: recall, draw, and write Contest for the Crown (greater than/less than)
Free play for boys/house tending for Mama (and hang laundry)
Lunch, clean up
Quiet time (Mama will read!)
Tidy boys' room
Snack
Practice Time: word families and number writing practice
Project: plan outdoor kitchen
Free play/early meal prep
Computer time
Dinner, clean up
BMX(?)
Bedtime routine
Bath for Mama
Plan Thursday
Prepare snacks for park
Yoga, read, sleep

Roots & Shoots

I joined Roots & Shoots and set up our group this morning. I did it all on faith; I really only know of one other person who showed definite interest, but I think others in our group will want to participate. I used my home (private) school name as the name of the organization, and named the group Live Oak Roots & Shoots. I didn't want to use my city name as our homeschool group members come from all over, and I really didn't want to use Inland Empire, which is the designation for our area but sounds so ugly and capitalistic. I wanted a nature-based name, so I used the name of the trees that dot our lower hills and mountains.

I wish I had realized that it takes awhile to get materials; I would have ordered sooner. I just hope it is closer to 6 weeks and not 8.

I am planning our first gathering for 9/21, which is the International Day of Peace. We're leaving for our fall vacation on the equinox, so that day is out.
This morning it was 80 degrees at 7 a.m. and I was complaining about it in my mind, and then wow, I remembered how many days it was 100 degrees by 8 a.m. when I would commute to the desert. That kind of puts things in perspective. But as the desert dwellers would always say: it's a dry heat.

Today I hope to get back on track with Enki. We're in the middle of the number qualities block and need to recall, draw and write about Contest for a Crown, which is a greater than/less than story. That is our main lesson for today. Now that I have the new Enki math guide I am hoping that I'll be able to revert to a 3 or 4 day school week and still finish a block in 3-4 weeks. The information in the old guide was for teachers following a 5 day week. I haven't had much of a chance to read the new guide yet, or to look at the blackline masters.

It's also time to put back in practice work, which we didn't do Monday or Tuesday. We're working with word families and sight words. For word families we're using our ConsoNant town board (see earlier post on 5/23/06 for a picture), and for sight words we're using a bingo game. We also have printed cards to put on a ring when they learn a new sight word, but haven't fully implemented that yet.

I have to say I am struggling with two things. One, even though I chose not to take our break during the summer (because fall will have gorgeous weather and being outside will be fantastic, plus it fits better with the way I am teaching both boys at the same time), many other people are taking a break right now, and well, it just feels like summer. For me that means curling up and reading for hours at a time and just doing the bare minimum elsewhere.

The other thing is that it has been hard to incorporate unschooling. I mean, obviously they come up with things they want to do and learn, spontaneous projects, etc. and they do have chunks of free time, but I find it really hard to just shelve a day because we want to do something else, without feeling that we've gotten behind. No matter what, I do have a goal of covering certain material before our break. I've already adjusted and cut some things outs, and now I'm at a point where there isn't much flexibility

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Laying Out the Day....

(I do find it very helpful when I do this. Today I'm not sure what order things will happen in, but these are the things I'd like us to do.)

Computer off most of the day (maybe one midday check during quiet time) Well, I had it off more than I had it on, but I did spend 2 hours doing the monthly finances.
Take a long bath This was nice.
Read (me reading my books and magazines) Had a great long chat with Papa instead.
Read out loud to boys Done.
Make my bed, change linens Done.
Laundry (late tonight so I can use dryer for towels and sheets) Done (but laundry is never finished).
Research toaster ovens I haven't found anything big enough for 12 capacity muffin tin, so now I am seriously considering a sun oven.
Decide where to put "outdoor" kitchen Still either the carport area or back deck
Tidy and organize school room Done
Recall, draw, write Contest for a Crown
Number Charts
Word Families We had an "unschooling" day, as we were all consumed by various projects.
Spend 15 minutes cleaning/tidying in each major room Spent over an hour in my room and closet. Tidied the kitchen and nook.
Dinner: sauted Swiss chard, quinoa, raw carrots and watermelon!

My big mental task will be thinking about our rhythm and the flow of the day. I want to make it very organic and attuned to the way we live and feel during the hot months. I'm also working on finding the priorities for our family, not a set of guidelines from any book.

This week, hopefully tonight(!), I want to get the Enki music onto my iPod. Didn't happen, because I forgot.

Ah, the Cool of Early Morning....

...only it's 74 degrees at 6 a.m. with 67% humidity. Still, I opened some windows to exchange the air in the house.

Papa and I talked about the house discontent. He feels it too, only isn't sure that we can afford to leave his job. I do think we will go eventually, though, even though it means leaving a climate we like (most of the time) and our extended families. Southern California just isn't sustainable. It's a desert, no matter how much water flows from the north to help make it otherwise. It's densely populated, and I don't mean a really dense big city - Los Angeles is all sprawl. Even our once small and way out there town now has a population of over 65,000, and over the last 100 years every bit of land between here and L.A. has been developed along the freeway coridoors. We may have stood alone at one point in time, but today we are just part of suburbia.

Still, we walked last night, and the good things came to mind (well, not walking in humid 90 degree weather at 8 p.m.). Our proximity to the library. The outdoor amphitheatre we've come to love (they were rehearsing "Beauty and the Beast" last night). The old houses, the big trees, the post office and other old, beautiful buildings (the library itself is gorgeous). Our street, with its smaller homes that were once an upscale subdivision where the fire chief and police chief could live. The old grove homes, and the availability of year-round citrus. A farmer's market 3 blocks from our home.

So we stay for now, with gratitude, and we make the best of what we have. Knowing what we like about where we are helps us choose a new destination. We'll research areas that are close to nature, environmentally sound, have local food sources, are near at least one river, are progressive, etc. We also need a place where we can get by on human-power when oil becomes scarce.

To tie this all to Enki, proximity to real nature is a vital part of growing and learning for children. I highly suggest reading Last Child in the Woods; I'm almost done with it and it is so in tune with Enki.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Discontent

I didn't mean to come home and be discontented. Of course, vacation is vacation and home is reality. Most of the time, I am quite content with my home, my family, my life, my choices. Lately, even before going on vacation, I have been working the idea of moving. Someplace more sustainable once peak oil causes changes to surburbia. Someplace with more nature. I want local food, local products, a local economy. I don't even think what I want actually exists in a perfect way, at the moment.

But what we have is good in its way. Proximity to family and grandparents (yet always a 30 minute drive at a minimum). I really can't discount the importance of this, even if the family is dysfunctional at times. Mild climate, with lots of solar potential. An old house in the walkable area of a good town. Papa's job...that's the real thing we have. A good job with a stable company that pays well, has decent benefits, and is within walking distance. A casual dress code, flexible hours, a month of vacation. He likes his job...that's important. We're settled, established.

I know that we need to ride it out for the next 5 years or so. The way housing is even a lateral move would be costly, and it would be difficult to find a location as good as the one we have now. There is no way to stay within the core of downtown and get more property.

Usually when I feel like this there are two important things I can do. The first is to find a place of gratitude. I have so much more than so many in this world, and even than many in this country. Really, do I have the right to sit here and think that my house is too big, my yard too small, and heck, I don't want carpet in my bedroom?

The other thing I do is make changes. Get rid of more. Simplify. Keep things clean. The getting rid of is what is so hard. I want to let things go, but they have value, so they sit in boxes waiting for eBay (but I don't have time for eBay and need Papa's help to do the listings). I peel back layer after layer. What can we let go? What might be useful later? What is the price of getting rid of things only to decide later that you want them back?

I know the clutter isn't only physical, but in my mind as well. Guilt. For instance, I'd love to get rid of all my scrapbooking supplies. I have tons, and even having pared down I have a lot. I don't really scrapbook. I had even come to a place where I was okay with that. Then Papa makes a comment about how the pictures we have scrapbooked are the best record we have, and I think that yes, I should record my children's history for them.

This place in my mind is uncomfortable. My eyes are open. Yet I know that it is the discontent that helps me grow, as long as I don't let it spiral me into a place of total unhappiness. Wanting to make things better in all areas, striving, changing. It is a pruning, in preparation for new growth.

After a Long Break....

...what do you say?

Obviously, we never cracked open the laptop. We had a great time, but didn't take so many pictures as to need to empty a compact flash card (we just switched). We read - a lot. We spent time at the beach. We hung out at campfires with friends, family, and by ourselves. We sang. We walked. We rode our bikes. We poked around a used bookstore.

(We also shopped for groceries, cooked meals, cleaned up, washed and dried dishes, swept the trailer floor 10 times a day, did laundry, made beds...the work doesn't go away just because you're on vacation.)

I never cracked open an Enki book, and I never got the CDs onto my iPod. We worked on number charts one day.

I'll be honest...I didn't miss my blog that much. I still "write" in my head all of the time, but I wasn't thinking much about Enki or homeschooling or any of that. I did miss my friends, both those I see in the flesh and those I know online. I didn't even begin to wonder what they were up to on the message boards I sometimes frequent. I did wonder if I had email; but when I got home, of the 256 messages I received most were spam, a couple of dozen were from a curriculum swap group, and maybe 8 were from real people (including the homeschool list). I obviously wasn't missing much.

So I am feeling a bit adrift. Coming home is always so unreal - my house seems huge and decidedly *not* simple. Our basic rhythmic framework is rock solid, but right now chaos reigns in terms of having stuff everywhere, beds unmade, dishes in the sink, groceries that need to be purchased. Still, my first load of laundry for the day is up on the line (not a good drying day), and the second is in the washer.

I'm not sure what I want to do today. Do I reclaim my house? Finish the book I am reading? Read one of the five magazines that arrived while I was gone? Spend some time with the Enki Math book that also arrived? Drag the boys out to the grocery store(s)? Catch up Quicken and figure out how much we spent?

One thing that is clear to me is that we have not simplified enough. I always feel this way after a camping trip, but this time I feel it more intensely as I was already downsizing and simplifying. I love my house, but I feel that I want less. I hate this housing market, where everything is hyperinflated and even small houses cost a fortune. And we don't even know if we want to stay here...but that is just a seed beginning to germinate.

We left pleasant beach temperatures and cool breezes and came home to both heat and humidity. It's the kind of humidity that we rarely have, and it makes us run into the house to hibernate. We had to run the A/C to cool the house and used 25(!) kilowatt hours of electricity in 18 hours.

Perhaps if I can collect my thoughts I will write more later....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On the Road Again...

We're leaving for 9 nights/10 days of beach bliss. I may or may not post to the blog - it will depend on what we're doing and whether or not I want to pay for wireless access at the campsite. Usually I don't even take the computer camping; that is up in the air. We don't have electricity, so I'll probably leave it home unless Papa needs it to dump pictures onto.

*****

Just talked to him - we're taking it. So maybe I will pop in and say hello, and talk about teacher health.

So, What Do We Eat?

I found that the easiest way to go gluten free was to not try to find gluten free substitutes for all of J-Baby's favorite foods. It was far easier to change lunch from a PB&J to beans and corn tortillas than to find a suitable bread to use for the sandwiches. At the time we were eating exclusively vegan, which made bread nearly impossible anyway. Now that time has passed we occasionally allow J-Baby to have Ener-G Tapioca bread, mostly when we travel as it is pretty much air bread. He appreciates the chance to have a peanut butter sandwich or cinnamon toast now and then.

For awhile we gave up pasta. Actually, we still eat it very rarely, but now that we've transitioned there is a brown rice pasta from Trader Joes we'll eat in an emergency. We didn't eat sandwiches, or pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. for the first couple of months. Breakfast was brown rice flakes or cornmeal mush (we later added pastured, organic eggs). Lunch was based on beans, quinoa, and tortillas (plus fresh fruits and veggies). Dinner was a whole grain, steamed vegetables, potatoes, beans, tortillas, etc. Lots of whole, simple foods.

Once we got past the transition I started messing with recipes and trying new products. We found a good pizza crust (Kinnikinnick). I adapted recipes for brownies, pancakes, and muffins. Adding in eggs really opened things up. We found meringue cookies (and plan to make them once the weather cools). Kettle brand potato chips are GF, don't use hydrogenated oils, and have less salt than Pringles. We rediscovered popcorn. Hard-boiled eggs make a good snack.

Throughout this we have kept the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables high, even though there is some controversy in doing so as it can be stressful to the gut. Some GF products are lower in fiber and nutrition than whole wheat products, so we need to make sure the boys are eating high nutrient calories. My boys both eat about 5-8 servings of fruit daily, and several vegetables servings, some raw.

We're headed out again, and this time we won't let J-Baby have foods with gluten, because we know we have options now. We've learned so much about eating out since we started this. I've also relaxed a bit. I know if we go out and J-Baby has white rice for lunch (and nothing else) that it won't be the end of the world. 95% of his diet is really high quality. If it is planned ahead I will take a bag of cut carrots or an apple with us. I have no problem bringing my own GF brownie to a restaurant so J-Baby can dessert along with the rest of us. We've camped, gone to theme parks, museums, and zoos, and done a weekend trip, all gluten-free.

For those who wonder, at home all of us eat GF 95% of the time. The only real exception is pizza crust, because the GF version is so pricey, and the occasional loaf of bread.

Gluten Free

Okay, so maybe talking about gluten isn't exactly homeschooling, but when you have a child with a gluten sensitivity it becomes a big part of your life, and in that way it is part of homeschooling.

When J-Baby was about 8 months old he developed eczema. We thought it might be the weather, but we had also recently introduced wheat, and since T-Guy had food allergies we considered wheat as a possible allergen. It did seem that he would get red around his mouth as soon as he had wheat, which is a classic allergic reaction. The pediatrician agreed that it was probably an allergy, so we stopped feeding him wheat for awhile.

It cleared up, and we gave him wheat again within a year. At that point he would get eczema on his trunk, arms, and legs. We switched to cleansers without SLS, and tried to bathe him less frequently. It calmed the eczema down but didn't eliminate it.

There were a lot of things going on in our lives at this point. T-Guy had regressed and wasn't talking, and also had sensory issues and zero social skills. I had post-partum depression. J-Baby seemed to be okay, so we didn't pursue the wheat allergy. After all, it had never been scientifically confirmed, and he was doing okay.

After J-Baby turned 4 we started having some issues. He had learned to use the toilet completely by age 2.5, and suddenly he was having bowel accidents daily. We couldn't figure out anything that had changed that might cause him emotional distress. We just went with it, cleaning him up and changing his clothes everyday. I knew other people with 4 year-old children that had accidents too.

After a year and a half of this we were at wits end. Not only was he having accidents, but often it was diarrhea (not small amounts and nothing to suggest fecal retention). He had uncontrollable itching on his arms, legs, and trunk. Finally, on a camping trip, I was talking to him and he had a accident. I realized right then that he had no idea that a bowel movement was coming. And it struck me - irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. Having spent a couple of years with terrible IBS myself I felt so bad that my child was going through this.

As a side note, J-Baby had also not gained any weight since he was 4.5 years old. He actually dropped a couple of pounds last December while he was ill, and we were getting concerned. He was also an extremely difficult child, stubborn, at times unhappy, highly reistant to change, impossible when it came to transitions.

On that camping trip I decided to take Jake gluten-free. We have several families in our homeschooling group who have gluten-sensitive children, so we had discussed it before and I thought that it might be a good move for J-Baby. We went cold-turkey on 1/30/06. Immediately we had some improvement, both in bowel consitency and accidents, as well as itching and behavior.

We left for Hawaii 2/10, and we knew that avoiding gluten was going to be very difficult. We managed it at the condo, but eating out we couldn't. J-Baby became an itching machine, and spent most of his time in Hawaii with his shirt lifted so he could scratch his trunk.

Back home things got better, but weren't perfect. We had improvement, but not full recovery. I know now that it may take a long time for J-Baby's gut to heal, so it will be awhile until his symptoms disappear completely. In the meantime, he had a bad flair, and we recognized an extreme sensitivity to citrus. We also took him off soy, and that seems to have helped as well. We were already casein-free before any of this started.

Our next step is to do a multiple food elimination diet once we get back from vacation, so we can better pinpoint his sensitivities and perhaps find foods that he can eat, and find any hidden allergies that we haven't suspected yet. Once we've done that we may be able to treat him with a combination of a rotation diet and enzymes, unless the clear diagnosis is celiac disease.

I forgot to add: Within a couple of months of being GF J-Baby gained 4 pounds! He's now up 5-6 pounds from when he was sick last December.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Laundry Musings

(after all, laundry skills are something that my children need to learn)

Growing up my mother did laundry everyday. The washer and dryer were in the kitchen and the rocked and hummed all day. There were 2 adults and 4 children in the household, so I assumed she washed so often because she had to.

I married a man who had been taught to do his own laundry at an early age. He'd wash a load with 3 items in it if that was what he needed clean. Again, there was a washer and dryer in the garage at his home, and easy access quite often means frequent washings.

However, for our first year of marriage we had to take our laundry to a room and share washers and dryers with other tenants. The horror! You could wash all of your clothing, only to find that there were no dryers available and security planned to lock the doors in 20 minutes. I came to hate laundry. We did it maybe once a week, sorting everything into huge piles on the living room floor, then hauling everything downstairs and back up again. Soon I devised a system whereby we sorted out clothing as we took it off, and that helped some.

Let me say, as soon as we moved we chose an apartment with a place for a washer and dryer, and from that point on we have never lived without (although we have frequented the laundromat the times our washer was on the fritz). But the weekly laundry habit had taken hold. Even when we had babies, we washed our clothing once a week. Later, once the boys were a little older, I settled into a twice a week rhythm, combining their clothing with ours.

With a weekly system, you need at least 8 of most any item of clothing you wear, and a few more for emergencies. With the twice-weekly plan we could lower that to 5, with extras for the boys. So I had 5 short-sleeved shirts, 5 long-sleeved shirts, etc.

On the actual washing front, I'm not a bleacher or a user of Tide. There is no Oxy-Clean in my home. We use eco-friendly detergent and no added softeners. My whites aren't white, which is always made clear when a piece of boy clothing is left to be washed at my mother's house and returns to us the color of fresh snow. My towels don't smell Downy fresh - in fact, I wash towels only once a week, not daily as my mother did.

When T-Guy was really little I hung a clothesline across the patio and dried all of his tiny little clothes out there. Later, once I was washing diapers for 2 boys I would hang the diapers that hadn't dried after one pass through the dryer.

That all passed, however, and I happily used the extra capacity dryer that "matched" my oh-so-BoBo (Beourgeois Bohemian) Kenmore Elite He3T front loading washer (chronicled in the book Trading Up, but in the form of the Whirlpool Duet, its sister).

***Let me just note here that I enjoyed reading these books, was able to poke fun at the places where I saw myself, and have changed a lot since then in terms of consumerism, although I still think a front-loader uses less water and soap.***

Lately though, I've been concerned about peak oil and dwindling natural gas reserves. I decided to hang a clothesline. The little part of me that still likes cool gadgets and likes to spend money wanted this clothesline. It is made in the USA out of renewable/recyclable resources, but at $200 it would take me a really long time to reach payback. In fact, I calculated my usage, and drying 8 loads of laundry a week costs about $55 ayear with a gas dryer. So I am obviously not doing this for the money.

I have a pretty stubborn frugal streak, so I improvised, finding some of the old clothesline and pins from 1999, plus a few old-fashioned clothespins that had been purchased for a craft. I strung the line between the crape myrtle and the basketball hoop. I could creatively hang about 1 load of laundry - a small load, not the super load my machine can handle. Scrounging up some more clothesline and investing $2 in pins meant I could string a second line from the basketball hoop to the palm tree, as long as I take it down whenI am done so the boys can still shoot hoops. All in all, I have appoximately 30 feet of clothesline.

This means I needed to wash everyday - even on weekends - to keep up with the laundry and not need the dryer. After several weeks of doing this I came to a startling revelation: We have far more clothing than we need. We could probably get by with 3 of any particular item, even 2 if it's something you wear more than once, like jeans or sweatjackets.

Now, I though back to my mom and how she did laundry everyday. And I thought back to last winter when I was complaining to Papa that each boy had 6 pairs of pajamas and growing up I never had more than 2 nightgowns. Come to think of it, I had a handful of shirts and just a few pairs of pants. I never had more than one sweatjacket. My sister and I shared a dresser and no one needed to move out the winter clothing to make room for the summer clothing. My mom knew the secret - washing often means you need less.

I am paring way down. My clothing is easy - I've lost enough weight that I only have 1 shirt that actually fits, and it is stained (not that I don't wear it anyway). I have 1 shirt that's a little big that I wear too. I've been wearing capris from 3 years ago, and they are too big and the inner seams are developing holes. I needed clothing that fit, so we thrifted yesterday with no luck, and today we went to Kmart (our next step up acceptable cheap place to shop). I bought 2 pairs of capris, 2 t-shirts, and 3 pairs of underwear. I didn't need anything else. I didn't buy anything with hip embroidery or little wooden beads; not that I don't think it's cute, I just want to be sure I can wear the new clothes until they wear out or no longer fit.

A month ago I thought the boys needed socks. With the new washing plan they have plenty, even if they do wear 2-3 pair a day. Their dresser was overflowing, so I took away more than half of their underwear. T-Guy has 3 pairs of pajamas (leftover from last year) and I thought he needed one more, but now he is fine. I even think I need to go through and take away some of their shorts, just to make it easier for them. I'll store the shorts and if any of the pairs in current use wear out we can "shop" from the box.

My boys are thrilled with line drying. It's funny how that is. Someday they'll learn more of the lessons I'm trying to model as I stand out there and hang the laundry. Eventually there may come a time when fashion rears its ugly head and we have to have some discussions about consumerism, lookism, classism, etc....but for now they're content to run around in hand-me-downs and thrift store finds, oblivious to whether or not orange shirts actually match red shorts.

It's time to hang the laundry....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Us, Tonight

Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash
as we fell into the sun
and the first one said to the second one there
I hope you're having fun

For a time this evening I held J-Baby in my arms with T-Guy snuggled against my side, while Papa played guitar. It was one of those moments, so ordinary for us and yet so extraordinary. No conflict between us, no rushing, no trying to be somewhere else or to do something else. No worrying about bedtime. Just us, being us.

This is the peace I seek. The 15 minutes where I'm not thinking about laundry or dishes or cleaning or lessons tomorrow. When I'm not focused on what I haven't done or what I've done wrong. When I am just in the moment, living it, enjoying it, not looking back or forward. My youngest child in my arms, my oldest child with his hand wrapped in the strands of hair at the nape of my neck, the sound of my man's voice, crickets, night air, twilight. The present, perfect, radiant, ripe.

May the feeling stay with me thoughout my dreams and into tomorrow.

Homeschooling and Life

I've been reading from the Enki Homeschool Workbooks, specifically teacher preparation and the family rhythms section. I'm still in the process of open intake, so any thoughts I have are barely formed.

One thing that is sticking out for is that I need to really get a feel for what is working already in our family, and which educational goals are being met through our daily living. This is one are where the new Enki materials are far better for homeschoolers than the old materials. The old materials were aimed at teachers and schools, and homeschoolers had to do a lot of work to adapt them.

All my life I have needed quiet time in the morning, so I can't really expect that to change just because I have some goal of getting us all fed and out of the house for a walk at 8 a.m. It was nice for a couple of weeks when we were doing it, but it is even nicer to relax in the early morning after breakfast, taking some time for myself while the boys get in their first block of play. They really like that too, and I was always interrupting them to go on the walk. What we need is balance - we're not revving to go when we get up, but putting off lessons until the afternoon didn't work either.

So I can see what works for us as a family, and now I get to figure out how to get us active before the morning lesson. I see now that it doesn't need to be 45-60 minutes of activity, because having looked at our family we get our daily exercise in at other times, usually in the evening. I still need to work on this, because J-Baby pulls back from the organized circle. So maybe we'll walk around the block and add some movement exercises and verses and an educational activity. I don't really know. What I do know is that it has to fit in with our family and work for us.

I had this grand plan that involved getting out one morning a week to do a nature walk. But on the weekends Papa always wants to hike, so I felt like we were duplicating what we did during the week. Not that you can have too many nature walks! Rather, it was difficult for me to work the nature walk into our weekday without giving up a morning lesson, whereas moving it to the weekend as an activity to do as a whole family adds to the experience. We go to more remote places and spend more time hiking, because we aren't rushing back to get to a morning lesson. I just didn't see it before; walking/hiking in nature was something we were already doing, not something I needed to add in. All we really needed to do was bump it up on the weekend priority list (otherwise we can get caught up in chores and not make it out every weekend).

I want to say that this might not work as a replacement for the formal introduction of materials. We did number qualities the first half of 2005, and tried to do it again in 10/05. I thought we had covered it really well, especially since math is such an integral part of just living, but only after looking through the Enki materials did I see how much we had missed. Sure, doubling, tripling, even/odd, more/less all work into our daily lives, but sometimes they have to be introduced first, or at least in a meaningful manner.

This is where Papa diverged quickly away from the ideas of radical unschooling. We saw a rather famous unschooler give a presentation. When talking about math, she said her son knew math, just not the language of math (this because he had failed a math portion of a standardized test) . Meaning that he had worked with manipulatives and real world math all his life, but couldn't define words such as "fraction", "radius", or "square foot". In the end, though, it is the language that makes anything, and everything common between us. If I know the shape of an apple, and the flavor and color and texture, but not the name, I'm going to have a hard time explaining to you what I want, and you may give me a pear. If you are going to work with math you need to know the language.

Still, combining homeschooling with daily life can work really well with material that has been introduced and needs to be worked with and practiced. For instance, I won't skip teaching fractions just because we use them in daily life, but after they have been introduced, slept on, and digested, you can bet that I'll be more likely to have the boys help me double recipes or plan garden plots rather than assigning worksheets for practice. Having introduced the concepts and the language of mathematics we will have a way to move the math from the abstract to the concrete (well, except for abstract math, LOL).

I see this concept of giving the children the language of a concept working already with the introduction of word families. It has given us a language to help T-Guy decode without breaking each word into individual letter sounds. We can look at "sat" and tell him about the "at" family (even though that isn't one we formally introduced), and it clicks in his brain and he puts together "s" and "at" and can read the word.

I'd love to follow the homeschool workbook completely, but the reality is that I need to be teaching the boys now. Well, I suppose, we could stop for the next 6 months, but they don't want to, I don't want to, Papa doesn't want us to...and I don't think stopping now without introducing some of the core content of grade 1 would be helpful when it comes to grade 2. And well, I've already decided that grade 2 shouldn't start until next January when T-Guy turns 8 and J-Baby is closer to 7. But I can see how much more smoothly grade 2 will go if I use the teacher preparation process during the first half of our break next fall.

Of course, the only constant is change. We add in a bit here, take out a bit there, tweaking the rhythm to fit our lives and the seasonal year. Nothing is set in stone; our plans are maps and not mandates. Beth addresses this in the Homeschool Workbooks as well as the Guides. The flexibility of the homeschool is one of its strengths.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Isn't the Internet Crazy?

In the last 20 minutes I've been posting on Kari's blog, while she was posting on mine. If this world was smaller and kinder we could have been sitting together drinking a cup of tea.

Anyway, if you haven't checked out her blog, you should! She's reviewing Enki materials and also writes about their really cool life, Enki-style.

We Are An Example....

(from the Enki Homeschool Guide)

...of human potential,
...of human decency,
...of human striving.

I wrote these words on a small card a few weeks ago, because they really struck me. Of all of the things I am actively trying to teach my children, these are the things that they will or won't learn from me depending on my outlook on life and my actions.

So here is my confession. I can be stubborn, impatient, critical, and yes, judgmental. Not usually at home, but mostly with my extended family. If the plans are made and someone wants to change them I am really stubborn, and am put out rather than going with the flow. I let it create stress instead of accepting things as they are and bending appropriately. With my family plans are often changed, if they are even firmed up at all (another source of stress, usually involving Papa's extended family). The impatience is part of this, as people are often late.

Critical and judgmental? Okay, the criticism is rarely voiced, except to Papa. But I have to wonder how much little ears overhear. More than once we've been discussing family only to find out that a child we thought was asleep really wasn't. The judgment exists in my mind, and in my heart. Part of it is natural, I suppose, in that all parents believe that they are doing the best for their children, which means that other parents must be doing it wrong. Okay, not all parents think this - some are on autopilot and rarely think about it at all.

I know that the criticism and judgment go both ways. You hear it in subtle ways. So if I think that public school and afterschool daycare are not best for children (meaning 10-11 hours away from the family each day), you can bet that other family members think that my children are deprived by being homeschooled (usually deprived of some sort of socialization, the kind that I will pass on, thank you very much). If my boys don't watch PG-13 movies (or much that is even PG) then I am shielding them from real life. Vegetarianism? I don't want to know what they think (but my mom thinks my boys are too skinny, which only means that she has become accustomed to the rising body fat levels of today's children).

But my post isn't about what they think about me and what I think about them. It is about how I can be an example to my children, even in the face of being so different (in many ways). Do I act the martyr when the plans are changed (again!), or do I make the best of it and teach my children about flexibility? Do I offer baby sitting even when I think perhaps it should have been asked for (and I could have been wrong and it wasn't actually needed at all)? And what selfishness is in me that I didn't offer with love right away?

The sad thing is that I know that I often live the example I was taught by watching and listening to my mother. She didn't like a lot of family gatherings and was always stressed out by them. I knew that she hated that my grandmother expected us to eat unfamiliar foods and clean our plates. She hated that they always bought her clothes that were too big. And a million more big and little things. I was the child that rode home quietly in the car, listening to her vent her frustrations to my dad.

By the time I was a teen I had a big attitude toward that part of our family. My aunts would make us (the younger girls) do the dishes and I hated it. I never did it cheerfully and as part of the team, because it hadn't been modeled for me. I never saw my mother help with the dishes at my grandparents' (her in-laws) house even once. (Later I came to realize how limited she was by her rheumatoid arthritis during those years; I do wish it had been explained and talked about.)

These are just a few examples. I don't want to live this way, and the interaction with my family over the past few weeks shows me that I am headed down a path I don't want to follow. This is my Achilles heal, the place where I am most likely to get stressed out and blow up. I don't deal well with stress - I find it hard to be patient with my boys when I am upset and boiling over, even when they are not the cause of the upset.

My home is an oasis, and for the most part stress is not part of my daily life. It creeps in when we are planning activities with family. I realize that part of my stress is also from my still being that little girl who desperately seeks approval. I can obsess over the fact that potato salad will be easier to serve than baked potatoes, because my dad doesn't like potato salad. If I do what is easiest for me I risk disappointing him. I have to have iced tea available for my mother, which isn't even a big deal except when I am stressed out about other things (like how to fit everything in the car!).

I could go on and on - my mind is spinning. But I don't want to get caught up in the negativity. I want to be aware of the example I am setting, and to be a true compass point for my children as they journey on their path.

Today I will be an example...and I will stay aware of it.

The Week Ahead

This week is going to be busy. There is no getting around it, so I've decided to be cheerful and not complain about the amount of work that is crossing my plate. I sat last night and tried to break the tasks up over the days I have to work with. Otherwise I can get overwhelmed, accomplish nothing due to procrastination, and then burn myself out during the last 24 hours.

Basically, we're doing 4 days of lessons and practice, plus I have to get us ready to go camping for 10 days. I used to find that a challenge before I was trying to stick to a budget and to feed a child gluten-free, so now the task seems really daunting. I have a lot of baking and food prep to do. I need to make packing lists, and pack the various categories - toiletries, clothing, medication, pantry food, cold food, camping gear, etc. A lot of stuff stays in the trailer, which does help. I'll also have to go provisioning.

Yesterday Papa and I pulled out the trailer (with some help from the boys) and he gave the outside and the tenting a good scrubbing. I washed the Melmac (melamine) dishes my grandmother gave me from her years of camping, and put them in our trailer. Some of it is older than I am! In general I hate plastic, but it has its place and if well cared for can be used safely. We never cook in plastic, and we don't wash it in the dishwasher. My grandmother also gave me some old Tupperware tumblers dated 1954. She only ever used them for cold beverages and always hand washed them, so they are in good shape.

So, we are finally make the leap to camping without disposable products. A couple of weeks ago I came across a set of cutlery we had purchased 10 years ago to use for a Thanksgiving meal, which we only used once or twice. It was an inexpensive set from Ikea (or perhaps 2 small sets), but is functional, and is far better than the service for 4 (now incomplete) that we did have in the trailer.

I also have to get the house in shape this week. We didn't do any housecleaning this weekend; I have been so low energy (this morning I started some prescription iron that I had leftover, so I hopefully I will perk up soon, and once I run out in 17 days I will switch to a lower dosage over-the-counter product) and mentally I needed a break. So we rested and relaxed (some - we did get a lot of things done), but now we have to pay the piper. Papa suggested that we spend some time each evening working on it.

I know if I can get past the work I can enjoy our upcoming vacation. We'll have 5 nights camping beachfront at one state beach, and then 4 nights camping bluff top at another. We'll start the trip with family, have a couple of days to ourselves, and then finish out the trip with friends. I can harldy wait to hear the ocean.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fitting Things In

Okay, now I have a question for those of you using Enki.

If you are doing a 4 or 5 day week, how do you fit in all of the stories, recall, and drawing? For instance, we are doing a 5 day week this block, so we are recalling a story and drawing a picture everyday during main lesson time, plus hearing a new story. How do I also make time for a nature story/recall/drawing during the week? J-Baby gets fatigued after one drawing (probably because he puts so much into them).

Also, now that I have the crafts books I'd like to use some of the painting and handwork stories, but again I'm not sure how to fit them in.

I hope someone has some ideas. If not, I'll probably puzzle over it for a bit and then let you know what ends up working for us.

Daily Flow 6/8/06

I awoke early, spent some time on the computer, then went back in to snuggle with T-Guy (and went back to sleep for 35 minutes!). Then I heard Jake, so I called him in and we sang and snuggled. Papa came home from his bike ride, took a quick shower, and joined us for more snuggling. It was a snuggle-happy morning! We used to have those all of the time, but trying to keep to a good rhythm cut them back a bit.

Breakfast, clean up, dress...that's about all we can accomplish on Thurday mornings, especially when we sleep in. I also managed to wash and hang a load of laundry, and to pack some snacks for park day. We were about 10 minutes late, which wasn't bad.

Our group was small. This happens in the summer months and I now see it as a time to get to know group members a little better. My goal is for this to be a close group and not one full of cliques. I don't think people mean to create cliques; you just connect better with some moms or certain kids connect and you spend more time talking to each other. When the group is small I can focus on developing relationships that I don't always have time for when there are 15 families at the park.

We got overrun, however, by a huge group of preschoolers having an end-of-school year party. It became impossible for us to keep tabs on our own children, so we decided to end park day early. The boys and I went to the health food store, and then I picked up Thai food for myself before bringing them home and making them lunch.

Ahhh....quiet time. It is an oasis in the middle of my day. It also works really well for the boys and helps them prepare for our afternoon work.

On Thursdays I've decided to have our main lesson during our normal practice time. I'm still trying to figure out the 3 day week vs. the 5 day week, but to get through this block we need a 5 day week. Thursday mornings are so full that the afternoon is the only time we can get the lesson in. That means that we are too contracted to do our watercolor painting, so I will need to find a new day for that.

The boys went out to play, and I spent some time on the computer, but at the same time I was really thinking about the computer. I have been for a couple of weeks. I have a stack of books that I want to read, yet I fritter away my time on message boards. So I made a couple of decisions. 1) I will not be on the computer in the evenings anymore (other than a quick email check after dinner). I think I need to be away from the screen to give my mind a chance to rest, and I want to read. I've been pulling away from the computer in the evenings slowly for a few weeks, and I am enjoying the quiet time after the boys go to bed, long baths, and listening to Papa play his guitar and sing. I've even done a bit of practicing on my ukulele. 2) Other than some planning time and financial work in the early mornings I will save the bulk of my computer time for after practice time, or when the boys are playing outside. This is probably when I will journal and catch up on other people's blogs.

So, having decided that, I turned the computer off and spent half an hour with a book before making dinner. We cleaned up, fought some ants (just with peppermint oil, but I fear we need something stronger), helped a friend by loaning out some tools, and then walked to the farmer's market.

We got to the market later than usual, and that along with the warmer weather led to big crowds. I think we'll make a point to go earlier next week! We did buy cherries, apricots, and peaches, plus maui onions, zucchini, eggs, and oranges. All unsprayed, although no one at the market can afford to be certified organic.

Home for the bedtime routine, then I watched the Colbert Report with Papa while I waited for the eggs I had boiled to cool. Then I took a bath, did some yoga, and went to sleep. I was tired and relaxed and fell asleep easily, unlike Wednesday night.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Integrating Enki

I wrote this post yesterday, but Blogger was having lots of problems. I tried to edit the date stamp today, but it didn't work (and Blogger is still having issues).

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I have spent a considerable amount of time today (6/7/06) thinking about how we are integrating Enki into our lives.

As usual, I jump into everything with both feet. Once I had Enki resources I was ready to "do" Enki. But doing isn't living. Enki has to become part of our lives, not become our entire life. It's so easy to be so focused on methods that you lose sight of the real goal of holistic education.

It's easy to get caught up in doing everything right; it's like a checklist (you know, like the AP checklist that people rattle off when they "meet" each other...breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby wearing, etc. and all of the non-AP things that make the list, like cloth diapering, eating organics, etc.). Movement? Check. Candle? Check. Verse? Check....only in the end you can end up trying to cram so much in that you aren't enjoying the days.

Whatever we do, we need to think about why we are doing it and how it can be integrated into our lives to enrich them and not overwhelm them. Home is not school; we don't have 6 dedicated hours and we homeschool teachers have many other tasks that we must attend to each and every day. At the same time, we have 24 hours and everything we do is part of learning. So we must practice balance. Certainly, my children learn much from participating in the running of our household - laundry skills, baking, cooking, cleaning, provisioning/marketing (I hate the term "shopping" because it has been co-opted by our culture and turned into recreation and entertainment). These are skills they need. But there is much more I need to teach them as they journey into adulthood and take over the reigns of their education. Reading, writing, arithmetic. Exposure to other cultures (as Beth says, living the culture rather than approaching it as a cultural "Disneyland"), artistic pursuits, music, movement, history. And much, much more.

One area I have difficulty with is perfectionism. I want to do everything perfectly and if I can't I sometimes think I might as well not even try. That's something I don't want to model to my children. I must always bring myself back to center, because perfectionism and procrastination are both off balance.

So I have to still the voice who thinks she isn't good enough if we haven't yet incorporated movement into the day, or when another week passes without a seasonal craft or watercolor painting. I have to remember that we have time...that is one reason why we have chosen the path of holistic homeschooling. None of our time is wasted, even if we just sit on the couch listening to CDs, or spend 2 hours building with Legos, or dig in the dirt. Again, it is a question of balance - we need time for lessons, but we also need time for family and friends.

A lot of these issues are explored in the Enki Foundation Guides. The blessings and challenges of homeschooling. Teacher health. The Enki web. When I was first purchasing the guides and was stressed out that the resources weren't yet available many people told me that the guides would be enough, and I didn't believe them. Now I think the guides, which encompass the Enki philosophy, would benefit any homeschooling family, whether or not they choose to follow the Enki curriculum and use Enki resources.

I'm not sure where I am going with all of this. I've just been thinking today, taking a step back and looking for the places where we live the Enki philosophy, rather than making sure that we're "doing" Enki right.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So, how do you get back up?

I realized after my last post that telling you that I fell off the horse perhaps isn't as helpful as telling you what we did/do to get back up.

First off is just the recognizing. It is like the mindful meditation, where you recognize that your mind has wandered and bring it back to center, without judgment. In our case, it was obvious that we were off track this morning, but it isn't always so blatant. Sometimes it can be subtle, like a bit of squabbling or a slightly grumpy child (or parent).

So, I had to scrap my plans for the afternoon. I had thought I might take the boys out to lunch and then run a few errands. We needed groceries and cake. But I had to step back and see that eating lunch at home, as usual, and then having quiet time, as usual, would do a lot to get us back into the dance. We followed that with our usual snack, which is popcorn. Dancing the steps we know by heart.

Next up we worked on Papa's birthday card, which is really a little book we made. We did this in our usual practice time. It doesn't matter that we didn't do academic practice; we sat at the desk and worked. I always refer to this a "holding the space".

I also reread them our story from last week. Normally you wouldn't tell a story twice in grade 1, but it was a really long story and I didn't think recall would go well after 6 days. I took the time to read them the slightly longer version of the story, so now T-Guy is just about bursting wanting to talk about the differences.

We had to go out. I didn't have the ingredients to make a cake - not a vegan cake, not a regular cake. I don't keep cake mixes in my pantry, and even if I did we missed the farmer's market last week which means we are out of pastured eggs (free range, organic). And well, a birthday isn't a birthday without cake (ask me how I know...I didn't get cake for my birthday and it was just weird).

So we went to Trader Joes, but first we stopped at Papa's workplace to pick up a big bag of grapefruit his coworker had brought him (too big to carry home on his bike). TJs was crowded, the boys were rowdy, and T-Guy must have stepped on my toes four times (that's what I get for changing the question in my profile before we went). Plus I had a cruddy cart! I hate taking them there! But we got groceries and cake, then headed next door for tortillas and an "8" candle.

By the time we got home Papa was here already, so we gave him his cards and gifts, then headed out to vote and have dinner. I would have cooked, but we took so long at the market that we decided to go out.

We came home to a power outage, which the boys found hilarious. Papa hopped on his bike and rode off to figure out the problem (we could hear lots of sirens nearby); it seemed to be a blown transformer. I brought in the laundry (did I mention I had to hang it twice today because the gardener came and it wasn't dry yet?) so the boys could play basketball. I read the paper and Papa played his guitar for a bit.

We had our birthday party, with a cake and candles, and lots of singing.

Then I went out and spent some time with the boys; I shot a few baskets and then we went out front. They really ran around and got quite sweaty. We were up past bedtime, but I liked that they were active, and I have so many good memories of playing outside on summer evenings that I didn't want to end their play. It happened naturally, after J-Baby picked some lavender and wanted to go inside for a vase.

Normal bedtime routine. They love hearing The Boxcar Children, which we picked up at a used bookstore. They did have a hard time settling down and actually going to sleep, which may mean that we overshot the mark and should have got them to bed sooner. But they are really fighting going to sleep when it is still light out.

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So we started Wednesday morning fresh, with the idea to let the rhythm carry the day. Up, snuggle, sing. Breakfast, clean up. Get dressed, make beds, brush teeth, clean bathrooms. Play. Hang laundry. Movement (makeshift at this point), candle, verse, morning lesson. Play. Lunch and clean up. Quiet time. Put away toys. Snack. Practice time (word families and handwriting). Play.

I resisted the urge to go to the health food store, even though we desperately need apples and I need iron (I'm suddenly bruising very easily, and have a history of anemia). Maybe we can stop by on the way home from BMX.

Off the Horse....

We fell off the horse today; except, well, we never really got on it.

It took only a few moments, just a little distraction because we've been off the rhythm since last Thursday (Wednesday was good!). After breakfast I headed back to find our election ballots and started researching online. In that time the boys went into their room, shut the door, and started working on their "surprises" for Papa's birthday. I missed the moment - we should have dressed and done our morning chores before they got absorbed in their work (and to be fair, me in mine). The entire morning has passed and while we've been busy and productive, we didn't get our lesson done.

So now I need to salvage the day. These are our priorities:

Read story for "2" again (too much time has passed since I read it last week)
Make cards for Papa
Hang birthday banner
Buy cake slice for Papa (it's too darn hot to bake and we don't need that much cake)
Take down, fold, and put away laundry
Plan meals through Sunday
Make grocery list
Grocery store - groceries and cake
Vote

In addition, I would like to:

Get chores done (beds and bathrooms)
Tidy house before Papa gets home (that's what I would want for my birthday)
Update Quicken

Tonight after we get the boys to bed my priorities are:

Plan Wednesday
Bath
Tidy school room for Wednesday
Choose story for "3"

Sorry for the long break...

Not only do road trips take a lot of planning (especially when you require vegetarian gluten-free snacks and meals), but it takes awhile to recover from any trip that involves extended family. We drove up north to visit my grandparents, while my mother, father, sister, and niece flew up and rented a car.

That said, we enjoyed seeing my grandparents. In the end I wished we had more time, because the boys didn't start warming up to them until dinner the first night, and we had only a little more than an hour with them the next morning. My grandpa is quite a character and it is interesting to listen to him tell the stories of his youth (though I certainly hope my boys aren't as wild and reckless).

I did learn more about homeschooling and rhythm when combined with trips. My new rule is to not plan schooling the day we leave or the day after we get back. We didn't have time for a lesson Friday before we left, and yesterday I was wiped out and needed to get things back in order. I have revised the schedule for the next trip to give us the Friday before and the Monday after off (although I have planned a few activities for while we are on the trip, as there always comes a point where we need to pass some time).

I am accepting the reality of our situation. There is no way we are sitting down to breakfast at 7 a.m. anymore. I've pushed back our schedule by an hour which leaves us time for play/computer if we get up early enough, but doesn't make the rhythm fall apart if we aren't up until nearly 8. It is always good to get rid of the "shoulds" and to live our lives the way it really works for us. Come fall and the time change I'm sure we'll be early birds once more.

This week I need to evaluate what we're doing already in terms of Enki, and what to add in and in what order. I'd like to work on movement next, but I think I need more time to watch and listen to everything, so I might start with our afternoons and getting going on projects. Today is easy; we'll be making birthday cards for Papa, and we have a banner to hang.

Well, one thing that messes up our rhythm is when I spend too much time on the computer! So it is time for me to dress, clean the bathrooms, make the beds, and hang the laundry.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wiped Out

As usual, I took on more than I probably should have today.

After my guests left this afternoon I had to make a packing list, start the laundry (which I continued to do including hanging one load out to dry and folding and putting away a total of three loads), bake a double batch of GF banana muffins and a pan of GF brownies for our trip, research restaurants along our route (forget finding something vegetarian and gluten free along the stretch of I-5 from the Grapevine past Sacramento), make and clean up dinner, boil eggs, pack the boys' clothes, and get them to bed. I'm exhausted just writing it down! And I still have to pack a toiletry bag, a medicine bag, my clothes, toys/books, journals/crayons, and the food (tomorrow).

We didn't do a lesson today. I really want to get tomorrow's lesson in. The boys will need the focus in the morning anyway, otherwise they will get too excited and expanded. I miss the lessons as well; the focused time spent with them is so good for all of us. I love how we come together to learn.

I wanted to plan movement this week, and it didn't happen. I know that I don't need to incorporate everything at once, but this was the next thing on my list. I can at least put the morning walk back into the rhythm, maybe starting Tuesday as I am sure we'll be wiped out Monday after the trip. We're so busy, but maybe Papa can put the Enki song CDs on my iPod tonight and I can try to listen to some of them this weekend.

It was hot today! Not running the A/C has left me hot and sticky, and I'm not sure how much money or energy we save by not running the A/C if I end up taking a shower twice a day.

I'm really exhausted and scattered. I'll probably write tomorrow morning if I have time, just to help me get centered before the trip.