Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stop and Smell the Roses

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."- Eddie Cantor
Just sharing a little of the early Spring action I didn't appreciate enough. I missed the blooming of two cherry trees I didn't even realize were there. I was more focused on weeding, mowing, and general landscaping.


Bleeding Heart 
Nothing compares to the smell of magnolia flowers.

Don't let your to-do list keep you from enjoying what's all around you. Being present offers the best opportunity for us not to miss the important parts of our children's lives.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Where Did All the Bluebirds Go?

"A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town." - Henry David Thoreau (
Anticipating the bluebirds that would nest in our bluebird box is one of the things that carried this southern girl through the snow and cold. It was a countdown heralding warmer days. We eagerly watched the parents build the nest straw by straw. We watched them protect the nest from other birds. Finally, the big day came when we counted four blue eggs nestled safely in the box.

Until, they were not there. The box sits on the deck, in clear view of our kitchen and deck doors. There was no way we could have missed the hatching. We wondered what happened until...

Yes, that's a black snake invading our bluebird box. The box was already empty, so I can surmise she was coming back for more. Since black snakes are harmless, I patiently waited for it to leave the deck. It slithered from the deck into a tree. I keep reminding myself they keep the rodent population down. The circle of life and all that.

Alas, the bluebirds haven't returned. But, now I realize the signs were there all along. Other birds and our friendly neighborhood squirrel, Charlie, were noticeably absent from their morning visits. Apparently, all danger has passed since Charlie paid us a visit recently.

Now, we're just hoping the bluebirds will return.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Year End Wrap Up

These last few months haven't been easy. Customarily, as the end of the year approaches, I reevaluate our decision to homeschool. It drives my children a little crazy. I ask a million questions and gauge every activity by how much learning occurred. Around evaluator time, I get a little crazy. I don't always trust the process. Trusting my choices becomes slightly more difficult. In January, despite a few bumps and straying from deschooling, I  committed to fully letting go of my educational reservations and allowing my children to process and grow at their own speeds. I thought I chose the worst possible time to deschool.  The need to deschool recurs as my children enter different stages of the educational process. My oldest son is entering high school, so that unleashed a whole new torrent of fears about college admissions. As I write this post, I realize it was the perfect time to deschool.

Once again, my fears were unfounded. We decided to use an evaluator again. I spent a week snapping pictures, updating book lists, and just compiling a record of everything the kids have done this year.  Honestly, the fear of not having evidence of academic progress made me crazy. But, once I started reviewing our year, there was more than enough evidence of educational progress.

From reading my daughter's fan fiction to my nine year old beginning the Harry Potter series, it has been a wonderful "end" to our year. They completed plenty of projects and activities to fill common academic categories. We've made new friends, figured skated, taken home a basketball trophy, and watched my son in a dance recital. Culinary interests have led an interest in Arabic cuisine. And revealed falafel as my favorite word. Attempting to dissect a starfish cleared the room as soon as I revealed the insides. We took a side trip to the Parthenon in Nashville because of the Percy Jackson books. We've read so many books both as a family and individually.

 I still waver about screen-time. In moments of weakness, I do things such as the electronic reset mistake we initiated in February, which I realize was totally unnecessary. Instead, I'm working on helping my children enjoy video games and their devices. Since my concerns have more to do with environmental issues I'm focusing on decreasing the potential effects of blue light. It's easily done through using filter apps for devices and computers. Also, we found my son needed glasses, which was causing headaches. Electronics had nothing to do his problem. Making sure snacks are available during the day helps with emotional outbursts. They're hangry.

I still have moments when I want my children to exhibit more traditional educational interests. Meaning, ones where I can just hand them a textbook, a test, and wrap it up succinctly. Honestly, life is much easier when I can cross learning objectives off a checklist.

The threat of the old, yellow school bus really needs to stop rearing its ugly head. Looking back, how did your school year go?