Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Prayer

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.

We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.

We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.

We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.

We return thanks to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.

Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness, and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.

~Iroquois Prayer, adapted
(Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace)

Wordless Wednesday: Brick by Brick Part II

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Red Tent

It's been awhile since I've read anything for me, for enjoyment, for the joy of just relaxing with a good book. Sure I read all the time but its usually a self help book, natural health, homeschool or an altered art book. Not something I usually curl up with at the end of the day or when I want some time in my day to just be. Reading a book from cover to cover from the beginning to the end is rare, for many years now its been bits and pieces here and there.

I didn't realize how much I actually missed having a good book to read, something to look forward to until a friend lent me The Red Tent yesterday at the park. I'll be honest its probably not something I ever would have picked up on my own but when someone seems to be so moved by the words on the pages and you hear from others how wonderful something is, well it peaks your curiosity. In less then 24 hours I have read over 80 pages which probably isn't that much for alot of you but for me its a big deal. So I'm off to snuggle up with my blanket and my book and relax for the rest of the night.

Thoughts for the Day

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. ~Abbé Dimnet, The Art of Thinking, 1928

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ~Alvin Toffler

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. ~John Lubbock


Friday, November 21, 2008

I would like to thank my fans...

Sounds like the start of an acceptance speech, huh? Well in a sense it kinda is. I received a blog award from Journey2Learn and its my turn to pass it along. I hope I can live up to it, this blog is still kinda new and I haven't been posting daily. I will do my best :)

This is a blog award given to a site that:

~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

It is now my turn to nominate 5 blogs I thing are Uber Amazing....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Part One

So who's having that traditional turkey next Thursday?

Not me of course but the video didn't change my mind. I haven't eaten turkey at for about 3 years now. I think most people would agree that the way animals are treated is just plain wrong but no one wants to see it. We choose to ignore the things we feel we can't do anything about.

I don't think this video or any of the others out there are a rare find, this is the norm, this is how these chicks are treated. Honestly I wasn't able to watch the whole thing but I have seen a chick hatchery on How Its Made and was very disturbed to see how these tiny living creatures were just tossed around by man and machine.

Honestly do you think this is how the Native Americans treated their turkeys?

Read more about the investigation here.

Other resources:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I hear we are demented, huh?

If you haven't already heard the latest buzz then let me fill you in. Apparently Joy Beher called homeschoolers "demented" during a discussion on The View yesterday.

Well of course us demented homeschooling families don't like to be labeled or called names so what do we do best? We blog, we tweet, we discuss and make light of it and laugh. What else can you do, right? Laugh at the ignorance of those who just don't "get it" and move on. I don't let what others think get to me, well maybe for a brief moment I do but in the end I know that my choice (yes its a choice) to homeschool my children is what is best for us.

There are so many people who homeschool for so many different reasons, you can't lump us into one group and start calling us names, that just doesn't make sense now does it?

Anyway below is the video of the show and you can also see what people are saying on Twitter but searching #theviewhs

The discussion starts at the 5:45 min. mark.
Joy calls homeschoolers "demented" shortly after the 7:08 min. mark

You can also read what the HSLDA has to say about all of this by visiting Extraordinarily Ordinary's blog.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday's Field Trip: Spanish Point

I have lived here in this area for 21 years now and I never knew what a great hidden treasure we had right here in our own backyard - Spanish Point in Osprey Florida

We attended the Adventures in Learning Prehistory Program which was of interest to ME and CJ who both love digging up the past. I had to prep ME ahead of time that we would not be digging up dino bones. He didn't like that idea, he said "the only archaeologist I want to be is a paleontologist"

We learned about local history, prehistory 5000 years ago. We learned about middens and the artifacts they hold and the clues these provide to prehistoric life here in Florida. The grounds are beautiful, I felt so at peace being one with nature as we walked along the trails.

We had the honor of spotting an Osprey in a tree eating his morning catch.

I have to admit the boys were a little disappointed with the archaeological dig site at the end of the program. After I explained that the artifacts were real and that they were actually handling pieces of our past they got over their disappointment.

I try my best to not build things up to much for them but they still manage to expect BIG things all the time. I guess that's not such a bad quality to have in life, after all we want our children to have big hopes, to reach for the stars, to want to achieve bigger and better, right?

Overall it was a great day, a successful trip and we all learned something. We are already planning another field trip to Spanish Point in February to explore the other areas not covered in this trip, the pioneers, the Webb family.

After the trip some of us went to nearby Potter Park to have lunch and let the kids run free. I so enjoy my adult time with the other parents while the kids are off playing.

Yay for a great day!

On a side note I didn't bring my camera so no pictures to share :(

Help Repower America

I just sent a message to President-elect Obama, telling him I will support him in taking bold action to combat climate change and Repower America once he takes office.

You can send your own message. Just go here:

Now's not the time for small steps or a narrow focus. It's time to go big. Our challenges are large and are deeply connected. As Al Gore has said, "We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change." With a bold plan, we can make that change in 10 years. In fact, only a bold plan will cut through the special interest politics in Washington and inspire the nation.

Tell President-elect Obama that you support bold action come January:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

What About Socialization

This is probably the most asked question we come across as homeschoolers but its also the easiest one to answer.

Lets look at children in the school system, lets look at their socialization. They spend their days sitting in a classroom with other children their own age learning from one single adult for the most part. Sure they have recess when they can actually socialize with others but as most of us know kids in general don't all play together at school. They start at an early age picking their friends and grouping off. Not very often will you see mixed ages hanging out together either.

Now lets look at homeschoolers like our family. We don't sit in a classroom all day with children our own age. We are out living life and exploring the world around us. Almost all homeschool activities and classes we attend do not separate the children by "grade" or ages, its all inclusive which is simply wonderful. There is so much to be learned from one another.

Park days are my most favorite activity and sometimes you'll find us at the park more then at home. Today was a regular bi-weekly park day for us, the kids ranged in ages from 4 years old up to 13 years old and EVERYONE got along perfectly and all hung out together, worked together, played together and shared with one another. Not only do we have the socialization of the children but we have the benefit of the parents as well - more then one adult to learn from and to share with, more then one opinion.

Honestly I could go one about this subject but I won't. I feel I've covered what needs to be said so I'll let you decide if my children aren't getting any real socialization.

If you would like to further explore this issue a simple google search will bring up plenty of reading material.

Comments are always welcome :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pay It Forward

Spookiez Spot is participating in a pay it forward plan. I signed up and now I am paying it forward. Let the fun begin!

HERE ARE THE RULES: The exchange focuses on doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return other than that the recipient will, in their turn, pass the kindness along and pay it forward in their own way.This is how it works... I am going to agree to send something fun, inspiring or uplifting to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry (please leave your e-mail address if I don't all ready have it.) In turn,those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on.

If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment!The little something you send can be something you made, bought, were given or found. No biggie, just a gift that will make the person smile. Maybe something unique from where you live?

There are no cost restraints, but don't go crazy!If you'd like to join in, be one of the first 3 people to leave me a comment. You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who sign up to play along through your blog .

In return I ask that you Pay It Forward to 3 other people in some way. It doesn't have to involve money; there are untold ways to help others every single day, everywhere you go; just look around.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our New Home

Yup, that's right we've moved. Welcome to our new family blog!

The time has come to shift things and start another blog, this will help keep business and pleasure separate for the most part. I've moved a few of my earlier posts here so I didn't have to start completely fresh.

We are a family of four, my husband, myself and our two boys who we will call ME and CJ - they are 5 and 8 years old. We are homeschoolers, very relaxed and pretty close to being unschoolers, We believe that children need to just be children, they need to freely explore the world around them.

Before becoming a Mom I was a preschool teacher and I was taught that children learn best by doing and being allowed to follow their natural curiosity. This is what I'm calling natural learning, its what comes naturally. I studied Bev Bos while earning my degree in Early Childhood Education. You can't force a child to learn something they have no interest in, it goes in one ear and out the other. Children will learn when they are ready, not when someone else decides its time all 8 year olds need to multiply or learn world history.

So my job as a homeschooling Mom is to allow my children to freely explore what interests them for the most part. It is my job to provide a rich learning environment where curiosity is abundant. It is my job to encourage new ideas.

It is not my place to force my children to sit down for hours everyday and do "school work". I do not want to halt their natural learning process, I want to encourage it and help in grow. Does this mean my children are allowed to just do whatever they want whenever they want? No it does not. Children need guidance, they need love and understanding, they need us to help them in their journey. I don't believe in unparenting!

Do we sit around and do nothing all day? No we enjoy lots of wonderful activities with other homeschoolers. We are blessed to have a wonderful support group and resources available to use in our community. We attend weekly park days, weekly art classes, tennis lessons, marine biology, homeschool science class at the museum and so much more. Co-ops with other families and endless learning opportunities are available to us. We even have the choice to attend monthly field trips with our group.

I hope this helps you understand a liitle bit about who we are and what we do. Follow us in our journey as we learn and grow together as a family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Garden Update

Now that summer is in full swing the garden is drying up and resting until fall. The tomatoes did great and the kids loved picking them and eating them. The cucumbers didn't make it, I figure it was due to the white powdery stuff on the leaves as they would just turn brown and die. The plant kept growing but each new leaf would get the white stuff on it as well. We had a few cucumbers start to develop but DH says it was just to hot for them. We need to start earlier next year.

The watermelon is still hanging in there, it has vined up the cucumber and tomato cages, haven't seen any fruit and not sure if we will. The garden is now being taken over by weeds and grass. I've tried my best to keep up on it but with my eczema and cracked bleeding hands, pulling weeds isn't an easy thing to do. The kids tried to help they really did but we could have used an extra hand.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gentle Giant: Manatee

The other day the boys and I went fishing on the pier with a group of homeschoolers. It was a beautiful day and felt good to get out and enjoy nature. I've always found the pier a very relaxing place to just be.

ME & CJ didn't catch any fish but a few others did so it was a successful field trip. However the highlight of my day was seeing this manatee swim right under us. I've lived here for over 20 years now and never have a I seen a manatee in the gulf up close like that. Sure I've seen them at Mote Marine and Sea World but having the privilege to see one of these gentle giants so close in its natural habitat was truly a blessing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Planting the Garden

Well we decided to go to Home Depot and see what they had as far as plants since it seemed a little late in the season to start our own. We let the kids pick so we ended up with two Roma Grape tomatoe plants, two cucumber plants and one watermelon. Also picked up a flat of marigolds, was told they help keep the bugs away.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Organic Gardening Anyone?

Over the years we've made alot of lifestyle changes and I've learned alot along the way. One thing I have always wanted to do was to grow my own vegetables. My husbands father had a wonderful garden, he grew up eating fresh snacks right from the backyard. I want my boys to have that experience but I myself have no idea where to start, it all seems so overwhelming.

My husband attempted one about 6 years ago, it was the wrong time of the year down here in Florida and it posed extra challenges he did not have from his experience growing up in New Jersey. So the garden area still sits empty. It seems every spring I get the urge to go out there and clean it up and get it ready but that's as far as it goes.

So the other day I got that urge and spent the afternoon out in the yard, grass and weeds were pulled, pine needles raked, dirt turned over with a shovel and then raked again. Looks good and I had a sense of accomplishment. Until . . .

I went online to look up what to plant. Yup, you guessed it I waited to long and the planting season for southern Florida is just about done. With cucumbers and tomatoes being the last on the list as March.

Seeing that in few days March will be over I wonder if there is time to actually get the garden going or did I miss my opportunity again?

If anyone out there has any suggestions or tips for me I would ove to hear them!