Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Favorite Spot



Abi and Fizzy snuggling in the big brown chair while she reads a book. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Family photo




Pool






In the summer, we try to cancel activities and spend afternoons at the pool. It's good exercise, a break from our yearly schedule, and it's fun and social since most of our small town does the same thing. 

Unschooling Thoughts

A note about unschooling. I had a long-time online friend express disappointment that we are no longer "unschooling." I think we must define unschooling differently because to me, I'm still offering resources to my children who are getting older. I still do a lot of child-led learning. But we have also discovered that they trust me to recommend things they'll need later on in life. Things like biology. Unschooling a five year old looks different than unschooling a ten year old or a fifteen year old. They eventually get bored with kitchen chemistry and crave more challenge. Or, as in the case with my little guy, we both agree that more structure will help him be happier and learn better, so the K12 is a good choice. If that's not strictly unschooling, that's fine. I'm not apologetic, because my kids' education is not about fulfilling some sort of arbitrary social definition. It's about helping them take ownership of their learning and also guiding them and offering resources and suggestions that they might need or want. Sometimes it's about convincing them that a subject they would prefer not to study is something they will be glad they learned later. To me that's just common sense, and the successful unschoolers who have gone before me whose blogs I read have done similar things. Instilling a delight in learning is the key, not withholding resources or merely playing in the dirt outside that should be the hallmark of unschooling, in my thinking.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Foster Kittens

A former classmate of mine from high school does fostering for abandoned kittens. She posts on Facebook, and I told her if she ever has or kittens than she can handle, give me a call. Well, two weeks ago, she did! 

 

Seven kittens and their scrawny teenaged mama have taken residence in our living room!

We named them after items on the great British baking show.

The mama we called Mary Berry. The kittens are Baguette, Ciabatta, Croissant, Pudding Swiss roll, Tiramisu and Macaron. 

 

 

Fractions

 

 

 

Solo Walk

Abi's Mobility lesson today was a solo walk. Two blocks and a couple of street crossings. 

I took a video of both times she did it. The first, she got lost because the exit from the park is a diagonal. She problem solved and got re-oriented and came home. We re-worked it and she tried it again. 

As you'll see, there were some very concerned older gentlemen who asked questions, but thankfully the second one when she said she didn't need help respected her and didn't creepy-stalk her all the way home. 

It kind of blows people's minds that a blind nine year old can learn to walk around, I guess. 

First time 

 

Second time 





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Everything Coming Together




Okay, I'm gonna brag today. I had to learn the Nemeth braille code for times (and fractions) this weekend, watch a YouTube video on how to do multi-digit multiplication on an abacus, understand it enough to teach it, find a worksheet at the right level online, print it out, transcribe it into braille and emboss it, and calculate the answer myself... all in order to teach this lesson. 


And I did! And she got it!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xejiR9cKSJ0 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

First Mud Milkshake

Ducks love mud! Apparently it looks a bit scary at first...




Once somebody gets brave, it doesn't take long for everyone to notice. 






Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ducklings

After Puddles died, we reinforced the dog fence and decided to get some ducklings to replenish our flock. 

 

 

 

Their names are: Lucky, Lucy, Egghead, Fluffhead and Squeaky? Maybe. 

No Snow At the Cabin!

 

 

 

 

Easter Afternoon

We enjoyed Ethiopian food with friends, then we went to a local park to enjoy the lovely spring weather. 

 

 
 
 

Lego Challenge

 

At the little science and technology center near our house, the kids and I participated in a Lego building challenge, and our race car won second place. Best of all, we had a lot of fun. 

Dance mania

Abi's doing Tap and ballet; Bean decided he wanted to join ballet since it was after hip hop and he is there anyway. He didn't think he'd like it, but to his surprise, he does!

 
 

Ballet

This year, in addition to Tap, Abi wanted to try ballet. Since she was little, she has dreamed of learning ballet, and since she is strong, flexible and willing to practice detailed techniques, I figured she would be pretty good at it. 

Her dance teacher was a little hesitant, not ever having had a blind student before. Ballet is a visual medium, and she didn't know how it would work. Luckily, she is open minded and willing to try. So we dove in. 

It was soon apparent that Abi would need both a private lesson and a class in order to keep up. I was right that she is naturally very strong and flexible. It was also apparent that she needed someone with her to translate the teacher's visual directions into tactile ones, or give verbal instruction when the teacher forgot. 

The hard part is just giving her the information she needs to create the forms with her body. Once she gets it right, her muscle memory is good enough she will repeat it correctly. 

Sometimes I move her hands or feet. Sometimes she touches the teacher's feet. Sometimes verbal instructions work. Sometimes we use an artist's mannequin to show her. She is patient and so are we, and she is doing amazingly well. She can make the forms correctly, can skip around the space, either using echoes or following another dancer, and can jump and turn, including spotting with her face pointed the right way. 

Best of all, she absolutely loves it! She loves the concentration and focus that it takes, and she loves the grace and beauty. 

 


    

Ducky Sadness

Sadly, a month ago, Puddles the Duck met with her demise when the puppy played too rough with her. I was heartbroken. 

 

Pictures from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Family involvement:

Matt: Duke Theseus
Me: Asst Director, Set designer/artist, asst costumer, set crew, kid wrangling, makeup crew
Natalie: fairy Cobweb
Seth: props manager
Abi: Sprite
Cody: Changeling Boy