Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Education

Every so often I'm trying to formulate a thought that has taken hold of my mind and put it in a way to make it presentable here and someone beats me to it, often in a far more eloquent way. When Teacher Tom shared thoughts yesterday about education reform and what education is really made of, and I found myself saying again- "there it is. That's the idea I've been filled with lately."

We homeschool partly because our options here are limited. We want our boys to stay little boys while they are little, to grow in ways that aren't measured in the traditional school model (public or private) and to understand that education isn't the sum of math class + english class + history class + science class.

It is the reason we draw so much from Charlotte Mason who wrote about habit formation as the very basis of life, as well as education. It is the reason Reggio Emilia and project based learning is the inspiration for our days and the way we choose to learn. The only way we are able to adhere to that educational format is to keep our boys home. I would *love* a cooperative school as Teacher Tom describes and when I really think about it my mind starts spitting out idea after idea of how this would work at higher grade levels. We are exceedingly thankful to have co-op time about every two weeks with other like-minded families, but it doesn't seem quite right and then my mind jumps to a "if only I could start a school like this..." place.

We are working toward a completely different educational experience for our kids, one where the learning continues as long as life does, one where it's okay to not know the answer, to ask a lot of questions and get dirty while you figure things out. We want our boys to not just know the correct answers but to know how to go about finding that answer, to really think and understand processes.

We already know it's different and maybe even weird. Plenty of people have already told us that and it kind of keeps us on track- reaffirming each time that we are doing this with purpose, that our non-traditional approach to education is what is making them whole people rather than walking textbooks.

It is our education, the education of our family, not just our children. It's almost as if now Brian and I are getting the education we needed as kids and choosing this particular way isn't just for their benefit but for ours as well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Words to Beat Winter

There's a battle to be won every day.

Every day I work to triumph over the negativity my mind gravitates to, to choose joy over worry, to forgive myself in my weakness rather than hounding myself to mental death over little things gone undone.

Sometimes that battle goes on for days, wearing me down into fraility and bringing me to that place where I begin to think I can never get out.

Oh, this time of the year is the most difficult!

The land is beautiful covered in snow, but the endless gray days and their lack of light makes it more difficult to look up and choose to see. It has been in the learning of Isaiah 45:5-7 with my boys that I have felt this year for the first time that we can really celebrate winter instead of dreading it. Holding onto these verses daily- who God is and what He does- is keeping this season in perspective. It is a choice to renew my mind daily, to be transformed, to arm myself in the Father and focus where He asks.

It is the days where I forget and turn inward that I find myself at the end of the day feeling drained and worried. So each morning we say His words together and remember the One who made us, guides us and keeps us- the ultimate in protection from the winter blues.


Ann Voskamp invites us to write about habits today. You can read more at A Holy Experience.

Monday, January 17, 2011


As in first finished project of the year!

These are plain vanilla socks, knit for my husband in Patons classic wool (which is typed on ravelry as a worsted weight, but I treat as a DK but maybe that's just me being weird...) on US 3's, or as I will fondly remember them, the set of needles that led me to a tetanus shot over Christmas break.

One of the goals I have for the year is to finish 1 sock each month for a grand total of 6 pairs***. That would be precisely 6 pair more than I finished last year a.k.a. the year I cast on 3 pair, frogged 2 and have 1 sitting complete *almost* over the arch of my foot- but just the first one- and that's since I cast it on in August on the New York trip...

That sad thing about this is that I started knitting in 2008 precisely because I wanted to knit socks, and knit socks I have not done. So this is the year of the sock in my own little sock club. And maybe even the year I complete more than a few bigger things, because a girl can dream BIG right? *I'm resisting the urge to join every single "knit 12 sweater/12 pairs of socks/ 12 shawls/12 blah blah blahs" that comes my way because I want to join ALL OF THEM and have like 6 projects due every month to keep "on schedule". I'm such an over planner.

And this is the part where I tell you that these went super fast- WAY faster than knitting socks in the past. These were cast on December 11th in a fit of "I *must* cast on something that isn't a Christmas gift with a deadline", and in spite of being put aside to finish one shawl, two sweaters and two pairs of elf shoes, I was done on January 6th. (Although I thought the ribbing of the cuff would go on forever and I may have told Brian on far more than one occasion that his legs are ridiculously long. )

I'm going to attribute the quickness to:

A) the mass amount of knitting I did from October-December on Christmas gifts and how much my general speed increased due to that,


B) the fact that I made a lace scarf that was crazy hard for me finished in November and a lace shawl that had a TON of hours in it but I still finished in a tad over 3 weeks. After that just about everything seems possible.

*** Is it crazy that I'm secretly hoping to finish 12 pair this year, as in 1 pair per month? Totally a wild desire right now.
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