Friday, June 21, 2013

This Week

This week I started the summer session in the studio and we went to approximately 8 MILLION baseball games. Baseball season is almost over and we'll be a little sad when it's done, but I won't be sad about not having to figure out how to keep Ellie up until 9:30/10 on game nights. She's in that weird transition from 2 naps to 1 nap, where she needs different things on different days.

On the Needles... 

The Boneyard Shawl is still in progress, I'm working on another cardigan for Ellie for this fall as I have time, and I have the first of the grey and coral Regia socks on the needles. I find myself mostly working on the Boneyard Shawl, but taking the sock to baseball games.

I read...

Still Game of Thrones, but I got a solid 90 minutes of time in last night and made a ton of progress. I'm still trying to get it done by tomorrow night, but not sure I'll get it done. If I run out of time hopefully I can queue it back and get it back quickly.

Just Keep Spinning…

I'm trying to get a little time with the spindle each day to "warm up" for Tour de Fleece. I'm not doing anything special for the Tour and I certainly don't expect to finish all of the wool I have to spin, but I do want to make sure to spin for at least 15 minutes each day of the tour and gain more experience.

Learning all the time…

We spent pretty much all day Monday cleaning out the school room. We threw out a TON of paper (my boys produce artwork the way they breathe) and I stacked up the finished workbooks and binders from this year. We made sure all our games have the proper pieces and everything is together, we re-stacked books on the shelves and cleaned out the cabinet drawers.

I'm working on coming up with an organization system that will be a little more self-propelled. Some things we tried this past spring really helped- one basket per kid for the books each kid works out of, a plastic tote for the art that they make (that we clean out at the end of each month) and one central place for all crayons, markers, pencils and pens have been great. 

The problem that needs a solution is the stacking. I'm super guilty of this too- it's certainly not just the boys. By the end of the week we end up with stacks of things- narrations, library books, lesson plans... and by the end of the month it's crazy. So I end up using the whole last weekend of the month to take care of all of this and I'm tired of devoting a full day to this. We (the kids AND I) really need to work on putting everything away right away.


The strawberry plants are gone, eaten almost down to the ground. My mom needs me to take about 10 strawberry plants from her to thin out her giant patch of about 75, so we'll "re-stock" but I need to figure out who is eating the plants.

I'm hoping next year to turn up more ground for more garden space next year, and once we determine the right size I want to get some fencing up.

In Stitches...

I picked up a few simplicity patterns for Ellie and also printed off a pattern for diaper covers since this girl is wearing dresses a LOT lately. If I show her two outfits she will *always* choose a dress.

I'm hoping to get some time in today to cut patterns and fabric and maybe to get started with the sewing. We only have 3 baseball games over the weekend- maybe I can sneak in an hour with the machine then?

I didn't get to...

The Studio organizing project I'd hoped to tackle. My library of music is seriously out of order and much of it is piled in recital-prep stacks from last April. Maybe next week?

This weekend...

3 baseball games and more school planning for me. I'm finishing up all the list making and once that's done the school year feels like a breeze. I can just turn in my binder to the right subject, look at the next thing and do it. So easy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In Gray

{Yarning along with Ginny}

In what was a fabulous knitting week last week I finished my purple socks and a little purple cardigan for my daughter (of which I still haven't taken pictures. Drat.). I mentioned last week that I would work on a cardigan that has been languishing sleeveless in the project basket for awhile now, but I have to admit that I just couldn't.

See, summer has finally arrived here and with that comes a shocking bit of heat and humidity after such a bizarre winter and spring. I just can't get into knitting a cardigan at the moment, so I picked something completely summer appropriate and cast on.

I give you the Boneyard Shawl, knitting up in a lovely gray that is slowly changing to black. The yarn is Wolle's Yarn Creations in the colorway "coal". There was a tiny bit of a learning curve to get used to knitting with it since the yarn is comprised of 4 unplied strands of cotton. Every few stitches I wouldn't quite snag all the strands and would have to back up to reclaim it, but after a half hour or so it became smooth knitting and has been every since. I bought this yarn about a year ago and I have since not knit with it because, well, I haven't really met a cotton that hasn't caused me serious hand pain when I knit it, but the yarn was just so very beautiful and I had been looking at these particular gradual color-changing yarns for at least a year before buying. I'm getting along very well with this cotton, though that may also be because I've taken the last month off from any performing and the drop in stress on my hands due to violin always helps keep stresses of other hand-work lowered as well.

The Boneyard Shawl is such a lovely basic shawl- the M1L and M1R increases add just a tiny bit of interest and the occasional knit row on the wrong side happens just often enough to keep me from the monotony of straight stockinette for inch after inch. You see, I have to pay attention just often enough, but mostly I can just keep on knitting- PERFECT for these past few days.

I will get back to that cardigan one day, right? I do want to wear it- I just really REALLY hate knitting sleeves.

I'm still making my way through Game of Thrones, though I hit around half way Monday night. I only have the book on my kindle until Friday so I need to spend the next three nights reading a ton to finish it. That's the one good/bad thing about borrowing books on the kindle- they go back automatically so that they aren't late to the library, but sometimes I can finish the book if I keep it overdue for 2-3 days. It costs me 15 cents but at least I get to finish the book that way!


Monday, June 17, 2013

What You Need to Learn

I'm in the midst of planning a big picture plan for the next year, and then detail planning for the next 4-6 months. The boys are happily "on a break" so that I can use our usual schooling time to plan a bit.

I'm building book lists, figuring out if a piece of curriculum will contribute to our schooling or hinder it, and ultimately deleting half of what I originally added to the list.

There is just so much out there to aid in education, and a lot of it is good. Really good. It is easy for me to get caught up in all that good and feel like "good" is exactly what we need. The truth of it is that I'm the gate keeper and my job is to provide them with a GREAT education. For us it means protecting our time to explore and our time together as a family. Using materials that individually add a little bit of time to our schedule is fine, but adding curriculum upon curriculum that would keep us at the table for 6 hours just isn't going to work for us.

We want our kids to have the best education they can have, and we decided long ago that that means having the time to really investigate their areas of interest. We have spent the last two years cultivating that philosophy in our home, spending the first part of our homeschooling time on reading, writing, and math and the rest on exploring. There is science, history and geography, there are biographies read and projects begun, but I work really hard not to add anything that ultimately boils down to busy work.

After all- what do we really need to be able to learn?

Paper, a pencil, access to books and real experiences.

Curriculum is a tool, and when used in the right way and situation can be precisely the needed instrument. But sometimes it's a $300 dollar hammer when a $10 hammer would have done the same job just as well.

I'm trying to remember: 

Don't trade "great" for "good".

Less done really well is more than a giant stack you plod through, kids wondering if it's "over yet".

Going out and doing something trumps reading about it.

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