Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour, Eggsperiments, and general March madness

A fuzzy photo from our earth hour celebration last night. We celebrated more than Earth Hour - I felt like we were celebrating the continuation of spring, having Dan with us, the work we did this week on our garden, the lingering light at the end of the day...after market, lunch, and a bowling birthday party, we picked up some amazing pizza from Della Zona, a local-foods joint next to the bakery. Oh my. Oh Oh Oh my. Sweet potatoes, roasted bell peppers, smoked gouda, olive tapenade, artichoke hearts (we had more than one pizza...) - it was all so good. SO GOOD. We ate at the picnic table in the back yard, under some chattering blue jays, and topped it all off with a good portion of a large bottle of wine and some of Della Zona's strawberry-raspberry frozen yogurt, made with our local dairy's milk, of course.  Then we took a walk down to the bikepath, veering off just before we got there to wander along the ditch, enjoying the spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds.  Ani and I came home early to snuggle by candlelight (boy, if you want to make brushing teeth FUN, try it by candlelight! yeehaw!).  Dan and E read the last chapter of Erdrich's Porcupine Year, about an Ojibway girl and her family who lived on an island in Lake Superior, which seemed somehow fitting to do by candlelight.  It was all so sweet, and D and I never turned the lights back on, it was so nice. (OK, the computer was on, but no other lights.)
I thought I would post these pictures of the "eggsperiments" we did on friday.  I got a book from the library, figuring we could make a morning of reading some great egg books and doing some experiments with hard boiled and raw eggs.  It was pretty fun for the most part, but I tell ya. Every once in a while I feel like we are not "doing" enough and that I really need to "teach" something, and it's like I'm wearing kid-repellent! When we're all in the "zone" and figuring things out organically and on the fly, it works great, and the lessons stick as well, but when I have something really planned out, it almost always falls on its face. I tried all week to get the girls to do this with me - even made them little notebooks (with paper bags! and shiny gold brads!) to record their findings in.  Eh, it was all right. Definitely not worth the prep and hype I tried to infuse it with.  And dontcha know, this would be the week I sat down and read about Learning without Teaching in John Holt's Teach Your Own.  Example after example of kids learning things on their own, on fire with the excitement of discovering things on their own, or by observing an adult fully engaged in their work.  So, my new approach is just that - to be engaged. And thereby...engaging?
The timing of this is pretty swell, because I have Composting and Gardening Fever, which makes me feel so good that it even overlaps into food preparation and home organization (I don't know - I'm not questioning this, just trying to RUN with it)...We went to a friend's today and collected 2 buckets of composted horse manure, 20 strawberry plants, and some onion sets and one comfrey plant that snuck in amongst the strawberries.  I came home and immediately got to work layering the manure with the bags of leaves I acquired curbside from the school across the street. Then I washed out our beautiful compost container for the kitchen counter and started making dinner - ha! more for the compost! - which was pretty awesome, I must say (Vegetable Korma, from here - these recipes are well worth checking out, and I'm enjoying the rest of her blog as well).  The worms got fed, the kitchen got cleaned, and I was able to cross off strawberries from the "plants we need" list.  Happy.  Dan is at school as I write this, still preparing for his first class tomorrow - a new quarter, new responsibilities.  Ani declared that he may not go back to school anymore, so this week might be a little rough!  Luckily we have a visit from my sister, niece, cousin, and her two boys to look forward to - and this time NO ONE is going to get sick...


Stacy (mama-om) said...

Ha! Kid-repellent!! The same thing happens here, MAJOR!

I am reading The Skylark Sings With Me (for the first time -- I've heard about it for ages but never read it). I would definitely recommend it. I feel like it is helping me get back in touch with the reason I wanted to homeschool in the first place, and inspiring an attitude shift (in me).

bigbooty said...

I read that a few years ago - I found it interesting and yes, inspiring, but it was also kind of frustrating, in that their kids seemed EXCEPTIONALLY bright and gifted, so it didn't really give me courage with a kid who's reluctant to read or whatever my current issue might be! I heard him speak once, though, and he definitely spoke my language - made having them at home seem so RIGHT. another good one is by Alison McKee - Homeschooling our Children, Unschooling Ourselves. I'd *highly* recommend it! I read it every 6 months or so - talks a lot about getting out of their way....hmmmm...maybe i'm due another read.