Thursday, May 26, 2011

End of School Year

We have a recital today, I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, it will be the first recital for us, and we are looking forward to it. Not that we have a lot to show, but to share with fellow homeschoolers, homeschoolers that have the main beliefs of our family, is such a blessing, specially nowadays.

It is also a good time for me to review the homeschooling year, and the children, what they really need? what would be good to refresh during summer or keep working from a different angle?

Maria my oldest is so fast in doing things, in a classroom, she would probably pass unnoticed, have good marks and skip along the grades, but none would notice the huge weakness in her character if they would not ave time for individual teaching. She needs someone that pushes her to work hard, because things are easy for her, she does not do any effort, and tires soon of any assignment. That is one reason  for which we need to keep our music lessons, violin, she resists them but are tecahing her the value of persistence and work. On the other hand math is also a challenge with her, so we will be doing a lot of movement these coming months with math problems and arithmetic: jumping rope with the times tables, hopscotch with time tables, and mental math for mazes and games.

For my middle one, Rebecca, we will need to work on reading. She is somehow behind because I left her be in that dreamy child stage, that is so good for many things. Also because I focused on the first child and carried the second along, I see that some things were never taught directly to her. I am also confused about methods of teaching: the first semester we were doing a very living approach to learning and I was involved in designing the material, the second part of the semester was more of a guided curriculum set of assignments, and I found that even though the children do the lessons, there is a withdrawal from the actual learning, just as I did withdraw from the actual designing of the class. I am now wondering if I should pick up first grade this summer with this child, in the more living way.

For my boy, I do not think too much, just to keep working in boundaries and feeding him well, because with a little sugar or too much carbohydrates he skyrockets to tantrum and misbehavior land!!!!!

For me, I am thinking also to buy a big blackboard, and start drawing and printing the lessons in it, just as in the one room school they had the lessons written every day for each grade, I would do so, before going to sleep for the next day. This will bring an added discipline effort to my life, which needs it so much.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I have been working with the children's book, quite a roller coaster...for one thing ideas were flowing last week very fast and the laying down of the stories was done. There are 12 families in the congregation, and all the names of the people of the village are assigned, so far 70 habitants! the story line of the first four books is also established:

Spring starts with Easter and focusing on the rythm for the days of the week, introducing four families.
Summer with the festivities in the community, introducing three more families.
Autumn with the harvest and the larder preparations, three more families introduced.
Winter with the rythm of one single day ending with Christmas, two last families are introduced.

The First story is already written but the problem is coming now, though, with the illustrations. I thought I would like lovely drawings, the ones that make books worth buying, but alas! I am not so good as I thought!!!!and the disappointment is clear when the result of my drawing does not match what I had in mind...there are feelings of abandoning of the project that creep to my mind every night.

But yet, I am reminded too by Saint Augustine, that beauty can also be a great temptation, if the thing we seek is beauty itself for the pleasure of the eyes. So I am humbly trying to do my best, acknowledging that these may not be the illustrations that I had envisioned for the books, but nonetheless they are telling a story, and perhaps the story and what God will do about it is more important than my artist pride.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Since our yard is limited in species we have to collect some things at our friends farms or in the forest. Nonetheless, some things we have right here in town, and the children delight in working with the plants.

For now we are collecting dandelion flowers, picking them at their young stage of flowering, preferably early in the morning, and letting them dry on a net in the storage shed. Dandelion tea would be good for the soil, sprayed in little doses, the dandelion substances will bring a proper balance between potassium and silica. The leaves of dandelion, crushed with water, are good to use for wounds.

Dandelion wine, considered a tonic for stomach and energy, is also interesting for children to do:
Gather 1 gallon Dandelion blooms, without stems, boil them with rind and juice of 4 oranges and 4 lemons in 2 gallons water for 1/2 hour. Let set 24 hours and then strain adding 8 cups sugar and 1 package of yeast. Leave in a covered crock for 2 weeks and then strain again and bottle.

We have also abundance of burdock, which we collect the seeds for a tea to alleviate rheumatism and purifying blood. We are also prepared to look for the yarrow flowers this summer, by the roadsides, which will also hang up to dry for detoxifying the soil. Its tea works for "female trouble" times and for the nerves.

The horsetail has been soaking for all winter and is ready for spraying to places where fungus are growing too much. We have also a big linden tree, which leaves we will collect for tea for colds and coughing, and the flowers for linden tea.

We will write later for more examples of herbs and gatherings for the health of the garden and our homes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A year of Plays

Here listed the plays that we have for done and have planned for the year:

October-December 2011: An adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.
August-September 2011: An adaptation of the story of Leo Tolstoy, "What Men Live By".

June-July 2011:
We are starting during the summer a theatre camp.

On one morning a week, we will go to the nearby park, sit down by the trees and tell one story of the adventures of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza; after that we will have a small snack, free play, and then we will get to the open area to rehearse the musical Don Quijote de la Mancha. By the time we finish we will stay for a picnic or go home for the meal in case of bad weather. Let us know if you would like to participate in this weekly activity. 608 637 8446.

February-May 2011: 
The play The Fiddler on the Roof: we will have it as a musical, performing four of the famous songs  from the movie itself, and making the script straight from the book. The adaptation as always will be suited to the group of children we have, and the faith we live. It will end with  a violin performance of the song: If I were a rich man.

January February 2011:

We are rehearsing a play based on the Uncle Tom's Cabin from Harriet Beecher Stowe, and including the song "Summertime" as the slaves collect the cotton. The performance is on the 12th February, birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

We have been rehearsing the play: Martin the shoemaker, an adaptation of "Where Love is, God is" from Leo Tolstoy.

Now we are ready to start with the advent season a Shepherd's play, which we would perform before Christmas day, for neighbors and friends. The rehearsals are on Friday afternoons, at the same time we will also be rehearsing some Christmas songs for the Caroling season.