Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Amelie has begun school at home this year. Homeschooling is something we are thinking about for the long term, so we decided we would give home-kindergarten a whirl and see how it goes for us. All of Amelie's friends are homeschooled so it's not something that is foreign to her. She is entirely comfortable with it because she spends a lot of time at her HS'ed friend's houses and sees them learning and doing activities all day long. She knows what to expect. So, all along we have been learning just through curiosity and play, but this past week, with the beginning of the official "school year" we have begun a few extra activities.

Everyday we are sure to do a reading and writing project, something in math, and a spanish exercise, all which involve a coloring project or other activity of some sort. She also gets to help direct where the lessons go, based on whatever interests she has, for example this week she is interested in maps, so we will do a map exercise, and she is really good at building things and creating things in complete symmetry, so she is learning about that (since she does it without realizing it--she's gonna be a math whiz this one, little miss patterned organization). She is REALLY enjoying her spanish lessons--and so am I. I hope we eventually can start speaking it together.

I rearranged the kitchen a bit so the kids can get creative any time, on thier level with a kid size school table and chairs. They can pick up thier crayon or colored pencils and get to work whenever the mood strikes. Noah is getting the hang of coloring "only on paper!" and Amelie is drawing drawing drawing up a storm. Tomorrow we will be doing a migration study with monarch butterflies. We will go on a caterpillar and cocoon hunt, then color paper butterflies to send via airmail to Mexican school children (the mexican children will recieve thier paper butterflies when the real monarchs begin arriving back in Mexico, to overwinter in the forests there, in early November). In the spring, Ami and the rest of her HS friends will recieve a butterfly and special messages back from the Mexican children (en Espanol!) Anyway, we are having fun, I hope we continue to enjoy it and have it work for us because the schools around here are terrible, and HSing fits in line with our sort of "anti-establishment" (I guess that's what you might call it?)--I hate for us to be held down by the scheduling of an "institution" and the "lowest common denominator" in the classroom, but we'll see how it goes, as I said. I am not against public school, just not sure about our schools here, and not willing to decide yet as I haven't seen if HSing can work for us or not, yet. Time will tell. Don't worry, Amelie is involved with the homeschooling group, playgroup, 4-H, Brownies, dance class, future pottery and music classes, library activites, state park and refuge activities, T-ball and whatever else comes along. Plenty of opportunity to socialize. Plus, she'll be able to visit relatives on our whirlwind roadtrip during almost the entire month of September into October because we can take our lessons with us. And she will be home to spend time and help with her baby sister, due in November. I'd hate for her to miss that, and so would she.

Backyard "Camping"

Ami and her friend Clarissa played "camping" together in the yard yesterday. They are quite creative together. I hate to see Ami inside staring at the TV so I am always telling her to go outside and "get some fresh air." Whenever she's outside she always comes up with something fun to do like pretend "fishing" with bunchgrass stems and weeping willow branches, hunting for frogs, toads and lizards, and playing "store" or "house" or "camping" with her friends.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My Pet Rock

Ami and Noah and Chris spent a good part of the day today painting rocks that we gathered on the shores of Lake Erie. Lots of good flat skipping stones on the beaches there.
Chris and Ami painted Monarch butterflies, bumblebees and ladybugs.
Noah got messy as usual. I guess part of the fun is painting yourself?

Turtle Watch

A few nights ago we went on a baby turtle watch adventure. Our friend Kathy is a regular volunteer who watches for sea turtle nests hatching during the night hours. The turtles are Loggerheads, and the beach is at Pea Island NWR. Purpose? To make sure no predators devour the babies before they can reach the shoreline (ghost crabs mostly).

So we got there at sundown and Ami helped unroll the green plastic barrier which keeps the turtles on a straight run to the ocean while keeping the crabs out. The turtles follow the moonlight to the sea.

The kids had a great time running around the beach until late at night when a thunderstorm and lightning eventually sent us back to our vehicles. We released 4 turtles that had been kept in captivity during that day because they hatched in the early morning (when the gulls are out looking for a snack). The nest we were monitoring started to hatch, but not until after we left.