Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Other than that trashed post I've been thinking a lot about the whole gift thing. Santa was good to the kids, their stockings perfectly filled with a nice balance of toothbrushes, cards and pocket knives....and of course HOT WHEELS and POKEMON! (CRINGE!)
They loved their stockings.
It should have stopped there, but my mom dropped off huge gifts, and so did friends, and and and....
I actually didn't give them half the books and gifts I had for them....
I saw a girl at a craft fair with a large knitting loom. Kind of a super huge 'tatting' loom....and August loves stuff like that- he knits, he's cross stitching, plastic canvassing.... I had to get it for him, I stopped and asked her where she got it.....Walmart (my fav store NOT) So in I go and get it for him. I'm so excited. There is 4 of them in graduated sizes. He is going to freak out with excitement. He's not used it. Dilution. I should have bought it for him and given it to him right away and watched him work away at his new hat or whatever.....I was bummed.
See Inside Science? He could hardly wait to read it when it came in, I said "It's for Christmas" He put it down and still hasn't picked it up. Bummer. Should have given it to him then.
The one enduring gift is the pocket knife (Ok in combo with the laser light) which they absolutely love......both in the stockings.....
Ok ok and the flippers, which we went to the pool with to try out (SS if you are reading this THIS is why I didn't return your call again, and I will I keep meaning to....life......) They love their flippers. And they will be hugely used this summer at the lake.....but the PACKAGING!!!!!! More plastic in the Packaging than in the flippers. And not recyclable.
Something has to be done.
I want to start something.
I want to start a packaging revolution.
In the EU there is some sort of laws that punish the producer. Packaging is all or 95% recyclable. Why can't we do that here. Why NOT?
I want to start a groundswell of activism....It is important for the planet, country, our island our neighborhood and our landfills......
I plan to write my MP asap. He could make a name for himself, and he doesn't even have to reinvent the wheel, the legislation is there.
Can I do this? Why hasn't it been done?? Or has it and failed??
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Did I mention ACDC will be in Las Vegas April 9???? I have a sneaking suspicion I may be too......
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
So if you see some stuff in facebook - IT'S NOT ME!!!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
So out we go tonight to have drinks with friends.....When I was handed red wine I should have just zipped it right there and listened....Couldn't do it. When I started yakking and gesticulating excitedly and Don notsosubtly made sure I put my wine glass down so I didn't redecorate their beige carpet/walls/sofa (a story all by itself.....), I should have zipped it. Nope. So when the question comes out about the boys and school - as it always does - and I start talking homeschooling I can't help but spew out my opinions. Which of course are pretty out there for a lot of people whose kids are in school. Like the two little girls sitting right there. I really tried hard to modify and tone it down, really hard. (Believe it or not but 2 years ago I DID THE SAME THING WITH THE SAME PEOPLE - Yes, that's how bad I am!!!) Apparently I failed. They are now convinced we are wacko organic hippie farmer homeschoolers. Especially as this conversation followed stories of crazy strawberry pickers and escaping pigs roaming around our farm....chasing me down the driveway.....ah well, can't impress everyone....
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It got a bit out of hand here with the TV and "Destroyed in Seconds" when Holdy was sick for a month and TV addiction was threatening. Then you take the kids to the cabin with no TV and they forget about it and play play play and get along. When I have to drag them inside for dinner or at bedtime....(which is firm but flexible....)...I am a happy momma, and boy bedtime is smoother when they are exhausted.....
Then computer time and the "free" games at miniclip and related sites come along and the boys are totally fixated on the computer - won't come for meals, don't hear me, don't want to do anything else, fighting and no physical activity....having not moved from the puter all day....
What to do? what to do?
I guess I'm not an unschooler cuz I don't like it. At all. Period new paragraph.
So after repeated requests to get off the computer a password was put on the computers.
And there is a return to creative play, and peace, and building stuff, and playing outside, and reading, and helping Daddy renovate.
It really is an immediate obvious transformation.
I've read all the pro-gaming stuff, pro-computer stuff and I'm not for making screen time the "forbidden fruit" at all and prefer it if they self regulate. But these games are designed to keep them at the screen. They do eventually move away from the computer but there are literally HUNDREDS of games to choose from, new all the time, multilevel.
The free play games they make up - shopping, moving, hotwheels stories you name it are so so cool and cooperative. I have to think that they are better for them, physcially, emotionally, and mentally. Maybe some of the critical thinking games are good for their brains and hand eye coordination, but really most are driving tanks and bikes over obstacles.....(Can you tell I'm not a gamer at all??? Sometimes I have to haul all 4 of my boys off the puter.....)
They still have lots of computer time and I realize that I use the computer for 3 or so hours a day (after they're in bed) and that computers are and will be a huge part of their lives, but at this point in their lives, they need to learn that there are lots of other cool things to do......
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We both ordered and agreed to split, and we both ordered chicken dishes. The place was hopping, the mood great, the servers on the ball, the crowd boisterous and our meal came. It was presented beautifully, had great flavour but we are forever jaded. Can we never go out? The chicken was factory raised, over processed, plumped up with some sort of injections after death chicken breast and it was like chewing rubber. At home we only eat local farm raised chickens - and now we are ruined forever for going out. The difference is starkly clear......I guess our only option now is the local "Locals" restaurant (that serves our strawberries btw!)....that buys locally raised pasture chickens....
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Gabi (formerly with us in May as a WWOOF from Germany, now returned and staying with us and working at the ski hill) was playing "farmville" on her laptop on Facebook. Other wwoofs have also played this game so my boys are quite familiar with it.....The three boys were crowded around Gabi and they were buying squash and pumpkin seeds, looking for strawberry plants to buy and generally taking care of Gabi's farm. A notice came up that she was losing a lot of her crops to crows and she need to do something. The boys right away said she had to make a scarecrow. She didn't understand what they meant and Holdy said "You know, you get a coat, a hat and some straw, and you make a man and then you put the stick up his butt...." Ok, coming from a 4 year old it was pretty funny, and after a mild look of surprise, Gabi understood EXACTLY what a "SCARECROW" was!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Apparently after drying, chipping, spicing and multilayer packaging we can purchase pork rinds which can be put in the microwave and puffed up. It wasn't so much the use of the rinds that bothered me, but the unbelieveable amount of packaging involved.
It's out of control.
It's not recyclable.
Head out to Canadian tire or Walmart, buy something and throw more away than you get to keep. It drives me up the wall. Why are there not laws that A) Packaging must be recyclable and B) Packaging is discouraged and taxed C) Packaging is TAXED at the packager!!! Why is there not a groundswell of people writing letters and lobbying for the latter? Where are our politicians? Too scared of big biz and China?
Apparently in Europe the laws are so.
Our landfills are bursting out all over, soon to be filled again with Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas - Don't the PILES of PALLETS of TOYS at the big stores = All multilayered packaged plastic crap from China - disgust you?? Don't people realize they are bound straight for the landfills after 3 or 4 weeks of play?? Do people feel duty bound to buy a gift just because. CRAP CRAP CRAP.
Friday, December 4, 2009
3 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 coconut (don't want to look at that label)
1 cup chocolate chips (chocolate NEVER counts in the 'wrong food to eat' category!)
3 T butter
1 can condensed milk. I made it with sweetened condensed milk (ok ok I read the label it said liquid sugar, which I assume is HFCS....I'm going to try the recipe with unsweetened condensed milk if there is such a thing?)
We did find them a bit on the sweet side.....
Press into greased cookie sheet
325 25 minutes
EASY (easier than cookies)
LOTS (picture the box you guy with 6 bars .....and multiply by oh 8, minimum and NO PUFFED RICE taking up volume....)
options: chopped nuts substituted in for something above, raisons ditto
I'll update on the condensed milk options.
Seriously worth trying!
Update: I mixed my recipe with a friend's and replaced the condensed milk with honey.....and it's awesome! Such a different and deeper flavour! Still sweet, will used unsweetened coconut next time....
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
My kids get numbers. They seem to figure out the "rules" by themselves, without much from us...
We recently taught August the card game 99, and then had a schooled kid(s) join us. Older kids. Ok, teachers of the world listen up. Why aren't these kids able to add. They've done HOW MANY WORKSHEETS? They've sat thru HOW MANY MATH CLASSES? They've been to school for HOW MANY YEARS? August who has done very little written math (I tried and gave up...TRUST right?) was figuring out "rules" as we went along (ie. 8 + 9 = 17 therefore 28 + 9 = 37) It was so cool. So why the heck isn't 99 on the curriculum??? Apparently schooled kids can't add. And it wasn't just one kid....it was 2 separate kids. Really scarey.
I really really don't get this. No wonder these kids fall through the cracks at algebra, if they can't add 7 + 8 or multiply 7 X 8 how in the world are they going to figure out basic algebra??? They're going to be so concerned about the numbers they won't even be able to think about the x's and y's. Can you imagine the stress and pressure. How children fail.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
That just sux!
The teacher was a super sweetie caught up in the school thing, really. I mean did she not see a student trying to be unique, coming up with neat ideas, working hard, experimenting, finally producing a finished product she was proud of? I deserved a triple A. Really.
I still love that dang owl. I guess that's all that counts....
PS I made it 28 moons ago!
PPS When I'm not at my mom's I may try and add a photo to this post....
Note added later: My hubby was the only one to notice that I said 28 moons ago, which means 28 months, and I meant years!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Two moms talking about one's 4 year old:
Well the time out in the bedroom didn't work anymore - I had to stand and hold her door shut and she pulled and pulled and raged behind it. So now we have the time out chair and she has to stay in it for 4 minutes, quietly. As soon as her 4 minutes are up she starts up where she left off, raging, hitting, wailing - so she has to do another 4 minutes. She had to stay in it FOUR times in a row yesterday..... (I guess you have to ask yourself "Is it working?")
I listened to two teachers discuss discipline, and shuddered....One had a system of yellow red and green clothespins with names on them that she moved along a string.....I guess kids could instantly see how they were doing. (Can you imagine trying to keep track of 25 clothespins of different color?)
This is all I can coherently think of right now, I'll keep listening....I know I hear things all the time that make me think.....
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Polyface Farms....Joel Salatin
We noticed Joel Salatin was coming to speak for the farmer's institute 2 hours away and bought tickets. People travelled from the Kootenays to see him. He was dynamic, interesting, intelligent, inspiring, crazy and wonderful! We laughed our guts out and he made us think.
Food and the state of our food systems...industrial organics, Iowa corn, cattle feedlots, chicken barns, toxic manure waste...chemical fertilizers ARGH!
I can't even begin to try and copy one of his multi adjective descriptive sentences...they went on forever. Ok I'll try (hold on while I get hubby to try....)
"homogenized pasturized adulterated prostituted fecal coliform soup" that the industrial chickens are subjected to when they are processed yet the government is trying to shut down his chicken processing area on his farm. (Tests show his chickens have WAY less pathogens than supermarket chicken....)
If you haven't read the books or seen any movies about the state of our food systems, you probably have no idea what I am blathering about.
We were wowed.
I feel a sense of helplessness because I don't see anything changing in my lifetime.
When fossil fuels become too expensive there IS going to be a revolution. Food will no longer be so cheap and easily produced. Things will change. Fast Food won't be so cheap and hence it may not be so popular......
When the fossil fuel based chemical fertilizers dumped on Iowa and etc. farms and leached out into rivers (drinking water for many huge cities) and eventually into the gulf of mexico causing massive growths of algae doesn't alarm anyone, we are in big trouble.
When the president's wife wants an organic garden and is subjected to the pharmaceutical companies' wrath - how dare they promote organics when the chemcial industry makes it possible to produce a lot of food cheaply (....just WHAT IS cheap????), we are in big big trouble.
When my "organic" leaf spinach travels 2000 km to get to me, and I still buy it (I try not too) it is a small example of our problem.
When I see someone buying, and I kid you not, a pre - wow I don't know how to describe this - pre unwrapped (?) pomegranate at the store I was flabbergasted. There are people who don't even want to peel their own pomegranates!!!!
When a Saskatchewan farmer has to pay Monsanto because Monsanto's GMO canola fertilized his ORGANIC canola in a neighboring field and he is found guilty of "stealing" monsanto's patented technology, we are in trouble.
When people are becoming so obese because they are starving themselves eating processed unnutritious crap that leaves them hungry for more, but they eat more crap....until they can't move, we are in trouble.
Farms may revert back to a natural ecosystem of lifestock - manure - crop cycle but maybe not. I'm blathering, but I'm sad.
Maybe this article can describe what I saw better.....
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This very second they are discussing what mummies are - we're also watching Egypt: Rediscovering the lost world - which is awesome as most BBC productions I've seen are!!! Story of the World (Audiobook)?? Youbetcha!! My kids love it right now! We listen in the car and when we get home they stay in the car for up to an HOUR to keep listening.....Did I mention we love USBORNE??? (Ok I didn't post this when I wrote it, but they WERE discussing mummies....and since I wrote this August made a sarcophagus and a paperchain of egyptian dancers...,.)
Earlier today we read "Butterflies and Moths" from the Beginner Series. They wanted to go to the internet links, so August did mazes and Sawyer made crazy bugs, we printed buttefly stuff to color. Holdy wanted a butterfly tab book. I love the fact that this one short yet well written book, with awesome photos and illustrations inspired so much interest and activity from my kids....
Did I mention I love Usborne books?? I'll shut up now.
UPDATE: Ok the big joke around here with the boys right now is that they all say they are going to be mummies (as in have babies to the uninitiated) ......in about 100 years (as in Egypt)..... Ok it's funny when it comes from them :)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We delivered our 12 pigs to the only place we are allowed to have them slaughtered legally. Because it is such a big business we and many of our customers chose to have our pigs 'cut and wrapped' at smaller home based meat cutters'. Picture hubby driving with 10 half pigs in the back of the pick up from one butcher to the other. I wonder what the driver behind him thought....
We picked up our pig yesterday. It came with all waste - head, hooves, kidneys, fat, tail....yep we got it all! So I pulled out Little House in the Big Woods and read the section when Laura and Mary roasted the pig tail on the fire. It was so delicious they could hardly wait to eat it and burned themselves. We held out the perfectly straight frozen piggy tail and tried to get the boys to roast it on our woodstove. No takers.
Ah well, fresh from the field bacon will do!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
We thought Holdy was better, especially after he ate 4 or 5 hotdogs in about a 24 hour period (Hold on a sec....maybe that's why he's sick again....) and munched down on his halloween candy. Poor little guy. He had a nap again today, and his temp is going up again. I REALLY hope we get some results from that unmentionable sample we took in last week.....
My big boy, he gets numbers. Wild. Overheard in the kitchen while cooking the last hot dog for Sawyer, "Sawyer, if you give me 1/4 of your hotdog that'll be fair, cuz I had 1/2 of Holdy's and 2 quarters make a 1/2 and then we'll both have 3/4" Amen John Holt.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So improving means "Can we have hotdogs for dinner?"
Can you feel the inner whole foods loving, vegetable farming, natural organic meat using Mommy CRINGING???????????
Can you see her going to the store and buying Hot dogs??
I'll do ANYTHING for my little man, anything. sigh. hot dogs. blech!
They're almost as bad as the sample we had to collect today for the lab, but we won't go there.....
Sunday, November 1, 2009
but now they grow veggies and organic beef. He had a surprise for us....
5 day old twins!!
They'd never been outside and Mama was nervous and protective
and respectful and trusting of Farmer Tom.
Nothing can make a little sick boy forget his woes than putting his hand on a newborn calf. The happiest I'd seen him in days.....
We got a small pumpkin and cut it in half to look at the seeds. The boys exclaimed “It looks like a pizza!” I thought it looked like the segments of an orange.
All the pumpkins had big flat spots on them, next year we’re going to try and set them in position for growing. August thinks the stems will break if we do this. We’ll experiment.
We did cut off extra growth past the set fruit so the pumpkin plants could concentrate on one pumpkin each. (Ok Ok we had 4 but one rotted in early September…the piggies loved it….)
Next year we’ll take a closer look at the pumpkin flowers and watch the pollinators more!
Now are there any takers on the 10 totes of squash I have in my house???? It was a banner year here for squash and we don’t want squishy squashes! D??
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The first 4 pigs were in and set to go before I was out of the house and the second 4 went in and out various times, but eventually we gottem! Houdini be gone! (That's his black spotty butt above! Such a bold adventurous pig!)
The kids want to know when we get some fresh pork. Yep, they're farm boys.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
How can a french family be here for a month with rare a tear and relatives here for 2nights and fights galore? ARGH!
When will the real data be published?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The most awesome book ever. Hubby bought it for me a couple of years ago and I read it cover to cover. We have gradually implemented a lot of the book on our farm. We have made many many changes from the first garden my mom planted for us our first year here. We have used a lot of the information and applied it to our strawberries too!
My mom plants a traditional garden with rows of veggies all planted at the same time. Which means they’re all ready at the same time. ACK. See me go crazy as I blanch ten gazillion pots of green beans!
There are a lot of aisles and not a lot of veggies and the weeds are outrageous. Add to this such nasty habits like putting moth balls under the cabbage/cauli/broccoli to stop the cabbage maggot (it works) to copious amounts of chemical fertilizer added to the soil.
We stopped the moth balls the second year much to my mum’s chagrin and this year have not allowed any chemical fertilizers. She freaked. The garden was a gorgeous jungle. Ok Ok the weather was spectacular this summer, hubby had the whole garden on a drip system on a tight schedule and we added a bunch of manure.....but still!
The basic premise (if that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is) is that W ide rows O rganic methods, R aised beds and D eep Soil mean a very very healthy garden.
You have to get the WORD from the Veggie Bible!
So in a new garden area this year (We had the pigs on it last year which also contributed to the oh 300 or so squashes I'm giving away to everyone that dares to enter my house.....I digress AGAIN.) I dug up raised beds. A great experiment. Some were too narrow, some too wide – and from it I learned. First to put a big bandaid on my thumb before digging and second that it works.
With this system you dig permanent raised beds and you never til your garden again. You never stir up weed seeds. You weed religiously and weeds eventually die out as you high density plant your veggies to out compete weeds…..You never walk on your beds, you walk in your aisles. You continually add compost and amendments to the raised bed areas to keep the soil organisms happy.
The book is well written and common sensesical (?). I found myself going “yah” a lot. It just seemed to make sense. It is a good winter read and inspiring to say the least. I highly recommend it!
So our French woofs helped us build the raised beds in our “old” garden area this year. Hubby and I decided we wanted them tractor wheel width so that we could add amendments (compost, manure, etc) easily. Hubby was conveniently away hunting moose when the work began. So when we built the first bed and then the second I could see they weren’t wide enough. So I decided we only needed to build every other raised bed tractor wheel width, so we modified the second raised bed to become a wide one and then another narrow one… So I decided that a) we didn’t even need to build every other raised bed tractor wheel width as long as we could shovel out of the bucket sideways…..and b) the first wide raised bed was too wide. By now the French Man was miming shooting himself in the head and the French Mama was agreeing with me and busy measuring and discussing with me our options. They plan to build raised beds in their garden when they get home (they read our bible too.) And grow squash. And grow late caulies (yes I’m STILL harvesting cauliflowers!) I digress. We come to an agreement as to the perfect width (amazingly EXACTLY what it said in the book DOH!) and continued with 1 narrow 2 wide 1 narrow 2 wide for the rest of the garden. The last 3 or 4 raised beds are fairly weedy as they were grass/turf…(you can see it in the photos to the far left) so now we’ve mulched with leaves and manure and will cover for a year before planting in them. The worms and etc. can take care of the dying weeds.
Isn’t my future garden a thing of beauty?
Had to include a photo of our spinach and wonderful parsnips! You can see our rye/vetch cover crop to the right - we will be plowing this in in the spring and planting strawberries!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The french are suddenly leaving tomorrow. After both of their next two farms fell through she sent out a mass emailing and received a reply from a farm in Alberta. The farmers want OUR frenchies ASAP. The snow is coming. They need work done now. How dare they? We are sad and warned them that their car may not be working in the morning.....
The kids have spent the last two days in their sub/car/house big box playtoy that has morphed a dozen times. The periscope makes it through to each change unscathed, they love it so much! When will my living room morph back to my living room? I suspect never.
We will all be very sad to see this very very cool french family go.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I’ve stolen #2 from HERE Definately worth reading!
I love it.
My mother continually harps on the fact that my kids need friends and socialization. So they need to go to school. Most of the people I mention her opinion too look surprised and say something intelligent like “Huh?” or “What?” because my kids are the most boisterous curious fun kids on the planet. Ok not really, but basically they are darn normal. Or not normal, which may actually be better. They play with a wide variety of kids who come from all age groups. They spend a huge portion of their day playing – usually outside. Why does she think that because we homeschool they have no friends? I can’t figure out if she is envious, feels defensive because she didn’t homeschool, really can’t see any other way than her own highway or that she must agree with her teacher friends that we are really messing up our kids. Does she really think I want to mess up my kids? I better not tell her that I constantly war with myself about our educational choices and hope that we are making the right decisions. I hope that my kids when and if they decide to go to school/university/college/etc. will have the necessary skills to learn what they need to learn. Right now I’m pretty happy to see them climb trees, build forts, make lego, play with hotwheels, and all of the other cool things they do every day instead of fighting to get them out the door in the morning on time, then fighting to get them to do their homework, dragging them off to extra curricular activities, getting them into bed on time to start all over again the next day. Sounds exhausting and alienating…..
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
So today is a friends’ birthday party at an indoor playground an hour away. It was planned in advance so it was a glorious sunny day. My kid’s party on Saturday in the pouring rain needed to be there and this party need to be here, today! I digress.
My kids must get to sleep early. I try and be flexible. We read up to an hour, I lie with them and usually they fall asleep almost instantly. Unless they are excited. And my kids with no sleep equals endless meltdowns and pointless tears all day the next day.
The night before his birthday party I was peeling Holdy off the bedroom roof. It was the first time he really clued in it was HIS party tomorrow. He was sooooooooooooo excited he was jumping on his brothers and could not calm down. At 10:30 they were all still awake. And I paid. They all had ‘too much birthday’ meltdowns, which were expected and didn’t last too long. And really the party went well. I digress, again.
So they were excited about the trip to the playground place, and the fact that Daddy arrived home from his hunting trip. With antlers! Oh yah and hugs. So after kindness, firmness and understanding, I forgot all my parenting philosophy and fell back on fear and coercion. Amazing how it works. *bowing head in shame* It goes like this, “If you guys don’t calm down and go to sleep we’re NOT going, I am not dealing with tired sobbing children all day tomorrow!”
We get up and go early and they have a ball. We were basically the only group there and the kids ran for about 3 hours up down around. Happy red hot sweating kids.
Then Mommy does her old ‘lets go on a tour’ thing. We are currently reading “Owls in the Family” by Farley Mowat (Oh the book lists I have to get thru!) and there is a Great Horned Owl at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association. There are bears, injured eagles, injured ravens (an albino raven!) and various birds and animals they try and either rehabilitate for release or they take care of and use for education. I think they’ll love it. They had other ideas. I heard the “We want to go to the Parrot Place” and the “We don’t want to go there” but I really thought they’d get over it. They didn’t. They hated it. They wanted to see the dang parrots. One sobbing big boy and two little brothers trying to pretend they were hating it too. (Ok the image of Sawyer in a monkey position on the fence outside the owl’s cage hooting is cute, especially when the owls started hooting back!) We had to leave because August absolutely refused to like it one little bit. Refused to participate, sobbed and basically made it impossible to enjoy. I guess I should have left it for another time and gone to see the dang parrots. (Parrots Schmarrots) So sometimes plans fall flat. My wonderful cool “look at this” visit was a total bummer. Bummer.
I tried really hard not to be angry. Really hard. Thank you Naomi.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
We have a French Wwoofing family staying with us right now. They have 3 kids 4, 8 and 9. It has been quite fun; their kids and ours meshing well. The oldest two are outside right now tying ropes to various trees, poles and apparatus. This is an almost daily activity for them a la circus!
The mom is homeschooling them for the year – they had to apply to take their kids out of school and were given the curriculum to follow, designed for those travelling. AND WOW. They have a lot to do. She spends 2-3 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week and is still concerned they may not finish. She told me that the writing expected of her daughter is outrageous (not in so many words) and that she’s thinking of just letting her daughter fall behind a year. Especially as she is already ahead a year of her age group. She says her daughter is in tears trying to write what is expected of her. We talked about how writing is developmental and that kids write in different styles based on their mental age and that all kids can’t be slotted into a writing curriculum. Her son will be moving on to middle school and they are quite worried about him. He’s intelligent and bored and disrupts the class. As far as I’m concerned he’s a great kid, but he is bullied at school. He doesn’t quite fit in as they don’t watch TV, he’s not into soccer and he likes to be outdoors (they live on a 15 acre farm in France) Although homeschooling is legal in France no one really does it – that she knows of. He cries a lot and doesn’t want to go to school. Let me tell you – this kid is neat! He’s like our (collective “our” as in our unschooled kids) kids….as I get to know them more and more I’ve said to her “I can’t believe you don’t homeschool your kids” She’s never really been exposed to it. She is appreciating our lifestyle although I can tell she doesn’t think I do enough with my boys. It has been nice having her here in that she drops everything to school her kids and I drop everything to read to my kids :) And do my nature walks. And look at animals at the San Diego Zoo and listen to their sounds……