Becoming Kindred Blog

First Day of School-2014

It felt a little frantic and sooo disorganized in the past couple of weeks as I tried to wrap my head around homeschooling again this fall. A good portion of the summer was spent with my family in BC and I suddenly realized that September was almost upon us.

I still feel a bit chaotic and disorganized, but, um, welcome to my life at this stage. But, ready or not, today was the first day of school for both Aneliese and my little Cecily. Aneliese in first grade and Cecily in Kindergarten (or Primary as it is called here) and a totally bummed Kathleen who wants to do everything that her sisters do. 

Honestly, it's actually a little anti-climactic to have a "first day of school" given how we choose to school for these early years. I think that when we talk about school starting and grades, the girls have something in their minds of worksheets and me as the wise old owl suddenly telling them how to do and learn things in a very specific and guided way. And yet, we didn't stop schooling all summer even though I've laid out some more clear guidelines for myself for the next months in terms of the literature that we will share together, through reading, narration, copy work, and activities. We'll study artists, bugs, weather, geography and history. But it's still just in the natural flow of our day; I'm still delaying formal teaching of phonics or math for example. We're approaching math playfully through stories and life and its working if I'm going by the Nova Scotia learning outcomes. I still believe that if we read regularly of good, solid twaddle free books that as we interact and engage in the stories, the reading will come as they are personally developmentally ready. I have high expectations and desires for my girls as they learn and grow in the wholehearted little people that they are to the wholehearted, aware, vibrant big people that they will become.

I'm confident that this is good for our girls and that this is right for us, for our family. And yet, I've been panicking this past week. So close to driving to the nearby school to register the girls. Because. I'm not organized. I'm not capable of perfection. I've been struggling with patience lately. I want what is best for them. I doubt my convictions and personal beliefs of education and learning. I'm scared. It's a big deal.

But today, we walked through our first official day of the year together. And it was stressful at times. Didn't meet expectations in some ways. Yet, it was so perfect. So natural and so us. My girls are bright, inquisitive, free, imaginative, and so ready to learn. I'm unconventional and have so much to learn, but I'm all in. Jumping in with both feet for as long as this is what is best for our girls and I. I can do this.

I have a planner that has on many pages this quote by Robert Frost, "I am not a teacher, but an awakener.". Being a teacher is that for me; I want to awaken their souls and their minds to passionately learn and explore in this one life that they have to live.

 

Storm Arthur

Friday night we celebrated the opening of the coffee bar that is now sharing the Dan Froese Photography studio space and the weather cooperated in giving us a perfect evening. Saturday morning however, we awoke to high winds and power outage. We're somewhat used to that here in Nova Scotia so we continued on with our day with a few modifications.

With the hurricane warnings that we had been listening to throughout the week, on Friday I had filled all the animals water troughs (old bath tubs) and had the kiddie pool filled along with plenty of drinking water in the house. We had secured everything and had plenty of food in the house. So we weren't surprised and actually were quite prepared.

However, mid morning the winds pretty much stopped. The hurricane was down graded to a post tropical storm so we thought we were just waiting for the power to come back on. Mid afternoon, however, the wind picked up. Apparently the winds got up to 150 km/hr. We watched the trees in the yard, flatten and straighten, flatten and straighten. Branches, debris and then a thud which turned out to be a tree landing just next to the back of the house.

I think it howled through at least part of the night and we woke up to wet and still no power. We got right to clean up with everyone pitching in.

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Maybe this sounds crazy and thoughtless but after the storm was over, it felt sort of like an adventure. We kind of made the most of that day of cleaning up together. That tree stump that Cecily is drinking out of is the tree that fell by the house (one of a several trees that fell on our property.); we noticed the water running from the stump so Dan made a bowl while he was bucking up the tree for firewood.

We trekked back into the forest for more drinking water after we learned that we might not have power restored until the end of the week. Cecily learned how to ride the pedal bike. We cooked and did dishes out on the veranda. Went swimming in the river. Went to bed earlyWe checked in with others to see what was needed. And we just hung out. That part was oddly refreshing.

We managed well for the four days of power outage. Sure, our toilets got a little smelly with the lack of water but we did carry buckets in from the pool to flush a couple of times a day. I did feel really stressed at times about losing our meat in the freezer *we didn't* and the cows getting out on the highway because the electric fence that keeps them in wasn't live *they didn't*. I worried a bit about other people not having water for their animals and I worried especially about the lower income seniors around who wouldn't have electricity and would lose whatever was in their refrigerators. But honestly, for all the trees that are down all over the place, for all the financial loss that I'm certain many people suffered, and for the days of being with out things that we rely on, we all have much to be thankful for. People pitched in to help their neighbors, few injuries happened and few homes or buildings suffered severe damage. We made it.


June Garden~2014

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I had this post ready to go last night and then my iPad closed it before I could save it. An incredibly frustrating thing at 11:30 at night when I should have been sleeping.

The above picture is my weedy tomato and pepper patch. I'm fighting a bit of a losing battle with choke weed but there really are tomatoes in there and I did weed again, hence the late bed time. Pulling one weed leads to another, and another, and just one more until the darkness disguises which is the tomato plant and which is the weed.

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I put in a little spiral herb garden which I've been wanting to do for a couple of years. This one is small and temporary but I can see that it works well for drainage.

Hopefully soon, the window will be covered in snow peas (at least I think that is what I planted there.)

We put our main garden in a section that we used as Max's pen last year and it so far is being easy on us in terms of weeds. Everything there is growing well despite that late start that I had getting it planted. We ate our first garden salad for supper last night!