Friday, July 29, 2011

Simple Mom

Tsh (5)

Yep. It's Tsh from Simple Mom! We had such a great time hanging out with her fun family!

Tsh (1)

We just relaxed and enjoyed the cool Oregon sunshine.

Tsh (3)

Lola is about four months younger than Finn, but about the same size. And she thought he was so cute... all she wanted to do was maul him. (I'm going to have to watch that girl.)

Tsh (7)

Luke was having a great time with Reed, carrying him around on his back. Levi was pretty fond of Tate. He remembered her from their visit a couple years ago. (I'm going to have to watch that boy.)

Tsh (6)

Thanks for visiting, Tsh, and letting me have the privilege of photographing your wonderful family!!

Tsh Family

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby Ben

Baby Ben (3)

I finally had a chance to visit my sweet friend, Olive, and her darling baby boy. I am certain that Ben is one lucky little boy to have parents like Olive and Justin.

Baby Ben (2) Baby Ben (4) Baby Ben (5)

What a GORGEOUS and peaceful little baby he is, too. It was a delight to meet you, Ben!

Baby Ben

Monday, July 25, 2011

Heidi’s Unedited Life

I wanted to do Ali’s week in the life project this week, but it just isn’t going to happen. Instead, I’ll do random again.

We’re up to our eyeballs in a huge, messy project. I’d post Before pictures, but we are so very far away from After pictures, and I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that no one needs to see the disaster. (Right now, the project is at the much larger disaster stage. Where things get worse before they get better.) Instead, I'll share a picture of a visitor in our driveway (taken out the dining nook window). We often have deer (even up to 8 or more) in our yard at dusk or night, but rarely in the middle of the day.

deer in driveway

My brother-in-law, Casey, turned 40, and we travelled back in time to 1971 for a really great party. I was doing well to just show up, but my sister and her husband are over-achievers.

Shan & Ben 70s

We’ve entered a new baby stage. The one where nothing is safe. She bum-scoots all over the place (it looks hilarious!) and is pulling up to standing on *everything.* And with this stage has appeared a new Lola. A very, very wiggly, determined little girl.

Lola standing

(While I'm being real, do you notice the background of the picture above? The Happy Birthday banner still up from Luke's birthday in May. I thought I'd keep it up for July 4th (America's birthday, don't ya know), and I'd hate to take it down right before Leif's birthday (in August). Maybe I'll take it down in September. Or wait until Christmas decorations go up... And then there's the picnic basket STILL waiting for that photo shoot I meant to do with the kids a month ago.)

Lola's new height means she has even more things to get into. A mobile, determined little girl in a little house full of boys' toys. Legos. Nerf gun bullets. Permanent markers. All sorts of fun stuff.

Lola standing (3)

But she's so adorable. Still has hardly any hair, but I think it is growing a tiny bit in the back.

Lola standing (2)

She LOVES to play with books. Her favorites are the cookbooks on the bookcase heading into the kitchen.

Lola Reading

Speaking of reading, as difficult as I find it to parent three young, crazy boys, I love to watch their love of reading. They read constantly. And in all sorts of places. I think Luke topped the list of strange places to read, though. Warm clothes made a nice little nest on a cool, Oregon summer morning...

Luke reading in dryer

Speaking of Luke, when he was younger he didn't talk much and he didn't really enjoy being read to. His love of books and reading came as a big surprise to me. He still surprises me often with his interest in books and ideas... just when I least expect it from him. The other day I was reading Tom Sawyer (aka, Luke). I didn't think Luke was listening, until he excitedly said, "Sssssss! The s's!" He was so earnestly pointing out the alliteration in the sentences I had just read. "It was the sleepiest of sleepy days. The drowsing murmur of the five-and-twenty studying scholars soothed the soul like the spell that is in the murmur of bees." Doesn't it just make you sleepy? Thank you, THANK YOU, Michael Clay Thompson for teaching my boys about the beautiful sounds of language.

And that’s all for now, folks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yes. Yep. Uh, huh.

And Oh. My. Word. This is spot on. I don’t even know where to begin quoting, so go read it. If you are homeschooling or especially if you are considering or planning on homeschooling, this is a must read. If you are curious to know what it is like to homeschool (the good, bad, and ugly), this is a great place to start.

The Bad News About Homeschooling: What your friends in the denim jumpers don’t want you to know.

Here is a taste:

And here’s more bad news:  YOU will still be YOU.  You will not wake up on the Monday after you make the decision to homeschool and find you’ve turned into Socrates, Anne Sullivan, Charlotte Mason, Lisa Whelchel or Sally Clarkson overnight.  (Bummer, I know!)  It will just be little old you, same as the day before, with all the same flaws, only now they’ll be thrown into horrifyingly sharp relief by the plight of being sandpapered 24 hours a day by the little blessings (students?) the Lord has graced you with.  Sometimes it’s called sanctification.  Sometimes it’s called painful.  Sometimes it’s called homeschooling.

Uh, yeah.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hannah

It was a cousin party. Really. First cousins. First cousins once removed. Second cousins. Nine of us for a senior photo session party. But only two seniors: Hannah (my second cousin) and her cousin, Tim (also my second cousin). Hannah’s sister, Melissa was the brave subject of my first senior photo shoot two years ago. Here are my favorite photos of Hannah. I’ll post Tim’s tomorrow.

Hannah (8) Hannah (3) Hannah (9) Hannah (4) Hannah (2) Hannah (11) Hannah (1) Hannah (10) Hannah (5) Hannah (7) Hannah (6)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

Lola asleep on Daddy Lola asleep in jumper

:: There is something magical about a sleeping baby (especially now, as she’s teething again and I’m a bit rummy). She rarely falls asleep other than in her crib. Falling asleep in her jumper is absolutely unprecedented. Oh, and I LOVE her shoulder dimples.

:: A certain four year old (who has been told repeatedly not to get into the freezer) left the freezer door open. So much food in the garbage. So much food cooked up in one night. Daddy made him watch everything being thrown out and write down dollar amounts on a tablet, which he then had to add up on a calculator.

:: That same certain four year old cut the front of his hair. He said there was gum in it. Sigh. Just when Luke’s poison oak rash was gone. Am I ever going to do a photo shoot with those kids?!

:: Speaking of photo shoots, I have a bunch of photos to share this week. Senior photos and an awesome family photo shoot. Guess who came to visit!! Simple Mom!

:: Blog friend, Hannah, sent me this quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. She thought I’d enjoy it, and enjoy it I certainly did.

"The living in incessant noise was, to a frame and temper delicate and nervous like Fanny's, an evil which no superadded elegance or harmony could have entirely atoned for. It was the greatest misery of all. At Mansfield, no sounds of contention, no raised voice, no abrupt bursts, no tread of violence, was ever heard; all proceeded in a regular course of cheerful orderliness; everybody had their due importance; everybody's feelings were consulted. If tenderness could be ever supposed wanting, good sense and good breeding supplied its place; and as to the little irritations sometimes introduced by aunt Norris, they were short, they were trifling, they were as a drop of water to the ocean, compared with the ceaseless tumult of her present abode. Here everybody was noisy, every voice was loud (excepting, perhaps, her mother's, which resembled the soft monotony of Lady Bertram's, only worn into fretfulness). Whatever was wanted was hallooed for, and the servants hallooed out their excuses from the kitchen. The doors were in constant banging, the stairs were never at rest, nothing was done without a clatter, nobody sat still, and nobody could command attention when they spoke."

I think I am the one who is worn into fretfulness…

:: Oh, how I love Facebook. My friends share the most interesting thoughts and articles. Today, it was The Educational Value of Creative Disobedience @ Scientific American:

‎"Just by moving the students from passive observer to active participant, you are lighting a fire in the brain—making more connections across association areas, increasing plasticity, and enhancing learning. Not only that, students that are more actively engaged are more intrinsically motivated to learn—no bribes or artificial rewards needed, just pure enjoyment of learning ."

I have many thoughts on this article that are difficult for me to express coherently. I realize that there is a strong anti-rote-memorization which is a foundational skill in our homeschool, but I feel that is one of the strongest benefits of homeschool. We are able to do both memorization and have time for creative processes. My kids are given tools AND freedom, which I feel leads to less frustration. We are emphasizing the joy of learning, the personal fulfillment of education, the ownership of one’s learning process. Classical education leads to this, especially as Socratic dialogue develops in the years of logic and rhetoric, modeling how to ask questions rather than taking notes in a lecture format.

My friend, Jami, shared this quote from Charlotte Mason:

"The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"

:: My favorite new (to me) education blog is The Circe Institute: Cultivating Wisdom and Virtue.

I thought Why the Sciences Need the Arts by Andrew Kern very thought provoking.

What too many administrators are missing is that all learning is an art, even when you are learning the sciences. Therefore, teachers are artists, not scientists, when they teach. But we tend to hire scientifically inclined people to teach the sciences.  But teaching is an art.

And then:

Practically, where I’m going with this is that if we want more scientists, we should stop trying to teach so much science in the lower grades and instead teach students the arts of learning. I mean the seven liberal arts (not the meaningless quasi-liberal arts of the conventional misnamed liberal arts college). Teach students the arts of inquiry and those so inclined will become great scientists.

So what to do to train young scientists:

1. Teach them the seven liberal arts

2. Let them inquire and explore the natural realm (garden, woods, farm, zoos, etc. etc.)

3. Teach them stories about great scientists and their discoveries

4. Teach them some categorized knowledge about things they are exploring.

Once they’ve done that for a few years, they’ll be able to do real science real well.

:: And now I’m putting my nose to the grindstone. Lots of pictures to edit today! Have a terrific weekend!