Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harvests eternal

I sing silly songs. Songs I know only one or two lyrics from, songs I barely recall, songs I make up. This morning I was singing a song about mistakes - I can't even remember what silly mistake I made that prompted me, but as I prepared breakfast I belted out, "Oooo, I'm only human, born to make mistakes!" K paused and looked at me and said, "that doesn't make sense, we aren't born to make mistakes; we are born to help others."

Wowza! An articulated understanding of charisms; yessss!

Saint Agatha Lin's Garden Update - Harvest!

We've got a chocolate zucchini cake in the oven, had yellow pear tomatoes for breakfast, and are watching corn, cauliflower, pumpkin, and more continue to grow and ripen. What have we learned? Basic science about how things grow, of course (per the Ca State curriculum standards) but far more: economics, sustainability, hard work, and deep appreciation for the efforts of farmers on large farms who keep us fed and healthy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Club - Fairies!

Everyone brought their favorite fairy story to play and they did so gorgeously in a redwood forest, alternating between building teeny fairy houses and playing in the kid-sized ones the forest provided.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Biophillia and Curriculum

Biophillia is a word created by Ed Wilson, who is "The Lord of the Ants." It means, "the natural human instinct drawing us toward living things." Love it! It is a core element of St. Agatha Lin Academy's curriculum and an ontological orientation for our family's learning philosophy.

Fits well with what we did this morning, too, which was to collaboratively plan the curriculum for St. Agatha Lin Academy's First Grade and Pre-K classes. The ever-amazing G took this photo of our planning in progress.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A and A Arrive!

To obvious great disappointment - NOT! Hee, hee. I actually didn't tell the girls where we were going and so when the door opened and they saw their cousins, it was THE perfect surprise, unmitigated joy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Making pizzas; castle cake; singing Happy Birthday... we had a great time celebrating with and for a really great kid!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hold On To Your Kids

My smart and articulate friend Zoe recently blogged about a book I read a year or so ago, summing it up well. It’s called Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Should Matter More Than Peers.

She writes (in part):
“There are two authors: a psychologist specializing in child development and family therapy, and a medical doctor. Their views fly in the face of many parenting books that focus on behavioral changes and skill-building. They believe that the health and well-being of a child is directly related to remaining attached to his or her parents, and other important adults.

They authors say that with the rise of the “youth culture” — which is only about 50 years old — most of us have grown accustomed to assuming that children are better off spending lots of time with their peers. Wrong, according to these guys. Where a child’s primary attachment is, there will he or she follow. Our current “peer-oriented” culture makes it easier for children to shift their primary attachments to peers early on, and remain there, with parents losing authority and influence over their children. The authors point out that it is attachment that facilitates a child’s identity development, values, and sense of self. And if that attachment is peer-oriented, parents lose much of their ability to parent and children take on the culture of their peers.

Not that kids shouldn’t have friends, the authors say, but adults should be their primary attachments until maturity. The entire last section of the book is dedicated to how to keep — or regain — this primary attachment with your kids.

I don’t agree with every point the authors make, but I have to admit that I’ve seen their theory in action and it seems to be true. Some of it is counter-intuitive — we’re bombarded with the message that kids need lots of time with friends and peers and we think they’ll be hampered without all that socialization. But when I think of the most adjusted, emotionally healthy, well-rounded, mature kids I know, all of them were raised by people who intuitively parented according to the ideas in this book.”

I thought about this book for a long time after reading it. I agree with the premise that our culture is not designed to nurture family cohesion and that the emphasis on “socialization” and “independence” is overrated, especially when they undermine family relationships, important values, and individual confidence. I specifically loved that the book posits that it is healthy to start each day in each other’s arms, which is something I try to do with the girls. It is a happy pleasure for me and, according to the book, good for them too.

In general, the book articulated things that I’d intuitively felt– that to prioritize my loves in a meaningful way requires rejecting many of the things taken for granted in contemporary society. That articulated knowledge is helpful, because it alleviates some of the daily stress that goes along with homeschooling, creating lots of free time for creative play, walking instead of driving, and so much more….

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swallow Babies in Nest

Pretty amazing! This spotted while camping; we watched the mama fly back and forth feeding them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Camping with friends on the Redwood Coast

Fabulous Weekend! Art as nature, kites, fort building, watching the girls bury themselves in the sand and make mermaid tails, driftwood seesaws, and much more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We're Scientists!

From a quote at the Academy of Science:

"What is a scientist after all? It is a curious person looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what's going on."

Jacques Cousteau, French Explorer

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ant Identification Workshop

K and Charles attended an Ant Identification Workshop at the Cal Academy; really cool. We collected ten small ants in advance, then brought them (with the help of our collection kit) to the Academy. This ten minute video is great; shows the background and the reason for the collecting... and how kids got involved in this scientific effort.

Another one the kids liked is the one from Nova at this link; it is long, but a few weeks after the workshop, the watched nearly the whole thing with interest, comments, and ongoing discussion about ants, research, how a scientist who loved the outdoors as a kid turned this passion into adult inquiry, and more:

G Is Three!

Happy Birthday, my lovely, darling daughter. You are a delight, a joy, a beautiful, funny, silly, sweet, super-smart, strong, opinionated, stubborn, and wonderful person. You bring love to the world every day. I've never known or imagined someone like you, who wakes up in the morning laughing, who reaches for me in the middle of the night and whispers "I love you" as you slip back into your dreams. I love you, we love you, so much! The photos are from our family birthday party. After the candles were lit, G reached for K and they blew them out together.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Girl and Her Dog

When K woke up, Ike pretty much crawled into her lap, snuggling with affection. You'd think he was 15 pounds again, not 120!
In the third photo, Ike has a new friend and is (involuntarily) giving it a ride. To be a dog in this family clearly has its ups and downs!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Presidio Habitats Quest

A fun way to celebrate Nature Monday with a walk in the foggy Presidio, looking for birds, playing games, and learning a bit about history, both natural and human:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Picture of me

Responding to a request for more pictures of me... the photos I like best of myself reflect times when I am truly happy - and what could make me happier than this lovely love (or her sister)?

This taken after a marvelously fun and informative ranger hike around Lake Lagunitas....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Create with Nature Family Day

Presidio Habitats Art Exhibition's "Create with Nature Family Days."

Our fairy house, complete with beds (under the detachable roof) and a swimming pool/diving board. The lowest layer is the "tomb for dead fairies." Hmm. Not my idea. Too much Egyptology? Darn that Classical Education model anyway.... (ha!)

We had fun (esp. picking wild blackberries afterward)... but in this day of limited resources, is someone getting paid for this? A lot of work and staff involved in creating an environment to let kids explore with nature, a concept that ideally occurs naturally....

Friday, August 6, 2010

August Sugarloaf Club

A creek and a playground; a beautiful redwood park; friends and sun = a happy summer day! (Few photos, though; the relaxing atmosphere foiled my best efforts! :-}

Sacred Chocolate Factory Tour

Oh my! All the magic of Willy Wonka... and the secrecy, too! The tour was only for kids under the age of 12 and they have so far defied all of our attempts to find out what happened on the tour - except that they mixed chocolate themselves, ate some, and had lots of fun!

Yum, yum. If you check the web site, you'll even see the company's contentions that their chocolate is healthy! Hm... okay, convinced! :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nature Monday at the Audubon Center

A day of exploring - crabs, a dead Canadian goose (probably) and lots of play. Love the free binocular rentals and discovery backpacks, full of surprise learning resources.