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If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ahhh... a fresh, and sunny start to the week...

And I have today, and tomorrow, off from work. Short shifts Wednesday through Friday, which still allows me plenty of time to be with the kids, and the husband, and enjoy summer. Possible plans for the week include a beach trip with friends; a homeschool association meeting, which I'll talk more about momentarily; park day of course; gardening; housecleaning; Spiral Scout projects to start working on; and so forth.

Some time ago, I was a board member for the local homeschool association to which I belong. I held a couple of positions... field trip coordinator (so much fun!), Webmaster... but then it got hard. Our insurance didn't cover what we thought it did, one member of the group caused so much trouble we had to refund her membership and ask her to look elsewhere, no one except the board ever showed up to the open meetings, a splinter group formed, and life got in the way for some of the board. We, by consensus, dissolved the board. Looking back on it, I am not so sure that we made the right decision, although it felt right at the time.

Now, we have a group of determined volunteers who have stepped up to the plate, done the research and all the work, and are helping our little group get nonprofit status, which makes it much better for the insurance part. Tomorrow's meeting is the adoption and ratification of the new bylaws, the formation of committees, the birthday of our new group! (I am really hoping there is a field trip committee that I can help with) I am excited about this. Most of the women heading this are friends of mine, and the ones that aren't I just don't really know yet, although I am sure I have met them. This to me is definitely a fresh start, and a strong one!

We had our first Spiral Scouts meeting last week, and came away from it feeling like we have found our home in scouting. We made our Circle, discussed individual and group projects, selected some to work on before the meeting next month (and for some time after that since they are pretty complex) There are several levels of awards to work on... awards, badges, and spirals/stars. I had Cassia and Cyrus choose one from each category. Cyrus chose projects primarily related to art, and Cassia was excited to see that cooking is a badge project! When we got home after park day in the evening, I went over all the paper work with M, who really liked what he saw as well. Each project has requirements that have to be met, and then several other options to choose from. For an example, check out the sample of the gardening badge work here. My kids are both at the Spiral Scout level, so you can see this isn't just easy work! We signed all the paperwork, which has been sent off, paid our dues, and are now eagerly awaiting our activity books.

What I like, in addition to the actual level of learning that will take place with these projects, is that there are so many to choose from, and a lot that align with our interests. For example, several have multicultural aspects, which interests Cassia, and there is even a mythology award for Cyrus to work on maybe in the fall!

And now for a couple of book reviews. First, for Cindie, is Waldorf Education: A Family Guide. This is a series of essays, by teachers, parents, etc. It is a good introduction to Waldorf education for those thinking of adapting it in their homeschool lives, or those thinking of placing their children in a Waldorf school. I especially liked the essays on different temperaments, and colors, daily rhythms, and the lovely birthday story from one parent. However, while the book is a good introduction, it is just that, and introduction. I enjoyed reading it, but it left me wanting more. How do I know which temperament my child has? How could I apply color in their daily lives that reflects where they are in their life journey? It did do a good job of covering the general ideas, and giving the background of Waldorf education, and I enjoyed reading it, so I would recommend it.

And then Pocketful of Pinecones, a book I have seen recommended over and over again in regards to Charlotte Mason and nature study. While my spiritual leanings differ from the author and the main character she created, and the book does reference those leanings a lot, I could not put this book down! The characters were realistic and appealing, as was the fact that the main character, the mother, had both a boy and a girl, like I do. However, I think she was a good deal more patient than I tend to be! I have read some of Charlotte Mason's original writings, and while they are extremely informative, and should be read by anyone wanting to follow her methods, they can also be a little tough going. This book, written as a diary, was easy to read, and full of Mason's ideals. Practical and applicable. There are nature study recommendations, thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter, and a plethora of books for nature studies recommended in the appendix. And there are cross references to Mason's original works. I felt really inspired by this book, and can't wait to read Lessons at Blackberry Inn. My children will absolutely be keeping nature journals this year!

In other news, we've been re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the Harry Potter movies, getting ourselves ready for the final HP installment in July. Watching LoTR has made me want to read The Hobbit to the kids at some point over the next year. Oh, and we want to finish listening to Jim Dale's marvelous reading of the HP books. M and I were discussing Shakespeare the other night (we both love Much Ado About Nothing), and the kids were intrigued, so I am researching children's versions of Shakespeare's stories... Nesbit, Lamb, Garfield, other? Recommendations? Until now, I have tried to tie our read alouds to other studies, but I really think we can enjoy books without always doing that.

4 comments :

  1. Ah, Spiral Scouts! We had a nice little circle back in Delaware and I was sorry to leave it. Maybe I'll try to start one here. I'm glad to hear it's working out for you and hope that you have many, many successful meetings! :D

    It sounds like you've had a lovely start to the week.

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  4. That sounds like so much fun for the kids. I wish we had something like Spiral Scouts here. Thanks for the review, G! It reminds me of many other Waldorf books out there, lovely, and left me wanting to incorporate everything, but how? Donna Simmons (Christopherus) is the only author I felt helped practically. I will probably buy it, though, since I've been wanting it for quite some time. :o) Hope you have a blast this summer!

    Oh, and I love Nesbit's version of Shakespeare for children.

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Emerson

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