I dreamed last night that I went out to check out my garden, thinking of what I could plant new this year, and found just old plants from last year had taken up all the room there. No room for anything new and exciting! Ack! Not even everything that I had last year was there, just some of it. I think my brain is telling me it's time to start working on garden plans. Or perhaps there's a deeper meaning here....
It's certainly not true, anyway. (Phew!) In December, we converted the second half of our front lawn into garden space, but it's still just dirt, not even a garden path yet. We're going to work on the path this Friday. It'll be a starburst pattern this time, to complement the labyrinth on the other side.
Anyone else working on garden plans? Or actually planting? One gardener's blog I read who lives here in Portland is talking all about the seeds she's bought and started indoors already. I'm thinking, am I behind? Oh no! I'm also wondering if I'll just do the lazy thing and buy starts at the farmer's market, like I did last year (after trying to start plants indoors and failing miserably) or will I do what it takes to get a system set up for starting seeds? What have you done, and how does it work?
I'm sure looking forward to all those tomatoes, and basil, and squash, and greens....I still have some live plants in my garden, but they're all harvested out, and it's not quite warm enough for them to start growing again. Although the garlic I planted in November is coming up!
Spring is such an exciting time in Oregon. I'm looking forward to it!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
We have yet another addition to the family! I pointed out to Zac that now the non-human to human ratio at our house (including the chickens, who live outside the house) is 2 to 1. 8 animals and 4 humans.
On Thursday Zac and I went to the humane society, just to look, as we hadn't decided that he could get a pet yet. He fell in love with a rabbit named Daisey. We went home and on Friday, we had the discussion and decided that yes, Zac could bring Daisey home. So we went and got the cage, food, and everything we'd need for Daisey.
Then we all went to the humane society. Daisey wasn't there. Oh, no!
But she'd just been sent out to a pet store, for more exposure to get her adopted. We headed up to Vancouver in Friday rush hour traffic to retrieve Daisey. Yay! Zac is very happy.
And she's a very congenial bunny! She likes hopping all over Zac's room, and seems to get along fine with the cat. They aren't actually playing together yet, but not for lack of interest on Daisey's part! She will go hide and then JUMP! out. I think she's trying to get Cordelia to play, but Cordelia is content to just watch Daisey at this point. At least Daisey is highly amusing to Cordy!
And yes, I know that Daisey should be spelled with no e. That's just how her paperwork came. I'll have to see if Zac wants to change it to Daisy. A matter of utmost importance, I'm sure.
The picture is Zac reading The Cat in the Hat to his bunny. :-)
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I've been meaning to write this post for awhile now, and currently there's discussion going around among our homeschool co-op about the subject of learning to read. So, I thought this would be the perfect time to post this.
The decision to utilize the particular homeschooling philosophy of unschooling was made when Hibi was 4 1/2. I'd been reading the great magazine Growing Without Schooling, and was really liking what I read there. Paul, however, was skeptical. Until that great momentous occasion of Hibi teaching herself to read at age 4 1/2, with minimal actual sitting down to teach her to read. Actually, none; all I'd done was, at age 2, taught her the sounds each of the letters makes. She had always loved books and way before she could read she was memorizing them. I'd read to her, then she'd "read" it back, over and over.
I often wonder where we'd be in the homeschool continuum if Zac had been the oldest! Zac also has always loved books. At a pretty young age he no longer wanted picture books, but long chapter books. Good thing I enjoyed reading them to him! Audio books were also a great find for him. Because he did *not* learn to read at age 4 1/2. Even though he really, really wanted to! He asked me to teach him to read at ages 5, 6, 7, and we'd sit down and try. I'd ask him to sound out CAT. By the time he got to the A, he'd have forgotten what sound C made. The remembering skills just were not there. It frustrated him, and it frustrated me, but I was committed to the idea that he'd learn when he was ready. We tried to focus his energy on other things, and I continued to read to him every night (plus other times).
Age 8, still not reading. I kept thinking it was going to click for him at some point. Paul started sitting with him and alternating reading with him. It was slow going! Frustrating for all involved. And we still couldn't call him a fluent reader.
And then, sometime at the end of his 10th year (when he was still 9 years old) he slowly and deliberately became a fluent reader! It never "clicked" for him. There wasn't one moment when he wasn't and then the next moment he was. It just kind of crept up quietly and finally, he was reading!
And, as I'd suspected, he quickly caught up to (surpassed?) the age-appropriate level of reading. Last summer, when the last Harry Potter book came out, we were on vacation and had a long day of driving. We bought the book in the morning and he read in the car all day long. It took him weeks to get through it, but he read it all on his own! This was the first Harry Potter book that I did not read out loud. (So I had to read it to myself!)
And here he is today, in the picture. He found a book he really liked in a bookstore on Friday, and came home and got it from the library on Saturday. It's called Revenge of the Shadow King. No pictures, and he's on page 361 of 369! He has really enjoyed this book!
I truly believe that children learn at their own pace. And when they are allowed to unfold on their own, the learning is ever so much more meaningful to them. If Zac had been expected to learn how to read at age 5 or 6, he would have been labeled, by himself and others, as slow or stupid. He just wasn't ready then.
I also believe that putting learning into categories makes it not very accessible to our children. "The basics" implies that some learning is better or more crucial than others. But I think that learning is learning, and that all learning has value. It is the openness to learning that is important, and how well we keep the channels open for learning is dependent on attitudes around us and expectations. I hope that learning is always a discovery for my children.