Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kitchen Windows

Our kitchen windows have been well used over the last few weeks. I moved our bird feeders where they could be seen from the kitchen again because that seems to be where I spend the most time and get to see the most birds. Last week the kitchen became bird watching central as we participated in Project Feeder Watch and then the Great Backyard Bird Count. Maya is usually my enthusiastic bird watching partner but wasn't feeling too well last week and didn't watch with me as much. Riley and Seth watched a bit.

Northern Cardinal

A pair of Mourning Doves

I feel a bit torn about bringing birds and squirrels to our yard with feeders rather than natural food sources. Then I look up and down my street at the homes, big lawns, pavement, and non-native landscaping that reside in what used to be woods and reason to myself that maybe I'm giving back a bit in return for what was taken away. Still, watching the birds this week has me revisiting the idea of reworking my own yard into a more natural, native habitat. There are lots of resources and ideas for this on the National Wildlife Federation's website.

By this week, everyone was feeling better. Wednesday evening the clouds cleared *just* in time for us to enjoy the beautiful total lunar eclipse. Some unschooling friends from Ohio were spending a couple of nights with us, and everyone was running back and forth between video/computer games and Maya's Martian maker lab and the changing appearance of the moon. It was bitterly cold, and we were grateful to have a perfect view from the windows for the duration of the eclipse. We did decide to open the windows once the moon began glowing red to get the full effects of the color without the glass. We had conversations about what's happening during an eclipse and about eclipse lore and legends, some that I had read about and several that the kids knew from various cartoons.

Maya drawing herself on the red, eclipsed moon

Riley & one of our visiting friends, Titus, & Maya

Thursday, February 14, 2008


"You have not been hired by your child to direct his life; but instead, you have volunteered to respond to his needs and to nurture his growth with love." -- Naomi Aldort, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves."

I have been completely uninspired to blog lately, feeling like pictures and posts about what we do kind of miss the point of what whole-life unschooling is about. My goal is to help my kids pursue whatever brings them joy, peace, and love today rather than to focus on preparing for and trying to steer them toward some unknown future destination of my imagining. By staying connected and true to who they are *now* they actually are prepared, in each moment, as their futures unfold. My hope is that by living and learning in this way, they won't be sidetracked by anyone else's vision of what their lives "should" be.

I have a bumper sticker in my kitchen that a wonderfully wise unschooling mom, Anne Ohman, made. I think it's from something she had written about an unschooling parent's job description. I pass by it several times a day, and it makes me smile and reminds me how I want to focus my time and energy with my family. It says:

"How can I Connect with my children today,
Expand their worlds,
Bring Joy into their lives,
Nurture and Encourage what they love to do?"

--Anne Ohman

So, I'm thinking now that maybe the pictures and the blog posts about what we are doing from day to day really don't miss the point so much. Hopefully they show passions being nurtured and encouraged and worlds being explored and expanded. And while I'm not sure how I could photograph such a thing, I hope this blog will somehow begin to show the Connection, Trust, & Love we strive toward for ourselves and for each other.


Here is Riley playing his electric guitar. This passion has grown out of his love for the Guitar Hero video game and the music that game and Rock Band have introduced to him. He spends a lot of time looking up new songs and techniques on the internet and then trying them out. He has also been blessed with several friends and an uncle who play guitar and help him learn new things along the way.

Here are pictures of Maya mixing some bird treats last month and of some of her bird drawings. After we take decorations off our Christmas tree, we take it outside for shelter and food for birds and other animals through the winter. Maya and I love watching and trying to identify the birds that come to our feeders. She especially loves species that have easily identifiable females -- she's kind of a "girl power" girl. This week I've been identifying birds for Project Feeder Watch, mostly by myself since Maya's been sick and not felt like being out of bed or off the couch much the last few days. This weekend we're planning to do the Great Backyard Bird Count together.

Here are Maya and Seth pretending to be birds.

Seth was not too interested in making bird treats or in bird watching, but he was very interested in scraping the bark off of this stick "to see what's inside."

These last pictures are from our trip to Sandusky, OH at the end of January for the Unschoolers' Winter Waterpark Gathering at the Kalahari indoor waterpark. I didn't think to bring a waterproof camera, so I don't have many pictures.

Here are Maya and Seth dancing the night away (well, at least the first hour of it). Seth was so excited that they had a live DJ, though he was a bit disappointed that he did not look like the one on U.B. Funkeys, Scratch.

Seth in the game room:

Maya with her game room prize:

Seth, at the end of a long day of water play and games, conked out while watching Harry Potter Puppet Pals on Youtube.

Happy Valentine's Day with Blessings of Love to all!