Friday, May 30, 2008

Visitors we Love!

We had the best visit with our friends who came from California. I love the WHOLE family. The kids all got along great. Later I will post more, but here are a few shots of the gang.

Because of the configuration of the ages, there were plenty of different combinations of friends who could hang together; girls, boys, youngers, olders, tweenies with adults, etc. These two loved hanging out!
Aren't they a gorgeous family? This is at the Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis. We drove by the compound, but maybe those shots will be on my friend's blog.

We went to see the Fort Hill area in Eastham, and there was plenty of poison ivy to avoid, but I think we did alright. Ticks were also present to join in the fun, as usual on Cape Cod, but we seemed to do okay there as well.

This is outside the Three Sisters Lighthouse at the National Seashore. The kids all went up in the light house. I've always thought that I would like to be a lighthouse keeper, but the tour guide made the lamp lighting schedule sound a lot like a nursing schedule and I am all set with that *grin*.

Butterscotch Goes to School

Declan brought Butterscotch to "share and tell" today. He was a big hit! So was Declan as the owner of Butterscotch. The kids were all excited to see the guinea pig. It was pretty cute. Declan is very comfortable with public speaking, but he was extremely excted that he was giggling all morning.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well. I wasn't going to post a bunch of stuff about how frustrating I am finding school, but that is making for a very quiet blog. Ella's teachers are very innovative and creative and funky, a little like Miss. Hussey if you know Chasing Vermeer. But, there are still bumps in the road.

So, today. Ella has homework. She takes so long doing this homework, and it is not because she doesn't know the information, it is because she wants to really understand the questions.

Or, she wants to be funny. One question was:

"The switch that turns things on and off in _______."
She didn't know this one, nor did I.
So she wrote, in "a switch-like fashion"
Hee hee.
Better than a blank or a question mark, I think.

After a long time writing about light, energy, magnetism and solids, liquids and gases, we finally get to the last question. It goes a little something like this:

"What 1 thing can fill a hose, a pail, and a house?"
She says, "I know they want me to say 'gas', but couldn't you pull a concrete truck up to your house and fill it with a liquid and then a solid? Couldn't you flood your house? Would the water eventually just pass out of the house, is that why gas is the *1* thing? Oh, I'll just write gas."

Sad. I told her she should write all that stuff, but she didn't want to. The blank line was really short.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ode to our Library

As you know, if you are reading here regularly, we LOVE our local library. The fireplace! The chess set! The on-going puzzles! The books! The DVDs! We just love it.

So, when we can give back, we do. Last weekend, the library had their semi-annual Children's Attic Sale of clothes and toys. The sale benefits the library, and in addition the library hands out a ton of free passes to the schools for the neediest families to just come and get stuff.

The Shell-vers volunteered to help out, run a raffle, and face paint. A good time was had by all, and I think Ella is getting to be a pretty great face painter! Those pictures above are on her own hand, practicing. By the way, that bracelet is pretty cool and something we made on Earth Day at the library. It is all white until exposed to UV light, then it turns colors to remind you that you are being exposed! Another benefit of our groovy library and all it has to offer.

Last Fire

Although I love spring, I am always sad to see the end of buring season come. I love the smell all over the area of woodsmoke as we and our neighbors burn the deadfall from the winter storms.

Declan's "Dog Show"

Last night at 4-H, Declan was able to be a part of the action with our Junior Leader and her dog, also a pug, named Ellwood.
The Cape Cod Kennel Club was running an event called Rally-O (for Obedience), and we got to participate along with the kennel club. There were some great dogs there, including a miniature poodle in a little diamond collar! Too funny. These are the kids getting ready to take Angie and Ellwood into the cheese ball rally race!
First they did Rally-O the regular way (no cheese ball racing), which Milo and Ella had never done before.
I am always so impressed that she will go out there in front of everyone and do these trials! He and Ella got a 70 out of 100 points, which was pretty good. She misunderstood the directions, and thought that you *could* touch your dog, which you can't, so they lost a bunch of points for that. Also, Milo was his usual drama queen self and gagged, so she got a "too tight on the lead" deduction.

After the more intense graded parts, they did a fun event where you had to go through the agility course with your dog and carry a spoon with a cheese ball in it (hee hee). Of course, the dogs were very very interested in the cheese ball! Ella used one of Steve's dogs for this event. Labs are far more interested in cheese balls than pugs, but Ellwood used a different kind of bait. Ella was so proud to get to the end with Angie. Angie is such a sweet lab, but she can be a bit interested in all that is going on around her. Ella did a great job keeping her focused on that cheese ball lol.

So, these sweet dog folks let Declan compete in the cheese ball rally. Ally, our junior leader and Ellwood's owner, walked Declan through it. She did a great job of letting Declan be independent and be supported at the same time.

He was BEAMING with pride at being included in a 4-H/Kennel Club event. Then, he won an award! Fourth Place! He was so excited! Everyone clapped and clapped!

Declan is so ready to be a part of this. Ella is more interested in the social aspect, and has a bunch of friends at 4-H. Declan is really into the whole dog part. When he was doing the event, I could see that "calm assertiveness" that Cesar Milan talks about. Ellwood even jumped on him at one point, and he just kept on with the sit command. So cool. For someone with so many strong personalities around him all the time, he definitely is his own little character.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Venture

So, I know that things have been quiet on this blog, but in other areas, I have been busy!

Since the children are in school and my life is moving in different directions, I started looking around for new work. As I looked at middle schools and the community college, I found some things that interested me, but I was lonely for the homeschooling and unschooling community that is so dear to me.

As I look around and see what kinds of options are available to me, I decided to begin to expand some of the private consultation and tutoring that I have been doing. My vision is to include more families and help families find the JOY in what educational path they are choosing.

Since I used to teach special education, I have some very good skills in assessment and modification of curriculum. As an unschooler, I love to think about how life learning can be explained to "educators." My joy is in working with older children, and there are so many who have different needs and transitions during this time that an outside person can help with in a gentle and positive way.

In many ways, I have not wanted to stray to far from the ideas of unschooling, as they are in my heart. At the same time, I would love to bring some of that respectful child centered thinking to all kinds of homeschoolers.

Once I decided to really pursue this, you guessed it, my students doubled! My heart really felt as if this was the right direction to go to have the kind of life that we as a family want (even more now that we have had a sample of school).

If you are interested in seeing my website, check it out!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spring On Cape Cod

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is Spring on Cape Cod!
The kids had so much fun two weeks ago frollicking on the warm sand barefoot. We were even at Sandy Neck, which is on the "cold" side.
Today, we are considering turning the heat on, as it is about 40 degrees out, and rainy and raw. Bring those sweather back on out of the attic.