Thursday, February 12, 2015

Taking the Time to...

1) Eat right, which equals cook, exercise, laugh, love, play a game of speed with your kid? (Yes, that last one was on purpose.) What is it that makes us among the busiest and least satisfied of all nations?

2) Enjoy what is beautiful in life. Go look at the river, the trees, the cacti, the people in the city, the gorgeous works we have taken the time to create from paint, clay, music and movement.

3) Get outside; we went snowshoeing last weekend for an hour or so. It was a sunny winter day, not too cold, and it was fantastic to be out of doors. It was a free event; look for them, locals, at the Wapsi and Nahant Marsh, or any naturalist center in your vicinity.

4) Do what makes you come alive, feel happy, enthusiastic.

I just found a note from 2005. I had four small children, the youngest was a baby, the oldest 8. It was a list of my accomplishments for the day, insanity:
-pumped milk for another baby
-led a parenting class at church (most likely after getting 5 children church-ready and there on time)
-baked 5 loaves of bread
-baked a chocolate cake
-nursed baby, changed baby (15 times)
-carried baby when not being fed or changed
-had a play date at my house
-hoed the garden and planted: carrots, sugar snap peas, spinach and radishes
-washed the cloth diapers
-cooked dinner while bathing 3 kids and nursing
-read Chapter 5 of "The Magician's Nephew" aloud
-put kids to bed, nursed baby


Mostly, I was doing all of the things I wanted to do.  I wanted a big family and I want to be here with them. It must have been a day when my husband was working out of town. Besides, this was pretty much a typical day for me.

Last night I watched a news report on communities that are teaching children about bio-dynamic agriculture and exploring nature in a place where time has slowed back down to natural rhythms. It sounds very much like a real Waldorf school. It also sounds heavenly. I would very much like this for my family.

The two teens say there's no turning back. They are used to their world and comfortable in it. I am glad they find happiness in their day-to-day lives, but I also say this way leads to madness, along with grumpiness, feeling unfulfilled as a human being and overweight to boot. To each his own...but I am probably right.

But I try to remember to compromise, after all, did it make me happy to see my favorite apron out in the yard on a snow woman? No, but it did please me to see the kids outside making snow people. Even the ones I cannot publish on a family blog because of the visual effects one can add with spray paint these days, rendering perfectly inoffensive snow people a perfect menace to the neighborhood.

One last snowman; the littlest one, made by my littlest child, all alone in the dark, (and happy as a clam, a clam who is not in the dark in the snow):

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jury Duty and Homeschooling

This is only about the 35th jury summons I have received from the State of Iowa, but it was the first time I was physically able to go for duty. The previous times I either lived in France or had a fresh baby to nurse, or once, very small children who out-numbered me five-to-one.

It did not go down quite the way I had expected. In fact, the whole experience was such that I came home and wrote a letter, at my kids' request. Here it is, it will be sent tomorrow. Note, that I was rather excited about the chance to be on a jury and the educational opportunities I thought it could afford us all.

Madame the Court Administrator, 

I had an unfortunate experience this morning that I wish to relate. I was summoned for jury duty, and though there were some obstacles, as for anyone in this situation, I decided to make the best of it and make it a positive, educational experience for my family. I was upbeat about serving as a juror, after years of living abroad and nursing babies had kept me from the many other times I'd been called to jury duty. 

We have homeschooled for many years, and we have become experts at learning in diverse situations. As my children's teacher, I am legally obliged to provide a certain number of days of instruction per year, and the summons came in the middle of a school semester. Nevertheless, we were determined to make a success of the endeavor. 

I spent many hours preparing curriculum and instructing the children in our court system, our government, and the importance of jury duty as a service to others; insuring that you also, would have the right to a fair trial should you ever be brought to court as a defendant. I coached the kids in proper courtroom etiquette, taken from the State of New York's website for children appearing in court. Citing the Supreme Court’s decision of 1/20/2010 as well as the 1st and 6th amendments, making jury selection a part of the trial and thus public, I believed anyone had a right to be at this part of the proceedings, as they would be able to attend any open trial. 

From 2nd grade to 12th, each of my children/students had their own level of lessons and preparation. This morning they were each given a folder with activities pertaining to justice, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the courtroom, a book and extra worksheets, and other things to keep them busy. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see justice in action, a real life civics day. 

We arrived on the 3rd floor of the courthouse this morning to report for duty, at 7:40am, so I would have plenty of time to settle them and be where I needed to be. 

Upon exiting the elevator I was instantly, and I do mean instantly, before asking my name or my juror number, told; “Are those your children? They can’t be here!” I politely inquired whether the proceedings were not public and whether my children were not, as citizens and students, allowed to observe. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Books You Listen To

I imagine, dear readers, that, like me, you may, perhaps, have allowed yourself to become too busy to read as much as you used to, or as much as you'd like. I have three books, real books, begun, only one of which has any remotely educational value, as well as being full of historical anecdotes to keep your interest:

The other two are pure fun; Dune, the prequel, because as an adolescent, I LOVED Dune and all things sci-fi, but the Amazon link is puzzling, because it looks like there may be more than one prequel to Dune. As I may offend a fan more die-hard than myself, I will not link to anything. The other; (out of print, but available for $30 or $.01) Always Coming Home, Ursula K. le Guin, is because my book club declared it our February read. It is sort of putting me to sleep, but I bought it and read it I a few minutes, just after I finish my baby sweater,        and the matching hat,      and a blanket for Duncan and a sweater for other words, my knitting can get in the way of my reading. As can exercise and excessive driving to jobs on the other side of the river, children's appointments and runs to pick up farm eggs.