Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fourth Grade Fraction Feast

 Atticus had an assignment to find a practical application for fractions.  Logically, he chose baking. He is my child after all. 

He decided to make "Butter Horns" which is a recipe my mom makes and passed on to me.  These little buttery crescent rolls are a cross between brioche and a dinner roll.  They have 1 cup of butter, and 4 eggs  plus flour, sugar, milk, and yeast.  They are heavenly. Typically, we make these for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Never have they been made in January!  But they are perfect for the fraction feast Atticus was to have at school. 

Not only did it involve using measuring ingredients that were in fraction form, it involves rolling the dough out into 9 inch circles and cutting that into 12 equal triangles. 

There should be a picture HERE of Atticus enjoying his creation.  I'll work on that. 

I also got busy making some Toddler Montessori Material and writing my lesson plan for the Teacher Training I will be doing this summer. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Jr. Day

I was very touched to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak about education this way, especially right now. I always get very emotional on this day, and am having trouble finding words to describe all the things I am feeling on this particular MLK day, so close to President Obama's last day in office.  I am concerned about the climate in the US, and how it will affect my children.  

One of the reasons I love Montessori Education, one reason I am drawn to it, is because it encourages children to have a global perspective.  Montessori build into the pedagogy, lessons to educate children on different cultures and how to care for other humans.  Montessori schools practice Peace education, and conflict resolution is actually part of the curriculum.  Montessori believed children are the hope of humankind. 
“Within the child lies the fate of the future.” 

“Preventing war is the work of politicians, establishing peace is the work of educationists.” 
― Maria Montessori

This photo of my 3 year old doing the Pink Tower is iconic of Montessori education.  I love this photo so much, and I love the pink squares he cut out and carefully glued onto the paper.  He is showing focus and concentration, and he is enjoying his work.  This is what Dr. King was talking about, giving a child things worthy to concentrate on, and allowing them the power of concentration.  From there, education builds, just like each block of the Pink Tower, to support a human who is aware of issues in society, who is empathetic and loving.  Education isn't just about academics.  It is about allowing a child to blossom into who they were meant to be, not forcing them to be something they are not.
The younger generation has always been the leaders of social change, and I don't think it will be any different now.  We need a strong group of young people to lead us out of this mess we have created.  I will continue to do my part as a teacher, helping to guide children and teachers as best I can.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Nature Walk II; Montessori quotes about teenagers

We escape sometimes, far away, deep into nature.  As my children grow into teenagers, I find myself looking to my well loved child development books to figure out how to parent in a new way, to a child in a new plane of development.  I am sharing some of my favorite quotes from Marie Montessori about the older child.

"Life in the open air, in the sunshine, and a diet high in nutritional content coming from the produce of neighbouring fields improve the physical health, while the calm surroundings, the silence, the wonders of nature satisfy the need of the adolescent mind for reflection and meditation." (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 67)

When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.- Discovery of the Child

"The adolescent must never be treated as a child, for that is a stage of life that he has surpassed. It is better to treat an adolescent as if he had greater value than he actually shows than as if he had less and let him feel that his merits and self-respect are disregarded." (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 72)

It is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature- The Montessori Method

Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and, when the grass of the meadows is damp with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath it's shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning as it wakes every living creature that divides its day between waking and sleeping- The Discovery of the Child

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Nature Walk I North Eleuthera

There is a cave in North Eleuthera, Bahamas, called Preachers Cave.  The cave was discovered in the 1600's by Captain William Sayles who was shipwrecked on Devils Backbone, a reef by the island.  Castaways took shelter in the cave.  It is a large, shallow cave that we really enjoyed exploring.

North Eleuthera has many beaches to explore.  There was nobody on them, we had the beach to ourselves.

I loved seeing the plants that grew in the rocks. Inspiration for a rock garden at home.

Snails hold onto anything.  

Rocky formations mingled with sandy beaches and made for good snorkeling 

A tiny little beach hut or a sculpture?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! 
Tomorrow it's back to school for me. Time to set the alarm and hope there is enough coffee and motivation to get me through.  
Also time to share a photo from our recent trip;

When I look at this picture, I think, the water was cold and we were being eaten up by bugs.  You know who didn't complain though, my 10 year old Atticus.  He was so happy to get in that water and look for fish.  He found a "happy little trail" as he called it, of warm water and soft sand.  

"Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons."- unknown

Saturday, December 31, 2016

An Investment in Health

“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.” 

After hiking in the woods, my 13 year old son remarked with a big smile;"I feel so good!"  And I knew exactly what he meant.  Not just because we had checked the box of exercising  or the box of being away from technology; Our brains and bodies felt in-sync.

It was a hard hike, up a ridge, down, and up again.  The air was dry, leaves on the trail were slippery, and the air was changing from warm summer to chilly autumn.  We didn't bring water, and the hike took us much longer than expected.  Yet, the group of teenagers I brought with me didn't complain.  And as we wandered along, them in black skinny jeans and occasionally pausing for a selfie, all were different when we left the woods than when we went in.  They were calmer, yet more aware, and it reminded me of that Richard Louv quote from above.  

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our chidlren's health (and also, by the way, in our own).” 
― Richard LouvLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

I am new to having teenagers.  When they were younger, they desired to be outside and with the family as much as possible.  Now, they hide away in their rooms, or seek out opportunities to be with friends, away from the family unit.  Because I study child development, and because I remember being a teenager, I know this is normal.  I have started inviting their friends to join us for a hike in the woods.  Sometimes they groan, but they have yet to say no.  And when we get there, they eagerly make their way along the path.  I usually am far enough ahead to be out of ear shot, giving them the feeling of autonomy.  They don't necessarily ask for this, but I find it a good practice, allowing them freedom to be themselves with their friends, without feeling like mom was ease dropping. The point is not to force them to be with me, but to give them time outside, moving, hiking, connecting with the natural world.  Also, I enjoy a quiet hike where I can gather my thoughts. I always find that after we are outside doing something physical and enjoyable (not a chore), we are all nicer to each other.  

So, time in nature, as Louv writes, is an investment in health.  I see it as an investment in mental health, as well as physical health.  We have to teach our children to not only take care of their bodies through physical activity, but also take care of their mental health, by introducing them to, and repeatedly doing, things that help condition the mind. 

Friday, July 1, 2016


Education should be about allowing children to become who they were born to be.  It should be about adults observing and listening to children to see what they care about, what they are interested in, what they are good at, and supporting them.

What education is about most of the time, is a group of adults who believe they need to fill a child up with information weather they like it or not.  It is usually about some idea of what a child should become, who a child should be.  It is usually about preparation, rather than being with the child in the here and now.

I believe that if you meet the child's needs where they are right now, you will prepare them for the future.  No further preparation is needed.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer vacation!!!!!

I LOVE summer vacation!  The kids and I stay up late, sleep late, travel, and just hang out.  It takes us a few weeks to get the hang of just hanging out.  At first, the boys fight all day, having forgotten how to be around the house and each other.  This week, they finally stopped fighting (not completely of course) and started truly enjoying each others company.  They have been playing so nicely, they don't want to even leave the house.  Which is what I like.  Home all day.

We do slip out after quiet time to swim and the Y most days.  Its just too hot and the outdoor pool just too refreshing and relaxing to not go.

I have been tending chickens (which just means watching them, there is really not that much to tend), gardening, and catching up on reading and knitting.

Our favorite new thing; a snow cone maker.  We have experimented with making our own flavor syrups.  We had a few batches that didn't turn out so great, so for now, we are using some we happened to have in the back of the pantry.  YUM!

Now, its nap time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

right now

Jeezs it's been a while.  A lot has changed.  We have settled into our home, our land, and I feel more settled that I ever have.

Right now, the dog is laying next to me and stinks.  Have to remember to make an appointment for a bath for him next weekend.  Atticus is taking a much needed Sunday afternoon nap.  Papa and the older two boys went to swim in the creek.

I am thinking about all the things that have been keeping me so busy this first half of 2012.
Working hard at my teaching job. Tutoring after school.  Little League.  Play practice.  Tumbling class for Atticus.  Drum lessons for Dash.  Yoga.  Pilates. Chickens.  Garden.

And a few links I am loving right now;

a church converted into a home

blog dedicated to beautiful older women

A person who dislikes stupid people as much as I do, and has the ability to write about it with humor, then read it on NPR; David Sedaris

A vacation I dream of taking (with my sister and husband!)

Eclipse yoga

serpentine necklace


Organic Dirt delivered for the organic garden!

Zucchini Flowers
Elias's view (neighbors land)

Me, helping out with baseball

Atticus, getting to help the team practice

Dash, ready to get out there

A new hobby?

Monday, March 19, 2012

right now

Right now I am enjoying the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen.  The weather has been stormy, and there has been lots of rain, lots of clouds, and lots of color as the sun goes down.

I have actually gotten so side-tracked by these sunsets, that nobody is getting to bed on time.  I leave the dinner dishes as I see the light change from our windows.  They boys are equally excited by the colors, and gasp in awe as the rainbow of colors and light changes and slowly grows dark.

And here is Chance, the wonder dog, rolling in freshly seeded lawn.
He just couldnt stand to see nice black wet earth, and had to roll all over in it.  And then, of course, run into the house and shake.

Rainbow after a storm

In chicken news, they little ones are having field trips out side.  We have to get them ready to spend the whole day in the sun and wind, and they love to eat bugs and grass.  They also are using their newly sprouted wings!

Our "big" girls are a blast.  We have been hand feeding them their favorite weed.  it looks like the top of carrots, and it must taste fabulous, because they cant get enough of it.  fortunately, our lawn is mostly weeds, so they get a lot of variety.  

Monday, March 5, 2012