Blissdom was very fun, but I found it a long time to be away from home. I enjoy my “me time” but I enjoy it more in small doses. With traveling I was gone four days and I found that to be a bit much. The kids and Jeff were great, they had fun and managed just fine without me, it’s me. Saturday evening I was sad and teary talking to everyone at home on FaceTime. Thankfully my friends pulled me out of that and I had a fabulous time Saturday night, but all in all I was more than ready to come home at the end of it all. (more…)
I’ve heard stories that in some houses kids get bathed frequently. More than once a week. Once a day even. I hear some parents even like bathing their kids.
I make a conscious effort to be a good parent and do things “right”, but bathing them has never been a priority or something I’ve enjoyed doing. Once a week under ordinary circumstances is all the older two usually got, maybe more in summer, but not unless necessary. And even then I never liked doing it. I was so glad when they got to an age when I could just say “Go have a shower.”.
When Oliver came along, Jeff took responsibility for bathing him. Oliver loved the bath from the very beginning, and when he was big enough to stand, loved hopping in the shower with one of us. He takes super long baths in our soaker tub and will stay in there as long as we let him.
And then there’s Penelope. From day one she has been terrified of water. I mean, terrified. It’s enough to make me believe in past lives, because nothing happened to her to make her freak every time she comes near water. I still wash her hands with a cloth because it’s near impossible to even stick her hands under the taps. And baths? Forget about it. When she was a baby I tried everything; small tub, big tub, kitchen sink, small tub in the big tub, in the tub with Oliver, in the tub with me… you name it, I tried it. Once she got to be an older baby I couldn’t even get her in the tub, period. The last attempt ended with me soaking wet, her with only her feet in the tub and both of us crying. (more…)
Three weeks ago, I entered the world of homeschooling with my eleven year old son. This decision was not made lightly, but unfortunately school is not a safe place for him to be and for various reasons transferring schools or boards wasn’t the best decision for him right now. So he’s learning at home for the remainder of grade six, and just like that I find myself a teaching parent. It’s not a perfect solution, but he’s a good independent learner and I think it’s going to be a very positive experience for him. He’s also “twice exceptional” in that he has ADHD (primarily inattentive) and is exceptionally intelligent, and I think having an education program tailored to his specific needs is going to be hugely beneficial.
In the last three weeks, I feel like he’s really learning, not just going through the motions of schooling. I love having the flexibility to spend time where he needs it – long division, which his classroom has moved on from – and less time where he doesn’t need it – reading, which is above grade level in both languages. But the best part is giving him the opportunity to learn things that normally aren’t taught in a traditional classroom. He has learned how to set up and maintain a WordPress blog which is how he is submitting much of his work, he has created and edited a video in iMovie, taught a phonics lesson to the daycare kids, cooked dinner and prepared a weekly meal plan to my guidelines. He is also in the process of learning cursive writing, which he missed out on when he switched schools in the third grade. And he’s doing all of this and more in less time than a traditional school day, leaving him more time for practicing his guitar, playing with his younger siblings and helping Mom around the house. And, no homework! Our stress levels have plummeted, my son is happier than I have seen him in years and our house is much more peaceful now that we’re not dealing with bullying and academic challenges on a daily basis.
Thankfully there are many resources available online for teaching parents, and I haven’t had to invest huge amounts of time in preparing curriculum materials or lesson plans. There are many styles of homeschooling, and I have cobbled together my own program with a combination of store bought workbooks, online learning sites and resources from our public library. I am hugely thankful for our library, which has an amazing selection of books, dvds, ebooks and computer software on a variety of topics. I have everything from a cursive writing program to an aboriginal kids tv show with study guides to a french documentary on Michael Jackson checked out from the library right now, it’s amazing. I’m also very grateful for the information and support from my homeschooling Twitter friends and the community at the Association for Bright Children. I imagine that years ago homeschooling was an isolating experience, but thanks to great internet resources and social media I already feel more connected than I did at our local public school.
If you homeschool (especially in Ontario) I’d love to hear about your experiences, and if you have any great resources to share please leave them in the comments. I’m teaching but I’m learning too!
As a parent, especially a new parent, it’s easy to get caught up in the milestone race. First words, first tooth, walks… we pour over The Baby Book, making sure our kids are on track, looking at what’s to come… But as they get older, the milestones are farther apart, less predictable. Writes name, rides without training wheels, first sleepover… My eldest is eleven, so I’m pretty far removed from the milestone race with him. But every once in a while he does something to show me how he’s still learning and growing up. The kind of thing they don’t put in The Book.
Just recently I came downstairs early one weekday morning, and I could smell… something… coming from the kitchen. It was early and my brain was still fuzzy from lack of coffee, but even still I was pretty sure something unusual was going on. I turn the corner into the kitchen and see my son standing at the stove, spatula in hand. He hears me come in and turns around, smiling. ”I made scrambled eggs.” he says cheerfully. I’m a little confused, because I have never shown him how to make eggs. ”I tried to remember how you do it, but I was afraid I would forget something so I Googled it on the iPad” he says, gesturing to kitchen counter. Sure enough, he has a cooking website open on the iPad. And sure enough, he has some perfectly cooked scrambled eggs in the frying pan.
It’s an amazing feeling to teach a child something, but knowing that you’ve taught your child to teach themselves is really incredible.
So is having the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee while someone else does the cooking ;)
Recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Summary: These cookies are super soft and not too oatmeal-y. Perfect for this time of year with fresh pumpkin puree. With whole wheat flour and not too much sugar, they’re a great snack for the kids.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs vanilla
- 1 cup packed pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; blend until combined. Encorporate maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
- In a separate mixing bow, combine dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Add dry to wet, stirring until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
- Chill batter until cold, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Drop by tablespoons full onto lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350F until just set, approximately 12 minutes.
- Remove and let stand 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen small cookies.
Meal type: dessert
These cookies are super soft and not too oatmeal-y. Perfect for this time of year with fresh pumpkin puree. With whole wheat flour and not too much sugar, they’re a great snack for the kids.