"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Friday, April 30, 2010

Writing a Paper

As well as unschooling with my own two kids, I'm now teaching and tutoring other kids in our homeschool support group. As the kids reach middle- and high-school age, some of them have requested more formal learning, particularly the kids who are interested in attending college. The other parents and adults in the community are offering math, art, and science courses. My best subject is language arts, and sure enough, I'm the English teacher. And I love it!

As part of this process, I've been helping a couple of the older boys with their writing. Dryst has started a blog, and a young man I'm tutoring is involved in an umbrella high school and needs a boost with his writing assignments. To help them with their projects, I've written a one-page list of guidelines for writing a basic academic paper. I thought I'd share it here:

Guidelines for Writing a Basic Academic Paper

I find it interesting that I don't remember how old I was when I learned these tools. I went to public school, and I'm guessing kids start this type of formal writing around 6th or 7th grade. I don't recall for certain, and things have changed since my school years. Anyway, it doesn't matter when, or even if, our unschooled kids learn these skills. The point is that they are ready for them, and asking for them.

I know that not all of my readers homeschool, or have kids. Even so, if you're someone who isn't naturally drawn to the written word but needs to write once in a while, these guidelines may come in handy. Or perhaps your public-schooled child needs a bit of assistance with their papers. Feel free to share these guidelines as you see fit!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Renaissance Woman

You may have heard the term "Renaissance Man," applied to someone who dabbles in many different pursuits. While there is certainly something to be said for those who apply themselves to one skill and become a master at it, I am more of a "Renaissance Woman," myself. Life is fascinating, with so many different things to learn and practice. I enjoy exploring a variety of hobbies and activities.

Even in my previous career in public broadcasting, my job evolved gradually, such that I was doing many different tasks each week. Now, as a self-employed homeschooling Mom, my schedule is very flexible. On any given day, I might be working on one of my writing projects, learning about investing, doing math with Dryst, riding bikes with the family, doing an art project with ElvenTiger, gardening, reading about quantum physics...and of course there is the ever-present housework.

Of course, the challenge of pursuing this lifestyle is that of "getting things done." If I was focused exclusively on finishing my book of essays on Pagan living, it would probably be done and sent off to the publishers. But I prefer to find balance in each moment, day by day, because I've learned that the process is what's most important to me. In projects, as in life, I prefer to enjoy the journey rather than worry about the results. That doesn't mean that I don't have goals, and complete tasks. It does mean, though, that I'm focusing on being joyful no matter what I'm doing in each moment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Spiritual Teachers

I am listening to an audio book that an online friend gave me, "A Thousand Names for Joy" by Byron Katie. It's awesome! She intersperses quotes from the Tao Te Ching, but this quote is actually from Katie herself:

"I don't ever see myself as a spiritual teacher. Of course, you can use me by asking me a question. I answer you. You hear what you think I say, and you set yourself free, or not. I am your projection. I am, for you, no more and no less than your story of me. You tell the story of how I am wonderful, or how I'm terrible. You see me as an enlightened being and make me into an all-knowing guru or faerie godmother. Or you see me as a Pollyanna-ish New Age flake, or simply as a good friend. You give me to you or you take me from you... I know what I am. I know what I'm not."

If you want to find out more about Byron Katie, click here. As for some thoughts on New Age practices and how they fit with my Pagan spirituality, I wrote an article about it, which you can find here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What We've Been Up To

It's been a busy and fun April so far! Here's an update.

On the last day of March, our homeschool group had its annual Midyear Review, which is comprised of presentations by the kids on something they've been working on this school year. Each kid chooses a topic or skill that they're excited about and shares it with the group. This year we had 14 kids presenting! It was a fun evening.

Dryst introduced the group to his new blog, Gameophyle. Check it out!

ElvenTiger performed a song she'd written, with the Feline Drummers as backup percussion.

She also wrapped up her basketball season. Her team went undefeated. Here are the first-place champions! Yay! (ElvenTiger is on the far right of the front row).

After the game, she celebrated with friends. One of her sweet best friends bought her a cake and decorated it!

Next for ElvenTiger will be travel soccer, starting this summer. She's already signed up.

Dryst has started lacrosse season, and he has a scrimmage tomorrow. He's still finishing up the indoor soccer season, too.

Math, art, and English classes are going well, as is our new 4-H club. Dryst was elected Vice President of our 4-H group. We've started watching another season of Dancing With the Stars with my Mom. We took a field trip to USM's Knap-In, put on by the anthropology students. Dryst made a flint arrow and learned to start a fire without matches.

Last week my brother gave us tickets to the "Stars on Ice" show, so we got to see Olympic figure skaters doing their routines. We went with some friends and had a wonderful time.

I've been doing a lot of yoga, writing, bike riding, contemplation, and reading. BlackLion and I are studying personal finances and investing. We're about to take a seminar called "Learn to Be Rich," presented by Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Academy. And I've been jogging - yes, jogging. Dryst and I have started running together. I went to a lovely spring mini-retreat yesterday at Sun Salutations Yoga and Wellness. And I've set up my Air altar:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Spring Inspirations

I'm glad and relieved about the coming of the spring and the month of April. It was a long, hard winter for me. Yes, the weather was relatively mild up here in Maine, but in my own personal weather system it was often quite stormy. The blue skies and fresh air are quite refreshing.

In my Elements Study Group, we're making the transition from exploring Earth to experiencing Air. Dryst said he thinks that spring should focus on water instead, since there's so much of it, but to me, the fresh spring breezes help bring in the new energies of this fertile season. This week I've experienced some of the shadow side of Air, in the form of miscommunication and misunderstanding, but I've also focused on breathing, and doing some writing. I woke up this morning with a fragment of a poem, and will see if the rest of it wants to come up for Air, too.

Here's a Christine Kane article I find inspiring and wanted to share with you. Despite the title, I think it would be useful to men as well as women. I particularly love her statement that "I’m convinced that all suffering comes from judgment." Check it out: "The Nine Skills Every Woman Should Master." Enjoy!