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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Full Moon Magick

Last night we participated in a global cleansing ritual, thanks to my friend Aurora over at Wiccan Life. She wrote and posted a ritual to help heal the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Since I don't currently have the resources to donate money to help with the cleanup, or go there and volunteer myself, I thought this would be a good way to get involved. BlackLion and the kids joined me in this lovely Full Moon magick.

Here's a picture of the altar we set up:

ElvenTiger cast the circle by blowing bubbles around the perimeter of our space. We mostly stuck to the ritual as written, although we did add some drumming during the energy-raising part.

After we were done, we went outside and frolicked under the moon's lovely light. The clouds parted enough to see the orangey moon, and it was so warm and gorgeous out! We saw fireflies, and bats, and heard the frogs singing. Earlier in the evening, ElvenTiger and I had gone out to blow bubbles for the cats, who were relaxing under a big fir tree, where they like to hide and watch the birds.

We had also hosted a family potluck, which was a lot of fun! One of the attendees brought the bubble stuff. The theme was International Cuisine, and we got to sample all kinds of delicious foods. We made two Indian entrees, chana masala and samosa curry, and also a big batch of fresh salsa. There were Italian drinks and appetizers, Caribbean punch, taco salad, smoked Swiss cheese and French bread, lots of fruit, and more. Dessert was tiramisu and Mexican chocolate cake. Yum!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I go back and forth with self-discipline. It's a good thing to have, I think, and yet if I go too heavy on myself, there's a part of me that rebels. I think what I've settled on is a flexible mental list of things I'd like to accomplish each day. The list includes yoga, other forms of exercise, healthy eating, my daily Tarot reading, housework, writing, and the like. But if I don't get to all of it in one particular day, no big deal.

Dryst has been playing a lot of X-Box since he first got one, nearly six months ago. At times he's mentioned that he thought he was getting too much "screen time," though he does love playing online with friends (some who are friends he already knows, and others he's met online). Over the past few weeks, he's been playing lacrosse, and he decided he wanted to scale back on some of his academic pursuits during the lacrosse season. That made sense to me, and since our unschooling goes on year-round, it's not like we have to pack a certain amount of math and writing into a set schedule.

Today Dryst went to work with his Dad, doing some landscaping and running errands for the landscaping business. When he got home, he took care of some chores around the house, then came up to me and said proudly "Mom, I did great on my first day of not playing video games until after 5pm." This was the first I'd heard of it. "Cool," I said, "is this something you just decided on?" "Yep. I'm going to do that every day unless it's raining or I don't feel well or something." "Well, since you're done with lacrosse, let me know if you want to sit down for some studying in the afternoons again." "OK, sounds good."

That was it. Nothing imposed from external sources. No coercion. No guilt. Just a bit of self-inspired, self-motivated...self-discipline. I love this child-led education stuff.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Field Tripping

Later this week we're headed to a local amusement park for a day of exploring physics. We'll find out how the rides work, and also have a great time experiencing them. That's right, a field trip which combines fun with learning. It happens all the time. Instead of packing a bunch of kids the same age onto a bus with one or two adults who end up trying to keep them calm and all accounted for, we head off as a family, sometimes with other homeschoolers, to enjoy learning about some aspect of the world. These field trips can be formal events or informal jaunts that turn into learning adventures.

In fact, when you homeschool, a trip to the credit union or chiropractor can be a field trip in itself. It would seem that this would be more true for the younger kids, who are still learning about the basic setup of their world. But with older kids, the things we encounter as we move through life can spark wide-ranging conversations. These discussions lead to more learning, as we research new topics and share our opinions on current events.

What kind of field trips do we enjoy? Over the past few months (within the traditional "school year"), we've explored archaeology at a local university, talked with a web designer about the process of setting up a new website, seen several plays (and in one case, gone backstage to find out about the special effects), learned about the benefits of raw foods, voted in the fall election, volunteered at a community art fair, visited the planetarium, gone hiking, picked out our CSA veggies at a local farm, shopped for supplies for art projects at various craft stores, gone skiing and sledding, learned about investing, taken many nature walks, and more.

Even though it's called "homeschooling," there's no need to limit our learning to the things we do at home. The whole world is our classroom, and we have the time to enjoy it whenever we like. As the kids get older, I'm sure the list will grow. We'll add internships, jobs, more volunteering, visiting colleges, and who knows what else. I'll just have to wait and see where our interests take us...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

"The Beast"

Here is a brief horror-comedy film the kids made recently with their friends. They want to make more movies, with better lighting and audio, in the near future. So stay tuned!

The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0YF-gYHQwQ

Or you can also go to YouTube and search for "Maine Wholeschoolers" (that's the name of our homeschool group). We plan to ask our other friends to post some earlier films they made for the Midyear Review. There's one that features zombies and is hilarious.


Friday, June 04, 2010

Feels Like Summer

It feels like summer out there! Although it won't be official until Monday the 21st, the Earth is green and flowers are blossoming everywhere. I love summer. The warm weather is so delightful. This is a great year for birds. I can hear their beautiful songs everywhere, and we've seen lots of cardinals and blue birds, and even heard catbirds and a whippoorwill.

Here's a taste of what the family has been up to lately: reading the last Harry Potter book, playing with friends, doing some gardening, camping in the backyard, making movies, having fires in the fire pit, drumming and dancing, learning card games (like Whist and Pig), working on our new business, watching "My Name is Earl," learning about quantum jumping, taking walks, and cooking out (the veggie kabobs were awesome!).

We haven't been to the beach yet (since Beltane on the Beach, anyway) but I'm sure we'll get there soon.

We're looking forward to: a "physics of Funtown" field trip next week, when we get to explore how the rides work at our local amusement park; our Summer Solstice ritual and celebration; my brother's wedding in July; visiting the medieval world at the SCA campout; and a backpacking trip to Baxter State Park.