Sunday, April 6, 2014


With all this project work going on at the kid level it seemed only fitting that I have a project of my own.  My project actually started way back in New York when I found at the library and fell in love with Rachel Saunders' 'The Blue Chair Jam Cook Book'  It has beautiful photographs and recipes.  But those that interested me most were always marmalade recipes.  As you can imagine New York winters are rather short on local, fresh citrus, so I gave the book back to the library.  From time to time I'd find it at various libraries where we lived and drool over the recipes but then return it.

Fast forward to last week at our newly expanded farmers market, where they had added an entire block of vendors.  I was strolling along feeling rather overwhelmed by all the new choices when there in between rotisserie chickens and goat cheese was Rachel Saunders herself touting a myriad of exotic, jewel colored jams sparking in the morning sun.  I of course told her how much I adored her book and that I'd always wanted to make marmalade.  "Start with the lemon" she told me.  So I did.  I started with lemon.  I requested the book from the library and picked five pounds of lemons from a friends tree.  It took me four days (and four years) to make beautiful, delicious, heavenly lemon marmalade.  But hey some times it just takes four years for everything to fall into place.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Project Based Homeschooling: Day 1

 A few weeks ago a friend thrust a book into my hands and said "Read this!  I don't have time right now."  As it turned out 'this' was "Projet-Based Homeschooling - mentoring self directed learners" by Lori Pickert.  From page one I loved it!  The book is a discussion on fostering creative, sustained, self driven project work in children.  I almost wish she'd left 'homeschooling' out of the title because I'm afraid she'll miss a whole group of potential proponents - those who don't homeschool!  A far as I'm concerned this book is applicable to all children homeschooled or otherwise.  

I haven't actually finished the book yet but I got so excited about it I decided to start right away.  Lori spends a lot of time discussing how the child has to pick a topic and pursue it.  The adult is available to help procure supplies, help obtain research materials and read them for non readers, and to take notes and photos.  But the involved adult is not supposed to direct the project in any way.  Thus getting the children to choose topics they wanted to pursue seemed daunting to me.  I decided to plant a seed at the breakfast table on Tuesday morning to see what would happen.  I told them I was thinking of dedicating some time to individual, self directed projects.  Then I told them it would mean they would choose a project that interested them and decide how to proceed with it.  I told them I would be available for questions and to take notes and photos but that I would not tell them if they were right or wrong or take control in any way.

Funny enough I didn't have to say one word more.  They got so excited about 'project time' that projects were chosen and the breakfast dishes were cleared within about two minutes.  Lillian decided to make a shower and has so far sketched and written plans complete with water pump and tubes for carrying water.  Sidonia went through two or three ideas before she set upon making art for the wall and then making a frame to put it in.  Eoghan for his part spent a good deal of time painting and then pealing and eating oranges.

Now I'm not entirely sure how 'project time' will end up.  But for now I'm planning on making Tuesday project day.  I'll keep you posted on how projects progress.  Right now I'm hopeful this will become a long standing part of our curriculum.

p.s. Lori has a great blog here. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

...and the rest of our advent calendar

I've been a bit busy since December 4th.  As it turns out making an advent pocket every night and home schooling the kids proved to be all I could handle, you know along with all the other usual craziness.  Here are some of my favorite advent pockets.  The last two were made by the girls.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 3rd and 4th advent calendar

In which we read a 'new' old Christmas book and made paper chains

Monday, December 3, 2012

Figuring the eight scarf

Oh boy, oh boy! I got a quick hour to myself yesterday.  The girls were stringing christmas lights with their grandmother and the baby was sleeping.  I decided to use the two gorgeous Japaneese print fabrics I got in Colorado to make Anna Maria Horner's Figuring the 8 scarf.  Incidentally the fabrics were both nani IRO double gauze fabrics, one eggplant the other melody sketch both heavenly to the touch.  Buying these was a bit of a splurge for me.  My justification being that I am always making things for other folks and never for myself.  It was worth it though, I have yet to take the scarf off.  (Okay, thats not entirely true I didn't sleep in it.) I keep rubbing it on my face, I just can't help it.  I did find the length to be a bit much though.  I think I'd make it about 10 inches shorter next time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A whole pile of potential

While in Colorado I stocked up at one of my favorite fabric stores, Mama Said Sew.  I now have this whole pile of potential waiting for me.  There is something so very exciting about all these colors, all these projects yet to be made, blank project canvases to be created so to speak.  And I do have a project for each and everyone of those pieces of fabric.  Most of them are for the kids but I'll admit to letting one slip in there for me too.  I'll be posting them as we make our way through the month of December.

December 2nd

Today we'll be writing letters to Santa.