Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holding Space

Success for me is holding space. In the middle of our crazed busy days, the moments of near anxiety and having a complete inability to hold it all together, it is not an easy place to achieve calm breathable moments. We are creating this life. We are creating these places for calm, and joy, and beauty, just as we are creating chaos, and business, and burnout. I am overwhelmed, and yet I am happy. I add up the requirements, the jobs, the school, the volunteer positions, the children, the home, the remodel and I am unsure how I am fitting in these hours. It would be easy to give over to this. To not be in the moment with the children, tune out the present for the growing to-do list. Often my hard work goes unappreciated and unnoticed, but my time is always noticed. The kids pull me into reality, into this realm. I create pockets of enjoyable time in the midst of my job, or a project, by stepping away or rather stepping into the reality. However, I also make the 'priority' to create special moments with my children, and relaxed involvement. Engaged moments with our children happen for me when my internal-self steps aside and with it the rest of my thinking and expectations. I say that nothing is more important then this experience and the rest can wait. I put aside my expectations of gain or loss, of reciprocation, of shared experience with the kids. I am focused on what is present with them and how I am feeling in this moment. For me it is like being in the bottom of a swimming pool filled with jello and rather than fighting to the surface I am holding my body as wide and open as it can be to experience. I have created a breathable space for survival and am now inhaling the sweet scent, touching the mushy texture, viewing the light and darkness in the color, hearing the squish squish slop slop, and tasting the vibrant sour cherries (you were picture red jello, weren't you?). By creating this intentional space, this intentional time I am finding joy within. It will never be perfect but I know my own power to hold space. These are the moments, the only ones that I will carry with me forever. I may lose the specifics but I will remember the enjoyment, and I can only hope that this is what will radiate to my children.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homeschooling Value

Homeschooling for us means many things. Family time together, an ability to freely explore our world without the confinement of indoors experience, and a highly supportive and tailored approach to each of my children's interest, personality and learning style are among the top of our list.

Family time for us means a quantity of time that allows us to foster deep meaningful relationships. The children understand and know each other. They look out for each other, they like each other and enjoy a collaborative effort in games. They have the time to sink into a particular game. They can be cats for days and never tire of the game, inventing new aspects and expanding the topic. They become a band writing songs and learning music and this leads to developing a program and a performance. We have the ability, the freedom, to work around our adult schedules allowing us to not only see each other every day, but also to interact with each other in a meaningful way. We sit down to dinner, however we are also together for the cooking of the meal, for the gathering of the groceries, for the planning of the weekly meals.

Being able to freely explore our world means that on any particular day we can take our classroom outside. That we can venture to a local natural area and find questions there to expand upon. "What is that species of bird?" is a question that leads us to a month of lessons on birds. We learn species and habitats. We create artwork around these concepts. We have the ability to focus on the one bird species. A birding journals follow suit as does an excitement to find birds in every natural area we visit. Freedom to explore indoors is another component. While not confined indoors to learn, we can choose to or we can visit a different indoor space, like a museum. We have the opportunity to visit when others are not there and thus creating a less frantic, slower, quieter, deeper experience. Teilee has drawn beautiful pictures of dinosaurs by simply sitting in front of a display, uninterrupted for 30 min. I am grateful to have freedom to explore wherever and whenever we desire.

The highly tailored and supportive approach to my children's learning is something I value. This year T is struggling to write, L is craving more letter work. I can simply switch my tactics. This year, T will write small notes, and thank you cards, and programs for her plays, and assist in teaching Landis his letters. Next year we will work on more assignments in writing, when she is ready for it. When T is not confident in a particular subject or learning style, I can address the confidence by creating successes for her. I have the ability to ask, "What would you like to learn about?" and then create our curriculum, our core subjects, around that topic. I can arrange for private lessons, or job shadowing in the children's areas of interest. They are excited about learning, as excited as I am.

I am not always confident about homeschooling until I remember these reasons. Then I know, without any doubt, that this is what is working for us right now. It has helped me to define what we are doing and why we are doing this. The kids are happy, I am happy, we are enjoying our experience.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Insects Gone Wild

We have been insect crazy this summer.

It all started when we inherited a colony of Madagascar Hissing cockroaches, around 30 of them. We pulled out a few to become our pets and then we donated the rest to the CSU entomology department to be used in their zoo. While we were there, we checked out some of their amazing insects and arachnids. The coolest for me were the Goliath tarantula (aka: bird eating spider), the giant assassin bug, and the ghost mantids (particularly the young ghost mantids).

Getting up close with the mantids.

Opportunities have randomly presented themselves. We decided to watch the change of a mosquito from larva to flying insect after discovering some in pool of stagnant water. We found some other larva that we have yet to identify. It was quite fun to watch the little suckers (pun intended) grow and change.

T was gifted a butterfly net from Grandma-Lee and Papa and we have had hours of fun catching butterflies and identifying them. The kids will not let me pin them but have been willing to let me freeze and pin a few beetles we caught on one of our jaunts out with the net. The net and a couple of mesh insect carriers, to hold our finds, have gone with us camping, hiking, to the park, almost everywhere we go.

A Weidemeyer's Admiral:

We also ordered a packet of caterpillars to be placed in our butterfly home so we could watch the metamorphosis take place. Our painted ladies changed from caterpillar, to cocoon, to butterflies. Once the last butterfly hatched we released them into our neighbors flower patch.

Grasshopper mania! We have discovered our new house has a plethora of grasshoppers and the kids are having so much fun with them. Everyday they catch and release. Occasionally a hopper makes it way into the chicken run and the pandemonium of fun ensues.

We love our arthropods!!

I know, I know not an insect, but where else can I show off my daughter's 'pet' gastropod surfing?!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wild Blue (Colorado)

Why Wild Blue?
In a nut shell, it is me. Blue is the color of my eyes, the sky, and the ocean. It is the feeling of serenity and calm. It has been my favorite color and part of my identity for years. Wild is my personality, my experience, it is change and evolution. Wild is what I love. I love nature, I love excitement and laughter, I love animals, I love really fantastic, dramatic, jaw dropping art, I love my wild children and my wild husband. Wild Blue is for Colorado, where we live and love. It is the mountaintops and the rivers, the biking and the hiking, it is all that encompasses this state, and our town.
Welcome to Wild Blue!!