Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy First Day Not Back to School

 My crush John gives us some words:

“The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”

 “It is as true now as it was then that no matter what tests show, very little of what is taught in school is learned, very little of what is learned is remembered, and very little of what is remembered is used. The things we learn, remember, and use are the things we seek out or meet in the daily, serious, nonschool parts of our lives.”


“…the anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don’t know.”

“The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how to behave when we don’t know what to do”

“To parents I say, above all else, don’t let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your kids alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can.”

 “Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them”


“True learning – learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning — can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner”


“What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out.”

Happy first day not back to school.

Week 37

There is something therapeutic and wonderful about making bread with children. We spent hours kneading and shaping and baking. Very waldorf. I loved it.

Ireland House museum in Burlington hosted a fall apple festival:

  This was a cool demonstration on how to make spear heads and start fires by rubbing sticks together. Dangerous new skills....

My favourite part of the week was playing with my orchestra group. This was my second week.

It is HARD and so ridiculously challenging. I kept leaning over to the lady beside me, Anne, to ask her what a word meant or where we stop playing pizzicato. She kindly called out bar numbers when I got lost at the tricky parts.

Week 36

Sometimes life in this house is so full the camera isn't fast enough to capture an image.

Week 35

We took on a lovely self-portrait project (100% mooched from this site). I loved Olives goals for the year: learn to read, be kind, be helpful, learn Spanish. Is there a cooler chic out there?

We made mailboxes for our rooms and wrote letters to each other. I am trying to disguise writing practice in "fun"- is it working?

We love the trail. It's like "take off your shirt and catch a snail" kind of awesomeness.


This week's talent show was one of the best I've seen. Ezra hijacked our computer speakers and provided music and mc-ing. Olive was on fire with some sweeeeet dance moves.

Color wheels inspired by our local art school.

Tell me- is this the coolest picture ever? I can't believe we've gone this long without owning a trampoline. Worth every kjiji penny within 10 minutes of being set-up. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Or stuff it up your nostril while rubbing your eye lid on some netting. Whatever.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Our Move (part one: the miracle job)

Well hello, I'm the third blogger, Megan, you may have forgotten me.  I've been absent on the site for two months or so.  Let me fill you in:

Following our dream to own property that would allow our children to have space to explore outdoors, we decided we were ready to leave the city.  We were craving a quieter, more natural home in the country.  We were ready for a big garden, to walk in nature.  So Will applied for a new job. 

We knew the competition for this particular job was more experienced, so we didn't hold our breath. 
We were slightly more optimistic when he secured a job interview.
We had applied for jobs closer to "home" in the past with high hopes, but with no luck in the end.  
You can imagine our surprise and happiness when he was offered the job!!  Heidi and I screamed with delight and cried, jumping up and down, shouting: "He got the job!!  We're moving to the island!!"

It turns out the panel of interviewers just really liked him.  He was professional, he demonstated good conflict resolution skills and he is so bright they knew he would learn anything else he needed to know for the job, quickly.

It seemed like a miracle.  Finally, after all these years of being under-employed, a job as a forester!     Forester jobs are few these days and usually very remote. 
We felt so blessed to be going to the area where we ultimately wanted to be, with a wonderful employment opportunity for Will.  Thank you to all those who prayed for Will at the time of his interview and to those who "sent good vibes" his way.

So the craziness began.  His old job expecting him to work overtime to finish projects, his new job starting two weeks from the job offer date!! 

Will had been in the middle of a bathroom renovation in our house and had to finish that job before we moved, as well as tackling other fix ups around the house.
I painted like a crazy woman.  The dining room first, which had patches from an old plumbing job.  The spare room second.
My sweet visiting teacher came over a couple of times to help me out with the painting.  Friends came to help as I was trying to pack up our house and clear away any clutter.
We had a deadline for making the house beautiful.  Our real estate agent was to start showing it the day after we moved out.
All  four children were on summer holidays wanting to have fun, so I especially appreciated friends lining up playdates for them, allowing me to work. Will and I still felt on the verge of sanity many times through the two weeks with just not enough time, and the deadline looming before us. 

 We will forever be grateful to friends in Sudbury who watched our children, brought meals, and helped us clean, even though they knew they were losing us as close by friends.  Thank You!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 36 in pictures (Jane)

I think I missed last week & I have no idea what week we're really on so I will just carry on....

so, Grace was in an old-fashioned spelling bee & tea at an old 1800's one room school house on the A line yesterday.  She looked a little like Anne of Green Gables.   The boy Aiden on the left won the whole thing but the process was a little suspect...  

Grace and Heidi at the tea house

they are a little crazy!

Isaac trying for a genuine smile.

I've been a little obsessed with apple pie this week.  Abbie and David made mini-ones too.

Jody was away this whole week so I tried single parenthood out for a while.  It's hard!  I was up at 6 am the past two mornings to pick up Emma from a trip to TO & to take David to hockey practice two mornings in a row.  I haven't been very snap happy this week, so my week in pictures is pretty short.  

I wish I had a picture of :  Abbie helping Isaac push the lawnmower at the Wills' house today.  And one of Isaac running and jumping to hug Jody when he came home today.

Also I'm getting a rotten cold and feel really worn out!  grrr.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chalkboard Project #1

I'm calling it project #1 because I think this may be addictive.  This week I was determined to get a chalkboard for our house.  I looked them up online and discovered that buying a 3' x 4' chalkboard was about $200.00 and they weren't quite what I had invisioned (horizonal and very plain).  So I began looking up instructions for making one instead.  It is so easy!!!  So I went to Value Village and found this huge frame for $29.99:

  It is huge and so hideously ugly that I felt compelled to explain my plans to the checkout clerk and anyone else who looked at me with a sidelong glance.  When I got it out to the van I discovered that it is too big to fit in the back of the van!  It was a bit of an adventure getting it home - thankfully a friend and her husband managed to get it to the island for me...

Then I took it all apart and spray-painted the frame white.  It may have been wiser for me to use paint and a brush because I always over-do it with spray paint and had a few drippy spots which I frantically wiped and sanded and made a bit of a mess over.  I just don't have the patience to let it dry between coats!!  For the actual chalkboard I went to Kentvale and bought a piece of mahogany underlay for $6.00 and painted it with a few coats of chalkboard paint.  I had a little can of chalkboard paint that I bought at least 8 years ago and also bought some in a spray can in case it was too old.  I ended up using them both all up!   I didn't prime the wood first, but would really recommend primer for those who have the patience to let the paint dry before wanting to see immediate results.  The underlay has a bit of texture and I think the primer would make it smoother.  Next time....

Then I just tacked the mahogany board in the frame and put the original print and backing (without the glass of course) behind it to hold it snuggly in place!  I used some little finishing nails that I scrounged in dad's stash in the garage to tack it all to the frame. 

The kids love it!  They have been drawing pictures, creating messages and posting menus from the moment I hung it on the wall.  I feel so happy with it - creative expression made so easy! 

Week 35 in Pictures...

On my 40th birthday.

Abbie lost her first tooth.  She's rather excited!
That's all for this week - I have been busy canning apple sauce, salsa and grape juice/jelly the past few days.  I've gotten back into walking with Patti.  I had an MRI.  I turned 40.  Weird week. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

End of Summer (Week 34 in Pictures?)


Abbie had a big birthday this week - SIX years old!!  

A highland dancer's clothesline!

Emma & I went to a highland dance competition in Petosky this weekend.

We spend Labour Day weekend at the cottage/camp.  I wonder if that will be our last swim of the year???

Sunday, September 2, 2012

That Blessed Arrangement

I married this crazy 10 years ago.

To celebrate, we were hoping for an exotic trip somewhere, but Annalise wouldn't go for it.... so we rented a couple kayaks and boated the Grand River. It was hours of awesome.

 * Alright, so not 10 years ago exactly.... August 30th in case you want to write it on your calendar and send us flowers and cards next year.