Sunday, August 17, 2014



Things feel kinda heavy right now. I've been glued to twitter trying to keep up with the events in Ferguson, MO, which are disturbing enough on their own but even more so knowing that this is but a public example of a widespread problem of racism and abuse of power among law enforcement. On top of that, in the past few days we've heard of two acquaintances who have been in serious accidents (unrelated to each other), one of whom passed away yesterday and the other is in the ICU. Wednesday marks what would have been my brother's 40th birthday, his first birthday for us to (celebrate? honor? observe?) without him. And, the boys are being incredibly moody and getting super upset over every.little.thing.

In other words, it feels like there's bad news and crap coming in from everywhere right now, and I'm doing what I can to focus on the good and ride out this little storm till it passes. To that aim, here are some cute pictures of my little masked crusader from sometime last month.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

getting ready for (un)school, re-thinking screen time

Summer is chugging along here, and it's somehow mid-August already (I say that and yet when I think back to the beginning of summer back in NH it feels like an entire lifetime ago). We're getting ready for a school switcheroo this fall-- it's now Quinn who will be starting montessori preschool in a couple weeks, and D will be home with me. Part of me feels a little weird about opting to send Q to preschool since we've already decided to homeschool D. Part of me is also not looking forward to going back to a regular school routine, having to get out the door by a certain time every morning, etc. But I do think it will be important for both Donovan and me to have that time just the two of us in the morning, to be able to try projects or whatever that are more, uh, challenging to do while little brother is around, and also to give the boys a bit of a break from each other (they get along really well most of the time, but I think they're kinda starting to get fed up of being around each other all the time). I also think Q kinda requires a bit more social interaction, so that will be good for him too.  

We're unschooling, which means that right now the biggest thing to work on really is on my own perspective and mindset. I'm "de-schooling" myself, meaning trying to get over the mindset of reading, writing, and math being the most important skills to develop at this age and instead opening ourselves up to seeing all the other many learning opportunities we have every day. In the past few weeks D has been really interested in penguins, sharks, and other sea creatures so we've been reading and watching videos about them a lot. I introduced him to MythBusters, so he's been watching a lot of that and learning about setting up experiments to test out a theory (and a lot of other random stuff about electronics, physics, and whatever other things the myths happen to be about). The past couple days he worked on an army of little paper robots (robots drawn on slips of paper that stand up), and he set them up on a table then decided he needed more space so worked out how to make a paper platform extension off the edge of the table. It's pretty amazing to watch him learn. I'm also figuring out how to dance along that fine line of giving enough guidance and help while letting him do things on his own. Not that it's always sunshine and unicorns, mind you-- we've also had our fair share of moodiness and yelling and brothers fighting, etc. But, I am learning that if I can relax I really think this can go really well, and be really cool for all of us.

I'm also questioning and re-thinking my views on "screen time." There seems to be a sharp divide among homeschoolers, with highly restricted screen time on the one side and fairly unrestricted on the other. I've been really fascinated to read some of the arguments and research studies on the possible benefits of TV and video games. There's this understood assumption that reading books is always better than watching a video, but videos can be incredible learning tools... And a lot of this might depend on what you're watching, why, and how. So I'm researching, thinking, and experimenting with loosening our time restrictions and seeing how that goes.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

a few favorites from texas

Just a handful of favorite images from our time in Texas last month. I'm slowly working on catching up the rest of the way on pictures, while also suddenly deciding that I need to weed through older pictures on my computer.

A few days ago I went back into some folders from 2008 looking for a particular set of old photos, and realized that I have so many pictures saved that I really don't need-- bad pictures, near-duplicates, etc, and I could probably easily get rid of half of them. Yesterday morning I woke up startled, realizing that while I have things figured out within Lightroom and with the couple of catalogs I've set up so far, I am probably the only one who knows how to use my current system. I really want my photos to be useable and accessible by Zach, or my kids, etc, even if I'm not around, so I'm making it a project to go through and simplify things a bit. It's not as daunting as it sounds, I've gotten pretty good at wielding the black flag and deleting, and there's something kinda cool about going through those old photos and remembering trips and people from years ago and also comparing my photography then vs now. It just takes time.


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