Day at Jamestown Settlement

Every once in awhile, usually as we are driving to Virginia Beach or somewhere south, I’d say out loud in the car, “we should really go to Jamestown.”   I hadn’t been in about 25 years, but I did remember Jamestown Settlement capturing my imagination as a kid.

So, finally, we packed in the car and went.

Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum just down the road from Historic Jamestown (the actual historic site).  At Jamestown Settlement, you can walk through a recreation of the Jamestown fort along with a Powhatan Indian village and the three ships which first sailed to Jamestown in 1607: the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed.

The museum ticket also includes a film which we skipped because 3 out of the 5 of us don’t really sit well for these kinds of things.   We’ve talked about Jamestown at length before we went so we felt okay skipping it; however, I hear that if you are a bit unfamiliar with Jamestown or it’s been a while, the film helps you get more out of your visit.  There is also a gallery indoors which takes you through the history of the settlement… that we also skipped for the sake of time and hungry bellies but I really want to come back and check that part out.

Besides, it was a beautiful day outside and we’d been in the car for an hour, so we headed straight for the outdoor portion of the museum.

Jamestown Settlement is delightfully hands on.  The kids were actively encouraged to touch things and try different activities, allowing them to really learn about the culture and immerse themselves in each place.

Our first stop was the Powhatan Indian village.

Powhatan Village Jamestown Settlement Review

Jamestown Settlement Review Homeschool Field Trip

The kids pounded corn into flour, used oyster shells to take the fur off an animal skin, worked on creating a net and played games.  There were lots of houses to visit and explore, and you can see what a Powhatan Indian home would have looked like (quite cozy). Max studied Native Americans of Virginia quite a bit and was a great tour guide as we explored Powhatan homes.

Jamestown Settlement Review Homeschooling History is Fun

Jamestown Settlement Review A Multifaceted Mama Homeschool field trip

Homeschool Field Trip to Jamestown Settlement

The ships were Hudson’s favorite part of the trip.  I was struck by how small they were and we talked about the challenges of living on such a small boat with so many others. Sadly, I didn’t get a ton of pictures on the boat because once we got on the boat, the kids were immediately running around in all directions. The proximity to water, the challenges of fitting through doorways with a baby on my back and the many levels of the boats made taking pictures a little bit less of a priority.

Jamestown Settlement Discovery ship review

James Fort recreated what the homes were like around 1610 – 1614.  The kids could hear the musket fire throughout our trip and were excited to finally see a demonstration.  They also got a chance to try it out themselves with their own wooden muskets which was… entertaining.  Let’s just say ADD and Colonial warfare make a really bad combination.

Jamestown Settlement Review day trip homeschool

They tried on some 17th century armor and toured the Governor’s house, an Anglican Church, and smaller homes. The Fort was filled with the smell of smoke and gunpowder which helped create the atmosphere.

Jamestown Settlement review Homeschool

Homeschool Field trip to Jamestown Virginia Settlement review

Hands on Field Trip to Jamestown Virginia review

Jamestown Settlement Review

Jamestown Settlement Review Jamestown Virginia Homeschool field trip

We spent a little over 3 hours at Jamestown Settlement, but definitely could have spent more if we had stayed for the movie and to check out the galleries.  There are a couple areas that make good spots to stop and have some lunch; if you plan to visit, be sure to pack some snacks. There is a cafe at the entrance which seemed to have pretty standard museum-cafe fare. After 3 hours in any particular place and certain members of our group start slowly falling apart.

We’ll definitely be heading back to Jamestown Settlement and checking out the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.  If you’re interested in checking it out yourself you can find out more information here.

Jamestown settlement review Jamestown Virginia

Inspired Thanks to WOW Summit

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump.

The transition from working to being a stay at home mom to 4 boys AND homeschooling has been difficult. I knew it would be, but I didn’t fully grasp it.  Kind of like you know it’s hard to have a new baby… but you don’t really know what that means until you get there.

Anyway, blogging has been tough. I’ve struggled to figure out how to write… not just when but actually how to form my thoughts.

Some part of me must have anticipated this because I signed up to go to WOW Summit and I’m so glad I did.

One of the great things about WOW Summit is that it combined both incredible opportunities for bloggers with valuable information in a really packed two days.

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I spent the first day soaking up all the information I could get at three different blogging workshops, then had the opportunity to “speed date” with sponsors and learning about some new products. As a blogger it was a great chance to network and as a mom it was an opportunity to check out some awesome new products.

It was refreshing to meet so many like-minded mom bloggers,  and I look forward to keeping in touch with them through their blogs and Instagram. I wish I had stayed at the beautiful Gaylord Hotel, because the festivities went into the evening with food and drinks and lots of opportunities to meet new people.  Even without the cocktail hour, day 1 was definitely a whirlwind.

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On day 2, I brought my little helper along with me as we taste-tested our way through the many vendors who attended.  Marlowe consumed his weight in chocolate milk, fruit snacks and got all loaded up with gummy probiotics and vitamin C. It was preschooler heaven.  We walked away, bellies full and our arms weighed down with huge swag bags and tons of coupons for new cool products.

Regardless of where you are in your blogging journey, I can’t recommend going to a blogger conference enough.  I’m feeling totally motivated after this trip (I might even write more!).  WOW Summit combined information with inspiration for a pretty amazing weekend. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go and I’m already planning to go back next year.

WOW Summit is hosted by Moms Meet. Keep up with their events here.

I received 1 ticket to WOW Summit as a part of a partnership program and I’m effectively hooked. Thanks again for the amazing weekend!

Boys Will Be Boys: A Mother’s Plea For Help.

Sigh.

I can’t wait to talk about my weekend trip to WOW Summit but this seems to be more pressing given the circumstances.

As many of us have, I have been watching the recent news about Donald Trump’s comments with horror.

Just as I read in horror the coverage of Stanford University’s Brock Turner.

Just have I have sat in horror reflecting many, many comments which are explained away with statements like “boys will be boys”.

Yes, boys will be boys.

As you may have noticed… I’m surrounded by quite a few boys.  In addition to having 4 boys of my own and having been married for 10 years, I have a father and a brother and grew up having many male friends. Regardless of whether or not I had any of those, I live in a society dominated by “boys”.

Boys Will Be Boys A Mother's Plea For Help - A Multifaceted Mama

Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about boys:

I have learned that fart jokes are almost always funny.

I have learned to tolerate a little rough housing as long as they move the coffee table out of the way first.

I know that no matter how much I clean the bathroom it might never matter.

I know that they may have trouble expressing themselves, or freeze when you do. Boys might say things that make your eyes roll, because it’s gross or dense or just plain annoying.

I know a lot girls like the above too.

But I know something else about boys:

I know that they can listen.

I know that they, like girls, look up to role models.

I know they can control their behavior.

I know they can control what they say.

I know they can think of others before themselves.

I know they can treat people with respect.

I know they can understand the meaning of the word ‘stop’.

I know they can be caring brothers, and fathers, and friends.

I know they can tell the difference between right and wrong.

I know they can be emotional.

I know they take cues from their parents and our society.

And I know that boys can live up to the expectations we set for them.

These are the type of boys that I hope my boys will be.

Every day as I raise my 4 boys I remember this. Every day there is some example, somewhere that I can set for them… and every day there is some example somewhere that makes that job more difficult.

Sure, we all have our flaws, but being a boy doesn’t have to be a flaw. Being a boy doesn’t mean that they will be vulgar, or disrespectful. It doesn’t mean that they can ignore people’s boundaries. It doesn’t mean they can take what they want without asking.

We TEACH them what being a boy means. Every day. We show them what it means when we give them passes for bad behavior because they are “just being boys”.  We teach them that it’s okay to behave poorly when they see other “boys” get away with it.

And so, I am asking you to help me.  Give my sons the credit they deserve. Don’t write them off, hold them to a higher standard.  Give them role models who set the example of who boys can be.  Help me show them that boys can be strong without being cruel and that kindness and strength are not mutually exclusive.

Hold boys, including mine, accountable. Start when they’re little. They can take it. Don’t let them get away with being less than what we know they can be. They are better than that. I promise you I will do my absolute best to make sure that my boys live up to the standard we set for them.

Help me teach them what it means to be a boy.  Because, yes, boys will be boys… but eventually these boys will become men.

If this post resonates with you, please feel free to share.
Raising boys. Boys will be boys.

Homeschool Adventures: Slowing Down

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In some ways the past couple weeks have flown by; in some ways they’ve crawled by.

Several people have asked me how homeschool is going and I haven’t really had the ability to answer that question.

Two weeks ago, everyone went back to school. I had been meaning to write a post about it, but the day sort of came and went.  We spent what would have been our “first day of school” wandering the woods of a local park, spotting mushrooms and turtles.  Since then, the days have passed doing much the same thing.

One of the many reasons I wanted to homeschool was because I wanted things to slow down.

It’s not that the kids are growing up too fast (they are) or that I felt we never had time for any extra stuff during the school year (we didn’t).  It’s that childhood is an amazing time in our lives and I don’t want to rush that. We feel pressure to focus so much on results as parents and not so much on the process… the childhood part. That part we never get back.

The problem with the rushing is that it never ends. Forget about the discovery; it’s about getting good grades. It’s not about grades, it’s about college. It’s not about college, it’s about your Masters. It’s not about your Masters, it’s about your job. It’s not about your job, it’s about the job title, or the pay raise. It’s about the big house. It’s about your kids’ grades. It’s about your kids’ schools…

There’s always a next step.  But really, those next steps come all the same whether we rush through our daily life or walk slowly. And so I wanted us to let ourselves walk slowly and just be in the present for a little while.

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Explore a little more. Try something new. Make time for failure.

But what has been surprising over the course of these two weeks is that, regardless of how much I wanted it, slowing down isn’t easy.  At least it hasn’t been for me.

It feels weird. We’ve felt a little out of sync with the world around us. I’m sure the kids have felt out of sync with their friends.

Over the summer, the rest of the world slowed down, so we felt in pace with our peers… but when Fall comes and things start picking back up for everyone else it’s hard to maintain that steady pace. It’s hard not to rush.

And so, occasionally, the panic sets in.

We aren’t doing anything. The kids aren’t learning… not enough… not the right things.

There’s so much knowledge out there and I’m not CRAMMING IT INTO THEIR BRAINS, testing them and moving on to the next thing.

They’ll never go to college if I don’t make them do workbooks.

They’ll be woefully unprepared for life if I don’t make them write essays right now.

And then I try to remember to breathe…

And trust my kids, myself, and this slowing down process.

And soak up the long walks, and seize the opportunities to try new things.

As firm as I feel in our decision to homeschool, and even though so far the situation has been pretty idyllic so far… I didn’t anticipate how difficult the adjustment would be.

So I apologize for being a little slow to post.  Time is moving a little differently than it was before.

For the Moms Who Don’t Love Everything

I’ve noticed a weird trend and I’m not sure if it’s a recent thing or not…

But somewhere there seems to be this idea that we are supposed to look back on every memory of parenthood and miss them… we’re supposed to love the tough moments and the hard days because that’s what good mothers do. Even if, on the rare occasion we’re not loving this particular moment right now, we’ll look back and treasure these precious moments of motherhood. We’ll miss these moments… even the tough ones.

And maybe you will.

But it’s okay if you don’t.

You don’t have to love the 5AM wake up call now, and you don’t have to love it later either.

You don’t have to love pregnancy.

You don’t have to love breastfeeding.

You don’t have to love the Target tantrum or the days you felt like you were stuck in an endless loop between the dishwasher and the washing machine.

You might look back on some days of life with kids and shudder.

You can love your kids without adoring every single habit and quality.

You can love motherhood without relishing every single minute.

But maybe you do, maybe you cry on the first day of kindergarten and miss the midnight breastfeeding snuggles and that’s okay too.  How sentimental you are about these moments, or which moments you do or don’t enjoy about motherhood does not determine how “good” of a mother you are.

There are many aspects to the “mommy wars” but I think that the most upsetting part isn’t parenting styles it’s the HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE IT competition.

I loved being pregnant and I have encouraged moms to find the joy in it… but I understand why it’s not for everyone. If pregnancy isn’t your favorite season of parenting you’re not doomed from the start. I had a miserable time breastfeeding my second and a wonderful time breastfeeding my third but I don’t love them differently as a result. Sometimes raising children can just be difficult. Not “difficult but…” Just difficult.

We accept that we don’t have to love every single part of our lives… why do we set the expectation on ourselves and others to love every single part of parenting?

So, for the moms who don’t love everything I say this:

For better or worse our crappy days are just that. They’re crappy days. You don’t have to love them, you just have to get through them.  And if you’re making it through and doing your best (whatever your best is under the circumstances)… I think that’s good mom enough.

 

Moms who don't love everything about parenting

 

 

5AM Wake Up Call

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Just before 5am on a Saturday:

Child 2 woke up having apparently had a dream about bugs in his bed but was too afraid of the dark hallway to come to us so just yells to me from down the hall. Child 4 was nursing to stay asleep and would wake up and clamp down little more each time I tried to call down the hall back to Child 2.

Calling down the hall woke me up enough to realize I needed to pee which was going to be pretty much impossible to do without waking Child 4 up completely.

I make a mental list of pos and cons.

Enter Child 3 not afraid of the dark but shuffling into our bedroom in sobbing that he “missed Blaze”

I have no idea who Blaze is.
For a moment, nobody in our bed is asleep so I risk it and take a trip to the bathroom located, unfortunately, just passed child 2’s bedroom.
He jumps out at me “I have to sleep in your bed”
“You can’t buddy, there’s no room.”
“I can sleep at the bottom”
“No you can’t, go back to your bed” (perhaps I sound cold hearted but he’s 8 and two kids are already in there)
“I can’t. There are bugs in there. I have to find somewhere else to sleep.”
So I pee quickly and try to make a bed on the couch for Child 2 knowing that every second I’m not in bed my chances of getting Child 4 back to sleep diminishes. I can hear Child 3 still crying about his beloved Blaze.

Husband puts Child 3 back into the right bed and sits in his room with him.

Silence.

The sound of Child 2 stomping back up the stairs.

The crushing weight of nearly 30lb child 4 (yes, the baby is nearly 30lbs) on my ribcage signing “baby” which means he wants to watch Baby Signing Time. Not the whole video though, just the first minute on repeat.

I lay in bed, lit with an electronic glow listening to the sounds of Child 4’s favorite show. I try to doze keeping one eye open in case the baby has a sudden impulse to smash me on the head with the iPad. It’s been known to happen.

It’s over. I give up.

So here I am.

Child 3 is asleep.

Child 2 is watching TV.

Child 4 is on my lap watching his video. Yawning. Obnoxious, given the circumstances.

Child 1 slept though the entire thing (all the lights are on in his room but apparently that doesn’t matter)

Husband is asleep.

It’s 5:30 am… I might as well put the kettle on for coffee.

Happy Saturday everyone.

We’ve Got Work to Do.

Finding time to blog has been particularly difficult lately, but posting a picture with a little caption is a bit easier. If you want to keep up to date on what we’re doing in between blog posts please follow me on Instagram for more regular updates.

"I hate learning" homeschool challenge

One of the parenting moments I cherish the most are my talks with Max. I’ve been inviting Max out on a beach walk each day of our vacation and sometimes he takes me up on it.

“Mom, I’m never going to like learning.”

Silence.

“I mean, it’s nice to know stuff and I like the benefits of knowing things but I am never going to like actual learning.”

This is the kid that has basically every Pokemon memorized.  Who while at the aquarium, impressed strangers who overheard him telling me about parrotfish. The kid who enjoys reading and watching shows about trivia, and when I find something out to impress him usually responds with, “I know,” and gives me a fact I didn’t know back. Who tested into a center based gifted program at school and we didn’t even realize he was being tested for it…

… this person hates learning.

If learning is miserable to a kid like this, we’re basically all screwed.

This is my challenge for our homeschool year. After years of school I feel like now we have to go backwards in some ways instead of forward.  Back to the playing, the experimenting, back to the joyful and fun part of learning. And it makes me worry… is it possible to reframe our idea of learning and to find the joy in it?

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but it’s scary to hear that your child hates learning when you are about to be the one responsible for their education. I realized that switching gears from learning by demand to learning out of joy is a little bit of a delicate process.  I don’t want to find myself being just another person who pushes them to the point that they completely lose interest and yet, trusting the process and allowing them to “learn nothing” while exploring their interests is mildly terrifying.

Since summer is winding down and the regular school year is approaching, I am curious to see how the kids will feel when they don’t go back to school with everyone else.
And as my husband is planning his year of teaching ahead, I am thinking about mine.

For the kids, I have two overarching goals for our first homeschool year:

  1. Redefine learning as something enjoyable that never stops.
  2. Reconnect with the outdoors (it’s not just a place you go to get from one building to another).

For myself I have a number of other goals:

  1. Learn to follow their lead.
  2. Manage my expectations.
  3. Learn when to give them a gentle push and when I’m pushing too far.
  4. Create an environment that gives them opportunities to discover new things.
  5. Make time to let them teach me about the things they love (this will involve many Pokemon lessons).
  6. Not go completely insane panic (too often).
  7. Slow down and enjoy our time together.

So while the school year is gearing up, we’re still winding down.

 

 

Is LuLaRoe Worth the Hype? LuLaRoe Review and Giveaway

The first time I saw someone wearing a LuLaRoe dress was at a baby shower.

I think the room stopped and I felt a breeze as heads turned to compliment this dress. It fit the wearer perfectly, had a great bold print (but not overwhelming) and was, of course, complete with pockets.

Still, I was skeptical about LuLaRoe.  I couldn’t just go online and order what I wanted like I’m used to and I didn’t know a person who sold it. Until I *virtually* met Lindsay, a full time mama and part time LuLaRoe fashion consultant.

Lindsay was kind enough to let me give LuLaRoe a try in exchange for an honest review. She even tossed in a couple pairs of what she told me were super soft leggings as a giveaway.

I was excited about the opportunity and my interest was piqued, but I wasn’t so sure until I opened up my box of goodies.

Let’s start with those leggings:

LuLaRoe Leggings. LuLaRoe review and giveaway

LuLaRoe Leggings – $25.

In the interest of full disclosure I am not a patterned leggings girl.
Correction: I was a patterned leggings girl. I lived in patterned leggings when I was 10 and endured a bit of teasing about them. (Who’s laughing now, BTW.)

Having worked in a maternity store, I’ve also met my fair share of (solid color) soft leggings so I figured I’d be all “Meh, leggings. Been there, done that.”

But these leggings are really soft.

REALLY. Soft.

Like, I changed back into them and I’m wearing them as I type, soft.

LuLaRoe leggings have a nice thickness. They’re not too hot, but thick enough to be forgiving where leggings usually aren’t (back of thigh dimples, etc). They are also reasonably priced for a pair of leggings that you can wear as pants. (Yeah, I said it, deal with it.)  It might take me a little while to get over childhood trauma and wear these in actual public, but trust me when I say I’ll be wearing these around the house on a regular basis.  If you’re a patterned leggings kinda girl, you need these in your life. If you’re not, you might find yourself converted.

LuLaRoe Randy Tee. LuLaRoe review and giveaway

LuLaRoe Randy Top – $35

This unisex baseball tee is super long (I’m long waisted so nothing is long on me) which I loved. You can leave it out (and wear it with your leggings), tuck it in or knot it.  I love the fall colors on the sleeves of this one in particular. It’s relaxed through the body, so I’ll probably knot it and wear it with denim.  I’m in no rush for fall, but some cute clothes can soften the blow.

LuLaRoe Nicole Dress. LuLaRoe review and giveaway

LuLaRoe Review and Giveaway

LuLaRoe Nicole Dress – $48

I’ve mentioned in a few of my past reviews that length is a problem for me.  With 4 kids I just don’t have time to worry about whether or not my butt is going to hang out of my clothing when I bend over to pick them up. So right out of the box I knew I was going to love the length of this dress.

Even though I am not a “print person” per se I do admit that prints are great for camouflaging bumpy parts… and soft fabrics while soft are great for accentuating bumpy parts… so the idea of this super soft solid dress made me worried that it would be cellulite city.

I credit the cut of this dress for being a little bit magical. The fabric is super soft, and is lightweight, but the way the skirt lets out is just… perfect. It just kinda skims over the parts you need it to skim over.  This dress completely defied my expectations, fits like a million bucks, and yet, it’s under $50. Winner.

 

LuLaRoe Cassie Skirt Review and Giveaway

LuLaRoe Review Cassie Skirt and Giveaway

LuLaRoe Cassie Skirt- $35

I. Love. This. Skirt.
I will be wearing this skirt to all the things.  It’s hard to see in the picture but the skirt has a little texture to it and a nice thickness. It’s really soft and stretchy. It can easily be adjusted to make it short or long… and depending on the print you get, you can dress it up or down. It’s probably my new favorite article of clothing in my closet.

So… That’s it!
The verdict is: LuLaRoe is absolutely worth the hype. The clothes are well designed and flattering and suuuper comfortable. The prices are really good and even if all the prints and styles aren’t your thing, they’ve got enough variety that you can make it your own.

There are LuLaRoe Fashion Consultants all around the country, but if you’re interested in trying it out, please check out my girl Lindsay on Facebook here.

Lindsay has a sale coming up July 28th at 8pm EST and more coming up after that.  LuLaRoe puts out limited prints to keep things fresh, which means if you see something you love you gotta snag it fast.

Wanna try a pair of leggings for yourself?

I’ve got two pairs to giveaway!
Enter even if you don’t think you’re a printed leggings person. Seriously.

 

LuLaRoe Legging Giveaway *CLOSED!*
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TWO WINNERS!

Fits sizes 2-12

LuLaRoe Legging Giveaway

Navy and red Tall & Curvy legging
fits sizes 12-24

LuLaRoe Giveaway Tall And Curvy Leggings

 

Giveaway items and clothing provided by Lindsay Ethier, LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant in exchange for an honest review. If you would like for me to review your product please contact me at SarahJamillah at Gmail.  

 

LuLaRoe Review and giveaway!

A Week of Science, Nature, Poetry and Activism.

I had so much to share and theeeeeeennn the power went out.

We’ve just gotten the lights back on after a nasty storm on Tuesday.  A large branch came through our backyard, but luckily no one was hurt and there was no major damage.

So here’s a little catch up:

We kept ourselves pretty busy last week with a couple trips to the river, the park and the Science Museum of Virginia.

Getting the kids more in touch with nature is one of the primary reasons that we’re homeschooling next year; I’ll definitely write about our nature walks in the future but there’s so much to talk about I’ll have to skip over that for now.

Review of the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, VA
Speed at the Science Museum of Virginia

The Science Museum of Virginia has a special Science After Dark event on the third Friday of every month. While we used to be members of the Science Museum, we had not been since they opened their newest exhibit, Speed. Speed is all about… well… speed and it takes place under the sprawling fuselage of an SR-71 Blackbird. We had been skipping over the old exhibit in that space on our last visits, so it was pretty exciting to see how they had revamped the space, somehow jamming the jet into the museum as though it were a ship inside a bottle.

 

Science Museum of Virginia review 2016
Selfie with winds going 80 miles an hour.

At the exhibit, we compared rates of plant growth, watched high speed videos in slow motion, played air hockey against a robot, watched the traffic of the city on timelapse (and saw ourselves enter the museum), raced down a track to clock our own speed and even withstood hurricane winds… and we definitely didn’t check out everything.

Speed exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia

The Science Museum of Virginia Richmond 2016 Review

In addition to Speed, there was a new (to us) play area for younger kids that all the boys loved.

Science Museum of Virginia Richmond Review

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There’s always a ton going on at the Science Museum of Virginia but Science after Dark offered a few additional activities like making marble mazes and floating bubbles.  Langston loved the giant lite brite.

Review of Science After Dark at the Science Museum of Virginia

Activities at Science After Dark at the Science Museum of Virginia

The Science Museum of Virginia has been making some major changes in the past few years and if you haven’t been, it’s definitely worth the trip.

On Sunday we had an opportunity to participate in a really cool event: Haikus for Change. McLean Jesse and Liz Blake White, the two wonderful women behind this project, wanted a creative and unique way of reaching out to our legislators – through haiku.

Haikus for Change

Participants were encouraged to boil down their thoughts, hopes, and concerns about recent events into just 17 syllables, which would then be copied and mailed off to our local representatives.   Max participated by working with me  to collaboratively write his very first haiku (which he has asked for me not to share, but will be mailed).

 

Thinking about homeschool next year has definitely given me a different perspective on how we’ve spent our days.  While I still find the concept of homeschool mildly terrifying, it has been encouraging  to find that opportunities to learn about the natural world, physics, civics and poetry came so readily in our daily lives.  Not all weeks will be this way of course, but this was a good one and has helped me personally in my effort to change how I think about education.

 

 

The Longest Summer Ever Begins.

 

The first official day of our Longest Summer Ever fell on the longest day of the year.

I mentioned in my last post about how we would not be returning to school in the fall and we’re spending the next 6 months or so exploring our interests and getting out to see some cool stuff.

Without the anchor of the school day, things turn into a free-for-all pretty quickly.  And while I normally don’t mind what I call “summer chaos”, I’m very aware that I won’t be packing up that chaos and shipping it off to school in September.

For one thing, electronics are a real problem in our house.  For everyone, not just for the kids. I originally didn’t want to set any strict limits on “screen time”; I don’t really mind the kids being on the computer so long as there’s a bit of balance.

After thinking about how to deal with our electronics issue, I decided that we’d build a loose schedule to follow on the weekdays (and a separate one for weekends).  Having internet “black out” times works better for us than earning time on the computer or even having a set amount of time they’re allowed on the computer.  In the past, those structures caused the kids to be preoccupied with whether or not they’d get to be on the computer and for how long.  This way, they know they’ll get their time and have multiple opportunities to play video games so there’s no need to bargain/discuss/think about it/talk about it. It’s not about punishment or reward; it’s just a thing we do sometimes and not others.

The focus is on creating a few new habits to last us into the fall when Jeff goes back to school but the kids do not.

Since the kids wake up at various times, we decided we’d start our day at 9am. Before that, if the kids would like to be on electronics or play outside in their pjs or lay around in bed a little, that’s fine.

So our “structure” looks a little bit like this:
9:00 begins our unplugged time with breakfast/getting dressed/chores
10-4 is unplugged free time. This is when we’re likely to take a trip out anyway.
4-6 is computer/tv time
6:00 is  dinner
Followed by 1 hour of reading for the entire family
A little more free time if we have time for it and the bedtime routine begins at 8:30.
9:30 lights out.

How’d we do on day 1?

Well, the unplugged time went better than I expected.  Usually, once the electronics are ripped from their white-knuckled-grip the kids do pretty well. The house is exponentially louder… and messier, but the kids do pretty well.

Today we took Marlowe out to see Finding Dory for his first ever movie experience and despite spilling his popcorn and getting folded up in the seat a few times, it was a success.

First movie finding dory

We did ditch the hour of free time (and our bedtimes) to head out with a telescope to a nearby field to see the strawberry moon.

We didn’t get a chance to see the moon until the ride home because the trees were too high, but it didn’t really matter.  We saw Mars and Jupiter, watched bats feast above our heads, chased some fireflies and lay around in the grass looking up at the stars.

Star gazing kids A multifaceted Mama

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We used the Sky Guide app to help us identify a few planets and stars. Marlowe kept yelling “Mars is coming! Mars is coming!”

Sometimes, you gotta bend the schedule even on day one.

longest summer ever a multifaceted mama

I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, but it was a nice start to our Longest Summer Ever.