Time is Precious

There is so much truth here. Some days we are on fire and we homeschool actively for 4 hours. We are both focused and ambitious and productive. And then we might have three days where we get our maths done and our reading but not much else. And yet we already have way more down on paper to show for our time homeschooling than we ever had all together from four years in public school. Not to mention, he’s happy. No more angry outbursts. No more wishing he was dead, from him or his peers.

It has not been easy but I am so glad I finally found the courage to say yes to homeschooling.

Monkey Mum

How much time in school, is actually spent learning?

I’ve been in the education system, one way or another, for 30 of my 35 years: first as a school pupil, then as a University student, and then as a teacher. Since we made the decision to home educate our children, I started thinking about the typical school day. And how many of the hours that a child spends in school, are actually spent “learning”.

So here is my take on it.

Firstly, I’d like to point out that I am basing my calculations on my own experience of the UK primary schools I have taught in. The day length, the timetable, the efficiency (or lack of it) in and between lessons is based purely on my own teaching experience. However, the schools I have taught in have been pretty average, middle of the road, state mainstream, Ofsted-rated Good schools, so it’s…

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How to Parent Like a German

We are moving from our very rural setting to a small community where Trey will be able to walk to school and to the community park. We are both very excited. He has been very bold and daring on our visits to the new house, going out and exploring and even making friends in his new community.

So much of this we took for granted when I was a child growing up on military bases. I am so glad he will have this opportunity. Although he *is* pushing for a cell phone which I said he could have as soon as he could afford the monthly fees on his own. We never had cell phones and we survived. How do you feel about turning your child loose in the world without a cell phone? I saw my stepdaughter’s cell phone as more of a liability than an asset. Too easy to get into trouble with giving her number to strangers, sending inappropriate messages and photos, making inappropriate plans with inappropriate people. It was just too much unsupervised freedom. A cell phone can be used by a 14 year old to call home or to score drugs or arrange a hook up with someone too old. I wonder how most cell phones are used by teens. My stepdaughter survived all the pitfalls and has turned out great. She’s an amazing young lady who is fairly street smart and very self disciplined and motivated. She had a lot of freedom growing up. (Especially before the evil stepmonster showed up when she was 13.)

How do determine what is safe and what is too much freedom for your child?

TIME

The first time I went to a playground in Berlin, I freaked. All the German parents were huddled together, drinking coffee, not paying attention to their children who were hanging off a wooden dragon 20 feet above a sand pit. Where were the piles of soft padded foam? The liability notices? The personal injury lawyers?

Achtung! Nein!” I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me.

Contrary to stereotypes, most German parents I’ve met are the opposite of strict. They place a high value on independence and responsibility. Those parents at the park weren’t ignoring their children; they were trusting them. Berlin doesn’t need a “free range parenting” movement because free range is the norm.

Here are a few surprising things Berlin parents do:

Don’t push reading. Berlin’s kindergartens or “kitas” don’t emphasize academics. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my…

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Grief

I couldn’t sleep last night and this is what came to mind. There are those of us who hold it together no matter what shit hits the fan. And there are those of us that don’t. Some of us in the moment of crisis appear calm and collected only to lose their shit later. Some of us take longer than others to get over being hurt. Some never recover. And that’s okay. The calm collected ones get us through the crisis and keep our heads above water when we can no longer swim. But don’t write off the person who falls apart, possibly for years, in the wake of tragedy. Don’t think of them as broken, failures or losers, because they’re not. In your time of need they are the ones you will want by your side. The ones who will take good care of you, feed you, bathe you, dress your wounds or hold your hands as you move towards healing or leaving this earth. Both personalities have their strengths and weaknesses. And it takes all types, don’t ever forget that.

where does the time go and how *does* she do it?

Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last. I have been busy, at least I think I have been, however I don’t seem to have a lot to show for all my efforts. Mostly I have been working on my garden. The growing season here in Nova Scotia is quite short and time is of the essence when it comes to getting your plants in early enough to have them develop into ripe fruit and vegetables before the first autumn frost. We built four new 8′ x 4′ vegetable beds and had to extend the fencing to enclose this and keep the chickens out. Currently I am in the process of building four more small 2.5′ x 2.5′ foot raised beds for winter squash and snap peas. So far I have in cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, Swiss chard, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, winter squash, watermelon, corn, asparagus, celery, snap peas, bush beans, beets and some zucchini. I will be putting in pole beans as soon as the corn is tall enough which should be in a matter of a week or two. I love gardening but it is time-consuming. The flowerbeds have needed weeding and still do although I have managed to get some done.

In other spring/summer news, we got seven new baby chicks in May, four speckled Sussex and three barred Plymouth Rock.

chicks

speckled sussex, chicks,

Trey with his new babies

Unfortunately one of the speckled Sussex died in the first week that we had it, not sure exactly what happened it just passed away one morning. I had one part Plymouth Rock that was not growing, all the others had feathered out and she still had nothing but fuzz and a couple feathers on her wings.

Plymouth rock chick, speckled sussex, failure to thrive

tiny plymouth rock chick between two chicks the same age as her.

She was smaller by quite a bit- probably less than half the size of the other chickens her age. I left them outside yesterday and sadly she did not come home at night. Perhaps it was too soon to let them out unsupervised. I know the Eagles have been circling over our property quite a bit lately. Generally, they don’t land, but perhaps one of them decided it wanted chicken McNuggets for lunch. Little Mama has also hatched out two eggs. Not sure what they will look like as they are just eggs from my 1/2 auracana and the mutt Rooster that we currently have. They sure are cute though.

Breeze has recently decided that my two year education in massage therapy must not go to waste and is demanding more than just cuddles. She wants full on chicken massage. I may have found my true calling. At one point she actually had her head laying in my hand as I worked on her neck and wings. She sure is cute in a terrifyingly demanding fluffy dinosaur descendant kind of way.

 

One of my young hens from last year was attacked by something (probably a cat) and had to be nursed back to health. She was in bad shape when I found her, she had been missing for three days and when she showed up her face was swollen and cut up and she was bald in many places and quite lame. I put her in a Rubbermaid container and kept her in my studio for two weeks so she had time to heal without the other girls pecking her. She certainly enjoyed all the special food and warmth. I have to say I didn’t appreciate her rather pungent perfume though. But I’m so glad she pulled through. She’s especially curious and friendly now after having so much one on one time in the house. So that’s the latest chicken drama.

cat attacked chicken

Looking worse for wear

In other news, I’ve recently taken up running, which I’m quite proud of. It’s another thing I always said I would never do and like the other things on that list, I’ve been forced to eat my words. I’m actually enjoying it, which quite surprises me. I’m running out on the dyke lands near Atreyu’s school after I drop him off in the morning. I first started running on the trails behind our house but one of the Nova Scotia power workers stopped to inform us that there was a mother bear with three cubs in the area and that she had just been spotted an hour ago over the hill where we run. Trey had been telling me he could hear something in the woods but I didn’t take him very seriously (although normally he doesn’t say anything like that so perhaps I should have). I’m just glad we didn’t see her. So my cousin told me about the Dyke lands and I have to say they are much nicer to run on as they are quite level, theres a cool breeze and you can see for miles.

dykes, marshland, standard poodle. nova scotia

running in the dyke land farmer’s fields.

And I’m proud to say that I am seeing progress in my cardiovascular health. Which is the main reason I wanted to start running, although I have to admit it would be nice to lose a few pounds. That hasn’t happened yet. Which is disappointing as I have been consistently running 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes for almost three months now. Initially I would walk and run. I was probably walking more than running but now I am up to running most of it with a couple short breaks to catch my breath. I am so proud🙂

poodle. nova scotia,

Beautiful morning

poodle

Rainy day walk

We had my very good friend Gabby come to visit with her three awesome children. They only stayed overnight but it was so nice to see them. I sure wish she would move to the east coast…At the very least I hope next year they can stay longer.

Glenn has been home and then back to work a few times since I posted last. Its always nice to have him home, even if it does mean my schedule gets scrambled. I don’t know how other people manage their lives so smoothly. I am in awe of women who are mothers and work outside the home and manage to present a polished face to the world. I don’t work outside the home, I only have one child (who is in school) and I feel run off my feet. I consider it a successful day if I manage to shower and make my bed…

congratulations

To be fair he has kept me quite busy over the past few years as we have struggled to help him find his place in the world. But I truly don’t know how people do it. I am so grateful for the life I do have as I don’t think I could keep my sanity and be fit to be around if I had more on my plate. For years I did work full-time and I managed somehow to keep things pulled together. But I wasn’t a Mom. I’d be a crazy, cranky Mom if I had to work full time too….

patienceAs it is, I consider it a successful day of parenting if nobody died.

 

I don’t feel like I could do it now. I just feel like my life has been one chaotic event after another and I’m not as resilient as I wish I was. I’m trying but it doesn’t come easy. I adjust to one thing and then there is another life changing event. I feel like I just suck at managing change and challenges. I better keep working on that since we are also in the planning stages of adding on to our house, once again. Mom will be moving in as soon as her house sells. I am not looking forward to the chaos of renovations, however, I am looking forward to the finished result. The house should have better flow and having mom here will be awesome. Trey is super excited. He keeps saying his dream house would have everyone living in it together. Poor child should’ve been born into a large family but I guess that kind of was the plan, it just didn’t work out that way. He so wanted siblings he tried so hard to love his stepsister even though she was going through her difficult and unpleasant teenage years and was frequently hateful to him. He doesn’t hold it against her though, he still wishes that she and her older brother were living here at home with us.

Creatively I have been painting just not finishing a whole lot. I stalled on my last piece I posted about as I couldn’t decide what to do regarding putting a quote on the painting or not. I had a quote in mind however I was nervous as my hand lettering is not that good. Perhaps the suggestion to leave it as is and make prints with a quote on them is wisest. I have been trying to get into the studio for at least two hours every day to work on my art. I know once I get in the studio I always enjoy myself and the time passes without me noticing however it’s hard to get there some days when you know seeds need to be planted, dishes need to be washed, laundry needs folding, and you want to take the dog for a run, etc, etc… I know it’s all about priorities and as Melissa Dinwiddie (http://melissadinwiddie.com/) and Corey Huff (http://theabundantartist.com/) stress; you have to put your art first if you want to be successful. So here are some pictures of some work that is in progress in the studio right now. Some of the pieces are closer to completion than others but I thought I should post something since it has been so long.work in progress, painting, crow

painting in progress, crow

early stage of painting in progress

crow, raven, painting

in progress

raven in oak tree

getting close to being done

raven, oak tree

I’m curious about the people who might be reading this, do you struggle with making your art (or dreams)a priority? Do you have a studio in your house? Or is it away from home? I would think having a studio away from my house would probably mean I would get more work done. Perhaps I will be able to manage that someday. In the meantime tell me how do you do it? How do you manage to get everything done in the run of the day? Is it easy for you? Or do you struggle as well?

Blossom time

raven, crow, spring, apple blossom, tree raven, crow, spring, apple blossom, tree

It’s cheery and bright and is quite a deviation from what I usually paint, but here it is as it stands at this moment. Not sure what is next…

Apple blossom, raven, tree, spring

What next?

IMG_1260

What do you think so far? I’m contemplating overlaying a quote in the upper right clear area. Any input on that? Yea or nay?

The Easter Bunny is extinct!

There are no chocolate bunnies left in the Annapolis Valley! Oh no! What will we do?

So at the last minute I realized I don’t have any easter chocolate for Trey. Whoops. I made a desperate trip out to town to see what I could find. It wasn’t much. Everyone is cleaned out. And there were still lots of people out looking besides myself. (good to know I’m not the only bad Mom) There was actually a woman at the superstore customer service desk in quite a lather because she knew someone who bought two whole cases of chocolate bunnies there three days ago and it wasn’t fair because now there is none left for everyone else!!!… And I swear, although I’m crazy at times, it wasn’t me doing the complaining. It’s only candy, and although it *is* chocolate, even I know no one is going to die without it. The crap those customer service ladies have to put up with must be enough to make them slightly batty.

crazy

Oh well, I did get a chocolate chicken and some tootsie rolls and jelly beans for his treasure hunt. His main thing is a Dungeons and Dragons introductory redbox kit and a needle felting kit. Yes, I am trying to home grow a geek. And I’m proud of myself for making the rhyming clues that go in each egg weeks ago so it shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow night. Since Trey is with his Dad I have an extra days grace, we won’t do the egg hunt until Easter Monday. So hopefully I’ll get more painting done tomorrow. Here is where I think I will leave off…

Crow, branch, apple blossom, spring

I’m cross eyed so it’s time for bed. Hope you have a peaceful Easter Sunday tomorrow🙂

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Trying to get better pictures…

Photographing paintings is very challenging. It’s hard to get a good representation of the real thing. Individual computer monitors, lighting, contrast, brightness, glare…. it’s something I’m really struggling with.

My brother was kind enough to come take pictures for me today but his computer died before he was able to finish burning them for me so I only have a few to post.

I’m finding this one is looking a little dark on my monitor…

painting, Two Ravens  on a birch branch full moon

Looks really dark on my monitor.

I never did post any close ups so here are a few that I took with my iphone, so not the best quality but it’s what I have.ravens, birch, full moon, moon, night, branchmoon, raven, night, crow, birchraven, night, moon, birch, carylic, paintingraven, branch, birch, moon. I haven’t named  this painting and would love to hear any feedback on that.

It’s been much longer between posts than I had hoped it would be but you know how it is, life gets busy sometimes. I have managed to get a bit more painting done on the piece I posted about last. I wasn’t happy with the neck on one of the birds and ended up changing that and in the process I made the background much more vibrant. I love bright green. My house is bright green, my studio walls are bright green and Atreyu’s room is bright green. With spring finally peeking at Nova Scotia I am craving colour! This painting should fit the bill!bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressHere is a little close up of the heckyl and Jeckyl🙂bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressThe guy on the left is the one I adjusted the neck on. Here is what it was before in case you were wondering…

raven painting

before

and the guy on the right now…bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progress

 

I’m planning on adding some apple blossoms next. But first I am off to take Jaxxon for a walk with my friend Sydney and her gorgeous, huge doodle named Finnegan. I’ll post later with an update after I start the flowers. Hope you are all having an awesome long weekend!