Saturday, August 31, 2013


A portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.
Reed- and so it just got ten times busier
Siena-heat wave hit Midwest this week, we were barely ever outside

As always joining Jodi's 52 project over at

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Week of Homeschooling

learning how to play guitar
borrowing daddy's drafting table for now,
so no space for pencils and other desk accessories due to the angle of the desk

Siena's homeschooling room is probably my favorite room in the house

          After many hours of thinking and talking about this we had decided to homeschool Siena at least for awhile. This then led to lots of research and trying to decide on what we wanted from this whole experience for her. One large, possibly largest reason for our decision in the first place was that we thought school is simply too long and too formal. That led us to think that our main aim for this whole homeschooling experience is supporting a natural curiosity and interest in learning through a curriculum that is seamless with ordinary life and yet carefully considered. What that boils down to really is focusing on Siena having fun and having rich experiences. Our curriculum is inspired and guided by her interests, seasonal changes and by activities and experiences available to us at any given time.
          There are several central elements/themes to our curriculum. One theme is reminiscent of Waldorf type focus on seasonal change. We are attempting to fit the types of stories we read, the projects we do and the activities we engage in into a narrative about the seasons. Much of our curriculum relies on Waldorf logic behind education, including using music and songs in appropriate ways, knitting as our Winter project, having a nature table, baking bread with Siena, a lot of magical storytelling about gnomes and fairies and forest creatures. After all letting Siena be a kid as long as she can is also a key reason we are homeschooling. One aspect of Waldorf education that I find particularly important is not having a TV and having little to no screen time for the kids. With Siena at least this has been extremely easy. We have never had a TV in the house so it never seemed to be an issue.
          Another element/theme to our curriculum is the incorporation of trimester long projects: given our seasonal focus, we are separating the academic year into three parts, the Autumn, the Winter and the Spring Curriculum. For each one of these trimesters there is a larger project that is an overarching theme for the other subjects. In the Fall, Siena is writing a story about harvest. We are using this as a taking off point for her writing and reading on some days and for her science experiments and research on others. She is also going to illustrate, and produce the book herself. In the Winter we are going to focus on learning how to Knit (which is also another big part of the Waldorf curriculum). We are going to examine the sources of wool, raising of animals and creative expression through a craft. During the Spring trimester we are considering several options for a larger project including starting a garden (if weather cooperates enough that that can be done in April) or writing a play.
          Our first full week of homeschooling is drawing to a close and so far we are loving it. We have already learned so much about how we can improve this experience. So far the biggest revelation for me though came before we started homeschooling, it was while we were preparing the curriculum, and this big revelation is this: I just had to stop looking through curriculums eventually. There is so much out there and so much better probably out there, but eventually, once I had found something that we were happy with, I just had to commit to it. In fact what forced us (we are alternating days that we homeschool which is a challenge in itself) to stop looking was that the beginning of the school year was fast approaching. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013. 
 Siena: playing with dad. Siena just got her very first guitar - and has been loving playing with daddy
 Reed: lest he be excluded or forgotten- he bested Siena with a ukulele and a recorder (which he used as a bow on a cello?- charitable interpretation!)

As always inspired by (and joining with) Jodi in her 52 week project over at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013. 

Reed- because you can never have enough corn if you are in Iowa
Siena-first day of school morning- playing her new guitar

Inspired by Jodi at

Saturday, August 10, 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013. 

Siena-was the happiest camper in the world :P
Reed- a boy, a drum, and the open air

Inspired by Jodi over at

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Reed's very first (and second and third) bike ride- he is in love.
Siena's very first camping- and the magic that came with it- exploring caves, eating smores, playing with her new and very first real guitar, catching fireflies, hiking, staying up late, and her very favorite bit- having friends around 24/7.
Siena and Reed both were mesmerized with the fireflies, frogs, fish, birds and other wildlife they encountered, although Siena still hesitated to catch her own firefly or handle a cicada. I hesitated to go to bathroom at night around all the brazen raccoons.
Their very first camping trip was all I'd hope it would be- Siena's already asking when we are going next.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Back at home, and finally settled in- garden started, house cleaned, kids over jet lag, and routine established and enjoyed, ahhh. Joining in with Jodi on her 52 project over at

A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013. 
Reed-the weather back home has been mild, great excuse for a lovely hat we got from a friend
Siena-mommy cried and cried, tooth fairy came and brought a doll of herself:) and a came too fast- it really has

Big time catch up....28/52, 29/52, 30/52

We've been gone for 6 weeks, off to Europe for a long vacation, and fun in the Greek sun. While that's all nice and dandy - it did result in missing weeks and weeks of the 52 project (inspired by the brilliant Jodi at Hoping to catch up now that we are back. Having been back for about a week we have reveled in the things we missed most about being home- hiking, blueberry picking and preserving, starting our garden (in August!), finally switching over our nature table to summer (better late than never), and just enjoying our time together. The traveling was amazing, but it seemed like our focus was always somewhere else- seeing friends and family, doing the touristy thing and even some work and work-related travel. Now that we are back I truly hope to do this 52 week thing seriously, because if the travel taught me anything it is how fast time flies. When we left Reed barely had started to walk, didn't say a word and was an all around baby. Now he runs, says all sorts of crazy things and understands even more. Can't think of a better reason to remember to document the magic of it all.




A portrait of my children, (hopefully) once a week, every week in 2013.
 Inspired and joining Jodi ( on the 52 week project- catch up

Reed 28- running on the lawn behind our apartment in Greece
Siena 28-we are not big on soda in our house, so Fanta was Siena's big revelation in Greece, still talks about it
Reed 29-what could be better than sand, sister's Fanta laden straw with sun cream and salt to boot
Siena 29- Athitos- ice cream, and dramatic cliff views
Reed 30- in daddy's arms at a friends's birthday party
Siena 30- gravity seems shocking