Saturday, November 8, 2014

Homeschool Thursday

This week we were surprised by a full on snow storm when flurries had been predicted.  Fourteen inches or more fell all through the day Sunday with strong winds.  We were without power for about 24 hours, though for many of our friends its been more than 3 days. I was sure that the 50 degrees and rain predicted for this week would melt that freak snow, but 4 days later there's still 8 inches or more in places. I really hope it will warm up enough to feed my bees once more.

  Notice the one oak still all leafed out in gold.

I have to admit that while we enjoy the snow, and were excited to strap on skis for the first time this season, I am concerned by this new pattern of extreme summer and winters and very short autumn and spring seasons. It seems like since starting this blog nearly 4 years ago I have written several posts about weather anomaly--all of them occurring during spring or fall.  This year we've had a beautiful, warm, summer-like fall, all the way through October.  Then, two days into November it is suddenly winter.  We had perhaps a week or two of actual fall like weather. Its easy to be flip about this crazy weather, but honestly it has me scared for our kids' futures.  What extremes will they be parenting their way through.  What global devastation in the wake of climate change will they endure?  I could get all worked up about it, but instead I'll share this powerful, uplifting piece on the issue.  Its well worth your time, though it will make you cry.  This poem was presented at the last UN conference by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner of the Marshall Islands.

But, if you end up with a foot of snow in November, you may as well enjoy it.

We started the week skiing and sledding, but have since been slowed by a virus.  Headache, fever, dizziness has dragged each of the kids to the couch for audio books, piles of picture books, and YouTube videos of Garfield and Friends (its their new kick).  So far the adults are holding their own against this bug.  

Schoolwork, when we're sick becomes very passive.  Yesterday and today before the fever really took hold we listened to and discussed the "Sign of the Beaver" on audio, as part of a longer study we've been doing on Native Americans.  As we listen we work quietly on some kind of art.  This week I've been bringing out the different hand work, reintroducing ourselves to quite, creative outlets to keep us busy during these more indoor months. Wylie's been working on a weaving projects, Juniper has begun a small embroidery project, and is asking for a Rug Hooking Kit,  and Kale has started including bodies on his people drawings.  I've been knitting up a pile of small projects (for a later post).

We're studying the history of Maine this year, and have been focusing so far on Wabanaki Indians specifically, as well as reading about other tribes and the history of Native Americans in our part of the country.  We've been planning to build our own Wigwam, but the snow has put that plan on hold.  We did get some tiny ones made.

Other books we've been reading on the subject are "Thanks to the Animals" by Allen Sockabasin, "The Wigwam and the Longhouse" by Charlotte Yue, "Malian's Song" by Marge Bruchac, "Brother Eagle, Sister Sky" by Susan Jeffers, "Abanaki Legends", and the Magic Treehouse book "Buffalo Before Breakfast". We also watched the documentary "Off the Rez", which had some language I wasn't excited about (for my kids) but was fairly effective in showing the prejudices and hardships faced by Native Americans even in current times, which was the point I was trying to make.  So it worked.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

First Snow!

We're hunkering down beside the woodstove and enjoying the snowy views this morning.  Baking and filling water jugs in case of power outages.  Maybe a Yatzee tournament this afternoon.