Archive for April, 2006

A Little Heavy Reading?

April 30, 2006 @ 3:24 am | Filed under: ,

Apparently Wonderboy thought I needed to catch up on my reading…he painstakingly transferred the contents of my windowsill to the free half of my lap. Jane caught him making his getaway.


What’s in the pile, in case you’re wondering (from the bottom up):

The Beginning Naturalist: Weekly Encounters With the Natural World by Gale Lawrence.
The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton.
A Child’s History of the World by V. Hillyer.
Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall.
Loyola Kids Book of Heroes by Amy Welborn.
Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson.
A Treasury of Children’s Literature.
Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, edited by Michael Rosen.
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray.
Mattimeo by Brian Jacques.
Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Familiaris Consortio by Pope John Paul II.
Catholic Homeschool Companion, Wittman & Mackson.
Letters to the Corinthians.
Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger.

Party of Five

April 29, 2006 @ 9:27 am | Filed under:

Rose: “Mom, how do you spell Latin?”

Jane, looking up from Sunflower Houses: “Mom, look at this! It’s a bunch of riddles about flowers…hmm, ‘The name of a boy and an old-fashioned weapon…’ ”

Beanie: “Did you know O has a brother?”

Rose: “How do you spell Japanese?”

Beanie: “The brother of O is Q!”

Jane: ” ‘A state in the South and a one-year-old child…’ Virginia creeper!”

Rose: “How do you spell Gaelic?”

Wonderboy: “Mommy help!” (points at stacking cup under table)

Rose: “How do you spell Chinese?”

Jane: “Do you say PEEanee or peOHnee?”

Beanie: “Peony peony peony! I like that name.”

Rose: “How do you spell German?”

Wonderboy: “Mommy help!” (different cup, now under couch)

Baby: “Meep.”

Jane: ” ‘The child of a suffragette known in our land…’ I know about the suffragettes but I don’t know their children’s names.”

Beanie: (sings) “Oh we were sufferin’…until suff-er-age…not a woman here could vote no matter what age…”

Rose: “How do you spell Irish?”

Beanie: “Until the nineteenth a-somethin’ struck down that ra-structive rule….oh yeah!”

Jane: “Amendment.”

Wonderboy: “Mommy count!” (All stacking cups are now lined up in a row.)

Jane: ” ‘A pleasant expression, and one sharp-edged tool…’ The only thing left is smilax, which fits, but what is it?”

Wonderboy: “Ee! Oh! Eye!” (This is how one counts sans consonants.)

Beanie: “Peony. Penny. Penny Knocknutter. When I have a child I’m going to name her Penny Knocknutter.”

Baby: (noisily fills diaper)

Rose: “How do you spell…oh, no, wait, I know that one. G—R—E—E—K.”

Wonderboy: “Boom!”

(Intersperse responses from slightly dizzy mother as appropriate.)

Big Huge Exciting News

April 27, 2006 @ 4:23 pm | Filed under:


Stood Up.

All. By. Himself.

If you have not been following Wonderboy’s adventures, you might be wondering what the big deal is about that. He turned two in December, can walk and climb stairs, and enjoys trying to jump. But his particular developmental delays (a combination of several factors including high muscle tone, poor motor planning, hearing loss, and other issues) have caused him to have peculiar gaps in his gross motor skills. He cannot sit up from a lying-down position (neither belly nor back), and until today, he had never managed to stand up without assistance.

But today, during one of their typical roughhouse/practice sessions, Scott put the Boy on his belly, and to our delight and his own jubilation, Wonderboy pushed up onto his knees, and then slowly, with great effort, continued pushing until he was on his feet, hands still touching the floor. He rocked backward a bit, found his balance, shifted his hands one at a time to his knees—and straightened up. And broke into a thousand-watt grin. And cheered and laughed and stomped his feet.

And threw himself for joy into his daddy’s arms.


Fired Up

April 27, 2006 @ 3:49 am | Filed under:

Jane comes home from nature studies camp, soot-streaked and beaming.

Me: “Did you have a good time?”

Jane, jubilantly: “We made FIRES!”

I guess that would be a yes.

64th Carnival of Education

April 27, 2006 @ 3:30 am | Filed under:

Hosted by Education Wonk. I found this piece on a Maryland private school particularly interesting. Fairhaven operates on the Sudbury model, but the blog piece by Matt Johnston doesn’t mention Sudbury or explore the tenets of a Sudbury/unschooling education. Johnston has doubts as to whether Fairhaven’s students are receiving any kind of an education at all:

But the problem with this style of progressive educational model is that it is based on the whims of children, a notoriously shifting footing for a school to operate.

Experience is a wonderful teacher, but without guided reflection, without guided experience, nothing is learned from experience and no one can learn from the experiences of others. Afterall, you can’t keep reinventing the wheel and then expect to build a spaceship.

Unschoolers and Sudbury advocates would argue that “guided reflection” does occur for these students, primarily through informal but efficacious conversation with the adults in their lives.

What amazes me about Fairhaven is that there are that many parents willing to pay $6600 a year for the kind of self-directed education their children could experience at home absolutely for free.

The Weed Formerly Known as Cow Parsley

April 26, 2006 @ 8:31 am | Filed under:

If you’ve been following the comments of my last post, you know that we’ve been trying to nail down the identity of Jane’s mystery mint relative. Theresa noticed its similarity to a wildflower Dawn was trying to identify.

These two weeds have led us on a merry hunt this morning. Alas, Jane isn’t home today, so our chief botanist is missing all the fun. Here’s what we have learned:

This plant, which my children have always called cow parsley,


isn’t cow parsley after all.

I don’t know where they came up with the name in reference to this particular plant, but it’s been in use around here for years. They rejoice at its arrival in our lawn every spring, for they love to suck the nectar honeysuckle-fashion from its tiny orchid-like flowers.

Dawn’s mystery wildflower appears to be the same plant, but when I looked up what I thought was its name this morning, I discovered that cow parsley is an altogether different plant (also called wild chervil).

In the course of the investigation, we happened upon a picture of Jane’s mystery mint relative. (She knew it was a mint because of its square stem.) Here’s her plant:


Rose can’t wait for Jane to get home so she can tell her this plant, which grows in abundance in what used to be my south-wall flower bed, is called ground ivy. (Also: creeping Charlie, field balm, cats-foot, and gill-over-the-hill; officially Glechoma hederacea L.)

Meanwhile, Dawn tracked down our not-cow-parsley plant: Henbit!

(Won’t Jane be surprised.)