Eeyore Error


It just so happens that I’m a big fan of A.A. Milne and have read the Pooh stories to my children going on 28 years now and soon I’ll be reading them to grandchildren. It’s interesting that in the modern twist of victim hood the character of Eeyore has been sadly misinterpreted. The above meme implies that there is nothing wrong with Eeyore’s constant negativity and that all of his friends welcome him as he is.

Each of Milne’s characters has a flaw that makes them difficult to have as a friend, which seems to be the point of the stories. Owl knows it all, Rabbit can’t stop telling people what to do, Tigger won’t sit still, Piglet is afraid of everything and so it goes. While acceptance is important, your personal growth is even more important. All of the flaws stem from a selfish aspect of each character where they may be able to see what’s wrong with someone else but of course their flaw is fine and all should accept them as they are. We all need to choose to be happier people that others will enjoy being around.

I’ve found that the people who shout the most about being accepted just as they are, are generally the people that don’t accept others which is why they’re sitting over in a corner by themselves or bouncing through life knocking everyone over while they continue on in their selfish way. I’ve had the great misfortune to be both of those things at different times. Actually, I possess all the character flaws that Christopher Robin’s friends have and I never seem to vanquish them thoroughly!

None of us are or will ever be flawlessly perfect but on this journey through life as we rub up against others in an ever increasingly healthy way we can and will reduce the selfish things in our nature and be able to invite, not just more, but different people into our lives. Just in the last year or so, after being unfriended on facebook over the abortion issue, I’ve had this strong sense of wanting to like people who disagree with me because they’re just like me! Imperfect, made in the image of Christ and working through their own issues.

In my previous life, I was an avoider of stupid people, which was pretty much everyone because I didn’t want to think about the words I said, how I said them or what anyone might think or feel about what I thought or felt. Me! Me! Me! When I finally decided that friendship might be an important thing to figure out a very patient mentor told me I should be quiet and listen. At the end of the week in which I’d listened and not commented (thinking I’d done something amazing) I asked her how long I should be quiet and listen. Her reply made me so hopping mad at the time because she told me that I should be quiet and listen until what I thought was going to encourage and be kind. It seemed like I would never get to speak another word in my whole life! When you’re doing like I did, spreading unhappiness and criticism around, making excuses for your negative words, attitudes and behaviors you’re going to get what Eeyore got. People will feel sorry for you for awhile, try to help you for awhile but eventually they get tired of you because we all want to be happy and there’s nothing harder or more discouraging than being around a constantly Eeyore type person.

Even Winnie-the-Pooh knows you can draw more fly friends with honey!

Dennis Prager has the “Happiness Hour” on each week and if you need to understand how you’re morally responsible for being happy you should check this out.

Happiness is an obligation—to Yourself and to Others
Not only do we have the right to be happy, we have an obligation to be happy. Our happiness has an effect on the lives of everyone around us—it provides them with a positive environment in which to thrive and to be happy themselves.

During a discussion in a volunteer organization I was leading, one of the other leaders was so negative and it was impacting the youth she was leading. I actually read the book “Living with Eeyore” before meeting with her and when I mentioned she was like Eeyore she said she wasn’t. So, I said, “Let’s meet again next week and you go ask 3 or 4 friends if Eeyore might describe your personality.” We met the next week and she said she’d only asked her husband, and her husband agreed with me but he was wrong. Ironically she thought it was mean of me to not let her lead the group of girls she was pouring her unhappiness on.

I can hear the voices of the Eeyore’s of this world make all the excuses for themselves and think the people they’ve tried to pull down into their gloom are the ones that are mean. When you choose to be happy you’ll find plenty of people to share your life with where you can be truthful and honest but honestly quit complaining. It’s the fastest way to get rid of people in the whole wide world. Not sure if you’re a complainer? Start asking people




How to Homeschool

Possibilities. How to Homeschool is full of so many possibilities that I had no idea existed 28 years ago when I started looking into the subject. Our family’s “how to” has changed over the course of the years in a kind of ebb and flow that goes with our family dynamic more than anything else. First you have to figure out why you’re going to homeschool. Then you have to decide that you’re going to be a resourceful, self reliant grown up and figure out in all the world of schools and the history of education what your learning home is going to look like.

Here’s where each path diverges. I’ll try to organize it as clearly as possible so please give suggestions and I can redo this as I get more questions.

1-Why you’re thinking about homeschooling will make a difference in how you get started. The point is to get started. 

Check with your state to see what the laws are. HSLDA Home School Legal Defense Association is a great help with this information.

Joining – maybe you’re starting to homeschool because a friend has invited you along on their journey. That’s pretty easy if you can just do what they’re doing to start with.

Urgent Removal – while working at the local homeschool store a few years back almost 100% of the families coming in with older kids who were removing them from government schools said it was for safety and to avoid bullying. They had to get their kid out of there! If you feel there is an urgent need of some sort to pull your kid out then do it and come up with the plan later. If your child is stressed and hurt they’re going to need a break.

Planner – you’re not sure but you’re thinking about it and what it would look like. Depending on your current schedule come up with a mock homeschool experience for you and your kid by starting with just a Saturday, maybe a couple Saturdays or an entire weekend. Some of the best homeschool materials have free samples that you can try or just free stuff online like this:


Phonics and Reading: Go to the library and get some books, read out loud to your kid, watch some youtube on whatever level your kid is at and just do that. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Mostly be patient and work on progressing your kid from one level to the next.

You’ve probably watched a lifetime worth of cat videos on youtube and weren’t even aware that there are hundreds of speech therapy videos on just the letter r.

Sticking with our 9 year old example you can do “guided reading” which sounds complicated but is basically reading with them. Most libraries will let you check out two of the same book and you just start with the super easy ones first. We adopted our 5th kid when he was 10 and I did this a ton until I could see where his real level was, not the one on his government school report.  You can see in the 13 minute video above that while the teacher is doing guided reading with some students she’s trained the rest of the class to do independent work quietly at their desk. If you have more than one kid there’s your example of what’s going on with the herd while you’re helping one kid.


It goes like this for every subject out there.

2-Who you’re thinking about homeschooling. 

Are these your children, one single child, your grandchildren, someone else’s kid? Can you make all the decisions with the kids or are there other inputs into your plan? If it’s not your kids you’re going to need to communicate clearly with the parents. If it’s your kids you have amazing opportunity to tailor the plan.

3-What are your goals?

It’s really important to figure out what your goals are before you start even though this changes as you go you need to think about it and set some goals that you can work toward. When I started my husband was opposed to homeschooling thinking it was for weird hippie type people.  My goal was to impress everyone with how awesome I was at teaching kids and I lucked out with my first kid reading at 4 with no program but going to the library and reading whatever the librarian said was good for each step along the way. There was no homeschool specific curriculum that I knew of at the time (this was before the great www universe) and it wasn’t until 2 years later we started getting free private school hand me downs.

Once I had a reader my goal was to create a rich environment that allowed freedom to do a variety of things. I checked out Kinder and 1st grade math books from the library and copied down the problems to create our first math books. I’m talking all by hand on dot matrix green lined paper!

4-How much does it cost?

This really depends on you and your budget. A few months ago I was telling our 28 year old how we were doing more hands on experiential learning in the Montessori style and had moved away from the textbooks he reminded me that that was exactly how we’d started out before we could “afford” curriculum. Now that I’ve done all my research and love all the curriculum I own for all levels of all subjects any of my kids have ever been interested in we find that we aren’t that interested in curriculum!

If you eat you can turn that into a lesson – history, art, science, math and with no curriculum needed.

On the other hand you can spend a great fortune and order an entire year of private school books, workbooks, manipulatives, and video resources for a couple thousand dollars.

It’s your homeschool so you get to decide.

5-I can’t homeschool my child, we don’t get along

I’m amazed at how often I hear this and the parent thinks it’s something the kid is doing and sometimes it is! The majority of the time it’s the grown up who isn’t wanting to grow up. If you have a serious problem with one of your kids and you, your spouse and your other children all get along fine without them present than by all means put that one kid in school.

Two years ago now we put one kid in school because I couldn’t see how to change what I’d been doing for years and this kid couldn’t figure out why he should behave. During that year in school we both figured some stuff out but I regret that I couldn’t stop the “school” portion of our life and deal with the deeper issues. A year ago if anyone told me I’d be homeschooling this kid again AND having a blast watching him think and find projects of his own I wouldn’t have believed it. He came to us at 10 with a shelter/government school mentality that we couldn’t seem to shake but that one year in school where he spent 12 weeks of shop class on safety topics and in the final 6 weeks make one single useful item, he wasn’t impressed since he’s had the chance to help build airplanes at a neighbors shop where the safety briefing was, “Don’t chop off your finger or poke your eye out.”

I had to give up alot of things I love “school wise” this year to focus on this kid and help him find some things to be passionate about. At first I was angry but now I know that he’s worth it! After all the years of homeschooling and learning to do a better job I was still stuck in the “school” needs to get done mentality:( I’m not sure why I couldn’t see that before but watching him think and talk about ideas and make things and rework them as he’s listening to other people’s ideas makes giving up those things so worth it and it’s changed my perspective on those things I loved so that in the future we’ll be doing things differently.

6-How do I plan? 

Step 1 – get your house in order. If you’re considering homeschooling a great way to start is by organizing your house both physically and with regular chores. There are many resources for doing this based on number of children, your kids ages, your lifestyle etc. Before you start homeschooling if you “own your home” and get a schedule set up where everyone in your house is pulling their weight, homeschooling will fall in line.

Step 2 – Spouses have to be on the same page. Come up with a budget even if that’s no budget because maybe one parent has to quit their job to stay home and homeschool. Set some small goals for the household and school to get started and set up a time to get together and review. We have monthly family meetings which are really helpful in a household with 9 people 🙂 When the kids were younger we had to spend more time planning but now it’s more staying in the rhythm of the week that makes the family meetings less necessary.

Step 3 – Start slowly! When we adopted our then 10 year old his report card had so many subjects! When I asked him about the various classes he didn’t remember doing music, computers was playing games, and many of them were once a week or every other week things he was evaluated on. Don’t let that fool you into thinking you have to do all of that every day.

We do math all year long, just a bit each day because we only school 4 days a week and we take month long breaks from history, writing and other subjects but reading and math are super regular. This is so ingrained that there are Saturday mornings that my 8 and 9 year old get their math out and sometimes I let them:)

Step 4 – learn google spreadsheets or excel


If you like the cute calendar with stickers and stuff, do it! If you want something more efficient spreadsheets hold alot of information for alot of subjects, people, supplies, and activities. There are many, many examples of lesson plans for you to browse through until you find one to copy and adapt for your own.

So, setting up a homeschool plan for the first week, depending on your kids ages you can just do chores, math, reading and be done. Now if you want to give this an extra boost you can have a no electronics week that first week and encourage them to find something to do. This will help you find out what they naturally gravitate toward so you can put it in the planning. I have a craft kid and a soldier kid so I try to be sure to have a wide variety of craft materials on hand and we buy soldier kits for the different history eras we do.

If you have the money and want to buy curriculum go right ahead but I’d recommend looking around you at the free options in the real world that you can do that first year. Your kids are probably curriculumed out and connecting to learning through the art, history, science or children’s museums can be really awesome.

7-Find a mentor

Things go wrong and while you can read alot online to glean some excellent help sometimes it’s most helpful for someone to come over and actually look at what you’re doing and offer suggestions. Don’t feel like you have to do them all but having an extra pair of eyes is great. When my mom came to live with us we made some great changes because of things she noticed that we hadn’t because they’d become routine. Let people speak into your life and be willing to try different things.

8 – A Family Goal

We’ve noticed recently as we’ve moved into learning about Permaculture that there are many new families homeschooling because they have a family goal to eat and live in a more sustainable way. We’ve been amazed at how this one “subject” permeates our life of learning and has an aspect that is interesting to everyone. The 3 and 4 year old love being outside, the 8 and 9 year old love watering, watching seeds come up and harvesting things, our 16 year old is building quail cages/tractors so we can raise quail for eggs and meat and my husband is learning to make beer, wine and mead. I get to do the weeding 🙂

Maybe a family business, ministry or other opportunity can be a starting point for developing how the learning happens at your house?

Think outside the “school” bus/box and ask yourself what does the world need more of? Do that

Why Homeschool?


Hippies were homeschoolers when I was growing up in So Cal and of course they were kids who didn’t have to go to school and could run free and wild all over the Agoura Hills. Just like we did in the summer but they got to do it ALL year long! I remember hating school from the beginning because it meant getting on a bus, sitting in a class with very little outside time instead of hanging out at the lake that we lived on with friends. Many of the kids in our neighborhood would carry their shoes to the school bus because you didn’t really need them at Malibou Lake but the bus driver wouldn’t let you on without them. Which is how I felt about school, I didn’t really need it. My mom literally had to pry one brother on to the bus at the beginning of the school year for a few days. He would push off the door with hands and feet, screaming!

I was robbed for a great portion of the year, of the freedom to explore and learn naturally because I needed to be on task, level, not left behind or whatever jargon they used then, which turned out to be a futile task for the first series of teachers whose responsibility it was to keep me on task. As I child I knew the difference because when there wasn’t school we learned through a marvelous set of adventures to museums, the tide pools, playing around the edges of the lake, building forts, shooting things, taking care of chickens and a garden and sometimes getting to watch tv at the neighbors. This “schooling” consisted of  Kindergarten, First, Second, at government school, a move to private school for Third, another year of Third at a different private school, followed by  Fourth and finally Fifth grade when I learned how to read and made it to the “on level” phase of being educated. Years later the irony of this was given to me by a man from India who’d grown up out beyond the reach of school and he and his two brothers were sent to school when they turned 11. Without a day of schooling before 11 they went on to acquire multiple degrees, masters and PhDs. He said it was very confusing in America where they spent so much time educating kids instead of letting them learn through play and work. I couldn’t get “on level” until 5th grade but I graduated 2nd in my highschool class? Who decided this was good?

Check out the great google universe for the history of “education” and you’ll find mostly that it starts with man’s ability to write and keep a record of how smart he is. It’s as if no learning took place prior to the ability to write and you know that’s crazy, right? Learning is a natural process we all go through and the more we align the process with nature and solving problems with young children the more thinkers we’ll raise. So, before you start thinking about “educating” your kids at home you have to separate the concept of systematic indoctrination with real learning. Indoctrination requires testing and scores and teaching kids to respond correctly to those tests and scores so the people in control can gain more control. Kind of like Pavlov’s Dog where the adults are testing the subjects over and over again.

While most homeschoolers simply transplant the education system to their home, which makes it super easy to give up because there’s so much  boring seat work and grading and scoring!!!!! there is a growing number who are thinking about real learning, thinking, creating and producing something with their children that is real. It’s not that there aren’t reasons to get your kids out of the government education camps and just do school at home, for example:

Conservative – you say you’re for limited government and to live your belief taking a handout from the government doesn’t seem very consistent. You say you don’t want your tax dollars to go toward abortion, welfare, food stamps but you have no problem taking your neighbors money for your kids schooling?

Christian – you know that “Train up a child in the way he should go” I think there’s an implied “you” in there. Don’t steal from your neighbor . . . .  this list is really long.

Libertarian – you say you believe in freedom but not for your kids?

Anarchist – I don’t have to tell you why.

Communist – um? Wait! Your kid should be in the camp so he can learn to be dependent on the system.

Freeing your kids from the system is the priority so that we can grow the free thinkers in our country and limit the government’s control over all our lives. When you let the system decide when, where, how you live the majority of your day, you’re not as free as you have the potential to be and your willingness to be a slave to that system affects the freedom of the people around you.

Why homeschool? Basically for the same reasons those early hippies did, freedom!


Just Give Me A Minute!

A Time for Everything

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

If this is true, and I believe it is, why are there so many “times” when I just need one more minute?

What happens to my day between lunch and WHAT? How can it be time for dinner?

How can my awesome plan to have the house all picked up before Michael comes home end up with Michael coming home early? Wait! He’s not early, time disappeared somewhere.

Then there are all the times I’ve told my kids I’ll listen to what they have to say, look at their project, check their math . . . . in just a minute.

I can’t tell you how many mornings it’s time to start school and I’m not ready.

Why can’t the Bible have more detail on how to manage your time? Just a list of things to do each day with a time for each of them would be really helpful wouldn’t it? Except for the part about not even being able to follow the love God, love your neighbor commandments but somehow I think I’d follow a detailed plan for the day. ha!

I’d also really like to know if there’s supposed to be a time to sew together why don’t I ever get to sew! (That’s a joke for the literal folks to miss)

I’m amazed at a Creator who gives us such freedom and loves us to death and yet reminds us that He has a time and season for everything. What does that mean for all of my “Just Give Me A Minutes” to my family or running late for an appointment or friendship?

That’s alot of questions when you’re probably looking for answers but you probably won’t like the answer any better than I do. We all know it’s the truth but still  . . . . it’s hard to be the grown up in a world of children.

I have a timer that wakes me up at 5:30 am every morning (I clarified the am for those of you who might mistake that for pm) then I have a pattern I follow for the things that need to get done by 6:30 when Michael leaves for work. The next timer goes off at 7am when I have to wake up the kids who haven’t already left for work. Honestly, I snooze that a time or two some mornings but I always regret it! This works so great you think I’d have a series of timers through out the day but I just don’t want to be that timed!

I don’t have to remember what time lunch is because I have a 16 year old boy and they are equipped with a 30 minute warning/reminder that lunch is at noon. You know 8 am and you’ve just finished breakfast so they want to know what’s for lunch, 8:30 they want to know if you have everything you need for lunch, 9 am did you take it out of the freezer, 9:30 should the bread go in the oven, 10 am do you need help getting lunch ready  . . . . I think two hours is plenty of time to get the already made salad on the plates by noon!

There is a get ready for bed timer at 8 pm for the little people who can’t remember to brush their teeth and such but what about all those appointed times in the middle?

Probably like your day we don’t do the exact same thing every single day so it’s hard to “timer” all those things and I don’t want to miss out on the sweet moments during the day that you can’t plan for by being over timed, BUT I want to get everything done in a day that I planned, which in 28 years of parenting has never, never, never happened. Yet I still want that? Like today I need to make a practice wedding cake with various flavors for my daughter to try this weekend. I need to spend 24 hours in the yard just for starters, do school, make the usual three meals a day, lesson plan for the next school year, clean the hangar clean the loft . . . . that’s it. oh and it’s laundry day.

Some timers really help me and it is incredibly helpful to be up and going before everyone else in the “school” zone of our family is moving. One of the few memorable lessons I had while in college learning to be a teacher was that the first person to the classroom owned it and was in charge for the day. It wasn’t always like that when we started out homeschooling. Some mornings my 5 year old would bring his school work to me while I was still in bed because he didn’t understand it and I’d tell him it was because it was 7:30 and you couldn’t understand math until later in the day. Now, I own the house and we have this great morning pattern that isn’t dependent on timers as much as processes.

Can you appoint all of the minutes in a day with a family and be sane? I don’t see how but you can follow some patterns each day that give it a happy rhythm that everyone knows, which gets the work done and lets everyone know where the free time to play goes. While my mom was working with Preschoolers with disabilities she taught me that the consistent schedule helps kids move from task to task easier. They know what’s coming next and even though they can’t tell time they can start, finish and move on to the next task by themselves. I think the first time my kids all learn is 12:00 – it’s lunch!

All the time I’ve been homeschooling I’ve had a vice that holds me back from getting the job done on time or accomplishing the things I know are important in our families day. It’s a different vice through the seasons. Romance novels turned into lesson planning (seriously when I found excel this was a vice and I still prefer planning to doing) iphone aps – now that’s seriously stupid of me and I’m thinking a blog could end up being a vice if I’m not careful.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying! We all need breaks and a time to relax but not every 15 minutes once our game ap has reloaded with more lives. However, in the fullness of time, at the appointed time when the job should be done we should get it done.

So tomorrow, I’m going to stay on task, work my plan and I won’t need to say “Just give me a minute!”  If you’re thinking, “In your dreams.” you’d be wrong because it’s in the planning and choosing that things really happen not in your dreams 🙂 The amount of work I get done now compared to 25 years ago is tremendous because with my husbands, process improvement, Dr. Demming, ISO 2000 and other business models that he taught us to use at home we’re better at staying on task but sometimes need a reboot. For me that’s tomorrow – no games – so there’s time for everything.

The answer is stop playing games and being lazy Sue!

Zue’s Zoobilee

Are you the kind of person that hates the zoo? Loves the zoo? Thinks you should take your kid to the zoo regularly? Thinks the zoo is evil? If you’re on the evil end there’s a little x at the top of your browser tab that you can check.

BUT if you think a connection with the zoo is a great way to teach your child about a diverse set of animals follow along as I show you how you can spend 4 hours at the zoo with a 3, 4, 8 and 9 year old. (sometimes a 16 year old too)

Our zoo is small but constantly improving so we enjoy what’s available locally.

We start by buying an annual pass so if we have one hour or four hours we don’t worry about having to stay and get our monies worth if someone is acting up. They know we’ll leave if anyone is misbehaving so they’re really good 🙂

I can bring all the snacks in the world but they’ll still want popcorn so we bought the refillable container and it’s just $1. Except we have two because usually there are 6 of us. If you spill your groups popcorn it’s all gone so the keeper of the popcorn has to be careful.

We also take binoculars that we’ve purchased one at a time over the years. You can wear them or put them in your backpack BUT if you set them down somewhere I get them for the rest of the trip.

As I’m writing all of this I realize that one of the reasons we have fun at the zoo is because we have boundaries! It reduces stress and maintains realistic expectations. They can trust me to follow through the same each time.

The last rule is the two little people that are 3 and 4 can’t be at the front of the adventure and they can’t be at the back, just like the animal herds the little people have to be in the middle. Now if we get to the zoo, like we did two weeks ago, and I didn’t realize that government schools had Monday off, we just go home. We go once or twice a week and it isn’t worth it to stress with people that are rushing through the zoo trying to see everything in one hour.

Our zoo offers a couple things for additional costs like:

1-A Carousel

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2-A Butterfly House

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3- A Train

zoo train

4-And Shops – we don’t go into these unless someone has money of their own.

The first three we rotate through using a discounted pass if you buy all three. BUT we don’t use all three on one trip we do one special event every third or fourth trip to the zoo. The really cool part about this IS they will remember doing them “ALL THE TIME” when really they went about twice a year to each one 🙂 It’s a great way to say yes. Yes, we’ll ride the carousel again but today we’re . . . . .

Our zoo has other things besides animals that are fun when it’s not crowded like:

1-A river bed with toys to play with.

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2-Lorry feeding – you can walk in for free and the nectar is $1 which a kiddo can earn.

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3-There are goats to pet and we sometimes take a math manipulative with us to extend the time at an enclosure. Everyone takes turns from enclosure to enclosure getting to count the animals. An Abacus is great because each row can represent a different animal or you can add up the animals at each stop as you go along.

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4-There are indoor children’s play areas that often have an animal out that kids can get a close look at.

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5-Then there are the animals! We have flashcards and other sorting games that we take with us at different times. If we’re going to focus on cats we have an animal classification  flash card set that goes with us. Maybe we’re just looking at necks at the zoo, now that’s fun!

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6-Then you have to take the same picture every few times in the super awesome picture taking spots so you can look back and see how much you’ve grown!

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7-Then there are all the little animals that often get overlooked. We don’t look at everyone every time and we take turns “picking” what we’re going to see.

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8-Story Time at the Zoo! I try to take at least one book with me to read in a place where we’re waiting for the animal to get fed or trained. My current favorite is the Eric Carle series. During our Dr. Seuss month we take many books to the zoo because Dr. Seuss grew up going to the zoo with his dad and drew lots of his funny animals while waiting there.

9-And here’s a few more days you can try:

Shapes and Lines




Story book animals like Paddington

We’re going to need more than 4 hours!


Permaculture Student Chapter 1

Here’s how chapter one looked in action for us 🙂

We had no lesson plan, start or stop time and kind of muddled through waiting for everyone to order their books from Matt at The Permaculture Student – but that’s done so Chapter 2 is looking very promising!

After our first “class” with our family we went out and planted potatoes, onions, beans, spinach, etc, etc, etc

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We worked really hard Wednesday to get ready for our friends to join us at our 2nd Weekly Permaculture Student meeting so we took a break to eat homemade bread and Marmalade. We probably should have watched Paddington but the day was gorgeous!

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Lesson 1 – Week 1 January 13, 2016

So, here we are coloring and talking about Permaculture

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We’ve got some grown ups watching Matt Powers video

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They stayed at their work for a long time tonight because it was super cold out, what Texans call freezing, somewhere around 40 🙂

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Luke sharing his quail tractor prototype

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Farmers Market with Memaw!

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This was our very first effort and I think we cleared $42! The kids packaged basil seeds that we harvested, lots of herbs, marmalade, cute painted rocks and some plarn bags 🙂

Chapter 1 – Week 2 – January 20, 2016

During the week we worked on measuring our yard using a Montessori style discovery learning approach and we read some great Caldecott Children’s books about the garden and the sun.

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In this picture we’re learning that our property isn’t flat but has dips and swales!

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This is the start of our first Hugelkulture

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For our potluck we used the fish head that was a gift from my mom and followed Chef Keith Snows concept of Harvest Eating using techniques rather than recipes. We live in the country and this concept has really helped us stock our pantry and use what we grow!

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Here’s some sticky notes applied to our site map with the seeds that we planted. I’m a bit afraid to draw directly on my site map.

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And here’s our next CLASS! Some video and coloring pages because I still hadn’t had time to come up with a hands on activity that supports thinking.

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Chapter 1 – Week 3 – January 27, 2016

I didn’t take any pictures but we colored, watched more videos and had a conversation about the design plan for Wednesday nights.

Chapter 2 – Week 4 – February 3, 2016

I finally had the chance to read the chapter, the workbook and watch the online resources that we’re using and came up with a plan! Check it out here


Permaculture Student Chapter 2

We started Chapter 2 Wednesday February 3, 2016 and here I am trying to come up with a plan and Paisley wants to watch the video because they can hear the opening music.



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Check out our lesson plan here. Remember it’s a work in progress

We opened with an challenge for the adults to write down the name of as many plants in their yard that they new the real name of, either latin or the local name. This kept them busy while the kids watched about 6 minutes of the video on diversity. The parents have access and can watch the videos at home too. Our adult winner could name 37 of her plants! I was so excited that I posted it on facebooks “Unschooling with Permaculture” page and Matt let me know he has like 600-800 species? We have our work cut out for us.

We were learning about diversity and the kids were cutting up magazines, gluing and coloring. This combination of activities takes a long time at this age and allows for lots of conversation.

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While the kids were making their diversity posters the adults were watching some videos on swales and discussing how each person might use that on their property.

The kids finished out their evening by playing Paul Wheaton’s Permaculture Playing Cards

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First thing the next morning my son Jack wanted to play those cards but we’re saving them for Wednesday nights so they’re special 🙂

Chapter 2 – Week 2 – February 10,2016 – stay tuned!

Permaculture Student Laying the Ground Work

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My husband loves listening to “The Survival Podcast” with Jack Spirko – “Helping you live a better life, if times get tough or even if they don’t.” Michael had a cyst on his spine a few years ago and was given the remove it or you’ll die speech along with the encouraging, you could die during surgery pep talk. Michael has become highly motivated to “live a better life,” and I’m such a good wife I would listen to the podcast when he’d text me about ones I’d like including the time stamp 🙂

One day last December he sent me the TSP “must listen” text for a homeschooling idea called The Permaculture Student by Matt Powers. I listened a couple of times, went to his website to see what he had to offer and immediately checked my bank account and bought the student set and I was ready to get started! It looked to be about Jr High in the ability level so it seemed like a piece of cake. Maybe I should change the easy/cake to easy as digging in well composted soil?

Turns out it’s pretty simple if you read it and color the pages BUT if you actually get out in the garden and DO IT, suddenly that Chapter 1 you were going to do in a week turns into a month! What a great month it’s been (after the first month of trying to figure out how to implement it:)

Here’s our journey with Chapter 1

In December 2015 when the book came in it encouraged us to do some of the things we were meaning to do! We got around to picking oranges from our neighbor’s abundance and making Marmalade!

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Here’s Alexis lifting the finished jars out of the boiling bath. She’s 9 and didn’t get hurt in the making of this marmalade!

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Alexis is listening for the popping sound to let us know the jars are sealed.

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The return of surplus and sharing our abundance with Memaw who went to the neighbors tree to help us pick the oranges 🙂

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Jack is carefully taking hot sterile jars out so Alexis can fill them.

Even though it can be a bit messy all the peeps helped pick herbs from the yard and make bread.

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Jack’s first bread is rising!

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We had to eat one jar of marmalade right away because the seal didn’t pop.

Luke led a discussion on what sustainable means and how we can use less.

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Permaculture Students need time to think about and discuss their work 🙂

So, now we’re in January and that first Wednesday night family night was so fun!

We worked on our previously started site map. We just have one oddly pie shaped acre and Luke is cutting out some green circles to represent our water collection tanks. I used large graph paper taped together so we could use the 1/4″ = 1′ for the acre.

At this point I wasn’t using the books but trying to get a handle on how it all worked. We watched the opening video on Week 1 and I had read through the first chapter and we did some coloring. It was just our family but when I posted it on facebook we had more people join us the next Wednesday!

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Jack squeezing blackberries that were leftover from the wine making to make blackberry chocolate chip ice cream!

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My facebook invitation picture to those kindred spirits willing to join us

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Home grown lemon, mint and pomegranates for our mint tea ice ring. We’ve had a very warm winter and the herbs are doing really well.

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fresh dill in the potato salad

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bread makers with rosemary, cilantro, dill and other deliciousness in the breads

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and of course a snack 🙂

So, all of this in preparation to really get started! We all know we enjoy the harvest that our yard is producing almost two years after my mom got married and moved out. Now we have to see if we can put in the hard work in order to reap a greater harvest of abundance to share with our friends and neighbors.