I love that Dead Mule requires a Southern Legitimacy Statement as biography- though I'll confess that my own is rather cheeky. And I love the new poems for the month of April. Have a look and share your thoughts.
I love that Dead Mule requires a Southern Legitimacy Statement as biography- though I'll confess that my own is rather cheeky. And I love the new poems for the month of April. Have a look and share your thoughts.
There was a pony festival of some sort in our backyard on Sunday afternoon. Max was playing with some ponies and bricks near a chair. When I inquired about the other ponies owned in common with his sisters, Max explained that they were visiting the veterinarian because they were sick.
He motioned towards Milla and Micah huddled on the other side of our yard. The hospital, appropriately, was a gray blanket.
Micah was carefully lining up the patients and preparing their treatment when I arrived. I wandered over to check on the ailing ponies, who were being treated with violet juice and "pinecone medicine for their throats".
Milla raved about Micah being "a gooooood doctor for them ponies". After learning more about the ponies' condition, I revisited Max.
Max was too involved to explain the meaning of the "Go Ponies" sign, so I assumed some sort of contest between the hedgehog and the horse was taking place, one in which the ponies claimed a preferred otucome.
They looked fairly content. Max explained that they were "eating violet flowers because they are very picky about plants". The pony festival crawled on into the late afternoon while the King happily conversed with Dosteovsky's The Idiot and I wavered between wanting to garden and wanting to do absolutely nothing but watch the day sift by.
A few months again, Ratpaw dropped by with a set of antlers still dripping blood and brains. He told me that he's just returned from hunting and thought he'd pass along the antlers before he went home to change and "wash off all this blood".
Needless to say, I was astonished and eager to move the antlers to a safe place where all the grime could be removed. Ratpaw suggested "hanging them outside so all the wild animals could clean 'em off". It seemed like a fine idea, so we put the bloody antlers on top of the swing set.
Whether it was rain, furry friend, or that hawk that keeps circling around our house, something has almost cleaned the antlers. Now I only need to decide what to do with them... Mr. Fisher said he would make a bone pen for me if I donated the antlers, so I may find myself driving towards Duncanville during the coming week.
Life is full of beautiful possibilities with a fresh pair of antlers in tow.
Early last week, our plans were changed. It was a mudpie-making day. The kind of day when nothing on the list gets done because the sunshine beckons, nay, begs, for our attention. So Micah and Milla backed mud pies.
Max offered multiple instructions on how to get the pies to bake just right, but I think Micah has a knack for these things and doesn't need much instruction.
This is the mud truck which holds the mud as it is mixed and prepared for baking. I'm so glad someone in this castle can bake....
If you need a literary reason for baking mud pies, here are a few of our personal favorites:
And don't forget to take the time to smell the flowers, or, rather:
Google map it: 776 2nd St, Helena, AL 35080
Micah picked a fresh clover bouquet that made it back to Tuscaloosa and to the castle table-top.
It didn't have to be a perfect day.
One might even say that I began the day by jinxing it. We drove to Alabaster for an herb co-op only to discover that I had mixed up the times. Suddenly, we had three hours to kill in a town sixty miles from home.
Though I always forget to bring along food, drinks, diapers, and all the necessaries, I never forget to bring a book just in case the right meadow should present itself.
Today, I found Ruth Sawyer's The Way of the Storyteller tucked in my backpack, using the space normally taken by the baby wipes.
Perhaps I needed Ruth more than baby wipes today. Her words reminded me of my own blind spots- the way in which I use stories to "teach" rather than tell, to train rather than liberate, to "educate" rather than elucidate the intangible shaded areas of human existence. Though her book is intended to reframe storytelling as a folk art, Ruth clears many cobwebs along the way. So I sat in the grass, reading Ruth, peeling clementines, and watching the little people turn rusted old pipes into balance beams.
"Storytelling is not for remedial purpose or for training. It is not a mechanical process to be made easy and pleasant. It is not a means of presenting limited material to the minds of children. It is an art demanding the utmost of your capacity and mine for living and understanding ; it us dependent upon our power of creation; it asks for integrity, trust, and vision."
I see a tunnel running underneath their little feet- a subterranean world with its own songs and arguments, a passage beneath our habitual empiricism, a possibility whose darkness symbolizes comfort rather than cruelty.
"I think stories must be acquired by long contemplation, by bringing the imagination to work, constantly, intelligently, upon them. And finally by that power to blow the breath of life into them. And the method? That of learning incident by incident, or picture by picture. Never word by word."
"Here is a sad paradox: those musical instruments invented on the pattern of the human body, and stringed to produce the most sublime qualities of the human voice, have so far outdistanced us in resonance and beauty of tone that now we turn to them to get the quality we would like to hear in our own voices."
The story changes every time I try to touch it with a word- maybe the light didn't hover so much as it haunted, or the shadows moving quickly across the grass left us dizzy rather than lulled. Or my viewpoint went from vertical to horizontal. Where does the story stop changing?
Ruth might say this is a problem not for the storyteller but for the writer, who must choose one fixed version to pass along. The storyteller never stops spinning or weaving, adding new colors, removing salted ones.
The storyteller is free from the bindings of one weather- free to inhabit the "whether".
Maybe when the images finish pickling and I hanker for the salt, my hunger will get the best of me and today's story will hatch, shiver, shake its feather, and wander out in the world unsettled, changing each season, that chick-turned-hen I'd rather follow than catch.
I live in a castle with three children, a partner, and a poodle mutt.
I know a castle when I see one. He and I agree that to own a castle we must first agree to be one.
After we got married, we bought a big house. Then we traded it in for a small house- the kind where your power bill makes only a blip on the budget.
If our dreams can go no further (which they can't), then it just so happens that this is our castle.
The spring rains soak the grass, pooling in the driveway, creating the moat once local Prince has dubbed "Pontulia".
The coronation ceremony took place on the New Year's Eve of 2010. I was three months pregnant with a princess, yet managed to catch the King's eye wearing my snug wedding gown. Afterwards, at the royal ball, I danced with the King, the stellar thumps of Outkast's B.O.B. bouncing from the stone walls, the freshly-coronated Prince and Princess tearing books from the shelves with glee. Royal affairs are like that- however you want them to be, I mean.
Our kingdom is a small one, overtaken by privet hedges and plastic components of the larger petroleum empire in which we reside. We are a humble royal family, the kind that directs its energies towards keeping the house and garden gnomes happy and yarn-filled.
So we live in a castle with a moat and various fantabulous creatures- a castle that others might mistake for a cottage. "Fools abound," is a regular saying in the tower. The castle is in the mind of its makers. What story do you tell yourself to justify settling for a McMansion? What keeps you from your own castle?
Micah and Max hang out at a village store in Transylvania.
You can stand for days; for days on the cobblestones of the roadway; you can for days imagine to yourself the ancient time of its life. But the geologist has not the power to relive this life.
The position of the linguist on a root - the fragment of breathed meaning - is similar; he is free to meditate for hours on the alternations of roots - across languages, throughout the centuries; but the linguist has not the power to be fulfilled via the gesture, to become the air of the root: to fly as its beings through the history of languages, to hear in the shudderings of the air the imprint of ancient meaning; and, by wrapping oneself in the image of muttering bygones, to resurrect that which has gone by.
You can read the entirety of Andrei Bely's prose poem, Glossolalia, here. Always the experimenter, Bely began his literary revolutions with a small group of Moscow symbolists called "The Argonauts". His novel, St. Petersburg, is a world unto itself.
Trying to catch up on sharing what we've been adding to our alphabet notebooks recently. Here are the free downloads for your learning pleasure....
P is for picking and petals (PDF)
Works well after going for a walk and picking up fallen flower petals.
P is for pig (PDF)
Sing "this little piggy" and add a piglet story to the mix.
Since Max is studying Van Gogh and Micah is officially 5- and therefore, in her opinion, "ready to do Van Gogh", I created two pages for her alphabet notebook on Van Gogh and the letter "V". You can download your own copy directly below.
V is for Van Gogh (2 PDF pages for your alphabet book)
In addition, we played the online diorama game to prepare all three munchkins for creating their own Van Gogh dioramas per the worksheets above. It was fun, and I reccommend it.
Camille's Diorama Online Activity (Van Gogh Museum)
PRINTABLE TEACHING MATERIALS FROM VAN GOGH MUSEUM:
An Artist's Struggle Teaching Package (PDF)
An Artist's Struggle Cut-Outs (PDF)
An Artist's Struggle Answer Sheet (PDF)
Van Gogh's Letters: The Artist Speaks Teaching Package (PDF)
Naturalism: Illusions of Reality Teaching Manual (PDF)
PRINTABLE LEARNING FREEBIES FROM AROUND THE WEB:
Van Gogh Notebooking Page (Harmony Fine Arts at Home)
Van Gogh Sky Notebooking Page (Harmony Fine Arts At Home)
Learning From Van Gogh's Textures (Meet the Masters)
Micah's been waiting to open the big brown box from Grandma Vicki all week. She says it's "because Grandma Vicki is like a fairy", which couldn't be more apt an observation. So, in honor of Micah's 5th birthday, we began the day with a little package-opening.
Max received a geoboard and some flint arrowheads which he clearly needs to use in the woods with Ellie as they battle the fierce monsters of Dogland, while Milla got a little bit of everything. Of course, there were even a few tributes to the king and queen of the castle.
What a delightful way to begin a birth day. Now we'll just have to think of some fashion in which to honor our dearest, most devoted fairy....
We woke up this morning to a world covered in fine, yellow dust. I can't imagine how those with seasonal allergies must have felt today, living in the center of pollen-land. Since there isn't much to do except explore this strange dust, I've planned a pollen party for tomorrow.
Here's the low-down:
1. Go outside and collect pollen from leaves and car.
2. Create Pollen Princess crowns.
3. Print and color P is for Pollen alphabet notebook pages.
4. Go outside and take pictures of things that start with "P". Make a collage. Pollen Princesses love the letter P, obviously.
5. Coloring page on picking out things that start with "P" as seen below.
6. Rolling around in pollen until we get tired?
I am inlove with something Czech called Zlesa. This something, of course, has a someone behind the curtain.
Jana Kloučková Kudrnová, creator and curator of Zlesa, is a graphic designer and illustrator living in the woods near the Czech town of Olomouc. You can find more of Jana's creations and imaginations at her online shop or at Atelier 101.
Oh how I wish I had found this card to give to Milla before we began weaning! It is just perfect and addresses this important, delicate communication between mother and child. I'll make it up to Milla, however, with this delightful potty-training chart and reward game.
The printables and activities are geared more towards preschoolers, but they inspire anyone to make and appreciate beautiful tiny things. Take a peek and enjoy. I've been to the Czech Republic and not everyone is as neat as Jana, so there is no "national excuse" for some of her loveliness.
CUT AND PASTE PRINTABLES
Cut and paste face fun
Perfect faces puzzle game
Toddler closet labels to cut and paste in closet
Leaf gluing craft
Cutting practice kite fun
Pirate paper dolls to color and cut
Castle character paper dolls to color and cut
Vacation book for paper dolls
Snowgirl cut-out coloring medallions
COLORING PAGE PRINTABLES
Princess coloring page
Bacily coloring page
Food Not Bombs coloring page
Color the hair activity page
Insects coloring page
Animal color and draw
GAMES, DIY, AND ACTIVITIES
The best treasure hunt ever imagined
Castle marble run fun
Button war game
River stone play
Pebbles puzzle play
Montessori play ideas
Button animal play
Printable exercise dice
Woodland memory game printable
Postcard play with printable
Driving play with printable license
Pretend grocery shopping game with printable
Act-out-the-animal cube printable
Sequencing cards printable
Spring 1-6 counting puzzle printable
Weather wheel printable
Mod paper doll printable
Dangerous plants booklet printable
Forest matching puzzle printable
Baby mother animals flashcards to print and play
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
Even the long-beloved
an unrecognized stranger.
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
of a yellow curtain,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.
A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.
what is said by all lovers:
“What fools we were, not to have seen.”
Jane Hirshfield treats each single word with tenderness. Rare the superfluous adjective or adverb in her poems and essays. True to her Buddhist practice, Jane does most with least. She is a stunning contemporary poet of the naturial world and its immanence.
More sweet Jane:
"The art of the metaphor", a TED video talk by Jane Hirshfield
"Some Place Not Yet Known", an Atlantic interview with Jane circa 1997
Multimedia Jane from the Story Preservation Initiative
Jane's offical page, run by the Barclay Agency
Jane on "choosing to want" vs. stoicism
"The Weighing", a poem
"It Was Like This", a poem
"Ripeness", a poem
1. Easy tank dress (The Southern Institute)
2. Dita von Teese's wrap dress (I heart Jenny's art)
3. The Leela dress (Innocentia)
4. Alphabet peg dolls (No Time for Flashcards)
5. Tie-dyed sheets in spring colors (Design Love Fest)
6. A few new touches for the kids' room (Jen Loves Kev)
7. Snippy photo mosaic (Photojojo)
8. Embroidery hoop weaving loom (Living Crafts Blog)
9. Lacey bolero (Joyfolie)
10. Pebbles and pinecones game (Michele Made Me)
11. Doily-print fabric made with photosensitive dye (How About Orange)
12. Personalized family necklace (Willowday)
A parlour game is a group game played indoors. During the Victorian era in England and the United States, these games were extremely popular among the upper and middle classes. They were often played in the parlor, a room for sitting, chatting, and receiving guests, hence the name.
Parlor Magic (PDF)
THE KING: I know you love taking care of sick kids, but how would you feel about trying some local beers instead?
THE KING: Right now.
HER: Don't twist my arm.
7.8 minutes later.
THE KING: You look like a lollipop.
HER: Perhaps. But I am not actually a lollipop. Don't be superifical.
THE KING: I like your lollipop dress.
HER: Don't get sentimental. Let's run before the chorus starts.
Run we did. Straight to Wilhagan's, where the 4th Annual Suds of the South was brewing. The entry lines stretched along the street. At one point, even Wilhagen's looked as if it might be too small to accomodate all the eager beer festers.
From Birmingham, Avondale Brewing Company introduced us to the saison, a pale ale that in modern versions is generally around 7% abv, highly carbonated, fruity, spicy - sometimes from the addition of spices -, and is influenced by Saison Dupont Vieille Provision. Then Good People Brewing Company shared insight about the Hops for Honeys, a group for women interested in the study of beer and brews which meets monthly in Birmingham. Something about beer education for women sounds better than a book club (and I'm the girl who adores book clubs).
Hailing from Huntsville and environs, ye Old Black Bear, Straight to Ale prides itself on being southern-born and southern-brewed, Yellowhammer Brewing harks back to European traditions and serif fonts. There's quite a bit of brew-haha going on in Huntsville these days, with a beer fest on the calendars soon. No self-respecting Huntsvillian should miss out on it.
From Gadsden, Back Forty Beer brings kudzu and swine to the tasting table in original, fragrant combinations. Hailing from Madison, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of Blue Pants Brewery folk. And they won our personal prize for the hoppiest brew. In Montgomery, Railyard Brewing Company combines food and good brews for those who care to cultivate the combinations.
Keeping it by our bed....
And then there is Tuscaloosa's own Druid City Brewing Company, whose logo pays tribute to one of Alberta City's classiest no-tell motels, the Moon Winx Lodge. When the King and I first signed those Free the Hops petitions a few years ago, little did we know how beautiful freedom would taste. But, as some folks are wont to say, freedom isn't free, and the beer revolution is still revolving. It's exciting to learn more from the brewers and to begin our own beer education- the kind of education that creates local jobs, builds small businesses, and rewards passionate entrepreneurs that enrich our local communities with their visions and creations.
More to chase in this direction:
Well That's Cool has the requisite spiffy blurb.
David Smith has the vertigo-inducing photo gallery as well as the more fleshy description.
Ben asks Bo a few worthwhile questions about the Druid City Brewing Company.
Plan a local beer pilgrimage as part of your summer schedule.
The girls are always looking for a new song to sing or a new rhyme to chant. So today we're taking advantage of the lovely internet to print and color various nursery rhymes and make a nursery rhyme notebook. A few of our favorites:
1. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
2. THE SUGAR-PLUM TREE
4. LITTLE BIRD
5. ROOM FOR ONE
6. MY BOOKS
7. HODLEY, PODLEY, PUDDLE AND FROGS
8. AT THE SEASIDE
9. HUSH-A-BYE BABY
10. THE ITSY-BITSY SPIDER
Funny how I find myself missing those friends who love the CDs you burn for them because you just know they need to hear those songs. I did actually name a playlist after a friend- Wendy's Whistle- who lives out In California now. And now I'm sharing the song titles with her per request. Love and friendship mean assuming the playlist stands in for conversation. Keep whistling, Wendy.
I think this one is obvious.
GREENWICH MEAN TIME - Charlotte Gainsbourg
My favorite song right now- just the right amount of yippee.
I confess to a secret fantasy of you driving around in California (or riding your bike) with this one blaring from the stereos. The fantasy is even better when it takes place in Los Angeles near Rodeo Drive.
"Now don't get us wrong 'cause we love America
But that's no reason to get hysterica
They're layin' on the syrup thick
We ain't waffles we ain't havin' it"
Brings back memories of the good old "war on terror" fever in DC.
WONDERLUST KING - Gogol Bordello
An anthem. Just that. An anthem.
SMOKE IT - The Dandy Warhols
Because I had to include a Dandy song, but I couldn't remember which other ones I'd given you...
Fact: Old school can be good school.
Because you would appreciate the latest pop act out of Romania. That's a compliment.
Riot grrrls are gone, but independent women still rule.
THE LIGHT - Jsan and the Analogue Sons
Sunshine and good conversations with gas station attendants.
Cheeky girls and clever instrumentation.
CHINATOWN - Destroyer
The right sort of daydreams to get from here to there.
GREEN RIVER - M. Ward
Barefoot girls dancin' in the moonlight...
Greg covers Frank Ocean and says with an eye to Angela Lansbury.
Carla Bruni is a jack-of-all-trades and a smart species of dame.
Everyone needs a cheesy love song by a recovering hipster.
SUPERNATURAL - The Cowboy Junkies
Margo Timmins' voice will never be genetically matched. I couldn't help closing down shop with her amazingness.
Daily I listen to wonder and woe,
Nightly I hearken to knave or to ace,
Telling me stories of lava and snow,
Delicate fables of ribbon and lace,
Tales of the quarry, the kill, the chase,
Longer than heaven and duller than hell-
Never you blame me, who cry my case:
"Poets alone should kiss and tell!"
Dumbly I hear what I never should know,
Gently I counsel of pride and of grace;
Into minutiae gayly they go,
Telling the name and the time and the place.
Cede them your silence and grant them space-
Who tenders an inch shall be raped of an ell!
Sympathy's ever the boaster's brace;
Poets alone should kiss and tell.
Why am I tithed what I never did owe?
Choked with vicarious saffron and mace?
Weary my lids, and my fingers are slow-
Gentlemen, damn you, you've halted my pace.
Only the lads of the cursed race,
Only the knights of the desolate spell,
May point me the lines the blood-drops trace-
Poets alone should kiss and tell.
Prince or commoner, tenor or bass,
Painter or plumber or never-do-well,
Do me a favor and shut your face
Poets alone should kiss and tell.
Dorothy Parker relished every experiment that came her way. So she tried her hand at the old ballade- a form of forme fixe medieval and Renaissance poetry which is as restrictive as a corset in how you can move. Of course, she moves daringly within it and demonstrates how forme fixe can be used to excite the bourgeoisie.
If you're looking to escape the egg hunts this weekend, drive on over to Huntsville for the Family Farm and Fleece Day, presented by the Tennessee Valley Women in Agriculture. There will be lots to do, and more to learn about local agriculture and animal husbandry. Make sure to visit their website and print a copy of the coloring page for the kids coloring contest- it might make a great project for the road.
Max has been busting my bumpers to help him do a weekly podcast for at least a few weeks now. I thought, "Hmmmm... what if he podcasted his drama worksheets for the day"? Sure enough, Max was game (so long as we were able to include a few boings and other noises).
The result is the mp3 below- just click to play or right-click to download. And hey, you can use it with those worksheets from earlier today! Ain't life grande?
Patrick and I performed a skit we wrote for Bunica and Ratpaw last weekend, and we have another original skit waiting in the wings. I foresee a Coryell Castle Theatre Troupe on the horizon. Now to train the youngest actors....
These castle-dwellers crave the visual side of learning- and it helps to have coloring opportunities for the girls when Max's educational content is too much for their ears.
So here's the handout with the three types of plays from ancient Greece followed by a PDF printable version.
Three Types of Plays (PDF)
Please please please take a few minutes to either 1) listen to Morrissey or 2) cultivate your inner thespian today. I can help with the second but the first is a personal matter.
Today we are planting our poppy seeds from Bunicu and Pam- special spring blooms to "make the birds singing" (in Milla's words). Unfortunately, my hands stayed too full for photos, but each munchkin had their own poppy seeds and pots for the planting.
As we poured, dug, and planted, we also talked about the many opportunities for learning that exist in our backyards. Max got his kicks by creating a calendar to add to his gardening notebook. And then we discussed the idea of "plant-catching" and how we might incorporate it into our gardening routines and plans for the this year.
Part of all the script-writing we've been enjoying lately involves being able to use and understand different types of figurative language. In my opinion, it's easier to learn how to write dialogue in a story by starting with writing dialogue in a script. That way, the essential verbal communication is captured first, prior to additional descriptions and mood.
Figures of Speech Study: Idioms (PDF)
5 pages of worksheets like the one above
Today is devoted to idioms. Max started with the Idioms worksheets I made for the occasion (which you may use as well) while the ladies colored some fantastic pictures of idioms and learned from the Illustrated Idioms Handout (PDF) that I discovered online at Henry School.
More idiom-based free fun to chase:
Van Gogh’s artistic career was very short, only ten years; but he made 800 paintings in that time. Sometimes he would paint through the night with candles stuck in his hat brim for light! Unfortunately, he sold only one painting during his lifetime. But this did not dissuade him from believing that his art was worthwhile.
What colors do you see?
What kinds of lines?
What is in the background? Why?
How real does the artist make things look?
How does the painting make you feel?
Do you like it? Why or why not?
To explore the context behind this self-portrait- as well as two others- you can download the free worksheets below. Please don't try to make money off of them unless you are too poor to own a personal computer. But please do enjoy them- and learn alongside your little ones.
Don't miss the opportunity to Make A Van Gogh Style Self-Portrait with this printable acivity from the National Gallery of Art which provided the information for the worksheets I made.
Oh what a fantastic way to relive good books. Contrariwise introduces more literary tattoos than you have shelving space. Also browse-worthy is Unique Tattoos From Around the Globe, Needles and Sins, Bailey Hunter Robinson, Meditations in Atrament, Allen Tattoo, Swallows and Daggers, Tatoologist, and Tattoo Road Trip.
A few of my favorite inkings from today's brief foray, the kind that won't come unstuck....
Edward Gorey drawings
Egon Schiele sketches
Unicorns and narwhals
Kurt Vonnegut quotes
Hannah Arendt quotes
Still life black and white pen drawings
Fact: Max couldn't get over how fantastic the falling snow could be. Dogland quickly became part of the scene.
Fiction: Dogland itself. Like all imaginary worlds, it is endearing and purely fiction.
Fact: Our last day in Colorado was the closest I've seen to a blizzard.
Fiction: Blizzards are bad things. Granted, skiing during a white-out is no fun (unless you are fully masochistic), but blizzards are the mountain's version of a stunning thunderstorm.
Fact: We missed Isla incredibly. Auntie Carla kept us updated on her recent grins and antics with daily photos. If she isn't delicious, my tastebuds have been lying to me for years. I mean, she sports the pretense of curly hair on one side of her head, while keeping us guessing about the long term with her Japan-straight other side. I just want to kiss the tiny trickster.
A statue graveyard in Bucuresti, October 2011.
Somewhere in the national forest,
there is a coffin tree for each of us,
chosen at birth, containing us
completely, even in its youngest seedling.
If we keep no one left to love, to love us,
to cut it down, to afford it carved
to order, we will wander the flower bridge,
the light-rail route, the geopark trails,
unclean ghosts the clouded blue
of our deepening cataracts.
What’s left of us, children moved to city,
smudged air of our once bodies,
is holding, exhausted, the village
brinkline of trees from the road.
We disappearing as the mist that beads
our shapes burns off at dawn.
There is a difference between fire
shaped like a horse and a horse made of fire
Each proud morning flashes
its bleached asshole at us,
and, bless thine ass, darling,
you call it a dawning.
Adam Fell was born and raised in Burlington, Wisconsin, and holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he teaches at Edgewood College. You can download a free copy of his chapbook, Ten Keys To Being A Champion On and Off the Field, online. I like how Adam does strange things with love, loss, and the corruptibility of hauntings,
The way the blue car spun tonight
on imperceptible ice -- that stop-
time: bare pocked sycamores, the river's
black sheen, the football stadium
empty of Romans, the oblivious sky-
line shining like a festivity --
and, shaken, I could still straighten
the formidable blue invention,
slide the delinquent wheels to a curb;
the way in South China, the car radio
says, believers crowd closetlike shops
to purchase tiny packets of Bear Bile,
a favorite cure-all, while bears go mad
in their abscessing bodies, in cages
barely their height, hurling themselves,
banging their agonized heads at the bars --
lifetimes of pain only, for the dubious
sake of an ancient "medicinal harvest";
the way a mother, stirring sweet batter
in a well-lit kitchen, feels the Pyrex
bowl slip to the floor, and it breaks,
and seeing there'll be no upside-down cake
for dinner, shrieks at her little boy
cowering in the doorway, Look what
you made me do! and lunges to smack him,
the way she'd struck yesterday and last week,
though he's as still as a stalled truck;
the way I felt last night when she hung up
on me. I knew I'd hurt her because her mind
's gone, and I refused for my life
to let mine follow again; the way I held
the dead phone, relieved to be not
listening at last -- the memory of all that,
no no -- relieved, selfish, and empty:
wouldn't I choose if I could not to be human,
or any other mammal programmed for cruelty?
No, they can't take that away from me
Gail's poem was published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1995. You can hear her read it aloud at their website. The poem brings to mind the complex contents of what is subsumed under "motherhood", what is lost and gained by seeking integrity in the human condition never quite whole.
She may be British and publish in Dutch, and her recipes might be mostly out of my lingual leage, but I can't help drooling over them. Yvette Van Boven's English book, Home Made, is currently available on Amazon. In it, you can find these recipes and more illustrated goodies. Also in English is Home Made Winter, which includes a bevy of delicious winter recipes.
A house in Bucuresti from our trip to Romania last year.
It is not just
A matter of an airy
Kitchen, good schools, and
Two fireplaces ten
Minutes from the station.
Nor is it just
That what you are
Looking for is an acre
Of suburban work
You are not suited to:
The lawn that expresses
Like cancer; the furnace
That stops like a heart
At the center of winter;
Or any other simplicity
You will be helpless
In the face of.
Nor is it just
That you are buying
A place to hear
Your children tell you
Lies in, the pleasant
Rooms where they will hide
Their habits and to which
They will not wish to return;
Or that you arc buying
A beautiful box to be
Sick in and the hall
From which to call the doctor.
It is just that
You must hurry,
The color of life
Fat in your wallet.
John N. Morris (1931-1997) was an American poet and professor who paid a strange tribute to the rise of suburbia in his writings. Known as a the poet of "quiet desperation and the long perspectives of middle-American comfort", Morris also contributed a fair amount to literary criticism in journals like The Hudson Review. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Morris never became well-known enough to develop a character for the American literary scene. But his poems whisper to us about the change in how far we came and how very fast we forget. More on Morris:
"For Julia, In the Deep Water", a poem by Morris (Poetry Foundation)
"Over Grave Waters", a poem by Morris (Poetry)
Morris on Morris (National Humanities Center)
How Morris helps left-brainers write poetry (National Writing Project)
Continuing our study of botany, flowers are all the rage today. In the yard and on our paper. Here's your free printable PDF version... which I would prefer if you used at home or with kids but not for profit of any sort. Consider me your nonprofit friend.
Flower Words (PDF)
The other one, Borges, is the one to whom things happen. I wander through Buenos Aires, and pause, perhaps mechanically nowadays, to gaze at an entrance archway and its metal gate; I hear about Borges via the mail, and read his name on a list of professors or in some biographical dictionary. I enjoy hourglasses, maps, eighteenth century typography, etymology, the savour of coffee and Stevenson’s prose: the other shares my preferences but in a vain way that transforms them to an actor’s props. It would be an exaggeration to say that our relationship is hostile; I live, I keep on living, so that Borges can weave his literature, and that literature justifies me. It’s no pain to confess that certain of his pages are valid, but those pages can’t save me, perhaps because good writing belongs to no one, not even the other, but only to language and tradition. For the rest, I am destined to vanish, definitively, and only some aspect of me can survive in the other. Little by little, I will yield all to him, even though his perverse habit of falsifying and exaggerating is clear to me. Spinoza understood that all things want to go on being themselves; the stone eternally wishes to be stone, and the tiger a tiger. I am forced to survive as Borges, not myself (if I am a self), yet I recognise myself less in his books than in many others, less too than in the studious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him, and passed from suburban mythologies to games of time and infinity, but now those are Borges’ games and I will have to think of something new. Thus my life is a flight and I will lose all and all will belong to oblivion, or to that other. I do not know which of us is writing this page.
It's the generic reasoning offered by even the most open-minded of my friends and acquaintances- School is very important because it "socializes" children. Without it, socialization of this particular sort just doesn't occur. And while many express concern and dismay over current social norms and trends in bullying and violence, no one really looks hard enough to ask if this "socialization" is truly desirable and good for children or society over the long-term.
Are we creating the change we want to see in the world? Are we promoting tolerance, nonviolence, mutual respect, and intellectual curiosity? We use the school=socialization equation as a justification for our choices while doubting its status as an axiom. Or we get huffy over the superficial indicators without bothering to interpret and understand them.
What is this "socialization" and why does it matter? Is it exclusively a school-based good? I decided to take the ground rules from an anthropologist:
Human infants are born without any culture. They must be transformed by their parents, teachers, and others into cultural and socially adept animals. The general process of acquiring culture is referred to as socialization . During socialization, we learn the language of the culture we are born into as well as the roles we are to play in life. For instance, girls learn how to be daughters, sisters, friends, wives, and mothers. In addition, they learn about the occupational roles that their society has in store for them.
At this point, the socialization process seems to be ideal for homeschooling, where many social roles and norms are experienced (rather than merely taught) on a daily basis. Many homeschoolers have chosen to educate their kids "at home" (I use this loosely because so much education takes place outside the home, on field trips, co-ops, excursions, etc.) for precisely this reason- the rich texture of experience-based learning. I find myself in Eli's "worldschooling" court quite often, especially when we take month-long international trips as a family.
Remember that there is not a single textbook, video, program, or worksheet that a school provides which cannot also be provided in the home. Granted, some parents (myself among them) prefer to teach American history using Howard Zinn as a guiding text rather than the standard textbook that includes George Washington as a "hero".
But that doesn't mean we lack access to other materials- it simply means we find them to be "behind the times". Dare I say MacMillan has its own market-based and institutional reservations for producing history texts that question the value of war as an instrument of policy?
What is special about the school lies more in the social routine, structure, style, and classroom environment than the content of the academic materials. That's what many of us accept as true without question. So let's go back to the anthropologist:
We also learn and usually adopt our culture's norms through the socialization process. Norms are the conceptions of appropriate and expected behavior that are held by most members of the society. While socialization refers to the general process of acquiring culture, anthropologists use the term "enculturation" for the process of being socialized to a particular culture. You were enculturated to your specific culture by your parents and the other people who raised you.
Socialization is important in the process of personality formation. While much of human personality is the result of our genes, the socialization process can mold it in particular directions by encouraging specific beliefs and attitudes as well as selectively providing experiences. This very likely accounts for much of the difference between the common personality types in one society in comparison to another.
Socialization varies in degree by personality. Even the most socialized child (whatever that means) will still exhibit characteristics of their personality in peer and group interactions. For example, shy kids will still be shy, introverted ones will be thoughtful and contemplative, and funny ones will be funny. Personality, regardless of socialization, still plays a role in how we navigate our world.
Some methods of schooling, including those utilized in Nazi Germany and communist Romania, certainly "punished" inquisitive and analytic thinking very effectively. Under such systems, the range of personalities becomes more narrow (those who don't fall in the range go to a gulag or prison camp). But I don't think the American public school system has any such goals in mind.
Our system, at its heart, has progressive and noble intentions which have been pushed down the list of priorities so academic performance can rule. We take integration and diversity as measures of tolerance, and take comfort at the thought that our children have a Sikh as well as a Muslim child in their classroom.
But token integration is as superficial as the conversations about eyeshadow colors at an Avon party. "Look at how diverse and multicultural we are.... And that green really brings out the blue in your eyes..." For a better perspective on why this view is offensive and crude, read the amazing, insightful content and materials from Teaching Tolerance (a magazine subscription every parent should have or gift).
In "Homeschooling and the Question of Socialization", Richard G. Medlin explains how school education and socialization have "become closely linked in our cultural consciousness". Over the past 50 years, as we've all gotten "busier", schools have been made responsible for an expanding range of socializing activities that previously were handled by other social institutions, including the family.
Many people now assume that traditional schooling offers essential socialization experiences that home schooling cannot (Harris, 1995; Mayberry, Knowles, Ray, & Marlow, 1995). For example, the American Psychological Association, in an effort to bring professional psychology to bear on current issues, presented the opinions of educational psychologists about home schooling in the APA Monitor (Murray,1996). These psychologists warned that home-schooled children may be unable to get along with others and may experience difficulty entering “mainstream life.” Home-schooled children, they said, “only hear their parents’philosophies and have little chance to form their own views,” whereas conventional schools teach “what society as a whole values.” Home schooling shelters children from society, they suggested, but traditional schools ensure that children will grow up to be “complete people” by teaching key social skills such as cooperation, respect for others, and self-control.
These assumptions are not supported by relevant evidence. Specifically, homeschooled kids do not have trouble forming intimate friendships, enjoying group activities, or participating in mainstream cultural norms. At least, not according to any sound studies I've seen. (Homeschooled kids on the autism spectrum or with special education needs will find such things more difficult, but it is not due to their homeschooling experience.)
Essentially, we are given to understand that opinions about the "dangers" of homeschooling are so deeply entrenched that evidence is not even needed anymore. Discrimination against homeschoolers may be the last acceptable form of stereotyping and bias. Medlin writes:
The harshest critics charge that isolating children from larger society and inhibiting their social development are the principal goals home schooling parents have in mind. A survey of public school superintendents found that 92% believed home-schooled children do not receive adequate socialization experiences (Mayberry et al., 1995). When asked to explain their views, some of these superintendents commented that home schoolers “don’t want any influence other than parents” in their children’s lives, believe “communities at large are evil,” and “want to ensure their children’s ignorance” (pp. 92, 94). The parents “have real emotional problems themselves,” one superintendent asserted, and do not realize “the serious harm they are doing to their children in the long run, educationally and socially” (p. 94).
I tend to disagree with the superintendent, but I also empathize with his/her position in defending their turf by demonizing those who question its landscaping. Here's where it gets spooky:
Successful socialization can result in uniformity within a society. If all children receive the same socialization, it is likely that they will share the same beliefs and expectations. This fact has been a strong motivation for national governments around the world to standardize education and make it compulsory for all children. Deciding what things will be taught and how they are taught is a powerful political tool for controlling people. Those who internalize the norms of society are less likely to break the law or to want radical social changes.
And here's where Michel Foucault laughs from his grave:
In all societies, however, there are individuals who do not conform to culturally defined standards of normalcy because they were "abnormally" socialized, which is to say that they have not internalized the norms of society. These people are usually labeled by their society as deviant or even mentally ill.
And here's the closest thing I can find to a reason why the classroom is a critical component of socialization- also, suggestively, a reason for early daycare and nursery, where infants are given to understand that their emotional needs cannot be met by human beings or family members, not in this society, not when we've given up the corset for the silicone breast. From our anthropologist:
Early childhood is the period of the most intense and the most crucial socialization. It is then that we acquire language and learn the fundamentals of our culture. It is also when much of our personality takes shape. However, we continue to be socialized throughout our lives. As we age, we enter new statuses and need to learn the appropriate roles for them. We also have experiences that teach us lessons and potentially lead us to alter our expectations, beliefs, and personality. For instance, the experience of being raped is likely to cause a woman to be distrustful of others.
Looking around the world, we see that different cultures use different techniques to socialize their children. There are two broad types of teaching methods--formal and informal. Formal education is what primarily happens in a classroom. It usually is structured, controlled, and directed primarily by adult teachers who are professional "knowers." In contrast, informal education can occur anywhere. It involves imitation of what others do and say as well as experimentation and repetitive practice of basic skills. This is what happens when children role-play adult interactions in their games.
Home schooling parents, not surprisingly, disagree on every point. They describe conventional schools as rigid and authoritarian institutions where passive conformity is rewarded, where peer interactions are too often hostile or derisive or manipulative, and where children must contend with a dispiriting ideological and moral climate. Home schooling parents argue that this kind of environment can stifle children’s individuality and harm their self-esteem. They say it can make children dependent, insecure, or even antisocial. They believe it can undermine their efforts to teach their children positive values and appropriate behavior. Finally, they insist that it is unlikely to cultivate the kind of rewarding and supportive relationships that foster healthy personal and moral development (Allie-Carson, 1990; Gatto, 1992; Holt, 1981; Linden, 1983; Martin, 1997; Mayberry et al., 1995; Medlin, 1993b; Shirkey, 1987; Williams, Arnoldsen, & Reynolds, 1984). From this perspective, the “social environment of formal schools is actually a compelling argument for operating a home school” (Mayberry et al., 1995, p. 3). Nevertheless, when parents decide to home school, they are thinking more of the advantages of home schooling than the disadvantages of conventional schooling (Parker, 1992). Home schooling parents are strongly committed to providing positive socialization experiences for their children (Johnson, 1991; Mayberry et al., 1995; Montgomery, 1989), but they “believe that socialization is best achieved in an age-integrated setting under the auspices of the family” (Tillman, 1995, p. 5) rather than in an institution.
Rather than interact for 15 minutes in a truncated recess, my kids interact for hours on end in our weekly homeschool co-ops which are dedicated to nothing apart from the pursuit of play and extended imaginative social interaction. This special space for unstructured, unregulated play provides a space in which they can enjoy what was once known as "childhood". Even a group as conservative as the American Academy of Pediatricians recently went on record saying that recess and play are as "important as math or reading" for childhood development.
Now I understand that going from home education straight to college with no group-based or classroom-type social experience can be daunting. But I also don't know a single homeschooled child who has done just that. Some attend community college classes in high school, others are heavily involved in Envirothons or extracurriculars, and most have done their fair share of time in the old Sunday school classroom. What deep human truths and relation data are they missing? Are they less likely to model fake happiness? Good- then they are less likely to end up on the therapist's couch addressing that midlife crisis that occurs when the accumulation of fake smiles turns malignant.
Professor Medlin concludes his paper by asserting that more research needs to be conducted on the relationship between homeschooling and socialization. But he also emphasizes that the existence of bias is not related to the actual psychological health and life satisfaction of homeschooled kids. Instead, the bias is related to the prevalence of a specific formula that says, "You have to go to school to learn to act like everyone else". The credibility of this bias should be questioned by anyone who acknowledges that human development occurs along a continuum and that we are learning more about a more progressive means of education every day.
Although there are still far too many unanswered questions about home schooling and socialization, some preliminary conclusions can be stated. Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with—and feel close to—all sorts of people. Home schooling parents can take much of the credit for this. For, with their children’s long-term social development in mind, they actively encourage their children to take advantage of social opportunities outside the family. Home-schooled children are acquiring the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes they need. They have good self-esteem and are likely to display fewer behavior problems than do other children. They may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills than other children as well. And they appear to be functioning effectively as members of adult society.
Perhaps the most intriguing unanswered question is, “Why?” Why should home-schooled children seem, in the words of Smedley (1992), to be “better socialized” (p. 12) than children attending conventional schools? Smedley speculated that the family “more accurately mirrors the outside society” (p. 13) than does the traditional school environment, with its “unnatural” age segregation. Galloway (Galloway, 1998; Galloway & Sutton, 1997) agreed, stating that because they are not peer-grouped in school, home-schooled children learn to get along with a variety of people, making them socially mature and able to adjust to new and challenging situations. She added two further explanations: She argued that the highly individualized academic program afforded by home schooling creates an ideal learning environment, giving children an excellent chance to do well both in college and in a career. She also said that because home-schooled children learn and grow in the nurturing environment of secure family relationships, they develop a confidence and resiliency that helps them to succeed as adults.
Medlin ends with the following statement: "Research on the question of socialization suggests that children are thriving in the home school environment and that much can be learned from looking more closely at what home schooling families are doing." I can't take this as a compliment because a homeschooling parent has a MUCH easier job than a teacher of 30 children whose job and pay depends on how well those children pass certain standardized tests.
If I have learned anything absolutely during my days of educating the kids at home, it is that there are so many wonderful teachers who adore the children they teach. The current trend in American public education is not only sad for the kids but also for these creative, dedicated teachers who are given very little room to adapt their materials to suit their students' needs and learning abilities. Ultimately, my intuitions insist on being deeply and actively involved in my children's education. Our intuitions lead us to different places- whether to the PTA or the home school.
And then there is also that obvious fact which stares us in the face every time we see our children- the fact that each one is an individual born in a world where the legacy of our species has been less than glorious. The social Darwinism of the schoolyard, much as it prepares a young person for a conventional version of success, fails to reward the developing conscience while "teaching" the very truths we try to deny (i.e. the stronger wins, power is better than kindness, popularity determines worth, etc.). I'm uncomfortable with the longterm consequences of this.
Dana Goldstein may decide one day the Social Darwinism and excruciating competitiveness of school is good for society as a whole. She may be willing to overlook her own rigid construal of "progressive values" to include other ideas which don't all lead to the same place- namely, hers. I prefer to stand with my conscience and confess that I think school can be awful and damaging for many small people- for their families, for their communities, and for the teachers whom we disrespect and straitjacket through current practices as well.
If schools were truly effective (and some private schools are) at providing the nurture, intimacy, and encouragement which helps young people learn and thrive on an emotional and spiritual (as opposed to religious) level as well as a competitive or academic one, I would willingly pass the buck. Remember that most of a child's time is spent in school, not in the home, family, or community at large. Public education is truly a public good- but it's a public "bad" when it engenders intolerance, hierarchical thinking, and overwhelming pressure.
In the words of Sonic Youth, perhaps it's time to "kill your idols". Be the change you want to see in the world. Refuse to outsource love and nurturing when you feel it could be an opportunity to learn and evolve. Do what you can, and love what you do. Love life. Don't settle for a statistic. Here's a little inspiration for the journey:
The Feminist Homeschool
Cocking A Snook
The Edgy Chronicles
The Natural Child Project
Cheeky Bums Blog
Quarks and Quirks
Role-playing activity (Teaching Tolerance)
"Won't Get Schooled Again" by Rebecca Ellis (Briarpatch Magazine)
"Learning Curve" by Maya Schenwar (Bitch Magazine)
"Why Homeschooling Happened", a historic review by Milton Gaither
"Homeschooling Goes Mainstream" by Milton Gaither (Education Next)
"Homeschool stereotype far off the mark" by Dana Rohr
"How homeschooling threatens monopoly education" by Glenn H. Reynolds (USA Today)
RABBIT SONGS by Hem
"Restless stars through the trees
Enough to fall to our knees
Make no sound so no one sees"
TUNNEL OF LOVE by Bruce Springsteen
"It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And youve got to learn to live with what you can't rise above
if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love.."
Tunnel of Love (mp3)
S / T by David Pajo
"How far you are when close
How near to me when gone
The dark is full of ghosts
That howl into the dawn
That howl into the dawn
The sky has opened
The power is down
Deserted in this town
High lonesome moan"
High Lonesome Moan (mp3)
"There's something about an afternoon spent doing nothing
Just listening to records and watching the sun falling
Thinking of things that don't have to add up to something
And this spell won't be broken
By the sound of keys scraping in the lock..
Maybe tonight it's a movie
With plenty of room for elbows and knees
A bag of popcorn all to myself,
Black and white with a strong female lead
And if I don't like it, no debate, I'll leave..."
I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE by Yo La Tengo
"Feeling like a kid again, my eyes are glued to the floor
I hope I mumbled goodbye as you walked out the door
The damage is done"
MIDNIGHT DRIFTER by the Whiskey Folk Ramblers
THE LION'S ROAR by First Aid Kit
I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June
If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too
No, I'm not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me
THE TRAGIC TREASURY: SONGS FROM A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS by The Gothic Archies
"The Gothic Archies is the Gothic rock-bubblegum pop band of celebrated songwriter Stephin Merritt, also of The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, and Future Bible Heroes. Merritt is the only member although he hopes to acquire more soon. What makes this band different from The Magnetic Fields is that any glimmer of hope is absolutely extinguished. The current Gothic Archies project is The Tragic Treasury: Music for "A Series of Unfortunate Events", a compilation of theme songs written for each of the 13 volumes of Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events" book series."
HISTOIRE DE MELODY NELSON by Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin
Nothing compares to Serge and Jane. They are the best of the best. And this album influenced so many musicians from Beck to house- it deserves its own space on your shelf. The layers of beats and sounds, the textures, are intoxicating.
Cargo culte (mp3)
Please sample the tunes and enjoy. Some of them exist in a format that doesn't allow me to use the webplayer, so you just have to download to sample. Then hop on over to iTunes or your preferred indie music distributor and get the pay to play so this poor mother doesn't get into any financially excessive trouble.
The best sledding hill in the Keystone area can be found right off Highway 6 across from Cemetery Road (or County Road 98). Just pull into the parking area for the jogging trails that go around Lake Dillon and the beautiful hill will be right in front of you. Here's a link to the Google map location if you're hankering to sled.
Putting the kids in ski school so we could ravage the mountains alone was the best choice we made on this vacation. I'm not going to lie about this one- skiing with the King was more fun than I made room for in my list of plans.
Generally, we started the day dropping off the kids at the base of River Run and then taking the gondola up to the summit of Keystone Mountain. As you can see, they were thrilled as we waited for the bus.
She loves it when he makes sense....
Something beautiful about all of it and just being present in the moments...
Taking a break to drink water and eat granola bars at The Summit.
In retrospect, we took as many "breaks" as we could because normal life doesn't make space for those soul-savers. I told the royal family early on in our trip that I planned to take every break that came my way this week.
More Keystone fun for royal families and happy serfs:
Keystone Trail Map (PDF)
Keystone Resort Official Website, for the landed aristocracy
Keystone childcare and nursery
Arapahoe Basin Official Website, for the powder-eaters
Breckenridge Ski Resort, for the Dayplanners
Copper Mountain, for beginners and aging hipsters
Loveland Ski Area, for the natives and nativists
Summit County, Colorado Official Website, for the dreamers
We got our sled- the fully baked version- and then we needed to find a perfect sledding location. En route, we witnessed two men drilling holes in the lake and ice fishing. Super incredible fun to see. After much wandering, we settled on the trail head near Lake Dillon. It snowed on and off the entire day.
This past Monday, Max learned about local dinosaurs with a little hands-on paleontology at the University of Alabama's Museum of Natural History's Museum Monday.
The girls and I wandered around the museum lobby for a little while to make sure Max wouldn't miss us too much. Which turned out to be nothing approximating a problem of any sort....
A friend and a friend of a friend and I dropped our olders ones off and then wandered over the quad for some spring fever frolicking with the little people.
Just as we moms plopped down in the grass, the girls returned with a large log. We spotted them about 100 feet away walking side by side with the sun behind them when lo and behold, the lasses brought some decomposed wood. Wonders never cease.
A headless pile of bricks in the grass became a "castle" to which they urgently needed to return after we went inside for a bathroom break and just long enough for me to purchase a coffee and spill it all over the floor while apologizing profusely to the staff and trying to clean it with paper napkins as the girls climbed a potato chip shelf. Sometimes the only way to describe the momentum involves a run-on sentence.
To join the fun, add one of these upcoming dates to your family calendar. Or check the Alabama Museum of Natural History Facebook page for more details. (Hint: it helps if you "like" it.)
April 1 – Museum Monday 3:45 – 5 (Grades K – 5 – $8)
April 5 – Growing Up Wild 10 – noon (Pre-school – $2)
April 6 – Sander’s Lecture 10 – 2 (General Public – Free)
May 6 – Museum Monday 3:30 – 5 (Grades 1-5 – $8)
You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
- Jacques Crickillon
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
I love Alice Cantrell's garden journal covers, but we needed a full-size page for our garden notebooks (which we put in binders). So I quickly drafted a very mediocre version of Alice's gorgeous creation.
Because sharing is a form of caring, right? By the way, tthe cover page looks great printed out on a recycled brown grocery bag which you can then bind with twine and a three-hole punch.
Garden Notebook Cover (PDF)
Whoever first realized that yoga is just as awesome for kids as it for adults deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. Seriously. We've been using Baron Baptiste's book with yoga for a while now, but rising enthusiasm made a it a more regular part of our day.
This morning, Max positively beamed after half an hour of Shanti Generation yoga (yes, you can stream it on Netflix). As it turned out, his devotion to his practice led him to forsake math for an extended period of poses on the living room rug.
Thanks to the Childlight Yoga Blog for sharing this song and lyrics. Although the song works best in a class format, it can also be prepared by homeschooling families for working partners upon their return to your castle. But performance should never be forced. One of the greatest things about yoga for kids is that it is not competitive and doesn't force shy wildflowers into recitals.
If I Were (written by Lisa Flynn, music/performance by Sammie Haynes)
If I were the sun, (reach up)
I’d shine down on you. (fold forward, reaching for toes)
If I were a rose bud, (hands behind ears, elbows touching in front)
I’d open for you. (stretch the elbows out wide)
If I were a puppy, (down dog)
I’d wag at you. (lift one leg and shake)
But since I am a child, (hold one hand down, palm facing floor)
I’ll sing for you. (bring hand to mouth, then away)
If I were a star, (star pose)
I’d twinkle for you. (rock from side to side, from one foot to the other)
If I were a penguin, (heels together, toes out, hands at sides, fingers out)
I’d waddle to you. (‘waddle’ in place.)
If I were an eagle, (eagle pose)
I’d soar to you. (stretch out arms and legs to ‘soar.’)
But since I am a child, (hold one hand down, palm facing floor)
I’ll sing for you. (bring hand to mouth, then away)
And since I am your child, (point to self, to parent, then palm to floor)
I’ll give you hugs too! (hug self or run to parent to hug!)
From Little Lotus Kids Yoga Flashcards.
More free yoga with kids if money is not on your mandala:
Relaxation scripts (Relax Kids)
My First Yoga: Animal Poses for Kids app (iTunes)
Robot relax script with visual (Om-azing Kids)
Kids Yoga: Bedtime Rhymes video (YouTube)
Yoga games for kids (Yoga in My School)
Dr. Seuss-inspired yoga pose printable (Om-azing Kids)
Pose of the week (Yoga Kids)
"The Benefits of Yoga for Kids" (Greenchild Magazine)
Peace tree visualization printable (Om-azing Kids)
Joytime yoga warm-ups (Joytime)
Good behavior in yoga group social story (Om-azing Kids)
Om-azing Kids Yoga tunes (Soundcloud)
Yoga for Kids with Autism video (Shiva's Centre)