Archive for the ‘current events’ Category


My daughter has always been weird. (Photo from June 2008.)

And we have always talked about politics. Elliott doesn’t tune in for most of it, but Margie has long been aware of the bigger issues and we discuss them. This year we kept tuned into the news for nearly the whole day, and defnitely from about 4pm on. Elliott had opinions as to who should win. For instance, he thought that Carl DeMaio is more handsome than Bob Filner so he’d rather have DeMaio as mayor of San Diego. I have hopes that as he grows up, he will pay closer attention to the actual issues. He will, right?

Margie and I looked at this infographic about the electoral college while we watched the results on NBC. I kind of sort of understand it now. Ish. Margie seemed to grasp it really well.

This election was also historic for women. Here’s a link to six important moments for women, and here’s a link to another two.

In other social studies news, I spent way too long the other day reading this and Margie peeked over my shoulder for some of it. It’s not, technically, kid-friendly. But maybe appropriate for high schoolers. In any case, it was highly entertaining.


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Mabon is the celebration marking the Autumnal Equinox.  The exact moment occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator, it gives us equal amounts of daylight and darkness.  The celebration begins the night before and the baking begins even before that.

Sunday we drove up into the mountains to pick apples, we met some of our Pagan friends at the orchard. Sadly, the crop this year was not as fabulous as it was last year – most of the apples had already been feasted upon by worms and, occasionally, by a bird (I assume). Still, we came home with a bag full and were even able to help make some cider with fallen apples we’d gathered.

some of the apples had gone to the worms

some of the apples had gone to the birds

beware, apples, you face your death

Monday we were on a looser-than-usual schedule. We did the usual math and spelling and she sketched and labeled some apple leaves. We talked about the equinox, and about the illustration of the event we’d seen at the planetarium show earlier this month. We talked a little about ancient cultural celebrations that marked the seasons – both equinoxes and solstices. We also talked a lot about fractions. And we baked. Pie filling, pie crusts and cookies. Mabon is delicious.

Today, the day of the equinox event, we met with our friends to celebrate. We had the aforementioned baked goods as well as squash, pomegranate seeds, a delicious potato salad, egg salad, and a delicious-looking honey bread I could not sample as it was gluteny – but Elliott scarfed a slice down so I think that’s two thumbs up. The kids thought about the past year and wrote down accomplishments they were proud of on paper leaves whichwe then hung in the tree – Margie put down crochet and Elliott put “pawprint”. We had a circle time in which we each mentioned the growth we had noticed in the person nest to us. We listened to the story of Persephone and Demeter. Lastly, we created pine cone feeders to offer to our bird friends as we head into these winter months.

apple pie pockets, sans gluten

bread for the gluteny people

goals and accomplishments

e's feeder

After that, we headed out to M’s PE class, during which the equinox actually occurred. I had grabbed a raw egg out of our fridge on the way to the park to see if we couldn’t try the egg-balancing trick. We had actually been testing this since the night before, never able to balance it. We arrived at the park at 2pm, and it still would not stand up for me, but when I tried at the time of the equinox – 2:18pm – it worked easily and perfectly! It was really exciting! We tried once more to confirm as we left at 3pm and, sure enough, it would not stand up again. It seems it has to be right at the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator.

the egg balances

And that was our Mabon. We will continue to study the cultural and scientific aspects of this for the rest of the week.

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We had a fabulous finish to the week. Thursday very little in the way of formal lessons occurred as we had to hurry out for our annual Not Back to School Party. Our friend brought two looms for the kids and they all had a blast weaving (we even got to borrow the little one overnight!). Another friend brought her fabulous ice cream to share with us and I brought some homemade magic shell to top it with. There were balls and air rockets and a playground. It was lovely.

mob @ the loom

the kids' work


The day was mostly lovely, anyway. Early in the morning, I heard the news that Mary Travers died and I cried openly. Peter, Paul and Mary were a staple in my house growing up and mean so very much to me. I showed my kids a couple of videos and we spent the rest of the day listening to Mary and the guys sing. Mary, you will be dearly missed – thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

On Friday we finished up the week’s lessons.

~Narrated a couple of sentences about Thales & the pyramid to me.
~Created a flip book of some of the Gods and Goddesses of Egypt.
~Finished up the current lesson in spelling (3 pages)
~Scissor work

~Worked on a days of the week Very Hungry Caterpillar flip book
~Scissor work

Then we headed off to knitting group where M finished up her weaving and learned how to tie it off, E and I took a little walk among the Pines, the kids played various games with balls, cars and hoops. It was a lovely afternoon.

Next week we will take a break from SOTW and focus on Mabon and the Holiday. I found this lesson plan I plan to use as a guide.

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I wish I had thought far enough ahead to have hunted down the episode of The Wonder Years where they watched the moon landing.  That is, to me who was born in 1978, the epitome of the event. Families gathered around, watching this Earth-changing thing happen. Even today in our immediate gratification world, I think we have no event that truly parallels this one. I tried to set the stage for Margie so she would understand how significant this was – I think I did an OK job of it. We talked of the Cold War (and the Butter Battle Book) and how it effected our military, our schools and our space obsession. We talked of the Apollo missions and when she remarked that something seemed dangerous, I told her she was right! We talked a little bit about disasters, but not much. We talked about the quotes, “The Eagle has landed.” and “One small step for man…” And then we watched some videos of the landing online.

We sat down to do clipboard stuff. Today there were spelling words (moon-related), a coloring sheet of the Earth/moon, an acrostic poem of the word “moon” and another cute worksheet I am forgetting. She got through half of it in a half-interested way.

Today we had to run and get tires so we drove to Discount Tire where Elliott FREAKED OUT over the idea that they were going to take out tires from us. He didn’t want new ones. He broke into tears and was SO SAD. 😦 Poor guy.

Home for lunch and naps.

After naps, M finished her worksheets. She used the dictionary at Enchanted Learning to look up words for her acrostic poem.

We painted moon pictures using a white oil pastel on white paper and water colors. It was Elliott’s first time doing that project and he LOVED the magic. Margie learned to make stars.

Threw them in the bath b/c MY GOODNESS THIS WEATHER IS HOT.

After dinner, the kids spent the evening coloring and playing with Dad.

Stories at bedtime.

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Marriage Day!

Today is a historic day here in California – today is the first day that marriages between same sex couples will be performed! The local UU church had a small group of people gather outside the courthouse down the street from our home so we joined them to show our support for the newlyweds. They wanted to make sure there was a positive presence there just in case there was anyone protesting. There wasn’t – they saved that for the main county courthouse, I guess. But we did get to see a few happy couples. The kids also got to meet some of the people there who we will bet getting to know as we become more involved in the church, so that was nice. They were the only little kids there, though, and they spent most of the time hunting for pandas in the trees.


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