Today we joined a few other families from our Unitarian church for a hike at Kane Mountain. The mountain is just inside the boundaries of the Adirondack Park and overlooks several different lakes. The trail was wet, muddy and slippery because it rained heavily yesterday, and though the climbing was tough for our little 4 year old (even with waterproof hiking boots), it was definitely do-able. That's good because Jeff and I love to hike, but until now we haven't been able to go as a family and all have a good time.

We made another wonderful food-based discovery yesterday at the farmer's market: local popcorn! We love to pop a big bowl of popcorn on the stove but have always used the popcorn we find at the grocery store. Yesterday we stopped at Anna Mae's booth and bought a bag of the red seed popcorn that her husband grows and dries, and when we got home Jeff couldn't resist making a batch. The difference is amazing! The kernels didn't pop up as nice and fluffy as the store brand, but the taste was beyond comparison. So rich and flavorful. We're hooked.

Someone asked me yesterday what we're doing this year for "preschool at home." I told her that we're pretty much living life here, but when I think about it, we do a lot of fun things that I thought I would take a moment to share.

Both 'A' and 'H' are heavily into imaginative play. Many times each day they decide what they're going to act out (a friend coming over to visit; a trip to the doctor's office; a mommy tucking her child into bed...). They figure out which role they each play and usually get heavily involved in the storyline. They're so good at staying in character that even when they get hurt, they stay in character. One time 'H' was pretending to be a visiting friend and she fell and hurt herself, and in between her tears she asked me to call her "mom" and let her know that she got hurt.

The girls help me cook, shop for food, and keep the house organized, inside and out. They clear the table and load the dishwasher. I am reluctant to establish responsibilities for them (a.k.a. "chores") because at their age, it will only set them up for failure and set me up for nagging, but I do encourage them to be helpful and to pitch in when asked or when they feel they can make a positive difference. That works pretty well for us - they like to feel like they're being helpful.

'A' has begun to work on her "handiwork" - sewing, and starting soon, finger knitting. She desperately wants to learn to make a sweater and I keep reminding her that she will get there... eventually. I'm not sure that cutting and gluing counts as handiwork, but it sure is something they both enjoy immensely.

Both girls are fascinated with geography. It probably helps that they have several map puzzles, a nice big wall map of the U.S. hanging in the kitchen, and they each were given a U.S. map from their grandparents for collecting the state quarters. They know many of the state names and capitals and we recently began looking up the state flags to see what imagery is on each and what it represents. We also talk about people around the world and how their lives might be different than ours. I am really hoping that Santa will bring the girls a globe or a world map so we can see where all of these other people live!

We spend time outside every day, running around and playing, rubbing leaves between our fingers and enjoying the fragrance, swinging on the swings, digging in the sandbox, and more. Outside time is one of those things I make a point of scheduling every day - it makes a huge difference in our quality of life to get out and see the sky.

And we read, which I almost forgot about because I love to do it and so do they. It's just a part of our daily rhythm.

So, for our year at home, we do simply "live life," but since life is rich and there's always so much to learn and appreciate everywhere we look, we spend a lot of time doing just that.


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!