'Homeschool' Category

Summer ends

getting ready for h.s. is thrilling and scary. we started this week. scott is doing math (interactive math), i am doing life skills (a workbook by dave ellis called Master Student), art class (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) and large animal anatomy (i figured why not start to tackle the stuff vet students have to learn along with a bazillion other things). so far so good.

we are doing this spanish program from pbs that presents half hour soap operas in spanish. there is a narrator who fills you in, but all the characters speak only spanish. very fun. its the way we all learned our first language, only there wasn’t the narrator and the characters were our families.

plugging along on the concrete building. the foundation came out beautifully despite all its imperfections. in another week we will have poured the slab then on to stacking the 16″ square column blocks.

lots of pigs. up close and personal!

settling in with school and balancing work.

what a great summer it has been.

9th grade begins

this is it. 9th grade starts monday. i am excitedly focusing on school (again). we are starting with the life skills block which is based on Dave Ellis’s book BECOMING A MASTER STUDENT. It is really a college text which i got at the reuse center but it is so fascinating and interesting. the sections on “how to go back to college when you have kids” we will skip.

i am so thrilled about how the blocks i will be teaching are coming together. i decided to look at joseph campbell’s power of myth for a reference book for world cultures to show how all cultures share the same mythology and therefore religion…. but now i think it will be the main source for the class. and in fact, i want to tie in literature and art history to the theme of the heroine’s journey. and the heroine’s journey is just the theme i was going to use for american history. who gives a shit about the wars and the changes in rulers. i want lauren to follow history by following the biographies of people who have practiced tikkun (hebrew for ‘making things right in the world”). i want to look at how individuals have made a difference in moving humanity towards equality, freedom and empowerment.

i sat down and wrote my intention for each of the blocks. it was very revealing.


Homeschooling plan

we are hosting a Know Your Farmer Alliance workshop here about chickens. our friend ann is doing a section on ducks.

gearing up for high school and realizing that lauren’s education is going to be something i can feel proud about. i believe i will be able to say that i gave her the best i had in me. enough of the mainstream to have doors open for vet school and a regular life along with a more accurate picture of history, government, religion, money….

we have tracy teaching physics (2 separate courses), chemistry, earth science and biology each year. and tracy is one of those teachers you remember when you are all grown up because she made school fun and interesting. and lauren has had her for 3 years already and 4 more to go!

i am following a waldorf inspired curriculum and teaching not only literature, world cultures, but history from the perspective of the winners AND the losers using howard zinn’s book A People’s History. powerful book giving a rarely seen perspective on history. each year i am also teaching a block on all the stuff i wish i had learned in school: we are doing tom brown’s wilderness survival and the final “exam” is that we will walk off the land together with a backpack filled with what we consider essentials (not including food or a tent, just tool type objects) and we will spend 3 days (together) but living off the land. we will build shelters, find and make food…. can you imagine how confident you would feel if you knew you could take care of yourself and that nature is bountiful?

i am also teaching art classes but also including life skills like making baskets, weaving, spinning etc. we will be reading ishmael and studying quinn’s other book on religions. we will be learning the beauty of all religions. we will start the year with classes on how to learn, the skills to be an effective student.

we are all excited. scott is teaching a new kind of math. it was developed in response to the statistics showing that US high school students scored 23rd compared to 24 other countries, that most students hate math and that few remember anything they learned even if they did well on tests. this new math program is based on interactive problem solving using real and interesting situations. It introduces statistics by looking at a game of chance and gambling! kids work in small groups and work together to explore solutions. we are looking for other students to join the class.

we picked lauren up at the airport last night. i barely recognized her. i was looking for my child, not the young lady who walked towards me!

the goat we thought was pregnant , then thought wasn’t, well now we think she is. she is “bagged up” meaning her utters are engorged with milk. she is our favorite.

we have 2 interns coming up to work today plus a woman in the neighborhood who wants to work with us just so she can pick our brains about sustainable living.

Second generation farmers

sustainable living. what topics are important to address? water systems, power systems, local food sources, , local material structures, waste management, transportation. these seem to be the main ones i addressed.

my recent experience homeschooling Lauren (9th grade) has given me a new perspective. why isn’t education in the top ten list for sustainability? how can we expect there to ever be second generation of sustainable homesteads if we are allowing the “system” to fill our children with their ideas of history, their values, their definition of successful, their priorities?

one of the reasons i chose to home school is because i wanted to include all the stuff i considered essential for my education that i didn’t get in school. why didn’t we read Ishmael, Your Money or Your Life, A People’s History….? how come i got support for insisting on gender equality? why was the only choice about what to do after high school either going to college to pursue the career that made the most money or get an entry level job? when i graduated from college i wondered how i could be ready to enter the world yet still not know how to build a simple shelter, take responsibility for my health, know where my electricity came from or what a phantom load was?

here is my chance to give my daughter the experiences, the information and alternatives i wish i had received.  maybe she will choose to carry on with the work we are doing here. how lovely that would be for her to have the basics in place and then add her input. and how lovely it would be for us to know this property won’t be dozed one day to put up a cul de sac of 3,000 square foot plywood and sheetrock homes with air conditioning.

HomeSchooling: Sustainable Nutrition Class

(7th and 8th grade)
by Karin Payne

Our consumptive lifestyle has led us to the brink of annihilation.
We have expanded our right to live on the earth to an entitlement to conquer the earth.
Yet “conquerors” of nature always lose– Bill Mollison

Class 1
Lab- Fire making (magnifying glass, bow drill, magnesium, fire piston, choosing tinder)
Classroom- Define Sustainability, Define Nutrition (petroleum and food, inputs and outputs, local economy)

Class 2
Classroom- Before the Ships came in (Hawai’i and the Ahupua’a)
homework- write down all the foods you eat for a week
journal entry- Maku ainana living on the Ahupua’a
Lab- Cooking without metal, glass (heating rocks, bamboo containers, ti/banana leaf)

Class 3
Classroom- After the Ships came in (Hawai’i after Cook- whaling, sandalwood, disease, starvation, invasive species, cash crops, missionaries, kapu system, Great Mahele- redistribution of land)
homework- calculate the distance the food traveled to get to your door
journal entry- Maku ainana’s choice after the Great Mahele
Lab- Storing foods (lemons in syrup, vinegar, oiled/wrapped and buried, brine and dehydrated, concentrated syrup)

Class 4
Classroom- What if the Ships stop coming in (Hawai’i without outside inputs)
homework- cross off non local foods from list, determine staples
journal entry- The ships no longer come to Hawai’i (the near or far future)
Lab- Salt (bitterns, sea salt, amaranth ash)

Class 5
Classroom- Developing a Plan (meeting our nutritional needs sustainably, staple garden design, food group fact sheets, local food menus, sustainable food processing and storage)
Lab- Some “unfamiliar” Local Starches (taste testing: taro, breadfruit, air yam, cassava, dasheen, peach palm, breadnut…)

Future Classes- students and teacher present fact sheets on food items relating to the particular lab
Future Labs (in no particular order)
Fruits (experimenting with “unfamiliar” local varieties e.g. durian, jaboticaba, jackfruit, lilikoi, rambutan, soursop…)
Greens (experimenting with “unfamiliar” local varieties e.g. moringa, chaya, katuk, malabar spinach, sweet potato)
Pulses (experimenting with “unfamiliar” local varieties e.g yardlong, lablab, peanut, pigeon pea, wing bean…)
Vegetables (experimenting with “unfamiliar” local varieties e.g. coconut sprout, tree tomato, chayote, pumpkin, okra…)
Dairy (evaporating milk, hard and soft cheeses w/fig sap “rennet”, yogurt, butter..)
Meat/Eggs (pemmican, broth, brining, long term storage w/ w/out refrigeration…)
Beverages (natural sodas, tea, coffee, chocolate, kombucha, coconut water..)
Sugar (cane sugar, honey, fructose syrup, corn syrup, stevia, coconut palm syrup..)
Spices (spice mixes, sauces, chutneys, preserves…)
Ferments (tempeh, japanese nuka box, kawal- vegetarian complete protein…)
Oils (coconut, mac nut, avocado, peanut, sunflower, malabar chestnut, tallow/lard…)
Bread/Cereal substitute (dent corn, amaranth, breadfruit, cassava, pulses..)
Snacks (coconut chips, crackers, nut butter, dehydrated fruit…)
Livestock (chickens, fresh water fish, goats, cows, bees..)
Making a Solar Dehydrator

Final Presentation Dinner
Journal Entry Recitation
Garden Plans
Personal Menu (before and after)
Food Group Fact Sheets
Local-Food Dinner