Friday, April 11, 2008

What's my password?

It's been so long since I blogged I thought I'd forgotten my password, thank God it is all linked in my Google account!

I do want to continue to blog, to log my thoughts and observations and activities of learning. Lots of that is going on, but I've gotten out of the habit of reflecting on it. I guess I've been busy reflecting on other things. We returned last week from a trip to NC during which my DH and his brother cleared out the storage unit with all of Bill's things. We also looked through many pictures and hard to believe but there were more letters than pictures. It was humorous and sad. We all still miss him. I know for Erin there were many things she wished to talk to him about. He would have been so proud of her learning Gaelic. He once told me he wished he had studied it himself. Life pushes forward and yet pieces and people from the past keep coming back. Much too much to get into here, but we must keep pushing forward and refuse to be pulled back.

So, here's hoping that thoughts and energies can once again return to reflecting about the here and now, the precious days of my children's youth and their boundless energy and their learning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bothy Ballads of Aberdeenshire

I didn't go about looking for something like this, but a craft blog, led to a Scottish craft blog and then a link in the sidebar to this video. Bill's father's family was from Aberdeenshire and this is some of their music.

There are 4 parts of this little documentary. I never even knew this Bothy ballad music existed. And it seems that the Scots use competition to keep tradition alive, just like with the dancing. Apparently during the contest there is a break during which the cooks see how fast they can feed stovies to 700 people. We didn't know what stovies were either - kind of a shepherds pie on the stove top. We used this recipe to make some for dinner tonight, with Rosemary Biscuits. Home ec, social studies and geography, a bit of family history, and some language with the Scots strewn throughout the video.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Remembering Grand-dad

William MacFarlane Park -- Feb 7, 1930 - Oct 14, 2007

We're missing you Bill.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Baby Einsteins - I don't think so

What finally brings me back to the blog - the headline I heard today on NPR - "Baby Einstein videos shown to delay learning!" Yes, finally the research is showing what the "ditch the TV"" proponents have warned about (among other things), that interaction with a live human being is the most important thing for children and TV is not a substitute for that.

Here are a few choice quotes from the TIME article:
Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, both at the University of Washington, the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."

"Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "They don't get that interaction from watching TV or videos. In fact, the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development.

As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids. "There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better," he says. "But that's not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation." His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life. "Their minds come to expect a high level of stimulation, and view that as normal," says Christakis, "and by comparison, reality is boring."

Ewan and I started reading about TV when our oldest was still small and have tried to make media a very occasional thing. Erin did watch Sesame street when she was still under 5, but we were happy that we weaned all of us off of TV and now we don't even own one. Of course, we can still get sucked into watching comic sketches and other funny things on youtube. In our hearts I think most human beings would like to escape reality and it is easier to "interact" with the TV rather than real live people who might say the wrong thing or otherwise offend. But, for us, keeping the video to a minimum (and making it not too pleasant by having to watch on a tiny computer screen) has been a good choice and one we have not regretted. We all read and create much more than we would if there was a TV in our living room.
Now if all that wasn't enough, another study shows that all the marketing geared toward children is working. If food has golden arches wrapped around it, they think it tastes better.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hello again

I didn't intend to take a nearly 2 month break from blogging but I must have needed it. Those past 2 months have been a blur. Portfolios are complete and turned in. My husband finished his principalship program. There were 2 highland dance competitions, a trip to NYC, a Chinese shadow mask puppet camp and a Ukrainian dance camp. Oh, and two birthday celebrations in the family with another this week!

Here is some of it in pictures!
Summer Fun

1. Ukie Dance Camp, 2. Seventh Birthday, 3. Aunt Bertha's Porch, 4. Ukie Embroidery, 5. Ukie Dance Camp, 6. Ukie Embroidery, 7. Statue of Liberty, 8. Ukie Dance Camp


Thursday, May 17, 2007


Just sent out this email to my Fieldlearning List subscribers:

Greetings All!

If you’ve taken a look at the calendar this month, you may have noticed it is a little bare. May is a busy month with the end of school and the beginning of the garden, but it is also a big month for our family. Three generations have birthdays next week and mine is one of them. Birthdays are good times to evaluate, to re-arrange and to let go. This is a big birthday for me (forty) and so I’ve undertaken some major overhauling. Of relevance to all of you, the Fieldlearning calendar will not continue. I plan to keep my blog ( ) as the main page and post to it as there is time, and have links to the resources pages from there as well, but everything else will be gone. This rearrangement will happen over the next few months. The calendar will remain up during that time with the events that are currently on it, but I will not be adding new ones, nor will I be sending out e-mails about events. My email address will remain the same.

Thank you for all your notes of encouragement and appreciation over the last four years. It was great to become acquainted with so many people from so many places and situations. I have become a better homeschool parent because of my interactions with many of you!

Many of the on-line calendars that I visited to find about events at specific sites are listed here: and Philly Fun Guide is listing more and more kid-friendly events as well.

And of course there are all the great yahoo groups where you can find information about many many events. Here is a PARTIAL list: Tam Kell’s list

Best wishes to everyone in your learning adventures!


Sad to let go, but happy not to have the ever present need to enter events on the calendar. I'll spend some of this freed-up time knitting socks, but I will only take on orders whenever I have the time.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Truly Inspiring

If you have a few minutes, go over to the Beehive and read Fa-so-la-la's college application essay. I found it inspiring. This, I thought, this is what I want my kids to be able to affirm when they are finishing high school. Whether they apply to college or not, no matter how prestigious or ordinary the college, if they have this perspective on education, I will be consider their homeschooling to be successful.