Indians, Art, and Friends…

What a week!† We have been doing anything butHOME“schooling.†† I love this opportunity to teach Kei at home in the real world.† September, October and November are the best months for finding cool things to do.

Friday we went to the Oka Kapassa Festival.† Oka Kapassa, a special Native American gathering, is held in Spring Park, Tuscumbia, Alabama to celebrate the culture and traditions of American Indians who once thrived in north Alabama.† Friday was Kid’s Day and also opened to the general public.† There were school children everywhere, most in matching shirts and standing in lines.† Did I mention I love homeschooling?

Homemade Dolls in Native American Clothing
He made beautiful things from shells...and takes Master Card and Visa!
I wish you could "Hear" this dance...the women have on turtles shells or tin cans with pebbles inside. Only the males 'chant'
She used tin cans. Did you know that Pet Milk cans have been around since the 1800's?
Kei watching the Dance
Kei was all giggly with this guys 'ball headdress'
Beautiful dancers
The children's dances were so great

This man said the coolest thing to Kei.† The PS kids moved from station to station while we just wandered around.† After a group left Kei sat down and said ‘hello’ to this man, Freeman Owle [isn’t that the greatest name???].† Then he asked her and her friends where they were from and they all said something different.† Kei said, “We are homeschooled” and he said “I KNEW you were homeschooled when you sat down and said ‘hello’.”† Come to find out he is a PS teacher who left to homeschool his kids until they graduated.† We heard stories all day about homeschool kids.† The lady who led the dancers homeschooled her children.† The Park Ranger who showed the animal skins homeschooled her kids…it was just a homeschooling lovefest. :)

Indian Story Teller


Lunch with great friends...


This was so cool! All the dancers got the kids out in a huge field and did an Indian Dance. It was very 'hokey pokey turn yourself around' in an Indian sorta way. Kei loved it.
Kei with one of her favorite dancers. She laughed about how authentic her costume was with a Dr. Pepper bottle. :)
This was AMAZING. The man had over 50 hoops going all over the place. The little boy is his grandson and he was just beaming. It was so beautiful.

Kei with Hoop Dancers...Grandfather and Grandson
Animal skins...Kei was delighted about the furs and horrified that they were dead
There was playing at the Falls and posing on a rock.
And the Mommy and Kei shot. :)
They called this, "How many Homeschoolers Can you Fit on A Tire Swing"
I wish you could really 'see' all of this. Hundreds of children and Indian dancers holding hands and weaving all around the area. In and out like snakes. It was so beautiful.
Our awesome kids

It was a great day.† The weather was perfect, the sky was beautiful, there were costumes and music and laughter and learning and friends.† On the way there and back Kei and I listened to “The Hunger Games” which we are L O V I N G!†

Saturday we woke up early to go to the Athens Art on the Square.† We go to this every year.† Athens courthouse is beautiful and it is a true center of a square.† We love downtown Athens and visit there often.† Saturday they had tons of artist from all over.† Ahhh I wish I was rich.

There was hula hooping. The instructor was amazing. She could hula hoop doing ANYTHING! She also made her own hula hoops. We talked a bit about a day class for our homeschoolers. Sounded interesting.
Do you see the picture in the left side? Red brick background with 2 little girls getting water? The artist told us he saw that really happen in 1959. In case you can't see the fountains are marked "White" and "Colored" but the little girls are drinking from the 'wrong' ones. What an amazing picture. I loved it so much.
We loved all of this lady's things. She told us she made all the shawls on a homemade loom with nails. Kei and I are already researching how to make one.† I told Kei that Karisma probably knew how to make things like this!
Kei loved this too. It reminded both of us of our friends Helena and Karisma over in Oz. I just love saying that..."Oz" :)
This is ONE bedazzled carrousel horse. Ok I know it isn't really BEDAZZLED, but isn't it tre's cool?
This is for Jessica. It is called "Strawberry Fields" I wish I could have gotten a better shot. It has all 4 Beatles on it and the lyrics down the handle.
Look at this! I wish I was this creative.
Read this
I would have LOVED to buy this. It was made from debris from the April 27th tornado. It has the lyrics to "Sweet Home Alabama" down one side. We loved this. LOVED it.

Sunday after an amazing church service we went to visit with Kathy and Sophie.† We had a great day.† We rode around and saw their neighborhood and Sophie’s school.† She goes to private school in Huntsville.† We then went to Providence.† Providence is like a small village in a big city.† It has its own school, shops, grocery, restaurants and more.† And the houses are awesome.† You can chose from a house, a townhouse or a loft.† I promised Kei as soon as I won the lottery we are moving here!

Lunch outside at The Mellow Mushroom. What a cool, hippy place. Kei and I loved it.
Kathy and I enjoying lunch. We have been friends forever.
After lunch we walked around and Kei and Sophie played in the fountain.

It was such a great afternoon and we left with promises to come back soon.

Now before you think we only played† this week, think again.† There were Math lessons and India and Mohammad and watching videos about India’s beginnings.† There was Science and writing and grammar and book reading and play rehearsal and timelines and lizards and reading parables and so much more.† It is amazing what you can accomplish when you aren’t in a brick school for 8+ hours a day.


Homeschooling Rocks!


“I have used the words “home schooling” to describe the process by which children grow and learn in the world without going ….to schools, because those words are familiar and quickly understood. But in one very important sense they are misleading. What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the word is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all. “

~John Holt~ Teach Your Own

It’s Been That Kind of Week..

The kind where we slowly wake up…

And eat ice cream…

And play in fountains….

And go to a World Kid’s Festival and have a blast learning about solar energy, lights and lasers, dances from different countries and so much more.

Kid's Festival

There was jousting with a best friend….

And hiking in the 100∞ weather!!!

And surfing to do…

Rocks to be skipped…

Pinwheels to watch….

1st Day of School Pictures to take…even though we really aren’t starting until next week….

Friday was the 1st Homeschool Skate Day.† Kei was so excited and so was I.

We had a blast!† I loved seeing everyone that I hadn’t seen all summer!† I also sold $20 worth of our old curriculum…of course I bought more…As if!† Kei sold some crocheted hair bows and made money too!† Her company is called Knit Wits.† Isn’t that clever?

Photo by Esther Crawford

Afterwards we all went to Cathy’s to chat for a bit.† It was so great to see everyone!† [We missed you Heather!]

†† My adorable friends!

All in all it was a fantastic, slow moving, laughing and talking kind of week.† My favorite kind.

Homeschooling Rocks!


Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.† ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

L.E.N.S. Photo Challenge {Live} in the moment


A concept I try very hard to live by….

in the moment…

THIS moment….


Yesterday is gone…

Tomorrow has not arrived yet….

No silly worries….

what may be [but probably won’t]

just this beautiful, amazing moment.


This post is linked here – Home is Where You Start From

Homeschooling Rocks!


Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present†moment.† ~ Buddha


It’s a Tea Party Dahling, Fairy Abodes and Swimming…

This past Saturday, Kei had a Character Tea Party.† She was reprising her role as Horace in “101 Dalmatians”.† It was a completely different script to learn and it was interactive with the audience.† Lots of ad libbing which she LOVED.† There were 16 different tables, beautifully decorated, twinkle lights everywhere, little and big girls in hats and lace gloves, 2 extra rooms where the puppies and dogs of London ‘lived’.† The tables mainly had a red, white and black color scheme to go with the Dalmatians theme.† One of our favorite tables was the Eiffel Tower one.† Isn’t it adorable?† People could walk around before the lunch and interact with the characters.† It was an amazing experience.† Quite unlike anything Kei had done before.† I bought Liv a ticket so she could see Kei’s performance.† We had a great time.

Aren't These Tables Gorgeous?

It was a lovely Tea Party.

101 Collage

Kei also built some fairy houses.† You would not believe how much time she spends doing this.

Building the Stairs to the 2nd Story

We also went swimming yesterday.† All the pools around here close after Labor Day and we spent a great day with 24 homeschoolers/unschoolers.† Fun times.

Kei's World Famous ...???
Kei and Ben
The KEI Jump/Cheer / Phote by Heather Woods

Kei noticed this shadow on her leg on the way home and grabbed my camera.


We did school sort of things too, but I am finding myself more and more drawn to less structure in that.† I mean really, when she is 77 what is she going to remember?† That we spent a Wednesday conjugating verbs or that we spent an incredible day with some of our best friends, playing in water.

Homeschooling Rocks,


Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?

Alice: Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.

March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.

Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing. ~Alice in Wonderland

Learning ALL The Time…

This was back to school week for us.† For some reason, even though I was very excited about starting back, I was being a huge procrastinator about the whole ‘planning’ thing.† I have our curriculum, mostly, but I have decided I am not going to spend hours and hours actually planning daily lessons.† I am taking advice from Theresa at OurLifeInWords and just jotting down what I want to cover each day and just going with the flow.† It seems to be working pretty well.†

Love how HSers don't have to brush their hair before class!


We started SOTW 2 and are already in the 2nd chapter.† I am also reading aloud “Our Island Story” for some British history.† You can read it free online here.Here is the free audio version from LibriVox.† Kei and I were talking about it yesterday.† How Americans know so much [well SOME of them] about US History but so very little about other countries.† She was very interested in British history because she is planning on living in England when she is older. :) She loves all things British.† We are doing Life of Fred for Math for the first month or so.† I bought this last year but Kei wasn’t interested.† Now she is.† She is so funny, for those of you who know what LOF is …she was reading a chapter yesterday and she yelled, “Do you know what that fool just did”? and I said “Who” and she said, “Fred! He paid a billion dollars for a bicycle!”.† I told her that is why you can be a genius in one area and not have, as my grandmother would say, ‘walking around sense’.† We are using Writing with Skill for Writing which Kei seems to like so far. [3 days in!]† We are finishing up Zoology 3 and going to start Botany and then do Real Science 4 Kids Physics.† I have heard from so many people that Botany is gets a little intense the last few chapters so we will see. †

Art With .....M&M's!

Kei is practicing for a Character Tea on Saturday.† It is a fund raiser for the Hartselle Fine Arts Center.† She is once again playing her favorite bad guy role, Horace, the bumbling, extremely stupid henchman.† She was in the Hartselle paper today promoting the Tea.

She also is practicing for her BIGGEST role to date.† She auditioned for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and got the role of Scout!!† She is so incredibly excited.† It is her first non musical role.† At the first rehearsal she knew every line already!† There are only 4 children in the entire production.† It is mostly an adult cast.† Kei has wanted to play Scout since she saw the movie when she was 7.† What is so ironic is that we were listening to the book on audio when we heard that they were doing this play.† Kei said it was a ‘sign’.† Harper Lee is from Alabama and the story, of course, takes place in Alabama.† I wish I could scoop you all up and bring you to the theatre on that day!

So we are busy around here.† Plays and learning cool things and building fairy houses and hanging out with friends.† We had a† couple of nights that it got cooler and it was so lovely around 7:00 AM.† I am ready for fall, I just wish we had a longer one.† It seems to be HOT and then COOL for a couple of weeks, then COLD.† I hope this is a wonderful year of learning for everyone.† I hope it is full of magical times with all of your children that you will remember forever.† Make it count.

Huge Mushrooms!

Homeschooling Rocks!



ìWe ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesnít interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.î ~John Holt~ How Children Fail†

*More GREAT John Holt quotes here.

Water, Friends, and Water…

What do you do when it is over 100∞?† Well swim of course!

We went to a fabulous NOT back to school party this week.† Gina picked us up and we headed to Huntsville.† Katy had reserved an entire pool for our group.† 35 of us!!† After we swam for a while we headed out to Katyís house,† which I totally want to move to!† It is a perfect place for kids to live.† Beautiful setting, right on top of a mountain with everything a kid could want in the backyard; trampoline, hammock, swings, air gun and target, a HUGE treehouse and more.† Loved it!

What a View!
Tons of Yummy Food...
There was eating...
And playing...

This series of pics cracks me up!

Isn't this Treehouse GREAT???
Kid's NBTS!!! Woot!

Then Gina and I had some ….err fun on the swing.† The problem was when I stepped on one side, the other side went up, so Gina helped me on and then I couldn’t get off.† The kids just jump off, but that wasn’t happening.† Gina was laughing so much she couldn’t wouldn’t hold the dang swing.† She literally picked me up from it and put me down. Photo by Katy Bothwell.

Me Tarzan!

We got to get an entire group shot.† This picture is from Esther Crawford.

Love Homeschooling...

It stormed the last 2 hours we were there so we just sat inside in a room with floor to ceiling windows and watched it.† It was such a great day!

Brit came home with us and she and Kei cut my hair! They did a great job.

The FREE haircut!

On Friday, Kei and went to Pt. Mallard.† It is the last day the center is opened during the week.† It stays opened until Labor Day but only on weekends.† Public schools start Monday and most of their lifeguards and workers are high school kids.† Kei wanted to get there very early.† She got into the Olympic pool first!

Just Kei...

It wasn’t very crowded, which was a first.† Several schools in North Alabama have started already.

There was much jumping...
More Jumping...
Love this picture!!

She also jumped off the 1st platform for the first time.† It is very high….I wouldn’t have jumped off of it for $1000!† She was so excited and I was praying!

We ended the day with Italian ices.† We have had such a blast this summer at Pt. Mallard!

Now we are ready to get Not Back to School on Monday.

The summer is not over, but it feels like new beginnings.† Bring on the adventures!!

Silly girl...

Homeschooling Rocks!!


The water is your friend.† You don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.† ~Aleksandr Popov

Seventy-five percent of our planet is water – can you swim?† ~Author Unknown

Not Back to School…

Ahhh back to school time.

For us there is no scrambling to clothes sales looking for bargains.† There are no new tennis shoes for P.E.† There are no mad dashes to make sure every little item is crossed off a 40 item ìSchool Listî.†† There is no hunt for backpacks or lunch boxes.† There is no stocking up on food for lunches.† There is no wondering if you will like your new teacher. †There is no wondering how you will like your new classmates. †There is no going to bed earlier each day to make sure you can get up at 6:30.

ButÖthere is excitement.† Excitement over the entire year stretched before us to discover new things, learn things that stimulate our brains, read marvelous stories.† Excitement over new crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, pencils, clay, art pads, and more.† New books just waiting to be opened and pored over.† Excitement for field trips not yet taken, picnics just waiting for us, meandering walks in the woods, new places to explore, videos to watch, nature to watch unfold and change before our very eyes, laughter to be laughed, plays to rehearsed, wonderful volunteering to do, amazing friends to spend time with, notebooks to fill with stories, new math concepts to figure out, plants and animals to learn about, our Bible to explore in more depth, the entire Middle Ages to read and learn about [we CANíT wait!!], conversations to be had, fall leaves to crunch on, snow to watch quietly falling, cocoa to drink, Shakespeare plays to read, meals to prepare, marshmallows to roast over fires, dogs to walk and play with, †time for snuggling, time for giggles in the dark, reading in bed with a flashlight, watching the night stars, bike rides with the wind blowing our hair back, picking beautiful leaves from the ground, discover new secret places and so much more.

This summer has taught me one thing, time is so fleeting.† Kei is growing up so fast.† It wonít be long before she is no longer under my roof.† I must cherish these moments; hold on tight, squeeze them until they almost canít breathe.† Stop and smell and taste and feel and see and hear everything.

Bring on 2011-2012. A marvelous adventure is just waiting for us.† Are you ready?

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Life is either a great adventure or nothing”~Helen Keller



It’s A Hard Knock Life….

Last week was Show Week.† Which means this week I am still moving slowly.† Kei loves Show Week.† I barely survive it. :) This time my backstage job was to keep 12 7-11 year old girls completely quiet for about 35 minutes.† M&M’s may or may not have been included as bribes gifts.

Kei did amazing.† She was a maid and I was a little concerned at first because she was by far the youngest Maid.† And they danced, a lot.† And several of the girls had taken dance since they were like 6 months old!† But she did great and loved every minute of it.

We had so many people come and support her.† We are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.† Several pictures I took just didn’t come out but here are some of my favorites.

The obligatory "Lipstick" picture
Maids Greeting Annie
The kick
Photo by Esther Crawford
Photo by Esther Crawford
"NYC" Dance Number...
Another "NYC" shot
Kei with My Mom's Best Friend of 50 years...
Kei and Brit...
Kei with My Daddy and Marlene
Kei and Chan...
Kei with Drew, Abby and Gracie..
The Cast at the Cast Party

Another amazing experience.† It only took me 4 days to recuperate!

Practice starts Thursday for the NEXT PLAY.† It is a VERY EXCITING part for Kei.† More about that later. ;)

Happy August,

Homeschooling Rocks,


I would like to be going all over the kingdom…and acting everywhere. There’s nothing in the world equal to seeing the house rise at you, one sea of delightful faces, one hurrah of applause!† ~Charles Dickens



I know everyone is wondering where in the world I have been. Well maybe 2 of you.

Busy busy.† Living life, exploring, playing, reading and trying to stay cool in this Alabama July heat!

This is play week for Kei.† She is in “Annie” and has performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday.† So we have spent hours and hours at the theatre.† I will update more later.

Practicing the Dance...
Kei playing around..

Homeschooling Rocks!


Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don’t have time. ~Tallulah Bankhead [Actually in our case it is just ‘BUSY” girls. ;)

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ― A.A. Milne