Friday, April 11, 2014

Baby Goats

You know it is a busy day when you have 4 baby goats born at once.  Well, not quite at once.  Two came very early in the morning and the other two came just after lunch, but by the end of the day we went from 4 goats to 8.  That is a lot of cuteness right there folks.

Behold: The Year of the E:

The girls came first:

 This little white headed lady is called Evelyn - Evie for short.

Evie and her sister Eleanor, Ellie.

Ethan holding Ellie and Eli holding Evie

Matthias holding Ellie.


Then came the boys:

Tilly nuzzling Ellie away so that her new son Ethan could eat.

Eli and Eli

Ginny watching the babies sleep.  L - R Eli, Evie, Ethan, Ellie

Unfortunately, our goat shed and pen are not large enough to continually house 8 goats.  So these little balls of cuteness are for sale.  If you know anyone interested in some of the most friendly and beautiful doelings and bucklings then please send them our way.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Kickoff!

Everyone likes to end their school year with a bang.  We are no different.   To wrap up our year of studying flying creatures a group of us went to the Wildlife Park in Gray Maine to hear a class on the life of the loon.  Other than the weird intro in which the speaker made some outrageous assumption about loons at the beginning of time (do people learn anything in college these days???), the class was good.  Mostly for its opportunity to review material that the boys had already covered, but also for a chance to ask questions.  Like why she didn't bother to tell us that baby loons were precocial, and why the loon didn't evolve to allow itself to walk on land.  

Seriously though,  the class was mediocre, but overall a good review.  The rest of the day was spent exploring the park, eating lunch, visiting with friends, and watching a baby moose.  That combination is a win win every time!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Does it not sound phenomenal?  This idea that a person can take everything they dislike about a classroom and throw it to the wind, and yet their child will still learn.  That with absolutely no direction a naturally curious child will want to learn their multiplication tables, reading, and grammar all on their own accord.  That is exactly what unschooling seems to do.  On the surface anyway.

In fact, there seems to be various methods of homeschooling inside the bubble of unschooling.  For one, delayed schooling is very parent directed and is simply the idea that most children would do better if they skipped kindergarten all together, waited a year or two, and went straight into formal education.  Delayed schooling found its base in a study that showed that children who waited a year to start in public school actually performed better overall than the children who started "on time".  Interesting.

Unschooling makes a large leap, however, when one goes from delayed schooling to undirected unschooling.  Undirected unschooling is about informal as education gets.  Imagine taking your child outside to play and letting him do whatever he wants.  Every. Single. Day.  He will learn.  I will guarantee it.  According to this method a child directs his own education.  So when  your daughter walks into the kitchen and asks you to teach her to read you praise God and get right to it!  If that day never comes?  I have no idea.  I don't know anyone who attests to the success of true undirected unschooling.

Because of the sheer nature of unschooling you may not find many books on the topic.  Although I question whether searching for structural norms is permissible in a method that scorns structure.  If you do desire more information on this topic, however, John Holt is considered the expert and has written some books that are guaranteed to be interesting reading. "How Children Learn" by John Holt seems to be an excellent book to check out for educating young children.  It should be noted that he seems to push the idea of unschooling for mostly young students and not necessarily for high schoolers.  Something that may go back to the idea of delayed schooling as mentioned above.

If you have any information, questions, or opinions on unschooling please feel free to leave a comment.

Next Up:  Montessori

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

From Woods to Pasture

It all started 4 years ago.  Tyler and I could no longer stand the dark dismal woods behind our house.  The trees were so thick we barely received any daylight.  The gardens did not flourish, and even the hasta's seemed to complain.  So we started cutting trees, and we haven't stopped.  We have cut trees, and planted trees and this week, we are having the last stumps removed from the "field".  When all is said and done we will have just under 2 acres of pasture to plant blueberry bushes, expand the goat pen and add, you guessed it,  more trees.

After Day 1 with the excavator:

Post Day 2:

Now for the finishing touches, and hopefully a pond!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thus, It Begins

Today, was our first official farmer's market.  Considering the torrential downpours I think it went rather well.   It was cold, wet, and not at all busy.  But we did meet a lot of new people which was great.

If you want to see us again please come to the multifamily yard sale next Friday and Saturday in Leeds Maine.  We will be selling some of our food items and visiting with all who come.

The sale is on May 17th and 18th starting at 9 AM on Rt 106 in Leeds, less than 1/4 of a mile off rt 202.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Methods & Models

Homeschooling began years ago by parents pulling their children from the public and private school.  They took them home and then what happened?  Curriculum wasn't readily available, marketed, or even created for a parent attempting to teach their child at home.  Did this stop them? No, most of these parents were so fed up with the school system that they took the opposite approach and went right to "unschooling".  Now,  I don't know any adults who were "unschooled" so I cannot attest to the fact that it was successful or not.  I can tell you, however,  that research shows that the greater involvement a parent has in the general education of their child the better off the child is.  So regardless of  whether you were in private, public, or this unschooled method; if your parents put a significant amount of time and effort into your education then you are probably doing fairly well.  Educationally anyway.

Since the, shall we say,  inception of homeschooling dozens of methods for educating your children have flooded the market and the educational arena.  As I desire to help more and more homeschoolers get started, continue and succeed on this great path of education.  I think that exploring some of the most popular methods together may prove to be fun, educational, and beneficial for us all.

I am going to focus on studying one specific method of educating our children each time I post in this series.  I will then share what I have learned, giving resources, and additional reading materials for you if you desire to learn more.

I have been around a homeschooling community in one form or another for more than 20 years and know a lot, but I don't claim to know everything about every method.  I will research all that I can about these, and if I make a mistake I rely on you to correct me.  Also,  I am sure that in my writing (which we all know isn't the best, I am a math teacher),  you will be able to spot which methods I am most knowledgeable about.  Please be forewarned that I do not endorse any method over the other.  As stated above, your children's success is entirely in your hands and is not dependent on methods.

Methods that I will attempt to cover:
Unschooling, Montessori, Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, and Waldorf.

If you want me to look at a specific method please let me know. Otherwise, keep posted and check for our first week of exploring with educational methods.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kidding Season Continues

This morning our alpine doe Jersey Rae gave birth to a little nigerian dwarf alpine mix doeling.  She is adorable!  It was a birth that not only did we get to see, but required human help.  The baby was breech and if it wasn't for my friend Jami I don't know what I would have done. 

Thanks to Amanda we have some pictures of the brand new baby and birth.

Sadly, we will not be able to keep little Millie here on the farm.  She is for sale.  This was a hard decision to make, but I know it is the right one.  If you know anyone looking for a great little dairy goat to start a herd or to expand send them my way.  We have the cutest little girl who will make a great milker one day!