Tuesday, September 29, 2009

**pass this along please! **

This year, the start of National Midwifery Week (Oct. 4-10) has coincided with a particularly unflattering depiction of midwives and home births on The Today Show in which they compared home birth to, among other things, "a spa treatment." The report, which suggested that home birth is an option chosen by women who are merely imitating trendy celebrities, was a great example of shoddy and biased reporting, with a equal parts patriarchal patronizing and emotional exploitation.
At Choices in Childbirth, we believe that women should have all the necessary information to make their own choices about where, how and with whom they give birth. In response to the Today segment, CIC has put together a petition demanding accurate reporting on all birthing options, rather than fear-mongering and fact-free depictions of home birth and midwifery. If you would be interested in signing it, writing about it or passing it along to people in the feminist and birth communities who you know would be interested, I'd be most grateful.

Best regards,
Chloe Angyal
Administrative AssistantChoices in Childbirth
Choices in Childbirth
441 Lexington Ave. 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10017212.983.4122
New York, NY.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Today was supposed to be the first day of Casey and Charlie's little school. But they woke up around 4 am coughing and snuffling, Casey asking me if he had "The Croups" (no! ). I couldnt send them like that, although the bark was worse than the actual "cold", plus the handouts said no sick kids no fevers, no coughs, etc.

Darn. I hope they can attend next Monday. I hardly slept at all last night, all anxious about it.

So, all five kids have a cold, and we are laying low. Seems a bit early for this stuff, but hey. I was happy to rest today, to be perfectly honest.

I will be the first to admit that I am using Facebook all the time and it makes me think I have blogged. It is lazy and easy and quippy and reaches lots of casual pals whom I would not direct to this blog necessarily. This blog means the WORLD to me and yet I am in a space where I dont have the "fire" about the stuff that I used to. At least not now. Im not all jazzed up about homebirth, I am just sad about stuff like that. Im not all ferociously passionate about homeschooling or able to post any cool links, but eternally grateful for this blessing that homeschooling is and the people my children are free to become. I nurse constantly but feel no desire to protest or rally or do anything militantly Lactivist. Maybe its the anti depressants, making me a safe and neutral blob... or maybe it is my brain protecting me from utter anihilation. Not today. No 24 hour crying jag today. Maybe next time. Some other time.

I am proud of all you birth bloggers and hope that my passions were not cauterized when I got my tubes tied. I actually had that thought when I was laid out on the operating table. I DO care about all that stuff, I just don't have much to say right now.

Hmmm what else is up? My hair is getting really long and I have cut fun little betty-bangs. I still hope to have it way way long and beautiful cobalt blue again and keep it that way. Probably by spring?

The curling club doesnt want/need me back for the bartending position I foolishly assumed was mine for the taking this season. I am really sad about that, but plan to kind of hang around there a little bit so I can weasel my way back into their consciousness? Greta is old enough to do junior curling, but she doesnt like sports very much. We shall see.

Talk to you all soon,
I was reading Unschooling.com today, a site I have visited many times, and have had many different reactions to. I used to abhor it. All of it. Now I find it affirming, uplifting, and good.

I thought unschooling was risky and freaky and irresponsible and, frankly, a back-door excuse/explanation for why it was okay to "not educate" your kids and let them "run the household". I had physical reactions such as fear, and sadness, at the thought of Trusting The Children, and it has taken me 7 solid years of parenting children who don't go to school to admit and fully grasp just how much of my adult existence has been based on doing what I have deemed "Impressive", or "What Looks Good". To whom, exactly, I was never able to really admit. That one piece of the puzzle was just out of reach for me, and no amount of meditation, prayer, or wondering really ever seemed to put the answers fully within my grasp. Who Am I Trying To Impress?
Is It Working?
If this person is indeed impressed, what was the cost?

I knew and yet I didn't know, but one of those people was my mom. I also knew but didnt know, that when she died, there would be a new level of self actualization and although I tried tried tried to just live my life and do what felt right while she was still alive, I couldn't.

Now that she is gone, there is a void and a wide open slate and moving about in this new realm has been a very new experience.

Last week, the other very important adult in my life, my beloved Grandmother, died. She was 84, had breast cancer, and we knew she wasnt doing super well, but the death was rather sudden and definitely a shock. Her funeral was out of state and I had about 3 days notice and could not go. I am upset about alot of details about what has happened to my family tree and all the open ended lack of funerals or gravesights. I am trying to heed every Hallmark admonition to let peoples memories live on by living out their intended goodness, and to let go of guilt and material possessions and longings for the kinds of goodbyes that I might have envisioned. (Accept the things we cannot change, etc?)

But now with mom and grandma gone (Ow its hard to type that) I am really, really on my own. Funny for a girl who left home at 17 to say something like that, but these 2 women were the voices in my head. I allowed that. I created that. And it just so happens that they weren't too keen on homeschooling or many of the things I believe so strongly in. And it just so happens that I simply was not able to not let it matter to me. I tried.

Now they are gone, and reality is clearer for me. These are my children, and living in radical freedom is serving them extraordinarily well. I will devour Home Education Magazine, sit back, rest, mourn, and feel 100% okay to let them flourish.

Enjoy this article, great reading suggestions, and kiss your loved ones tonight. Death really will touch your life, not to be morbid, just to be present and aware. Let appreciation wash over you, and above all, do not be afraid to respect your children. It has nothing to do with you being the adult, nor does it threaten your authority. You have natural authority by virtue of being the parent. I have stopped chiming in little "helpful"admonitions and have taken on the role of a guiding observer with the children as of late, and it has been an honor.

Rest In Peace, beautiful precious Grandma. Your love and respect for me as a child will never be forgotten. I know we disagreed about homeschool, but I always understood why. Your spirit is with me constantly,( forcing me to rethink everything I thought about that sort of thing!!!) I love you so much.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Homeschool fall 2009

As we get closer to "the school year", i have been remembering what we have all been through and am trying to learn from all i have experienced, all i have read, and to listen to that old, tiny, precious voice within, along with the voices of my children before we jump into another fake construct of charts and lists and over wrought plans that noone wants and noone would ever, could ever truly "do" until June.

So, here are our plans, our loose and loving plans for this semester, also known as the time from September 'till Christmastime. Ish. Lots of "ish"!

Mondays all of us will be driving 6 year old Casey and 3 1/2 year old Charlie to their once-a-week school/daycare place. The two of them will be gone from 9am until 1pm at a woman's house who is running a very Waldorfy day school out of her home. This will be Charlie's first experience being away from me in a non-family or friend or babysitting situation. I hope they behave well and that they enjoy it. I hope to make the best use of this time to do something cool with Greta, Mickey and Eska.

Tuesdays we are reserving for field trips. Could be anything, library, museum, nature center, etc.

Wednesdays we are going to be doing school-y stuff with the little kids in the mornings before lunch, and during naptime (If I work it right, both Eska and Charlie will take a nap from 1 until 3 or even longer) I will be doing something school-y with the older kids.

Thursdays we will be doing all necessary work for our homeschool Co-Op, such as me planning my class i teach to assisting them with their homework for their own classes. I also have dreams of getting together with my sister and her 3 children for dinner at their place on Thursday nights---her husband works midnights and she has to do the entire evening thing on her own everynight, and my husband works until 8pm on thursdays, so I thought maybe we could go across town and bring a pizza and hang out from like 6 to 8, maybe even get the littles in their pj's for the drive home? My mother's death has brought us much closer together but still didnt give us any more hours in the week, so we both agreed to try to do anything we can to see each other LOTS more, even if it is just a silly Hot N Ready on a weeknight.

Fridays we have our homeschool Co-Op. This is a great group of homeschooling parents who teach classes to each other's children, there are doctors and lawyers and moms and dads and it is a very inclusive group of open minded families from literally all walks of life. I am looking forward to this immensley and hope to post lots of info and pictures once this gets started.

The class I volunteered to teach I called Circletime/Show and tell. I am planning on doing fun little games like Head,shoulders, knees and toes, Hot Potato, and stuff like that. do you like how it starts in 2 days and i really don't know exactly what I am going to do yet : )?
It looks like there will be 11 kids in my class, ages 3 to 6. i will have a uch better idea of what the heck i am doing after the forst week, once i get a feel for who these little people are and what they seem to enjoy! I hope Eska is not a CRYING fiend, because she has been a bit of a pip lately--very cross and biting and hitting (yes, the little apricot is a toddler now! getting molars and feeling angry about it!) and wanting to nurse for one second and then back flipping and screaming...(might give the tiny angel a bit o' the pre-emptive tylenol that morning, come to think of it!)

Greta will be taking German, Physics, Writing, Art History and Teens for Our Planet.
Mickey will be taking German, Legos, and Science.
Casey will be taking Circletime, Language Arts and Legos.
Charlie will be taking Circletime and Language Arts.
Eska will be taking painkillers. LOL!

We are considering a few other semi-regular events proposed by my county-wide homeschooling Yahoo group, a homeschool nature class, a homeschool "gym" class at one of those bouncey-inflatable party places, and maybe ice skating.

So, although looking at what Ive typed here, the schooly stuff seems to have gotten a rather small slice of our time pie, I know those open spaces are where my children do their true learning, and where meaningful relationships with the world are realLy formed.

I would like to use Five In A Row curriculum again, a very nice product that helps you glean the most from some great children's books. in a nutshell, it was written by a mother of five, and you are supposed to read the same book up to five days in a row. They now have it for older kids, too, so I am excited to check that out.

Continued apologies on my lack of blogging, and thank you for still reading!
Love to all,