Well, I know I've been MIA lately, but you know how it is... The end of the school year, plus a bunch of other stuff going on in my home life and next thing you know the time flies by and I haven't written a thing!!
At least not here!
One of the things I'm working on is bit by bit piecing together my very first cookbook. It will be a tribute to my family heritage, which mixes the cuisines and traditions of several cultures, and includes organically grown, (often homegrown) foods.
I'm having fun with the introductory outline which tells about my childhood memories of road trips to grandma's house fully equipped with picnic basket in tow and my other grandmother's home garden which provided the vegetables for the entire family for most of each year. I know that the stories and recipes from this project will resonate with many of you. Stay tunes for further updates on that project!
In the spring, I made the careful decision to terminate the Pyrate's public school attendance and homeschool him as of the fall this year. I spent several weeks contemplating this decision, researching our options and the possible consequences. Several disturbing events over the last two years brought enough alarm to my mind that in some ways I almost felt there is no other choice. I worried about the social implications for the Pyrate, however, the social implications if he stays in the environment he has been in will no question be catastrophic. Then two things happened. We have found a fantastic virtual academy that will suit his needs as an individual, with teachers, personalized lessons, access to college courses in high school, and so much more that a kid like mine will shine thorugh like a super nova! I can't wait. I believe every child deserves to have this kind of opportunity. I showed this program to my son, and he loves it, and can't wait to get started. I started the enrollment process, had several conversations with families already doing this, and started collecting the proper documents... That was the second thing. I had to retrieve documentation of the Pyrate's status for California's Gifted and Talented student program. It's one thing to know you have a brilliant child. It is quite another to hold in your hand documentation that measures said brilliance. He's documented to have scored within the top 3 percentile FOR THE NATION all of the last three years in a row on standardized and specialized testing for skills and mastery in math, language arts, and science. When we got this documentation the other day, we sat together staring at it as I explained it to him. We sat staring at it silently. I watched his eyes, wide and almost in disbelief. I asked him what he was thinking. "I'm thinking I can't wait to be out of regular public school, mom. It's killing my reputation!"
So that was it. I completed his enrollment and we're waiting for the curriculum to get here like kids wait for Christmas morning. Meanwhile I'm getting myself accustomed to being the learning coach. He'll have teachers online, but I still have to supervise and coach on the home front, plan his schedule, come up with creative ways to experience the world as it pertains to his studies. This will be fun, so long as I properly prepare. I'm taking the time to attend lectures and recorded speaker series on how to do all of this.
If you too are discouraged with trusting your child's education to a public system that is more damaging than it is productive, check out homeschooling. It's not what it used to be. You can still get certified to teach your own children if you like. But now there are virtual schools with experienced teachers who are excited, inspiring, creative, and give their students one on one attention. There are virtual schools where most work is done online and the curriculum is more effective than what is available in public schools. Virtual schools offer personalized instruction based on mastery. That means if the Pyrate can pass a lesson's assessment, he can skip all of the lesson activities in that lesson and move to the next lesson. He can accelerate in this way, to the next grade level mid year if applicable, and in high school can take classes that are worth college credit. We can set his study schedule to fit his personal rhythm, and include outside experiences that enrich his learning in ways he would never get in regular public schools. And here's the killer! Most of these virtual academies are set up like charter schools, publicly funded, and free to those who are within the district that funds them. Not only is it tuition free, they provide all curriculum materials, and loaner computers as well for free. All you have to provide is an adult to supervise 5-6 hours a day, and regular school supplies such and notebooks and paper, etc.
A great example is the K12 program with academies nationwide. Check it out for yourself.
The third thing I'm up to is fun, fun, fun!! I'm learning about the art of Bento! This is a traditional Japanese practice that involves artfully arranged meals packed in compact boxes that are usually transportable. We are going to use the art of Obento (the respectful way to refer to the art) as a fun and entertaining way to institute healthy eating habits into our everyday life. I've been educating myself and preparing to make it a part of our family's nutritional life. You'll be finding recipes and photo records of this little gastro-artistic adventure posted here in my blog in the very near future. Should you want to join me, I recommend these two blogs as reference material and inspiration: www.justbento.com and www.lunchinabox.net
See you here again very soon when I've got my bento boxes, chopsticks and a couple of recipes under my belt... this stuff is no joke!!