Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We're a homeschooling Bunch


Homeschooling is a subject very close to my heart. I strongly believe that children need to grow up under the care of their parents, especially their mother for the first 7 years, if at all possible. I'm also aware of the influence peers can have on others, and although sometimes can be a good influence, in most cases, it's a negative influence which affects children for a very long time until they, on their own, find their identity.

Today, however, homeschooling is hard on parents because 'the norm' is to send children to school at the age of four, or even earlier. Parents, especially mothers, look forward to this milestone in their children's development for many reasons. They believe their children are going to be socially adept by being around other people, and learn valuable things essential to the development of their intellect, among other benefits. But in a lot of cases, mothers want their children to attend school because they don't have the patience to have them around all the time not because they think or believe school is the best choice to their children's needs. Here is where net-working with other home-schooling parents plays an important role. One can share experiences and be there to support one another when times get tough. In this way, I believe most parents can face the challenges of home-schooling successfully. 

I've been meaning to write about our homeschooling approach and our experiences so far with it. We implement the delayed approach, in which children are not introduced to formal homeschooling until the age of seven. Before that they should engage in as much unstructured play and should be read to for an hour a day minimum.

Unstructured play takes in all forms and shapes. Here are a few of the ways I home-school everyday:

We Play outside with a pile of soil and let our imagination unfold:

We play with home-made play dough and "make what we dream of making when we grow up"

Reading is the other fundamental thing right at this age. I try to read to my children in the morning and afternoon and I can see how much love they hold for their books. I hope I can continue to instill love for literature well after this stage. But to be honest, I believe it is in our human nature to love reading; it just sometimes gets forgotten due to over-stimulation from the technology of these days. We try our best to stay away from TV watching and I have no one video-game available at home.

We also spend time outdoors doing what the family likes best: Soaking up sun, visiting interesting places in our surroundings, visiting and going out with friends, you name it. The important thing is to get out there and be in touch with nature as much as we can.

I can honestly see the benefits to this approach as I see my children learning a lot of things out of their own interest. They don't write or read yet even though my oldest will be five in two weeks but the things they're learning is what I believe fundamental to their development at this stage of their lives. Once they've outgrown this stage there won't be coming back to it. Imagination it's at its wildest and liveliest right now and what can be learned from it is truly a treasure.

I am sharing this to inspire you to take a look at the benefits of this approach in the up-bringing of our children, our treasures.

Happy home-schooling!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Very First Quilt: How It All Begins


I am having such a fun time trying new things, especially when it comes to sewing. How did it all start anyways? I'll spare that story for later. For now I want to share what's brewing in my sewing corner. I have, in the last week, been working on my very first quilt. How exciting is that!

It was tough to decide what would my first quilt be, especially with all the inspiration that's out there in the online community of sewists (I don't think this is a word but I like how it sounds). Anyhow, I decided for The easy lap quilt from Bend the Rules by Amy Karol. So far it's been a smooth ride but I'm a bit intimidated by the binding. She recommends to use the machine and hand-sewing technique and I'm going to be a good pupil and follow her advice. Apparently, it's time consuming but worthwhile if you don't want your binding to bunch up.

I'm using quilting cotton (two solids and two prints for the top, and an adorable print from Robert Kaufman for the back) all purchased from my local fabric store.

This is what I envisioned

But after playing with it I went for this

So far I have the top all sewn up and ready to pin it to the batting and backing, then I'll do some 'stitching in the ditch' (ha, I'm even using seamstress vocabulary already) and a few stray stitches on each row to keep the batting in place. After doing all that, I will make the binding from leftover fabric pieces and bind my very first quilt!

If you want more details on this quilt you might want to take a look at Amy's Bend the Rules. I own a copy and have quite a few projects from there that I'd like to try sometime in the future. It's a very good resource for those wanting to embark on this adventure called sewing.

InshAllah (God willing) after this quilt and when I get my hands on the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book I plan on making a quilt for my bed, and hopefully one for each of my munchkins: Cooks, Teddy and Fats.

A little step at a time...

I hope you're enjoying something special made by your hands and that it brings pleasure and joy to you and yours.

Happy weekend to all

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Tale of Sewing and Having Fun


In my sewing corner there has been some finished projects: A dress made from a pillowcase for Cooks:

And, a pair of shorts/underwear I made for Teddy with the fabric I won in the 'sew mama sew' giveaway that I mentioned here

Gladly, I have more projects in line to take form and shape, which, of course, I'll be sharing here along the way. But, to be honest with myself, I'm going to have to give up big chunks of sleep to accomplish them because it is plainly too nice outside to spend the days at home.

Somehow between having some good times in the backyard:

Visiting the beautiful spots this city has to offer:

And, of course, riding bikes in the neighbourhood:

I'm going to have to be very organized and creative to find time to spend here:

But, frankly, I don't mind taking a long time to complete a sewing project. After all, this is not some sort of race or competition; it is plain pleasure.

How are you incorporating your hobbies into your life? 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Urban Life


Today I want to share images of what's been growing in my containers. This is all so exciting to me and my little crew; we're seeing life unfolding right in front of our eyes. So, even if the wildlife gets the best of the highly anticipated harvest we're okay... 

I planted white beans, oregano, parsley and cucumbers. I labeled each container with the names of the vegetable seeds sown in them but the rain erased them. Now I'm left guessing as to what's growing where. I thought that since I marked them I didn't need to make an effort to remember what seeds went where, which would have been a lot wiser considering I'm only gardening in about 5 containers. I guess it's all a learning experience, including the little nuisances.


I'm so thankful for the little sunny backyard this house has and for the opportunity to share this wonderful experience with my children.