In this post I wanted to share some thoughts on homeschooling and why we chose to go that route.
Before I dive into this topic, I want to say that it should not be taken as a critic against teachers. On contrary, I think very highly of teachers. But it is the system with which we don’t align.
What lead us to it
I grew up in former Soviet Union and were not homeschooled, but attended a public school. I greatly enjoyed my time at the school — learning was easy for me and of course school was a place I got to see most of my friends. So I imagined my kids to have the same experience when I would become a parent.
My first re-evaluation of what my children’s education should look like came when Ale´ was 1 year old and we went to tour a little Montessori school. My first disappointment came when I saw an outdoor playground — it was smaller than our yard and had almost no vegetation, just some plastic playground equipment. Then I learned that outdoor time was very minimal and most time children spend indoors. Since Ale´ birth he spent most of his time outdoors — napping or crawling next to us while we were gardening, and later watching bees, smelling flowers and picking berries. I simply couldn’t picture him spending most of his day indoors.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s being that long since my last blog post — almost 6 months! A lot has happened since then. We had our first vacation in many years and spent some time to Puerto Rico, which was so amazing! Visiting the Caribbean was a dream of mine for years. The boys still talk about wanting to go back there almost daily. And today as I’m writing this post we are sitting out in self-isolation as COVID-19 continues to spread through Colorado and the world in general.
Otherwise our lives have been going the usual ways — we still have been trying to reduce the use of plastic anywhere we can, buy things consciously, tend to our garden, and find other ways to leave lesser foot print on the planet. I’ve discovered some new wonderful plastic-free and non-toxic products that I’ve been wanting to post about. I also have been wanting to share some really incredible books I read. But I just haven’t had time. The thing is, over a year ago my husband and I have decided to open our own forest school. It has fully consumed most of my time. But it has been a really wonderful and rewarding experience, and I am happy to finally having a moment to share a little bit about it with you.
Oh the little humans and their absolute confidence in their point of view, determination and defiance. Toddlers and babies can really teach us all a lesson as far as standing up for our believes in life. In their case the beliefs seems to be that it is sufficient to take a bath once every 6 to 8 months, that washing hands is most unacceptable form of infringement on their freedom just like any other hygiene related fussing attempted by mom. Navigating this territory takes a
fair huuuge amount of patience and also ingenuity and still success is not guaranteed :))
On the photo: Organic wool fleece jacket from Engel, organic wool overalls from Disana
I started writing this blog post several times, but always ended up tossing the draft away. It is such an immense and important subject that I found it difficult to make the post informative and useful without turning it into a long and boring doctorate essay :). So here I’m trying again and I thought first just to give a short version:
Reasons to go organic (short version)
I love co-sleeping. It may or may not work for everyone and it surely has a controversial reputation in this country, which I think is unfortunate. But for me it was a difference between exhausting, sleepless nights with a fussy baby and nights when both of us slept peacefully snuggled together. For this reason I wanted to share my experience with other moms, as I think it can make those first few months with the new baby so much easier and enjoyable.
￼ Continue reading
To be honest I don’t have much to write about in this particular post. I just wanted to share with you these handmade organic wool covers for cloth diapers I recently discovered. I mean, just look at how lovely they are! 🙂
I am very excited to share with you these incredible find! When Ale first started walking I went through quite a process of finding the right shoes for him – something that is comfortable, flexible and can survive all the abuse such as dirt, rocks, sand, water, dust and so on and so forth. 🙂 I first tried Uggs – they were cute and comfortable, but they did not last due to poor design. Honestly, it was a waste of money. We then also tried few other cheaper brands – some shoes fell apart after 3-4 weeks of use, even though they were lightweight and comfy, others were made of such cheap and synthetic materials they were making baby feet smell! And that to me was a very bad sign as far as materials used, so I discontinued using those shoes.
One of the latest additions to our library became another Gerda Muller’s book and yet again it turned out to be a total hit! Even though we’ve loved all the books of this author that we own I was hesitant to buy this particular one. The thing is I don’t like the kids stories where animals are portrayed as mean-spirited, vengeful and alike. In all honesty those are human traits, yet as children grow up learning about animals in this way they form an opinion of animals being often mean and evil which is simply not true. There are countless stories of biologists who spent extensive time near a family of wolves or following a particular bear where you see that those animals actually rather tolerant of other species, often fiercely loyal to their family, brave and intelligent. So, if we aren’t teaching children real animal behavior, let’s not teach them negative falsehoods either.
I wanted to share a quick recipe for homemade applesauce. It is so easy to make, absolutely delicious and because it is homemade you know exactly what is in it (..or what isn’t). 🙂 We usually make it daily and it’s been great as a snack food for Ale as well as a natural sweetener for his cream of wheat or any other porridge and even plain yogurt. And while you can always buy organic applesauce free of preservatives, still nothing can beat applesauce just made from fresh apples.
On the photo: Gerda Muller board book series – Winter, Spring, Summer
You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a mother who read to me. — Strickland Gillian
We introduced Ale to books probably on the second month of his life. Our very first book was a cloth book where he could touch and squish different pages. I was trying to find something beautiful and organic at the time, but without much success. Now, I’m thinking it’d be a fun DYI project 🙂
On the photo: Winter toddler shoes by Bogs, Organic Boiled Wool Winter Hat by Pickapooh, Organic Wool Fleece Mittens
Since sharing this post we came across much better brand for kids winter shoes. I no longer recommend Bogs if you plan to spend time outdoors with your little one. Instead I highly recommend Bisgaard TEXT boot. You can also look into Viking Footwear. We have not used them yet, but as it is a Norwegian brand I would expect them to be proper winter shoes mean to keep kids feet warm and be lightweight so kids can play outside.
I wanted to write a quick post to share this great find for toddler’s winter shoes. I was looking for shoes that would be comfortable, lightweight, water proof and warm. Surprisingly, it was not an easy task to find such shoes. While it seem to be easy to find warm and comfy adult winter boots, when it came to toddler shoes I could only find what my friend referred to as ‘moon shoes’ – the extremely heavy, chunky and honestly just hideous looking boots. We tried a pair from Sorel and my little son could barely drag his feet in those boots and on top of that his little feet were cool to the touch even after a brief walk. The shoes seemed to even discourage him from his going outside.
I nearly gave up in my search and was getting ready to order a pair of nice winter shoes all the way from Finland through a friend, when I run across Bogs!
Many people feel apprehensive about cloth diapering because of ‘all the cleaning!’ In reality there isn’t much more cleaning than with disposables and all my friends who switched to cloth diapers find it pretty easy.
What about the smelly poop?!
If you are new to motherhood you might not know yet that as long as baby is breastfed their poop actually has no bad smell and is a beautiful bright yellow color (although color variations are possible and normal) and is very similar to cottage cheese or ricotta :)) in texture. Sometimes it even smells a bit like honey-cakes :)… I hope I haven’t ruined honey-cakes, ricotta and cottage cheese for you 🙂
I knew I was going to do cloth diapers long before I became a mom ever since I read that disposable diapers take anywhere from 250-500 years to decompose. I considered the number of diapers changed daily and the fact that a baby wears them for the first 2-3 years of their life…wow! A paramount pile of stinky rotting diapers was not a legacy I wished me and my children to leave this planet with.
Best and most affordable cloth diapers:
Organic wool + organic cotton
As I was getting close to having my first baby I started researching the cloth diapering options. I soon felt rather confused with all the options, terms and couldn’t quite figure out what I really needed. But in the end it turned out I didn’t need most of things recommended and the whole ‘diaper system’ that has been working great for us for the past
18 months 2.5 years and two babies is very simple.