Finding calm

Read this, it's a little long, but worth it, I think. "In observing his [Merlin, the author's highly traumatized and reactive stallion] behavior over time (well, really more like enduring and surviving his behavior over time), I found the trauma pattern to be 'consistently erratic.' Merlin seemed to try, sincerely, to keep it together. he was at times engaged and filled with promise, intelligent, and even enthusiastic about learning something new. Then suddenly, seemingly without warning, he'd trip off into a rage, whereupon he'd either lunge toward the handler, rearing and striking with teeth bared, or pull away and run so frantically he'd lose his balance and slide on his side, sometimes ten or fifteen feet across the arena into the fence, scraping his hide, lying there for ten minutes covered with sweat, staring blankly as if he'd given up the ghost while his pulse was racing frantically. These tantrums were heartbreaking to witness, and absolute

What I did on my spring break

I painted a horse spleen. Well, and pancreas and heart and liver and intestines... you get the idea. A while back I had purchased off a garage sale list a complete Visual Horse. Now, I have seen these around for a while and it is currently out of production, so it seemed like a great thing to get for my horse classes. I don't know why, but in my head, I really thought it came all assembled. You know, you open the box and have a complete visual horse. I go to pick it up, the guy says it is still unopened and was never put together. I smile and say great, all the while I'm thinking put together? I get home and open it and realize that it is a model that needs to be assembled. I was pretty sure I didn't enjoy putting models together, but having spent the money on it, I felt obligated. So I spent more money getting the correct paint, glue, and an Exacto knife (which I didn't own.) Now having spent far more money than I ever planned to, I had to put the dang thing together. 

Friday bullets - April 9, 2021

It has felt like a very busy week, mainly because we started back to school.  P. comes home at the end of next week. It will be very good to see her. The child who struggled so much with math yesterday was able to complete the assignment today with very little difficulty. I can't imagine trying to teach children where I didn't have the ability to so closely gauge their emotional state and or to set work aside for a day (or more) when needed. We also had a little lesson in self-regulation and knowing when your body was feeling anxiety. The child was amazed I could tell just by looking at them that they were feeling anxious. I'm magic like that. I got my hair cut for the first time in over a year this week. It feels so good to look in the mirror and not cringe at what my hair was looking like. I actually wore it down yesterday for the first time in months.  The three horses continue to enjoy being all together. Yesterday was very rainy, so they were stuck in their stalls and

The real lesson for today wasn't really about math

This has not been a good week for math. The first few days after a longer break are always tough, but when you add something new on top of that... well, it's not pretty. Much of our mornings have been taken up with figuring out the new concepts and controlling frustration and going over what was misunderstood. It can be a time consuming process.  The math, though, was just the impetus for today's real lesson. One child, whom I won't name, has a tendency to stop thinking and just write answers in the blanks on math pages that are not completely understood. Having watched this process for a while now, it is almost like a form of disassociation (something I am more than a little familiar with thanks to H. and R.) This child works very, very hard filling in those blanks, but there is very little real thinking going in. This has been something we have been working on this past year. Today was worse than usual, though. After having answered questions correctly when we were doing


For teatime we are reading The Applewhites at Wit's End by Stephanie S. Tolan. It is the second book in the series, the first being Surviving the Applewhites . We adore these books. The first everyone remembered hearing, but none of the younger half could recall listening to the second. Never being one to pass up a chance to read a favorite book, it jumped the queue to become our teatime book. This was needed because I discovered there is now a third book, and it is against a law of nature to read books out of order. These books have it all... a sympathetic portrayal of homeschooling, quirky characters, humor, and in the first one at least, a whole 'let's put a show on in the barn' story line. They are just good fun and we have been reading dozens of pages at a time. The plot of the second book revolves around the Applewhites putting on a summer camp for creative children. Do I need to say that many of my children are currently pining to attend the Applewhite's cam

Meal Planning - April 5 - 11, 2021

This is a day late because the grocery shopping and meal planning happened a day late. I just never got to making a menu and shopping list yesterday, so instead I ran to the major chain grocery store on my way home from my riding lesson. The theme for this week is 'what was on sale at the expensive major chain grocery store.' The other theme is 'what can I come up with in the ten minutes I have before my student arrives.' There was not a lot of forethought this week, but we have food to cook and meals to eat. Monday, April 5 Green chicken curry      There were green beans on sale for a very good price and I found chicken breast on sale as well. I knew I had the other ingredients on hand to make this. Fresh noodles      In the freezer from my last trip to the Asian market Dumplings      Everyone got two dumplings because I wasn't buying more than one extremely over-priced bag of dumplings on the chain store. Good golly they're expensive there. If you usually shop

This is your brain on books... and other things

I just finished reading Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman today. I mentioned it a week or so ago when I first started it because I found the introduction intriguing, and I ended up really liking the whole book. If you are a brain science geek, you will enjoy it as it is somewhat technical as well as pretty interesting.  There are a couple of things that I want to discuss about it. Let's start with this: "Because of the flexibility of the mentalizing system [that would be the part of your brain which enables you to imagine what someone else might know or be thinking], humans are capable of empathizing with events they have not observed or experienced themselves. Your mother might tell you that your uncle didn't get the promotion he was hoping for. the mentalizing system is likely the key to understanding your uncle's experience or even the 'experience' of a character in a novel. Indeed those who read fiction tend to have strong