Monday, July 03, 2006

I consider myself a “home schooling” parent though I use that term lightly. My daughter is 2 years and 9 months. She is at home with me all the time- I do not believe in early on formal education, Mostly I am exploring home schooling and planning ahead so that when she turns 7 and is ready for first grade I can be prepared.

I try to structure our days so that every day we have a few activities (however short) that are focussed on Zoe, activities of daily living that she can fully participate in.

Yesterday we went to a performance at the IMA.

(A super great organization that runs rock and roll camps for girls- check them out!

The highlight was the opening percussion piece which began with all 5 participants playing traditional UDU drums and progressing through various drums, cultures and ages(Congo's, djembe, ashikos, drum sets to an electronic custom made synthesizer type drum). Zoe was captivated! After the performance Zoe went up and got instruction and information on the UDU drum,

We learnt that the Udu drum is a pot drum made of clay and played by hand The Udu drums have a hole on the side of the drum that is cupped with the hand allowing control over the drum's pitch as the other hand strikes the mouth of the pot to create the tone. These drums are sometimes played by women in churches in eastern Nigeria.

For a picture of these drums check out

The she got to play the electronic keyboard type drum. The closest to that I have seen was in 1991 in London England when I went to see Bonnie Raitt play at the Royal Albert Hall and Bella Fleck opened- he was playing a similar drum machine.

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Dinner was also a hands on activity for Zoe yesterday.

Rice Balls and Broccoli with a Tamari Sesame and Ginger Sauce.

I begin by cooking the rice (a combination of sushi rice and sweet brown rice) and place it in a bowl to let it cool I also toast the sesame seeds and also let them cool. Once everything is cooled we put the sesame seeds in the mortar pestle and Zoe begins grinding them, then in a small electric coffee grinder Zoe grinds the kelp. Then she adds the ground sesame seeds, and the kelp to the rice mix, and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of Garlic powder and Ginger powder. She mixes it all up and then starts rolling it into balls. Once rolled she then sprinkles some sesame seeds on top.

To prepare the sauce I measure out a tablespoon of olive oil, sesame oil, a teaspoon of tamari, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and garlic powder which she pours into a container with a lid and then shakes it all together.

This is the simplest Rice Ball recipe there are many variations...adding grated carrot, avocado and wasabi to the dipping sauce.

As well as a few activities focussed on Zoe every day includes outdoor and indoor free play, reading books together, and helping. She has a few chores, feeding Ashley our cat, and collecting greens for our angora bunny Annabelle (she collects grass, dandelion green and violet greens ) then feeds her pellets also. Through collecting greens I am teaching her some basic plant ID and uses.

We have way more books than is appropriate for a child of her age! my obsession!! but in general we read the same book over and over for a week as well as our seasonal books on our nature table that we read over and over until the season changes.

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Today's activities include going strawberry picking, going to Side Hill farm in Ashfield to pick up our raw milk and then collecting St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to make oil. The past few years it has been too wet to make oil as you need at least 3 dry days in order to make an infused oil - so today is the day. If anyone else out there wants to make an infused oil remember you need freshly picked dry flowers (if they are wet your oil will mould). And you need only the flowers, the yellow leaves or stalk. And if the turns deep red in a few days- you are doing great.!

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