We recently downloaded the SketchTime app for the iPad, and a certain Super Mario Bros. fan knew exactly what he wanted to draw first!  What a fun app – you can draw on your own, or import photos and trace them – and then everything can be saved or emailed.  Very cool!


It’s Mario!!



This morning I was sitting in the sunroom and I heard Robbie shout, “MOM!!!  I think there’s a dried out cactus in the living room!”

Having no clue what he was talking about and not remembering owning a cactus that could have therefore dried out <g> I headed for the living room.

Sure enough he was right.  In a corner of the living room, I had left a rainstick that my father had brought back long ago from a trip to Chile.  I found it in a closet the other day when I was cleaning, and I put it out to see if anyone would notice it.  And someone did!  And a rainstick is indeed a dried out cactus, the needles of which have been pushed in so they make a sort of sound-ladder for tiny pebbles to fall down and around.  The pebbles make a lovely musical sound as they fall.

rainstick that made its way to New Hampshire, via Chile


“A beaver is a small animal with lots of cool features.  I bet a beaver would go to a yard sale and be like ‘A chainsaw – why do i need that??  I have teeth!!'”

beaver lodge at Parker Wildlife Refuge, Newburyport, MA


Over the summer, someone on a Facebook unschooling group page asked the question “What does discipline mean in an unschooling family?”

These are my thoughts, which I shared on Facebook and wanted to save here, now.

As for thinking of discipline along the lines of punishment –

I wouldn’t “discipline” my friend or neighbor, no matter if they were yelling at me, or having a fit, or refusing to do something I asked, or expressing a need or desire of theirs loudly and clearly, even if that need or desire was in opposition to one of my own.

I might talk to my neighbor, explain my way of thinking, explain what I was needing or desiring in such a way as to seek a compromise.  Or I might just listen to them talk or rant, without saying a thing – maybe while nodding, maybe not.  I might offer sympathy, or empathy, or assistance.  Or I might suggest we talk or be together once they’re feeling more like being around people, if I decide that my presence might be compounding their issue instead of making it better.

Unschooling to me means, in part, thinking of my child not as a little being to shape in my own image and/or according to my own preferences – but rather thinking of my child as his own person – as a person who is as entitled to his own opinions and feelings and needs and desires as any adult neighbor or friend.  So I don’t “discipline” my child – I help him navigate in a world that doesn’t always live up to his expectations – I help him interact with people who don’t always live up to his expectations – and I model kindness, calm, helpfulness, and peace to the greatest extent I can, in hopes that he will internalize those things and his life will therefore be easier and happier.

As for thinking of discipline in terms of self-discipline –

The idea of self-discipline doesn’t sound any more fun to me than the idea of self-regulation <g>.  I don’t go through days thinking to myself “don’t do this – don’t do that – don’t, don’t, don’t.”  And when I hear about self-discipline, that’s the sort of word that comes to mind – “don’t.”  If I have a need or desire, I try to think about how to make it happen, preferably in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process.  Living in New England, Puritan ideas about work, sacrifice, delayed gratification, etc. are often floating about in the background of life, in the background of interactions among people – they’re everywhere, those ideas.  But I’d rather not live a life in which I mortgage today, hopeful that tomorrow will be better.  I want today to be awesome – and if tomorrow comes, hopefully it will be awesome too.  Self-discipline and self-regulation aren’t at the forefront of my life, and I don’t hope to encourage them to be at the forefront of my son’s life (though that’s certainly up to him).  My goal is to live each day with my eyes wide open, making mindful choices (and helping my son do the same) – my goal is *not* to discipline and regulate myself or my son into a world of less instead of more.



Today we headed out to Jenness Farm for their Fall Open House.  We enjoyed seeing chickens, turkeys, goats, and the world’s most adorable potbellied pig wandering around while we munched apple cider donuts and sampled goats milk fudge.

Robbie loves fowl of all sorts, so while he hung out with the goats for a bit, he was mostly interested in the turkeys, who in turn were quite interested in him.  Beautiful birds and a happy child, all on a beautiful day – life is good <g>.

Royal Palm Turkey and an adorable goat

“hello, goat!”

“since chickens can’t make pumpkin pies, they eat their pumpkins this way!”

Puppy Socializing

We have an elderly friend who raises and occasionally breeds Tibetan Terriers.  We met her when Robbie was little, and he’s been the Official Puppy Socializer of each litter she’s had since we’ve known her.  He is the first child the puppies meet – and he loves them, snuggles them, plays with them, holds them, talks and occasionally sings to them, and chases them around the house and then (when they’re old enough to go outside) the yard.

He also watches them grow and change, helps monitor and sometimes chart their weights – and he has learned much about dog breeding, genetics, health issues, show standards, and such over the years by talking with our friend and listening to her stories.  Most of all he loves going over when the pups are just 3 or 4 weeks old, starting to walk cautiously around, and mostly still napping in any lap they can climb themselves into.  I admit that’s my favorite part too – there’s something about snuggly very young puppies that’s just about the most peaceful thing ever.

pups, almost 5 weeks old and full of love and fun

Livingston Park

Beautiful Fall weather makes for a wonderful day to hike with friends…