Blogging about music, family life, the outdoors, unschooling and everything else

for more than a quarter century

Year: 2014

  • At the crashpad

    Sharing our lives out between two residences feels good in a number of ways. The travel doesn’t feel onerous: Fiona and I are doing two trips a week, just like we did all last year. For Sophie I think it’s turning out to be an unqualified success. She’s happy, she has a nice social group, […]

  • Orange is the new black

    So we got a new vehicle. Compared to the old one it’s less boxy, less black, cuter and smaller. It’s also less backwards, having the steering wheel on the left, a fact that makes my three (yes three!) kids with Learner’s Permits much happier. I think that we now have some hope of actually getting one […]

  • How to know if your unschooler is learning

    Q. How do you know if an unschooled child is learning? A. He’s alive. The point being that children are hard-wired to learn. You can’t stop them. Give them a reasonably rich environment, loving support and relative freedom and you really can’t go wrong. However…. We’re part of a Distributed Learning program, which means that at […]

  • The landscape of Distributed Learning

    We’ve been part of three different Distributed Learning programs with the various kids over the years. In BC kids who are home-based learners have two broad choices. They can be registered as homeschoolers according to the Ministry of Education’s legal definition of such, under Sections 12 & 13 of the Education Act. This is as simple as […]

  • Those teen years…

    With Noah reaching the official age of adulthood, Erin now into the start of her fourth year away from home and Sophie launching into a new, semi-independent life in another city, I’ve been thinking back to the post I wrote in 2007, entitled “Adolescence? No thanks.” Back then, with kids aged 4 through 13, I wrote: […]

  • The lay of the land

    This is a sketch of how our week works. Brown travel-times are probably the first thing to notice, as they sandwich our Nelson days. We drive down Sunday evening, and back Monday evening. That gets Sophie there for the start of her week at school. We leave her there, and head back Wednesday afternoon, in […]

  • Getting around

    Here’s our minivan. We bought it about 18 months ago and it transformed my driving experience. It made access to alpine hikes a breeze. Road trips and drive-in movies were awesome. I loved not having to hike in from the highway end of our driveway even once last winter, and knowing that winding mountain roads […]

  • Emptiness

    Our Nelson house — and our lives — feel strangely empty. Not that this emptiness is a bad thing. The empty space in both is pregnant with possibilities, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things evolve, to enjoying the process of filling them. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the space. Space to do splits and pliés and […]

  • A slow start

    I had anticipated that last week would be a crazy mess, trying to get all three of the older kids off to their various places and ensconced in their new schools. As it turned out, Chuck took Noah to Surrey, and I was left to deal with getting Erin to Kelowna and on her way back […]

  • Drinnon Pass Hike

    It’s becoming an annual tradition: a big alpine day-hike by the female members of this family to cap off the summer. Last year we hiked the Alps Alturas and Lyle Creek Basin areas. This year we decided to trek into the southwest corner of the big wilderness park that has formed the backdrop to our […]

  • A working summer

    Last year we managed some spectacular alpine hikes to cap off the summer. This year, so far at least, has felt much more like a working summer. There have been a few afternoons at the beach, but little hiking (yet) and it has felt like we’ve all been quite busy. Between us we’ve had multiple […]

  • Four homes

    By September we’ll have all four kids living in four different places. Erin will be spending her fourth year in Montreal, her third at McGill. She’s looked after her own apartment-hunting and renting since she became a legal adult and could do so, and for the past year she’s been in a hilariously tiny perfect place just […]

  • Xeroshoes

    Another review in the gear-and-gadgets vein. First I made my own huaraches. That was really fun, and they worked well enough, but I didn’t have quite the right sole material. The soles were thick enough but not rigid enough. They flopped and slapped, and if I didn’t have them laced fairly tightly the front end […]

  • My Fitbit

    It’s an activity tracker, a value-added pedometer. I bought it about 15 months ago. I got it as a way to be less obsessed with tracking the minutiae of my exercise. With my old Garmin (has it really been five years?!), which is bulky and a bit uncomfortable to wear, I tended to geek out and get all […]

  • Almost a circle

    So here’s how I felt on the third morning: revolting. Jittery, feverish and nauseated. The first day was amazing. I had rented a kayak from Smiling Otter in Slocan (my paddling destination) and brought it home the night before, depositing it on the lakeshore. I was on the trail before six for the short run […]