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Fire on the Hearth

We've had a fire burning since Sunday evening.  It was 9° F yesterday morning and I think it will be colder this morning.  It's supposed to be 45° later, so I'll let the fire go out and clean the fireplace.  It's a small one, the kind meant to burn coal, so it can't accomodate a lot of ashes.  It's not a very efficient fireplace, but it takes the edge off of the cold and offers a place where the children can snuggle up and get warm when they need to.  We burned up the Christmas greenery, as you can see.  Most of the festivity is gone now.

Fire on the HearthWe got back to school yesterday instead of Monday.  There was just too much to do and things just weren't right for a beginning that day.  I can tell that Willow has very much needed the intellectual work.  She has been out-of-sorts for weeks now.  We're easing in with a language arts block, starting with a fairy tale verse reader of "Bearskin."  Early reading here looks like learning all the letters and their sounds, of course, a box of sightreading words, work with poetry and gestures, verse readers, some Dick and Jane, and word family stories.  Willow is close, so very close, and I think that she is buoyed by that.  We are mostly at the sightreading phase right now, remembering what words look like.  Word family stories in the coming weeks will help with learning more sounds and putting words together that way.

I am thinking ahead, of course.  Roan is approaching kindergarten age and I am considering when he should begin.  He has started counting things, but writing is a ways off.  In Enki, kindergarten is not the place for writing, so there is no pressure there.  For the Summer, I am envisioning considerably more order than last year.  What a bizarre, wild time it was.  Summer was definitely an outbreath for our family, too much of one.  I think I may have squandered too much time on chores, too, so I'll need something to put me outside more often.  The Kamana curriculum is catching my interest for now and seems appropriate for Summer, probably multiple Summers for the series.  It would be nice to have it as an annual tradition.

I learned a lot in the last year.  We all did and always do.  My biggest teacher is observation and noticing.  I'm working on keeping my observations to myself and turning them to action instead of grumbling.  With that, it's time to act on some reading and enjoy the last of the flickering flames.

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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