Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spiral Scouts

For many years I have wanted my children to be a part of a group like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts but without the Christian overtone and teaching. While I agree that both are good for kids they are also mostly only good for Christian children. Pagan, Atheist, Buddhist, and all other non-Christian children have pretty much been left out with nothing to call their own. Sure, they are invited to join GS and BS but they usually recite an oath that includes the word “God” when doing so.

Now personally I’m not against any religion or belief. I’m a very “to each his own” person but I do feel that people should feel comfortable while contributing to activities they love. So when I heard about SpiralScouts I was tickled to find a neutral ground for my children to learn on. Of course, at the time we were living in South Georgia and there was no chance of finding a local chapter there. Once we moved, you can imagine my joy when I learned that our new town started a chapter just a few months ago and was still in the beginning stages. I joined their local yahoo group and found out that they were having their next meeting the following Monday and decided we would go.

SpiralScouts has three different divisions. There are the Fireflies who are 3-8 years old, the SpiralScouts who range from 8 to 14, and the Pathfinders who are 14 and up. Personally I thought this was great because even though I know my oldest son is “too cool” for such a thing, it would still cover the younger two children and give them something fun to do while learning about nature, life, and Earth based teachings. This would mean that Lil Man could be a Firefly and Sissy could be a SpiralScout.

If you’ve never heard of SpiralScouts, they were formed in 1999 by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. It was their answer to Boy Scouts without the Christian overtones and segregation of the sexes if you will. There are no just boys or just girls groups in SpiralScouts. All the children learn together as part of their philosophy. As the site itself says “The philosophy of SpiralScouts™ was based on children and parents working together on enriching activities based on our own religious paradigm, the ethics of personal and global responsibility, ecological principles and protection of our environment and planet. Our program is based on the concept that girls and boys should learn, play and work together, under the direction of leaders of both genders. We believe that someone’s personal orientations are their business alone, and that only experience and skill should determine the suitability of people as SpiralScouts™ leaders. After all, Paganism is all about the gender energy balance we see everywhere in nature all around us. It is about honoring both the maleness and femaleness we all harbor within us, and the abandonment of the unfortunate gender stereotyping of patriarchal culture”.

My favorite part of their philosophy can be found also on their website in this quote “Further, the philosophy includes teaching about all the world’s cultures, ancient and modern, its many mythologies, and about the diversity of faiths, ancient and modern. The program is being constructed so that religious based aspects of it are friendly to other faiths and may be easily substituted for by alternative religious programs from other faiths who may elect to sponsor SpiralScouts™ Hearths and Circles”.

Wow- tolerance, knowledge, and sharing. That definitely sounds like our kind of group. So we went to one of their meetings and my daughter loved it. It was hard for the lil guy to sit still and not try to get into everything but hopefully he will mellow out and learn to enjoy and participate. The people were friendly, they seem to have a lot of great ideas for activities planned for the children over the next year, and I honestly think my daughter (and eventually my lil man) will benefit greatly from it.

If you’d like to learn more about SpiralScouts please visit their website at www.spiralscouts.org and have a look around.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Making New Friends

This past Monday we tried out a new (to us) playgroup and I am so glad that we did. One of the ladies had posted on a homeschooling group for our area about their playgroup so I decided to email her and ask if there might be any kids around Lil Man’s age. Luckily she said there was a 4 year old boy who is a regular that was also in need of more kids his age. Knowing this was the perfect chance to possibly make a new friend for Lil Man, I emailed her back and told her we would be there.

When we first arrived it didn’t look like anyone else was there and I wondered if we had the wrong park. As I sat on the bench looking around, Lil Man was going up and asking any and every little kid around his age if they were his “new friend”. The poor guy was starting to get upset when a short redheaded lady goes “Are you Jo?” in this fabulous English accent. It was L who is the mother of Lil Man’s new friend as well as a daughter a few years older. Lil Man was so excited and immediately started playing with both of them as if he’d known them forever.

Meanwhile L and I talked and got to know each other. She was absolutely lovely and everything I love about the English (funny, honest, blunt, and uninhibited). Soon K (the lady I had emailed with) showed up with her son and we all had a good time talking.

Eventually a third mother, M, and her son (who has the most wonderful name I’ve heard in a long time) showed up with racquetballs and racquets. My oldest two, K’s son, and M’s son all ended up having a great time playing racquetball for awhile and then football. I was so glad M had brought the equipment because my two (and K’s son as well) had never played racquetball before. So everyone got to try something new while making friends. Meanwhile the littles all played in the sand and on the playground equipment having a great time. L’s two kids also had faces painted on their bellies which Lil Man thought was the neated thing he has ever seen and promptly informed me that HE needed a face on his belly too. LoL

We ended up staying almost three hours and had alot of fun. I am so glad we decided to check out the group because I honestly think we would have been missing out otherwise. So now we have two great groups (at least until June when I might jump ship on one when Meg leaves me. lol) for the kids to go to AND the Lil Man finally has kids to play with or as he says “new friends that are gweat”. All three of my kids can’t wait to see everyone again next Monday.

The only bad part of the whole day was my stupid self got another sunburn. Yep, I once again made sure to cover the kids but left myself ripe for the reddening. Both arms got thoroughly and completely burnt! I wonder if I will ever learn my lesson. Probably not!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

1.5 Miles My Butt!

I know, nice name for a first post but if you had gone on the hike we went on two weeks ago you would feel the same way. Trust me!

The oldest two kids and I decided to try our luck on the local Hawktrail. Supposedly this is a 1.5 mile uphill hike to a summit where twice a year (during migration) you can see over 100 hawks and raptors a day. My oldest son is studying raptors so we thought this sounded like a great way to get some exercise, spend time together, learn, and see some birds.

So we gathered our gear (water, lunch, watch, phone, my injection kit, binoculars, camera, and extra meds) and drove out to the parking spot at the foot of the mountain. Before we started I covered both kids in sunscreen and dabbed a little on myself as well. It was a beautiful day and perfect for hikes or doing really anything outside.

So we were on our way and first of all, it is at least a quarter mile to the point where you even start on the hawktrail which isn’t a big deal especially since it’s flat ground but it would be nice to know ahead of time. Secondly, they rate the path as difficult which to me means long, possibly rocky, and uphill. What it obviously is suppose to mean is long, very narrow in most places, tons of lose dirt to slip on, cactus waiting for you to make even the slightest mistep, very rocky, and uphill doesn’t even describe it! LOL.

It really was very hard to do but we honestly had a good time. We joked, talked, and encouraged each other to keep going. Sissy and I were panting and hacking like a couple of old biddys but Big B was hiking like a champ and constantly going ahead of us. In the end, he is the only one who finished the hike. We had already gone two miles (isn’t that more than 1.5 miles? Yep I thought so too.) when a lady coming down the hill informed us that it was another half a mile straight up over some rocks to the top. I just couldn’t do it (due to health issues not to laziness) and Sissy just wasn’t having it either.

So Big B went on ahead and we decided that we would finish if it wasn’t too much further. He came back shaking his head and shouting “Turn Around!!” which let us know that the uphill part of our hike was definately over. After he got back to us we had lunch on a little rock, talked about all the things we saw, and then started back down the mountain. We couldn’t help but laugh because in some places you had to run down the hill in order to keep from slipping on the gravel and loose dirt. The funny part was seeing my big ole fanny actually running!

Afterwards we went and got ice cream to reward ourselves and went home where I proceeded to take a nap and feel like the living dead. All in all I consider it a success and we now look forward to more family hikes together. Before this the thought of US and HIKING just never really came in the same sentence. I’m glad we now have something new to do together.

To find out the other lovely little thing I got from the hike feel free to read here… Lessons “Burned”

About

The Cast:

Jo- I'm a homeschooling mom to my three heathens, wife to the hubby guy, published poet (had nothing to do with poetry.com either so shoosh), freelance writer (I write for a few websites and hope to be in print soon), two time cancer survivor (while still having one of the buggers renting space in my body), MEN2a advocate, plus I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy, Raynaud's Syndrome, RLS, TMJ, Adrenal Insufficiency (due to no adrenal glands), and blah blah blah. All that AND a sense of humor too. Go Me! ;) I tell people that I have more syndromes than a Medical Journal! I am also very proud of my amazing two cancer surviving/free children.

Hubby- Yes, I have one but with working graveyard shift and attending college part time he doesn't get to be around much. We celebrated our seventh anniversary on May 6, 2007 and while it's been a rough road at times, it has definately been worth it. Hubby works in avionics (ex-Air Force) and helps keep the Air Force in the air. He will be the first to tell you he doesn't agree with homeschooling all of the time but when it comes down to it he is my biggest champion and I love him for it.

Big B- My oldest son that turned 16 years old this year. He started homeschooling in November of 2005 so every day is a learning experience for us. He hopes to someday play football in the NFL and buy his mama a house! That's my boy! B also is learning to play guitar, studying Physics and Philosophy, and likes to hang out with his girlfriend whenever he gets a chance.

He is now the same age I was when he was born so we've done alot of growing up together the last 16 years. I'm so very proud of the man he is becoming and have no doubt that he is going to continue to be an amazing person for the rest of his life.

Sissy- My middle child and only girl. She turns 13 years old this year (yes that sound you hear IS me crying) and has been homeschooling since March 2005. She has really come a long way since public school and I am very thankful for that. She wants to one day be a Marine Biologist and Firespinner and I have no doubt she will do both. Sis is learning Spanish, is in SpiralScouts, has her own Dog Walking business, and loves to practice her firespinning with the practice poi a friend got her last year for her birthday.

Lil Man- This is my 4 year old little tornado of terror. There were no Terrible Twos but you can bet we hit the Terrible Threes full blown and hard! He's a sweetheart though and very easy to love. He's also a dinosaur expert who constantly blows me away with the amount of knowledge he knows about them. I think he's proof that children really do learn on their own and in their own ways. He is learning to write and spell his name, loves paleontology, thinks Animal Planet is the only channel in existance, and is a Firefly in the SpiralScouts.

All together we are a family who has three people with a rare cancer causing disorder, two kids who have already had surgery to remove cancer once, and a mom who has had two cancer surgeries, is missing several organs, and because we caught one cancer too late I will always live with cancer. Thankfully it's not aggressive but chemo having no effect on it is somewhat of a bummer.

Daily we are just the same as everyone else (just a little more scarred is all) and just try to live life to the fullest each day that we can. Making memories is a big part of our life and probably why I post on this blog about not only strictly homeschool related things but the fun activities we do as well.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy.