"Children do not need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how." -John Holt

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Today we were able to visit our sheep, Petunia and her lambs at the Owen's Family Farm in Pelham. Tagging along after our friends (who did the actual adopting) we took a tour of the farm and all it's muddy glory.

We had a fun time until the cold did us in. Bad mommy did not dress the children appropriately. At least I stopped and bought Gabriel mud boots before going. Definitely lots-o-muck! Simone finally got so chilled and subsequently whiny that I had to put my huge puffy vest on her and carry her around the waist (so her mucky boots wouldn't touch me) all the way back to the car, with Caden in my other arm and no sling (what was I thinking!?). My god was I feeling the burn! Oh and prior to all *this*, Simone decided she HAD to pee (even though we were just in the bathroom because she told me she HAD to poop upon arriving at the farm -no poop BTW) so I tramped off the beaten path through snow and ice to hold her over a snow hole while yelling "pee now! pee now!" Meanwhile Caden was sitting on my vest on top of the ice while I balanced Simone over the hole. When we made it back to the group, Gabriel informed me *he* had to pee now so I told him to go off a ways to do it but next thing I knew, he's basically standing in the snowy path, pants to his ankles, peeing away, just as the group is shifting towards him. I felt like I brought a circus act. How I managed to take pictures throughout all this I do not know...

ANYway....interestingly enough, Gabriel, my insect/amphibian lover, enjoyed the sheep way more than he usually enjoys farm animals. Of course it helped that he was intrigued by the antics of the farmer's 8 year old daughter who was showing off the whole time. You should've seen the way she was handling this little rooster, jumping around, flinging it towards people's faces... it didn't look real. Gabriel asked if it was and when I said yes, he said, "then why is she holding it so tough?"

Caden was scared of all the bleating. They were VERY noisy wooly creatures. He cried every time he heard an extra loud one. He also cried when I didn't realize he was nose to nose with an ewe because I was busy showing Simone another one in front of me. There were some pretty big ones too. And the ones that weren't sheared looked enormous. The babies were so cute and we got to see some nursing their mamas and being weighed by the farmer (25-37 ish pounds, you know!).

We're looking forward to the next visit and hopefully warmer weather as well.

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"By nature people are learning animals. Birds fly; fish swim; humans think and learn. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing, or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do - and all we need to do - is to give children as much help and guidance as they need and ask for, listen respectfully when they feel like talking, and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."
John Holt
"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it...and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself." -Grace Llewellyn
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
George Bernard Shaw
Real, natural learning is in the living. It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It's in the joy. ~Anne Ohman
"How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?" -Henry D. Thoreau