Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving in circles

Some of my favorite circles!

Today was the last day of homeschooling in the old house.

Tomorrow is moving day.  If you've been following our adventures in England, you know that this is a big deal.  The house we're in now seemed so pretty from the viewing, but after we moved in we quickly got a crash course in the dreaded rising damp.

This damp house has been the source of so much stress for me.  It's an old house, and moisture is not only rising from the ground, it's creeping in through the walls because of poorly constructed gutters, and creeping in through the roof because of, well, too much rain and poor construction.  Flat roofs belong in the desert, not in England!

For the better part of the last month I have been cleaning mold off all the wooden toys in the house, off all the wooden furniture, off picture frames and nature tables.  I have been cleaning it off windows and walls, ceilings and floors.  It's more than disgusting.  It's heartbreaking and it's wrong!

So moving day is finally here!  I'm so thrilled to be leaving this house behind, but I am still wary.  I have no idea if the new house will be any better.  Surely, it can't be any worse.  Other English people have assured me that most houses here do not have such problems, and I hope they are right!  When you move to a new country, you just never know what "normal" is supposed to look like.

So tomorrow we will embark on a new adventure.  Perhaps a less than perfect one, but hopefully much better than this.  There really is no perfect when it comes to homes*... or well, anything, is there?  Life isn't perfect.  Homeschooling is certainly not perfect.  Not even circles are perfect.

How fitting that part of today's homeschooling involved talking about our perceived perfections in the natural world and the reality of their imperfections.  To ice the cake of imperfection, we spent some time calculating the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, a.k.a. pi.

Sunburst and I have been playing with irrational numbers quite a bit lately, and she is completely undaunted.  In the last couple of years her love of all things mathematical has really bloomed, and I am absolutely thrilled.  Having a 13yo girl who excels in and is excited about mathematical processes is something I consider one of the greater successes of our homeschooling.

As a bit of fun, Sunburst got to enjoy Vi Hart's hysterically funny and smart math video on irrational numbers and the Pythagorean Theorem.

I've been admiring Vi Hart's math videos for quite some time, and I plan to show each one of them to the kids as they come up in our lessons.  Not only are they wonderfully clever, but they're done by a female who so obviously embodies the passion for mathematics that I want to instill in all my children.  The underlying message is clear: Girls can (and DO) excel at math.  It's an imperative message to give our daughters, but I think sharing this message with our sons is equally important.

  *Gaudi's Casa Batllo in Barcelona seems pretty perfect to me.  When I think circles, I can't help but envision the front rooms of Casa Batllo, one of my most favorite buildings on earth.  Can't we just live there? (smile)


  1. Happy moving to a hopefully dry house! By the way, are you using any math book for Sunburst at this age? Math is not my forte, has never been, and never will be. I would be lost without a book at this age. Even out "local" Waldorf school uses Saxon in the upper grades.

    1. I probably have more math resources than anything else. My favorite one is Making Math Meaningful by Jamie York. For grades 6+ there are workbooks that are absolutely fantastic. Sunburst LOVES them, and Moonshine cannot get to grade 6 fast enough, so I have been making grade 5 worksheets for her in the same style. Both girls are crazy for his method, and they are learning so much. He just released high school workbooks, and they are quite involved. I'm really excited about them!

  2. I recently lived in a beautiful cottage with white rose trees in the garden. It was my dream house, perfect location, etc. But it had a mould problem. And I watched my child get sicker and sicker. In the end, I hated that house and was desperate to leave. So I sympathise with you and hope so much the new house is healthy and dry.

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah. It's so nice to feel understood! A mouldy house is just awful in so many ways. I feel like I spend all my time cleaning to no avail. I hope your girl recovered from the mould. xo

  3. I enjoyed this posting. I'm reading for entertainment and enlightenment because my daughter is home-schooling - I'm afraid damp is widespread Britain - because of the climate - you just have to find a place with manageable proportions and manage them!

    There's a certain amount of perception involved - I always notice a sudden increase in humidity as I cross the Mississippi from west to east (not because I fall in the river), which I'm sure reflects an overall gradient but is probably not specifically true.

    Love the math video!

  4. I LOVE Vi Hart.. I'm so glad you and Sunburst are enjoying her work. Best of luck with the new house!

  5. We are exploring Vi Hart and Pythagoras, too! We made monochords with our Living Math wonderful to think we are hand in hand, while on such different parts of our globe! Hurrah! AND...yes, let's move to Barcelona next!

  6. Hope the move will go exceptionally well! You really deserve to finally find a good house to settle down in for a bit. :)

    And hooray for Sunburst's interest and skill in math! We need more women mathematicians and scientists!

  7. Hope your Christmas was MERRY!! Much love to you all and wishes for a MOLD-FREE 2013!!

  8. Hello :)

    I'm just looking at a bunch of Steiner resources and am enjoying your blog so I thought I'd say hi!

    Amber. x


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