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Progressive Homeschool
Welcome! We practice science-intensive evidence-based education.

New England Small Farm Institute, beautiful sun!

Friday, May 26, 2006
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[NESFI buildings in the distance]


Yesterday we spent an amazing day in the sun, visiting several farms, one of which is the New England Small Farm Institute in Belchertown, MA, which is dedicated to supporting extant local farms and those people who are interested in starting up a farm.

Part of our ethic, which is embodied in our homeschooling, is striving for self-sufficiency and sustainability. These two terms can mean different things to everyone (gotta love that). To us this means planning and investing in a future that will nurture our children and their children. This doesn't mean building a massive trust fund, that is beyond our means. Because we are not affluent and also because the trust fund-wealth-accruing game is not ours, we have to put in sweat equity along with creative financing and much frugality.

Every day, homeschooling is absolutely about sweat equity. It is also about the life-of-the-mind, which makes the sweating noble :-).

We also are on a long term plan to implement a home-centered non-commuted oriented future for our children in the face of a very uncertain and intimidating future where peak oil has come and gone and the third stage oil wars are ravaging our economy.

We want to survive swimmingly in that time, we do not want to be swept away in the chaos that will certainly happen for many who do not have the foresight to appreciate the at-risk nature of our children's world.

This doesn't mean stock piling 30 years worth of nasty dried survival food, water in huge cisterns, amassing large caches of guns, throwing up fences or forming survival cults.

What this means is integrating non-oil based energies into our living and going off the grid. It means cultivating our land (which is UP-NORTH so that includes greenhouses as well as cold-tolerant outside gardens) and enriching it to full abundance.

It also means implementing systems for these goals that provide surplus that can be sold to a public that is/will be paying a premium for purity and green energy.

More on this later, I just wanted to share some shots from the property at the New England Small Farm Institute.

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KD sitting in the sun at the door of the horse barn

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Q contemplating the geese

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Main NESFI building and little ones.

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Chicken housing and chickens

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NESFI greenhouse

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A somewhat educational roadtrip

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
On Saturday we visited the Ecotarium in Worcester, MA. Due to our constantly changing weather and the promise of rain, we chose the Ecotarium because it had outside things to do and inside things to do.

The Ecotarium is a learning center mainly focused on animals and the MA environment.

From their site:

Inside the museum
Exhibits - Three floors of interactive learning
Wildlife - Meet some of the animals in our care
Alden Planetarium - Stellar shows under simulated skies
Discovery Room - A place for preschoolers to play
Museum Store - Stocked with gifts, learning tools and toys
Hirsh Telecommunications Center - A great space for educating and entertaining

Outside the museum

Wildlife - A polar bear, bald eagles, foxes, owls, river otter and more
Interpretive Nature Trails - Woodlands, wetlands, and a beautiful meadow
Tree Canopy Walkway - Go out on a limb to explore the treetops (guided programs)
Explorer Express Train - A delightful tour of the grounds
Observatory - Housing one of the region's most powerful telescopes

It has a few lonely animals in cages outside (which made me sad more than anything) including bald eagles and polar bears.

I saw the bald eagles and my immediate thought was anger and then sadness. These poor things are all cooped up in an avarium that could never be even close to their habitat. Might as well put them in a closet.

Poor bald headed eagles


Inside there are exhibits that help kids get in touch with things like animal tracks and their habitats. They have some stuffed African animals too.

The moment we stepped out of the car KD decided she was not into the trip and proceeded to cry through much of the exhibits! Poor baby, I don't get it. She started crying in the parking lot long before we even got close to any of the buildings.

What follows are pics of some of the happy moments :-).

Ferret exhibit in the Discovery Room - Q shows KD the ferrets.

Q showing KD the ferrets


A closer look

More ferret sharing


Crazy ferrets

ferrets in a tube


Contemplating ferrets

KD looking at ferrets


Activities in the Discovery Room

Q and KD doing fun things


In the gift shop - KD with a butterfly mask

KD with butterfly mask


Q with a polar bear mask

Q with polar bear mask


A lot of the stuff to do there is not appropriae for a toddler in the middle of an extended tantrum/ yucky mood. We will go back when she is over this phase!

At the end we bought a stuffed animal snake and that was the most appreciated thing about the day!

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