Pockets of the Future Blog

Striving to live now as all will live in the future.

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    Feb
    17

    A Fresh Approach Demands a New Homeschooling-Dedicated Blog!

    Posted by pockets

    I have become vividly aware of the fact that the adage about slowly figuring out a baby’s needs and best schedule only to have the baby promptly change and require a whole new approach and schedule remains just as true for older children as it does for babies. Many parents perhaps are not as vividly aware of this during these time in history when children and parents spend most of their time apart. However when you are homeschooling, the greater intimacy demands that you be acutely aware of your children’s changes while the flexibility and goals of teaching them at home charge you with the responsibility of responding to those changes for the best. It surely can keep a mama/teacher hopping!

    Kind of forgetting this, I thought I had certain structures nicely in place for something approaching forever. We used Ambleside Online (AO) and I was thrilled with it and so were the children. Aside from having to tweak a few books that were too slanted towards one religion or the general direction of the history selections that were a bit too “white male European” for my comfort, I figured we would use AO for “always and always and always” and come out at the other end wondrously educated, deeply thoughtful and exquisitely sensitive to beauty and duty. I had the older two of the children I am homeschooling doing their work together as they are a day less than a year apart in age with the older one being a boy and the younger one a girl. They went through Year 1 together and had been working through Year 2 in the same way. Then my next girl was working through Year 1 while my youngest, a boy, was working on the cusp of Year 0/Year 1. Aside from the fact that I found all of this pretty difficult to keep up with given my other (homesteading, writing, home business, endless real food making) duties, it was otherwise great.

    Then a few things happened…

    >>>>>>>>>>
    To read the rest of this blog post plus see my brand new homeschooling blog, please come visit at The Lionsgate School. Also note that there is now a link to The Lionsgate School here on the right side bar at the end of the list of our various other sites and blogs (The Lionsgate School Blog would be #8) so that you can come visit over there any time you visit here! I would love to have your company. It is such a big and important project preparing our children for not only their individual futures but for the future that is waiting for us all here on Earth. Much to do, much to do. Please come share with me while I muse upon and work my way my share of all of this for them.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,
    Leslie

    Nov
    03

    A Thought Exercise About Preparing a Survival Kit

    Posted by pockets

    After reading Chapter 1 of Swiss Family Robinson in which the Robinson family finds themselves unexpectedly stranded on a nearly sinking ship, the first project suggested in the Prepare and Pray curriculum is to pack a survival kit. Now we couldn’t afford to literally pack such a kit but it occurred to me that even just talking about what to pack in such a kit would make an excellent thought exercise. So first I read my younger children the list that the Brashears include in the curriculum and we discussed each item and why it might be included in a survival kit:

    Solar rescue blanket/space blanket
    Fifty feet of nylon cord
    Waterproof matches/magnesium fire starter
    Candles
    Plastic whistle
    Small flashlight
    Small SHARP pocket knife, or utility tool with blade of carbon steel
    Water purifier/iodine tablets
    Plastic tarp/small tent
    Metal cup/mess kit
    MRE’s (meals ready to eat), dehydrated foods (hot cocoa mix, complete pancake mix, jerky, powdered milk, TVP, ramen noodles, etc.)

    Pack minimal, nonperishable survival meals for three days to which you only need to add water and/or heat. Multiply items which require individual use according to your family size such as blankets, mess kits. Put whistles on a cord pinned with a safety pin to small children’s clothing. DO NOT hang around the neck of small children.

    A number of these things the children had never heard of so we Googled items like space blankets (which created much wonder) and magnesium first starters and I explained to them what jerky, TVP, and ramen noodles are. I then asked them to brainstorm about what other items they thought should be or could be included in a survival kit. After considerable discussion and adding and subtracting various items, they (10, 9, 8 and 6 year olds) finally added the following:

    Soap
    Camping towels
    Solar shower bag
    Very small editions of our sacred literature and pictures
    Mama’s daily medicine
    First aid kit
    Wild food ID cards
    Food mixes we make ourselves
    Safety pins (for the above mentioned plastic whistles)

    That night at dinner, I asked our older two children (16 and 13 years old) and my husband what they thought of the list so far and what they might include. My husband talked to everyone about LED flashlights and Carolyn and Rowan added the rest:

    The flashlights should be LED’s
    Insect repellent, depending upon season
    Sunblock (really necessary for me!)
    Emergen-C packets
    Compass/GPS
    Hand-cranked radio
    Any necessary documents, depending upon the type of emergency
    A change of clothes

    It was very revealing to me the kinds of items the children thought to include in a survival kit and how their minds worked over the subject. It was kind of like those homeschooling stories you read about children being schooled in some interesting literary way, say, who have to suddenly take a typical mainstream proficiency test. The parents worry about how the children will do but the children end up doing great on the test, leaving the parents in wonder at how much the children picked up they didn’t know about. So I like the way the children are thinking about the necessities of life. If I had to go through an emergency, I would be happy to go through it with them. They have good heads on their shoulders.

    The next day I came across a page I hadn’t had a chance to look at before on a web site I really like and appreciate. Thomas J. Elpel has several web sites tied together which you can enter at Thomas J. Elpel’s Web World Portal. The page I saw for the first time is here under Wilderness Survival Supplies. Here Mr. Elpel has an array of neat survival tools that are small enough to be easily carried. He notes:

    However, I’ve never liked survival kits, mostly because it is too easy to leave them behind. A good survival kit should be there for an unexpected emergency. What if you leave the kit in the glove box because you intend to stay within a few hundred yards of the car? But then you find yourself going just a little farther to see what is around the corner, and around the next corner after that? That happens to me all the time. I want survival gear that is on my body whether I expect to be in a potential survival situation or not!

    Thus was born the Always-With-You Compact Wilderness Survival Kit, featuring gear that I have on me at all times, regardless of whether I am attending a wedding in the city or hiking in the mountains. The kit includes the book 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, which I do not carry in the field, but it clearly outlines the essentials of wilderness survival. Carry the book knowledge in your head, and the additional equipment in your pockets, and you will always be prepared.

    Go to his The Always-With-You Compact Wilderness Survival Kit page and read about all the tiny items that can do big jobs like start fires, light your way or sharpen knives. Everything there is so practical and well designed.

    Mr. Elpel’s tag line for this page reads

    The best survival kit is one that will be on you when you need it!

    So true and I would add that the best survival kit is one that will be in you when you need it which is why we are using the Prepare and Pray curriculum now. It is giving us all a chance to think together about changing times, memorize guidelines and scriptures, mold ourselves to a new life, encourage adaptability and imagination, and strengthen the habit of praying about the future and looking within for direction. The best preparation for an uncertain future is to become:

    So where is wisdom? Wisdom must be permanent. Babuji said that a fool is wise after the event but not for long. A wise man is wise during the event. He knows, and now he will not do it again. A saint is wise before the event. He doesn’t have to see to know; he doesn’t have to experience to know. Heart Speak 2004, vol. 2, p. 49 –Rev. Chariji

    We gained a great deal from approaching this project just as a thought experiment. I am sure we will gain much more from actually putting such a kit together and using it as a family. Whenever we do that, I will post again only that post will certainly have pictures. It is hard to take pictures of thoughts!

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,
    Leslie

    Oct
    26

    Our Outdoor Wood Fired Earth Oven Links Us to Pilgrims

    Posted by pockets

    I am getting a little ahead of my narrative about developments here at The Lionsgate School with this post. However, there was such a nice confluence the other day between our “work” and our “education” that I want to share it while it is still fresh.

    We have now completed a little over a week’s worth of the Prepare and Pray! curriculum thread of our homeschooling and it was so much fun. I also found that for me it was a much easier week than I usually had following the Ambleside Online curriculum only because the skill building aspects and entire orientation of Prepare and Pray! blend in so seamlessly with the homesteading, preparation-oriented lives we are already living. I will write more about this important aspect in the future.

    Among many other subjects and activities included in Prepare and Pray!, each chapter of features extra reading suggestions covering highlights of American history to study. Chapter 1 focuses on the Pilgrims, for instance. Our library system only carries one of the books the Bashear’s suggest for Chapter 1 reading so I just went to the 974’s on the library shelf and started pulling any Pilgrim books that looked at all appropriate. Of course, most of these are very familiar to me because I do this every November anyway. One nice book I have read the children for several years is The Pilgrims of Plimoth written and illustrated by Marcia Sewall. One thing I especially appreciate about this book is that it details the lives of the “Menfolk,” “Womenfolk,” and “Children and Youngfolk” in separate, interesting sections. The art work is also very engaging and this year one of the paintings in it was a special treat for us to see with fresh eyes.

     

    wood oven painting

     

    Readers of our web site and blog and, especially viewers of Paul’s many videos on the subject (see #5 POTF YouTube channel button on the right sidebar to see videos), know that we have an outdoor wood fired earth oven that looks quite like this! Why, we even have a paddle that looks just like the one the little boy in the foreground is holding made by my very own enterprising husband! We don’t have the roof over it yet but Paul has two of the poles up for it so far. I ran to show him this page when we came across it in our reading. It was somehow quite meaningful to identify with the Pilgrims and their lives on such a personal level.

    As it turned out, we fired up our oven just a day or two later. We were preparing to take Will down to Mabry Mill for another blacksmithing tutorial. We were going to have to leave pretty early in the morning so we had to organize well the previous day. Anna made her usual corn bread so that it would be ready next morning, only she baked it in the earth oven for the first time. When it dawned on me how her doing this this went along with our studies, I raced inside, got the camera and got back out in just time to get one picture of her taking her incredibly fragrant corn bread out of the oven.

     

    Anna's corn bread

     

    Meanwhile I had been inside making stuffed loaves for the lunch we would have out at Mabry Mill. This is just my regular whole wheat bread recipe (which already comes out anything but regular when baked in the earth oven) with a stuffing rolled up in the middle. Paul made a savory stuffing of finely chopped and cooked spinach, parsley, garlic, onion and black olives together with feta cheese and quite a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese. Faith helped me shape these loaves and claimed ownership of one of them. She patted it and shaped it and put it in the pan. She carefully covered it with a special towel and watched over it tenderly while it rose. She carried it herself from the kitchen out to the earth oven, hung around while it baked and then proudly took it out of the oven by herself and turned it out to cool.

     

    Faith reaches into oven

    taking bread out

    Faith's bread

     

    Both the corn bread and the stuffed bread were tasty and sustaining the next day and now both girls are a little more prepared to bake “off the grid” as well as personally relate to other people full of fire and conviction from times gone past. This is just one of many confluences now between our studies and our lives for which I am most grateful.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,
    Leslie

    Oct
    22

    But What Does Being “Prepared” Truly Mean?

    Posted by pockets

    Ideas about “preparedness” are getting a lot of extra traction during these days of the underpinnings of our economy and the fear of people being exposed. I even saw the article “Hard Times Have Some Flirting with Survivalism - Economic Angst has Americans Stockpiling ‘Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids’” on msnbc.com yesterday. Here are some snippets from the article:

    With foreclosure rates running rampant, financial institutions teetering and falling, prices for many goods and services climbing, and jobs being slashed, many Americans are making preparations for worse times ahead. For some, that means cutting spending and saving more. For others, it means taking a step into survivalism, once regarded solely as the province of religious End-of-Timers, sci-fi fans and extremists.

    That often manifests itself as a desire to secure basic emergency resources — what survival guru Jim Wesley Rawles describes as “beans, bullets and Band-Aids.”

    “There are a lot more people — a lot more eager people — who are trying to get themselves squared away logistically,” said Rawles, who lectures and writes books on preparing for and surviving “TEOTWAWKI” — The End Of The World As We Know It.

    “I’m getting slammed with big orders,” said Kurt Wilson, a distributor of freeze-dried foods and other provisions with decades-long shelf life, like canned meat, cheese and butter.

    “I have customers who were spending 200 bucks a month now spending $5,000 to $8,000,” Wilson said from his warehouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I get little old ladies calling up, stocking up for their grandchildren.”

    Seattle survivalist Hagmahani sees such commodity hoarding as just a partial measure for weathering a financial crisis.

    On his blog, mutuallyassuredsurvival.com, he advises people to prepare for a “major paradigm shift” that will, in a decade, leave the U.S. with a Third World economy.

    He said he began his preparations after witnessing the burst of the high-tech bubble in 2001, paying off the family’s debt, moving his assets away from stocks into safer investments, including, he implies, some precious metals and offshore accounts.

    In the last three or four years, he has led his clan away from what he calls their former “yuppyish lifestyle.” They no longer eat out, cook most meals from scratch, and rarely drive their one car. They also are all learning practical skills — such as sewing, nursing and wielding a gun for self-defense.

    “One thing I’m adamant about is that each of the kids needs real skills; they can’t just be a pencil pusher,” says Hagmahani of 19-year-old Hans, Sofia, 14, and Erik, 12. “You might get lucky and get a cushy job, but you might not. You need high-tech skills and low-tech skills for dealing with a systemic breakdown.”

    Stocking up on food, lowering debt, building skills… These are all good things when done with the right attitude. As a matter of fact, I think that stocking up on food, living within one’s means and building skills used to be a pretty natural and common aspect of life. The present day idea of needing both high-tech and low-tech skills in order to deal the breakdown of the present manmade system is sound advice. But does it really constitute being “prepared”?

    Michael Bunker says absolutely not:

    One of the problems, though, with the preparedness folk, is that they do not see beyond the fundamental errors of the people. Whereas the ignorant folk say “I have no need of storing up any goods when there is a nice, shiny, clean store just down the road”, the preparedness folk say, “Yes, and I will go to that store and buy up enough food for X years”, as if they know that X years supply of food will be sufficient. In both cases, the people are relying on the store. The ignorant folk say, “the government will take care of me if I run out of food, water, or shelter”, and the preparedness folk say, “Well, I would rather rely on myself and chance”. By this I mean that neither desires to make a wholesale change in the very principles and worldview that inform their decisions. Neither desires TODAY to be dependent on God and His Word. Neither wants to give up modern comfort and modern security in order to throw themselves on a Holy and Righteous God. I’ve seen it for years.

    Many of you may not know that I was a preparedness teacher many years before the Y2K scare of a decade ago. In fact, I was teaching preparedness before I had even heard of Y2K. I finally gave up when I realized that people will prepare for events, and they will prepare for hardships - but only so long as their fundamental principles are not challenged. They will not accept the idea that the very fundamentals of their industrial/commercial society is Anti-christ, and mentally and spiritually crippling. They will not accept that the way they have chosen to live is why the system is evil and must eventually collapse. They will not accept that their perpetual 72 degree lives are designed to ease them into hell. They will prepare, so long as the preparations guarantee a certain standard of living, and say to them that they will not die hungry or thirsty, or from some horrendous calamity, and that some day… things will return to “normal”, which is to say that they will one day get to return to their lives of colonized leisure and comfort.

    So… we can see that some will not leave Sodom at all because they are Sodomites,and some will leave, but will turn back hoping it is not utterly destroyed.

    Preparedness for events is a recipe for eternal and spiritual failure.

    I am not saying you should not buy food from stores, especially when it is on sale and you have not yet developed a system of food production for yourself and your family. I am saying that you should not rely on a band-aid when you have a potentially fatal bullet wound. 10.07.2008 October Rants (or “Rants-fest”) Part 1 (You have to scroll down the page.)

    A great point. As a matter of fact, it is the most important point regarding “preparedness.” What is our internal state? How much do we understand of natural laws as opposed to man made rules? Understanding the differences and learning to live within the natural laws are the most profound and powerful preparedness measures we can take. Then at that point, we can meaningfully begin to prepare practically in our daily lives. The latter without the former is merely re-arranging the playing pieces on the same old game board when we should be switching to a different game board altogether. The real game board is entitled:

    Fix up your goal which should be ‘complete oneness’ with God. Rest not till the ideal is achieved. Maxim 3

    Once we are on the right game board of life, and we tailor our actions to that and set aside the unthinking, societal ways with which we have been indoctrinated, then we can say that we are on our way to becoming “prepared” for life in a dramatically changing world.

    As a matter of fact, we are slowly starting to add a new curriculum into The Lionsgate School program aptly entitled “Prepare and Pray!” I will be posting much more about this in the future.

    May we all prepare now for the real emergency in our lives - which is not economic but of the heart.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,
    Leslie