One of the things that I appreciate the most about our home school group is the fondness of all of the members for books. If I am ever at a loss for something good to read, a quick e-mail or questions dropped at a gathering leaves me with a list of good reads to pick up on the way home. There is also such wonderful sense of shared adventures when we read the same books. I announced today that the boys and I had started to read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and my heart swelled with everyones' reactions. It is like finding that a good friend will have to chance to visit a mysterious, magical, special place that you have seen yourself. Peoples' smiles reflected what a great time they had had with those books, either with when they themselves were children, or with their own kids more recently.
The other thing that is wonderful about our group is the tendency to try things on our own - to experiment with new things, and most notably to rekindle some of the skills that used to be essential to family life - knitting, soap making, sewing, canning, and (here is the connection - I swear there is one!! - butter making.
The boys were very interested to read about Laura and Mary helping Ma to make butter at their little cabin in the big woods, and I knew that we could give it a try ourselves. The other moms in the group were quick to offer suggestions, most notably to add marbles to the room-temperature whipping cream in a glass jar to speed up the process. The kids did some excited shaking (of the whole body variety) and a few minutes later - ta dah! Fresh, home-made butter. I guess it is not so much of a lost art after all.