Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 5, day 2

Today, as predicted, the Titmouse Club theme was snakes. The kids learned that snakes have no ears and no eyelids, they got to touch a shed snake skin and rattlesnake rattles and to look closely at a snake skeleton, they made snakes with clay and sequins, they got to pet an actual snake, and we all went on a nature walk. Both kids enjoyed it thoroughly, as did I.

Having reviewed catechism and memory verses in the car, we just read the Bible story when we got home, and went on to calendar. P did her handwriting without any difficulty, I worked on helping her memorize my cell phone number, and she tried to describe in detail how one rides a bike (with training wheels). Her description ended up quite detailed. After language arts, the kids had begged me to re-read one of the library books on Mexico, which I did.

After lunch, P worked for a while braiding yarn into friendship bracelets. She has recently learned how to braid 3 strands of yarn, and enjoys choosing colours that coordinate well from my yarn stash. She hopes to sell them to raise money for a Bible translation project - if you have any interest in a braided bracelet or 5, let me know. I started a knitting project for Kid Number Three: I've made booties and a hat, and now I'm working on a matching sweater. E was remarkably patient as long as P let him choose some of the colours she was going to braid, but he really wanted to make ooblik.

Ooblik, for those who don't know, is a simple mixture of corn starch and water, but whether it is solid or liquid depends on the amount of pressure exerted upon it. When P had completed a total of 24 braids (probably about 8 today), we made ooblik, adding food colour to the water for added interest. Note to anyone who wants to try it with their kids: it is surprisingly messy. If something acts like a solid when you pick it up and then turns into a liquid when, being 3 1/2, you forget you were holding it in your hand, it runs out and dribbles onto your shorts, the floor, and your mother's shoes. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the project almost as much as the kids, and the cleanup wasn't impossible.

The kids spent most of the rest of the afternoon outside, watching Ari change the tire on our van and reassemble his telescope. The telescope's 20-inch mirror had become dusty, so he decided to break the first rule of cleaning optics: "Don't." He carefully (I don't even want to describe how carefully) washed it, dried it (wicking individual drops off the mirror surface with bits of paper towel), cleaned out the mirror casing, and carefully replaced the mirror in its casing. The mirror looks much shinier now, and despite breaking the "don't" rule, there were no mirror-related tragedies. When the kids grew bored with watching their daddy, they climbed a tree in the front yard. P got impressively high for such a small tree. She even got herself down again without help. I like seeing my kids enjoy activities that I myself enjoyed as a child.

The kids' outdoor activities gave me free time, which I used by scanning coins to create a matching game for the kids to play, to reinforce coin recognition and counting skills. I'll make something like a memory game, with heads and tails to match, and coin combinations up to 15 cents or so. For example, a dime will match 2 nickels, 5 pennies will match a nickel, and eventually I'll add things like a dime and 2 pennies matching a nickel and 7 pennies. The kids seem to like card-type games, so hopefully this will be fun for them.

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