Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 25, day 3 and Week 26, day 1

Wednesday: Math. Since I turned Tuesday into a math day, I turned Wednesday into a science day. We went to Titmouse Club in the morning, where the theme was baby animals. They had tadpoles and a baby turtle in buckets of water, and birds' nests for the children to gently pass around and examine. The children made caterpillars out of pipe cleaners and beads, and on the nature walk we saw a snake and two frogs as well as releasing the tadpoles and turtle back into the wild. I had ideas for science experiments, but the children had other plans which turned out to be valuable as well. After our review items, they asked me to read How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World. Then P asked me to teach her to tie a bow. It's a long time since we last bought her shoes that require this skill, but she's now old enough that I thought it wouldn't be an exercise in frustration to teach her. My mom got her an Usborne book with laces to practice tying on each page, and we went through the book tying each bow. She really needs much longer laces to practice with, because the ends kept getting pulled out with the loops, and the bows turned into square/granny knots. Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience for her, and by the end she was able to do it without much help from me.

Thursday and Friday: Camping! One of the advantages of homeschooling is that spontaneous vacations are easy to take. We'd been trying to get together with friends of ours who live in Austin for a camping trip, and this last weekend was the only one that would work for both our families. I had a commitment at church on Sunday morning, so we couldn't spend Saturday night camping, so we decided to make the 4-hour drive to Enchanted Rock worthwhile by camping Thursday night as well as Friday. It rained a lot. Ari used an entire container of lighter fluid to get the fire going on Thursday night as the skies poured down torrents on the wood, but we ended up being able to roast our hot dogs and heat our sauerkraut (a family tradition for our first dinner on a camping trip). Both kids climbed to the top of Enchanted Rock without help both on Friday and on Saturday, but more impressive is that our friends' 2 oldest kids also managed on Saturday, and their oldest is younger than E. Their baby was born less than 3 weeks after B, so a lot of our time was spent chasing after the total of 6 little ones, but it was really great to be able to spend time with them (particularly on Friday night after all the littles were asleep). Camping, and life in general, is educational in itself. I helped P and E recognize quartz and feldspar in the granite of Enchanted Rock, and when I asked P what kind of places plants were able to grow on the rock, she correctly answered, "The places where soil can get stuck." On the drive to Enchanted Rock, Ari talked to the kids about nuclear weapons and how they helped end WWII, but how the stockpiles that the USA and Russia amassed later on made the Cold War more scary. Back home on Sunday, E commented, "I'm glad the Cold War is over." I'm guessing most 4-year-olds aren't familiar enough with the history to feel that way.

Monday: Language Arts. Today went fairly smoothly. On P's math 5-a-day, I only had 4 concepts to review, so for the 5th question I wrote, "Play a game with Mommy!" The game involved colouring in squares on a hundreds chart to make a picture. I called out the number to shade, and P shaded it without help while I showed E where to shade his. The result was, in the first case, a smiley face, and in the second case, a candle. Both kids enjoyed this activity, and it's good for number recognition, so I can see us doing it again in the future. For language arts, the new letter was V, so while we were making our letter sheet, we discussed the volcano in Iceland and how it's wreaking havoc on European flights. P read her reader easily and happily did her copywork under the table. I assume by the time she's ready for college the thrill of working upside down will have worn off, so I've decided to let her do it as long as she wants and it doesn't damage the quality of her work. She was supposed to write a "Fairy Tale Smash-Up", taking characters from 2 fairy tales and putting them together into a single story. In her story, Goldilocks arrived to help Cinderella get ready for the ball and thought the fairy godmother's choice of dress would make Cinderella too cold, or too hot, or just right. P has something of an obsession with Cinderella. There were serious tears over my putting my foot down and refusing to let them watch the Disney Cinderella movie this morning, so my refusal extended to the remainder of the day and probably tomorrow, certainly if the crying didn't stop. Since we don't own a TV, we haven't made any kind of rule limiting screen time, but Ari's aunt loaned us a pile of videos (including Cinderella) and the kids have become rather addicted. It's time for us to establish clear limits, I think. Imaginative play and story reading is so much better for them.


  1. Hi Jane! Anna's become obsessed with Cinderella, too. Someone gave us a bag of princess pull ups (Anna still can't stay dry at night - sigh) and she would not stop asking about Cinderella. We read some books (Blech! I don't like that princess) and thankfully have run out of the dipes. Hope you can come up with a good solution.

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  3. We had fun camping with you all! From our Catalina hike, E learned to recognize mica. Too bad she was so busy immersing herself in the water to learn feldspar and quartz :)