Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week 27, days 2-4

Tuesday: Science. Today's theme at Titmouse Club was turtles. Informal survey: does "turtle", to you, connote (a) a shelled reptile that lives in or near water but not a shelled creature that lives exclusively on land, or (b) any kind of shelled reptile? The docent chose (b), and it seems that some of our library books do, too. Other than that, the presentation on turtles was interesting and included a turtle skeleton in a plexiglass box (so that the children could examine it without damaging it) and a live box turtle (which I would have called a tortoise). Although turtles breathe air, they are able to hibernate in the mud underwater for months - how do they do this? Perhaps they absorb oxygen from the water through their skins, and it's enough to keep them alive if they don't do anything. It's similar to the question of how bears can sleep for months without needing water, which I remember being lectured about but not fully understanding in Order of Magnitude Physics.

On the nature walk, the children fed turtles with crackers. There was a water bird - a heron, perhaps - which caught a crawfish while we were all watching. Later on, as we explored a different section of the path, we saw a water snake swimming upstream, and found another live box turtle, which helpfully turned itself into a box by folding up its bottom shell.

Our formal school time went smoothly, but I didn't add any extra science items because the kids had a dentist appointment. Since the dentist is near Bear Creek Park, we stopped there and the kids played for a while. We also briefly looked at their emus, rheas, and buffalo.

Wednesday: Math. Today was another meeting of the homeschooling group I found a month ago. The theme this time was basically the fun one can have by dropping Mentos candy into a 2-litre bottle of Diet Coke. It causes the carbonization to bubble out all at once, resulting in somewhat explosive behaviour. Diet Coke is not sticky, so if it gets on the child who drops the Mentos in, the mess is easier to clean up. The leader had brought about 20 bottles of Coke, so although P was intimidated by the thought, E had a chance to perform the experiment himself. He got some diet coke on his hands, though nowhere else, and felt quite proud of himself. As soon as the homeschooling group meeting was over, it was time for P's ballet lesson.

P is being promoted from the PreK/K ballet class to the elementary group next academic year, and she and her classmates who are being promoted with her are invited to join the "big kid ballet class" on Tuesday next week instead of Wednesday. It'll be a 2-hour class instead of 1 hour, which Ari likes because it gives him more time to go fishing with E, and I like because it gives me more time to run errands.

After P's ballet lesson, I simply had her read her reader and do her math worksheet. I also started printing out a math game, but we only got a far as gluing the scoops to cardboard. We played it on Thursday, and E enjoyed it as well, because addition with manipulatives is just right for his level of understanding right now. It might be a bit simple for P, but she doesn't mind.

Thursday: Bible. This was the last week of CBS until September. The kids heard the story of the apostle Paul's shipwreck. Once we got home, we discussed the story with their Opa, who gave them more details. We went upstairs and played the "Add It!" game I printed out yesterday, using pennies as manipulatives. I played around with making a triangle shape out of the pennies, because I had happened to grab 21 of them. The kids liked this so much, I decided to do the same thing with pattern blocks, and then I got distracted playing with patterns of triangle numbers, perfect squares, and how to make a hexagonal figure with side n inches using n^2 hexagons of side 1 inch (you have to break some of them up into pairs of trapezoids). I played with them for about an hour while P commented, "It's okay, because when Mommy gets distracted we get more time to play." I did explain a bit of what I was doing with triangle numbers and perfect squares, but P wasn't interested for long. If I want to make excuses for getting distracted, I can tell myself that now my kids know that Mommy thinks geometry is fascinating (which they already knew because they see me working my way through Euclid).

Once we finally got started doing school, I introduced John 14:6. We discussed the exclusivity of Jesus' claim in this verse - he is the only road to God, the source and creator of truth, and the one who gives us life (our verse from last week). You can't claim that he was just a "good teacher" without grappling with what he says in John 14:6.

After introducing a new catechism question, we moved on to our calendar, P's reader, and her math 5-a-day. Once that was over, I read the story of Paul's shipwreck from my Bible. The vocabulary is a bit too advanced for P and E, but since they'd just heard the story that morning, they were able to follow pretty well. In the evenings, we've started reading them a passage from Mark and discussing what it means, so they're gaining comprehension that way too.

After school, the kids asked to watch "Cinderella". Although the only computer available doesn't usually play DVDs without siezing up, it did this time. We've decided that watching a video 2 times a week won't kill them, so that's roughly what happens - once on Sunday afternoon, and once during the week. It adds up to about half an hour a day of screen time, which I think is acceptable.

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