Sun-Shining Expressions

Do you ever have those sun-shining days where everyone is getting along, you’re marveling at everything your kids say, and everyone is just living life joyfully together? Today was one of those days! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to a few days of parenting solo with the kids.

After breakfast we headed out to our nearby National Forest. The first trail is literally a 5 minute drive from our house, and on odd days, dogs can be off-leash on the trails. We have become so spoiled here! A quick romp in the woods, with a happy, free dog, and happy, free children! Best start to the week!

Our happy, muddy dog

Best quote of the hike, furnished by M while looking at an orange bag tossed on the side of the trail:

“Is that poop? That smells like poop.”

(She’s well aware that dog owners will leave the poop bag on the trail to pick up on the way back down, but this just cracked me up!)

On the drive back home, while stopping for coffee, we started singing the Music Together‘s Hello Song, but putting in things around us, like “Hellooooo to the red car, so glad to see you!”, etc, when C sang:

“Hellooooo to the LipperLoppies, so glad to see you.”

Seriously, you do not understand the name of this blog until you have spent some time with my children. LipperLoppy is definitely a family joke!

At home, we started our language arts learning session. M played games on the computer while I worked with C, and entertained the baby toddler simultaneously. (FYI, we have temporarily thwarted the climbing-on-tables-eating-art-supplies problem by placing all chairs on the tables unless a butt is sitting in one.) Today C worked on the letter B, which was pretty hard for her to write, and she didn’t have the patience to practice much. She really loves to color, so spent most of her time coloring, and doing a few quick B crafts. She is still really proud of her ABC book that she is making. Her activities included a B letter hunt, B Words Cut N Paste, Writing B Worksheet, B Coloring Page, and a B Craft (gluing beans onto the Bb template).

(sorry for the crappy photo)

C actually did the bean craft (photo, above) while I was putting the toddler down for a nap, so she might have done more if I had stayed with her. But it was way past naptime.

Then the girls switched places. C did much better on the laptop this time, and didn’t need any of my help! (Whew!) M had been a little stressed with our reading lesson last week, so I switched things up a bit. She first did some worksheets learning words in the -an family (again, I chose something that she was already familiar with, that I thought she would be able to read easily, and that she also can say correctly, there is that speech therapy sneaking right in with reading lessons!). She worked on the words: can, pan, fan, man, ran, van (and I’m kicking myself that I did not include tan! guess I will add that next week as a surprise). She was able to read, write, and say the words easily, and understood that they all had the same ending too. Then we played a board game. I printed out the board game, “Snakes and Ladders“. If she came to a “Word Card” space, she drew a card and had to read the word on the card (and just the word; no pictures for hints). She did great! I also included any other words she could already confidently read (family names, and cat, basically). She enjoyed playing the game a lot too, and can’t wait to do it again. I told her we can learn new words each week, and keep adding cards to the game. She’s thrilled! In fact, she was so proud of herself that she wrote out the entire alphabet and some of the words later that day, on her own direction.

Then, for writing practice, she wrote a letter to a different relative. This time, I printed out the alphabet on similar lined paper, to encourage her to write more neatly and pay attention to the lines, but it was just there as a reference, no requirement. This relative’s birthday is coming up, so we decided to make a package with more artwork and birthday cards from the girls.

Then it was time for our late lunch. And I had scrumptious leftovers of BBQ pork sandwiches. So delicious, and for once, I ate a very filling lunch that really helped me last the day. I need to try to eat more at lunch time!

After lunch, the toddler was still sleeping (she ended up with a 2-hour nap, woo-hoo!), so the girls made beaded necklaces. M has been wanting to finish one that she had started in speech class months ago, so it was about time that they did! (I thought I had packed all the beads already, but I found them.) M made a very long necklace that she loves and thinks it is just the thing Fancy Nancy would wear. Oh my.

Perfect timing, in that the toddler didn’t wake until we had finished with the beads! Then we were off to run errands: mail the package at the post office, thrift shopping at a local kid resale store, and purchasing a few items at the grocery store that we would need for dinner. We didn’t make it back home until past 4, and still had science to do!

I told the girls we could wait to do science for another day, and just play, but they wanted to do the science activity, Polar Bears. The relatively new-to-our-local-zoo polar bear is quite the entertainer; she basically has a routine of swimming to the glass underwater, then coming straight up out of the water (to the ooh’s of the crowd watching) and backfloating to start over again. It’s fun to watch! Anyway, we had been at the zoo the last month, and M had asked to study polar bears next.

When we were about to start, M said she first wanted to tell us what she already knows about polar bears. She had a whole presentation prepared! She started by passing out toppings to her toy cake, that had loop velcro on it, saying, “feel this, do you think this feels like polar bear fur?”. WOW, just wow! She had more to do/say, but C was not in the mood for a lecture from her older sister, so I told M that she could give a Polar Bear Presentation to Daddy when he came home.

While the girls worked on a coloring page, tangram puzzle, and creature card, I started reading some of the books we had checked out from the library.

The main facts we learned were:

  • Polar bears live in the arctic.
  • Mother polar bears have 1-3 cubs at a time, usually 2, and nurse for 2.5 years.
  • Polar bears are the largest land predator and the largest bear.
  • Polar bears eat seals.
  • Polar bears need ice to hunt seals, and global warming is decreasing ice in the arctic.

Then the girls each made an informational poster including all of the facts mentioned above.

And lastly, they made a polar bear craft. M said, “Mom, can you give me cotton balls for my birthday? I would love that. We could make a pillow with them.” I had already been planning to stock the craft cabinet with more things like pom-poms and such, and now I know to add cotton balls to the list too!

And gosh, I forgot that I had some online polar bear videos and webcams for them to check out. Well, they can watch those later this week, and maybe I will even look for a nature show on the Arctic/polar bears on Netflix too. The beauty of homeschooling is that we never stop learning!

By this time, we were overdue for dinner. Luckily what I had planned was simple, and fairly quick. I just have to share one more quote from the day, another one by M:

“My middle name is tortilla.”

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  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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