Amur Leopard, Acids and Bases, and Art

Today started out like every other morning…when the kids wake up they climb out of bed and start playing in the playroom. Sometime after the toddler wakes, I struggle to get myself out of bed and make breakfast. I am so looking forward to when the toddler sleeps the night through, so I can actually wake up before the kids. But right now, as it has been for six years, I desperately try to cling to sleep each morning. We have, however, reached a new milestone in this household: as M is one month shy of turning six, she is staying in her bed all-night-long!  No more climbing into the family bed for her, hooray!

I was just starting to get everyone ready for running errands this morning (we have some birthday presents to buy and valentines to mail) when I got a text from a friend seeing if we would be interested in going to the zoo. Today was a relatively good air day, so I had planned to take advantage and get outside, and the zoo just seemed sooo much more fun than running errands. It was just what I (and the girls) needed. We have been sticking around home (except for classes and errands) way too much in the last few months. And it was so good to chat with a dear friend that I never get to see enough of.

At the zoo, we were blessed to see a training session for the Amur Leopard, so cool! We were warned that the leopard might not participate at all, because, being a cat and all, the leopard does only what it wants to do. My smart friend likened that to children; if only most parents realized this instead of trying to force children to do things! The leopard did do some training exercises, opening his mouth for dental checks, lifting paws for health checks, rolling on the floor (for fun), all for the yummy meatball treats (and not your normal meatball; these included all the body parts, intestines, bones, etc just as a leopard would eat in the wild). It was definitely the highlight of our short zoo trek. (Well, I think the toddler’s highlight was clucking at the chickens walking around the zoo grounds.)

Amur Tiger training

Amur Tiger training

Today we also did some quick science play, dropping colored vinegar in bowls of baking soda. I talked a lot about the double displacement reaction, but really, the girls were just focused on watching the bubbles and trying to mix the colors. Great, great fun! Some say it occupies their kids for hours, but my eldest lasted about 15 minutes, and C probably 30 minutes.

Vinegar-Baking Soda Fun

Vinegar-Baking Soda Fun

One of the reasons my eldest didn’t spend much time on the experiment is because she was excited to get back to a project she had started. She had been asking me if we could buy another sticker dolly book, but since I said we could not right now, she decided to make her own sticker book. We stapled a book together, and she started drawing in pictures (she even is making 3 characters, modeled after the sicker dolly books, though her characters are her and her sisters). Oh my goodness, I just realized that she put our dog in her book too. My heart! C started working on hers too, drawing a butterfly. When they are done drawing in pictures, they will then add stickers that M has already cut out in bowls for them. (Will I not have to buy any more of these books?)

Homemade Sticker Books

Homemade Sticker Books

It was a great day, topped off with fresh-from-the-oven Banana Honey Oatmeal Bread. Mmmmm!

Advertisements

Monday, Monday

(Yes, this is a very boring post title, probably for a very boring blog post. I apologize.)

Over the weekend we stayed home and the girls continued to work on a lot of their homeschooling projects: M weaved yarn on her loom; both girls played the spider addition game a few more times; M did apple tree math again; they made Halloween necklaces and a counting autumn leaves book; they played games and did puzzles with Dada; and just simply played a lot too. After having a few busy weekends in a row, I loved having a lazy weekend at home to watch Badger football, go for a quick hike, catch up on housework, and finally get motivated to start making the Halloween costumes. But since the weekend looked very similar to a normal homeschooling day (minus the speech class or field trip), I decided to take it easier today.

  • The morning started off with too much television. Normally the girls will watch up to an hour of tv in the morning, so I can either keep the toddler asleep longer, or just take some time waking up myself. (It will be so nice when I can get 7-8 hrs sleep straight, but I’m far from that stage right now, so waking slowly is how I cope.) But boy did I pay for it later! Whenever I let the girls watch a lot of tv (this morning was 2.5 hours), it seems that M is crabby to her sisters and me throughout the day. I actually put M in her room by the end of the day, so she could have space to compose herself. I usually don’t parent this way, so I was feeling stretched a little thin at this point.
  • Then we went out to the fabric store to get the little bit of fabric I needed to finish the girls’ costumes. M was insistent that we run this errand today, so I can finish them asap.
  • The girls bought some Halloween-colored pipe cleaners for themselves at the fabric store, so they played with those, mostly making bracelets and stuff.
  • I cut up some pipe cleaners and placed them in a plastic bottle so the girls could explore them with the magnet.
  • I also made a pipe cleaner toy for the toddler; gave her some small pipe cleaners and a basket, so she could put them in the holes. I wasn’t sure if she was ready for this or not, but she loved it! She carried it around and played with it for about 20 minutes straight.
  • C worked on her ABC book, this time letters E and F. Each week she looks forward to adding to her book, but today she wasn’t very interested in actually doing much of it, even the coloring.
  • M wrote a letter to her grandma. This is the first letter she’s written that she really wrote sentences that made sense to the person she was writing too (usually M will just randomly mention something about her life; today she chose to ask the grandma questions about her recent trip and then tell her something in her life that was relevant to that trip).
  • M also played the snakes and ladders game, and this time I added words that she’s never read before, and she read them. She is still intimidating about reading a book, though.
  • Both girls did some computer play, but every week that they do this, M always has a little fit at the end, wanting to do more. Perhaps I need to be giving them more access to computer games. C plays games on my phone during speech classes, and both girls play either on the phone or Ipad on the weekends. Anyway, I think giving them more access will wait until after we move (and I can have a computer space designated for them) or after they get their own Ipad.
  • M decided that she was going to marry a princess today, so she spent time making invitations and decorations, and preparing the wedding ceremony and reception (tea and cookies, anyone?). Apparently the ceremony will be starting soon.
  • We all made cookies together. Both girls got to crack an egg. I told each girl to throw the shell in the trash and wash their hands. When C went to throw hers away, she completely crumbled the shell in her hands. This is so typical-C, always seeking those sensory moments out. It made me smile, and I realized this was the first time that I had them throw out their own egg shells, and will be doing that from now on.
  • M and I put together the skeleton puzzle; M was able to do the head and upper body all by herself. This puzzle is challenging, even for me, and I always get stressed out while doing it and fending off toddler and C from destroying it. I always get a little bit snippy, which just makes me feel worse. I guess it’s a good moment for me to work on my mindfulness. Or maybe I need to be doing this puzzle only when the toddler is napping.

I really thought we wouldn’t be doing much today, but it sure seems like we did!

 

Mosaics and Magnets

This morning my facebook feed included a post about Sight Word Mosaics. It looked like an activity both girls would enjoy, so I made some word mosaics for M and a number mosaic for C. For both girls, I let them create the color key, as from previous experience with color-by-numbers/letters, I knew the girls would prefer to choose their own color scheme. After M completed her first mosaic, I increased the level of difficulty by using similar words (eg, pat, pan, man, and mat). She really had to take an extra moment to make sure she was reading the words correctly, but she made no mistakes. M did 3 mosaics and enjoyed it so much that she made one for herself too (using two words: her name and cat).

We also played with our new basic magnet kit. (The girls have been playing with this kit for over a week now, on their own, but today was the first day we worked on it together. We have also been reading a magnet book from the library this past week too.) Today we spent time learning about the North and South poles, that opposite poles attract each other, and what household items are made of iron. We performed a few experiments demonstrating this, and the girls sketched their observations in their science books (well, I sketched and they colored). C added magnetic field lines to her drawing (and people too; she always adds people!) so M drew a horseshoe magnet with magnetic field lines as well.

We went outside this afternoon, and at one point C started to smash the dried sunflower heads (that have been drying on our picnic table) into the deck to release the seeds. It was fabulously fun to see the seeds pop out, and M joined in, while the toddler giggled with glee. We talked about how the scrub jays have been opening the shells to eat the seeds (and maybe squirrels too?) and M mentioned how she can’t wait for roasted pumpkin seeds again this year.

M made a cardinal direction sign by looking at the one on the world map. I love learning moments like these best; when she goes off on her own and does something that I had no idea she was interested in. It is simply magical! (I would have posted a picture of this too, but of course, her name was very prominent on the sign!)

They wanted to perform another play tonight, so they chose to reenact The Lion and The Mouse. We made paper plate masks and picked out Dada’s shirts to use for the costumes. C wanted to be the lion and M was excited to be the mouse (last night, C insisted on playing both leaf parts, so we had to do the play twice; today I explained that there would be just 1 performance and they would stick to their own parts). They did a few dress rehearsals and then performed the play after dinner for Mama and Dada; even the littlest one joined the performance as the owl that scares and chases the mouse (and she looked so cute wearing an owl costume I had made a few Halloweens ago).

Well, those were some of the learning moments that I noticed today. Aside from a stressful dinner prep tonight and the fact that it appears the girls are all coming down with colds it was a wonderful day.

Culture Club: Nicaragua

Yesterday was my day to host our monthly culture club. (I did not get many pictures, because I was busy leading the group, so this post might be bland.) I gave a presentation on my birthplace, Nicaragua.

We first looked at the Nicaraguan flag and made a human replica of the flag (the kids held up different parts of the flag, like a human puzzle).

Then we worked on filling out a giant map of Nicaragua on the wall, that I had made with painter’s tape. We learned about the lakes and numerous volcanoes, some of the important cities/areas of the country, animals, and ways of getting around the country. The kids took turn sticking things on the big map. We pretended to drive in Nica style (fast and honking our horn), rowed down a river, and even weighed ourselves before getting on the airplane, in true La Costena fashion.

20120427-163849.jpg

After the presentation, we went outside to make our own volcano erupt (the classic baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction).

20120427-163945.jpg

Next, the children worked on a paper volcano craft.

20120427-164026.jpg

And them we ate delicious Nicaraguan food! I so wish I had taken a picture of the spread, but there was Indio Viejo (a beef stew), Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), Arroz con Piña (pineapple rice drink), platanos (fried plantains), mangoes and pineapples, and Tres Leches (a cake). Yummy!

We had a lot of fun exploring Nicaragua with our friends. The weather cooperated by making it very hot.

  • "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.
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Recent Posts

  • Post Categories

  • Archives

  • check out other homeschoolers!

  • Advertisements