Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Loving The Imagination

   I had an interesting conversation with Firebolt Coyote today.

   We were at our local botanical gardens having lunch, since today was Pumpkin's turn for "art" with Nonna (the Italian word for grandma).  We sat at the duck pond eating and watching the mallards swim.  There were two of those big ducks, the one's that have a red beak, and their sound more like a honk than quack.  The last time we were at the pond the kids ran around the pond and discovered that she had eggs on a nest.  Firebolt Coyote started saying how ducks nurse.  When I reminded him that mammals nursed, he then combined the sperm whale program we watched on PBS and ducks.  He said that there is a duck that lays it's eggs on the sperm whale. When the ducks hatch they then nurse from the whale.  In addition, the whale sometimes eats the ducks, too.   (OH BOY!)  I sat there listening as he continued thinking what a GREAT mind.  I can't wait to see how he uses it in the future.

   Here's a few pictures (from my phone) of our adventure.
Firebolt Coyote was amazed at these roots.

A look down from where I took the tree picture.

We loved this rock chair.

Nothing beats daffodil's on the last day of January.

   As for Pumpkin.  Today he made pork chops in the crock pot (pork chops just covered with water and some chicken bullion). He did his "art" time - (art, lunch and cards) and then went to his Latin lesson today.  

   We had a good day today.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's adventures.  Wonder what we will learn.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Math Lesson Turned Into A Science Lesson, Checkbooks, And A Chicken

   To get some math in today, I decided the kids needed to bake oatmeal cookies.  So we doubled the recipe.  There was a lot of math involved trust me.  For starters, they are still learning the difference between a teaspoon, tsp. and a tablespoon, T or tbsp.  Second,  I don't have a one cup dry measure, so we use 1/2 cup.  So figuring out how many 1/2 c. was needed to make 1 cup, then double that.  Our tricky part was the butter, since I buy rolled.  We wound up melting one cup then mixed it.  It was too sticky and was going into the mixer.   Yikes!  We melted another cup and it worked better.  The next excitement was how they baked up.

The best part is licking the beaters!

   Pumpkin did the serving size a teaspoon instead of the tablespoon suggestion.  Good thing too!  We aren't sure exactly what happened, but they taste good! :-)  

   To help the kids more with math and life skills they earn a "paycheck" weekly.  I came up with how much they can make, additional ways to make money ( 'school' paper work), and add in their chore chart allowance, too.  Then they get paid.  They then have the choice of taking out their allowance money and receiving that in cash.  They can also "pay" for the MAC computer time or PS2 time and various other things.  

So far it seems to be working.  Pumpkin can't wait for pay day every week.  

   I also decided to help with the practical life skills and such, every week one child will be the chef for all meals.  This week is Pumpkin.  So for dinner tonight is planed a chicken.  I showed him how to wash it off.  He used the mortal and pestle to crush the rosemary.  Then separated the skin from the chicken and rubbed the rosemary in.  

   He then drizzled some olive oil over it.  Done.  I talked him about how to put it in the oven and he was VERY nervous.  He was SO proud when he did it.  :-)   I think I'll have him make some rice to go with it.
(I'm not worried about his brother, Fireball Coyote, taking things out of the oven.  When he was 5 yrs. old, the oven timer went off and he took a 9x13 pan out of the oven and placed it on top of the stove!) (Yes.  He use oven mitts.  I was shocked and proud.)

Now to finish baking that double batch of cookies.


Friday, January 27, 2012

A Zoo Mobile, Silver Back Gorilla Shirt And A Cool Find In The Woods

   We had FUN and LEARNED a lot today.  We did our zoo mobile field trip today at the library.  We started with a short movie of how they take care of a few of the animals there.  We learned that elephants have four sets of teeth, we have two.  Elephants lose them six times in their life where we lose our baby teeth and hopefully not our adult teeth.
   In addition from the file we learned that tigers and such aren't totally sedated, but put in a very relaxed state to be worked on from the vet.  The tigers and such growl as they are being examined.
   We were allowed to touch -
A Millipede from Africa

A Greened Cheek Conure

A Opossum

And what clothes would look like for a Silver-back Gorilla from N.C.
   The lady even brought shorts too.  It was HUGE.  Sadly my oldest had a reaction from the shirt, all itchy ALL over.  Some benadryl and a shower helped for a good while.  Then he got the itchies again.  :-(   We still had fun and learned new information.  Love it!

   After that we had some lunch and they boys ventured into the woods to the creek again.  They came back and wanted me to join them again.  Off we went.  

 DS 7 worked his way up the creek pausing on the side to "fish".  He had just a stick and would sit on the side of the bank.

Finally got him "fishing"!

Me too Mommy. Me too!

Our woods finding for the salamander.

My favorite is this.  A piece of tree eaten out by termites.  All the layers are AMAZING!

Till next time.
Peace, love, and smiles.

(Name change - DS 9 decided he wants to be called Pumpkin from here on out.  And DS 7 decided on Fireball Coyote. )

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What We've Been Up To Lately

   Tuesday the boys and I hung out in the morning doing much of nothing.  Buy afternoon we headed out to drop one child off at "art" with grandma.  It's "art" because she does a bit of art with them and then a few other things.  For example, last week the oldest also did scrabble, play a game or two of War and Go Fish, plus have a bite to eat.  Tuesday, the youngest, did some art, played War - the card game,  and on her computer playing chess, Monjong, and Mind Sweeper.
   While the youngest was doing that my oldest and I checked out oven parts, had some lunch, checked out Hobby Lobby, then Walmart.  We found a few great deals at H.L. some of those scratch off pictures with the colors underneath were on sale, along with a search and find the differences in the picture packet.    After we picked up brother, we headed to Latin lessons.  The youngest colored and did maze work.

   Yesterday, the boys worked on their computers for a while then Like I said I "kicked" them outside.  They went to the creek and did their playing thing.  Then I sent them to the "back 40" and they did their thing there, too.  Later last night we watched Nature - Fortress of the Bears - the bears of an Alaskan island waiting for salmon.  Then turned of the TV for an hour.  DS, 7, and I played Cribbage for an hour, his first game ever.  We stopped at 10:00 pm to watch Inside Nature's Giants - Monster Python.  the boys LOVED it.  We all learned so much again.  We can't wait till next weeks on the Great White Shark.   The youngest even said he'd take notes!  (We'll see!)

   Today, we sat at the computer :-/   Things became nuts after awhile.  So I went to make lunch and DS 9 headed outside.  DS 7, stopped complaining  when brother headed out and joined him.  They went to the creek to do their thing again.  An hour later they came back and invited me.  I joined them and we had great discoveries.

Under some burn tree bark I found a salamander.  

My oldest, DS 9, was SO excited and insisted NO one else pick it up except him.  He has always wanted a pet anole so we did a no-no.  

We brought it home and set in up in a tank.  DS 9, said he only wants to keep it for a while then let it go again.  

So while tanks set up was going on, I also had this happening.

DS 7, decided that the grill wasn't working (right before I needed it for dinner) and he needed to repair it.  This was a very interesting conversation.  Even though we have 3 cats on the porch "there were mice and rats in the side burner.  So the chaise needed replaced along with a few other parts."  (Ahhhhh.  The joys of working with dad on his mowers.)  

It was a great unschooling day. 

Tomorrow is a field trip to the local library and see zoo animals.  Hopefully DS 7 will feel it is applicable to his desire to be a Park Ranger.  If not, I hope they learn something new still.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Round Two Of The Computer

   I'm not sure what his attraction is to the computer and the kid games he plays on it, but he won't take no for an answer.  He finds some way to fan dangle his way on, ugh.
   Early this afternoon I told them, "I have 5 words for you.  Get your butts outside, Now."  Happily, they did.  This 60* weather is to be replaced with rain tomorrow, boo.  They are now having fun exploring the local creek.  One child always comes back with Mica.  He LOVES his rocks.  Hopefully they will head to the "back 40" and find arrowheads.
   Me, I'm going to do laps in the yard and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

See yinz.

I'll post later about yesterday - "art", 'mommy time', Latin, and the rest of today. Time for sun & fun.

Monday, January 23, 2012

And This Too Shall Pass - And I Will Help It Pass

Well, it's a Monday.

   The day started off not too bad, we slept in, a family fave! :-)   Had some breakfast, then it started.  The ignoring, attitude, tears, whining, stomping, "No one loves me", "You're the worst Mom" and so on.  Why?
   My youngest , 7, was on the computer for four + hours playing a computer game.  Yes, it was on an 'educational' site, however.  He sat through lunch and snack time, since he didn't want to get off and 'give it up to his brother'.  I felt I had to almost pry him off.  Finally, after his brother complaining and trying to help, he became too upset and frustrated and left in a rage.
    I know many unschoolers allow this for their children, but after today and much pondering, I'm not.  There is TOO much research out there about kids being desensitized from too much time on the computer.  With my kid it's true, too.  He doesn't know the meaning of stop, no, or quit and becomes violent towards others in and out of the house.  He becomes TOTALLY unreasonable and irrational.  There is NO talking to him some days.  (Yes, people, he does get consequences, punishments, and reasoned with and still acts like he's two.  He's not getting his way, period.)  He has shown he succeeds better with rules and boundaries, even if he doesn't like them.
   Some say 'It may be 'just a phase' and 'he needs to get it out of his system', but this will be one enjoyment he'll have to earn.  I've had it!
   He has had these tendencies before and has calmed down a lot when we started homeschooling. MANY people have noticed a change in his behavior.  I have noticed that this happens now when ever he doesn't get his way or is on the MAC too long.  Normally, 30 minutes is the limit and many time he's gone over, Just like today.  Now he needs to earn it.
   His unschooling will come from his own computer, not internet lined, that he can play as many games as he likes.  He can play Lego's, go outside, do just about anything else because he is interacting with others, being a active member of this household, and more of a human.

   As for my other son, 9.  What did he do?  Complained that brother was on the computer for so long.  Sat beside him and watched and tried to help him.
   Yet, I could distract him with -  the rest of our Cribbage game.  Complain.  Mad Libs.  Complain, Three games of shut the box.  Complain.  I read a book about new ways to multiply (got through x6).  Complain.  Complain.  Complain.
    Me getting frustrated = Big fight = him on and happy.


Tomorrow is a new day.  Thank goodness!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Dash Of This And That

Yesterday the boys decided to put on a puppet show.  They had fun and it was cute.  Love the language interaction and they didn't fight.  :-)  There was puppets, stuffed animals, Lego men, and funny face glasses.  At the end there was an autograph signing, too! ;-)  I made sure I got mine.

After that they created a M*A*S*H / Harry Potter / Rifle Man fantasy situation together.  It continued today too.  They had clip boards with the meds. listed, officer pins, Harry Potter character names, spells, and potions they used to cure people.  If was fun to watch them walk from one end of the house to the other pretending to carry people to the beds.  They were also using the toy rifle and shot gun to ward off people inside and out.

Ahhh.  The imagination of children ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More days under my belt

On our unschooling journey we had a great past two days.

Yesterday we did a bit of running around to the bank and post office.  Then my oldest had 'art' with grandma for a few hours, while the youngest and I shopped some more.  After our shopping we hung out at the library for forty-five minutes to an hour.  He played their educational computer games - letter blends, time and money work.  I found some books and videos for us to watch later.

When it was time we picked up his brother and took him to Latin lessons at a second library.  I LOVE that he is SO into his Latin lessons at the age of nine.  I never took Latin and know it will help him greatly with language.

After that we had a quick bite to eat then attended a third library for a Revolutionary History Program.  The boys had a great time.  They heard a few stories about the history of where we live, learned where a few 'saying' we use came from - "worth a buck" and ...  ...  another that I forgot.   In addition, they got to touch and ask questions about all the items he brought.  One of the favorites of my youngest was a beaver pelt.  He talked bout how it was used to carry items and kept them dry.  Also they learned about the weasel pouch worn by men with a crystal in it.  The crystal was to represent their spirit.  My oldest like this since he's into crystals.  The settlers and Indian's wore this up front as if to dare people to take it and their lives.  There was many more items and information shared.

Today, I got a lot of needed cleaning done as the boys worked with Lego's and played outside.  They used their math skills, problem solving skills, strategy skills in building their truck and trailer.  In addition, to building their relationship they also developed their plot and character development skills as they played in and outside.  Boy did their imagination work today.  ;-)

Needless to say dad was less than thrilled with this.  ;-/   He hasn't 'gotten' and fully accepted our unschooling.  Yet, he'll turn around later and say "I trust you".     (Sigh.)    Some days he's with us others he's not.  As with kids, time.  Time.  Time.  Explain.  Explain.  Explain.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Smile.  Smile.  Smile.

When PBS had on TV tonight the dissection of the sperm whale and I 'asked' him if they could watch it he was all "I don't care" with an "I'm not in charge" attitude.   So we watched.  WOW did we learn!  It was awesome, educational and very interesting!  They are such majestic and beautiful creatures!  It had the boys asking questions and glued to the TV.  ;-)   That's what it's all about.   Those great spontaneous moments.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Welcome To My Woods

This is my place to see where the roads in my woods lead me.
You may join me on my path or take your own.  I hope to only be a shout away.
Let's start our adventure.