Archive for November, 2012

Schooling on the floor.

I’m quite overdue in posting the stuff we did this week (well, the week in question). The kids had their junior theatre show this week and someday I might get around to editing it and uploading it. In any case, it was damn cute. Here’s a brief summary of the rest of the stuff they did:

Elliott worked on synonyms and antonyms in grammar, greater than and less than in math, did some map work on South America in geography, and worked with polarized lenses in science.

Margie did some map work in geography, read about the Revolutionary war in history, worked hard on multiplication in math, and set fire to stuff in science. No really. I have a worksheet to prove it. Best science class ever.


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In science the kids both did this project, turning a perfectly innocent bar of Ivory soap into a mess of fun. (They did not turn the foam into homemade bars of soap, though.) Elliott’s class actually compared different kinds of soaps, but apparently that upset the smoke alarms and caused a brief evacuation (education!), so by the time Margie did that project on the following day, her class compared soaps mixed with flour or salt or other things. In Natural Science they studied soil and sifted through it to find leaves or worms or bugs. In computer science they used a computer program to make papercraft models of UFO’s. In engineering Elliott built a rocket launcher (slingshot) out of K’Nex, and Margie made a hot air balloon.

Elliott worked on contractions and compound words in grammar, numbers to 100 and adding and subtracting by tens in math, and continued reading about Pilgrims in history.

Margie worked on punctuation and correcting sentences in grammar, multiplication in math, and began reading about the French and Indian War in history.

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Still recovering from the Halloween sickies, and with a cold storm blowing in, we decided to skip our usual Friday park day and visit the Aquarium instead. Because it’s mostly indoors. And because we have a membership that we’ve only used once so far.

Elliott and jellyfish.

Margie and the kelp forest.

Elliott loves jellyfish, Margie loves the baby animals (she took the picture of the seahorse below), and the kelp forest is my favorite part.

Margie took this one.

In fact, Elliott chose a moon jellyfish as his character this time in Junior Theatre and will be performing as one in their show next week.

Moon jellies.

Leafy sea dragon.

We spent a little while outside at their exhibits about currents and water-power. But not long because I hear pneumonia is no fun at all. Elliott and I also checked out the shark tank where he used the chart to identify a few sharks before he got bored and ran off.

Margie found this conch that looks like an (upside down) map of Middle Earth.

Margie noticed that this conch looks like Tolkien painted it with a map of Middle Earth (and that the aquarium placed it ungraciously upside down). That’s both literary and scientific.

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My daughter has always been weird. (Photo from June 2008.)

And we have always talked about politics. Elliott doesn’t tune in for most of it, but Margie has long been aware of the bigger issues and we discuss them. This year we kept tuned into the news for nearly the whole day, and defnitely from about 4pm on. Elliott had opinions as to who should win. For instance, he thought that Carl DeMaio is more handsome than Bob Filner so he’d rather have DeMaio as mayor of San Diego. I have hopes that as he grows up, he will pay closer attention to the actual issues. He will, right?

Margie and I looked at this infographic about the electoral college while we watched the results on NBC. I kind of sort of understand it now. Ish. Margie seemed to grasp it really well.

This election was also historic for women. Here’s a link to six important moments for women, and here’s a link to another two.

In other social studies news, I spent way too long the other day reading this and Margie peeked over my shoulder for some of it. It’s not, technically, kid-friendly. But maybe appropriate for high schoolers. In any case, it was highly entertaining.

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Multiplication Help

Margie has been struggling with math largely because she doesn’t have her multiplication tables memorized. We’ve worked on it and worked on it, but it just hasn’t clicked for her. Last year in her math class she spent pretty much the whole ear working on drills, I gave her a sheet with songs and tricks to help her memorize them over the summer. She hated doing them. It was beyond boring for her. I respect that. I told her over and over again that I understood, but that, really, her math life would be so much easier if she did this. I think she is finally at a point where she understands that. Or maybe her brain is finally ready to conquer this. I don’t really know. In any case here are the resources we are using to work on this.

Not necessarily in this order:
~A blank multiplication chart. She can fill it out herself and then use it as a resource.
~Learn the multiplication tables in 21 days. <–Has some good ideas and tricks.
~We are printing out drill worksheets for each set that she can use to practice skip counting on her fingers.

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Halloween Week

Monday happened just like all Mondays do. Lessons, lunch, break time, then science. But at bedtime Margie came down with a sore throat.

So we canceled our Tuesday activities (Junior Theatre and M’s swim team, although Elliott did have a Skype appointment with his speech therapist who was stuck in Washington DC until Hurricane Sandy was over) and took the whole day easy in the hopes that she’d be OK for Halloween.

So the holiday dawned and the kids forced me to the grocery store to buy pumpkins. I’d been so distracted at sewing a costume, I guess, that I forgot to plan other stuff. So we bought pumpkins and brought them home and carved them. Margie chose an adorable image of a cat and stars, Elliott had a harder time picking something. His requirements were that it be from something he loves, my requirements were that it be easy since I’d probably have to do all the work. We settled on a pictogram sign from Portal. Win-win.

Margie's pumpkin.

Elliott's pumpkin.

Margie was well enough to go trick-or-treating at least for a little while and she got a second wind when we ran into our friends and joined them for a little while. Both kids filled their buckets and came home.

Trick or treat!

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here, but the kids are currently on a restrictive diet to try to heal them from a lot of food sensitivities. So pretty much all commercial Halloween candy was off the table. Instead I bought some candy from my friend Mariah who makes allergy-free goodies. Her stuff is delicious and she was able and willing to work with me on what ingredients were OK for my kids. Awesome.

Anyway, we took the rest of the week pretty easy. We watched Avatar, and introduced Elliott to the first Harry Potter movie. We talked a lot about Hurricane Sandy and the effects left behind after the storm. How entire beaches were changed, how New York hadn’t been hit so hard, like, ever. We compared it to some other storms and talked about how storms are named and how those of us who share storm names (there have been Hurricane Bonnies before) handle it. Heh. We also talked about the election, of course.

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