Archive for the ‘link’ Category

Recently we watched this video about a 7th grader who sent her Hello Kitty toy into space. Both my kids were inspired by it, as was I. Humanity is really amazing. It’s not just scientists at NASA that can do things like this – we all have the power (if not the resources) to reach beyond our home planet. Just amazing.

A few weeks ago we saw this cool video of an octopus escaping through a teeny-tiny hole in an acrylic box. Humanity is amazing, but so are mollusks.

But what did we do this week?

Grading Margie's school work and I find this down at the bottom. It made me LOL.

I found this on the back of Margie’s homework. That kid is awesome.

Watching the Ancient Egypt episode of Reading Rainbow with the boy. Happiness.

I’ve started reading The Story of the World to Elliott and once we got to the chapter on mummies in Egypt, I pulled out this episode of Reading Rainbow. He properly nerded out over it with me.

Elliott has been bugging me to post a picture of this heart-shaped cookie since yesterday.

Elliott’s math has been focusing on doubling recipes and it’s been confusing for him because the word problems include the numbers of people who need to eat the recipes. As in, “Sally needs to feed 8 people, but her recipe only feeds four. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, how many cups will she need?” Those extra numbers in there throw him off. So, since we needed cookies, and since double cookies are always the right number of cookies, we worked together to double the recipe. And then do you know what we did with the finished cookies?

Homemade ice cream sandwich. Damn it's good.

Ice cream sandwiches. BOOM. Because sometimes it becomes summer while it’s still February.

Mo Willems story hour.

Elliott also took some time to read me all the Mo Willems books we currently have out from the library. Mo Willems rocks.

In lessons this week:

Elliott worked on the aforementioned doubling in math as well as geometry (lines, line segments, horizontal vs. vertical), calendar (days, months), place value, addition and subtraction. In SOTW, Elliott read about nomads, the first civilizations between the Tigris and Euphrates, and the unification of Egypt by King Narmer. He learned about compound words, synonyms and antonyms, prefixes and suffixes, and alphabetical order in grammar.

In math Margie worked on fractions and decimals (and converting one to the other), subtracting 3-digit numbers, greater than/less than in terms of decimals, carrying and borrowing, and multiplication in word problems. She worked with proofreading, parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, analogies, context clues, and homonyms in grammar. She read about women’s suffrage, the first schools for girls, and more in History.

In science this week the kids worked with microscopes and digital cameras. They worked with crickets and snakes in animals science.


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I think the suggested activity in the Camp Fire manual for this badge was titled, “Say No and Don’t Go,” which bugged my co-leader and I. She was particularly concerned about making such a subject scary for the children, and I abhor the old don’t talk to strangers line (which I will discuss below). So early in the school year I read a book called Protecting the Gift which was highly recommended by so many moms I respect. I was not disappointed. The author, Gavin de Becker, whose credentials and experience are impressive to say the least, gives his reader not only excellent information full of simple common sense, but also an essential confidence in trusting her instincts. I cannot recommend it enough.

We began the meeting by reading The Cat in the Hat. This story has always disturbed me deeply and I find the Cat creepy as Hell. Even as a child, I could not forgive his lack of respect for the kids, no matter how silly the rest of it was. He made me feel unsafe and afraid. I brought this up to the other moms mostly as a joke, honestly – that’s how much I hate the Cat. But they felt it would actually be a good intro into the subject and it did work well. We pointed out how as soon as the boy spoke up clearly to the cat and said, “Get out!” the cat listened and left. (Never mind the sequel.) We took that opportunity to practice saying, “NO!” loudly and clearly.

The author recommends strongly against teaching children not to talk to strangers for several reasons. Partly because parents break this rule every day by chatting with a cashier, asking for directions, striking up a conversation on the diaper aisle, and on and on. At the very least this sends mixed messages to the kids. But more importantly, in my opinion, is the fact that if a child is ever lost or otherwise on his own, he will need to speak to a stranger in order to get the help he needs. The question then becomes, “How do I choose a person to help me?”

The answer, in short, is to look for a woman – particularly a mother. Statistically, women are less violent. Biologically, women are programmed to be committed to children, and are therefore more likely to follow through on making sure a child is safe. This is sexist, yes, and if it concerns you, I recommend reading the book yourself – de Becker made clear points and I do agree with him on this. He also recommends against telling your child to look for a police officer since, to a child, a security guard looks just the same and is far more dangerous statistically.

These are stereotypes, of course. But there comes a time when you have to let go of these things and just make a decision on what to teach your children without muddying the water with too much information. I realize that there are men I would trust with my children, and security guards as well. I don’t tell my kids to avoid these people – I just focus on who I do want them to look for.

So we practiced that, too, and recited all the lines we learned.

And then we got deep.

We talked about what to do if an adult asks to take a child someplace – that old line about finding a puppy, for instance. I tell my kids that if an adult has good intentions, they will be happy when my child tells them, “I have to go ask my mom.” But if they try to get the child to leave without talking to their parents, this is suspicious behavior and not okay ever.

We also talked about what to do if an adult tries to grab you or hold you. We practiced saying, “LET GO,” and then, “THIS IS NOT MY MOMMY!” if the adult refused to let go. This is scary stuff, but needs to be said. I’ve certainly carried my children screaming out of someplace before – screaming isn’t enough, it can look too natural.

The kids handled it all really well. They had humor when they needed to and the took in the information really well, I felt. We wrapped up by reviewing the idea that they had the power to say no, and now they have the knowledge of when and how to say it. I felt pretty great about it over all.

For more information I’d recommend reading this FAQ, as well as becoming familiar with The Test of Twelve, which will help you know when your child is ready to be left alone. And, of course, read his book as well.

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On Sunday we took a walk and came across two ladybugs, one black with red spots and the other more traditionally colored but with more dots than I am used to.

two ladies

black ladybug face

black ladybug bum

We have seen some smaller black ladybugs with two dots before, but none with four dots until now. I also found it interesting that we found these two together and on pavement, not a plant.

We are sending them in to this website my friend Kirsten told me about awhile ago.

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This one reenacts famous works of art. (“70 Million” by Hold Your Horses)

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~Kids played computer & Wii.
~Clipboards – E found some letters on his wordsearch, M wrote out her spelling words and more.
~I found some cool videos at the Colonial Williamsburg site which Margie declared boring so they must have lots of good education in them. Elliott and I enjoyed the Drums and Fifes.
~Errand day! Bank, vacuuming out the car and then off to Trader Joes where the hunger, humidity and INSANE kids made me feel extra tired. And then Elliott lost his balloon. He was so sad, it made my heart cry. And Margie cried I think because she felt responsible for it. Luckily we were right outside and were able to easily get another one. And luckily Trader Joe’s balloons are biodegradable so Mother Earth can rest a bit easier (assuming no birds try to eat the baloon or anything).

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Ah, it’s the week of short-notice-endings. Today we learned that TODAY was E’s last day with his speech therapist. She has taken a job elswhere and the district has not replaced her just yet. You’d think in this economy they could find SOMEONE looking for a job, but whatever. *sigh* Anyhow, this seems to be the answer to our question of whether we should continue with ST or not and so I spoke with her today about whether or not she thought pulling him out would be irresponsible. She thought – as do I – that he will be fine. We can always revisit things in the future, if we need to. So tomorrow we will meet with her briefly one last time to go ahead and close out the paperwork and our Monday and Wednesday mornings will be free from now on.

As for the rest of the day:
~M has read books.
~E has played with food toys.
~M took a nap.
~E played online.
~M played Endless Ocean and Wii Music.
~M & I (finally) wrote up a report on the science experiment we did a few weeks back.
~Then she wanted to write up an info sheet about herself. *hee hee!*

I have been wanting to have a comprehensive timeline for a long while now, but have not been able to quite figure out how to work it. Years ago, we had a string one up which was cute, but I think we don’t have enough wall space to include prehistoric times through the present day. So I’ve been looking at ideas online today and this one intrigues me. I don’t know if a six year old will find it confusing or not, but I do like the idea that it’s got enough room for us to add everything we learn for quite awhile. I also like the scrapbooking aspect and that we can make it as creative as we like. And it’s portable – so if we move, or go on vacation, it can come with us.

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The Birth of a Goat (or Four)

Today, we spent some time at this blog, looking at pictures and videos of the birth of four baby goats (because there are only rare photos of adults being born *snicker*). The kids loved it. I hope you do, too.

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