A Trip to Sea World

O HAI. You know how it is when it’s December and you fall behind in everything and then you don’t update your blog until the end of January? Yeah. That.

So last week we went to Sea World for what might be the last time. Sea World is an expensive day, but they offer educational days for homeschoolers (and school-schoolers) where we can get in for only $6 a ticket. So I demanded that my friend Yara schedule us a trip and she complied and it was all set up. Shortly after we committed to it, I saw this story (FYI: there are graphic images in that story). I’ve long had some issues with Sea World that I’ve been able to ignore, but I don’t know if I can ignore them anymore. Not just because the orca was injured, but because Sea World’s story doesn’t seem to add up, and even if it were true, it’s sure not any better than PETA’s guess.

All that aside, we had a good day. We spent the day with people we don’t always get to see and we got to meet some new friends.

penguin encounter

and then a sea lion came out to see all the people in the people zoo

tunnel of sharks

orca butt


checking out the rays


decorated castle

We wanted to make sure to hit Disneyland during the holiday season. It was also our first time back there since we’ve been playing Epic Mickey so we were, like, actually interested in visiting ToonTown for once. We weren’t able to go with any friends this time, but that’s probably for the best since we were extremely nerdy and making jokes about thinning out the man hole covers on Main Street to get E-Tickets, and about jumping across the rides, and obsessively pointing out every Oswald thing we saw. It was shameful. Except that we were not ashamed.

this is big

In other news, we hit the yearly Balboa Park holiday celebration. We visited the science center, completed the scavenger hunt at the Lego City in the Model Railroad museum, viewed the Nativity, and checked out the Gem and Mineral Society.



During the rest of the week:

Margie did more sentence correcting in grammar, more multiplication in math, and learned about westward expansion in North America before and during the Revolutionary War.

Elliott worked on alphabetizing lists of spelling words, learned about South America in his geography book, and worked on adding two-digit numbers in math.

In science both kids continued working on their trebuchets and catapults in engineering, their house plans in computer science, learning about objects under the microscope in natural science, and this week in chemistry they learned about the reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

frodo's gonna be pissed

So we got anther cat. There is a story here, but I’m not going to go into it. Part of it is that, as it turns out, PetFinder.com is highly dangerous. So Leia came to live with us.

And then, a mere two days after we accidentally came home from the shelter with a cat, we found ourselves at another shelter for a field trip. This time we made it back home without any more bodies than we’d left with. Partly because I’m learning self-control, and partly because the shelter’s adoption area was closed.

bird on her feet

But the kids got to meet a bird, a bunny, a dog (Elliott opted to stay far away from said dog), and a snake. And a legless horse statue for some reason.

I don't even...

That evening Elliott had a karate class. There are things I like about this class and things I’m less comfortable with, but what impresses me is how much Elliott has improved in the class even though it’s got a lot of kids so that he doesn’t get a lot of one-on-one. Here he is demonstrating an upper block, and then doing the kata with the class.

showing sensei an upper block

i love the look on e's face here

The rest of the week:

Margie has been studying slavery in the colonies in history, multiplication in math, and punctuation and homonyms in grammar.

Elliott has also been studying homonyms as well as synonyms and antonyms, and he’s been working on addition and subtraction of numbers up to 100 in math.

In science this week the kids looked at slides of pine needles and some other items under a microscope, they’ve been making trebuchets and catapults in engineering, they’ve been working on designing house plans in computers, and looked at the chemical reactions of iodine on foods.

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.

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.


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.

Election Discussion


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.