Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ancients, Geometry, Botony, oh my!

E's blocks are flying by! This month is Ancients, which means practice at drawing maps and taking notes.

We dyed silkworm cacoons and unwound them...unfortunately our attention didn't hold up to the mile of silk thread in each cacoon, so I used scissors to find the larvae and its final shed hiding inside. Fascinating.

We also read about Ancient Chinese gods and goddesses. Very different from the Greek and Norse.

We attended a concert of the African Children's Choir, which was perfectly timed right in the middle of the week E studied Africa! So much energy and dance and beauty. E was angry about going, anxious he'd catch Ebola, and unsettled by the change in routine, which made for a difficult week....but I am still glad we went. Totally worth it.


We also watched a documentary about the history of the Sahara. Ocean-life fossils in the blocks that make up the Great Pyramid? Whale fossils in the dessert? Piqued his interest.

Then back to Egypt. Amenhotep caught E's attention- that was the pharoah from the book Casting the Gods Adrift! Awesome.

This was the first map I insisted he trace. I wanted him to recognize the land shapes around the Mediteranean: Italy's boot, round (future) Spain, curvy Greece. He grumbled about tracing but noticed the shapes right away. He especially likes Italy's shape, and was surprised to see Greece so close to the Nile. Next side-reading will be D'Aulairs Book of Greek Myths!

Phoenicians produced a purple dye from boiling salt, lemon juice, and snails, so we thought we'd try our hand at blueberry dye. It turned out more pink than purple...

We just can't let geometry rest. It is far too interesting!


And here are the Botony pages I did not share for the end of March:



Gardening has given him many opportunities to demonstrate his knowledge and power of observation, like yesterday he pointed out that taproot leaves all funnel water to the center, while fibrous root leaves scatter the rain. Hmm....

This. I took e to the doctor this morning, leaving big E alone. When we returned, he had finished his entire school and chore list and had made plans to build a paralette! I took him to Home Depot for supples, and he created this, a mini high bar, all before lunch.


So proud of my boy. :)


Tricksters, a Saint, and a Few Forms

After a month mostly off from writing and drawing, e is back into it! She has even begun writing her own summaries. I ask her what scene she wishes to draw, and what story elements are necessary for a reader to understand the picture. She is proud of her new independent skill, as am I. :)

Anansi and his strange, moss-covered rock sitting on e's form.

Coyote's Rain Song from Enki kindergarten. One of our all-time favorites!

Zomo the Rabbit is by the same author as our beloved Raven.

Another favorite from Enki that we can't let go of: The Bojabi Tree.

Now we are working our way through Christopherus' trickster tales. e has decided she should read them herself, so each night while I am making dinner, she pulls out the binder and reads to me!

The trickster tales, combined with her ability to read them herself and write her own summaries, have met e exactly where she is at this moment in time.

The mirrored forms also catch her attention. It is harder than it looks to produce these!

Columba was the tale end of our Irish studies in March. She learned Einini, a sweet lullaby in Irish Gaelic, as well as an Irish step dance to Irish Washerwoman and (part of) a Scottish sword dance. We learned that Irish Gaelic does NOT sound like it looks. We looked at pictures of Ireland, memorized poems about Ireland, and found out that there is evidence that the Celts visited the shores of North America long before Columbus. We did not ever finish The King of Ireland's Son, though. Maybe this summer, if she asks.

She is still doing Teaching Textbooks four days a week, and squirrel number practice with me.


We are doing nature paintings this week, a few more trickster tales next week... A friend recommended Love and Roast Chicken. I can't wait to read it!


Monday, April 20, 2015

A Season With a Happy Ending

By the teeny little hairs of our chinny-chin-chins, we survived the few weeks between states and regionals.

And it was well worth it. E had some new experiences, like figuring out how to put on a singlet and competing with a cold after being up all night coughing. When all was complete, he had his highest ever all-around score and a fifth place award. My child, who used to perform worse under pressure of competition, had competed against the best level six athletes from seven states, with a cold, and came in fifth. Pretty freakin awesome. He had finally proven to himself that there were no excuses, no reason to worry...just give it your best and have fun.

This season, nearly everything that E worried about came true. He was injured and thus forced to scratch events, but the world didn't end. He was perfectly healthy but performed only okay, and his coach was not angry. He caught a cold right before a meet, and performed fine. He competed under pressure, and did better than ever. He nearly missed his moi support on parallel bars, but still earned his best ever all-around score.


This has been a fantastic season.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

This past week has been a bit much. We have been busy with two physical therapy appointments, an African Children's Choir concert, and a Gathering of the Guilds in addition to the usual chorus, errands, play date, and gymnastic trainings. Whew! In addition (or because of?) the kids were rotten to each other and E fought school every day. Noted. But the PT was necessary (and will be ongoing), and the choir and guilds were amazing experiences that I believe we all benefitted from. It is tricky to sort out what is worth pushing E for, though. The backlash can be long-lasting.


The kids have been asking a lot of questions about countries, continents, capitols, states...and they have been listening to anthems and drawing flags. Many, many flags. So I attempted to draw a map of continents on my board. Not too bad. The kids compared it to our little globe, which led to questions about the lines criss-crossing on the globe, time zones, and hemispheres. Longitude and latitude! Did I say E missed geography last year? It is covered now, and in a fraction of the time.

Next up on E's agenda is science. He wants to know all the laws of of physics. All. The. Laws. Rather than googling it, I am reading through this science book. I want to approach this in a logical order. The author recommends starting with this book even if the children are middle school age, and I plan to read through the second book as well before we begin. E takes issue with science experiments he didn't create himself, so I am not sure how this will go. I may need to be teaching e, or myself, instead. I wonder how he would respond to something like Tinker Crate? It is pre-fabricated, but not by me...


Meanwhile, E is perfecting his 3D drawing. This is his first house with a roof.

Easter eggs! And, as part of our Ancient China lesson, silkworm cocoons that we are unraveling. We dipped them into the leftover egg dye!

Happy Easter!