Saturday, December 17, 2011

This Week's Exciting Adventures.

So the funny thing with homeschooling, especially since I tend to follow more of the "unschooling" approach, is knowing what you're teaching/learning throughout the day. For example, Russ will come home and say, "What did you learn today kids??" And he is met with blank stares. And in all truthfulness, I also have a blank stare on my face. What DID we do today?? It's funny because throughout the day I am so proud of myself and my kids because we are doing SO many different things and learning so much, but come the end of the day, I can't remember diddly.

One day I did write down everything Sam and I filled an ENTIRE PAGE before noon! I will spare you the entire list, but some excerpts include:

-discussing melting points (thank you for sacrificing yourselves, little chocolate chips)

-units of measurement ("Wow Sam, I think 5 cups of granola might be enough...")

conducting experiments with bubbles and discussing their properties ("How about we take the bubble bottle OUTSIDE before we shake it and open it...just in case...")

-number recognition and writing (with the PLU numbers on the bulk bins at the grocery store)

-money management (the $5 1-pound chocolate bar is a better value than the $1.50 4-ounce one! And the kids love giving the cashiers the money to pay for the groceries.)

-life skills (I'm sure the 10 people waiting behind me to fill their cars up with gas at Costco appreciated me teaching my 3 year old the concepts of pumping gas.)

-physical education (the skate park is fantastic for running those kids ragged!)

-fine motor skills (scissors + scrap paper = at least a half hour of blissfully quiet time!)

The majority of our "lessons" come from, "Mom, ((insert one of a million different questions here))" or "Hey! I have an idea!" And it drives me crazy that there are SO many, I cannot possibly get to them all. I'm always amazed how fast each and every day flies by.

I've been trying to document more of the stuff that we've been doing, but I let Brooklyn use my camera one day and let's just say...she found the delete button. Whoops, guess I should have pointed that out BEFORE setting her loose with it. Alas.

The kids love making wrapping paper. This day they decided they needed hand and footprints on it.
Then they brainstormed on how to get their paint-covered feet to the bathroom to take a bath, and this is what the came up with.

We are at the library a LOT. We went to the family pajama storytime one evening and lo and behold, look who showed up. And I have to confess...this is the one and only photo that I have of either of my kids with Santa. True story.

Uno is fantastic for number and color recognition!
One huge thing I love about homeschooling is the amount of free time my kids have to persue whatever ideas pop into their head. I can't tell you how amazing it is to hear, "Mom! I have an idea!" and watch how they put their idea into action. I try really hard not to make any suggestions or anything unless they ask...not always easy, but it's so worth it watching the gears in their head and then seeing the final outcome.

For example, the other day Brooklyn wandered outside and decided she wanted to catch a bird with her bare hands so she can take a photo of it. She said she tried and tried, but couldn't. Instead of telling her that it was a crazy idea, I just asked what she planned to do next. Make a birdbath! So she got some water and put it in a bowl out next to her homemade bird feeder. She came in about 20 minutes later to report that that hadn't worked either and she'd decided to just take photos from far off. Off she went with her camera. 20 minutes later she comes back to report that her camera sucks. "Can I use yours?" Uhhhh.... I'm working really hard on trying to say "Yes" before automatically saying "No". So we decided it would be best if I set the camera up and let her use the remote.
I have approximately 150 photos exactly like this. Approximately 10 have birds in them. But she was SO proud of those 10 photos! "Now we can identify them!" Sure!

Do you see the two birds?
A Mourning Dove and a White-Crowned Sparrow.
Then she decided she needed to take photos of everything else under the sun. She got some pretty neat abstract ones.

Russ and Sam were wrestling and Sam decided he needed a photo of this pose.
Brooklyn still had bird-capturing on the brain, so decided to make a trap instead. Here's her setup. Then she sat inside eating her lunch, and waited. No birds showed up, but the neighbor's cat did! She waited as long as she could before yanking the string. That cat jumped a good 3 feet straight up into the air before sprinting out of the yard. You should have heard the hysterical laughter coming from my kids. It was awesome.
The kids love playing in our front yard. There are three small trees, and that is all they need for toys. They get swung on, climbed on, and jumped out of for hours each day. Sam loves to climb the pineapple guava trees, trying to get guavas, and has become quite good at it. Can you spot him in the photo below?
I was sick for a couple of days this week and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed. We didn't have anywhere to be, so we got some more pillows, a bag of books, my crochet stuff, the laptop...and set up camp. We snuggled in my bed until 1 o'clock in the afternoon! It was fantastic.
While snuggling, we decided we needed some gingerbread cookies, so we got to work!
Can't forget the frosting!

Yesterday, we braved the San Jose Children's Museum (and rush hour traffic...). It was worth it though! More on that later!

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