Wednesday, February 29, 2012

fowl weather

"Oh...look how crowded the zoo is today," 
I gasped looking over the full parking lot.
"I really thought this wind & the storm threat would keep most people away."
From the backseat, "Misty, I don't like crowds."
Then Boo pressing her face against the glass,
"Three big schooled buses.  I'm too short for THAT many kids, mom."
~have wildlife, will travel~
"Okay, then no zoo for swap day! How about the library?"


I don't know what is causing Boo to wilt.  The paleness, the loss of appetite, quick to tire...I fuss a little but just when I stand on the edge of real worry she seems to recover.  Like yesterday, she was ill looking & acting all day but following gymnastic practice the color had returned to her face. 
About 2 weeks now I have been seeing this building & fading.  What is this? a funny little bug? or something else?
I looked around our life: we are too busy. Boo is not one to complain so it is hard to tell but in my heart I believe it is a low grade infection or virus.  This child normal does not get sick and if she does she recovers so fast.  This is not normal for her.  I'd say: too busy is not working.  Time to make changes...   
The first thing to my mind is the schedule.  It is a good schedule & it works well BUT right now it is time to take the sharp edges off, carve home deeper into school.  Time to meet the new Dr. for a little check-up.  Time to boost the food she is eating in sneaky ways. 
This is what I love about home schooling.  I don't have to send a note that makes me sound totally crazy asking the teacher to take it easy on my daughter due to random unsubstantiated complaints of a phantom illness, request the cafeteria offer hot & sour soup and add chickpeas, applesauce, shredded zucchini, or pumpkin puree to all baked goods, ask for more time in the quiet of the library, more nature walks, soft music, and afternoon naps if you can get her to take them...  Around here we adapt with one little look, no notes needed. 
Soup sure sounds nice today.     

Ranger Rick

February 2012 coverWe love Ranger Rick.  We started with a subscription to Wild Baby Animals, then Big Backyard, and when we were old enough we moved to Ranger Rick.  We read it, drag it around with us, and read it again.  Of course a huge part of the appeal is the mailbox.  When you are a kid there is something so magical about getting mail. The day the new issue arrives Boo jumps up and down.  She runs off with her prize to look through it deciding what she wants to read first.  Best of all she knows it belongs to her because her name is on it.  National Wildlife Federation Ranger Rick 10 issues for $15, worth every penny!  

talking about leap day

Yesterday was sweet, easy, & slow.  Boo has been looking a bit on the pale side.  Picks at her food and gets tired faster than normal.  So we rested.  We played with subtraction & money.  We played Go Fish.  We played Chutes & Ladders.  We read a lot.  We flipped through the calender and talked about leap day: 

28 Days Has February
by D. D. Ochampeterspaughson Copyright ©2007 
28 days has February
A very light load for one month to carry
The other months have 2 and 3 more
Thirty and thirty-one being their big score
In Leap Years the days they do vary
Making 29 days in February

A leap year is a year containing one additional day to keep the calendar year in sync with the seasonal year.  Because (through a lot of complex math) seasons do not repeat in a whole number of days, a calendar with the same number of days in each year would drift over time.  Occasionally inserting an additional day can correct the drift.  A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.  A leap year consists of 366 and a common year has 365.
As for the leap part of adding a day, in a common year a calendar date that falls on, say a Friday one year will fall on a Saturday the next, & Sunday the next but on a leap year you leap over the expected day of the week the date will fall on.
Free printable frog activities 
Hop, hop, hop!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

following her into space

I might have implied awhile back astronomy is not really one of our loves.  We have passed through it in unit studies three times now.  At one point Boo and a few friends even took Star Classes at the Museum of Ancient History.  Astronomy was fun & interesting on the first pass, the second time not so much, but guess what? The third pass was the charm. Boo is loving astronomy. 

Last summer I found a set of 3 bio viva educational games second hand for .75 each: Mission Space, Mission Antarctic, Mission Jungle.  Following boo's interest, I pulled out Mission Space asking her Papa to preview the game & instructions for us so we could decided if 'we' were ready to play. 
After a few minutes he explained the game itself was simple but offered the questions seemed challenging, giving me an example: Which planet has a moon which is only twice as small as it is? 
Before he could read the three choices Boo from over on the computer, back turned, hoodie up, glasses slumped down her nose, playing Webkinz, in a total deadpan said, "Pluto".  We exchanged looked & burst out laughing.  Mission Space it is!       

Sunday, February 26, 2012

small worlds

 Mom, do you ever wonder what I am doing when I am out in the greenhouse?
 I am ruling the world.
 But don't worry I am not an evil dictator...
 we take turns.
 When I have ruled too long I go inside & bring out new subjects to rule over.
Mom thinks about this. 
And she wonders why the tiny dictator isn't wearing her eye glasses.

We contributed to Saturday's Artist

a sunday stroll & skate

Early morning walk through the nature preserve.
Red Winged Blackbird.
The sun was warm & the bright but the wind was cold & crisp.
Papa tested all the little ponds. 
"Two cold days in a row & we can skate."
Boo can skate today!
Getting both help & hindrance from the dogs.
Time to go home for hot drinks & cozy blankets.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

bug brigade at the NHMU

Sorry to say but this was my least favorite museum program so far.  Don't get me wrong it was fun and the museum is so magnificent it is hard to be feel let down too long.  But between not enough bugs and too much brigade (aka Saturday crowds) the quality of interaction between the museum staff and the kiddos was lacking.
We ran into a number of friends along the way making it fun to turn corners and meet them all over again!
Probably what I enjoyed the most was hosting my best friend and her son Z through their first trip to the museum.
My advice on the bug brigade would be this: if you are already planning to go to the museum on a Saturday afternoon stop by and see the bugs but I wouldn't make a special trip to see them.  Sorry NHMU, I think the other programs set the bar very high, which is a good thing.  We had fun, the kids seemed pleased but to this event we had to bring our own 'wow'.     

a perfect match

Allow me to set the scene.  We are on a narrow tree lined street.  The quaint well kept houses are close together.  I pull over under a maple tree and turn off the car engine. 
"You know why I like Z & L so much?"  Boo asks slipping out of her booster seat.
"Why?" I say gathering an arm load of ready to bake pizzas. 
"Because when I am with them I don't have to be careful about what I say or do, I can can be me when I am with them."

And that in and of itself would be enough but imagine the 2 children your child is talking about, one girl and one boy, are the children of your best friend.  Not your old college roommate, or friend you made in high school, how about your best friend from the first grade?  And this is not just any house this was the house the two of you played in together.  Where she now lives, raising her family.

How about a duel before lunch?
Between a long haired boy & a short haired girl.
A duel between friends whose differences only serve to make them more alike.
   Imagine that a perfect match.   

being nice

A child learns how they are to behave by watching the grown-ups around them. 

What kind of people do I want my children to grow up to be? 

The kind who hold doors, offer seats, pick up liter, and add change to expired parking meters. 

I want them to be the kind of people who smile at strangers in a crowded train & chat easily in a grocery store check out line with old ladies buying cat food and toilet paper. 

I want my child to be the kind of person who would be so nice she would leave her Papa a note & snake for him to find while she was away at a slumber party.  I was as surprised as he was to find it, she didn't tell me about it.  She wasn't looking for approval or a reward she was just being nice. 

And she isn't the only one, her brother & sister are very nice too!  I say they get it from my mom who has the 'nice gene' but in all honesty that is only half the nature/nurture story.  Yes, I believe people by nature tend to be nice or not so nice but my kids are nice because we are nice to them.  I'm nice to them because my parents were kind and nice to me. 

Nice is a little word doing a big underappreciated job and being nice isn't always easy.   


good links: Wilson & Ditch Digging America

Found this link for great geography games posted on the Secular Home School facebook page Wilson & Ditch Digging America. It is a PBS Kids page so you know it is great!