Tuesday, August 28, 2012

North American History

The start or our North American History Studies...
Native Peoples: The Arctic People
The Inuit, by Suzanne M. Williams
What Your Third Grader needs to know, by Hirsch
Everything You Need To Know About American History Homework, a desk reference for student and parents 4th to 6th grade, by Anne Zeman & Kate Kelly 

uno fact family math

Since not all the schooled kids have returned to school, including Boo's older Step Brother we are using this week to review, practice being in school, and get used to the new tools we plan to use this year.
Pretty simple warm-up math game.  Pick pairs of numbers that total your desired sum, ours was 10 to help reinforce double & triple digit regrouping. Shuffle the cards then place them face down.  Play the game as you would Memory.  A match is made when the 2 cards flipped over total the correct number. 
Variation: Flip TEN-Fun addition card game from Guided Math. Kids line up cards in four rows of five. Then, they flip two cards over. If the sum of the two cards equals 10, they keep the cards and replace the cards with two more from the deck. The game ends when there are no more matches left.
Fact Family Ten page in Boo's math journal.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

good advice we shouldn't need

Maybe you heard this too?  It is helpful advice on how not to forget your child is in the backseat of your hot car "Put something important you won't forget in the back seat with your baby like your laptop or your purse."

I have left a cup of coffee on the roof of my car and drove three blocks. 

Driving away after dropping my child at grandma's for the afternoon I turned around to instinctively check on the child (I had just dropped off) to find she wasn't in her car seat, freaked out then remember oh yeah...

I have left the oven, sprinkler, coffee maker, and hose on. Perhaps all at same time.

I have set my car keys down in a store and walked off.

I have thought I lost my keys then found them in my ignition cause I was driving.

People make mistakes.  Some mistakes don't matter and some do such harm there is no way to fix the error.  I'm not pointing the finger at individuals I am question a society where the important thing(s) we won't forget isn't our children. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

spelling it out

How about a little Spelling Croquet?  
(please excuse the condition of Utah farm 'grass')
Pick your word then race through the correct letter hoops. 
First one to make it the word (spelled correctly) wins! 

spelling and the 'knock at the door' I've been waiting for

Ever since we walked away from school-school I have wondered when, who, & how, not if, this would happen...  9 am on a school day Boo and I are out front using sidewalk chalk to play spelling word Boggle with her temperature related spelling words.  A city police car drives slowly past, like the lone officer inside is looking for something.  He stops just beyond the edge of our property flips a U turn pulling over in front of my driveway.  With his window down he motions for me to come over to him.
Despite being a 39 year old mother of 4, I look like a skater.  I am wearing ripped up skinny jeans, black gym shoes, a black & grey t shirt silk-screened by a local street artist (aka a tagger), and a glorified ball hat.  My hair is that perfect mess of waxy curls I hate and yet how to get them is all over Pinterest, it does nothing to aid my credibility. 
He is very friendly offers me a big smile, “Is that your little girl?”  Boo is too busy working to notice what is going on. 
“Yes Sir, she is.”  I can tell he has no idea how old I am.
“Isn’t she supposed to be in school?”  And he is only guessing, a bit unsure about how old Boo is.   He seems more curious than official. 
“Yes Sir, and she is.  We home school her.”
He nods, sort of chuckling.  “Yeah, I thought she was skipping school.” But it wasn’t a ‘I was mistaken’ sort of comment it was a statement ‘your child is skipping school but I can't do anything about it.’  He nods again, “Thank you and you have a nice day.”  And he drives slowly off.

Perhaps now would be a good time to file that paperwork with the state…3 years later.

First time I wear skinny jeans and I get questioned by the police, it’s defiantly something to keep in mind.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

in the urban growth community garden

I write for a small community newspaper.  When I go out on 'assignment' Boo usually comes with.  The spot we were dispatched to was a corner lot under a giant billboard where a local woman has turned blight into beauty.  But not everyone sees it as such, the City wants the tall flowers gone.  That is the story I was sent to write.
In the garden Boo wrote her own. 
The main character is a snail.
Which Boo tried to feed to the hens
but they wanted nothing to do with it. 
"Perhaps they aren't French hens", she said.
And the snail made its get away.
I hope the flowers are as lucky.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


You cannot see the beauty in it if you ignore the vision.  It is a sea of brown and black heads, the hues echo off each other like shadowy stones in a canyon at sunset.  She is in the middle of them easily a foot smaller.  From the darkest her skin is a thousand shades lighter, from the lightest, a hundred.  They call her ‘The Girl’.  From where I sit on the curb near the street well out of their way and line of sight I can hear them shout excitedly, “The Girl can do that!”  “The Girl beat you!”  “The Girl is the best!”  There is no malice in the title The Girl.  They are not taunting her or each other.  It is only an obvious fact that she is the only girl on the playground.  Seemingly less obvious to them is that she is also the only ‘white’ one there.  Under other circumstances I would not call her white but among them she is truly white.   That little absurd box ‘white’ which has fallen out of fashion on government forms because it mostly only applies to the color of the skin on the sheltered behinds of a few select caucasians, can finally be checked in the light of day. 
She turns to smile at me denoting a fact about her hair by pulling out a long ribbon of it to display for me.   She is saying ‘Have you noticed I am the only one with blonde hair here?’  I smile and nod at the splitting of hairs, yes child you are the only one with blonde hair like the only green droplet in an ocean of blue.  It means nothing to her, a funny side note she happened to catch while waiting her turn.  It means nothing to them; the beauty of seeing color free from the Emperor’s blindness and the judgments which come with pretending to be deaf & dumb.  Do not pretend too long not to see what is right in front of you or you may left truly stupid. 
The next day two boys who I know to be age 12 and 14, show up on my front porch asking if The Girl, who I know to be 8, can come play.  I explain to them she at the gymnasium until 8 but if she eats her dinner fast and there is time I will send her to play.  A half a dozen differences in race, religion, sex, gender, skin, size, and age are no match for the playground.   They are much smarter than their parents and their grandparents and their great grandparents, they know what matters and what doesn’t:  Ability, good sportsmanship, and safety in numbers.  Let the children go out to play.                   

Monday, August 20, 2012

welcome back to home school

This morning while the boys loaded the van for yet another kayaking adventure Boo and I sat down to officially begin our school year.  You have to begin somewhere, although living a homeschool/unschool life it might seem silly to pick a date and stick with it.  But it was what we needed to do and it wasn't chosen randomly.  We choose today to start because it is the day gymnastics training switches to the Fall schedule.  Instead of having gym for 4 hours this morning we have it for 4 hours this afternoon/evening. We started with zero.
Starting at Zero
Walking the number line
Postive and Negative numbers.
Some Seuss
The moon, Newtons Dream, & a movie
And full of wonder!
It feels so good to be back home :) at school. 

reading now: My Side of the Mountain

Thursday, August 16, 2012

stop to smell the flowers

With your whole body and soul

slowly heading back to school

Meet Mr. Protractor :) he will be assisting us with math this year.
I remember the first time I used one too: amazing yet simple. 
She spent over an hour playing around with it.