Wednesday, December 17, 2014

sharks and the Living Planet Aquarium

On Monday we started a mini unit on Sharks. It has been on our to do list for a long time but it keep getting overshadowed by larger projects. With the pending holidays and the gym transitioning to holiday schedule day hours starting next Monday, we were looking for a few short study units to do this week. Sharks, complete with a field trip to the aquarium was a perfect fit. 
We packed up a couple of our reference books (Sharks and Rays, Morris Publishing; Uncover Shark, w/shark anatomy model, Gordon; and Science Explorer Animals, Prentice Hall Publishing.) and Boo's science notebook- haven't done that in a long time! She spent about a half hour observing the sharks, sketching them, and asking and then answering her own questions. 
After she was done we ditched the book bag and went to see the rest of the exhibits. 
Side Note: You might know us well enough to notice Boo is in a dress, a rare sight. This is a return to dressing up for outings. I think dressing up is important for several reasons. First, let's get this one out of the way. I am one of those who believes clothing choice highly impacts mood. Yes, I am a uniform supported. I can't help it. I see proper dress as sign of respect and intent. 
But more importantly I want Boo to be able to feel comfortable and confident no matter what an occasion calls for. Although, even in a formal setting I would never require a dress or skirt that is her choice. I see dressing up as a social skill. And I see it as important as being able to throw on work clothes and be comfortable getting dirty (well rounded farm kids). She dresses a specific way for riding, for skiing, for gymnastics, and little old fashion me feels you dress a certain way for 'town'.... It is a life skill and the best way to learn it is to practice.    
Boo found a lady bug in the South American Exhibit.
This one surprised me a bit... 
Boo aggressively at the controls of a ocean bound ship.
If you ever board a boat and she is your captain get off!
At the very end of our day I gave Boo a coin for the spiral coin donation box in the lobby. It is one of her favorite things to do. But a young boy dropped his coin in incorrectly and it didn't spin. Without any thought Boo walked over to him and gave him hers. His parents were so stunned with her kindness they could barely thank her. The mom teared up and all she could do was smile at Boo. There were quite a few speechless parents standing around watching her. I love being this kids mom. It was simple act with a huge impact. Hopefully it will passed on.   
We had a great time at the aquarium. Returned home for a late lunch and a small break before heading to gym. Sadly, after practice ended (remember her work outs are 4 hrs long) Boo admitted how tired she had been all through workout. Saying the aquarium had worn her out for gym. This left me wondering if perhaps Boo is finally catching one of the super bugs bouncing around the city. 
We will see.

Monday, December 15, 2014

the art of being

Whenever we get to the end of a period of time without structured school, we find ourselves having deep conversations about who we are and how we want to be. We talk about what was and what might come next. 

We spend a few days with a notebook and a handful of pens at hand. We fill the pages with ideas, lists, and plans. We talk about the past and the future. We talk about other faiths and families,about what has worked for us and what hasn't, and why. We talk, and talk, and listen, feeling our way around.

This time I can feel her age. I offered afternoons at the pool and I got told it makes her too tired for gym. I offered a return to dressing up to go out to places like the museum, and theater, or the aquarium and it is met with huge smiles and a list of must have dress-up items to acquire.

She asked for time alone to read and clean.
She asked for math games and more art.
She asked for the late start option, 10 am instead of 8 am.

I asked for sit down hot lunches.      
I asked for more time with less to do.
I asked for school time to mix into daily life, for science and math to mingle with the making of cornmeal cakes and trips to the library... 

Together we planed our subject lists, collaborate on ideas of character, reinforce family traditions, set goals, talked shop, and look forward. 
As a homeschooling mom, I can argue the case for structured school as well as I can for unschooling. That is why we do both. But even more than either of those it is the transitions between them that seem to sprout the most important lessons.

I am a very lucky mom to be admitted into my child's head and heart so freely. It won't always be this way but for now I have the best seat in the house- a front row view of her in the making.

We started back to the books today with more of a mood in mind than an academic plan. And with that I would say it brings us back to where we started when first became real homeschoolers- it brings us back HOME.   

Saturday, December 13, 2014

30 days

We have been, we just haven't been here. 
In the last 30 days or so, starting with gym and eyes... 

Boo has competed 2 inner squad meets and one soft landing season icebreaker (36.87 All Around, the judging tends to be nicer than in season). Sadly, her dad has been out of town missing all 3. Settling for phone calls about how it went. 

Her skills for getting her contacts in are vastly improved. But the quality of her vision in them is pretty poor so school work has been on the thin side. Today is the first day she has put on her glasses in over a month. She couldn't believe how well she see with them verses the contacts. And yet she continues to do well at gym. She now has a clear-hip to double giant flyaway on set! Big coach D takes every chance he gets to tease me about how worried I was about that giant. 

I had also been worried about her front tumbling. That was needless too. It is so BIG and beautiful. 

Boo is requesting a change in her back tumbling pass on floor because she is bored. Big coach D is allowing her to work the new pass in practice but whether he allows her to compete we will have to wait and see. Next meet is Lady Luck in Las Vegas, Nevada in mid January.

From the parent bench I have seen her working on a beam dismount that includes a half twist. So much for my request she do her beam routine then turn to the judges and explain that her mother does not like her running and flinging herself full force off the end of a beam so she is just going to salute and climb down nicely. 


Which brings us back to eyes. We have ordered the next step in the contacts transition, which turns out to be a series of 3 sets of trial lenses. Each can correct for a few of Boo's vision issues but none of them correct for everything. That wasn't in the plan. On top of the horrible timing we love her doctor but dealing with Walmart is a nightmare! 
 Soft Landing December 6, 2014 
Link to her Floor Routine (9.3) 

Every thing else is just life. Mostly relying on our friends to keep us sane, busy, and happy. 

Having Boo's papa working out of town is hard. But there is also strange blessings that show up. Like really appreciating the time we do have together.

 The last topic is school work going forward from here. I am taking the weekend to pull us back together and despite that our life barely looks familiar to me we plan to return to the books on Monday.