Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I did not feel terrible for the spanking, but I did feel terrible for having to tell him not to go in the first place. I feel sad that there are so few places for children just to go and explore. I guess there really weren’t that many places when I was growing up, but they could be found. Now even these sacred places have been made into neighborhoods and most remaining green spaces have fences around them. Now it is almost impossible to find unimproved spaces to play. Some parks have left forest for exploring, but even these have nice little paths running through them that scream, “don’t dare cross into the woods lest something terrible befall you.” So even then, it is limited and not without guilt for exploring too far. I cry for today’s children and their children who will most probably be even more cut off. There is a book called Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, which addresses this topic. It brings together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults (taken from the overview). I have skimmed it and found that it called to me and made many points that ring true for my children and myself. I’m going to get the new edition and read it cover to cover because it broke my heart to see my son standing at the edge of the woods and crying to go in. He is always asking to go to the forest and I want to make a point to get him and the rest of the family there more often. As a child, my encounters in the woods really did have a way of teaching me, entertaining me, and soothing my soul. I want that for my sons, my husband, and myself. Over the years, I have felt the deepest parts of me cry out for more contact with the trees, but the life that I lead does not take me there. It will require more effort, but in the long run, it will have its own rewards. Soon our family will be heading to the Shenandoah valley for a time of respite and fun and we all look forward to taking full advantage of it!
Friday, October 03, 2008
As we struggle to define our homeschooling style, it's not always pretty. However, deep in my soul I know it will be worth it in the long run. It is more than being about whether this school is better than that school, or avoiding the pressures of unecessary testing. It is about relationship; it is about knowing there is always more than one way to go and about knowing that his destiny is in his own hands. And it is about really listening to each other.
Later, while I was running off the stress and thinking about every thing that makes up all the wonderous bits of my son's personality, I realized my mistake: it may not be what I'm saying, but what my little five year old son is hearing. You see, he loves to do things together...really everything. When I say "you can do it", my mind stresses the CAN. It is positive; it is empowering. What my son hears loudest is YOU. He hears YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN; just do it. What he wants to hear is LET'S DO IT TOGETHER, I'm not leaving you WE will work through it. And that is okay. He is five. There is plenty of time for him to do it on his own and one day he will. It may be as simple as what I say like "let's find the answer together", instead of something that makes him feel out there all alone. I saw a difference the very next day. But, sometimes it's just so darn hard to break old habits and before I know it, those words roll right out again: "YOU can do it."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
There is so much sparkle and glitz involved in T.V. and computer, that I really hesitate to get curriculums with a lot of razz-ma-tazz to them. I really don't want him to depend on being entertained every time he sits down to learn something.
Our math curriculum, Math U See, is pretty basic as well and so far it's working. We have bricks to count with and a book for written work. The basic idea in the Primar is to build it, write it, and then say it. So far it has been nothing but review. Keona's amazing preschool teacher really covered A LOT last year. In fact, I have decided to skip a few lessons rather than making him sit there doing things he's already mastered. Truthfully, my "schooly" side has a difficult time doing that. LOL However, I think I'll survive and Keona will have something to chew on.
So we had our second chess club meeting today. I have to hand it to the boys, they are doing well. Even Keona in his own unique style is catching on. Truthfully, he is more into the social aspect, but as evidenced in the pictures he finds a way to have fun. Hands down though, Parker is the most interested in actually playing the game.
This week we began outside with a review on our huge outdoor board and then came inside to work on naming and setting up the pieces and began with the pawn games. Next week we'll add the Knight and play knight-pawn games. It is a nice, gentle introduction to chess and it won't be long before the boys are ready to play actual games. Perhaps we'll be able to meet up with some of the other little chess groups that seem to be popping up in the homeschool community.... Ya never know!
I'm thinking this, too. Our little chess club should have a cool name....hmmmmm...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
First we got to stare down the large, life-like dinosaur models. AT first, this was overwhelming for Kalani. He only wanted to stay in the exhibit area for a short time, so he and I checked out some other stuff while dad and brother took their time. However, after we left, Kalani chatted about it claiming he wasn't scared at all and it was he who suggested we go back. By the second visit he couldn't get enough and now is very interested in dinosaurs! We saw the famous T-Rex and a Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Pachycephalosaurus (I just like to SAY that one!). They really were as real looking as I could imagine. The mechanical eyes moved and they seemed to look right at you; a little disconcerting when you are standing in front of the carnivores!
Check them out:
Deinonychus (the little ones)
After we watched the dinosaurs for a while, we decided to go to the museum’s live animal show. Another excellent choice. They brought out about 5 animals to tell us about. We got to touch them and learned cool stuff like prehistoric millipedes used to be about 3 feet long! They had one from South America that was about 6 inches long. That was cool. Then I heard something that made me really greatful to be alive NOW, not then. Cockroaches also used to be 3 feet long! Can you imagine? I nurse and unhealthy aversion to the ones we have now; I think I absolutely would die of fright with those! Anyway, it has to do with oxygen availability and spherical size. Truly on the way home, I was nursing a suspicion that I was being led down the garden path with this little factoid. However, upon further research, My husband found an article to back it up. Anyway, it was a great little show, not too long, and the boys were thrilled along with mom and dad. Kalani was quite proud to have touched both a snake and an alligator.
As if it all that wasn't enough, we decided to see what was going on in the cafe. We figured we'd be run out by price and bad choices. But, again we were pleasantly surprised. The prices, while not falling in the cheap catagory, could not be classed as a rip-off (as is the case at many of the other local museums) and as an extra bonus: the food was good. I am not yet a connoisseur of veggie burgers but in my attempt to eat better, I decided to try one. It was scrumptious. Really, I've got to find out where they get them. Yum, yum!
So there you have it; it was educational and fun. Even at its most crowded stage, I didn't feel like people were breathing down my neck at every exhibit. A nice trip and we look forward to many more!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
So today was the first day of chess club. We are using a program from Championship Chess that breaks everything down into easy bites for even the littlest players. We have several energetic boys, so we decided to tackle the Little bites in a BIG way. Today, we talked about the board and over the next 8 weeks or so, we'll be learning about how the pieces move around. By Christmas, we hope to be playing matches (albeit on regulation size boards). We talked about ranks, files, and how to tell what each square is named. Us mommies are having a pretty good time learning all the intricacies as well. We were quite pleased with ourselves when we figured out how to keep the ranks and files straight. We file alphabetically and rank by numbers. Is this actaully why they are called ranks and files? Whatever, I won't forget them now!
Monday, September 08, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We recently spent a relaxing day at the beach with friends and got some pictures of the boys enjoying what was quite possibly the last beach day....the way things go. Camille and I got some great pictures of the boys enjoying the water and she took the rare picture of me with the boys. I'm such a shutterbug myself, I rarely appear on the other side...which is okay by me. The real miracle of the photo of the boys with me is that everyone was looking up AND SMILING at the same time. Perfect! Cudos to Camille!
However, the boys need not fear that this is their last romp on the Virginia Beach shoreline. I had a thought the other day and realized what a fabulous resource the beach affords for any homeschool. Now, of course, besides nature study-- and there will be plenty of that at Aloha Academy--I thought it would provide a valuable resource for spicing up some of our more mundane lessons for letter and number recognition. What an excellent and natural chalkboard! So our first day will be to include a day at the beach for alphabet and number recognition. What a perfect way to "earn" our homeschool name!
Friday, August 08, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
It was great fun with a few special surprises. On the way out to the Civil War Island of Fort Wool, we were accompanied by a small group of dolphins and treated to seeing a submarine under way.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I finally get to finish the post I started before Blogger in some kind of fit locked me out of my account. It took days to straighten it out. Anyway, I'm back and here are the rest of our garden pictures so far. We've enjoyed several meals of veggies from our garden. I especially like the color of these cosmic purple carrots; they are really beautiful-- but so far, the taste is not as sweet as orange. Tastewise, they get mixed reviews as evidenced on this discussion board on I-Village. The history seems all over the place, too. I'm going to try them again because I do like the color and I did not grow them under the best conditions-- oh, okay I planted them and ignored them until way too late. It was carrot chaos; nevertheless, I did get some! Next time, I'll do better! ; ) Despite my lack of gardening technique, we also got beets and broccoli.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Get it off!
Keona explains it....
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"'TIS the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
'You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.'
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
His voice has a timid and tremulous sound."