Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh, Those Lazy Unschoolers...(Or, What We've been up to This Quarter)

What follows is what we've done this quarter, based only, at this moment, on the notes I've jotted on the attendance log - the briefest description of our days. Later, I'll add the internet stuff, and the photos. I may even add a slideshow or two......

Enjoy!

November 2010 -

  • Attended polling place and voted in midterm elections with parents. Observed new paper-ballot voting machines. Later watched some coverage of results, and asked specific questions about candidates and issues they saw reported or in ads.
  • Annalise explored a display of historic memorabilia belonging to the fire station (Arvin Hart) where we voted. Discussed with Mom, who read some aloud.
  • Biking in yard, on driveway, and on our rural road. Bicycle and traffic safety.
  • Exploring the mechanics of and need for mousetraps in our ground-level home, and some mouse-borne diseases, including hanta virus (not a concern for us, here).
  • Jeremiah explored two digit addition with carrying and numerical patterns while playing Cluefinders 5th Grade Adventure.
  • Annalise continued her passion for writing, with expanding vocabulary, and experimentation with punctuation.
  • Both children enjoyed creating art books.
  • Helping parents cook, preparing simple foods and drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sandwiches, cut vegetables, salads) independently.
  • Impromptu visit from friends and neighborsMelissa, Emily (16), Sara (12), and Abigail (10). Kids got to check out the girls' new car; show off their home; talk about games, and play.
  • Helped mom create scrapbook pages as gifts for cousins Sam (6), and Nate (4). Helped select frames and wrapping materials. Annalise made cards.
  • Attended birthday party for Sam and Nate. Pinata, trampoline, climbing, swinging, housewide hide and seek game. Play with Sam, Nate, cousins Carlee (4) and Cameron (10); and Faith (6).
  • Annalise enjoyed exploring her cousins' Montessori musical instruments with Faith, and the girls spent a good deal of time making music together.
  • Visit with cousins Cameron (10) and Carlee (4). Computer and physical play (tag, wrestling, stunts).
  • While playing with a Tootsie Roll, Jeremiah asked if anyone made art with them. he created a dugout canoe ("just like the one at the state museum") while Mom looked online, then we looked together at some incredible Tootsie Roll art.
  • More Tootsie Roll sculpture. Also Laffy Taffy and Airheads art. Experimenting with various techniques and freezing, and leaving at room temperature.
  • Jeremiah began independently walking to his grandparents' home (a short distance away on our road).
  • Jeremiah watched a documentary about crows with his grandparents. Came home to discuss various facts about crows with Mom. I mentioned that our friend Melissa is very passionate about crows, if he wanted to learn more about them.
  • Jeremiah also enjoyed watching cooking shows with his grandmother, and discussing them with her.
  • Cluefinders 5th Grade Adventure English exploration. Tenses, pronouns, spelling.
  • Lots of Pokemon-related activities, including video and card gaming, reading, creating new "Monstermon" game and cards with cousins Cameron and Carlee, free individual and cooperative play, Pokemon machine building; researching game cheats and tutorials.
  • Jeremiah played Crush the Castle II, an online game combining physics, art, and history. he began designing his own castles for others to visit and presumably crush.
  • Annalise created a variety of stamped art, including hand and foot prints (and a trail across the kitchen floor!)
  • Jeremiah repaired his DSi charger on two occasions, when wires were not making proper connections. The second repair was done over a four day period, painstakingly. it lasted two weeks.
  • Annalise enjoyed creating two and three dimensional designs using pattern blocks.
  • Computer art using MIT's Scratch animation program.
  • Crayola 3D Art Studio demo.
  • Mom read aloud several Robert Frost poems -will list at some point, but not now....book in other room.
  • While sorting through our home Mom discussed, mostly with Jeremiah, Greek philosophers Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. Playwright Sophocles - Antigone and Oedipus Rex. Homer (for whom Homer Simpson was named!). Looked at some books briefly, but they didn't hold enduring interest.
  • Discussed Lewis and Clark and westward expansion.
  • Both children were intrigued by an episode of Fetch! dealing with sea turtle conservation.
  • How the amount of sleep family members get or do not get can affect plans positively or negatively.
  • Discussed Japanese meaning of word karate (open hand).
  • Jeremiah's interest in Japanese anime is deepening and broadening.
  • Viewed National Geographic Kids documentary on the rain forest several times (Lise able to quote sections about favorite animal species).
  • Jeremiah began taking independent walks along our road.
  • Annalise watched documentary Cloud, Wild Stallion of the Rockies, a personal favorite and gift from her Parelli instructor.
  • Discussed our Christmas budget, and how it related to gift wishes.
  • Jeremiah set up newly inherited television, to be used for gaming.
  • Both children helped with household maintenance and tidying chores, voluntarily, including clutter control, washing windows and mirrors, emptying trash, wiping up messes, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes and laundry.
  • Attended Live and Learn Co-op Thanksgiving party. Talk, games, play, and eating with friends ages 2-16.
  • Jeremiah discovered PBS's Homework Hotline. In addition to answering the homework questions of children who call in, the program features a daily challenge question kids can call in to answer. Jeremiah has decided to try to be the first caller and win the privilege of giving the correct answer on the air. Both children were particularly interested in math problems, including fractions and algebraic equations.
  • Annalise enjoyed playing school during the Homework Hotline show. She set up a tray table and chair facing the television, and drew pictures and wrote math equations as she watched.
  • Both children wrote notes to communicate various things, such as this by Jeremiah, "Kids R outside.
  • Narrating commercials they've seen, and inventing new ones together.
  • Jeremiah has become interested in military time, which his DSi uses. He first asked Mom to explain the difference between our 12 hour system and military time. Then, when that became confusing, he asked for specific times, and later for a list of all the corresponding times. He used this to set the alarm feature on his DSi, and has begun learning to tell time on the 24-hour system.
  • Both children played assorted educational games on their garage-sale VSmile unit.
  • Both children explored recording assorted sounds, and morphing sounds and pictures using Jeremiah's DSi.
  • Visited feed and pet stores with Dad. got to visit/say goodbye to Rintoo, our former pet, then feral rabbit recaptured, and rehomed through the feed store (he wouldn't let us catch him back, so I am assuming he's happier in his new home than he was with us). Also other rodents, reptiles, puppies, and fish.
  • Trip to bounce house with Dad. Also, play at playgrounds, in our yard, at parks, and other outdoor venues.
  • Visit to Amigo's Cantina Restaurant with Dad.
  • Watched portions (Jeremiah watched most) of Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part episode "Time's Arrow". These episodes deal with the theoretical difficulties and complications of time travel, and featuring writers Mark Twain and Jack London. Jeremiah has a familiarity with these authors, as he read Tom Sawyer at 7, and The Call of the Wild at age 8.
  • Jeremiah and Mom discussed the mathematical concept that governs military time (+12 hours after 12pm). This is still tricky for Jeremiah, and led to him doing other computations of his own devising in his head.
  • We discussed the true story of Thanksgiving and westward expansion, and how treaties and rights of the native peoples were routinely violated during this process. This has led to some ongoing exploration through conversation, of how nations are conquered, and the cost of the conquest to those already living there.
  • Both children enjoyed playing chess with dad, who is both good at the game and patient with young, learning players.
  • Building with wood and tools.
  • Making books - lots of cutting and stapling. each child also devised a "drawing" by creating a pocket and some certificates as prizes, and invited Mom and Dad to each draw a prize.
  • Gamecube Sonic game. SnapStickers games on the computer, including: squares, matching, memory.
  • Both kids voluntarily helped Mom and Dad move a great deal of firewood which will help to keep us warm through the colder months.
  • Length comparisons using invented measures, measuring tape, and ruler. Discussed English and metric systems of measurement, with comparison between inches and centimeters.
  • Jeremiah and Mom spent time discussing the benefits of good hygiene, both socially and healthwise. After several months of really not being interested in cleaning or grooming himself regularly, he is becoming more interested in his appearance.
  • Annalise continued to develop new dramatic scenarios for her Littlest Pet Shop characters and props. Jeremiah occasionally played with her.
  • Computer game play, I Spy Fantasy and I Spy Spooky Mansion Deluxe.
  • Discussion of each family member's sleep needs, and how whether they are being met can affect family peace. Mom had been particularly sleep-deprived, of late, and life has been more chaotic than is typical.

December 2010 -


  • Discussing dehydration and its effects on people and things.
  • Independent scientific exploration - light and water for creating rainbows, inspired by Curious George.
  • Discussion of carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores.
  • Independent exploration with the food dehydrator. Loaded it with assorted types of fruits and vegetables. Blade safety discussion while slicing. Let the dehydrator work through the night, and tested each type of food for edibility. Snacking ensued - yummy apple chips. =D
  • Internet navigation - Jeremiah is beginning to explore search engines, often to find fan fiction, online games, walkthroughs, and humorous videos.
  • More talk about sleep patterns, sleep deficit, and the ongoing need to make some adjustments to get Mom more sleep (these were very difficult days; Mom was too tired!).
  • Discussed impressionist art and looked at some examples the kids found in their books.
  • Magnetic exploration, including force of attraction and repulsion and polarity.
  • We talked about body mechanics, and how bodies are affected by aging.
  • Exploration with Frig-its (magnetic marble run) by both children. Annalise also chose to explore with pouring water down the marble run, which was partially successful, and helped to clean the kitchen floor, too!
  • Watched National Geographic Kids "Polar Prowl" documentary. Discussion of polar species habits, singing of songs, and play based on the video followed.
  • Discussed the meanings of the words 'hypothesis" and "cease".
  • Helping to prepare the woodstove for a fire, build and tend the fire. We discussed fire safety.
  • Various play in indoor play spaces.
  • Dinner at Mr. Fuji's Japanese Restaurant. Discussed Japanese culture, language, anime. Jeremiah especially enjoyed the Japanese soda, and the tempura vegetables and ice cream. Annalise especially loved the sticky rice, green tea, fried noodles, and green tea ice cream. Both liked chatting with the waittresses, the swords near our table, and Mom's very cool Bento box.
  • Jeremiah walked to his grandparents for a brief visit, and stayed for dinner (brought home by his grandpa).
  • An accidental small fire (a log that slipped too close to the woodstove was smoldering and smoky) led to discussions about the importance of smoke alarms (ours worked), and a fire plan. Also discussed different types and sizes of fires, smoke inhalation and its prevention, and being extra careful near the woodstove.
  • Jeremiah called in and correctly answered the Homework Hotline Challenge question on 2-3 occasions.
  • Annalise continued her passion for writing; Jeremiah became much more interested in communicating through writing and typing.
  • Drawing - Annalise a wide variety of subjects; Jeremiah generally pictures of machines he wants to invent.
  • While helping dad move firewood purchased from neighbor, Jeremiah trailblazed between our home and theirs several times.
  • collecting mail and interacting with our mailman, Mark, who is a friend of theirs.
  • Annalise decided to use a portion of her savings account to purchase Spike Jr., a mechanical dinosaur toy. Mom assisted her in finding and purchasing online. She also chose a tiny blown glass triceratops.
  • Jeremiah discovered how to take recordings using his cell phone.
  • Explored various photos of bottle houses, in a continuing family fascination with tiny, ecological, and reclaimable living spaces.
  • Annalise's reading skills became markedly more advanced. She is reading many more words independently and naturally, sometimes without even seeming to be aware that she is doing so.
  • Dad showed both children ho to use a hatchet to split kindling. more talk of blade safety.
  • More on sleep needs. The situation with Mom's sleep is improving, but still not great.
  • Assorted Christmas specials, both vintage favorites and new.
  • Jeremiah reread a classic favorite, A Little Princess.
  • Mom and Dad read to Annalise from Sharks! She enjoyed independently exploring other books about marine life, including Dangerous Deep Sea Creatures.
  • "Ice skating" (errr, shoe gliding) on backyard ice.
  • Note writing by both children continues.
  • We discussed the Humane Society, other organizations, and how they might play upon emotions and with facts in their attempts to elicit donations.
  • We did make holiday donations to several causes we feel are worthy and honest, including small donations to needy families, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, The Gorilla Foundation, and Heifer International.
  • Jeremiah discovered that his cell phone has a calculator feature. He explored it while testing himself on his own problems.
  • Discussed, looked into mom's mouth to see where the molar had been extracted. Kids are very interested in such proceedings.
  • A bit of unexpected forensic and mechanical science. What happens when a mouse decides to traverse the refrigerator fan? A deceased mouse, a non-functioning fridge - and Dad the hero who cleaned, repaired, and allowed the children to observe when they felt brave enough.
  • Annalise watched The Nutcracker on PBS, and enjoyed independently exploring her Nutcracker book, and other ballet-themed books as well. She has expressed mild interest in taking another ballet class in the future.
  • First snowstorm of the season. 2-3 inches. Kids did some shoveling.
  • Yet more discussion of sleep. Some adjustments were made (giving Annalise more ability to be more at ease if she's the only one awake). Happily, everyone is now getting something much closer to a healthy, restful amount of sleep.
  • Much wrapping of miscellaneous items....including several of the dog's toys, in a serious regifting spree!
  • Discussions about our family budget and how it relates to assorted Christmas wishes.
  • Annalise made a 'rice baby" by putting dry rice in a plaxtic zipper bag. The rice baby (named Elise), then had many adventures throughout the afternoon and evening, including nursing, diaper changing, toilet learning, horseback riding, a hospital stay, and immunizations.
  • Paper airplane making with Dad. Use of assorted items for ballast. Decorating the planes.
  • Considerable time, over several days, exploring the physics of flight.
  • Creating paper snowflakes with Mom, Dad, and on their own. Several types of paper used, from telephone book pages to construction paper. Developing individual techniques.
  • Exploration of how different styles and paper weights affected the movement of paper snowflakes through the air.
  • Annalise asked to have her mattress moved to the floor from her former loft bed, and to have the loft transformed into a "luxury library". Once Mom completed the transformation, both children spent a considerable time playing and reading there, and it has become Lise's favorite retreat. The design continues to evolve to suit her needs and whims.
  • Annalise played "pet dentist" with assorted stuffed friends, and remembered the "vet room" at the Saratoga Children's Museum.
  • Annalise asked me to spell the word"indeed", so that she could write it in window marker on the bathroom mirror.
  • Jeremiah was given an outgrown Dragonball Z game for his PS2, and spent time learning to play.
  • Paper and rock play (snowflakes, airplanes, art, structure, dramatic play).
  • For the second year, we participated in the "Unschool Secret Santa" facebook group. we shopped for our giftees at Borders. Jeremiah selected a set of game cards and a mini-lego character for his 9yo boy. Annalise chose Black Beauty with read-along CD and a little black model horse for her 7.5yo girl.
  • While at the bookstore, mom read aloud to both children and another boy, about 8,who sat down to join us. We chose Knuffle Bunny Free, and I had a hard time finishing it while crying. Yes, it is THAT good!
  • Lise made art to go with her gift.
  • After collecting our giftees' addresses, we looked at the map to see where we would be sending the gifts and how far they would travel (Vermont, where the kids have been, and Texas, where they have not). This led to other comparisons. We have a guest visiting from New mexico in February, so we explored that route, and the distance from New York, where we live now, to Oregon, where we will be moving within two years.
  • Dad took the kids to the post office to mail their gifts.
  • Experiments with paper airplanes and snowflakes are ongoing.
  • Unschool Secret Santa gifts arrived for the children - on the same day! Lise received a reciprocal gift from Clara: homemade peanut butter cookies in a pretty tin, and a fairy puzzle. Miah received a gift from Cooper in California: A Spy Gear laser alarm set and an electronic 20 questions game.
  • Annalise and I were able to look at some pictures of Clara. Both kids enjoyed learning more about their Santas and dictating thank-you messages.
  • Jeremiah spent considerable time reading the manual and setting up his alarm system so artfully that he caught every family member!
  • Jeremiah played 20 Questions several times, stumping the game twice.
  • Both kids enjoyed creating their own Christmas crafts.
  • Kids helped to assemble the Christmas tree, then decorated it with a few ornaments and many of Annalise's stuffed friends.
  • Assisted with making the grocery list and shopping for family provisions.
  • Mom and Dad both had the flu on Christmas day, able to move only from the bed to the couch. Jeremiah and Annalise were extremely understanding and patient, opening only a few gifts at a time and playing very quietly through most of the day so that we could rest.
  • Annalise wrote and drew with glitter glue and colonial-era powder ink she mixed herself. She and Jeremiah collaborated on a treasure map drawn on parchment with a quill pen (from a kit we bought at Plimouth Plantation last July, and saved for the colder weather).
  • Jeremiah and Annalise spent time with their grandparents and aunt at grandparents' home on Christmas Eve. Gift opening - Jeremiah received the Pokemon Rangers Guardian Signs for his DSi, which he had specifically requested. Annalise received a FurrReal puppy she is delighted with. =)
  • Our first major (8") snowstorm of the season. Sledding, shoveling, and other assorted snow play ensued.
  • Brinner! (Breakfast for dinner). We'd planned this for Christmas night, but neither Jim nor I was up to any cooking or eating that day. The kids and Dad made French toast, pancakes, sausage, and bacon.
  • Dad took kids to Treepaad indoor play area. Ball pit and shooting range, play structures, bounce area.
  • Visit with grandparents, aunt, cousins Sam (6) and Nate (4). Also practiced dog safety and etiquette with visiting bulldog, Porthos, and discussed how he was named for one of the Three Musketeers (the kids are familiar with the Barbie version of the tale).
  • PBs Kids' New Year's Eve episodes sparked discussion of the calendar, Y2K, and days until ----------.

January 2011 -

  • Discussing our plans, hopes, and dreams for 2o11. Sharing favorite memories from 2010.
  • Jeremiah had recently heard the words "revolution" and "resolution". He was about confused as to their meanings and relationships. We discussed revolution as spinning, or a time of great change, the resolution as a solution or a type of promise people often make at the beginning of a new year. Mom shared her intention to only speak positively, and to find better ways of communicating (this may take all year and longer, but I am game!).
  • Both children spent time exploring the new calendar, noting holidays and when their birthdays will be this year, and asking questions about things that interested them.
  • We discussed different time zones, the International Date Line, and how it affects the timing of the New Year around the world.
  • Jeremiah watched a series of solar system and space videos with Mom and Dad - links to follow.
  • We discussed the school break and when it would be ending, because Jeremiah wanted to make plans with his cousin, Cameron, 10, who attends public school.
  • Annalise and Mom did more map exploration, studying various places on the US wall map. she enjoys reading the icons that give clues to each state's climate. We discussed why Alaska and Hawaii were not in their respective relative positions.....Hawaii would be under the floor, and Alaska floating in the hallway! Also, Lise decided that she would like to hang a map of Canada.
  • More calendar exploration: finding important dates, counting amount of allowance due if they choose to save until specific points, holidays.
  • Jeremiah received Scribblenauts for his DSi as a Christmas gift. He has begun asking for many spellings - so many, in fact, that mom made him a "spelling list" based on his word choices for the game. some of the words" whistle, flying orca, bomb, ladder, shovel.
  • The kids received a great many from their cousins Cameron, 10, and Carlee, 4. They spent a considerable time sorting and exploring. Jeremaih counted them by tens, and estimated 390 movies!
  • Some of the movies that have been watched are: Spirit, Wild Stallion of the Cimmarron; The Tigger Movie; Pokemon: Seaside Pikachu; Gabby (a vintage cartoon series); and Teen Titans. These movies have factored strongly in play and art, especially the Teen Titans' character, Raven, who has become Annalise's heroine and newest alter ego!
  • Live and Learn Homeschool Co-op Free Play Day - Jeremiah enjoyed playing DSi with friend Ethan, 8, and physical play with Annalise, Gabrielle, 5, and Alana, 7. Annalise enjoyed free, physical, and imaginative play with Gabrielle, Alana, and Chloe (5?). Also playing trains with Lily, 7, Sarah, 3, and Logan, 2.
  • Visit to Barnes and Noble bookstore in Colonie Center. Visit with friend Marcus, 4. Made a new friend-of-the-moment, Justina, 8.5. Play with train set, impromptu shows on the stage, and choosing Pokemon books. (Jeremiah the manga novel Ginji's Rescue Team; Annalise a Dorling-Kindersley Pokemon sticker book.) Reading and choosing a snack.
  • Jeremiah has been fascinated by optical illusions for some time. As a toddler, he had an M.C. Escher block puzzle he really enjoyed. Mom found a book with the Escher stairsteps on the cover, and Miah spent several minutes exploring the perspective-twisting art. We also spent a few minutes looking at the Dali dripping clocks piece, and talked about surrealism.
  • The next day, Jeremiah discovered a scene in the Teen Titans episode, "Mad Mod" that was inspired by the Escher stairsteps. He was thrilled with them and with the other optical features of this episode.
  • Annalise counted to 110by ones, from memory. Then she counted to 10o by tens.
  • Much more independent math by both children. Jeremiah has begun delving into algebra (yes, he is!). Annalise has a renewed fascination with negative numbers, adding, and subtracting.
  • The children and Mom watched portions of the documentary Babies. We discussed how culture and climate affect a baby's early life.
  • Annalise had her half-birthday, which led to talk of measuring age by days, months, and year.
  • Indoor snow play. Maple syrup snow cones and other concoctions. Molds and sculpture. experiments with how long melting takes in freezer, fridge, and at room temperature.
  • Helping with general household tidying.
  • After several attempts, Jeremiah finally achieved his goal of being the first correct caller for the PBS Homework Hotline challenge. He heard himself on-air and live, and was very excited that the interviewer told him more about Pocohontas. He says he hasn't heard them do that with other callers, and that made him feel pretty special! =)
  • Kids found and viewed several funny videos on YouTube, mostly featuring Sonic and Pokemon.
  • Snow play - sledding, digging, climbing.
  • Jeremiah decided to conduct an experiment to discover whether he could control the TV using a remote outside the window. Success! =)
  • Live and Learn Homeschool Co-op Artist Trading Cards - Jeremiah enjoyed snow play with a variety of friends:Annalise, Gabrielle, 5; Alana,7; Ethan, 8, Aleia, 9, and Nolan, 6.CHe observed some of the ATC creation, and thinks he might be interested in making them in the future. He saved Ethan's phone number in his cell phone for reference. Annalise enjoyed snow play, littlest pet shop play, and creating ATCs and gifting Alana and Gabrielle with them. She especially seemed to enjoy the medium of sand!
  • Both kids worked on their Pokemon machine. Jeremiah began to expand into the realm of technology by incorporating his DSi into latest version. he has also begun to sketch rough schematics of his ideas.
  • Both kids used free weights to "design our own workouts". Lise used 2 pounds, Miah 5. Jeremiah also practicing lunges. We discussed the importance of balanced exercise, using both sides of the body to avoid injury from over/underuse.
  • Played "Annalise's Casino" using a toy with a spinning tic-tac-toe board, trying to match 3 in a row. An assortment of practical and absurd bets were cast on the outcome of each spin.
  • The anticipated Presidential visit to Schenectady (close!) was delayed due to the shootings in Tuscon, Arizona. The children watched a few minutes of coverage regarding the shootings, mostly focused on Christina Taylor Green, who was only days younger than Jeremiah. Also watched coverage of the rescheduling of President Obama's visit for Fri, Jan. 21, and the feasibility of trying to see the President then.
  • Did more discussing/planning regarding itinerary for our upcoming trip to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to meet up and perhaps stay with friends, and perhaps see the Liberty Bell and Magic Gardens.
  • While browsing for Pokemon videos, Jeremiah discovered that he could write "funny videos" without needing help. This blossomed into him spelling most or all of several other words and phrases - including "ladder", "shovel","steel platform","flying orca", and"jackhammer". He is definitely unlocking the key to spelling.
  • Helped mom sort through a large quantity of books, exploring titles of interest as we worked.
  • Kids invented new games - "I Imagine" a collaborative game where they take turns creating connections and stories using a growing list of items, and "Mystery Boxes" wherein each child picks a number and "opens" an imaginary box to see what is inside.
  • Jeremiah successfully captured Lugia, a Legendary Pokemon, and wanted to help his cousin, Cameron (10), who was having trouble doing the same. He spent an hour making a 5 page, illustrated instruction manual, then went on to make two "pocket guides". Later, he was able to mentor his cousin via telephone, until he successfully completed the mission.
  • Annalise used patterned duct tape to make "sensors" for her and Jeremiah's doorways. They register "DNA, skin, and voice" and I have "immunity" to the one in her room, so long as I am wearing something red.
  • Both children have been assisting with, and had many discussions about, how best to reorganize/repurpose/reorient each of our rooms to better support the needs of each family member.
  • Discussion of our family as a community, and how what each of us does can affect each of the others and our family as a whole, often in places and ways we don't anticipate or intend.
  • Annalise began creating Teen Titans art, featuring herself and Raven, who is her favorite character in the show. She also appropriated an old hooded baby towel to wear as her "robe" when she is playing Raven. Much imaginative play coming from this show! =)
  • Jeremiah became interested in the game show Cash Cab. He enjoyed learning the rules, purpose, and ideas behind the game, and came to me often to describe what was happening. Game shows that test knowledge are definitely high in popularity with him, at this point!
  • We discussed South American languages, and how Mexico came to be a Spanish-speaking country, and why Portuguese is spoken in Brazil.
  • Discussed the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans, and the consequences upon their of settlement by Europeans. Noted that, sadly, this pattern has been repeated in North America.
  • Dad treated Jeremiah and Annalise to all day passes at the Wilton Mall bounce. A grand time was had by all!
  • Having conquered the physics of the claw machine, Jeremiah has begun challenging himself with a Tetris-type arcade game.
  • Annalise purchased a baton and baton twirling handbook at the thrift store, and has been experimenting with them.
  • Jeremiah selected a Pokemon Pikachu wallpaper border. His current plan is to use it to decorate the new, heavy-duty loft bed Dad will be making him this winter.
  • A large, long-duration storm meant the possibility of school closings for family and friends. Jeremiah had visited his cousin Cameron, and watched him perform a superstitious ritual of putting a spoon in the freezer, three ice cubes in the toilet, and wearing pajamas inside out and backward. Jeremiah decided to perform the ritual in solidarity with all the schoolchildren, and then he and mom sat up watching the school closings grow until all the children we know were free! We discussed the weather, and how and why schools choose to delay or close.
  • Inside chalk art. Annalise discovered that the paneled hallway walls make a perfect gallery for BIG art! A damp cloth erases it all and cleans the wall a little, too! We're being treated to many, many, hearts, big houses, tornadoes and hurricanes, and her efforts at writing "Margot" (our cat) and "Corki" (our dog).
  • The kids learned about polar bears on their new favorite PBS Kids show, Wild Cratts.
  • Both children have been exploring the Gears!Gears!Gears! set (Boogie Buddy), that they received for Christmas. By combining it with elements from their existing Illumabots set, they have created various items, including a fan with spinning LED lights, an"inventive solution" invented by Annalise, and a robot car propelled by gear wheels. We discussed front, rear, and all wheel drives using the robot car as our example, when the children realized that all the wheels did not spin on the axle.
  • Something burned onto the bottom of the oven led to a smoky kitchen! We discussed the importance of smoke alarms - ours worked. We also talked about the dangers of smoke inhalation, and ways to prevent it.
  • Mom played some games with Annalise: tic-tac-toe, which was her idea, and squares, which Mom introduced during this session.
  • Jeremiah counted out appropriate funds to pay the Schwan's food man for our order.
  • Mom has been saving for several months toward a major furniture purchase. Each of the children had a chance to hold, explore, and count $220 (made up of $50 and $20 bills).
  • Annalise built a Lincoln Log farm, populated by animals who had a meeting. Sound at all, ummmm, familiar? =)
  • Jeremiah registered, online, for a Wizards 101 account. He only requested help with writing out his chosen username and password, and adapted them for availability. He filled out the registration form without adult assistance (but only after checking with Mom). More internet navigation, and a LOT more spelling for him! WOW!!!!
  • Jeremiah was intrigued by an episode of the PBS Kids show, Fetch!, which featured a veterinary procedure done on a siamang.
  • Mom and Annalise watched several episodes of Teen titans ("Car Trouble"; "Mad Mod"; and "Apprentice part 1") while snuggled together in bed. She was also captivated by the Escher-inspired art in "Mad Mod".
  • Jeremiah remarked that one of his favorite things about Japanese anime cartoons is that the characters have five fingers, whereas most other cartoons aren't as accurate.
  • Annalise and Mom watched coverage of President Obama's visit to GE Schenectady. Although we had considered trying to get close enough to see him, there was no specific motorcade route posted, and it was too cold outside for us to be out long, comfortably. We were happier watching from our snug home. We've decided that we will drive past GE when the weather warms, so that I can show her where the President was speaking. We discussed the Secret Service agents, and their job of protecting the president, even in the White House. This led to discussion of several things we saw in Washington, DC during our visit there when Annalise was 4.
  • Jeremiah has decided that we should have our own butterfly garden. His goal is to attract monarch butterflies to potentially capture, tag, and release (hoping that some might make it to Mexico). He would also like them to stop cutting down the forests in Mexico, thank you very much. These inspirations were the result of a Wild Cratts episode.
  • We discussed a trip to the butterfly conservatory in Oneonta as a field trip before it turns warm, and perhaps of arranging it as a Live and Learn Homeschool Co-op trip.
  • Annalise kept Dad company as he worked on removing snow from the roof. She has a better understanding of this necessity, given the partial collapse of our shed roof during the recent ice/snow storm.
  • Mom came into the living room to find Jeremiah sitting cross-legged on the coffee table,hands on knees in a meditation pose, eyes closed. I asked if he was meditating, and he described the "Soul Realms" where he goes to have apparently epic battles, and they seem real, and he feels stronger, after. He has been quietly doing this for a while now, and has special places for it. My boy meditates...WOW!!!!
  • Annalise composed a stick-pony-riding song, 'Riding Free": "Riding free, not bothered by tack..."
  • While discussing horse racing and her Parelli horsemanship lessons this summer, I mentioned that Annalise's Parelli mentor, Kresney Craft, is in Florida learning more about advanced Parelli techniques. this led to Lise asking how far away Florida is, and my telling her what it looked like so that she could find it on our wall map. She returned a few moments later to report that Kresney is 7 states away.
  • Annalise loves complex words, so I mentioned that FL is a peninsula, and what that means. She said,"It's like an island!" So we talked about the difference between the two.
  • I gave Australia as an example of a island, because we had just watched an episode of Oprah that featured Bindie Irwin (Annalise loves crocodiles and snakes and is fascinated by the idea of living in the middle of a zoo!). We talked about Australia's wildlife and how the remote island affected its evolution.
  • Big-word time again! Annalise really enjoyed learning the word "marsupial" and what it means. We talked about kangaroos while she hopped around the room. We also talked about North America's only marsupial, the opossum.
  • Annalise and I discussed what we might want to do while Sandra Dodd is visiting us next month. Lise suggested we should take her to the state museum, and had clear ideas which exhibits we should visit.
  • We talked about Lise's favorite exhibits: Iroquois longhouse, mastodont, Discovery Room, New York birds and wildlife, the A train, Sesame Street, Wright's whale, historic fire trucks, 9/11 exhibit. brief discussion of 9/11, and its significance.
  • While discussing museum itinerary, talk turned to Annalise's beloved carousel on the fourth floor. She declared that she isn't crazy about the escalators, and doesn't always want to use the elevators, either. "Too bad there aren't stairs," she mused.
  • I explained that there must in fact be stairs, in case of fire or power outage. we talked about that, and then I asked her which she supposed might have been invented first - stairs, escalators, or elevators. she thought for a moment, then said, "Stairs, because there wasn't always electricity."
  • I explained that electricity wasn't invented, but discovered, and we spent a bit of time talking about how energy can be collected and stored.
  • This led to Annalise stating that she's afraid of forked lightning. We talked a little bit about safety from lightning before she moved on to other things.
  • Oops! Somewhere amidst all of this, we talked about blindfolding horses to lead them out of burning barns, too!
  • Jeremiah began playing, and described, Death vs. Monsters, where Death is the good guy. He also enjoyed using his newfound spelling skills to find more varied Pokemon resources, and watching Animation Domination, during which we discussed the concept of eminent domain, which featured strongly in an episode of American Dad.
  • Jeremiah was exceptionally helpful during the time mom went out to move firewood to the garage, so Dad can chop it into usable pieces.
  • We discussed how my moving the wood and keeping it ready for jim to cut makes sense - i can move most of the wood myself, except for the very heaviest pieces. However, i am afraid to attempt operating a chain saw. So I do the parts I am able to, which frees Jim upto do the harder parts.
  • I explained that Jim has recently started paying the bills, formerly something I did, squeezing it into the edges of life. Now, I am free to focus on the matters of their learning, and recording their learning. =)
  • This led to talk about how, when Miah and Lise choose to do things such as clean up laundry, dirty dishes, or general clutter, they free Jim and I to use our energy on more involved household tasks. This, in turn, makes life more pleasant for us all!
  • Both children further explored meditation, turning off lights and settling themselves quietly into their rooms fore 20-30 minutes. They asked me to please be quiet and not disturb them.
  • Annalise and Mom discussed breathing rate - how larger beings breathe more slowly than smaller ones, and how her breathing will slow, as she grows. This happened as we were snuggled together, breathing in harmony. Ahhhhhh!
  • Annalise and I watched portions of the Eukanuba AKC Dog Show. Discussed favorite breeds (chihuahua, border collie, pit bulls, komondor, Newfoundland, poodle, Bernese mountain dog, mastiffs of any kind, vizsla, golden retriever, and borzoi). Discussed that breeds were developed to meet human needs (guarding, recuing, herding, sporting, guide and service duties, and sled pulling.
  • Annalise created an abstract painting with lot of color blending. "Hey, Mommy, yellow and blue make green! Knowhow I know? Look, I made green!"
  • Annalise learned to recite the colors of the rainbow, in order, from a song on the PBS show, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. We discussed ultraviolet and infrared light, and that sunblock protects from UV rays, which can be dangerous.
  • Jeremiah, Annalise, and Mom watched and discussed a portion of Cloud Returns, the sequel to her beloved Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies.
  • The children decided they wanted to clean the bathroom Annalise washed the mirrors while Jeremiah did the sink counter, and, together, they cleared some floor clutter (mostly tub toys and laundry).
  • The bathroom cleaning led to a game of hair salon, with each style modeled for me and checked in the mirror.
  • Kids engaged in a collaborative bongo-playinng contest, replicating and adding to each others' rhythms.
  • Annalise, who has lately become fascinated with negative numbers, loved seeing a temperature of -6 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Jeremiah and I checked the temperature at 6am. -11 degrees Fahrenheit. Jeremiah asked what the freezing point was (32 degrees), and we were stunned to realize it was 43 degrees below freezing outside!
  • Discussed with Jeremiah that extreme cold can keep cars from starting. We also learned that Amtrak had canceled local service due to cold.
  • Both children enjoyed computer exploration. Jeremiah's rapidly growing spelling skills are allowing him a greater range of possibilities. He is also using this skill to help Annalise find sites she might enjoy.
  • We discussed personal space and why it's important after Miah got tripped over, and Lise bonked in the head, for coming into Mom's personal space without warning.
  • Annalise did assorted animal impressions, during breaks from playing Wild Kratts on PBSKidsgo. com.
  • The kids have decided to have a party in the not-too-distant future, and spent time with the early stages of party planning.

There! Up to date with my notebook; need to flesh out more attendance log notes before I can go further. Probably tomorrow. =)

That's enough for just now......more to come!

3 comments:

Green Pearl of Wisdom said...

I'm exhausted just reading that! :)Your kids seem pretty cool.

Shannon Dee said...

Thank you! There is a LOT more to add.....we are all always in the midst of multiple projects.

And yes, we think they are both very cool indeed! =D <3

Upstatemamma said...

That's a pretty exhaustive list! I don't even think I write things down as well as you :)