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Showing posts from March, 2011

Road-Schooling V - Shedd Aquarium

Our experience with the Shedd Aquarium did not go quite as planned.  I should have listened to my mothering instincts when we were told that the wait time to reach the ticket booth was an hour and a half and left.  So from the beginning it was a lose/lose.  Leave and have unhappy kids or wait and have unhappy kids.  We waited and as predicted, I had an unhappy kid...... One of my daughters has a very hard time with crowded places combined with lots of visual and auditory stimulation.  This was way to much for her to handle.  We did a quick tour of the major exhibits, missed the dolphin show (all shows were sold out until 4pm), grabbed lunch, hit the gift shop and went home.  But all was not lost.  I have learned that no matter what, on a road trip you will find the positives. Grace discovered she likes salad!  Being gluten free this opens up a whole new world for her.  So far grilled chicken salad is her favorite. Lilah showed her generous spirit in the face of adversity.   She was not r…

Road-Schooling IV - Museum of Science and Industry

Many of my posts have focused on the connections that happen when life and learning are meshed together.  They never get old for me.  I am always amazed.  Check this out.....

We drove into Chicago today to visit the Museum of Science and Industry.  I was very excited to see Grace’s reaction to the exhibit: The Science of Storms.  She was kind of under-whelmed.  She has watched so many videos about weather from hurricanes, to tsunamis and tornados.  She can name her favorite storm chasers and her heroes are the meteorologists from weather.com!  Seeing a man-made spinning column of air was like seeing the tornado at the bottom of the bathtub drain.  I was hoping the whole museum would not be a let down for her......until I realized what IMAX movie we were seeing: Tornado Alley.  They IMAX movie that the cast and crew of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chaser series spend hours trying to capture.  We knew the whole history that led to the making of this movie!  It was the perfect way to capital…

Road-Schooling III

I know I have said this, but I feel so wonderfully close to my girls at this moment.  Staying at someone’s house is not something we have done often.  In fact, I think we have only stayed at one friend’s house overnight when we visited Washington D.C a few years ago....  We have had discussions about what it means to be a good house guest.  Like making your bed in the morning, cleaning your plate after finishing a meal, helping to clean, and giving the host family space so they can work things out with their children when they need to.  


In addition to our learning about social graces, we have done a bit of reading.  Grace started her book club book, The Homework Machine.  Lilah is still working on the second Percy Jackson and I just began Kristin Hannah’s The Night Road.  


Then there has been play.  Grace learned how to rollerblade and discovered a new sport, rollerblade basketball!  We took the kids to play mini-golf under blue lights.   Grace and Lilah went to watch their friend’s ho…

Road-Schooling II

So glad to be here.  I have to say it was the easiest drive, with no road stress until we hit Gary, IN.  Then we had to deal with traffic, switching highways and a few crazy drivers.  Through it all the girls were amazing.  We watched the changing landscape, trading the rolling hills of PA in for the flat farmland of OH.  I have never been west of PA in a car.  Just this weekend I realized how sad this is.  I have never driven through our amazing country.  Even through my girls are still young and I still get the occasional, bored cry, I think they will remember this trip always.  They saw their first freight train (we see many Amtrack and Metro North trains daily, but never freight).  We were amazed at how long they are!  We saw what looked like a bison farm.  I can’t confirm this, but the animals certainly did not look like cows!  We saw a gorgeous farm filled with various fruit trees.  It made me want to pull off the highway and wander through the countryside asking the questions t…

Road-Schooling

This is what I dreamed about when Greg and I discussed homeschooling....having the freedom and the flexibility to do what we want, when we want.  The girls and I decided to take the long drive to Chicago to visit our friends who moved several years ago.  We always wanted to go but I am not a comfortable flyer and there was just not time to take a road trip.  The years passed and about two weeks ago she mentioned that her son has school vacation next week and I blurted that we should drive out!!!  I have never taken a road trip of this magnitude without Greg.  I got myself worked up into a fright over it.  The ride is not complicated.  Just one highway for the most part.  But 16 hours and an overnight in a hotel is definitely a first for me as a Mom.  Normally Greg and I trade off driving.  I honestly do not love my car.  I have a Prius and it gets decent mileage - we made it to Ohio averaging 46mpg.   But I am 5’8 and I cannot straighten my legs in both the driver side and the passenge…

A Little Bit of this and a Little Bit of that....

I love quiet days.  Because our calendar was cleared for the trip we lounged.  
We read another chapter in Ralph Fletcher’s Writer’s Notebook. 
 It inspired us to make some lists.  Grace brainstormed some funny moments in her childhood that she would like to write about.  Lilah wrote her list of wonderful words and added a few more to those she has looked up such as oaf, pauper, prone, ulcer and savage.  She even wrote the definitions!  We did some math.  Grace worked on a new topic: mode and range.  Lilah learned perimeter.  Because some of her work was for squares, it allowed me the perfect opportunity to introduce more complex multiplication to her.  It was great to sit at our new counter top sandwiched in between the girls each on a laptop, helping them with math (in our pjs). We talked about books.  Grace was invited to join a book club.  The book selected is The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman.  Books told from multiple character’s points of view are not a style she enjoys reading.  …

Uncheck

Favorite clothes set asidecheck iTouch, Nook and cell phones charged       check directions printed                       check oil changed                       check new tires installed               check ez pass                                  check appointments cancelled or rescheduled       check Still to do...... clean out carput some new books on the nookpack my camera bagpack the suitcasemake sure gas tank is on Fullmake sure no favorite stuffy or blankey is forgotpack up Grace’s favorite gluten free foodpack a cooler with lunch/snacks/drinks
Take a deep breath and go! ***************************************************************************************************** I wrote all this and then I checked the weather......................................UNCHECK. One thing I really wanted to do now that my girls were out of school was take the time to try new things and go new places.  My closest friend moved to Illinois.  I was not too upset because she promised she would be back home in…

Felting

Sometimes the coolest things happen when you are least expecting it.  My beautiful artistic friend came over for a playdate today.  I asked her to show us how to felt.  She makes the most stunning pregnancy dolls and the wall hangings in her home are to die for.   The girls loved it.  I think it gives them each something unique.  Grace loves knitting but it is a bit sedate for her.  Felting is faster and more tactile.  Perfect for her!  Lilah is very creative and has the patience to see a project through.   Their first attempt with this new artform was a flat two-dimensional picture.  Lilah did a smiley face and a globe.  Grace created an owl perched on a branch.   Looks like I have some researching to do.  We need some needles, a foam pad and wool.  Lots of beautiful colorful wool.....




Weekly Accomplishments - Welcome Spring!

After a couple of very busy project packed weeks it was comforting to return to our normal pace, focusing on our lessons and staying close to home. Math:  This was a great week for Grace.  She tackled two new concepts, prime numbers and prime factorization.  I am so thrilled that my girl, who cried tears daily over math all fall, now loves it again.  It is never a bother.  I never have to beg and plead.  Lilah on the other hand is now at a challenging point.  She has mastered the topics in which she already had been exposed to, like calendar skills, addition, subtraction and simple graphing.  Now she is moving onto harder concepts like rays, lines and angles and complex multiplication.  She is struggling a bit and I have to catch her when she is most open and willing to accept the challenge.   Vocabulary:  While Lilah has been struggling this week with math, she has been excelling in vocabulary!  She keeps a dictionary tucked away in a special spot and daily she throws out a new vocabul…

S.T.E.M

Tuesday night my girls and their troop-mates spent an evening at a local museum learning about electricity.  It was a Girl Scout event open to all troops in our area.  I did not know that it was sponsored by our local electric company, United Illuminating.  Had I known, I would have attended anyway, but I would have had different expectations.





The event was Energy Efficiency, but dumbed-down the message was “turn off your lights and replace the bulbs with CFLs”.  The girls had a great time.  The evening was structured into centers, located in various rooms and hallways in the museum.  One center was "energy jeopardy" on a smart board.  Another was recording the temperature under lights outfitted with old incandescent light bulbs and the newer-greener-cfls.  
In several rooms, my daughter’s had to spout out “but my Mom does not like the new light bulbs”.  I cringed.  We use them, albeit reluctantly.  I explained that I do not dispute the efficiency of the bulbs but I do have co…

CT Statute 10-184

Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively,
or to the people." I am frequently asked if I need to submit reports to our local school district or to the State Department of Education.  When I answer no, I do not, I am most often met with astonishment.   “Well, I know you are educating your children....” “It is okay for you since you are a teacher.....” “What about the people who don’t educate there children?” “There should be accountability!” Here is the deal.  In the State of CT we have a statute:  Sec. 10-184. Duties of parents. School attendance age requirements. All parents and those who have the care of children shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, inc…