Friday, April 26, 2013

A Day at the Zoo

Thursday was a day off of work for my daughter and with the gorgeous weather expected and her move to her second trimester of pregnancy (thus no more feeling queasy and sick), we decided this would be a great day to take the kids to visit the zoo.  We got a fairly good start, but hit traffic and construction so we got a late start at the zoo.  The kids were excited to see the animals and the day was really just glorious.  There were alot of school kids there, but there was room for us to see the sea lions, the elephants and best of all, the cheetahs, who darted after two squirrels in their enclosure, proving how incredibly fast they are!

My granddaughter was a crazy ball of beautiful energy and at one point my son was grumpy and tired.  So it goes with kids, I guess.  What I enjoyed best of all, however, was the time with my daughter.  We truly are best friends and it's such a reward to watch this beautiful young woman mother my granddaughter, carry my next grandchild, be a great big sister to my son and then have a conversation with her that is always enlightening and fulfilling.

Last night we had a scrimmage game with our 7-8 Pirates baseball team.  I was thoroughly impressed with our whole team, but wow, my Dakota really stood out.  He made outs, caught a pop up and hit well.  He is holding his body so much more confidently and he is really "getting" it.  I am hoping if this continues that maybe travel ball can be in our future.  It was such a fun experience to travel with sports when Brian David was younger and I am hoping that we can repeat some of that with Dakota in the near future.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day and we celebrated with friends.  When they arrived around 11am, we had lunch, watched part of the Lorax and read a book.  Then we took some supplies and headed down to the park for a scavenger hunt. The kids had a great time collecting a pine cone, a feather, different kinds of leaves and rocks, making bark rubbings and flower sketches.  They got some play time in on the playground equipment too, enjoying each other's company.  Later, back at the house, they learned about the parts of a seed, took one apart from the "helicopters" in our front yard and planted marigold seeds and lima beans.  Then they painted using bingo markers to make flowers and took turns making cherry blossoms with empty 2 liter soda bottles (reduce, reuse, recycle!)  Koda and I really enjoy learning time with our friends.  It's nice to get the chance to do group activities and even Natalie and little Brady,who are the same age, have forged a  nice friendship.  It's a win/win situation!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Ideas

Today has been a good day for new homeschooling ideas.  Early, while still lying in bed waiting for my adult children to leave for work and college, I was playing with my Kindle and phone and found a poetry app.  It was easy and wonderful and I couldn't wait to show Dakota when our school day started.  Next, I discovered it was Wear Your Pajamas to Work day.....well, we work at home, right?  So I greeted a still sleepy Dakota with the wonderful news that on this gray, rainy morning, he could stay in his comfy pjs all day!

As our day was set to begin, Dakota asked if for art today he could make more pipe cleaner and tin foil figures like the ones my friend Kelly had shown him how to do learning about the artist Giacometti yesterday (Did I spell that right?) He loved the activity and I turned him loose in his room with some Reynold's Wrap and a bag of pipe cleaners.  He appeared about 45 minutes later with his creations, very proud of himself!

I showed him the poetry app on my phone and he took right to it.  You hear the poem, go through the steps 1-5 slowly adding more and more words from memory each time.  Then, when you have it memorized, you can record it.  After he recorded it, I let him open a Word document and type it so that we could print it.  Today's poem was Eternity, by William Blake.  The app is free on my Iphone 3 and it's called Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics.

After we finished our poetry we managed to get all our work completed by 1:00.  He did simple division for math, learned about the Phoenicians and Carthage in SOTW history, watched BrainPopJr and completed a worksheet on the digestive system for health/science, read some books and did his journal and morning work.  I never understand how doing all this takes all day through February or March and then somehow by April we are breezing right through it.  Is it because he "gets" it more or am I more lenient and going with the flow more?

It's also been a day for great ideas.  I have come up with a new system to try to put to use all the cool ideas and fun days planned for the fall and all of next year.  I am going to use a large file box broken into months then each of them broken into weeks so I can start copying now and putting the things I find right into the folders rather than storing the information on my computer, often never to be seen again.

Dakota is now enjoying his free afternoon, relaxing in his pjs and watching Wreck It Ralph.  Unfortunately, it's turned sunny and warm and I now feel guilty for not getting outside, so maybe a walk or skateboard ride for him is in our future.