Adventures in Science

We had some great friends over for a play date. My idea was to hand this box of experiments over to the kids and just expect chaos, mess and see what they came up with…while mamas relaxed and chatted the afternoon away…

…It proved to not be the day for self exploration, think the full moon was effecting our day…haha! The kids needed more assistance then I was expecting. I probably should have had four kits, my bad! We did experience some chaos…haha!

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However we did (thanks to the help of super mom…not me…my fellow homeschooling mama friend!) accomplish a few successful experiments. A glow in the dark rubber bouncy ball and some oozing glow in the dark growing balls.

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It’s a fun kit with a great experiment book and some recipes for experiments to do with household items. I will attempt self exploration again on a day the kids seem more up for it. I THINK it’s something I could strew on a different day…we shall see…I’ll keep you posted.

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Thursday – Day Four

Well first thing this morning neither child had forgotten I promised a BEN 10 episode, so they started their day off with a cartoon. When the one was over, they were hooked and wanted more, more, more…so I figured if they worked together to clean my daughter’s room (which looked like a tornado blew thru a hoarder room) Then I would agree to another Ben 10.

 A few minutes later they came out and said they were finished. I’m pretty sure this is not the case. I ask, did you really clean up her room in that short of time? And they said, OH I THOUGHT YOU JUST WANTED A NICEPATH THRU HER ROOM…ha ha! So I look, they had neatly shoved everything to the sides so one might have a lovely path threw the disaster zone.

 With a little guidance they did a beautiful job on her room and they also worked on compromise, working together to tackle a fairly large job (giant really for a kid!) I could hear them deciding who would do what. It was pretty cute!

 A few jobs needed to be accomplished before our play dates arrived today.

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 We had two separate play dates today and to be honest I got way side tracked chatting with my mama friends to document much of today. I do have photos to share, but not a lot of “homeschooling” stuff other then SOCIALIZING…today was SOCIALIZING DAY! Ha ha! 🙂

 A little dress up time:

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Breakfast time:

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 My son is researching Ben 10 alien costumes and preparing himself for HALLOWEEN already! He will most likely change his mind a billion times, so we have a rule, I will purchase ONE costume, but if you decide you want to be something else, then you have to make the costume yourself using stuff from our dress up bin….or literally MAKE IT yourself with card board or whatever you have to use.

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 Contemplating life I suppose? I wonder if school kids get much quiet time to just think their thoughts. I know when I have a busy day it takes a lot of quiet practice to come down and feel grounded and able to just think my thoughts, so I love seeing my kids pondering life or maybe Ben 10 costumes ha ha!, but just having quiet moments to think their own personal private thoughts.

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image Son: Did you know your body is complex? You can eat upside down! (as he puts a handful of popcorn in his mouth upside down…apparently one can defy gravity in some ways)

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Play time: (trying to sort out weapons, game rules, costumes…all really important stuff!)

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Lunch Time:

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 Playing after Lunch…(mama is starting to loose steam and forgetting to document…sorry!)

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 Kids came in the room where the mama chat was going on, so I have a few photos of the games they pulled out and played…

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Then back to base camp to plot some more weapons, war tactics, game rules and strategies for conquering the other team!

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 Little break to jump on the trampoline (and it is hard to see but one kiddo is up in the tree)

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These magnets are still fascinating to him. He has had three days of processing these magnets. I know more is going on up in his brain regarding the magnets then just positive negative charges…he had that mastered when he was two! I’m guessing Thomas Edison type stuff, so I’m glad there isn’t fire involved and it’s just magnets! ha ha!

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A bit later one set of friends left and another arrived…The girls were playing with the doll house and it wasn’t really my son’s gig, so he played this game by himself in more of a puzzly way.

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 This is where I failed on documentation miserably today…I was having a nice time visiting with friends and the kids happily playing. The day got away from me… 

Dinner time… 

Bath… 

I took the kids out for an ice cream. As much as I dislike them having ice cream right before bed, I had promised it to them two days ago. I figured we should just get that promise over with and hopefully the sugar crash happens in their sleep. Ha ha!

 I’m going to snuggle up with hubby and watch whatever show he’s watching then head for bed…I hope to do a better job tomorrow. 

I’ve been thinking about it, I think I will try this again in the fall/winter when we are doing more schooly things then we do during the summer. We do school year round, but we are relaxed schoolers and the month of July we are SUPER relaxed schoolers…lol…might not be the best week, oh well, hind sight is alwasy 20/20 we’ll do it again some time down the road… 

Good night!

Tuesday – Day Two

Today started off typical, I was up early and got my mama me time before the little folks were up for the day.

After a while, my daughter surfaced…she contently looked thru a bag of rocks and minerals for a long time.

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After a while my son joined us and they made themselves some breakfast.

While preparing their breakfast I over hear my son telling his sister, that when we go on vacation they will get spending money and if they save it they can buy all the junk cereal they want…my daughter replies something on the lines of; no, we only get two per year! My son replies: Yeah, that’s the deal with mom’s money, not our money! (he’s getting clever now!) 🙂

SIDE NOTE: We have a family deal, twice a year (Christmas and Birthdays) they get their choice of a box of crap cereal, you know the kind, typically have a toy in the bottom of the box and turns your poop bright turquoise blue green color! And when they get their box of cereal, they will opt for cereal breakfast, lunch and dinner until it’s gone.

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Breakfast around here is make it yourself if mom hasn’t gotten to it by the time you are hungry. Be grateful when someone serves you, but be willing to do things for yourself if you can and need to. I’d say a couple days a week they make their own breakfast and majority of the time I make it.

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After breakfast:

Son: And NOW I’m actually going to do school!
Daughter: Really?!?!
Son: Yes, I’m really going to read this book and learn something new!

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How could I interrupt that with my plans to make those darn crackers???

While reading a basher book on weather:
Son: Mom, do you remember mine craft on the ipad?
Mom: yes.
Son: Do you think I could get to outer space on mine craft? Because in creative mode you can fly and if you go above the clouds, there is a bluish orb like place. Do you think if you puncture thru the bottom of that orb you would reach the outer atmosphere? Or like the other side of the atmosphere? I really want to know what is on the other side!

Son: mom, look (showing me his book) these are the extreme weather conditions, except you really can’t have a draught and flood at the same time. Wanna know something sis – you can’t have a tornado without a thunder cloud. There is a difference between a tornado and hurricane. A hurricane does not lower itself from a thunderstorm cloud. Hurricanes come from the sea and tornados come from the sky.

He continues on, but I need to get this cracker deal going…so I stroll off to the kitchen while he has his sister’s ear now.

He comes into the kitchen to find me, apparently, he has been checking out his basher book on elements now and has stumbled across an element he can’t pronounce…and truth be known neither can mom! We have our talking dictionary give us a leg up on this one!

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Son: finally found what I was looking for! Neodymium
Mom: why?
Son: I’m kind of interested in it, that’s why

CRACKER TIME…I had to just get it over with…stuff was sitting there waiting, staring me in the face…so here we go, we are making saltine crackers from scratch! (And yes it involved washing the table cloth ha ha!)

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Daughter: can I push on it? Because then I can feel the squish substance called dough, isn’t that funny mom, and anyways it’s quicker than rolling it.

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While I put the table cloth and a load of reds in the wash, my daughter started to read a book about horses.

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a bit later, my son decided he was going to teach his little sis how to tell time by reading a baby basher book on TIME to her. I’ve mentioned before both my children enjoy being the teacher…not so much the student role model, but teacher position they thrive! Ha ha!

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Outside time! Some days I have to kick these little kiddos OUTSIDE! Today was one of those days, out out out, go get your wiggly beans OUT!

Wardrobe Change #2 – She is in one of her fancy gowns, jumping on the trampoline and announces that she thinks this dress should not be a dress but rather dress up clothes from now on. She has serious individual ideas on what is what when it comes to clothes and shoes! She has stated many times she wants to design her own clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc… From the first (and last) power struggle over shoes when she was 9 months old, I decided clothes really aren’t worth it, as long as they are content in their skin, and happy with their choices, I do not intervene when it comes to their fashion preferrences. They are free to express themselves fully. I do however, get to choose Christmas dinner and Easter Brunch outfits for both kiddos.

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Wardrobe Change #3 – Pondering life while swinging on the swings.

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Pondering life while hanging in his self made tree hammock…yes, my rug is still in the tree!

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Story time with narration and discussion afterwards

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Reading about rocks and minerals…we also made a trip today to the rock and mineral shop in town.

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Son: A hypothesis about Stonehenge is it was used to be a UFO landing site and the Easter Island rock heads are known to also be associated with aliens. And I think aliens would be awesome!
Daughter: No, people believe Stonehenge is a place where people saw the sunrise and set.
Son: Some people think Stonehenge was built as a giant calendar because the sun rises and sets in certain positions during the solstices, but I like the alien theory better.

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My Daughter making orange juice with one orange that is still not ready, but she was, so it was plucked, cut and squeezed…she’d like to sell you a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice for 50 cents at her “lemonade stand” ha ha!

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A little more piano practice

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My son is trying to build an upside down telescope.

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Which leads him to you tube for directions, but he is quickly side tracked by anti gravity toys…which leads to magnet play. Which is related to his morning interest of Neodymium…right?! I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Neodymium is used to make really powerful magnets.

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My daughter likes that the figurine bin was taken out and quickly has her own saving story going on. A goat has falling off a cliff and all the other animals are trying to save him from falling to the ground…she plays this story out in many ways and has a great time talking for each animals and is very serious with different voices for different characters.

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all animals made it safe and sound to their farm land…and no the lion is not going to eat the pig. ha ha!

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Dad’s Home….dinner time and all that jazz…

During dinner:

Son: I have a hypothesis, that cloth gets wet when you dump water on it because the water molecules latch on to the cloth molecules.
Dad: And then they use capillary action to propagate through the material.
Daughter: So if I dump a bucket of water here, the whole table cloth gets wet?
Dad: Yup, you got it.
Mom: Sooooo capillary action to propagate??? Would that be spreads out for the rest of us??? Ha ha!

Daughter: Well I have a hypothesis too about bubbles – it is I think bubbles are little air things filled with liquid.
Dad: you are close, but it’s the opposite.
Daughter: its air trapped in liquid? Hmmm…
Mom: come on kids, clear your dishes and get ready for story time in my room.

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They are now in their own beds listening to an audio book. I’m posting this, and then heading for bed myself. My editor (I mean better at spelling friend) will tell me tomorrow of any major glitches in my verbal spewing, ha ha! I’m too tired tonight!

Shark Out Of Water!

Did you know there are sharks in them there waters?

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I actually wondered quietly to myself….will this fabulous experience of getting to touch, hold, feel this dogfish shark create fears of the water, but so far so good.

Just Another Day At The Beach.

Go Climb A Tree!

Climbing a tree….one of the passages into childhood….

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No longer allowed at schools…..sad!

I really want to rant and rave about the need for tree climbing in our children’s lives. How the element of danger is necessary in the developmental process and how we as a society have removed nearly all degrees of danger (& nature) from our children’s natural play.

No climbing, you’ll get hurt
No jumping, you’ll get hurt
No running, you’ll get hurt

When my son was a toddler and we were heavily involved with a moms group. The other mothers would see him toddle off and start climbing. They would inform me, as if I’m not watching my own child. “He’s going to fall!!!” they would announce it in a panicked voice.

Not only was I watching my son, I had already assessed the situation and realize that if he did fall he might get a little scared, but he wouldn’t be injured. And it was a good opportunity for him to learn his abilities. My replies were generally on the lines of “if he does fall he will only do it once” or “if he does fall, he will learn from it”

One of the other mothers said to me during group, I can’t believe your busy son has never been to the emergency room when my sweet docile daughter has been three times already.

I just had to laugh at the descriptive personalities. Busy, sweet, docile…ha ha! Parents can be so bias at times towards their own sweet innocent darling perfect children. Especially when they hang out with busy dirty dangerous children whose parents clearly don’t know that germs and danger exist. Ha ha! (Oops my sarcastic side just slipped out)

The truth is her sweet docile daughter never had the chance to experience danger. She never had any “safe danger” to play with. She had no idea that life could be dangerous. It must be a safe situation, no one was hollering “stop you’ll get hurt!” So when opportunities came up and no one was looking (aka hovering) she would go about her normal developmental path and voila danger would arise, but she had no clue danger was there.

We as a society are so preoccupied with making the world a safer place for our children (which sounds nice) we are not realizing the consequences.

1) We are raising children that never get to experiment with “safe danger” Children today are not learning and making brain connections on their danger boundaries. (Which can also go into personal space boundaries and many other body awareness/social issues, but we can save that for another post down the road)

2) We are not outside in nature enough climbing, jumping, running, etc…Our children are becoming oblivious to outside sounds as well as sounds of danger and their intuition skills.

3) We are creating “overly worried” children. Worried about irrational fears, because they are told constantly don’t do this, don’t do that, this is dangerous, that is dangerous, don’t touch that, it’s dirty, it has germs, but they aren’t fully sure what they are supposed to do, or what real danger is, they only know its out there lurking in every corner, waiting to get them and it must be something bad….really really bad!

Now that I am involved in a homeschooling group, instead of the hover mama club, I see lots of tree climbing, free happy kids developing not only physical abilities but loads of brain power.

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So I plead with you, get out into nature and let your kids climb trees!

The Benefits of Relaxed Homeschooling Year Round

First off I should let you know we are considered “relaxed schoolers” And we relax-learn year-round for many reasons, some of the main reasons are:

1) I noticed my children (back when we attended school) defined learning as something you can only do at a desk with dictation by a teacher. You simply could not learn in any other situation. In fact they protested anything they deemed as school-ish outside of school hours. The class room situation quickly killed their lovely spirit and curiosity to learn, which broke my heart and frustrated our whole family. The children were stressed and their behavior reflected their stress.

By relax schooling my children have reconnected with the freedom to choose WHAT they want to learn, WHEN they want to learn it, WHERE they want to learn it and HOW they want to learn it. Which has translated into a constant stream of learning. They no longer protest the process of learning. Life is once again a peaceful learning experience, year round.

The process of “de-schooling” took my children a few months, but we didn’t see complete fruits of our labors until we as a family found trust in ourselves, our abilities and overall our family groove.

2) Before school I was a “strewing” type mama. Which is an unschooling term. And I stopped that when the kids were in school. I assumed they were getting their education at school. I assumed very wrong. Once we pulled out, I started strewing again. And once again our entire lives became educational; therefore, we homeschool year round, whether we want to or not. ha ha!

Everything we do has a degree of learning to it.

Example:

An average morning could look like this…sleepy heads surfacing, wanting to snuggle and listen to an audio book.

The audio story may lead my son to research the status of Pluto as a planet or not. He will talk non-stop about it, research it, make crafts of it, etc for a few days afterwards. Or become a detective like the main character in the story and start a sleuthing club.

My daughter might want to watch a cartoon DVD. I agree to let her watch, as long as the language of the DVD was switched to french. She will build a fort on the sofa and start talking to her stuffed animals in french.

It is still early in the morning, they are still in their PJs and nibbling on their breakfast….their minds are engaged in something interesting to them. The wheels are turning and I haven’t opened one text-book yet.

3) year round schooling allows you to take time off as needed.

I follow a few curriculums, because it makes record keeping for the state that much easier. I only follow curriculums my children enjoy.

I will give a giant shout out to the math program “LIFE OF FRED” my son will literally BEG me to do more and more chapters. My daughter is not a fan of math, but she is a fan of snuggling up with mom on the sofa to hear a story about math and the life of the crazy little character Fred.
http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/11catofbooks.html

If we sit down to do some text-book type schooling, and it isn’t going smoothly, If it is causing frustration for me or the kids, we can simply take that day off and come back to it at a later time.

Our state requires 175-180 days of school, depending on the year. By homeschooling year round, I don’t have to really worry about taking a day off or even a week off now and then. There is no way we will have 185 bad days each year and if we do, then something drastically needs to change! In fact we normally hit our 100th day of school at least a month before the public school hits theirs.

Other reasons we might take a day off are less stressful reasons…maybe friends or family come to visit. A spontaneous trip to Legoland. It is simply a beautiful day out and the beach or a hike sounds more appealing. It snows on our mountains and we want to make a snowman or go sledding. There are plenty of fabulous reasons to ditch the text books and head outside for a great learning experience.

Some families enjoy having a hard start and stop to their school year, but that does not work for our family. We see learning as something fun and a natural part of life that doesn’t stop in the summer or on the weekends.

My children do have some friends that attend school and can’t understand why my children love schooling year round. It does not compute with the kids that attend school, because they live for the summer break….to make that less confusing we simply call July our summer if people ask.

As I typed out this blog, my son was explaining this balancing experiment to his sister. (He learned all about this experiment from the tv show Beakman’s world. I am not anti-TV, but I am a firm believer that TV options for kids NEED to have an educational element. TV needs to spark curiosity that extends into their real life.)

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And now that I’m about to hit publish on my post my son comes up to me and says “excuse me mom, but do you think you could give me some homework?” I ask “like what kind of homework?” He says “oh I don’t know maybe like go research our solar system or something?” I send him off with a post-it note that says “research and write down five facts about our solar system” he runs off with a giant smile….a moment later he asks if I can take him to the library today…so there you have it, we will be going to the library today. 🙂

That is what homeschooling in our house looks like! That is what learning should look like IMHO and that is why we have a relaxed homeschooling style and why we do it year round.