Saturday, February 27, 2010

I love this!

Just listen. Maybe you don't believe in "big government" but should "big business" be running our country instead?

Maybe you don't like Obama's policies, but should you plug your ears and say "LA LA LA," or should we have open, rational discourse about how to solve our problems and improve our country?

Nothing will be accomplished if we deliberately sabotage the debate. If you just want to see a productive exchange of ideas without the diversion tactics, take a look at the site and decide for yourself. I'm in.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This Week at the Super Awesome School

Salt crystal study (more on that later...)

Dude's concrete poem about Seren

A batch of letters ready to go

Roll-and-Write game from The Mailbox

Practicing adding decimals with Menu Math

Sentence Shopping Spree from Grammar Games & Activities that Boost Writing Skills

Bastet by Dude

Bastet by Super

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Rocky and his new friends

You have never seen two kids SO excited over something SO tiny.

We have had Rocky, our googly-eyed black moor goldfish, for about a year now. The kids declared that Tuesday was his birthday, and persuaded me to take them to the pet store for a couple of snails to keep him company. Super chose a gold snail, Dude chose a blue-gray one, and they lobbied for one more--a black and brown striped one.

As we were paying for the snails, the plastic bag started to leak, and an employee offered to get us a new bag. The kids took the new bag and checked on their precious snails. They both said to me, "There's a fish in this bag."

Being my typical distracted self, I didn't pay any attention until we were leaving the store. "Mom! There's a fish in this bag!" I looked in the bag and saw something tiny floating in the water. "It's probably just a piece of plant from the snail tank. Zip up your coat."

"No, Mom! It's a fish. It's shaped like a fish and it's swimming."

When I really looked at the speck, I could see the teeny tiny tail swishing back and forth.

Seren (the little speck above the flag)

The kids have named him "Seren," short for serendipity. He is just a little longer than a grain of rice and he might be a rosy minnow, but he's so small, it's hard to tell!

Two tiny eyes at 10:00

The kids were so excited about their new "baby fish!" They didn't want Rocky to eat him, and I was worried he'd get caught in the filter, so he has his own glass of water until he grows a little bigger. So far they have given him a tour of our school room, read books to him, written poetry about him, and drawn his portrait. We almost couldn't get through our school day yesterday because they had to check on him every few minutes!

In the meantime, we have moved Rocky to a bigger aquarium (the sphere above) so that Seren can live in Rocky's old one when he's big enough. According to the kids, Rocky was terribly lonely in his spacious new place, so we headed back to the fish store, and brought home two roommates, Treasure and Fugu.

As far as I know, there were only two fish in that bag.

Friday, February 19, 2010

School stuff

Today we practiced counting money...

...and played Roll-N-Multiply...

At lunchtime, we read Vincent van Gogh by Jen Green. After lunch we got out the oil pastels and drew our own Van Gogh-style pictures.

Dude drew a field of grain with crows...

...and Super drew a village under the night sky.

We also read about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, at Dude's request. We enjoyed How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty, and our DK Rocks and Minerals book. We edited our wolf essay (see below) and added a couple of things to our wolf notebook. Finally, we did a couple of Grammar Minutes and called it a day.

Happy Friday!

Wolves in Yellowstone

by Super, Dude, and Mom

Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful and fascinating place, but for many years, it was missing something important. The government thought that wolves were dangerous, so all the wolves were shot and killed. Fortunately, the wolves are back!

Wolves bring the food chain into balance. If there are too many herbivores, they eat all the food and then they begin to die of overpopulation. When wolves reduce the population of herbivores, they don’t overpopulate and there is enough food.

Wolves scare the elk, bison, and bighorn sheep up to higher ground. The herds stop grazing on lower ground so the grass and wildflowers can grow. This allows smaller animals like birds, ground squirrels, and insects to move in.

Yellowstone is part of the wolves’ natural habitat. If wolves aren’t allowed to live in their natural habitat, they begin to attack people’s livestock.

When people visit Yellowstone, they want to experience nature. Wolves are part of nature. People enjoy seeing and hearing wolves in Yellowstone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Worms, Wolves, and Work

Compare this to the photo in my previous post!

Hooray! We have our school room back! And--get this--it has a CEILING! It's still pretty disorganized and dusty, but we don't care. It was fun doing "sofa school" and "car school" and even "IHOP school," but as Dude says, "It's good to be back in our real school."

We started the week with our new science unit: we're using Mary Appelhoff's Worms Eat Our Garbage. Our red wigglers arrived last week and they are happily munching bread crusts and banana peels in their lovely new home.

Red wiggler and egg case by Dude

We put a couple of wigglers in a petri dish with a little water and held them over a lamp so we could see through them. I didn't get any pictures because the kids were so concerned for the worms' safety and comfort that they quickly dumped them back in the bin. We were lucky enough to find an egg case so we looked at it under the microscope.

Two great resources for worm study

Our Laura Ingalls Wilder study morphed into an American wildlife study, which turned into a wolf unit. You know how these things happen! So far we have read The Wolves Are Back by Jean Craighead George, Once a Wolf by Stephen Swinburne, and Best Book of Wolves and Wild Dogs by Christiane Gunzi.

Wolf myths

The kids are working together on a wolf notebook. They are particularly fascinated by wolves since we had the good fortune to see a wild one in Yellowstone last summer. We were at the right place at the right time, and it was an amazing experience!

Wolf facial expressions by Super. Alert; playful; afraid; angry.

The kitchen flood happened just as we were starting a new unit on decimals. I couldn't get to any of my MOTL materials while the basement was being repaired, so we had to improvise. We watched some Maths Mansions videos on YouTube and played games. I'm not even going to attempt to reconstruct what we covered for my MOTL records; it's easier to just start where we are now!

Homemade number sentence game

I really wouldn't know, but I'm pretty sure that when people decide to remodel their home, they usually make some sort of PLAN before they demolish the kitchen.

We're eating out A LOT

Since we didn't have that option, we are scrambling to get ours put back together. I'll never complain about making dinner again, I promise!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This is why...

...I haven't been posting lately! Last Saturday night while we were asleep, a cracked toilet tank leaked and refilled, leaked and refilled, all night long. We woke up Sunday morning to find water pouring from the light fixture in the kitchen. There was an inch of water on the kitchen floor, and it had seeped into a heat vent and soaked part of the basement as well.

This is what it looked like on Monday, after the water damage company removed the sagging drywall...

This used to be the cozy reading nook in our school area...

Needless to say, working with the insurance company, the water damage company, the drywall repair company, the painters, and the carpet store is keeping us busy. After Thursday, I won't be able to use my kitchen for a while (the cabinets have to come off the wall so they can repair the wet stuff behind them) so I'm trying to cook and freeze some meals.

I'm doing my best not to complain--after all, we still have a home, unlike so many others in the world. This is an inconvenience, not a disaster. We are getting some school stuff done in spite of the mess. My new homeschooling motto: when life gives you soggy ceilings, rely on documentaries and independent reading!