Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Little known secret

There’s a great hiding space in my front yard.

 

But grown ups can’t fit in.  Princess told me.

 

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She told me I was too big, “but it’s very cool under there Mommy.”

 

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Overgrown bushes means you can get shots like this.  They’re standing on top of an electrical box.  Every year of so the power company comes and rips out that front bush.  You know, the one that’s about 3 feet tall right now.  As compared to the 7 feet the rest of the bushes are.

 

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There are multiple entrances and exits.  This makes it easier for escaping when playing hide and seek or tag.

 

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After a successful escape you must dance.  And twirl. Don’t forget the twirling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Missouri: Mark Twain

Finding the elements of story

I actually found a pretty decent kid version of Huckleberry Finn (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer #2: The Best Fence Painter (Easy Reader Classics) ).  Hmph, I obviously should’ve edited that before copying it.  Oh well.

 

  I’ve always enjoyed his story, but then I always enjoy stories with young scamps in them, or not so young scamps.  I like trickster characters………

 

Well, it’s a cute story that takes that portion of Huck Finn, and makes it into an easy reader.

 

I thought this was a perfect opportunity to work on elements of story.

 

In particular:

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and of course:

Huck Finn characters

Monday, May 28, 2012

Missouri: The Gateway Arch

I found a great book about the The Gateway Arch.  It had all the information about it, but it wasn’t too overwhelming.

 

After reading it we took some time to talk about what kind of monument we might design.  Can you guess what the boys wanted to design?

 

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Yes, we got one that looks like the Washington Monument, one birthday cake, and then two battle scenes.  Actually, I think Batman’s is a whole epic war complete with hide-outs.

 

I kid you not.  Either way, the kids all enjoyed it, so I’m not going to complain too much.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Science Sunday: Shrimp

 

 

A few months ago I shared how we dissected a shrimp, however the shrimp we got from our grocery store was already beheaded.  We got ones with shells on, so they saw the tails and legs and such stuff, but they really wanted to know what the head looked like, up close and personal.

 

I joked about going out for sushi and making my brother order fried shrimp heads again (he did it on a dare once, it was AWESOME), but Jeff didn’t think that was the best plan, for many perfectly valid reasons.

 

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Then, when we were in Virginia we ate at this perfectly horrible Chinese/Japanese buffet.

 

Horrible, they messed up jello so badly I couldn’t eat it.

 

But, they had shrimp with their heads on.  So, right there in the restaurant we had a science lesson.

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First thing we noticed is how HUGE the eyes are.  I personally think they’re kind of freaky.

 

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Next we noticed the length of the antennae.  They’re about as long as the shrimp itself.

 

This required a lot of playing and fiddling around to see how much it could be moved.

 

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And then some general exploration of how it moves and the different parts of it.

 

Of course eventually it was eaten.

 

I guess that day we played with our food.

 

Let’s see what others did this week:

Finding the Teachable Moments shared about their Fire Safety week, a great pre-school/early elementary unit (you have to see what her husband brought home from work!).

 

Homeschool Mo did a couple of things this week, but I really loved her illustration for the earth circling the sun using a pie pan.

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Science Sunday button

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Childhood to do list: Eat ice cream for dinner

ice cream for dinner
When I was a kid my Mom had a shirt from Marie Calendar’s, it said:
Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

We never did that, that I remember.  But my kids did just the other day.
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They all had hearty grins, and after brushing their teeth, went to bed quite happily.
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Okay, they got a little sugar crazed, but it was a good fun night!

Friday, May 25, 2012

THE Math game for the family

003So, I started to write a post about going to a homeschool convention, but realized I didn’t have anything super helpful to say, and it was mainly going to be lots of hints of things to come.  I didn’t want to write that.

So (seriously I use that too much), Instead, I’ll just jump write in. 

001Here’s the premise, you’re going around the board in either direction to whatever square you want.  You get there by building equations from the tiles you have.  Your numbers can be positive, negative, or exponents (we took out the exponents), and you get operation tiles as well.

I spent a good hour or so talking to the guy there because I didn’t believe him that my 5 year old could play this.  He convinced me, and I bought it.

He was right.

She’s not a huge fan, but she doesn’t like games in general.  The boys who are fans.  LOVE it!

Your goal is to earn money by either landing on squares that give you money or by landing on a workout square where you do math problems (more on that in a second).  Princess worked her way around the board going in a negative direction almost the entire time.  The boys went positive, negative, all over.

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When you land on a workout square you grab a card based on your ability.  My kids are all white belts.  That’s first/second grade math.  It goes all the way up through early high school with Algebra 1 and 2.



Our first game took about an hour to play, but this was also my kids first exposure to negative numbers, and they grasped the concept fairly quickly and were making up math problems like aces.

It’s on sale right now for $50 (yes that is a lot, but I think it’s totally worth it).  Considering most of the strategy games we buy cost about the same, and I’m seeing years worth of math practice in this game.  It’s worth it to me.

I LOVE this game (and I’ll have a post up about some of the other games I bought later).  I wanted to talk about this one first because I’m going to have a giveaway coming up soon for their computer game.
Go, look at it, try the online version of it (there’s an online version of the board game), and then discover how cool it is.

PS: I was not paid for this, I did not get a free copy, I bought it and loved it, so that tells you how much I like it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Because I wear flower girl dresses to go grocery shopping

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Don’t you?*

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And I’m protected by ninjas.

 

Let your kids enjoy themselves and be kids while they can.  It’s over all too soon.

 

*When I was shopping for a wedding dress my Mom and bridesmaids kept threatening to make me try on a bridesmaid dress, I was that tiny.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lewis and Clark explore the park

Hey, I rhymed.  I’ll pretend that was on purpose.

We read about Lewis and Clark ages ago and we’ve had a field trip planned to explore and map out a new playground since that time, but we kept having things get in the way of our ability to do it, illness, inclement weather, you name it.
Map your park
Finally we made it there.  I turned them loose in the park with the instructions of younger kids had to draw 10 things in the park to make their map and label them.  Older kids (which was the other family) had to draw 20 items, label them and create a map key.
Of course the boys had to bring their guns, because they remembered that Lewis and Clark both had guns to protect themselves and to hunt thanks to a video recommendation from Phyllis over at All Things Beautiful (Lewis and Clark part 4 post).

Map your park

I loved the variety of maps they came up with.  The younger girls had smiley faces and pictures of people playing at the different parts of the park.

While the boys……..


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They did the assignment.  Exactly, they did draw some parts of it.  But as they got to thinking more and more about playing in the park it became more and more of ……

well, squares with letters in it.


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Oh those cries of outrage as I made them draw more.  You’d think I announced the end of desert with my requirements.

In the end they got quite a lot of playtime, so I don’t know what they were complaining about.

Collages
Oh, and if you’re in the Austin area and you haven’t been to the “Play for All Abilities Park,” then you NEED to get there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Battle of the Alamo

Battle of the Alamo ScenarioWe did this a week or two ago, but I hadn’t downloaded the pictures and my friend I did this with has anxiously been watching for this to be posted, so here it is:
To start go to Junior General and look up their Alamo scenario.  From there you can print off their figures, or you can use the massive number of ones you have.  Or maybe that’s just me.  With 3 men in my house who love to act out battles, and one or two others in the house who have at least a cough cough mild cough cough interest………..  There’s a lot.

Battle of the Alamo defenders
In our version the Mexicans had about 65 soldiers divided into 7 groups.  Each group had a lieutenant who was in charge of moral (that determines if they can move forward).

The seventh group was held in reserve and didn’t have a cannon.  The first 6 groups did.
I won’t go into big detail about how each round went because the scenario did a good job of doing that on the site.  Our modifications:  Each figure could move 6 hexes if they were able to move, and there were 30 Texans at the Alamo (that is not the right proportions).
Battle of the Alamo Texans winning?

At first things looked good for the Texans.  They had several successful canon shots, and they were able to take down most of the Mexican lieutenants.  But, then both sides were out of canon fire, several of their canons had been destroyed and there was a breach in their walls.


Battle of the Alamo Texans losing?
But then, the Mexicans were able to start scaling the walls and the sheer numbers started to overwhelm the Texans.

If the enemies are able to fire 6 shots for every one you are able to fire it does not bode well for you.
(This shot is actually from earlier in the scenario, but it does have one of the kids playing the Mexicans looking mighty pleased with herself)
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And then their heroes died.  Davy Crockett, Colonel William Travis, Jim Bowie.  One by one each of the heroes died to Mexican bullets.

The boys lost it.  They couldn’t handle the heroes they had fought with dying.  Which led to a great lesson.

We talked about how the Texans must have felt when they heard the Alamo had fallen and how only a few survivors escaped.  No quarter was given to wounded or sick.  This was a huge mistake on the part of Santanna because it becamse a rallying cry for all Texans.

At the final battle of the Texas the Texans yelled “Remember the Alamo!”  That cry led them to victory.  It’s amazing how much morale can be changed by a small thing.  Martyrs are a powerful thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Science Sunday: Is this a real animal?

 


orthlocke
On a recent visit to the Mayborne museum we discovered this little guy.  It cracked me up to read about him.
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In case you can’t read the picture:
1.  It is related to the kangaroo, bandicoot, opossum, and wombat.

2.  The only marsupial found outside of Australia.

3.  Young are carried in the marsupium (pouch) for three months before showing their face to the world.

4.  Mate for life and are loyal to their mate.

5.  Orthlocks come out at sunset.  The Huoco Indians believed the creatures come out to view the dying sun.


jackalope6.  The orthlock is NOT to be confused with the Jackalope which everyone knows is a fraud!

The picture to the right is a jackalope.  Obviously a fake, while the orthlock is not……


So, we started discussing their opinions, is it a fake, and why?  They pretty much all agree it’s obviously a fake because no animal has both fur and feathers.  I have to say I think they’re right on that count.



I just got back in town late tonight and the post I had drafted featuring lots of people got all messed up and my brain is fried.  So I assure you there were many awesome posts this past week, but the hotel I was at last night did not let me get the post all written up because it decided it did not know "what this thing called an internet is."

Plus side, I got to go to my first ever homeschool convention and it was a LOT of fun!
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