Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Jill and I read reading The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls. It's a really crazy book - kind of a take off from the Wizard of Oz. I've found it to be quite clever! However, I seemed to impatiently wait and wonder when we were going to get into the point of the story - and it took more than 150 pages...but we're finally there. The good news though is that Jill didn't seem to mind the waiting. To her the book has been great from the beginning - so that's good. Today we had an interesting discussion from the book.
Two weeks passed, and soon all of Sherbet was buzzing about the glamorous new owner of #7 Gumm Street.
Have you ever noticed how we are most attracted to the worst things? We want cookies that make us fat and candy that rots our teeth; we want to stay up all night when we should rest, and we want to go out in the rain when we have a cold. Too all the folks in Sherbet (except for the Gumm Street Girls, of course) Cha cha represented drama, glamour, excitement - all the things that usually spell trouble - and for this reason she was a spectacular hit. (Chapter 18 Page 210)
In this book there are a lot of interesting topics that get touched on: friendship, body image, uniqueness, talents, etc. Like a lot of kid's books, the kids seem to have it together and the adults are the ones that are kind of messed up. Jill and I had an interesting discussion today about our own personal attractions to things that aren't good for us. It was interesting to hear the list of "demons" she fights and to share with her my list. These moments are the reasons why we spend hours reading together!! I loved having that discussion with her.
Peirce and I are reading The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil. Actually I can't say just Peirce and I are reading it. Jill spidey senses start tingling when Peirce and I go off and read and she often comes and listens in as well. This book has terrific illustrations (well, so does the Gumm Street Girls book actually)....we must be on a great illustrations vibe right now.
In the story Basil thinks his life is too boring - and although he was warned to be careful what he wishes for - he wishes for a great adventure...and of course it happens right away. Basil lives in a lighthouse and a flying boat suddenly appears outside his window. He of course decides to jump in (although he`s notably nervous about doing so) and they sail off.
The man let our a bellowing laugh so loud it shook the house. Àh,`he said with a twinkle in his eyes, À lady seeking and adventure, eh? Jolly good! Hop aboard, young man, and begin your adventure!``
Stepping up to the ledge of his window, Basil prepared to leap. Suddenly, the airship that looked so close before now seemed far away. This is the first step, he told himself. It`s nor or never...
With that, Basil made the highest leap of his life.
He quickly realized that he didn`t have anything to fear, for his right leg easily cleared the ship`s railing. But it wasn`t the leap he needed to worry about. It was the landing. As his left foot trailed behind, it clipped the edge of the rail. Basil was thrown off balance, and he plunged awkwardly into a neatly coiled pile of rope.
Despite Basil`s crash landing, the kind old man didn`t laugh. Instead he helped Basil to his feet, knowing the boy was embarrassed.
`Welcome aboard, Laddy,`` he said. ``We pilots know how difficult it is to make any leap at all.``
As the great airship slowly rose above the lighthouse, Basil peered over the edge of the stern. His home looked quite different from this angle, making him pause. As they sailed off, Basil felt an unexpected pang. He had never been away from his family before and he hadn`t even said good-bye. He wasn`t sure if he was scared or excited...or both. Soon the thrill of the unknown overshadowed his fear. `My wish came true, `` he said out loud. ``I`m going on an adventure!``
Peirce gave out a big sigh. He told me he would be scared if that was him. I asked him why he`d be scared and he said, ``well, I wouldn`t have been scared before but when I left and then the policeman brought me home I found out it is scary to go away from home.``
What a guy. I just wanted to hug him and give him a big kiss and tell him he`d NEVER have to leave home. :0)
Monday, 26 May 2008
I've heard many different versions of that story - and it always makes me crazy!! School seems to specialize in creating atomatons.
Oliver Van DeMille says that if you read classics with kids and discuss them together they'll learn to think and become great leaders. It sounds to me like he leans towards unschooling a little and believes that if you trust the child and as he describes it, put the conveyor belt system of education behind you and get back to what it used to mean to be educated.
He als'o really believes in the power of role-modeling. He quotes Mortimer J Adler when he says: ....only when teachers realize that the principal cause of learning that occurs in a student is the activity of the studenbt's own mind do they assume the role of cooperative artists. While the activity of the learner's mind is the principal cause of all learning, it is not the sole cause. Here the teacher steps in as a secondary and cooperative cause. Like the farmer and he physician, the teacher must be sensitive to the natural process that hsi art should help bring to its fullest fruition - the natural process of learning. It is the nature of human learning that determines the strategy and tactics of teaching."
He says that if we'll study the classics we will maintain our freedom and our civilization...and also gives six other reasons to study it:
1. The classics teach us human nature
2. The classics bring us face-to-face with greatness.
3. The classics take us to the frontier to be conquered.
4. The classics force us to think
5. Classics connect us to those who share teh stories
6. Our cannon becomes our plot
He has a great list of books for adults, youth and children to read. I'd debate him on the list. I'm not sure I'm that interested in a number of books he lists, and there are a few I'd certainly add - but I think it's a good starting point. I think there are a number of GREAT books that he doesn't list in his classics and I really believe in the value of scouring the shelves of the public library and discovering something that grabs you and inspires you. We've read some books like that this year....and they're not on his list.
I also like that he says you can teach a child to be a great leader even if you send them to school. Phew! (He'd probably add a caveat though that one should really stay involved and keep tabs on what they're doing in school!) :0)
Anyway, it's a great book. I'd recommend it! I think it will be a good help as well in putting together out end of year visit about homeschooling this year!
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Friday, 23 May 2008
He can even do tricks! (In case you don't notice it, the trick is the little jump) :0)
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
The puppets were so cool!! We just laughed and laughed at the dwarfs. It totally got some ideas buzzing in my head about ideas for a puppet show we could do as a family!
This is a close up of The Prince and Snow White. A still shot just doesn't do justice to how cool they were! Of course, maybe the magic is in the puppeteer. Not sure!
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Jill swam 50M free, 25 M fly, 25M back and 25M breast....and she said she beat her record for each one. I tried to get videos of her swimming but I messed up a bit so I just have two of her races.
The boy ahead of her is about a foot taller and has 3 or 4 years on her. We told he it's always good to have someone like that to chase!
Breast Stroke - sorry these are so jumpy. I was trying to NOT slip on the deck or fall into the pool while video taping her swim. Not an easy feat!
You can hear Allen cheering here. He's always the loudest guy at the swim meets. Even the coach commented later that Jill has the best cheering squad. :0)
This is the video at the end of the class. He's able to get up now!! They taught him to keep his hands in front so that if he falls he falls properly. If there's one thing you can count on, if you teach Peirce the little things that you need to do to be successful at something he'll watch like a hawk and you can count on him to do it!
By the end of the class those kids were hot and sweaty and VERY worn out.
Monday, 19 May 2008
Friday, 16 May 2008
Usually I take a bazillion pictures and post them. Today I took a bazillion videos. LOL
This screen is in the center area at the Science Center. It's interactive and you can touch it and make it change. I joked that they were messing up the universe again.
There's another screen on the other side that must be attached to a heat sensitive camera. Peirce was the one that noticed it first. You can hear him trying to tell us about it in this video - and we keep ignoring the poor kid. In time we did clue in though. :0) After we took this video they watched themselves and talked about their different body parts for the longest time. It was interesting! When they lifted up their shirts you could see organs that weren't hot! You could also see their brain and how it is hot/red and the rest of their head wasn't. It was really cool!
WOW TOWN is a separate section in the Science Center. They have a real bee-hive there! That was really cool especially since we've been talking about bees around our house a lot lately with our purchase of honey for our food storage.
This microscope has some bees that you can examine at all the different stages.
Jill has been studying plants in her science class and they had some slides with different parts of flowers and other plants. She was thrilled to confirm that the things she'd learned in class were right.
This is a treehouse that Peirce loved playing in. He kept calling it his classroom. It was really cute.
They also have a store there. Peirce was ringing up those sales like crazy.
In WowTown there's a toddler section - but no one was there today so we played there for a while. This is just some random running around and chaotic fun. :0)
Next we went to the Creative Kids Museum. This is a section of the Science Center that I really love!! They have done a fabulous job of creating places where kids can create and explore and play in every area of the arts.
First the kids put together a play. In their theatre they have a back stage with a mirror and great lights and lots of costumes. There is a controllers desk out front with buttons that have different sound effects, and there are curtains and interesting propts. Recently they added a real organ too (with one broken key) and have some music there so you can play songs on it. Jill and Peirce had a TERRIFIC time playing here. I'm always amazed at how kids just organize themselves and recruit each other to get involved in this theatre. It's the perfect example of collaborative learning and play. We didn't have quite enough time to truly enjoy it all today though.These pictures were all taken "back stage"
Next we go into sculpture making. This lovely piece of work is a sculpture that Jill made. They had a sculpture on display that had been built over time...and they took pictures of it every week or so. Jill has great plans to do something similar at her school in the fall this year. :0)
They have some young people they employ to go around and do experiements and demonstrations and such. We ran into a couple girls that had set up a craft table where they made stamps. Jill and Peirce worked on their crafts here for almost 45 minutes.
Next to the stamping table there was a newspaper sculpture area. Amazing what kids can do with newspapers and a LOT of masking tape. This is the butterfly that Peirce made. Jill made a girl....but I didn't get a picture of it. Oops!
However, the airband area was where they really hada a good time. We stayed here for more than an hour and I watched them sing and dance and have a GREAT time.
I don't really know why - but Peirce spends half his life pretending he's a cat....like he does in this video.
Toast and Jam!
Jill will, Jill will rock you!
Thursday, 15 May 2008
1. Opposites Attract (Paula Abdul)
2. Rasputin (Boney M)
3. Rasputin (Boney M)
4. Opposites Attract (Paula Abdul)
5. Rasputin (Boney M)
Why, you ask? Well, when I was exercising on the elliptical machine this morning I just kept going back to those two songs on my IPod. :0)
How about you? What are the last five songs you've listened to?
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Monday, 12 May 2008
This reminded me of the page in I'll Love you Forever by Robert Munsch. She's listening to her Ipod shuffle here and dancing away without realizing I'm video taping her. In the book it says: The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!
Little interesting fact that I didn't know prior to looking at the Robert Munsch website: he wrote the little song in the book after he and his wife had two stillborn children.
Friday, 9 May 2008
I read another blog about visiting teaching today. Home and visiting teaching is an interesting thing. It can be a really great thing....perhaps I'll be struck for this, but sometimes I think it's more pain in the neck than it is a blessing.
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
* Getting up early and getting time to myself to read and pray and plan the day makes all the difference
* Exercising really does help me feel better. I'm alive, I'm awake, and I feel great!
* I tend to eat when I'm too tired (the container of homemade oreos is now empty. Oh dear!)
* Getting to bed early is one of the toughest things to do!
Last night I stayed up too late. I was having such a good time catching up on blogging, surfing, and other little things like that. I figured I'd be okay just this once. Man was I wrong. I felt terrible today. My kids were totally irritating. My husband was irritating. I just wanted to scream at everyone!! I took Peirce to school and when I got home I decided I'd lay down for a while. Well, a while turned into the whole afternoon....but I think it was time well spent. When I got up everyone had changed - they were much less irritating! Also, Jill had some a huge amount of work on her science project. I was totally amazed at how much she accomplished. She had written up paragraphs on how plants make our life better, how plants reproduce, planned an activity for the kids to do when she presents her report, and printed off a ton of interesting pictures about plants. Amazing!!
So, today I've learned a few things:
* Staying up late is just not worth it
* If you leave kid's to their own accord, cut the nagging and scheduling and planning and dictating, they accomplish much more and learn much more!
* Next time I'm tired, instead of eating, I'm going to make myself lay down for 20 minutes
I usually just fight through being tired. I try to bite my tongue and persevere. If I stepped back and looked at my day though I'd probably find I don't accomplish a lot when I just fight through it. I might try a test and see if a short nap each afternoon changes my life much. I've read a lot about the benefits of napping. I'd be interested in hearing from people who nap and find it improves life.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
I don't post many pictures of myself on this blog....so here are a couple token pictures. Enjoy.
Maybe the M is for Mom?? Not sure!
Weird. I know. What else can I say?!
Monday, 5 May 2008
This is a TERRIFIC book. Jill and I read this one together out loud. I can't say enough about how great it is to read a book out loud with your child. She loves it and I love it. We have a great time enjoying the adventure together...but something magical happens when we read together. I'll have to do some more thinking about just what the magic is and blog about that another time. The same thing happens when Peirce and I read together. We were reading stories in the van today while she was swimming and it was interesting to see how he wanted to snuggle - even though there was really not enough for him, me, the steering wheel, and a book about dinosaurs which seems to cause him to have to get up and roar and stomp around like a dinosaur in the middle of any given moment. I've made a commitment to myself that I'll spend time reading every day with Jill and with Peirce....so maybe in time I'll be able to put into words exactly what the 'magic' of it all is.
It was difficult at first for Jill to get into this book because the writing was a little difficult for her - but reading it aloud together really helped. The story has some surprising twists. It's a story about a girl that is left an orphan in Africa during the influenza epidemic of the early 1900's. She gets stuck in a plot of deception where she's used to help a nasty couple who is making people believe she is their deceased daughter so that they can secure a huge inheritance back in England. Her experiences leaving her beloved Africa and adjusting to live in England is really well-written. There's a ton to be learned about animals and the natural worlds of both Africa and England.
The story is a great one of integrity, courage, and winning even despite impossible situations. We were hooked on it early on. It's a book I would totally recommend. A great read-aloud!
Sunday, 4 May 2008
They did all these weird races where they walked in many crazy different ways. By the end of the class Jill said her legs felt like jel-lo!
After the class was over we piled into Allen's new car and took off to Edmonton. We really enjoyed our first trip in his new car. It feels all the better too knowing that his car runs on propane. It's half the price!! Lovin' that!!
We went to Edmonton to go to Nathan Hawryluk's reception. They held it in an old school called the McKay Avenue School. It was so beautiful and such an interesting place to be! Inspired me a little to read up on some Alberta history! I wished we had Jill with us. She's quite interested in these kinds of things lately because of the book we're reading together. (Jill and Pierce hung out with Auntie Virginia and Uncle Andy instead). We had a great time at the reception anyway. Nathan and Jen looked wonderful and very happy....and we had a terrific time visiting and enjoying the building.
On the way home Peirce kept telling us he NEEDED to go to a playground. The best we could find was an oil rig on the outskirts of Edmonton at Leduc...the famous Leduc No. 1.
You can tell by this picture that Peirce clearly had some energy he needed to use up before a long sit in the car.
....the kind of poses a mother doesn't like. You can tell Allen took this picture. I'd never be having Jill sit on the ledge like that.
Chico always loves a road trip - and he gets pampered probably a little too much for his own good.
All in all it was a GREAT day. We had a fun time hanging out together. Our kids are a lot of fun (most days) and we really enjoyed hanging out with them this weekend.
Friday, 2 May 2008
How many of you have a to-be-read pile a mile high next to your bed?
What are the top 5 books?
Here are mine (not counting the ones I’m in the middle of seriously reading...did you know there's a difference between what you're seriously read and not so seriously reading....well, there is my my life!):
1. A Thomas Jefferson Education - I read this one a while ago but Jenny Chan read it recently and said I really ought to read it. I figured it might be a good time in my life to read it again. I just might have a new perspective on the topic and gain some interesting things from the book.
2. Unusual Heroes: Canada's Prime Ministers and Fathers of Confederation - Jill's been reading about famous Canadians lately and it's been quite interesting. I snuck this book from her pile.
3. Busy But Balanced (Practical and Inspirations Ways to Create a Calmer, Closer Family) - this is one I've been glancing at now and then in preparation for the workshop I'm teaching next weekend/
4. Mothering With Spiritual Power - another book for the workshop I'm teaching
5. Bob Greene's Total Makeover - because I really need to read another diet book (sarcasm off) and maybe this one is the one that will do the trick and inspire me onto thinness!!