Monday, September 28, 2009

The Visible Horse --- FAIL!

We gave Kira an Visible Horse for her birthday. I knew when I bought it that this would be something that we (meaning me) would have to put together because it is for older kids.

Saturday afternoon I decided to open the box and see what I could make of it. I was accompanied by an eager audience of two - because assembling toys is so much easier when little people are watching (and grabbing and instructing and 'helping' and just generally being in the way).

I made NOTHING of it.

It's an actual model that requires paints, cement, and Daddy!

I thought it would be an easy 'snap together' type model.

It turns out that the Visible Horse is actually the type of model that you put together with days and days of intensive work and extensive drying.

**Mom hangs head in shame.**

Daddy walked into the room when he heard my sounds of frustration.

Daddy walked out of the room and fell to the floor in fits of laughter. (Lucky he didn't stay IN the room or he may have been showered with unpainted horse parts.)

I have been assured that Daddy will acquire the proper materials for building the model horse and will commence the project with Kira. They will assemble the beast together. My job will be to keep littler hands out of the way (and out of the paint...).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Scrabble Anyone?

I'm so excited over today's lessons. (Yesterday? It isn't Saturday anymore...)

We pulled Scrabble out to play with the teenager this evening. Kira immediately came running over to ask if we could spell words together. It's been a long time since she was reading words at Grandma Shari's house using the Scrabble tiles. I obliged Kira by providing her with a few words to read. She was much faster this time than before. She did have a few moments of "I can't do it!" but that quickly passed as she realized that she could, indeed, read the words. She would run off to watch her Liberty Kids movie and then come back a few minutes later to read another word. She did get a bit annoyed at me because most of her words started with an "f." She asked me why all the words had to start with that letter so I had to explain to her that it was the only letter I had that would work to create a word.

Kira is also learning to write her letters with the help of a very special learning manipulative. I'll be writing a review about that product within the next week. I am definitely loving how easy it has been for her to learn how to write.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feel that hard spot? It's a bone.

Marisa watched Sid the Science Kid yesterday while we were at Grandma Janet's house. I only have a couple of the DVDs for Sid, so we rarely get to see anything new. Yesterday's episode was about using you brain and how muscles work. Apparently this made an impression on Marisa.

Last night while I was in the shower, Marisa and Daddy has a discussion about muscles. Marisa was telling Daddy about where her muscles are and what they do. Daddy took this opportunity to tell Marisa about bones.

Marisa was fascinated by this new discovery. She was thoroughly excited to discover that she has bones. She spent the next four hours - YES... FOUR HOURS - telling us where her bones were.

Touching her forehead, she would say, "Do you feel that hard spot, Mommy? It's a bone."

Then she would touch her knee and say, "Do you feel that hard spot? It's a bone."

Then she would touch her arm and say, "Do you feel that hard spot? It's a bone."

Then she would touch my arm and say, "Do you feel that hard spot? It's a bone. You have bones inside you, Mommy. I have bones inside me, Mommy."

She chattered about this new discovery for hours on end. Long after Daddy was asleep, Marisa was still going on about bones and how she had all these bones.

I did take the opportunity to point out to her that she had joints to go along with those bones. She was far less fascinated by that revelation that the fact that she had bones.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Preparing for Worms

Yesterday afternoon, after the initial dismay at being presented with pet worms, I gathered the girls to help me prepare the new worm bed. We ripped up newspaper into shreds to provide good bedding for the pet worms. Then we shook in a little bit of their dirt so they would have some dirt to wander through. I used a colander to sift the big pieces and the rocks out of the mess of dirt. Kira and Marisa had fun observing how the fine soil went through the holes while the bigger pieces of soil and rocks and roots stayed in the bowl. I used this opportunity to help them understand the process and purpose of sifting.

After we found the worms - they were rather small - we placed them in their new home with some bread to make them happy.

Today, Grandma Janet added a couple of worms to our collection.

I'm really looking forward to this lesson. I already explained to Kira that the worms will eat our leftover food so we won't have to throw it in the garbage and send it out to the landfills. I also told her that the worms will make their own soil... and how they make it. She was only slightly disturbed by the concept of her worms creating their own soil... I wonder if she realizes that she's been playing in the creations of their bodily functions all this time?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pet Worms

My beautiful little girls went outside this morning to dig in the garden with their Grandma Janet. They came back inside with a box filled with soil and two worms.

Kira has asked if we can keep them.


I've been wanting to start a worm compost. It looks like this might be the right time to start. I'll be setting up a more permanent location for the new pet worms. With the help of the wonderful book "Worms Eat My Garbage," we are about to embark on a very interesting scientific journey.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain - Again!!!

There's more rain today. The forecast says it will rain for the next few days. I don't recall having this much rain all at once in quite a long time. When I was a kid it would rain almost every afternoon during the summer, but not long stretches of endless rain. We've had a pretty long stretch of endless rain here.

The girls are awake. They decided that getting up around 6:00 AM was a good idea today. I have NO IDEA why, because they're both grumpy and obviously still sleepy. I think we'll be making a visit to Grandma's today.

So far this morning Kira has tried to engage me in several different discussions. Unfortunately for her, I am NOT a morning person.

I'm trying to find the educational value in continual rain. Can somebody please tell me how to use this non-stop rain for educational good???

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mushroom Hunt

We took the girls to a local state park today to hunt for mushrooms. The extra rain we've been having has caused a massive explosion of mushrooms in our area. Today I decided to take a photo journey through the woods to capture the wide variety of mushrooms that can be found here.

I have not made any attempt at this point to identify these mushrooms. I'm not sure that the girls' fascination goes beyond the general observance that there are so many different mushrooms to be seen. I did take lots of pictures, though. I want to share the photos here. If you happen to recognize any particular type of mushroom, please feel free to enlighten me.

Keep in mind that all these mushrooms were found within an area along a trail that was less than a half a mile long. We did not have to go very far to find a huge variety. (The very last picture looks like just a pile of leaves. If you look really closely, you will see the tiny little mushrooms that are poking up through the mass of dead leaves.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No More Pre-School

Kira decided she was all done with pre-school so I withdrew her from the program. Fun was had, but I do believe she missed being at home. I also think there is a limit to how much can be gained from continual unstructured play when the playing centers around the same toys day after day after day with little variation.

What I learned from her time in pre-school is that she has a fondness for the Science Center. Their Science Center was equipped with magnifying glasses, telescopes, and scales plus a few fake bugs and such. I will be acquiring my very own Science Center fairly soon to accommodate her interest.

I also learned that setting up our "school space" in Centers might make everybody's life just a little bit easier. That will have to wait for a while because we are limited on space right now. However, in the next year or so I will be able to organize things in a way that will allow us to create specific locations for specific areas of study. I'm a planner so I will spend the next few months making notes and considering all the various possibilities for setting up this type of system.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Animal Deciders

Kira invented a new game last night called Animal Deciders. Yes, this is the name she chose for her new game. It's a very interesting game. Two players - me and her - take turns being an animal. One player pretends to be an animal and tells what they look like, what they eat, and what they do. The other player has to decide what kind of animal is being described.

This game started with Kira telling me that she lives in the water, eats fish that gets stuck in her head, and only has a heart and lungs - no brain.

**blink blink blink**

Um - it took me a few minutes... then I realized she was a Jelly Fish!!! Mind you, she just turned 5 years old yesterday.

We played this game for over a half an hour. Suffice it to say that she stumped me far more than I stumped her. I can now mark off "knows common animals - both land and sea" from her Scope and Sequence.

This has also left me wondering exactly how long it will be before I can no longer keep up with her... (I'm scared...)