Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Nature Walk

This morning, I took the kids out to Lake Arrowhead for a winter nature walk. Despite the temperature (mid-30s), it was very pleasant, and we collected plenty of rocks (Ginny, the geologist), sticks, pine cones and needles, and acorn and walnut parts for our seasonal shelf. I actually found it so pleasant that the kids didn't complain about the walk (a big improvement over walks in the summer heat).

We listened for nature sounds (like woodpeckers, mystery chirping birds, geese honking, dogs barking, some people yelling in the distance, and I think I even heard a frog chirping--that or a really strange-sounding bird!). With Ginny, I just had to watch with the water and tell her and Lily that they could get sick if they got into the water when it's this cold. A.J. was happy to reinforce this by throwing out words like "hypothermia" and such. ;)

I got a lot of "Mom, take a picture of this!" I was happy to oblige. A.J. even got a shot of me with the girls.

A.J. is going to do his history with Dad and work on his Restaurant Rush wiki, too, later while I am working. All in all a nice day so far.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flexibility a Point

Today was one of those days (back to a structure after several weeks off) where I was able to keep on task with the kids and still stay flexible. Personally, this is a real achievement and required me to be in a good mood, well-rested, and most of all, flexible.

When A.J. started wandering over toward his little sisters while we practiced knots, I reminded him that I wasn't teaching him knots so that he could tie up his siblings. However, when he tied the rope to an empty soda can to make a "can whip," I let him go with it, providing there was no contact! (Those YouTube videos were a lifesaver, let me tell you!).

I also added the element to Science Wednesday of watching one video from The Happy Scientist. We get a free subscription as part of our membership with The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. I let A.J. pick the video and watched it with him--polarized lenses turned out to be much cooler than it sounded ;)

With the girls, we drew on the whiteboard instead of in our lesson books and when Lily showed no interest in drawing 4s and instead wanted to draw trash bags, I improvised. "Oh, no!" I said with plenty of drama. "Look, someone threw away all these fours!" I also drew Fourbots because Lily wanted to make robots this morning.

Then, we dug into our box of recycle materials and made fourbots out of old Chinese food containers and paper and tissue rolls. A.J. even joined in.

Then, Lily made herself into a robot, just like Curious George did.

We had lots of fun, stuck to the topics (we certainly experienced the number four in a very physical way, which Oak Meadow recommends for learning letters and numbers), and practiced flexibility. I wish most days could be like that.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Survival Skills for Kids: Part 1

My 11-year-old son wants to learn about survival skills. He's already read a ton about first aid, and we're moving on from there. In addition to probably getting him his first Swiss army knife and teaching him how to use it safely, here are some handy resources I found to start us off this month:

Read and practice "The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know," The Dangerous Book for Boys, by Hal Iggulden, p 9, with backup from YouTube:

The Reef Knot or Square Knot

    Figure Eight Knot

    Bowline Knot

    Sheet Bend Knot

    Clove Hitch Knot

Wilderness Survival

I hope to post more on Survival Skills for Kids next month as we work our way through them.