Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fourth Travel Thanksgiving

Daddy took the job. We moved to Chicagoland. Kids went into the classroom. Everything was normal. Then, the classroom wasn't working for the exploration of what's available in the area. For example, one day I was late traveling from an expedition with the twins to pick up the oldest from the classroom. It was terrifying to be that far away and not trust where G#1 was in the classroom. So, we pulled the kids from the classroom, and began traveling space available on the largest airline in the United States. Regularly.

Why travel over Thanksgiving? That's the holiday all about family and food and gathering. Well, that's the holiday when the most seats are available for space available travelers like us. First, we traveled with the Daddy's folks to Munich and Salzburg. Then a year later, we got on with the paternal, adventurous Grandmother to Rome. Last year the five of us got to see Berlin and Prague. It was truly life-changing for me. This year, the five of us traveled leisurely, if not a little bit early in the morning, to Montreal. Yes, Thanksgiving is a travel holiday for us because there are people who are more willing to save the money and drive instead of buying the plane tickets. 

Yep, it means we home-school for the maximum flexibility. So far, that's working.  It was fun, FUN, F-U-N to go to a foreign culture and still be able to find English letters that were somewhat decipherable. The food was an adventure as well. By the way, all these four years in a row, we've eaten Turkish food where ever we've traveled on the Thursday of Thanksgiving. You know, eat Turkish on turkey day. The Turks call the bird most citizens of these United States eat hindi. It stands for sub-continental Indian. So, why can't I find a play on words and eat too? You only live once and we definitely live within our means to do so. Travel is a benefit like the trips to the dentist or emergent care. Once we realized how blessed we were to be placed in this life stage, we committed to developing it to the best of our knowledge and ability.

Our education is ongoing and it's not all about travel. It's about language study, grammar and vocabulary. It's about history and science, math and life lessons.  We've taught lessons to each other that we are blessed to share here on the blog. We are blessed to have dear friends and some dear relatives reading about our expeditions, because they love us enough to find us. Encourage us and work with us when we aren't "home" for family or friend gatherings. That's what I'm thankful for... blessed with... everyday of the year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cargo Exhibit

  Fascinating lesson on transportation at a port on St Lawrence Seaway. Also saw some strange architecture of cargo containers made into high rise condos.

idTV exhibit

G#3 was all about dinosaurs, but G#2 enjoyed the survey about various "issues" at this site.

Dinosaurs Unearthed

Montreal Science Centre on Old Port Quay is a kid's museum and a warm inside find today.

TinTin en Francais

We read all these books at a nearby library at home already. We are very ready for the movie release later in December. But, we didn't know that Montreal was a special place for Tin Tin, and we found these books and plaques in French! It was brilliant! 

A very animated naturalist at the Biodome

This man advised us about microscopes and even got G#2 to touch a thorny stick leg insect.

Montreal Biodome at Olympic Stadium

G#1 in the Laurentian Maple Forest observing a porcupine that had climbed to the highest point of a tree.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Uh Oh

I was putting away my school materials for the Thanksgiving week of travel, and found this. I have been starting seeds and buying flowers for science lessons.  But as I looked at the next lessons in order to prepare for what comes next in science, I found the need for earthworms and a optional dissection of a sea star. GREAT! I said to myself, I have those in the box from the vendor. Except, as I opened the box I see these pieces are not individually packaged. I don't need all of these specimens in the same week. Thus, I now need formaldehyde and a storage solution for those that are not used immediately. YIKES! Did I mention that I was a GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY MAJOR!!! My confidence level just took a dive... and now I'm ready to give up. But there is hope of some dissection expert in my future. I just have to find the means to preserve the specimens for my 4th and 5th graders to OBSERVE for Elemental Science Biology.

Happy Thanksgiving this week and I'll gladly post some pictures if we make it to Montreal and Quebec City, but just remember me in December managing this dissection conundrum.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 10 Flowers & Seeds

Lilies and Elemental Science Logic Stage Biology

Corn seed and bean seed in the dicot/monocot experiment plus the lilies makes for a colorful growing kitchen as it gets colder and darker outside.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Messy morning drive to CBS

G#2 took this picture as we drive past IKEA this morning on our way to community Bible study. About 10 degrees cooler and this would have been an even more stressful drive.  But as it was, two people were practicing their multiplication facts while the other was helping me take this picture. 

And, did you know that it takes 29 cents to send a postcard by USPS? Well, I'll definitely change how we get the Christmas greetings out to our friends in the next month by sending those with proper postage.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Following the Plan" Success in Grammar This Week

Grammar count for this week was very high after our quarterly report discussions on Monday.  We even got one fourth grader through the chapter two test.  All is not lost, and this is an encouragement for ALL language learning! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Great Free Resource for Ancients

The British Museum for Young People by Frances Epps  would be a FREE, brilliant source to have on the Kindle while romping through on your next visit.  I used Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum while visiting last September 2010.  Or just explore the Museum's website from where ever you are.

Not That Cold

Practicing flute, even though it's difficult, builds character. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quarterly Reports for 4th and 5th Grade

We don't have report cards. That would be kinda too much like the classroom. But, the three Gs here each got a separate and personal discussion with me about how each are doing really well with school, but not so well with grammar lessons. They pursue math with a vengeance, and hang back until the last minute to try the grammar lessons even when the topic isn't that challenging.  Maybe my grammar aversions are rubbing off on them.  Spelling, History, Science, Forest Habitats, Asian Flags and Band are right on par with the schedule. Superb!

Latin with the Daddy is falling to the wayside maybe due to the swimming 3 times a week, 2 trips a week to Bible study or the Lego building projects. Any other foreign language gets left on the to-do list also.  Art is always fun when we get organized and don't let ANYTHING detour us, but focus wanes.

Microscope fun with fungi and ferns

Logic stage biology delved superficially into the discussion of fungi last week and ferns this week. The fungi came from pond water the kids collected at Busse Woods while sailing with the daddy.  We followed along one of the youtube video links and remembered the ferns we'd seen in Hawaii recently. 

Next we explore flowering plants with corn and bean seeds which will be fun as the trees loose their leaves and the temperature drops. I wonder if there will be time for a garden this next summer after the house changes are done. The yard is cleaned off for this winter and we're starting garden seeds for science.

Sewing with G#2

I didn't best learn to sew from my mom.  We are very much alike.  I did value the time I spent with Dad's Aunt Ruth who patiently guided me through many of the 4H sewing projects I tried. When I waited too late and the county fair approached too soon, then I had to sew with my mom's supervision. That wasn't much fun for either of us. 

So, when our junior me decided she wanted to wear an outfit that resembled Ahsoka Tano from the Clone War episodes which occur somewhere in the Star Wars continuum before Anakin Skywalker turns rotten.  I offered her the opportunity to buy the costume on-line, but she asked if she could make it. Well, she picked out the fabric, the shirt, stockings and tapes. I found the face paint that helped finish it off. The one thing that didn't go as well as I'd tried was my first attempt at paper mache for the head piece. 

The paper mache head piece was pitched into oblivion on Monday the 31st at 3pm, and the muslin do-rag with blue paint tape and shiny beads was found an acceptable substitute.  After the face paint was applied, she was satisfied with the production and we commenced to visit the neighbors for treats. 

This will always be her first sewing project, and it was a memory for me of a cooperative, patient mommy. I hope she wants to sew again soon and that it becomes something she does with all her creativity and independence.