Saturday, August 6, 2011

Life Learning ... Organically

Well, we are all moved in.  We moved our stuff in this past weekend.  

Momma has spent the week unpacking and getting settled.  We're getting there.

Daddy has been working hard at work.  We are so thankful for the hard work he does to afford us the opportunity to be home together, learning all the time.  

The girls have been busy learning all week.  

We've been to our new library ... and cleaned them out, as usual.  We got books on the World Trade Center, Blimps, Horses (of course ... the Princess always empties the horse section), true animal stories, paper airplanes, baking, recipes, popcorn, Bach, Mary Cassatt, Shakespeare and so much more.  

We've been to our new Post Office.  More than once.

We've been to our new grocery store.  The girls learned the important lesson to always pay attention to the prices as they ring up.  If you got something that had a sale tag in front of it and it doesn't ring up with the sale price, always be brave (overcome your shyness) and say something to the clerk.  You will throw away a TON of money if you don't pay attention.  

We've been to the cable place. We've had the cable guy come here.  

We've unpacked, organized, rearranged, measured to be sure things would fit and had fun with things we'd forgotten we had. 

As far as learning at home, let's see ...  

While reading about the World Trade Center, the Hippie got out our Presidents place mat to see what George W. Bush looked like (because her book was talking about how President Bush invaded Iraq after the 9/11 attacks on the WTC).  

This led us all into a discussion about presidents and the White House.  They wanted to see who was president when they were born, when I was born, when Nanu was born, when Nana & Grandpa were born.  We talked about George W. being the son of George H.W. Bush.  We talked about Jimmy Carter and Eisenhower. We talked about Obama. 

We talked about the two-term limit and discovered that FDR served over three terms (he died just after starting his fourth term).  Momma was sure the two-term limit had been around longer than that, so we looked it up and discovered that George Washington had "set the two-term example", but the amendment was not actually made to the Constitution until 1947, two years after FDR.  Prior to that, the two-term limit was merely an "unspoken rule".

The Princess wanted to see the White House.  The Hippie informed us that the White House had not always been the same, that it had had a fire at some point and been rebuilt (Momma's learning on this journey we call homeschooling, too).  So, we looked it up.  Apparently, during the War of 1812 (in 1814, actually), the British set fire to many of our public buildings in D.C., including the White House.  I had the Hippie look at the place mat to figure out who was president when this happened ... James Madison.  Reconstruction was finished in time for James Monroe's inauguration in 1817. 

The Princess wanted to know how long there had been presidents.  Once again, the Hippie "schooled me".  I started to say, "Well, we've been America since 1776, so that is 235 years".  The Hippie corrected me and said that George Washington didn't become president until later than 1776.  She was right ~ his presidency began in 1789.  The student schools the teacher again.  

We've also learned about Blimps, creating science and history lessons all wrapped up in one.  We learned that they used to use hydrogen in blimps (hydrogen, like helium is lighter than air, so it rises), but hydrogen, unlike helium, is flammable.  We learned about the Hindenburg and how it crashed in flames because it was filled with hydrogen, not helium.  We learned that before this accident, blimps were used for passenger travel, but not after that.  We learned that there are air valves that the pilot uses to release or add helium ~ they add helium if they want to go higher and they release helium if they want to go lower.  Of course, we already knew from our family's love of NFL football that blimps are used to film events!  

The Hippie read some Shakespeare and talked about how she and her friend wanted to act out a Shakespeare play, so she'd have to check this book out from the library again whenever we went to their house again. 

I overheard an elaborate make-believe race car event held in our "learning room" ... with rolls of tape, not toy cars.  Funny thing, I heard the Hippie announcing, and one of the racers were named John Adams ... hmmm, wonder if that came from all of the Presidential talk the day before?

The Princess created an elaborate zip-line in her room for her horses to ride down.  Unfortunately, it cuts the room in half and cuts off the access to the bathroom, so it has to come down and go back up, but it sure is fun.  The horses told me themselves.  

The Hippie randomly requested to hear the song I walked down the aisle to ... which happens to be Pachelbel's Canon in D.  I found it on youtube and we listened.  Then, we put it into Pandora and listened to all kinds of great classical music the other evening while coloring clothes pins (another thing altogether ... we like to decorate our clothes pins with Sharpies ... they are so fun and colorful).  We heard "Spring" by Antonio Vivaldi and both girls knew the song from the time when the Princess was obsessed with Little Eintseins. 

The girls have helped me in the kitchen.  The Princess has always loved to take the leaves off of the kale stems and wash them.  This week she learned how to pop the ends off of fresh green beans and wash them.  So rhythmical and meditative!

The Princess made a dress for her wooden horse, complete with sewing on a button.

We've been traveling the world through dress up.  They've dressed up as Flamenco Dancers from Spain (thanks to Nanu), an African playing our African guitar, an Asian, Native American princess, a Muslim (with the pretty dress and head covering) ... they even dressed up as a bride and a groom (the Hippie put on Daddy's clothes to be the groom). 

They've been observing what happens when you put frozen blueberries into water.  It's really cool to watch as the color streams out and eventually the blueberry sinks.  They added ice and lemon juice and a couple of drops of stevia and made all-natural "pink lemonade" ... their new favorite drink!  We talked about reasons why the ice pops and cracks when you put it into the water.  They have gotten to "make ice" for the first time in their memory ~ this is the first place we've had that has a refrigerator that doesn't have an ice-maker.  So, the science lesson for "First Grade" this week was also about how you can put filtered water into the tray and put it into the freezer and the temperature will cause the liquid to turn into a solid.  

They've learned about fish, sea bass in particular via Wild Kratts.

They've continued to watch their favorite cooking show, Giada at Home.  The Hippie put on a complete cooking show for the Princess and I to watch yesterday.  She even "froze" when we had to "pause" it to go to the restroom or something.  So much fun!

The girls have also learned the importance of washing your dish immediately after using it so that the sink doesn't fill up.  This is the first house we've had since before children that does not have a dishwasher!

The Hippie has fallen in love with a new book that she can't get enough of.  If you have a girl about her age (8 1/2), check it out.  It's called The Magic Half.  She LOVES it and tells me all about it all the time!   

The Hippie has also read:
  • Bach's Big Adventure by Sallie Ketcham
  • The First Moon Landing by Tomas Adamson
  • Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela Turner
  • The True Story of Stellina by Matteo Pericoli
  •  The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola
  • A Home for Dixie: The True Story of a Rescued Puppy by Emma Jackson

We spent some time looking through the paper airplanes in our book.  Some look very complicated, but very cool.  Daddy and the girls are looking forward to trying some out when he is off work tomorrow!

The Princess has continued to draw pictures (daily) and play with her horses and with the kittens and in the "kitchen" and in the dress up and with the toy stroller and more.  Both girls have climbed their new tree and created imaginary lands in their new yard.

All in all, I think it's been a very educational week!  And, tonight we're off to a FREE scrimmage game at our favorite NFL team's stadium ... getting us pumped for football season, which is right around the corner!  

How has your week been?  What has your family learned naturally? 


  1. Mama you ROCK !!!!!

    Seriously you were worried about being creative :).
    Glad your move went well and thanks for the book recommend.


  2. Thank you, Kim. I'm trying to pay more attention to what IS happening ... It's amazing the amount that goes on NATURALLY if you notice it! I still have fears to let go of and am not exactly sure how I intend to move forward this year ... but I am so thankful to YOU for starting me on yet ANOTHER homeschooling journey ... I love your blog b/c you (like me) have gone from a strict Waldorf HS into a more Organic Learning direction ... many blessings.

    Book recommendation? The Magic Half? My daughter LOVED it! You should check it out for Miss Sky!

  3. I loooooooooooooooove you mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


  4. The only thing you don`t know about mommy is
    she is soooooooooooo coooooooooooooool.


    (p.s My mommy roooooooooooooooocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


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