Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week Two Wrap Up

They were Knights and those water bottles in their hands were their swords ... silly girls.

It happens every year.

Even though we don't go to school, September brings on the germs for everyone. My theory ~ once all of the kids out there start getting to school and swapping the germs, they go with Mommy to Publix or the library and get those germs on the cart and the books. Then, we head to Publix or the library and pick up those germs.

You get the idea.

So, our week two? A bit of a relaxed, unschooling week. As per usual in September.

But, it's not as if *nothing* was done or learned. Let me share with you what went down this week, no pencils required. I'll be honest, though. I don't have very many pictures at all. Sorry about that.

We learned a good lesson in appreciating clean drinking water. Our lovely little 81 year old neighbor knocked on the door on Tuesday morning to inform us that our little town had issued a "boil water advisory" until further notice. Apparently they had found E. Coli in one of the supply wells. Fantastic. So, we spent two days boiling water to brush our teeth, wash our hands and cook with. We pretended to be Laura Ingalls Wilder and used the same dish and spoon all day on Tuesday, only rinsing it (in the boiled water) and wiping it out between meals. The girls got a mini break from dish washing. They thought the whole event was so exciting. Momma was "over it" in no time. But, it did provide the opportunity for a discussion about how lucky we are here in America. We talked about how there are people around the world who *never* have clean drinking water. Needless to say, all three of us broke out our Gratitude Journals and wrote down "clean drinking water" ... and "Miss Dot" (for telling us). By the way, we do not buy bottled water. Those water bottles in that picture up there are from Miss Dot ... she and her sweet husband went to buy water for themselves and us. We love them so much!

The Hippie picked up our copy of D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, proceeded to fall completely in love with it and finished the whole thing. She made so many connections, coming to me almost daily to tell me about the similarities between this story and a Roman myth she already knew or between that story and a Bible story she knows. She learned about all of the Greek gods. She made connections and got excited about constellations and planets and Odysseus. She loved it! And, I loved knowing that she read a book all on her own that I'd been trying to "schedule". Sometimes you just have to trust the process.

The Princess made a mermaid doll from start to finish in a day and a half's time. No kidding. One day she didn't come out from Quiet Time for a very long time. When I went to check on her, she was in the craft room, surrounded by bits of cloth, listening to an audio book and sewing. She pricked her fingers about a million times, she said. But, she was determined. Start to finish ~ a day and a half. No pattern. No directions. Straight out of her head. She made a template on paper, cut it out, cut out the fabric, sewed and stuffed and everything. All by herself. Without direction or assignment or help. Amazing. Again, sometimes you just have to trust the process!

We played restaurant Saturday night instead of playing games. We play restaurant often. It's really great. The Hippie puts on the red and white checkered table cloth and sets the table ... including all of that extra silverware that people don't use. If it's Italian (and it often is), we turn on "Italian Restaurant" music on Pandora. I usually prepare a simple meal and then we (the Princess, Daddy and I) come to the "restaurant" and ask for seating for a "party of four", saying that our other daughter is still coming. She takes our orders. She gives the Princess activity pages and crayons. She pours our wine and brings us bread and oil and spices. I pretend to go the restroom whenever I need to help dish things out. At the end of the night, it feels like we've actually gone out to eat ... but, it's FREE. Awesome (now, if we could just figure out how to do it for free without my cooking or anyone having to clean up the kitchen afterwards, that would be extra special, wouldn't it?).

Anyhoo, on this particular evening, the HIPPIE did the cooking! She made a recipe that she made up (and it was delicious!). Even better. The cool thing on this particular "restaurant night" was the impromptu three dimensional art class that took place. Daddy and the girls got all into drawing three dimensional shapes and angles and distance and proportion and all of that ... on the back of our menus ... with the crayons the Hippie always brings to the table for the kids. Perfect!

Sunday was the first Jaguars football game. We all settled in, wearing our gear (even the big stuffed bear and the giant stuffed dog) ... to watch them lose miserably. Ugh. We *love* football season. I love how it signals that fall is coming. We simply love it. What we don't love is that our team sucks. Oh well. Can't win them all, can we?

Monday found us in the land of "Millions of Caterpillars". That started an experiment that we've been tending to and learning from all week. Unfortunately, we may fail this one miserably, but not for lack of trying. We were all out on the carport on Monday and we discovered that there were caterpillars everywhere. In total home school fashion, instead of moving them from the carport to the plants so that they could eat, we got out our little backyard habitat and set it up with leaves and branches and chose four caterpillars to try to grow into butterflies.

We're learning a lot from this experience. At first, we had put water in the bottom, thinking that they needed the moisture. When we started having problems with caterpillars trying to drown themselves, we decided to look up how to actually do this. You're not supposed to do the water. Oops. We learned that some caterpillars burrow into the soil to pupate, while some need a branch to hang from to pupate. So, unless you know which kind you have, you need to provide both options. We also learned that you want to take their food supply and insert the bottom of the branches into a small jar of water (to keep it fresh), but then you want to place cotton balls into the mouth of the jar so that the caterpillars cannot fall into the water.

We also learned that caterpillars sleep and wake to the sun. The habitat was placed on the girls' dresser. We have cardboard in the windows at night so that it is nice and dark and when we removed the cardboard and opened the blinds on the first morning, you'd have thought that all four of the caterpillars were dead. They were completely still. Seriously. We went on about getting ready for the day, and after a bit of sunlight had been in the room, they all four started wiggling around and having a good old time. Observation really is the key to so much scientific learning!

Unfortunately, we do not know what these guys eat. We found them on concrete, so there's no information there. It would stand to reason that they would eat whatever plants, bushes or trees were nearby. But, I tell ya', we keep trying those plants and they just keep hanging around on the plastic stuff. I don't think they are eating, but I don't know what else to try.

Another problem we are having is that they keep getting down between the plastic of the bottom and top pieces of the habitat. Like I said, we may never grow a butterfly. We may kill four caterpillars (sadly), but it won't be for lack of trying. We are tending to them all the time. We'll see how it all turns out.

We also managed some painting this week. The girls set up on Tuesday with watercolor and acrylic paints. They painted beautiful pictures and I could see that the Hippie was trying to imitate what she'd learned from Bob Ross last week on The Joy of Painting. She was disappointed that hers wasn't as "good" as his, but she's a good sport and managed to fix it up to her liking. This was all done with Verdi playing in the background, of course.

In addition to the painting and the art class, there was also hand work this week. Each of the girls worked on gifts for Daddy. To audio books. I think that is a very relaxing way to spend your afternoon when you don't feel well.

Thursday was our last pool day with our Home School Group. To say it was fantastic would be an understatement. Those children and those Mommas are truly special. It's like a family. We love it. We love the time with babies. We love the time with friends. I love the fact that those children love to play. They played freeze tag. They played duck duck goose. They played "Olympics". And, of course they swam. We truly are blessed to be part of such a lovely group of women and children.

As if I haven't mentioned enough subjects for our "sick week", there was also some German language learning.  The Princess listened to our German for Children Cd's all through her Quiet Time a couple of days this week. The girls also got really into German yesterday. They sat together through several lessons of German. That got them all teary-eyed about missing Germany, so we played "airplane". I set up the couch in front of an "in-flight movie". The girls packed suit cases and came to my security check point. I scanned a hand-held Yahtzee game across their bodies, beeping slowly most of the way, but beeping *lots* of times around any metal they had. I scanned their suitcases and they "boarded" the plane (couch). Once the plane took off, I came around with a cart (our wooden shopping cart) filled with drinks and snacks and they had a movie morning. That made them feel better. But, it *was* decided that we are putting German back on the school schedule this year!

For my final bits of "school" that took place during our "sick week", let me just tell you how amusing it is to hear the Geography Songs CD rocking out in the craft room during Quiet Time. It sounded like the Hippie was listening to pop music or something, so I leaned in to hear (she wouldn't be listening to pop, of course. We don't have any around and we don't do radio, but I still wanted to know what the heck she was listening to). It was a song about countries in Europe or something. Gotta love that! ... oh yeah, back to the final bits of "school" ... the Princess did some "copywork" by dictating to me what she wanted to say in Daddy's birthday card and then copying what I wrote (By the way, if you're still waiting on thank you cards, she'll be getting back to those next week. We love you and she very much appreciates the gifts, but it takes a minute to get all that writing done!). Oh, and I almost forgot the little "chemistry session" put on by the Hippie for the benefit of the Princess and I. Too much fun around here. :)

And, now, as I sit here writing this, the Hippie is reading, the Princess is playing with Sweet Pea and we are going to be heading out soon to the Post Office, Library and a Festival of the Chariots ... an Indian festival of Ratha Yatra that will have dancing, entertainment and food. Awesome introduction to the Hippie's upcoming block on Ancient India! Exciting stuff, I tell ya!

** Take a look back up there. Do you see all of those large, bold words? That's all the learning that went down without a plan ... and, that's just what I remember. I think those Unschoolers might be onto something.
How was your week? I'll leave you with the *few* pictures I captured.

Chemistry ... and yes, we are in the bathroom, lol.

They are looking off at the angle of the refrigerator or something ...

Everyone in their gear, even the two stuffed animals ... all set up to watch the Jaguars suck. Lovely.

Poor baby ... the Princess looks about as miserable as she felt.

We saved this guy ... he was STUCK to the gooey remains of duct tape.

Checking out her books for the upcoming year

My sick veterinarian, reading :)

My little Knight ... and her trusty sidekick, Sweet Pea

My little Knights ... who needs boys?

There were SO many families and children there ... somehow I managed the one shot of the pool that only had a few kids in it. Haha

Isn't she cute?

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