Thursday, October 31, 2013

One of Those Amazing Days

These kinds of days happen once in a while and every time they do I want to document them so that I can look back and remember...

Josiah's theme in school this week is "favorite tales" so his teacher read The Gingerbread Man. He did a great job completing the assignment of writing a happy ending to the story for the Gingerbread Man. After that his teacher did an experiment. She set a gingerbread man cookie partially in a cup of water and set a timer for 1 minute, then (a new cookie) 3 minutes and then (another cookie) 6 minutes to see what happened to the cookie. They have been talking about fanciful characters vs true characters so I'm guessing the point was that a gingerbread cookie could not have survived in water and is a fanciful character. Maybe that was the point? Maybe it was just to engage the boys in learning.

Josiah just HAD to replicate this experiment. He just HAD to help me bake cookies. Guess what? That's what we did. We baked chocolate chip cookies. I attempted to over bake the 4 cookies I knew he would hold in water so that they would not immediately break! Josiah thought it was awesome to watch the cookies get soggy and disintegrate. We counted seconds...I don't think we got to 30.

We were home today. I could drop everything and bake cookies. Awesome life.
On a completely unrelated note, I substituted coconut oil for shortening. They tasted great, but were flatter than normal. I think I should have warmed the coconut oil a bit, maybe? I had never used it before. Coconut oil is my new plan for breaking the bank...that stuff is expensive!

Aliza's science class included an activity.  Choose a habitat  that they've studied in this chapter and make a model and then tell someone else about that habitat. The teacher reviewed all the habitats, walked them through the activity requirements (choosing a habitat, 2 animals and 1 plant that live in the habitat, an interesting fact about the habitat and where on Earth that habitat is found). She showed an example model for each habitat and then sent the students on their way to complete the activity.

Lucky for me, but completely on her own, Aliza chose tundra as her habitat. She came up with her own idea and I helped her gather the supplies. Aliza wanted to draw her animals and I did some cutting. Her animals are a polar bear and arctic fox. The fox is behind the rock on the left and the polar bear is in front of the rock on the right. There is also an igloo in the background. The cotton balls are snow falling and also snow piles on the ground. I offered to find pictures of animals to print or cut out from magazines, but Aliza was adamant that she wanted to draw them. She was super happy with her product. It was perfect timing that when she finished Grandma arrived and Aliza could tell her all her tundra.
Now, let me tell you why the process of this project was so amazing taking into consideration by background as a traditionally educated child. 1) As a parent, I did not have to compete with helicotper, over achieving parents who do their child's projects. 2) Aliza could be super happy with her work when it was done and the next day too. She did not have to walk into class and look at everyone else's work (or their parents) and find her's not measuring up. 3) We could work on this project in the morning when we both were fresh and alert and happy. Not after she was at school for 7+ hours and was assigned this project for homework--to do in the evening when neither of us care and are tired.

 How did I pull off giving Aliza undivided attention? These 2 were busy playing house...on top of the car. Of course that is the most logical place to play house. (It causes their Father to twitch.) And then I saw what blankets and pillow they took out. I didn't twitch. I just shook my head because, if you're going to bake cookies and make habitat models in one morning, something is going to have to give. Awesome life.
Then we had lunch and took a rest time (thank you, God!). I needed that. This afternoon it was time to tackle math and I knew that was going to be a big one. Aliza was introduced to the concept of borrowing in subtraction problems. She's a smart kid and she'll get it... We used just about every tactic I knew. She watched and listened to her teacher. She used manipulatives with her teacher and on her own. I did the writing so that she could just concentrate on talking her way through the process and then she did the writing and the talking. Let's emphasize the amount of TALKING that happened. (I totally understand her.) This got us through the front side of the worktext and I said, "Take a break. We'll do the back side tomorrow." Neither one of us could take any more! Awesome life.

All of this plus the rest of their school subjects were done before supper because tonight was movie and candy night. We watched The Incredibles. Aliza declared it the best movie ever. There were a couple out of control super heroes in our house after the movie...but they are all sleeping soundly now. Awesome life.

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