Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Field Trip

     Some times in the quest for fun and interesting things to do, it is easy to over look what is most convenient.  There is a wonderful little living history museum just a few miles from our house, but in the four + years we've been here I'd never been!  It took a co-op field trip for me to finally take the kids to a really cool educational place.

The house and outbuildings are furnished to evoke the period from 1795- 1840, which makes it especially neat if you have read books such as the Little House books or Understood Betsy.  It's fun to look around and say, I know what that is! So-in-so had one in this book. 

I didn't get to look around as much as I would have liked, since Samuel was obsessed with getting into the 200 year old cradle that was in the house.  He also can't pass by a chair without sitting in it, so a house full of chairs that he couldn't sit in was pure torture.  So as you can see from the pictures, most of my time was spent dragging Abriel around while trying to keep up with Samuel, who took particular interest in climbing the fence and running into the spring house.

At the end of the tour, the children dipped their own beeswax candle.  The smell of melted beeswax is heavenly.   Anna's candles came out a little crookidy, but I think it added to their artistic charm.  I found just the right candle holder for them, and they look delightful on out nature table.

Testing Time

     In compliance with our state law, Anna had her first annual National Standardized Achievement test yesterday.  Anna has never been tested for anything, ever, so I was curious (and I admit a little nervous) as to how she would do.  I didn't even do anything to prep her for it. We just kept on doing what we do, which is a very gentle, steady, no rush approach to learning.  It's definitely not "standard" , and so with taking a "Standardized" test I wondered if what she knew would show up on the test. 
     All said and done though, she did very well, which adds confidence for me to continue on with what we are doing.  Even if she had done, let's say "less than average" I probably would keep doing what we are doing, since I love it, but it's nice to have a little test score pat on the back.  I thought it was funny that one area where she didn't do as well, was story recall.  Considering the agony that is narration around here, I wasn't too surprised.  Eventually she will learn the art of narration, but for now, it's a bit like pulling teeth. 
     Anna is very different than me in many aspects, and it was never more apparent in seeing her calm confidence at getting ready to be tested.  It didn't seem to faze her one bit.  I was very proud.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Is Here! Getting Back into Nature Walks

     With the return of warm weather has come the return of nature walks as well.  Saturday we went on a nature walk at a local bird sanctuary without even bringing the stroller!  The twins are really growing up. 
     There is a huge tree there that is more fun than any jungle gym.  The kids had a blast climbing around on it; I even climbed some. 
We did not see a single bird, (well, maybe a robin) but it was great getting out, getting muddy, and seeing things that we don't have in our back yard.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our Island Story- The Founding of the Round Table

Spring Has Arrived at the Nature Table

     After a slow and awkward transition, our nature table has now been thoroughly transformed into spring.   The tree is still bare, as are the trees out side, but there is forsythia and daffodils blooming, moss growing, and a bean seed waiting to sprout.

     The bean in the jar is part of a nature study I did on germination with my co-op class.  Doing Charlotte Mason style nature studies with a class has been fun and challenging.  There are twelve little children ranging from kindergarten to second grade, so keeping everyone engaged and interested requires a lot of patients and an interesting subject matter.  The bean jars were a hit.

     A new little friend has just joined the nature table.  Even though he is a daddy bird, he has the job of keeping the eggs warm, since making a female cardinal was a little beyond me.  I actually started him to be in our winter table, but have just now managed to finish him.  Maybe if I start a robin now, I will get it finished in time for summer.  I made the nest as well, and the wooden eggs were given to me by my sister.  I have several real nests that I could use, (I went nest collecting this winter to show my nature class) but I could just envision several little hands strewing nest debris all over the house.  So for now the fake nest is better for us. 

     I have to admit that I think I am enjoying the nature table better than any one.  It has been so much fun thinking about what things to put on it to best reflect the season.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Glasses for Abriel

     It has been a really long while since I've written anything, but I'm ready to start writing again.  There's no specific reason for the break; I haven't been particularly busier than normal, maybe just more tired. 
     The big news today is that Abriel got her glasses today!  I am very glad that she can finally see, and she looks so durn cute in them too.   So, how did I figure out that my just turned two year old is having trouble seeing?  About a month after Anna's eye surgery, I started noticing Abriel's eye turning in.  At first I thought I was just paranoid; after all Anna just had surgery to correct her exotropia, so I was sort of on  the look out for wandering eyes.  However, it soon became apparent that this was definitely not my imagination.  Here's a picture of her with her eye going in.
     This is not even as extreme as it can get; some times going in so much you can hardly see her iris.  It's not just one eye either, the other one goes in too, and sometimes they cross together.  An appointment to the Ophthalmologist showed that she is very far-sighted and is crossing in an attempt to focus.  But really, other than the eye crossing, she seemed to see fine. 
     That was until she tried on her glasses.  At first she tried to take them off a couple of times, but then  I showed her a book.  She was so excited, she kept saying "Ooo, Eee, look!"  After that she kept them on.   Here she is in all her cuteness.

And the side view.

       She took them off a few times this evening, (I found them on her bear once) and has already bent them out of shape a little, (good thing I got that warranty!) but all in all I think she is so thrilled with being able to see that she wants them on.  She even cried when I took them off for her to go to bed.  She told me, "I want gwashes!"