Monday, May 21, 2012

The Tracy Aviary

 We lucked out a month ago and got in on a terrific deal on Utah's Pass of All Passes.  We get to go to water parks and lots of fun sporting and other events.  The other plus for us, is that on Mondays, we get to go to the Tracy Aviary, as well.  We've been several times now, and the kids really do love it. Today, we hit the aviary again.  It wasn't terribly busy, and we got there in time to see the bird show before we had our picnic lunch.


 At the show, we got to see an adorable toucan named Ingrid.

 An emu, aptly named, Sydney, who was a rather funny guy. As well as a rather shy parrot.

I think the kids favorite part was running around pretending to migrate across the stumps and stones labeled with flyover stops for birds migrating through this area.  It was a hit.

So, okay, penguins aren't birds that migrate through Utah, but Winnie couldn't resist the cute little chick perched on his father's feet in this drawing.

The eyelashes on the hornbills kill me.
 They were extremely interested in the kids.  We had a whole gathering.

The kids were greeting this friendly peacock.  He was so friendly that he tried to join in on the bird show unexpectedly.

These guys shared their enclosure with a special surprise -- very new ducklings.  There were 10 of them, and the mama duck was frantic trying to keep track of them as they swam and ran all over her.  The father duck was sleeping in the corner of the enclosure.  
The kids thought this was pretty funny. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Patience, grasshopper

Remember how I am always telling you that it will happen if you wait, watch, and don't push.  It is much easier said than done.  I have read all the unschooling books, I talk the talk myself all over the place, but in my darkest moments I still question it.  Maybe "it" won't happen.  Sure he learns, but what about school stuff?

Angus is "special," things don't come as easily, he has a diagnosis, he's not terribly focused, he's left-handed, yadda yadda -- what if reading, and exposing him to the things, and not pushing, but waiting until he's ready doesn't work?  What if he doesn't have a time for writing?  What if he's 18 and can't read.  What if, what if??? 

Thankfully, Adam (my husband) has an infinite amount of patience.  "It will happen," he says.  "You know it will, it just isn't happening on your time schedule, and that's bothersome for you, but not for him."  And he's right, and then, just like Leo the Late Bloomer's father, I go back to reading my paper and waiting.

It doesn't help that, especially with Angus, there is no suggesting.  No pushing.  No "hey let's try."  Until he'd ready, he's not ready.  So I wait.

I will say, that when you wait like that, that when it happens, it's big.  You are excited, you get supplies, you sit with him in rapt anticipation.  Things get hung up and framed.  I should probably not make such a big deal of it, but I get excited.  :)

 So it was today, that I was a happy mama when Angus started rooting around for a piece of paper.  "Hey, dude, do you need something," I asked.  "I need to practice writing the letter b," he says.  I think never in the history of momdom has a mom moved faster to get paper, pencils, and the alphabet card I have for them to reference letters.  He wrote.  He practiced his whole alphabet in some form  "Hey, Angus," says I," if you can write a b, you can write a d, and a p, and a q."  We went from there.  There were letters and numbers, and he was awesome, and the angels sung for a bit for this mama.

Then there was some spelling and sounding out of things, and it was pretty amazing.  This page is currently on our refrigerator.

Then even Winnie got in on some fun.  She wrote a little, and they did some counting with farm animals.  And as quick as it came, it was gone, but he has the skills.  I know he does, I saw it.  And he was happy, and proud of himself.  And again I can wait, quietly, as every day he learns, and some days he even learns things that calms my nerves about "real" school versus doing it at home.  Life is beautiful in our neck of the woods.  Every day, and some days it actually looks a tiny bit like "school."  And that's okay, I guess.  :):):::::::::::::)))))):)))  (Winnie's blog contribution)

Of Plastics, Polymers, and Pinterest

If you homeschool, and have not found pinterest, you need to -- fast! For us it's a great place to find ideas for science experiments, craft projects, and so much more.  Trust me.  You will not regret it. 

So it was on that note that this morning we set out to make plastic, after having found a cool science experiment on pinterest over the weekend.  We learned a little about plastics and polymers, and then we made bouncing balls.  This is the tutorial we used. 

Okay, in advance, let me tell you a few things we learned.  First of all, they will not be as clear as the picture there, but it's still definitely worth the experiment.  Secondly, they are not going to hold together as beautifully as a commercially-manufactured bouncy ball.  In that, if you whack it really really hard, it will bust open, however, that was one of the coolest parts of it for us, as they are amazing inside.  One last thing, stir it into a ball, and start rolling it in your hands before it's too hard to stir.  Okay, that said, here we are doing it.

We're rolling, rolling, rolling.

   Rolling, rolling, rolling

 Look, we made bouncy balls!

This isn't a clean one, so, yay, do it in the kitchen. :)