California skys of blue, palm trees, chilled mint green tea, projects with my babies, filling up on sun and dirt and everything robust and healthful: how I do love Spring! As April has passed into May, we finished our Renaissance unit and transitioned into our last big unit of the year: Joyful Spring. I’ve been planning this for awhile, and it so happened that our charter school (through whom we conduct our homeschooling) linked to several resources (videos, worksheets) through its Moodle interface. Lucky timing! We have benefitted so much this year from the online resources (especially video) to which River Springs offers a group subscription. I’ve broken our Joyful Spring unit into several sections, starting with flowers (anatomy, etc)/plants and birds. We’ll also cover ladybugs and butterflies before school ends in early June. I’ve been looking forward to our Joyful Spring unit, because it is such a natural fit with season, our garden, and our chickens. We’ve also got a couple of FIAR books to finish, which puts us right on pace. What a fun (and fast!!!) Kindergarten year for Katie!

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Painting birdhouses as part of our bird lessons

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Taking a cue from our friend Emma (a fellow homeschooler), I had the kiddos make their own recycling box.

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Plant facts scavenger hunt in the yard

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Hunting for plant facts

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A FIAR activity for Katy and the Big Snow: designing a city. There were various suggestions with respect to how to do this (i.e. marker on a big sheet), but we were able to find some building printouts online, laminate them, and tape them to blocks. The kiddos had to answer questions such as: Where is the best place for the post office? Would it make sense to put the live theater by the airport? Why or why not?

We finished up Katy and the Big Snow and have now begun one of our favorite books in this set: Very Last First Time, a book about Inuit mussel gathering underneath the ice caves that form when the ocean tides recede. Following a tip from our homeschooling friend Connie, we found a great BBC video that shows a real expedition. We’ve been studying Ungava Bay and upper Canada as well as Inuit culture. I’m in love with this book—one of the richer selections, in my opinion, as there is so much to discuss on a personal level, too. It also ties in slightly with our other leisure time reading: the Caroline series from American Girl, which takes place in parts of Canada and the U.S. in 1812.

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Eric has been pretending to be a blacksmith (his idea) in his shop underneath the play structure. He pulls on the swing chain to work his bellows.

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We don’t bake very often anymore, but when we do: challah!

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Changing the pine chips in our chicken coop

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Saw this multiple times on Pinterest and gave it a whirl: baggies filled with paint for mixing and finger play for little ones while older students work. Eric had the idea to get his toy cars and use them to drive around and mix the paint. Good color mix review for the little guy…

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A Montessori tray that popped into my head one evening: use the Legos to copy the shape in the middle exactly. Good spatial practice.

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Kumon penmanship cards. Two-year-old Eric is now getting in the game… He has been showing increasing interest in his letters. Thanks to a brilliant strategy concocted by my dad, Eric got over the hump of “1-2-3-1-2” in his counting, and he has been heard counting to 12. Most of the time, he stops at about 5, but he did make it to 12 a couple of times. My dad is now using his strategy to start spelling three letter words with Eric. Those two are definitely on the same wavelength. I am hoping to work with intense focus on Eric’s letter identification this summer…

 

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We worked on flower pressing several days ago, as part of our flower lessons. We happen to have this frame of pressed flowers that my great-grandmother (the kiddos’ great-great-grandmother) made decades ago. I talked about her and showed them pictures of her again, and then we made our own pressed flowers…

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Arranging them in the book (Critical Theory Since Plato)…

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Flowers being pressed by some favorite books and textbooks… We will check them tomorrow…

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First watermelon of the season

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Zorro and Peter Pan work on language arts…

 

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I took the kiddos to Disneyland by myself (no second chaperone) on Thursday. So easy! They were completely well behaved, sticking close and agreeing about how best to spend our time there. We arrived close to opening and stayed until 3:00 PM, when we called Nana and asked if we could drop by to visit. On our way out, we stopped in a bakery and picked out a Matterhorn Macaroon to take to Nana. Yummy! The first thing the kiddos wanted to do when we got to Disneyland was to see one of the plays in the new theater. How much do I love that? The Fantasy Faire theater is excellent, actually, very aware of itself as a theater. For example, Rapunzel explains that a long yellow ribbon is a “theatrical representation” of her hair in one scene. The plays are also teeming with allusions (both musical and vocal) to other works across literature and culture. Love it. After Rapunzel we rode Peter Pan, Eric’s favorite. He dressed as Peter Pan all day (actually, he dresses as Peter Pan every day, lately).

 

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Zorro’s wife and Peter Pan on the way to music class Friday morning

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Our bean sprout, planted in April. Every day we check it against a bean sprout book (from EnchantedLearning.com) that Katie made. So fun!

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Torn paper flower garden art

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Eric is able to pedal the trike on his own now!

 

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Thanks to my mom and dad, my husband and I had a date night to see Iron Man 3 in Imax 3-D tonight! So many layers in that film… theatricality, nature of memory, obsessive genius, performance and narrative, how we create symbols, etc. We are such comic book and science fiction nerds! We’re the couple who saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand on our honeymoon because it had just come out the day before we got married. Tony Stark/Iron Man is our favorite Avenger. Ben Kingsley was superior in his role as The Mandarin. And now I have to stop talking about this film, because I am tempted to spill the beans in every way. So, so, so much to analyze in it…

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And there have also been afternoons filled with backyard play in the wading pool, with homemade popsicles and sunshine and mirth. Eric pretends to be Peter Pan, and Katie and I are mermaids in Mermaid Lagoon.

Health-wise, I hit some milestones this week.  Last week I completed a personal best distance of 6.3 miles on one of my runs. Today I logged a 5.8 mile run and hope to go beyond 4 miles again tomorrow. During the week, I run 2-3 miles at a time, primarily because I have to fit it in before Bill goes to work. I weighed in today at 121.4 pounds, so I am maintaining. I weigh daily and experienced some fluctuation a few days ago (which was strange because I count every calorie I put in my mouth), but thankfully whatever it was straightened itself out. On June 1st, I will take a final accounting of a full year of my lifestyle change (running, weight loss) and set goals for the upcoming year.

May is truly one of my favorite months, and we have our seven year anniversary coming up in a few weeks…along with Fleetwood Mac in Anaheim! Can’t wait! Katie also has a River Springs field trip to the Long Beach Aquarium scheduled this month, the rest of soccer season, and the showcase with her choir group. My cousin and his wife just found out that they are expecting a girl (their first child), and one of my dearest friends Marguerite is also expecting a girl (her third child). So much goodness!

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