Saturday, January 31, 2009

Boy's Day Out

So today the boys had a day out. Heinrich took Mason rock climbing with some friends while Mommy and Mickey had a girl's day (aka running errands)! I'm trying very hard not to question or give "to do" lists (as of two weeks ago) so when Heinrich planned this, I let him run with it. Well, I ended up getting a call to bring Mason his running shoes. :) I rushed home, grabbed his shoes, and off Mickey and I went to the Grotto. I was secretly thrilled because I'd get to see my little guy try the wall (even though he won't go near it at gymnastics). He did really well. I was so proud of him because I know he was scared. It helped to have a peer there who had done it before. And he did even better after Mommy left! :( After climbing they went out for lunch and then back to the other family's house for some play.

Rock climbing is a really neat sport. To be honest, I thought the club was going to be really intimidating and it was quite the opposite. It was relatively inexpensive for the amount of time they were there. It's something too that they can progress at and they're competing only with themselves and no one else. No one else is watching, nor cares!

We've really made an effort this year at having time with each child separately. Mickey especially is so different on her own. We also try and give them different extracurricular options. It's not always easy. It can be very expensive and can be time consuming. But I think it's good for them to be apart and to find their own way. Neither one of them makes a fuss when we leave and easily goes to their new coaches or teachers. Last year Mason did an art class, tennis and music on his own while Mickey took a dance class. Together they did gymnastics and swimming (although they were in different groups).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A New Perspective

An old photo but one I like!

So my eyes have been opened! Doesn't life always feed us the unexpected! On Tuesday at gymnastics class Mickey was taken aside by another coach and was put through some skill testing exercises. Before the end of class this coach came out and told me that the club wanted to invite Mickey to join the advanced gymnastics program for 3 and 4 year olds. Not only would it mean more $$$ but it would require her to attend for 3 hours a week instead of the 1 hour she's been doing for the past year. I have no experience with competitive athletics so I asked everyone I could get a hold of to share their opinions. I got a variety of feedback. All of it was very much appreciated because as I said I had no idea what I was doing! Anyhow, we decided to try it out until the next session starts in April. Today was our first day. We're not interested in competitive sports but we like the opportunity for more physical activity (since we homeschool) and for more one-on-one skill building. For the record, Mickey had a say in this and when asked, gave a heartfelt YES!

The class was a little different than I expected. It definitely wasn't a play/fun time although Mickey was in her glory! She smiled for the whole hour and a half! There were a lot of conditioning exercises that I wasn't expecting. It was done in a fun, pressure-free way but everything was purpose driven. At the same time that Mickey's class was going on there were 8-10 school aged girls practicing on the floor. They were probably ages 7-12. I asked the other moms why they were there during school hours and how they were managing this (although I secretly hoped this was a group of homeschool kids I hadn't heard about!). Apparently these girls are at such a level that they take time out of school for practice. Sometimes their practice is 20 hours a week. A little EXTREME....but I won't say anymore! Watching these girls though and seeing what their bodies could do (shocking really) I realized that this is a sport which starts very young. You can not go into gymnastics at age 8 and hope that your body will do the moves. It takes years of conditioning. I get it now.

I don't know what the future holds. For now we're going to enjoy the next 8 weeks. Perhaps we won't get invited back to the competitive program. Perhaps Mickey won't keep smiling. We shall see. But for now the experience is FUN!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just a day in the life...

Just a regular week this week.

Gymnastics, Swimming....

Theatre performance of The Hungry Caterpillar,

Building co-op - kinesthetic examples of columns, arches, cantilevers, domes, buttresses, tunnels, etc..., designing pictures with architectural stamps (cool), and making foam structures from isometric blueprints.

More reading. We're working on Mason's reading list of 100 books. Almost there. If I have to say, the e on the end makes the ____ say it's name again, I'm going to have it permanently tattooed on my forehead!

Base ten blocks! What fun.

Just a regular week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Building Co-op - Building 3D Designs

Thought I would post about what we did in our building co-op before Christmas. The kids were split into three groups and rotated through three different activities. I'll include what we did as well as changes and or additions for increased difficulty.

Activity 1:

Kids were shown a 3-dimensional box and how it unfolded. The 2-D result is called a net. We talked about the shape (a square based pyramid in the case), the shape of the faces and how the net is drawn. They then got to choose from 3 or 4 nets and were able to construct their own.

Advanced activities:
- give the child a prism or pyramid, have them take measurements and draw a net and construct the 3D shape
- calculate volume and surface area of your constructed boxes
- design a product/package with the constructed box

Activity 2:

We had a variety of cards with 3-D images on them. The images showed structures which had been constructed with cubes. Students had to reproduced the designs.

Advanced activities:
- this is a great activity for teaching orthographic or even isometric drawings
- take the constructed 3D shape and draw the top, front and right side view
- draw the isometric view
- or, give the kids the three views (or more if necessary) and have them construct the shape
- calculate the surface area of the constructed object

Activity 3:

I think the kids had the most fun with this activity and we had the best discussions going. I started the discussion by showing them a rectangular based pyramid. We talked about the shape of the bottom and tops and then looked at the shapes of the sides. We discussed the number of sides. We talked about faces, vertices, and edges. Then I asked them how we would change it into a pyramid. After we changed it they could try making prisms and pyramids with different shaped bases. This works best with plastercine - not play-doh.

Advanced activities:
- give kids a chart with the number of faces, vertices, and edges and have them determine the type of pyramid or prism
- calculate angles or type of angles

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Liquid Lesson

We got together today with some friends to study liquids. So much fun! Kerry's idea of having them use clipboards to record their observations was brilliant. They really got into the activities. Here's what we did:
First we talked about the difference between a solid and liquid and the kids had to go around the house and find and draw two liquid objects and two solid objects. They observed their objects and transfered what they saw to paper.

Next the kids had to look at four different containers fill with water and determine which one had the most amount of water. As you can see by the photo, a variety of vessel types were used. The kids all picked the same one - the sundae cup (wide at the top and narrow at the bottom). To prove their hypothesis they had to measure the amounts in each container. It turned out that each container held 100mL. They were surprised and we discussed what had happened.

The next activity I found on (I think!). The kids were given recipe sheets. Each one had to follow a recipe. They read their line, coloured in the cups appropriately, made a guess as to what was going to happened and then they measured and mixed their colours. Finally they recorded their answers.

Next we talked about water pressure and how water travels from a water tower to a home. With the use of two syringes, plastic tubing and coloured water this was demonstrated.

A quick activity we did next was to see how water behaves on two different surfaces; a paper towel, and on wax paper.

One of my favourite experiments is making liquid layers. I used 5 different liquids; molasses, corn syrup, grenadine, mineral oil and coloured water. We started by tasting corn syrup. That gets everyone in a good mood! Then I poured the liquids one at a time down a baking sheet (covered with foil) and we (tried) to count how long it would take for the liquid to reach the bottom. We gave up counting for the molasses and corn syrup. We talked about what this meant. Why were they SO slow. We talked about the term viscosity and what it means. I told them that we were going to put all of the liquids in a test tube. Which one would be heavier and where would it sit in the test tube. One by one we added them to each tube and created 5 liquid layers. Really cool. It's fun to see some liquids bounce up and over others. It's difficult to see the layers in the photo but there were 5 distinctive layers which the kids were all able to record in a drawing. It's good for the liquids to have different colours (either naturally or by adding food colouring).