Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Break

This March break flew by and the weather was fabulous.

We've started a family project. We're working on changing habits. On a file folder we've each written down two or three habits that we want to change, start or improve. Every day we meet at the end of the day and check those off that we accomplished. It's working quite well. We're keeping each other in check!

This week we've been biking every day up at the lake. It's been glorious. I can no longer walk or run to keep up with the kids. Biking it is!

We also managed to get our seeds planted. I'm hoping it's not too early.

Pinhole Photography

Well today we tried our hand at pinhole photography. I've done this numerous times with high school students but never with kids this age. We managed to round up the chemicals at a photography store in a nearby city. I think they were quite amused by us. Pinhole cameras are great if they work out the first time, but if not, it can be quite frustrating getting them to be light tight. Luckily they were all light tight because I've done this so many times before. We had to have some patience getting our exposure just right. It's definitely a project that requires patience during a lot of trial and error. Now that I have the chemicals we'll probably experiment some more with some neat tricks and then we'll make our negatives into positives. I was going to try this project with a larger group but we'll have to see.

Do you know the cha-cha slide?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Found Object Art Project

I've done this project a few times with different groups of kids and they just love it! Basically the kids collect various found objects. The more variety the better. The purpose is to take the objects and turn them into anything they want. It could be a sculptural piece of art or a model. Through the process of creating we discuss the different materials and how they can be altered, manipulated, and fastened together. It's a wonderful learning process. Along with the construction process comes the story telling. This is a project that can keep evolving if you allow it. Even when the project has been completed the kids usually move on to playing with it and adding playmobil, lego figures or just about anything you can think of to extend their enjoyment of it.

A few things I would recommend:

1) put a time limit on the building (3-4 days worked for us)

2) have the kids supply a selection of found objects (cardboard, plastic, metal, wood, fabric, smaller than a glue stick, larger than a cereal box, etc...)

3) give the kids a lot of freedom to come up with their own ideas

4) when ideas hit a wall, start creating your own designs and let the kids see what is possible

5) make suggestions and let them run with them

We had a house with backyard playground, a race track with garage, and a very complicated space station. We were so busy creating that I missed out on many photographic moments!

This is another neat project, a multiplication wheel, that we did with an older friend. It worked out really well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 is off to a rough start

I wish I could say that 2010 is going well so far. It has been rocky! Resolutions are out the window. We did have a great time skiing at Blue Mountain and then it went south. A friend of ours was killed suddenly in a car accident. It was a huge shock. We are trying to be there for the family as much as we can. 6 or 7 weeks ago, a good friend of Heinrich's sister suffered a cardiac arrest due to a heart arrhythmia and after being in a lengthy coma she passed away (at the age of 45) on the weekend. We only met her once but she helped our extended family out during a very difficult time last year. She was a wonderful woman and our thoughts are with her family. Another friend of ours is dealing with a very difficult diagnosis of a close family and we hope that we can support this family as they deal with the challenging months ahead. And to top it off, two officers have been killed in the line of duty in the last week in our province. These situations always take a tole on our community. There has been so much grief lately and although much of it hasn't impacted us directly we're feeling the need to help or support in some little way. It's just never enough.

Two weeks ago I had a bit of a health scare at school and ended up in the emerg in a neighbouring town. I had been having chest pains and some significant dizzy spells. At emerg they treated me as a heart attack patient which was frightening in and of itself. I was monitored for 7 hours - meaning 4 ECGs, 2 blood tests (to rule out a heart attack) and a chest x-ray. They were amazing and took it very very seriously. I can't imagine that I would have received the same treatment in my local hospital. Anyhow, the emerg doctor suspects that I have an atrial flutter and I have been referred to a cardiologist. Don't ask what this means because I'm receiving conflicting reports from three different medical personnel. I have been put on a beta block and for those who have never been on them, they're not fun! They slow your heart rate down so that your risk of blood clots and stroke are lowered. The first free days I was on them I felt like my head wasn't keeping up with my body. If I risked closing my eyes I would have been in a dead sleep! I'm used to them now but don't plan on staying on them for a long time. Anyhow, I will soon have to wear a 72 hr heart monitor and will be assessed by a cardiologist in a few weeks. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that it was an isolated incident. I'm trying to stay stress free (which is difficult these days) to keep my heart rate down.

Anyhow, we have high hopes that 2010 will bring many pieces of good news for us and our family and friends. Our thoughts are with Lynn, Craig and family, Colleen's family and the families of the fallen officers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homeschool Share

I made a new discovery today and I bet I'm the only homeschooler out there that hadn't already discovered this fantastic homeschool resource site. I haven't had a chance to delve deep but did find a few interesting things today. Looking forward to exploring it more.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Classic Starts

This is a series that we recently found at the library. They're abridged versions of at least 40 classic novels. Mason quite likes reading them. Often I read a page and then he reads a page. They're nice for stories like Doctor Dolittle, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Arabian Nights, Heidi, etc... These are stories that we probably wouldn't read as their original version. There aren't a lot of pictures, probably 1 for every two chapters. Chapters vary in length from 3 to 9 pages.