Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bright Ideas

Fall is here!  The kids get really excited when fall comes.  By the time I had breakfast cleaned up on the first day of fall, they already had candles lit, blankets out, and library books strewn across the living room.  We decided to spend the morning reading our books, sipping tea, and enjoying the peacefulness of a beautiful gray, coastal day.  We are looking forward to fall baking, soups, walks, leaf-gathering, and the overall snuggly environment that blows in with autumn.

As for happenings in the house, we've made a lot of changes in our schooling day, and the kids are able to have more free time than they used to. They aren't allowed to be idle, but they are allowed to pursue their own interests.  They are coming up with some amazing things!!!  Jackson created a puppet theater last week.  He typed a script and put on a show for us.  There were tickets, a snack bar, and theater seating.  We also got a book on making puppets from the library, so I'm waiting to see if Jackson shows a real interest in doing more puppetry.

Also, our dishwasher is on it's way out.  I have to jam a wooden spoon into it to make it start, and it's pretty unpredictable when it comes to getting dishes clean.  We were doing 2 loads of dishes a day in our broke-down, sad little dishwasher.  I thought about doing everything by hand, but when I do that my fingers crack and bleed, and I will get a rash if I wear gloves.  

So we were in a pickle.  My brilliant, super-tastic husband came up with a solution to save us all:

We each picked a plate, bowl, and cup, and clean our own after each use.  If someone's plate is dirty from lunch when dinner rolls around, they don't eat.  Or they could push the leftover crumbs aside and put dinner down with them if they wanted to, I suppose.  But that hasn't happened.  Yet.

We've had some rainy days, and here are a few photos from our activities inside. 

I've been trying a new learning technique called "strewing," and have been pleased with the result.  I lay out art books, science books, gardening, poetry, biographies, history, foreign language, crafting, and everything in between.  Anything that looks interesting at the library.  The super rad thing is that they are reading these kinda' challenging books in their free time, without being told to.  I'm seeing how far I can stretch this thing by choosing the most random books from the library.  What I have discovered is that Megan will straight up read a science or history encyclopedia, cover-to-cover.  Jackson likes to read about science oddities and extreme or weird things of any sort, and Jordan devours anything about crafts, food, dress, and homemaking.  Strewing is genius, and whoever thought of it was a smart cookie.

Speaking of super rad things, the girls were asking me all about the 80's one day, and I offered to show them what it was like to be a kid in the 80's.  They said that they felt weighed down by accessories and gagged at all the hairspray, but really enjoyed dressing up like someone who lived in another time.  I had just gotten my wisdom teeth pulled and laughed so much doing this makeover that my jaw ached all night!

It's so funny that they think of my childhood as "a different time."  Last week we were driving along and Meg was talking about something and referred to my childhood as if I'm ancient.  I said, "Hey, I'm not that old."  To which she replied, "Well, you were born in the 1900's."

Both the statement and the look on her face made it clear that she lumps me in with the Great Depression and World Wars.  Awesome.

Maddie and Trent were over one day and there was a whole heap of laughter coming from the girls' room.  This is how I found the boys.  They were making a video, with the girls directing and the boys being their puppets.  Thanks, YouTube, for your never-ending silly ideas!

Jordan and Megan made this laptop for AG dolls.  I am so impressed with their attention to detail!  They are becoming very proficient at editing and scaling images to fit their projects.

Jordan was disappointed that they keyboard didn't fit the monitor, but it had already been attached when she realized that they had left out the large portion that has the on/off button a the top of the keyboard, and the track pad below.  Still turned out pretty awesome, I think!

We had another heat wave come through this week, so we sat and melted during the day.  It's difficult to sleep when you are soaked in sweat with sheets sticking to your skin, so we declared a family sleepover in the coolest room in the house.  The kids loved it and Jeff said he slept better than ever.  We're definitely acclimated to the coastal weather.  I don't know what we would do if we ever had to go somewhere truly hot!

We are in the middle of a big shift in the way we do school (mentioned earlier), and the kids have been doing a ton of creative writing, which seems to be paying off.  I let the kids choose their own subject-matter because I think the workbook assignments are dumb.  Is it okay to say dumb?
"Write a paragraph about something in your classroom."
Ugh.  Dumb.  Generic.  Boring.  Creativity killer.
(My opinion, of course.)

 So, instead I have all three kids spend a fair amount of time writing stories on the computer. Whenever they are ready, they ask me to read them and make corrections, edit punctuation, spelling, syntax, etc.  Jeff and I really enjoy their stories.  It's amazing because before we started letting them make up their own writing assignments, they hated writing and always did the bare minimum for their assignments.  If they had to write a declarative sentence about something they love, they would write:

"I love dogs."

Technically, that was correct.  Creatively, I was afraid for their future.  Lol  But this approach seems to be working well.  They get to have fun and make up ridiculous story lines, but they also get a grammar lesson.
Which brings me to this morning.  I was cleaning up the documents on our computer and found this little gem.  I hadn't ever seen it before and didn't do any edits.  Whoever wrote it must have started and then forgot about finishing it, but it's good for a laugh and insight into their senses of humor.  :)

I'm trying to figure out a way to end this with either "you mess with her, you get a black eye." or "as only a baby centaur can."  Because those lines just kill me.  Ha!