Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer is So Crazy

I thought that once summer is here we were going to be sort of bored, looking for things to do and friends to hang out with. After all, many home schoolers we know follow the traditional school year. For example, our preschool co-op is over and done with 'til September and so it the Math Trek. Rrrrright......

Over the last couple of weeks we've been very-very-very busy with the capital "B", dashing from one thing to the next and being late just about everywhere we'd go. Plus we're not exactly taking a whole summer off either. We study a bit each day, mostly through reading books and talking about stuff. But also I've been teaching M to read. He knows most letters and reads very short words. Anything longer than 4 letters puts him off. But I think it's just a matter of practice.
So we practice, although not as much as I'd like. This is us playing the "5 marshmallows" reading game. It's simple - I write 5 syllables on paper cups, turn the cups upside down and hide a mini-marshmallow under one of the cups. When M opens his eyes, I tell him "The marshmallow is under... "му" (for example). Now he has to find the right cup by reading all the syllables. No guessing! If he gets it wrong, I get the marshmallow.
For this game he likes assembling all his little toys and "sharing" the hard-won marshmallows with them, giving each one a bite to eat. So it takes us a while to get through all five marshmallows. But it's fun and it works.
He's still heavily into putting together various contraptions. The new twist is he might want to sketch it out first. So he takes a sheet of paper and a red marker (gotta be the red one!) and carefully draws two vertical lines for the body, a jumble of wires in between (some squiggly lines), a few gears (small circles), and caps it all off with a head - an egg-shape with no facial features.
This is M assembling a refueling station for his new Star Wars toy (thanks, Grandpa!). The droid starfighter took forever to fuel up 'cause it needed "three million and fourteen gallons" of fuel. No matter since Darth Vader and the minions were patiently waiting.
Finally, this is M in the Contraption Room at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. It's an awesome room that is full of spare parts to build the basic simple machines and put them together into Rube Goldberg-like contraptions. I'm in love with this room! In fact, I want to scale it down just a little bit and re-create here, at home. Maybe next school year.

M didn't like it at first 'cause it wasn't a robot-making room. But after some sulking and whining, he said, resignedly, "ok, so then let's build some machine" and we started. He was particularly fascinated with pulleys. In fact, that's all he wanted to do for almost 40 minutes - explore pulleys. So we put a little contraption together. Then I started adding to it - a ramp here, a lever there for the plastic ball to negotiate. I thought it'd be interesting to M, but he was way too absorbed with the pulleys and hardly paid attention to my creations.

We've also been going to pools. Yes, the real ones! M finally got into a big pool and now it's a challenge to get him out of it when it's time to go home. Plus I got him a floating vest and we usually borrow inflatable arm bands from a new friend, Yura. Wearing all that M proudly negotiates water all by himself. Now he's actually asking me for swimming lessons! Yay!!!! No pictures of this part 'cause I'm in the water with M and Chris hasn't had a chance to come with us yet.

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