Friday, May 25, 2012

A Happy Childhood

Today I realized my kids have a happy childhood.   So glad Mari and I can give them this.

Couple day old homing pigeons. 

Sheep like dandelions

River Bend Park

National Science Fair

In anticipation of our memorial weekend camping trip, the kids asked to camp out in their room.

Remind me to look at this post on one of those days when I feel like I'm screwing them up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Run Over by the Topic Train

You know that saying about how sometimes the answer is staring you strait in the face, or smacking you in the head, or on the tip of you nose or whatever?
Three months ago I fret about our non existent curriculum and lack of structure.  I freaked about not being organized enough to have themes to track our learning, the way the preschools have weekly themes (pets, planets, pizza, etc).  All these cute little hands on and craft activities, books to read, and songs connecting to that theme.  If only I could figure out how to plan things better, then I could feel like an accomplished teacher.

Yeah, if I had been open minded enough to realize it, I could have seen the kids smothering me with themes on their own every week.

Building a monster truck out of a box
The kids seem to naturally flow from one topic to another, exploring an interest in depth as deep as you'll let them go with the materials at hand.  It seems the trick is to be watching and listening, jump in and catch the wave at the moment.  Surf with them.

Themes we delved into lately: rockets,  space, knights, butterflies, hummingbirds and quails.

Kaio's latest theme is monster trucks.

Monster truck track.  I guess my egg carton hoarding has finally come in handy.

Lego constructed monster truck.  We also made a working robotics one, but it has to be plugged into USB, which limits the fun factor

Thinking off the table

Then he starts building stunt courses outside.

Crush the Barbie Jeep

A kid size monster truck they can drive.  That's the cab, there's a seat in there, along with some controls for shifting, a clock radio and a fan for wind action. The kids take turns driving.

Hi stunt courses have expanded with more things to crush!

This entertained him for a good hour and a couple days

And Nala has her own theme: doctor.  She bandages up her animals with tape.  She loves it!  She's gone through a dozen freggin roles of tape.  My first instinct was to cut her off and ration the supply.  But then I realized that tape isn't really that expensive a toy.  So now, I'm just trying to gently remind her to only use a little bit.

Poor kitty hurt her ears, tail, hands and back.  Dr.Nala to the rescue.

This plant broke but that's ok, we can just tape it back together.

Now he is resting in the recovery ward.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Makes You Special?

I'm filling out a form for preschool and it asks: write a short description of your child, including what makes her/him special.

I decided to ask her first.

Me, "Nala what makes you special?"
Nala, "Hearts.  Hearts make you special."
Me, "Why does your heart make you special?"
Nala, "Because it's big."
Me, "How big?"
Nala, "This big."

Me, "Bigger than your body?"
Nala, "Yes, bigger than your body."

Seriously, how does she know so much and how did she figure this out already?

Monday, May 14, 2012

When You Give a Three Year Old a Camera

I have an old Nikon point and shoot, a nice camera actually, with a slight lens cap malfunction.  So instead of selling it for cheap, we decided to give it to Nala.  She loves it.  I took a peek at the photos she took on her own.  To my surprise they're not just random snaps.  Looks like she really thought about what she was trying to capture and how to set up the shoots.  Pretty cool for a three year old.

The first photo, me, a little blurry.

 Then she starts to experiment with feet.  "I'm taking a picture of my pajama feet!"

 The feet walking

 Then her favorite toy, Pink Dragon, ready for a photo shoot

 Then Pink Dragon flying.  And I love the symmetry between the feet walking and dragon flying pictures.

 A Pink Dragon closeup

 A shot of the quails in their brooder.  Little poop monsters.


And daddy gets a shot of the little girl.  Looks like she's been giving herself haircuts again.

And then a shot of mom and daughter on mother's day.  

I found a bag of my old leotards from gymnastics and dance.  Nala's been dressing up and begging me to dress up too so we can have little ballet competitions.    She wins my old medals.  Amazingly one of the dance costumes still fits me.  I guess I really haven't grown much since middle school *sigh*.


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