Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Bug Metamorphosis

A bug metamorphosis. I've seen it with my own eyes.

So this metamorphosis isn't actually of a's more like about bugs.

Sydney doesn't like bugs. I'm not a bug fan myself. I am still laughed at for my first memory of bug exposure. Mom positioned me under a shade tree while she and my brother labored in my grandparents' garden under the hot afternoon sun. I was probably 7, which, coincidentally is Syd's age now. It was one of those trees with pink fuzzy flowers on it and little worms were dropping out of the tree right before my eyes. While they were working in the garden, I was screaming, "Buuug! Bug! Bug! Buuuug!"

Sydney is much the same way. We've worked on her reaction to bugs over the years. We've gone from screaming bloody murder while running to a simple, quick shout, "Bug."

There is some variety in her shouting. Occasionally we hear, "Moth." But most of the time lately, it's been "Millipede."

Those things are creepy with their bajillion legs and crunchy little exoskeletons. Eek.

We've spent the largest part of summer ridding the house of millipedes. "They're just creepy," she said.

But tonight it happened.

Sydney decided to befriend the millipedes. She's got 4 in a jar even as I write.

She's officially a millipede fan.

Their names are Lettuce, Hughes, Jack and Ratpack.

I don't ask questions, I just write what she tells me on their jar.

The hula hoop is in the floor and she has carefully moved them all from the jar into their "center ring" for circus practice. She hasn't touched a single one. I'm amazed at what a kid can do with a piece of notebook paper and a baby food jar.

I'm eavesdropping. I think she just assigned Hughes to be the ring leader. I'm hoping Ratpack will be a clown. That just kinda makes sense to me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 15 of Homeschooling

We officially started school on September 1. We actually began doing some assessments and reading on Aug. 18 when the schools actually started here.

So far, we've done:

Dinosaurs -- We read about different kinds of dinosaurs, using the science text book as well as supplemental reading; we discussed theories of creationism and evolution; made our own trace fossils and dug for fossil remains; read stories about dinosaurs from 2nd and 3rd grade readers; math included color by number math facts to create various pictures of dinosaurs; social studies discussed the role of the paleontologist in science, specifically in the study of dinosaurs.

Life Cycle of a Chick -- Usually done in the spring in public schools, we did this in the fall to coordinate with our county fair. We learned about the life cycle of a chick, compared and contrasted the chick's life cycle with that of wild birds like robins and kittens. We spent a day at the county fair comparing and contrasting different types of chickens and watching for them to lay eggs in their cages while on display. In the afternoon, there was only one egg. By night, there were 4.

We're still working on a spelling analysis. So far, we've been through Chapter 7 of her spelling book. Journal writing begins next week and so does our study of the weather. She's always complaining about how wrong the weather guys are. I figure this will give her a better idea of what they are up against :) Gymnastics will also begin next week. I'm not teaching that. No way!

We've spent a week on each unit. Things will begin moving more quickly now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shaking "ass"

Sometimes what seems like a blessing can come back to kick you in the butt.

Butt, not ass, because that's not appropriate to say.

This is the talk I had with Syd this summer after watching a few episodes of George Lopez. Until this summer, the only shows we watched that didn't involve animation were the Nick shows geared to tweens.

In a way, George Lopez was a blessing. It gave us a chance to discuss words not to say. Different episodes gave us lessons in family dynamics unlike our own, diversity, racial stereotypes, and consequences. One episode even gave us the opportunity to discuss kidney reflux, a condition that I had surgery for as a child that we have continued to monitor Sydney for. Seeing it on TV gave her a chance to see a family other than our own discussing the seriousness of good kidney health.

But the thing that stuck most with Syd was "ass."

I don't even remember the context in which it was used. But as soon as we heard it, she giggled. I told her that's a word we don't say. It's inappropriate. Of course she asked what it was. I told her it's the same as "butt"...a word I'd have had an anxiety attack over saying myself 30 or so years ago.

Naturally, we cut Lopez and other shows from the lineup (like The Nanny, Malcolm in the Middle, and Everybody Hates Chris).

It seems like forever ago. We watched these shows briefly at the beginning of summer when it was fun to stay up late and sleep in the next day. Now, we're trying to get a good routine down for home schooling and those early summer Lopez days seem to have been part of the Jurassic period. Yeah, it seems like it was that long ago.

Apparently, once you've heard it, it's hard to shake "ass."

Last week we were sitting around. I was working on the laptop and she was playing a game on her DS. Then she chuckled. It was one of those quiet, very brief but deep chuckles...maybe even a chortle. It made me ask, "What's on your mind?"

"It's a shame that 'ass' is inappropriate," my 7 year old said. "It's just so much funnier than butt. Mama, why is 'ass' funnier than butt?"

I should have known not to ask.

But at some point in my life I have vowed not to be one of those parents who blows off a question. I want to answer them all.

So I tell her something about how maybe it's because it starts with a vowel and vowel sounds -- especially short ones -- are just naturally funnier than consonants. A is a vowel and B is a consonant. She said she totally understood.

Thank goodness.

It's fair to say that Syd and I have both learned a lot from this experience.

I have learned that TV just ain't what it used to be back when I could sit down with my parents and watch a show like Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H, or Happy Days without any of us being embarrassed or afraid of what word might be said next. I mean, even the Sweathogs -- at risk teens who had nothing but a quirky teacher and chips on their shoulders -- didn't talk the way these "family" shows do now.

I also learned that TV is only what you make it. It can rot your brain if you let it. It can be the best discussion starting ice breaker or teaching tool, too. But you can't park your kid in front of a TV and expect a genius to emerge. Your interaction (and supervision) is vital.

Syd learned that there are families who don't necessarily like each other. Some kids don't have parents they can depend on them to care for their needs. She also learned that it is never right to stereotype someone because of the color of their skin or their gender.

Oh, and she also learned that "ass" is a whole lot funnier than "butt."

That's one theory that's going to be hard to shake.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Working on an Important Post

I'm not gone...just working on a longer blog post. Thought I'd warn ya ;)