Sunday, October 18, 2009

Safetyville

We had lots of fun at Safetyville this week. The kids were taken on a one hour tour. After the tour the kids got an hour to explore and practice what they had learned all throughout the miniature town.
They got to raise and lower the guards for the railroad tracks and practice waiting for the train to go by.
They got to practice dialing 9-1-1 and talking to the operator. The emergency they described was always the same, "my brother broke his neck."
They got to practice staying on the sidewalk.
They learned to stop-drop and roll.
Sethie's favorite part was just hanging out on the railroad tracks. It took a lot of convincing to get him to leave these.

They were setting up for Halloween, so we got a picture with their props.

Needle Felt Pumpkins

I feel like I am in catch up mood lately. You know that phase when you are running behind on everything rather than actively planning and working your plan- ie., doing those things that are most important. Last week I planned to do several fall projects with the children. They have been begging me to do more with the wool, and I keep saying I would get to it. So one day at almost bedtime, I invited them all on my bed and told them we would make pumpkins. I showed the older two how to use the barbed needle and then I helped the younger three. It was so cute to watch them all concentrating, and they were so pleased with their results.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another House Offer

We are putting an offer in on another home. I would love this one, 5 bed, 3 bath, 3 car garage, two story, quiet neighborhood, near a nature walk and creek, and also a park, has five fruit trees and a raised bed veggie garden on a larger lot. We are offering more than asking but I am not going to hold my breath. To all those who think this is a great time to buy, it is, if you have infinite amounts of patience as your papers sit on a banker's desk for months until they get around to it, in the meantime you have to hope the house doesn't foreclose, and your lender stays in business long enough for the whole deal to come together. I feel like I'm boxing-round two, here I come. Lots of fun.

Brennen Lost His First Tooth

He was coming up with theories as to where the toothfairy gets the money-she flies around at night and picks up all the money people have lost on the sidewalks when they were walking around. Then he told me he knew what she did with all the teeth-she builds sculptures which she then lowers to the bottom of the ocean, so if you swim down there will be many beautiful things to see. He then said, "but the toothfairy could be my mom, it is something I will have to investigate further."

Friday, October 02, 2009

What My Kids Do When I Am Working

So what do my kids do when I am on a webex meeting for work?
They build blanket lands in the backyard...

or they draw all over themselves with inkpads.

I'm grateful for mute.

Needle Felting

As I am studying wool, I have been wanting to learn about needle felting. The younger three boys and I took a walk in Old Town Elk Grove and saw a little art studio that was offering a class on needle felting. I jumped at the chance, and learned a lot of the basics from it. I made this rabbit, which took about six hours. I did not have the finer gauge needle for the finishing, and I am not sure how I like the front fluff, but as my kids played with it all of the real rabbit hair in the front came out anyway, it probably looks better now=). My daughter wants a dog to go with her dolls (who are on a wagon train, right now, and need a good guard dog that can also hunt), so I will probably work with her to make that next.

Tech Museum

We went to the Tech Museum in San Jose a few weeks ago. This is a really neat museum! There were very few other people there so the kids pretty much got the run of it. Everything was hands on and included things from interactive globes that showed the effects of recent disasters, design stations for robots and roller coasters (the kids then got to ride a simulation of the roller coaster they designed). It had a room on earthquakes with a simulator, a computer/shadow interactive wall, where you could catch the shadows which would then interact with your shadow, a wall of music, etc.
Here is Aubrey using a pulley and ramp in tandem with other children who used various other simple machines in a system they set up and designed to get a ball from one place to another. She and Brennen spent over an hour on this exhibit alone.
Brennen is using a remote control to guide an underwater robot, which is similar to one that might take pictures of the ocean floor. In another part of the museum he used a computer to build six different robots for different purposes, such as deep sea, outer space etc. That was the exhibit he was most absorbed in.
Logan is next to the jet pack simulator. To be honest I can't remember what this one was=). It is a cross section of something that goes into space and the kids could climb in, that's all I remember of this one.
Kamron is working in the green energy room here. He had to tweak solar panels so that the maximum amount of energy could be gathered from the sun. In that room the kids also built windmills, placed them in wind tunnels and watched the gauges to see how much energy they could get from them. They also had to build water wheel type things to be placed in a dam that when the maximum amount of energy was produced it would light a tower all the way to the top. So much of this had to do with angles of the various things that it was a nice tie-in to what he is studying in math also.

I had an interesting question I had never had before as a homeschooling Mom. I was talking to a mom and when she found out I was pregnant with my sixth and I homeschooled she asked, "So are you just hoping they turn out?" As always the perfect answer didn't come right then, I said something about not going on a hope, but I was pretty sure everything would turn out alright. As I thought about it later I have to wonder who is going more on hope-the parent who turns the child over to another adult, because that is the adult assigned to them and that adult is supposed to follow somebodies goals-not the parent's goals, not the adult's goals-just somebodies that have come down to the adult in some almost unknown fashion, and doing this six hours a day, nine months a year is what will help make these kids alright. Hopefully. Or is the child more likely to turn out alright when under the direction of a self-sacrificing parent who is constantly monitoring the growth of character, knowledge and skills and tieing them into the goals the parent has for that child and the goals that child has for himself? The second scenario may have hope involved, but it certainly has more hard work and careful thought than the first. In either case there are no guarantees, but I think in most cases the degree of parental involvement and child's ability to have a say in where he wants to go in life will bring more growth towards positive ends than another scenario.