Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wrestling Alligators and Identifying Oregano

Over the last couple of weeks, Lu's been reading The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht in his spare time. He's learned about how to escape from a sinking car, how to identify a bomb, how to wrestle an alligator, and how to fend off a mountain lion.

In three consecutive days, Lu got stung on the hand by some unseen creature, I got stung on the toe by another mystery bug, and Cha got stung by our friend Mr. Scorpion. Lu's hand was swollen for a day or so, my toe was a purple and swollen itch for several days, and Cha had all kinds of reactions including a numb tongue and painful joints. So, that was exciting.

Cha learned how to catch a scorpion with his bare hands from a local man. One day Lu decided that he was ready to try this. He was feeling brave. It was going to be a great and memorable step towards manhood. He grabbed the stinger just like he'd learned. He got it! But then he was unpleasantly surprised when the scorpion folded up backwards on itself and grabbed Lu's fingers with its pinchers (which is a pretty yucky feeling). Lu freaked out and couldn't fling the thing from fear that it wouldn't let go, so Cha had to step in. It was funny, though poor Lu felt pretty poop about it afterwards. Nasty little creatures they are.

I've been letting myself get too wound up over Lu's fidgeting lately. So the other day I let him sit on the exercise ball while he worked on math and decided I'd just see what happened if I let him move however he wanted. I even helped out by writing down the answers that he dictated to me while bouncing away and pondering numbers. We got so much done! I just let him do a bunch of it mentally while bouncing in a trance. And he got all the answers right! So why do I get so worked up over the fidgeting? It obviously isn't getting in the way of his learning (even though it does seem to be getting in the way of my teaching). I used to be the exact same way. I hated school mostly because I wasn't allowed to move. Maybe that's why I insist so much... Maybe deep down I think that my own academic failures are due to how fidgety and day-dreamy I was (am).

In my last post, I was having major Math Crisis. MEP especially shakes my confidence - even though I know it's really good for us, but this week, our new resource - Glencoe Math - has given us a boost. The explanations are really clear. In just a few pages we've learned so many new concepts, without any stress or tears.

Prime Factorization
2 weeks ago I'd have been like Say Whaaa?

Lu wanted to do another experiment using the Scientific Method.
He tested ants' interest in different foods.

Chocolate, bread, sugar, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
They're hard to see, but there are a few ants in there.

By leaving it untouched, the ants proved my point that cheap chocolate just isn't worth eating. It's the kind of stuff people put in piñatas. Yuck. Imagine what it's made of if an ant won't touch it.

We were out in the yard this morning during our break when Lu excitedly announced that our cotton tree was in bloom.

I asked him to give me a tour
of all the edibles in our gardens that he knows.

Lemon Grass


Two types of Oregano.

Pigeon Peas



Two kinds of Lettuce.

Bananas of course.

And Garbanzo Beans!

The garbanzo beans were a surprise to me. I didn't know what all we had growing in the garden. That's more Cha and Lu's area of expertise. I, meanwhile, am in the kitchen melting down raw cane sugar to replace the partially refined sugar we've been using. It's delicious, and so much better for us.

So, between knowing how to run a vegetable garden and how to wrestle alligators, Lu's definitely in the right direction as far as learning sustainability goes (even if he can't sit still for more than 13 seconds). I'm so grateful for everything he learns with his dad (provider of the survival book and many survival lessons).


  1. Your days look lovely! Glad you are making progress on the maths :-) and my kids love the exercise ball too (I don't love it when they wiggle so much they fall off it...)

  2. Other than the scorpions, it looks like you are having a fantastic time, and if it wasn't for those nasty little buggers, I'd say I want to move in with you all! :) My dad has scorpions around his home in Arizona, but I never saw any during our visit (thankful!!!!!). Ewww...

    As for the rest, the fidgeting. Ah, yes! I can't stand when my son fidgets, but when it is one of my tutoring students it doesn't bother me. Is that weird? Maybe because I have to live with my son and the others I only see for an hour or two at a time. I agree though, that sometimes kids just have to move, and I think for some it is part of how they process information. I had one student that was so wiggly and fidgety that he drove his mom, teachers, and previous tutors nuts. I let him fidget as much as he wanted, and he was much happier, and seemed to learn a lot more. I always could tell if we would have a good day or a bad day based on how much he was wiggling. Non-wiggly days were always horrible because it meant he was holding something negative in, and if he didn't share he wouldn't wiggle, and if he didn't wiggle, he would be supremely cranky. Sigh...

    I try to be as tolerant as I can of my son's fidgeting though, although I think it also bothers me because he is NOT normally a wiggly kid.

    Your garden is gorgeous...very jealous as we only have a windowsill on which to contemplate a garden. We have only basil right now and it isn't doing too well...

  3. The scorpions aren't that bad. We've all been stung several times, and the locals say that each sting adds years to your life. So, you should at least come for a visit :)

    And yes, I have a garden but you have museums and libraries - maybe we should house swap for a semester.

  4. Ohhhh...don't tempt me! :) I would absolutely house swap for a bit! No matter where you live, there is always a trade off. I showed JP the scorpion picture, and had him read about it. He said, "Whoa!" :)