Friday, May 31, 2013

Lots of Projects

 The Tadpole Project

Remember two weeks ago we went to a pond
up the mountain to catch tadpoles?

Here they are!

Alive and sprouting!


 The Puppy Project

Lu's new puppy has gone through a complete transformation
from starving, shivering and shy street-mutt 
to an overexcited, full-bellied yapper.

 The Art School Project

We've been running our little art school
since Lu was three months old.

He is currently participating in 12 hours weekly of
performing and visual arts workshops,
and wants to be a workshop facilitator when he's older.

The Ancient Rome Project

Our studies on Ancient Rome are coming to an end, but instead of making a poster like the ones we did for the other great empires, Lu is working on a Word document with a timeline, interesting facts, and lots of pictures.

 The Cake Project

Lu made a whole-wheat apple cake for a very special visitor arriving today, who recently turned four years old. We specially ordered the apples from a guy at the fruit market, and picked them up the next day. 

He was absolutely set on making the cake all by himself. 

And I have to say, sorry to brag, that of all the things this boy does that would make any mama proud, the fact that my 10yo son can make a cake is way up there on the list. (I was going to bold "son", but then I thought it was a quite retrograde thing to say... uncool me.) But it tickles me pink that HE can bake. haha. Possibly because I didn't learn to bake until I was 26 and pregnant. And even then, it was probably his baker influence flowing out from within me.

He chopped 6 cups of apple, very finely.

He was at it for several hours, well into the evening.

 It came out SOOO good.

He mixed 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour with 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda (which were going to be 3 teaspoons, but I fortunately got there just in time), and a pinch of salt.

In a separate bowl, he literally threw in everything together and mixed: 4 eggs, 1.5 cups of dark brown sugar, 1 cup of melted butter, 2 tablespoons vanilla, and 3 tablespoons dark rum.

He added the dry mix to the wet mix all at once
(not bit by bit like his mama showed him, mind you).

Finally, he folded in the 4 cups of finely chopped apple.
Seriously delicious yumminess!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Stuff I Can't Get With My Camera

Lu sometimes complains about how much I put the camera in his face. I try to always have it handy to capture the moments I want to write about and share here. 

I love sharing pictures because, when I first started homeschooling, seeing what real homeschoolers looked like when they were doing their thing was especially helpful.

But, I can't always have the camera handy, and there are things that just aren't photographically possible, like:

- how carefully Lu walked the two miles back down the mountain so as not to dizzy the tadpoles (being transported in a yogurt container) that he caught in the pond. And, subsequently, the independent research he did on WHAT to feed them and HOW to care for them.

- the way we lean against each other when we're sitting on the bench, working together at my computer.

- the amazing day he had with my friend's son who came to visit, and the games they played, and how special it was to see Lu with a like-minded kid who also likes to play make-believe. Why can't there be more of them?

-  when he reaches out for a hug in the middle of a math problem, and I know that a part of him is just trying to delay dealing with long division, but a part of him really does want a hug.

- the spontaneous nap we took, cuddled up together on the day bed, after eating lunch with an episode of BBC's Blue Planet.

 - how well he's been translating for his theater group's teacher who doesn't speak much Spanish, and realizing that it's giving him some awesome training in facilitation. He REALLY wants to be a workshop teacher in our arts programs, so this is fantastic practice.

- all the little comments that Lu makes throughout the day that reassure me that he not only IS learning from our classes, but is retaining A LOT more than I am. lol. 

- the impromptu dramatic account of Julius Caesar's life that turned into a one-man theatrical performance, where Lu was playing both Caesar and all the members of the senate stabbing him to death!

- that our home was much more relaxed this week because Cha and I made the decision to try to not nag Lu as much, to not expect so much from him, and to remember that - even though we know he's capable of all the things we ask of him - sometimes it's nice to just let go and let him figure out for himself if and how he is going to contribute to the household chores, if he's going to remember to pick up his clothes, or brush his teeth, or wash the dishes, or be ready to start schoolwork at 8am... before we have to ask him to. It's an experiment. But the reduction in arguing and negotiating has been lovely - even though there were dirty socks and sweatshirts strewn throughout the house.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Whiteboards and Tadpoles

On Mondays and Thursdays, amongst the eggs, chilli sauce, and random other stuff, Lu has to try to squeeze in a math worksheet before Youth Group (performing & visual art classes with other kids) begins at 8am. 

Half of it gets done while Cha is making breakfast.  
(I'm upstairs getting my morning exercise) 

The other half gets done after breakfast and before washing dishes. 
If Lu is lucky, Cha has a little time to help him out before he runs out the door to one of his sites. 

We have a whiteboard in the kitchen used mostly for shopping lists. As Cha goes to the big town once a week for building materials and our groceries, if anything is forgotten, we have to wait a whole week for him to go again.

But lately the whiteboard has been used for these mini math classes on the days that Cha has time, and Lu likes it so much that he even uses it by himself now, instead of working out the problems in a notebook

He was like: "It's really great seeing the math clearly on the whiteboard."

And then I had one of those horrifying homeschool-parent moments,
(like the one I had when I realized that I'd forgotten to teach Lu the order of the months)

"OMG. We've never used a board. Everyone uses a board for math!!! 
How did I not think to use a board?!"

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Lu's finishing up several projects:

Human Anatomy
(I will post the complete work soon) 

I quote:

Mom, it's really cool to study anatomy,
because as you read about it,
it's actually happening inside of you!

Today Lu put all the historical events he learned about in his studies of Ancient Rome together on one single 1,200-year timeline. We have one more documentary to watch, make a poster, and we'll be done with Rome for now.

I'm kind of glad to be done with the blood and the gore, 
and the crazy emperors.

Lu is getting ready for a geography test where he will label 
all the countries of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East, 
and Africa on blank outline maps. 

It's a great site, and he really has learned all the countries
in just over a year, 15 minutes a few times a week.

There's also been Scrabble-playing.



and rock-climbing.

Life is good.

If you're thinking about homeschooling your child/ren...


Friday, May 10, 2013

The Photographer

Lu inherited a grown-up camera last December. 
Here are some of his latest pics...



Dog in a Canoe

Shark Boat


The Tree from the Window

 Dragon Fruit Flower

Mountain Walk

The Apple of Mama's Eye