Week In Review

This week started with a ‘pre’-assessment of the Kindergarten goals. I’ll be writing more about this later, around the first of March – for now I just wanted to see where Emily was in terms of her learning goals. Just when I am sure she isn’t learning a doggone thing, I check the list of goals and find a plethora of achievements. It was the “atta girl” I needed. More on that next week.

As I work to re-vamp my writing schedule, and once again incorporate daily exercise on the treadmill, I saved up the highlights this week for today’s post. I’m sure I didn’t get them all, but here goes…

Questions, Questions, Questions!

What we are made of – “What are we made of?” Emily asked.

“Mainly meat, bone and water,” I replied.

“Not clay?”

My mind immediately flashed to the Adam and Eve creation story. She had obviously heard it somewhere. “No,” I said smiling, “trace minerals, but not clay.”

The earth and the greenhouse effect – “Mama, what if we could make a giant heater that warmed up the sky and the earth?”

“We do, sweetie. The sun heats the atmosphere, and…”

“What’s an atmosphere?”

“A combination of gasses, including oxygen, that combine to keep the heat from the sun inside, kind of like a blanket.”

“Why?”

“Space is incredibly cold, colder than we could ever imagine. Even on the coldest parts of earth, space is far colder in comparison.”

Is Cheese/Ketchup/BBQ sauce good for us? – Every food I put in front of her these days is up for discussion. She’s keeping me hopping, let me tell you. “Well, cheese is a dairy food, and we need the calcium that we find in dairy to build strong bones and teeth.” I pause, “Nearly everything is good in moderation…the key is learning balance, we need a little of everything in order to be healthy.”

How do you make peanut butter? – “Well, you crush the peanuts…and…hmmm…I guess I need to look that up.”

And plenty more – Emily was definitely in a question-asking mood this week. Which always keeps me on my toes. She’s learned how much I rely on the internet and books for the answers. My dad should get a good laugh out of this when he reads it, but I spend far more of my days looking up answers and doing research than I have ever done before in my life.

I can still remember digging in my heels at the thought of looking up a confusing word in our giant dictionary. How I hated it! Why wouldn’t he just tell me the answer?

I handle it a little differently with both girls. If there is a word they don’t understand and ask me about I usually say, “Well, the way I understand the word it means [fill in the blank], but let’s look it up and see.” Doing it together encourages them to learn and know that I am as interested as they are. Good modeling behavior!

Taste of the Season

This wild edible cooking class was at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center. It incorporated food, nature, and living off the land – all topics of interest to me and ones that I hope to encourage in Emily. She was the only child there, but we enjoyed making the hobo packs of bison and some wild greens and cooking them over the fire.

We are still working on her eating habits, however, she refused to eat her hobo pack after just one bite!

Evergreen v. Deciduous

“Mama, is this an evergreen?” Emily asked, bending to inspect the needles of a fir tree next to my client’s driveway.

“Yes, it is. Do you remember the differences between evergreen and deciduous trees?”

“Evergreens stay green all winter and dec…decid…”

“Deciduous.”

“Deciduous lose their leaves in winter.” She grinned up at me proudly.

With our ‘non-winter’ we have been out in the yard quite a bit in the last week as well, moving some raised beds and prepping others. On Wednesday she helped us plant two 2×8 beds with potatoes, eagerly digging in the dirt and burying the potato sprouts.

While we planted we discussed the state of the compost, which has had several months to break down and is looking light and fluffy. We talked about how the paper and dead plants and all the other ingredients in the compost break down into soil, ready to nourish the next round of vegetables in our garden.

Carnivore, Omnivore, and Herbivore

We have spent a great deal of time on the distinctions, and all of that repetition has paid off. Emily is now clear on the differences between carnivores, omnivores and herbivores.

Now imagine her delight when her dad returned home the other day with a carnivorous plant. They carefully fed scraps of hamburger to the plants and watched them close firmly on each piece of meat. I can’t wait for them to get busy in the summer – our chickens and dogs attract way too many flies (which then find ways of getting into the house through the dog door). I’ll be glad to see these plants taking care of some of them!

Spanish Lessons

I’m finally getting far enough along in the Pimsleur Spanish lessons to really feel as if I’m making progress. I’ve made a deal with Emily – “You get to listen to your music going there, but I get my Spanish lesson on the way back, okay?”

She agrees reluctantly, but then enthusiastically joins in to say the words with me. Once she even corrected me. Incorrectly, but still…

“‘There’ is ahgee, Mama, not ahyee.”

I double-checked it. The word – ahi – is pronounced ah-yee.

Emily loses interest during the 30 minute lessons, fading in and out, but in the end, she retains a great deal. Add to that our next door neighbors to the south – who hail from Honduras and are happy to speak to her in Spanish anytime she stops by, and we have a decent system in place for now. Later I hope to get her into a Spanish speaking immersion course within the next six months to a year.

Math is Suddenly Fun

Recently Emily has discovered that math can be rather fun. She’s playing math games daily, adding and subtracting without prompting from us, and seeing the patterns in things. It is rather exciting to watch. This poster, which I had put on her door a couple of years ago, is now being used regularly.

“Mama! Guess what 5+6 is!”

“Tell me Emily!”

“It’s…eleven!”

This is followed by much bouncing…

And now…I think I had better see if I can find a good video on how to make peanut butter…

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