Saturday, April 5, 2014

Marching Along in March Homeschool Update

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March was more lion than lamb around here. Still lots of snow, ice and freezing cold. And then a few warm days to raise your hopes before back to winter with a vengeance. And then it got windy. My least favorite weather phenomenon, since the wind nearly got me killed back in March 1993. So yeah, triggering. And my best way of coping is and always will be avoidance and distraction. So, needless to say, we were busy in March...

Here are some highlights:

  • The 7 Days of Genius Festival at the 92nd Street Y.

    We went to the Creativity and Education Innovation Fair and The (Neuro)Science of Genius Panel Discussion with Michio Kaku, Antonio Damasio and JoAnn Deak. Mikro had huge fun learning about robots, the power grid, Rubick's Cube, 3d Printing, electronics and circuity, and architecture and design at the fair, and was completely thrilled to get to hear Michio Kaku and the other speakers.

    One thing JoAnn Deak said was that geniuses are born and then made: You are born with a different set of wiring, but it is through using that wiring and persevering that geniuses ultimately avoid flash in the pan syndrome. Which was a good thing for Mikro to hear. He is blessed to have so much come so effortlessly, and he gets upset when something does not. He needed to hear that it isn't uncommon for gifted people to have areas that they are not as naturally talented in, but that putting in the work is what it takes to succeed anyway. And he needed to hear it from someone other than Mom.

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  • Nature Detectives: an 8 week wildlife program at Jefferson Market Library, with Chris from New Canaan Nature Center.

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  • Celebrating Pi Day-- Vi Hart videos and Mikro's MathMellow Chocolate Marzipan Pie:

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  • NASA Sun/Earth Day at the American Museum of Natural History, on Kev's 50th Birthday:

    Dad started off with a Birthday Breakfast...

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    We saw a cool 3D movie about the aurora borealis; learned about optics; saw a demonstration of the effects of a vacuum on various types of body tissue, as represented by a balloon, shaving cream and a marshmallow; played with flir; found out how much we would weigh on the sun; learned about climate change and potential sea level rise; learned about engineering solutions to urban runoff and pollution problems; learned about arctic ice as critical habitat for polar bears, walruses and seals (and learned that walruses eat clams, which I never knew!)


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    Mikro says: "This experiment shows what happens to certain body parts in a vacuum. Shaving cream = muscle -- medium amount of swelling; balloon= lungs-- most expansion; marshmellow = brain -- it didn't swell up much, but when you repressurize, the brain shrivelled up. It was the only one that did."

    We also looked at weather measurement devices like barometer, thermometer, hyrdometer and anemometer. There were several exhibits on climate change.

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    This next station was one of Mikro's favorites. You had a model of a city. You poured water into it, and watched the run off carry pollutants into the river. Then you altered the model by adding features like parks, landscaping, rain barrels, roof gardens, etc. (which were sponges.) You poured in the same amount of water as before. Mikro's design was so successful that no pollutants got into the river, and from the full cup of water, only a small portion ran off into the river. The rest was absorbed by the parks and gardens or collected in the rain barrels. This was especially cool and reinforcing because we had recently looked at urban runoff using the Engineering Is Everywhere materials from Boston's Museum of Science. Great reinforcement of the lesson!


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    And then, after chatting up Teddy, we were off to Jan's Model Shop at 94th and Lex, where we picked up Kevin's birthday present, and an early birthday gift for Mikro, who will be 11 next month. I am so happy to see Kev and Mikro getting into model building together. It's a hobby my husband loved as a kid, and I am so happy to see him sharing it with our little guy.

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    We made one other interesting discovery: Mikro loves sun dried tomatoes. He was picking them out of my arugula salad. He even said he would eat arugula if he had to to get them! He hates arugula!

  • Mikro's Comparative Religions class had a field trip to the Church of Scientology.

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  • Mikro had fun making projects at Crafty Kids at our beloved Croton Free Library:

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  • He shook off the winter cabin fever at a cool indoor playgroup.

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  • Lots of work at home on Khan Academy Math, Colonial Williamburg electronic field trips, The Happy Scientist, tons of TED Talks, and books galore.

  • Reading some books about computer programming, and then helping Dad take apart, fix, and put mom's computer back together, and learning about how it works.

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  • Birdwatching! The highlight of the month was seeing a flock of cedar waxwings!

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  • Legoland with our homeschool friends! Mike did the Tall Towers workshop, where they talked about design and stability and tested LEGO towers on earthquake tables. The highlight, though, was the laser shooting ride, where you save the princess and defend the castle from trolls and a skeleton army...

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March was a full month!