Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Ich liebe dich, Mama!"

We've done some Muzzy German, and Mikro really enjoyed the cartoon video tapes. He has very nearly perfected the "ich" sound, which makes me happy, as does his sudden propensity for declaring "Ich liebe dich, Mama!" (Transl.-- I love you.)

Muzzy is a fun introduction to the sounds of the language, and we'll be borrowing it again from the library. I'll also be coming up with other fun things to do with German. I used to be nearly fluent, but it has been about 20 (oh, cripes, actually make that closer to 30!!!) years since I did much with it, so I'm rusty, but hopefully competent at the basics... This will be a good way for me to brush up, too!

Homeschooling Update-- Ancient Greece and the Olympics

Here's what we've been up to lately:

Lots of reading about Ancient Greece and the Olympic Games, and listening to the Story of the World: Ancients sections on Ancient Egypt, the Near East and Ancient Greece. Our read alouds were The Sea of Monsters, the second Percy Jackson book, and D'Aulaire's Greek Myths (we're still reading this one). And we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art twice and saw the amazing Greek, Roman and Egyptian Galleries, each of which is at least one separate post, because I went nuts with the camera and took over 2,000 photos. (Of course, I can't share them all, but I'll be putting some of them up soon...)

Mikro's favorites are D'Aulaire's, Percy Jackson, the Michael Phelps book, and Pegasus.

We've also done Olympic addition (I make up an event, and several players' scores for different rounds, draw a goofy picture and chart the scores, and have him add them up and tell me who gets the gold, silver and bronze medals...)

Mikro drew his favorite events from the ancient olympics (javelin) and the present winter games, which we are enjoying watching together. Surprisingly, he drew ski jumping, rather than curling, which he is obsessed with. (I think that might have had to do with ease of drawing...) and we did some handwriting practice with words about Ancient Egypt (mummy, pyramid, pharoah, etc.) and the Olympics (ski jump, javelin, etc.)

Found Hearts

I am a collector of found hearts-- rocks, shells, patterns on tree bark, you name it, I'll photograph it if it has a natural heart shape in it. Found these lovelies in the snow:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Snowy Fun

Mikro thoroughly enjoyed the snow. He threw snowballs (at me, mostly...), raked the snow, made snow angels, and finally, made a snowman.

Our snowman is decorated with bird seed, seed heads and dried leaves from the garden. I thought it was a fun way to entice our birdie friends into the yard while we're doing the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Clever Bird and the Snow

We got about 10 inches of snow today. The highlight was watching a little bird who was quite cleverly staying in the gap in the snow underneath the water dish on my feeder pole and gobbling up spilled seed on the ground there. It kept him out of the wind and falling snow, and was probably warmer down there, too!

And here is evidence of my memory issues, in full color. I knew we were supposed to get 10 inches of snow, but somehow I managed to forget to close my car window! I was watching Kevin shovel after we got about 6 to 8 inches, when I realized the snow had covered my whole car, with the strange exception of the driver side window... This shot was taken a minute after Kevin brushed the snow out of my seat and the driver's side map pocket and shut the window for me. Oops! Guess I'm not such a clever bird, sometimes...

Here's Kev after 15 minutes out in the snow...

Tuesday Science

This week's science class had the kids doing pH testing, testing the colors in apparently black ink, and putting together word puzzles and using foreign language dictionaries to "decode" a sprinkling of words in other languages.

Afterwards, we read a few books related to our history studies. And got ourselves Queens Library cards.

Then we took advantage of a relatively warm winter day and had fun on the playground with friends. Glad we got in some outside playtime before the big snow!

The Golden Bird at the Library, and books, of course...

On Sunday, Mikro had fun participating in a children's drama workshop at the library, and then we saw a wonderful performance based upon a folktale called "The Golden Bird." Both were put on by The Singing Harp theatre troupe.

And afterwards, we found these great books, which fit right into our current study of Ancient Egypt. Mikro loved both, and even reread the creation myth several times. I entertained him by drawing a cartoony version of him in the Egyptian style, face in profile, torso full front, etc., complete with kohl eye makeup and his usual t-shirt, jeans and suspenders...

We also picked up a few other Egypt and Greece books, including one with some arts and crafts projects that I'm hoping he'll want to try.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hudson River Eagle Fest 2010

On Saturday, we enjoyed three live bird of prey shows, lectures, crafts, and seeing friends at Teatown Lake Reservation's annual Eagle Fest at Croton Point Park. This is one of my favorite events of the year, much anticipated, and always hugely fun and educational.

We missed the birdwalk (Kev worked ridiculously late the night before, and the walk was really really early, so we opted to skip it this year...), but we did scan the treetops for birds. Lots of songbirds and waterfowl, but no eagles, though some had been sighted earlier.

We started off our day at Van Cortlandt Manor, which hosts fun eagle-related craft activities for kids and adults. Mikro helped fold an origami crane, painted a bookmark, and made a couple of holes in a tin punch eagle design, then punted to Dad, who finished the job.

Next, we headed to Croton Point Park for the main Eagle Fest events. First, we wandered the main tent, where there were exhibitors, vendors, and crafts, games and educational exhibits.

We saw Bill Streeter of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, Hope Douglas of Wind Over Wings, and Jim Eyring of Pace University and their amazing birds of prey. Here are some of the fascinating creatures we learned about:

Mikro's favorite was the American Kestrel. I find it impossible to choose just one.

Fun stuff:

Raptor "cootie catcher" or "fortune teller" for kids from Wind Over Wings And check out the rest of their kid's page, too!

Teacher's Page at Delaware Valley Raptor Center

DVRC Kid's Page