Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amazing video on Numbers in Nature

Someone on a math list I am on posted this awesome video, which is so good it must be shared. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour Update

Things I learned tonight:

  • Mikro can't pronounce Smores. He calls them Morschts.

  • My kid will eat all his broccoli if bribed with Morschts.

  • Making a fire is not as easy as I thought... and keeping it going in the windy weather is near imposible.

  • My neighbors must all think we are weirdos for standing out in the 30 something degree weather attempting to make Morschts in the chiminea...

  • I don't think anybody else in our neighborhood did Earth Hour. Sigh.

  • You can microwave Morschts (after Earth Hour ended at 9:30, of course...)

This is the first time Mikro has ever had (vegan, GFCF) marshmallows. We also toasted some, and he loved them. But what he enjoyed most was getting mom & dad to tell stories about the prehistoric days (you know, our childhoods!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour

Anyone doing Earth Hour tonight?

WWF has climate change curricular materials available for download here and
Earth Hour lesson plans here.

We're going to be telling stories by candlelight, and maybe making smores outside. Mikro is super excited.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raptor Rapture

Watch a bald eagle nest cam! Liberty and Justice's eggs are a tad overdue for hatching.

Watch a barn owl nest cam! Molly and McGee have 5 viable eggs. Three have hatched already, and you can watch Molly feeding her brood.

These are just amazing, and it is funny to see how many comments are from homeschoolers! I've seen links to the MollyCam on lots of homeschool lists and blogs, too.

Mikro really enjoyed watching Molly cough up a pellet, preen herself, and feed her owlets. I'm hoping we'll get a glimpse of McGee later tonight... And maybe get to watch a hatching.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Egg-quinox Egg-citement

I got an email on one of my homeschooling loops, about egg standing on the equinox, and, though I have seen this on the news for years and years, I had never tried it before. Seemed like a fun thing to try with Mikro. So yesterday, after the Library, we came home and gave it a whirl.

According to a host of sources, this is not a phenomenom that is confined to the vernal equinox (or even the vernal and autumnal equinoxes), and can be accomplished any day of the year. So much for the prevailing cultural mythology. But I have to say, it was cool to see it happen, even if it is apparently more mundane than we were given to believe! Here are some links to web sites debunking the legend:

De Facto

Native Americans of the Southwest at the Library

Yesterday, Mikro attended a program on Native Peoples of the Southwest at the Croton Library. The kids got to handle lots of native american items, try red and white corn popcorn, and make a clay pot.

Mikro's favorite new fact: While travelling, some tribes used to put corn meal in their headbands, so that they could recycle the moisture in their sweat, using it to turn the cornmeal into a corn pudding.

Oddly enough, my vegetarian all-our-relations save-the-earth animal activist boy fell in love with the martin pelt, and wants me to get him one.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yard Schooling

On a day like Friday, there is no way we would be caught indoors! We dragged our homeschooling paraphenalia outside, set up some folding chairs behind the Blue Beast (my car), and used the driveway as a chalkboard. There was time for reading about ancient Egypt, practicing handrwriting, disecting a crocus, and drawing pictures of spring flowers, and for bubbles, and building, and pterodactyl gliders and fun with the neighbor kids after they got home. I can't imagine a nicer spring day.

Our recent reads:

And we visited the Online Hieroglyphics Translator, which lets you translate text into hieroglyphs.



Dinosaur (at Mikro's insistence!):

And here's the alphabet:

Make your own hieroglyphs here!

Crazy Busy Week

Monday: Into the city for a play. Lots of fun on the playground with our homeschooled friends from HSNY afterwards.

Then home for bird watching and a nature hike at the local wetlands.

Tuesday: Science Class in Queens; math at the library. (See separate post below.)

Wednesday: Mom has a seminar with the NYS DEC on Project WET: aquatic education, at the Van Cortlandt Museum House in Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx. Mikro gets to play at the Adventure Playground in Central Park with Dad until mom's done.


A.M.: Homeschool Nature Class at the Croton Nature Center.

The kids learn about heat and cold, and do experiments on the insulating and buoyancy effects of fat or blubber. They also determine that light colors absorb less heat, and darker colors more, by leaving ice cubes out on top of variously colored natural materials, and seeing how fast they melt on different colored backgrounds. Then they hiked down to the beach and learned about water temperature, and hiked in the woods looking for insect signs of spring, and found a very cool yellow and black pill bug. I humg out at the bird feeders, trying to get photos of some of the spring returnees as well as the year round residents.

PM: Afterwards, it's time to hit the playground with our TCHS friends for the first time this spring. It was an incredibly beautiful day! It was very hard to pry Mikro out of the park 2.5 hours later, in order to barely catch our NYC-bound train and meet up with our friends from HSNY for a performance of 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes at the New Victory Theater. Mikro loved the show!

Friday: Today, we're home, and will do some history, hang out in the yard, and play with the neighbor kids. Tomorrow we have a program at the library, and then we're free till Monday...

I am exhausted!

Mythology Scavenger Hunt

One of the things I've tried to do with Mikro lately is notice creatures and characters from mythology in our surroundings. Here are a few myth related things we saw. What can you find in your neighborhood?

(For those not familiar with the Percy Jackson saga, Mount Olympus sits atop the Empire State Building, so that is why it is thrown in here.)

Percy Jackson at the Met

Kev gifted me with registration to Gods, Monsters, Myths: Exploring Greek and Roman Art Through the Eyes of Percy Jackson, a Teacher Program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The program started off with coffee and a surprise visit from Rick Riordan, who was going to be speaking later in the day at a public program. He is a former teacher, and so wanted to pop in and say "hi" to the teachers.

Next we had a tour of the Greek and Roman galleries with a museum educator who talked about ways to present the art to children. They gave us a zip drive of resources, which I haven't even had a chance to plug in yet! Then we had lunch and picked up tickets to Rick Riordan's talk, which was wonderful, and featured a reading from his new Egyptian series, the Kane Chronicles.

After that, it was time to stand in a truely insane line for the book signing. Mr. Riordan was incredibly nice, and talked to every person on that line, especially the kids. He stayed well past the scheduled time to be sure that no one was turned away. Mikro was very happy with his signed copy of The Lightning Thief. (I guess this means I actually get to keep my battered old, unsigned copy!)