Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cathedral Geometry

Our homeschool group took a fun trip to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to learn about geometry.

We started off with a workshop in which the kids made art with geometric forms. They drew a cathedral, traced celtic knotwork patterns, and made tissue paper stained glass windows and mosaics.

Next, we took a tour of the cathedral, hunting for geometric shapes and patterns. We learned about symmetry and how geometric forms help to create a stable structure, and enjoyed looking at the beautiful stained glass.

We also got to hear the organist practicing on the massive pipe organ. It has about 8,500 pipes!

We learned that seven was an important number to the designers of the cathedral. It is 601 feet long (6+0+1=7) and 124 feet wide (1+2+4=7), and has seven chapels (each for different immigrant groups). It also has 14 stained glass windows (2x7=14).

Afterward, we played at the park nextdoor with friends, and enjoyed the children's sculpture garden. Then we visited the Bank Street Bookstore and picked up some homeschooling supplies (including a cool game, Zeus on the Loose, that we will use as math play).

Shell Treasures at the Library

Last weekend, Mikro participated in a program on mollusks and sea creatures at the Croton Library.

He enjoyed it very much, and made a nifty triceratops from different shells. (Mom helped out by hot gluing the pieces together as requested...) He also had an accident and damaged the plastic cap of a bottle holding a preserved baby shark, which caused it to leak. He was very upset to have caused the damage. The educator was wonderful and caring. She told him that everyone makes mistakes, and that she would hate to see his love of science diminished by the incident. It took him a while to calm down about it, but he left with a smile on his face, and I left with tremendous respect for Mrs. Ferrari, who is the very best sort of lovely and caring teacher.

Nature Nearby

Yesterday, we bought a butterfly bush, which I am hoping to get into the ground tomorrow. It is already attracting visitors to our garden:

On our way out this morning, we discovered a dragonfly that seemed injured, lying on the sidewalk and struggling. I carefully picked him up and moved him to a safer resting spot, and we were glad to watch him fly off a few minutes later.

The Amicus Notebook

We've started a new homeschool project. We are keeping a journal of our adventures with Amicus, the dragon. Someone on the very helpful Yahoo group Pogona (for bearded dragon enthusiasts) suggested that we log her measurements, because they grow so fast. I liked the idea, and took it and ran with it. We'll be keeping a journal and doing things like graphing her length, what she eats, etc. Mikro dictates the entries, and I act as scribe, since my handwriting fits between the lines...

I think we have our school mascot...

Tut Slideshow

If you can't get to NYC to see the King Tut exhibit, this site has a nice slide show of some of the artifacts on display.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beach Bums

I guess you could call us beach bums... We are at the beach at least 4 times a week, sometimes more.

Swim lessons ended, but Mikro begged me to sign him up for the next and last session, so I did. He has graduated to Level 3, but he seems rather tentative about the new skills he's being taught... Sometimes it takes him a while to warm up. Unfortunately, since there are only 8 classes a session, time feels like it is flying by. He has progressed a tremendous amount, but it's hard for me not to want to see him take it even further. Today, he hung back on the sidelines a bit. I'm trying not to push, but I did stress that he needs to participate more. I don't expect perfection, but I do want to see effort.

Unfortunately, it will take even longer for him to find his groove, since we have to miss tomorrow because we have a fun field trip we have been looking forward to, scheduled before Mikro wangled more lessons out of me...

We are actually getting a fair amount done, homeschool-wise, but that's another post...

Amicus Grows

Our little bearded dragon has grown. Amicus was 5.5 inches long when we got her, and is now 6 inches long. She has gone from eating 3 crickets at a feeding to 9 or 10. And she loves her greens. So far she isn't much for fruit, though. She likes misting, but isn't a fan of baths.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Walking With Dinosaurs!

My little dinosaur lover was enthralled by Walking With Dinosaurs. Seeing these creatures in proper scale, moving about, is awe inspiring.