Sunday, October 31, 2010


We went with an Ancient Egypt theme this year:

Kevin was Anubis, the God of the Dead, Mikro was a lively young King Tutankhamun, and I was Ma'at, the Goddess of Justice. I made the Anubis mask, and Kev built the Sarcophagus for our mummy, dubbed "Dusty" by Kevin and Mikro. We also had a set of scales with a heart being weighed against a feather.

Mikro trick or treated for UNICEF again this year (he's allergic to wheat and milk, which rules out most candy, but he's thrilled to participate and help out other kids!) And at home, I had dairy free chocolate for him...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Reminder for My Little Perfectionist

Mikro is a wonderful, brilliant kid, but... He's a bit of a perfectionist. And sometimes that leads to him balking at trying something new, because he isn't sure he'll do it to his exacting standards. He tends to sit back and watch for a while and think things through before being willing to explore something new. I've spent a lot of time telling him that there is nothing bad about making mistakes. It's how we learn. I even bought him a book about inventions and scientific discoveries that were "mistakes" to try to reinforce this concept. So I was happy to show him this video, called "Failure: The Secret to Success," from Honda's web site:

We found it because Honda is sponsoring National Geographic Channel's Great Migrations web site. Yesterday we participated in a virtual assembly about Great White Sharks, which will be posted to the website soon, for anyone who missed it. There are lots of educational resources-- videos, lesson plans, worksheets, etc. And the assembly was also linked to the very awesome Jason Project which has free curriculum materials about energy, geology, weather, and ecology. Very interesting sites, and a "something new" that Mikro has enthusiastically embraced.

On Privilege

This eloquent post, Things I Don't Have to Think About Today, and the comments, are a good read.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Legends at Washington Irving's Sunnyside

On Sunday, we went to the "Legends" event at Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Kids are encouraged to go in costume. Rather than risk Mikro's intended King Tut costume getting grass stained, I pulled out a Julius Caeser costume that I picked up on sale from Oriental Trading Company. It was too cold for an off the shoulder toga, so I had Mikro wear his skeleton sweatshirt underneath and tell people he was "Great Caesar's Ghost."

"Legends" is the fun, slightly spooky kid's event put on by Historic Hudson Valley. This year they are also doing a much scarier evening program at Philipsburg Manor called "Horseman's Hollow", as well as storyteller Jonathan Kruk's performance of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and the always amazing "Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze" at Van Cortlandt Manor. We had tried the (not as scary at that time) evening event once before with Mikro, but at 5 or so, it was waaaay too much for him. So we thought we would try the day program this year. It was great fun, and I'm glad we went, but at 7.5, I think Mikro was on the older end of the spectrum of intended audience. Programming was very short, to appeal to the younger crowd's attention span, but it was all good fun. I just would have liked it if things were a little more sustained. Next year, I think we'll take a chance on the night time spookiness...

The Magic Show was terrific. Margaret Steele's act was based on a tale of finding enchanted items on a walk through the woods. Very fun!

Chris Yerlig, aka The Mechanical Man, was wandering the grounds doing his automaton routine, and making me think of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"... And we were lucky enough to get called for tickets for the Spooky Woodland Story Walk, during which our guide retold Washington Irving's tale of "The Devil and Tom Walker". Mikro really enjoyed the story.

We had time for a short walk around the grounds, and a peep at Irving's beloved cottage, surrounded by glorious fall color.

And then we saw the Shadow Puppet theater version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Very cool! This was the sort of entertainment people might have enjoyed during Washington Irving's day.

For anyone in the area, they will be doing this again on October 30th and 31st...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuesday Science, Wednesday Hiking, Thursday Yard School, Friday Science

Our week in review:

Monday was all about reading library books that were soon to be overdue, and watching a movie related to our new history focus, Ancient India. Mikro really enjoyed Hanuman. Note: It is in Hindi with English subtitles, so best for kids who read fluently or have parents patient enough to read aloud all the subtitles in a full length movie. I am thankful that Mikro could read them on his own!

Science on Tuesday was about "Earth Awareness." The kids learned about pollution and built filtration systems to try to remove "pollutants" from "lake water." (The pollutants were things like styrofoam bits, salt and molasses.)

On Wednesday, Mikro's "Aunt Becca" dropped by to see if we were up for a hike. We were (although my arthritis is in a pretty bad flare... the damp needs to go...) So we joined her and her Yorkie on a leaf peeping hike on the Old Croton Aqueduct. It was so beautiful there. A lot more leaves are changing now than the last time we were up there.

Thursday was yard schooling, building things with K'nex, and errands... (The photos may be from Wednesday evening, but Thursday was more of the same...)

And today was Science at SMLI, which was a second session on paleontology. Mikro had fun and made a "fossil" of a trilobite. The museum was decorated for Halloween!

On the walk back to the train, we saw sea gulls, an egret, and a small bird (a warbler of some kind?) Gotta figure out where I stashed the bird guide...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make Your Own Puzzles

This terrific resource was posted on one of my homeschool groups:

Discovery Education Puzzlemaker.

You can make word searches, crosswords and more.

I just made an Ancient China word search. Fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In 1492...

Continuing our discussions here of myth-story vs. history, we watch this old thing on YouTube. Mikro watches silently. (I'm sitting there, just a bit anxious about the cartoon format and songs being appealing, despite the dreck content...) He doesn't comment, even when I start spouting off. Waits till the very end, completely serious, then looks at me and says vociferously:

"Horse poo."

Ah, yup.

Tomorrow I'll show him this one: Look at that Columbus with the Big Butt. I'm still debating on whether Dora the Conquistadora is appropriate for a 7 year old (mostly due to the Diego bit... Pre-screen this one, folks.

And for grownups, we have: The Truth About Columbus Day
Columbus: Continuation of a Genocidal Legacy.

Thanks to Adrienne at the Native Appropriations blog for many of these links.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Architecture, the Armory and Eats!

On Saturday, after Bristlebots, we took a walk around the city, starting at Union Square (which was far more congested due to the farmer's market, than the artists!), pausing for hot apple cider in the park, and meandering north east to end at Grand Central Terminal.

Come along on our walk and enjoy the city where Kevin and I grew up, and where Mikro spends lots of his time learning.

Along the way, we noticed the Armory at 26th Street, and were invited in for a tour by a very nice young National Guardsman. This is a neighborhood I've passed through, but not really spent any time in. I never knew the building was an armory, much less that it is the home of the Fighting Irish, the 69th Infantry Regiment, which has a long history and leads off NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade every year. Inside, we were amazed by the architecture, and learned a lot about the building, and the 69th's regimental history. The Gaelic on the 69th's crest, flanked by Irish Wolfhounds, translates to: "Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked."

You can take a virtual tour here.

The building has also been used for professional basketball games, art shows, and other purposes, and was the site of a historic 1913 art show that introduced Modern Art (and Native American art!) to America.

After leaving the Armory, we stumbled over a restaurant that serves Gluten Free italian food! Mozzarelli's rocks! They had a GFCF pizza with veggies and soy cheese which Mikro could eat! This is the first time since he was diagnosed with food allergies that Mikro was able to go into a restaurant and order something off the menu to eat! (Usually, Kev and I order, and we bring with us something that Mikro can eat.) So I can't begin to tell you how happy this made me:

After stuffing ourselves with amazing food (the GF artichoke pizza was DE-licious!), we continued our wanderings, keeping an eye out for interesting architectural details. Most of these shots were taken along Lexington Avenue.

For awhile, we had a bit of a bird theme going...

These last two are from the Chrysler Building, of course:

More to see...
Aquatic life at the Chanin Building:

Grand Central Terminal and its famous ceiling full of constellations:

We even watched a wedding party take photos in GCT...

A bit of halloween: