Sunday, April 29, 2012

Village Earth Day Celebration

Our little village held its Earth Day celebration on Saturday. Mikro had a wonderful time. He saw stick insects at Teatown Lake Reservation's display, made a fish print, learned all about fish of the Hudson River from Christopher Letts, participated in the driftwood sculpture contest, and made some arts and crafts with recycled materials at the crafts table. Of course, mom was drawn in by the irresistible pull of art supplies, and ended up making a fish collage... Dad and Mikro took part in the beach cleanup, while my cane and I watched. We all watched the birds, and saw killdeer and a turkey vulture who landed on the beach, as well as the usual geese, ducks, seagulls and cormorants.

Thursdays, and Friday, Back on Earth post-Enterprise...

On Thursdays, Mikro and I visit the library and then go out and have lunch out together.

Some Thursdays, we go out for coffee or dinner with Kev's best buddy (who is MIkro's godfather). This week, I was amused by the three older children playing with their toys together at the table, while the actual kid did word searches on his placemat. (Photo courtesy of Mikro.)

This is what usually happens when we go out: Would you like some clown with your coffee?

Friday was a jam packed day: First we saw the shuttle, then we went out to Long Island Museum of Science for Mikro's science class, which focused on invasive species this week. While the kids are in class, we parents chat, or take a nature walk. The grounds are beautiful in any season. This week I saw Italian Wall Lizards basking, robins mating, and lots of gorgeous spring flowers.

After science, we rushed home for a program at our local library with Animal Embassy. Mikro got to hold an African Bull Frog, and we saw lots of other exotic animals.

Heron Nest Cam

One of Mikro's favorite birds is the Great Blue Heron. Today, we had a blast watching this: Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Heron Nest Cam. Several eggs have hatched already, and there are cute gangly, fluffy chicks to see!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Watching Enterprise Fly

Mikro and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing the Space Shuttle Enterprise fly up and down the Hudson River atop a 747 transport aircraft, on its way to become the newest exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. We took an early train, hoping to see it on our way down the Hudson Line into the city. Kev updated us with timing information, and it became apparent that we would be too early to see it if we continued our ride. So we hopped off at Yonkers, hoping to catch it and still make an early enough train to get to Mikro's science class... Standing around on the windy platform, we met a former NASA rocket scientist, who was also trying to catch the flyover, and watched together. Just a minute or so before our last possible train pulled in, we were amazed to see the shuttle pass by, incredibly close to our side of the river. I snapped a few quick photos and we hustled onto the train. We rushed to the door windows on the river side, and got to watch as she made her return pass downriver as well.

Moments later, Kev was taking amazing shots from Battery Park as Enterprise circled the Statue of Liberty and flew over lower Manhattan.

What an amazing experience. I am so glad Mikro got to see this bit of history!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rainy, Painy, Brainy

My arthritic corpse is not loving the deluge. It's a quiet weekend. Kevin had to work both days. Mikro and I are watching a huge number of educational videos. Mostly science stuff, like The Way Things Work animated series, Physical Science for Children series, and some Bill Nye. He's constantly glued to the 2 huge encyclopedia-like DK books he got for his birthday: Animal Life and Prehistoric Life, and the Diagram Group Field Guide to Prehistoric Life. I love anything by Diagram Group, especially the huge loose leaf binders full of experiments, timelines, and anatomical diagrams that you can pick up used on Amazon for a song. One of my favorite sets of homeschool resources.

He's reading a series on early man featuring titles like A Day With Homo Habilis. We're also talking about more modern historical eras as they are implicated in the series Who Do You Think You Are?, which we are watching on Amazon Instant Video and enjoying immensely. It's lead to discussions of slavery, the Holocaust, prohibition, the Civil War, the California Gold Rush, and I'm sure others I'm just not recalling at the moment. Very cool, and it makes me wish I could get past Charlie from the late 1700s on my paternal grandfather's side in my own genealogical research, but the trail ends with him.

Mikro is also reading a book on California history and geography. Next we move on to Florida and Texas. We're working our way through the 50 states in the order that the Highlights Magazine Which Way USA issues arrive at our door. I still have a bunch of resources on Africa to get through before moving on to the ancient Middle East, though we have dipped a toe in that pool already at this point. After that, it will be precolumbian civilizations of the Americas, and then Australia. I'm hoping by September we are ready to move along to the Dark Ages and early medieval period. We also just did a bunch of health/hygiene videos. And I just signed him up for the season pass at Silver Lake, and for swim lessons.

We are really getting a lot done lately, though I am feeling very uninspired about math. Usually we have fun with it, but I think I'm just a little burned out on it at the moment. I'm having him do computer math and some fun type workbooks, Hidden Picture Math and Quilt Math, where you do problems and the answer determines what color you make the space, and if you get it all right, you reveal the picture or pattern. Beast Academy math books arrived, and I'll turn him loose on them next week or so. He's not the math apathetic one, I am. Hopefully this is a short lived phase brought on by the headaches doing the taxes gave me.

Pottery is winding down for the semester. Still a few more weeks of glazing, but I'm not planning on building anything new. Fingers crossed it all gets in the kiln. Mikro is a dragon drawing dervish. He's really doing some nice sketches. I'm hoping he'll branch out and try some new subjects as well.

Next week, we are probably going to try to see the Enterprise fly by NYC on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Kev may be able to see it from the windows at work. Wednesday, we have reservations for the educator's night preview of the new Terracota Warriors exhibit at Times Square Discovery Exposition Center. And Friday is science class at SMLI.

We messed up this week and somehow managed to get on the wrong train, so we missed science class, but instead headed to the Earth Day Fair at Grand Central Terminal. Mikro really enjoyed the Bio Bus, where he saw lots of microbes living in compost, including nematodes that had jellyfish bioluminescent cells grafted into them, so that different parts of their anatomy glowed under different color filtered light sources. Red was muscle cells, which showed up mainly around the exterior, and green was neural tissue. Mikro informs me that nematodes are roundworms, and they have nerve rings. He was quite the little professor on the Bio Bus.

Kev and I also upgraded our phones on Friday. I now have a smart phone, which I apparently need to be smarter to figure out. Um, I have a doctorate, hub is a highly trained IT professional, and between the two of us, we struggled to figure out how to answer a call without putting the phone on speaker. I still haven't managed to find the illusory google chat/im app that will supposedly save me paying for texts.... My love/mostly hate, especially change, relationship with technology continues...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Since April is Poetry Month...

Our homeschool blogging friends at Once Upon A Family recently posted this really fun exercise, which is perfect for Poetry Month :

"A cinquain is a five lined poem that are written in many different ways but here is the format that we wrote them in today.

Line 1 - one word that tells what your subject is
Line 2 - two words that describe your subject
Line 3 - three action words that tell about your subject
Line 4 - a four word phrase that expresses a feeling about your subject.
Line 5 - one word that is a synonym for your subject."

To get Mikro motivated, I had to compose a couple:

Cheesy, Gooey
Melting, Oozing, Dripping
My favorite yummy lunch

Lazy, Scaley
Lounging, Staring, Yawning
Surprisingly errupts, hunting crickets

Sweet, Smart
Bouncing, Spinning, Joking
My heart walking around

Reliable, Obsessive
Tinkering, Laughing, Talking
Best friend and soulmate

Artist, oddball
Reading, Writing, Creating
Riverloving homeschooling wife/mom

Geeky, Nonconformist
Learning, Exploring, Supporting
We're all weird here.

Here is Mikro's:

Funny, Silly
Moving, Thinking, Geeking
Biologist in the Making

And because he is a nine year old boy, he could not help but share the following:

Stinky, Funny
Trumpeting, Popping, Escaping
I laugh, mom cringes

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mikro Bday Goodness

I woke up my birthday boy with a song (the obvious), but I made him wait upstairs while I wrapped the last gifts, even though we were waiting till Dad came home to open them. Found the missing How to Draw Dragons book, and just gave it to him. He was inspired and started drawing. Amazing breakthrough. He did a great job!

Quote: "On this drawing, I left my comfort zone. And it worked!"

We spent most of the day in the yard making pottery. I made a cylinder with impressed fossil plates. He made fossil ornaments. I made an owl wall plaque and suggested he try as well. My huge owl is "Athena." His mini is "Curiosity". My other 2 are now dubbed Wisdom and Knowledge. Kev told me to look up Odin's ravens, who are Thought and Memory. Similar ideas.

Anyway, we finally picked up Kev, and then the party started. Mikro opened his gifts and we had cake. Then we had dinner. He enjoyed having dessert first. Afterwards, Mikro watched Survivor, read from his prehistoric life field guide, then watched some of Sons of Guns while playing with his Perplexus Epic, one of his favorite gifts. Then he watched Monster Man, got measured on the growth chart wall, and he's now headed to bed. He says he had a great birthday. He seems to love his science books more than most of the games and toys. Well, except for Perplexus. He is obsessed with that thing.