Sunday, May 31, 2009

School's out for summer!

This was our first week of summer, which may explain why I haven't posted anything. On the one hand, I feel a bit bored and lost because Sedona and I used to snuggle and read books for the majority of every morning and now she's more interested in chasing around big sister. On the other hand, the house is amazingly more difficult to keep clean with TWO kids and a stressed out dog around all day. Just the dog hair is ridiculous. It's a cruel twist of fate that kids get out of school at the same time dogs are normally shedding anyway. Rather than snoozing away the morning, poor Angel (who's an 11 year old lab) finds it necessary to move from place to place, trying to find a spot that's both quiet and hidden from sticky fingers. Every time she gets up, I swear she leaves half her coat behind. I completely filled up the vacuum cleaner Friday and again today. Surely the cure to male pattern baldness lies in my dog's amazing ability to seemingly regrow her entire coat overnight. Then there are the crumbs. Because my children never stop moving, they also never stop eating. I'm seriously considering a "snacks may only be eaten outside" rule.

And, of course, there is my oldest's bitter disappointment that it is summer time at all. Every single day this week, we have had an emotional tantrum because she wanted to do workbooks, or do MORE workbooks, or go buy some workbooks. I have limited her to a few workbook pages and reading one primer story each day. Some days we have a fun activity to go along with the "seat work" or a little science experiment to do. Some of her favorites:
  • She read "The Little Red Hen" and then we baked bread together while talking about where flour comes from
  • She read "The Gingerbread Boy" and then we baked gingerbread men and women
  • We made frost: mix 2 cups of ice and 1/2 cup salt in a stainless steel bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let sit 10 minutes and record observations. Frost will form on the outside of the bowl. Have fun explaining to a 4 year old that the ice did not move through the bowl, rather the water vapor in the air around us condensed and then froze on the bowl because it was so cold.
  • We made gloop: mix 4oz white liquid glue and 1/2 cup water. In a separate container, mix 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) water and 1/2 tsp borax. Pour the borax mixture into the glue and stir, stir, stir. It will start to clump up. Continue stirring, until it's mostly clumped, then knead with your hands and let the kids play with it. It's a rubbery/bouncy consistency and doesn't stick to your hands at all. If you have older kids, you can explain the process to them--the borax polymerizes the glue.
  • We made...ummmm....not sure what it's called: Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup baking soda. Mix in 1/4 cup water. This one is messy and we did it on the driveway---if you move fast, it will act like a solid, move slow and it will act like a liquid. Stab it with a spoon and you won't get anywhere, slowly move the spoon and it oozes right in. Pour it out on a cookie sheet and pick some up to roll into a ball. Set the ball on your palm, and it turns right back to liquid. Fun way to introduce the concepts of states of matter.
We are also doing a couple of reading programs. Our local library has a great summer reading program going on. The kids can do the reading themselves, or if they're too little, the parents can read to them. They keep a log and get several prizes throughout the summer. There are lots of fun activities going on in conjunction with this. And if you have a Half Price Books near you, they are also doing a summer reading program.

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