The Walker, U of MN, and Freezing Weather

snowman

I’m trying to pick up on documenting again! I was amused noticing how my documentation in my book for September through November months is so detailed, then come the holidays things get busy and I lag off, then when Spring comes near I realize I want something to show for all the amazing learning the kids have been up to! So, here’s some catch-up:
I brought Ava to the U of MN for the afternoon this fall, simply to have a little tour and ride the buses. We had such a nice day together! Of course, she loved the bus rides. She also loved the art gallery, walking over the river on the walking bridge, she got a kick out of a tree that everyone throws shoes in, and thought the chemistry labs were really cool, too. I was hoping we could find someone to bring us in the labs but she only got to look through the windows. Maybe next time. She loves science. U art gallery, ava u bus ava u cow and ava U snoopy n Ava
Fall was full as usual, and always a favorite for us. Apple orchard and scarecrow festival, pumpkin patch, our homeschool group Halloween Party, a Halloween festival at the nature center, a Halloween party with our vegetarian family group, and of course, Trick-or-Treating.fam hay ride Before it got to cold, I brought the kids to the Walker Art Center to finally get to see that giant cherry on a spoon they’ve always wanted to see up close. They were interested in a lot of the structures in the sculpture garden and loved the green house area with all the different plants and flowers. Oddly, the brochure with a map of the exhibits was a huge hit with them. They were so excited opening it all up and seeing where they had walked and which ones they had seen and where we should go next. And the bridge over the busy traffic was pretty cool, too. They waved at the traffic and people honked at them. They were thrilled.spooncherry 11-24-12 112412

The kids came with me to vote this fall, as well. All three came into the booth and were part of the process. They were all three actually really interested. Their little noses were just a few inches from the pencil as they watched me mark the ballot. I’m glad I brought them all with.

We also attended a really REALLY big potluck for the Turkey-Free Thanksgiving this year. It was incredible! And ALL vegan! The kids’ eyes nearly popped out of their heads. The desert table alone had about 15-20 dishes. The main dish table was three or four long tables pushed together and packed full of different entrees. Amazing! They also had kids crafts and a stage all the kids had fun playing on with their friends.

When it started getting cold and the ice came around, we used some food coloring to make some really pretty ice colors outside. Also we froze some colored water in water balloons for some cool colored spheres for the sidewalk. On one of the coldest days, we put out different water solutions to see which freeze first. After learning that the salt solution doesn’t freeze easy and actually melts ice, Noah went out to salt the sidewalks so they wouldn’t get to icy.fzn waterballoon 10-31-12 freezing

One of my favorite places to bring the kids is the Science Museum. I’m just love watching how curious they are and how independently they find information. We went to the King Tut exhibit, which of course, included mummies, Ava’s long-time obsession. We had watched a documentary all about King Tut before we went. While I walked around with the younger kids, Ava took it upon herself to go in and talk with the “Pharoah” who was there to talk about the mummy. While everyone else passed through, Ava stayed in the room asking amazing (and difficult!) questions. When I see her so interested in something like this, I forget she’s seven. I’m blown away by her questions and the way she talks. After a while, the Pharoah led her and a few others over to another mummy case to learn more. The staff there is always incredibly patient and talks directly to the kids, very seriously, answering their questions and not rushing them. The amount of information she gets from them must be enormous with how intensely interested she is. She just soaks it up.

So, now, 2013…
When I looked back at my last entry, I realized Noah has only been writing, really writing, for a few months. His improvement has been really incredible. All on his own. He’s went from barely able to write a recognizable letter this fall to writing very legible words. He’s loving it. And I’m loving how it just happens! As I mentioned in the last blog post, he wasn’t into writing, or into writing his name yet, and that was okay. And, as expected (though, faster than I expected!) he now writes everything. He writes his name proudly on his art and writes his favorite words, asking me how to spell words and practicing the ones he doesn’t know until he does. And he’s so giggly and excited doing it.fossil digging

Amora has also been busy writing her letters and can write her name, practices writing our names, and types her name and phone number on the computer. Pretty great for three!

The latest craze was the Eagle Cam that was watching a pair of local Eagles who laid their eggs (too) early this year. The kids checked on them a few times a day, watching the poor eagles sitting on their three eggs, covered over with snow in the snowstorm, only to find out a few weeks later they wouldn’t hatch. Sad reality but very interesting to see these birds up close and taking turns sitting on the eggs and bringing back food.

Other interests the kids have been up to:
Ava: Ava got an interactive globe for a gift and sits in her room and plays on it for an hour or so now and again. She now knows all the continents (in three languages! haha) and many countries of the world. She also learned to crochet this winter so decided she is starting a business called Cat Natural to sell a crocheted cat toy she makes. She also has been using her little loom to make potholders for family, and is making beaded jewelry as well. She’s been loving to play Yahtzee which is so great for math skills. I watched how she, without being shown how, added sixes together by counting by fives and adding on the extra ones without a second thought, and was a bit giddy. Those little things are so cool.  2-1-13
I also recently set her up with her own email account so she can email friends and family. It’s been great for her spelling and reading and sentence making. She does much on her own but asks me when she can’t spell a word. I’ve noticed how fast she’s learning to spell more words just by using them so often in her emails. All three of the kids have been playing a new video game called Little Big Planet from their Grandpa. She came up the other day so excited that the person she was playing with (you can play others) understood what she was typing to them.
n ice pancakeNoah: He’s all about Physics Games online, organizing things in his room and then reorganizing. Loves boxes and containers. He loves sorting, building and pretends all day with his little sister, playing Spiderman and other action figures and has an imagination that just takes off. He’s great at story-telling when he wants to be. We play a game at night where I give the kids three completely unrelated words and they have to put together a story to connect them. He also will take off in imagination if you ask him about how he’s going to create something and how it will work. He has an amazing mind. His other favorites right now are sharks, spiders, painting pictures of bugs, and is just getting into Minecraft. He loves learning about how things work. You literally cannot pull him away from something he’s trying to figure out. And he’s really good at figuring that stuff out. His mind already does things mine doesn’t do. He’s just got this physics and mechanics thing going.004
Amora: Amora is all about Spiderman, Firestar, and the Avengers right now. She shares Noah’s imagination and they play together for hours. Her other favorites right now are Play-doh, and board games like Busy Town Mysteries and she’s trying to learn Checkers. She loves computer games now too. She plays on ABC Mouse and Starfall online a lot. She loves music as Ava always has. One of her favorite daily activities is putting on the letter songs from ABC Mouse, cranking the speakers, and dancing and singing loudly to them in the living room.
And over the fall/winter months, we caught a few plays as well. We saw Cat in the Hat and The Grinch at the Children’s Theater, and Elf at the Ordway. Lots of laughs and it’s always a special activity to go to a play together. We’re all looking forward to the warmer months now. We have some camping trips planned and the kids can’t wait to ride their bikes and scooters and skateboards again!2-3-13 2-21 12-6-12 12113 ava hay elkriv t or t 2012 NYE 12,13 all kids and john xmaskids12

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