June 25, 2003

Spontaneously on the ocean floor...We awoke this morning to a power outage following massive storms, the kids did not find it fun to be in a house without electricity. At first I thought we could take the opportunity to talk all about life with and without power, but not if I wanted to keep my sanity! So we piled in the van and headed out for breakfast. The kids loved this treat and were actually very well behaved considering I braved a sit down place alone with the two of them, I think our waitress was scared at first as was the elderly couple sitting near us, but in the end everyone seemed pleasantly surprised, myself included. After an uneventful breakfast where we went through the latest edition of My Big Backyard several times and colored the menu and every blank piece of paper I had with me and some I didn't care if they were colored over we headed back to the house. Power still out, back to the van on a rainy, messy, dreary and sticky day.

We found ourselves at a library and to our luck there was a special program going on today about Ocean Life. We had a wonderful day of learning all without any planning on my part, how wonderful! The program was quite good, the teacher talked all about different animals that lived in the ocean with big pictures and laminated cut outs of different creatures. She had puppets she used to illustrate the animal behaviors and even which ones ate one another. She had hands on artifacts like a shark skin, shark teeth, hermit crab shells, starfish, sand dollar, a preserved turtle and lots of shells. She even had a few live creatures with her that the kids could wait in line to touch.

Our son loved touching the horshoe crab, pencil sea urchin and cowry snail. His sister decided she was sure they would hurt her and was not interested in touching them even after watching her brother and about another 80 or so kids. But I of course did not make her, gave her plenty of opportunities (to my son's delight) and let her make her choice. She felt a good safe distance (her hand nowhere near the water) was best. Needless to say the program was a hit and we spent quite awhile afterwards playing with the puppets and naming them all and reenacting some of the things the teacher did.

Then it was off to the children's section to find some books on ocean life. I was sure they would all be gone, after all we were one of the last to leave and there were over 80 kids there. I was wrong (either our library has lots of easy readers on the subject or other parents decided not to follow through with books). We got some general books about sea life and ocean animals. We also got some specialized books on jellyfish, crabs, and starfish - some of the kids favorites from the presentation. We checked out an informational video about ocean animal life and the kids even used their "free picks" to choose a fiction book and a video of their choice about fish and sea turtles.

This library also had some fun alphabet and number and shape mats in a special section where kids can actually make some noise in the library. We headed over there and played a spontaneous phonics game. Our daughter jumped from letter to letter and gave three words that started with each letter while on it. Our son jumped from one shape to another practicing his shapes and colors. Then they took turns jumping the numbers and saying them out loud. I rearranged the mats a few times and even did some basic three letter words for our daughter to sound out. They really had fun and kids kept coming over to watch what we were doing. We cleaned up the area and then they built a fort out of some cushions they had in the area and played in that for awhile while I read bits from "The Well-Trained Mind" , a classical approach homeschooling book. I am also reading "The Unschooling Handbook", two approaches that probably couldn't be all that more different if they tried and yet there is so much good in both of them! After awhile we headed over to check out our books and head home again.

A quick pit stop at the florist to pick up a bouquet for our neighbor who is recovering from brain cancer surgery and is in many ways like a grandmother to our kids. The kids picked out some beautiful purple lillies for her and received some treats from the florist, including some roses of their own. We came home - still to no power - and made homemade get well cards for her. The kids wrote their names (our son with my help - our daughter alone) and drew their own pictures, each card being unique. Over for a quick visit and well wishes and to deliver the flowers. Home for lunch and a nap. Our eldest refused so she read the new books from the library by herself for quiet time. A quick cleaning of the house and dinner.

Then off to pick up a kitchen compost bucket, the kids enjoy bringing the compost to the yard and learning what you can and cannot compost. The smell of my bowl full of clipping can get old though! Our daughter thinks we should just throw the vegetables right onto the flowers to help them grow. This concept is a bit hard for them to understand just yet I think, but still we talk about it and teach them the right way. We are listening to "The Jungle Book" unabridged in the car during the day now and the kids seems to be enjoying it and are even starting to ask questions about it.

We returned home and read some of our library books about ocean life and colored a few pages from our new work in progress "Under the Sea" book. I again printed out several coloring pages of sea animals for them to color and then put together in a book. I wonder how many of these books we are going to create? They truly seem to enjoy it though and it is a cute finished project. It was late though so only a few pages tonight and we can finish them tommorrow as well as watch the video and finish our library books. Serona gave them a nice bath and then read from "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" as they fell asleep. I am typing this and then trying to fall asleep after a few more pages (at 350 now) of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix".

Thanks for reading,

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