Tuesday, July 23, 2013


These are Seth's Mother's Day presents to me. I can't remember what the one on the left was, but the pouch on the right was "perfume" for me. He'd stuffed clover in there and sealed it. And it smelled very much like clover when I opened it. I was surprised how much like perfume it smelled. 

It's a tired Tuesday here. I dragged myself downstairs this morning and let the big boys sleep late. The toddler has been fussy, and I've probably done too much. Finished the last of the Hunger Games books this afternoon.

It's also been a day of invention around here. It started early with Evan and Seth creating a tank from a cardboard box and attaching a piece of cardboard to the front of it to make a "gun." Evan would sit in it, then touch the piece and make a blasting noise, and Seth had to fall down. Over and over again. To much giggling.

Seth is our inventor. He has been for at least a year. At first, we thought he liked to draw. For several months, he would spend hours each day drawing. He used "how to draw" books, and his drawings really improved with all that work. (We also saw his ability to write his name improve.)

But the thing was, he wasn't drawing just to draw. We figured out that he was drawing in order to create new toys to play with. One day, he drew a picture of a fish, and the he drew some fish food. He cut out the fish, and then he cut out the food. Then he pretended to feed the food to the fish. Aha! He did this with a lot of things.

He stopped doing much drawing when he figured out how to make multi-dimensional objects with tape and paper and whatever else he could get his hands on from the recycling bin. He's been spending his afternoon rest time for the last six months "inventing" things in his room. I moved out a small bookcase and got him a small desk with a couple of drawers at a yard sale. And then I filled a plastic box with materials to help in his inventing- colored pencils, scissors, stickers, felt scraps, construction paper, a large roll of brown craft paper.... and tape. Lots and lots of tape. (It's a good thing a large roll of generic Scotch is only .99 at Walmart.)

The other day, he asked me if he could take my picture. And then he picked up this tiny pouch of paper that he'd made with tape. One side of the pouch had a little square cut in the center. Inside the pouch were small squares of paper. He pulled out a blue pencil (because my dress was blue), colored inside the square cut out, and then pulled my "picture" out and handed it to me. 

He also recently made a paper "glove." I really need to get a picture of it because it fit him far better than we'd ever imagined he could do. It's one piece of paper that fits in the palm of his hand with small rings of paper extending from it for his fingers. It really does look like a white fingerless glove.

Today, Evan started to get in on the action more than he ever has before. He wanted to invent, too. He asked for his own roll of tape at rest time, and he wanted some scissors and crayons and paper, too. (He can't be trusted yet with scissors out of my sight, but I gave him the rest.) And I see how observing the things that Seth is interested in ignites his interest. It's pretty neat.

This is one of the reasons that I'm glad to homeschool. I want Seth and Evan to have the time to invent, and it makes it easier because we all have more un-hurried time at home. Where will it lead? I have no idea. I'm not really expecting them to become the next Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs, but I'm glad to see the stretching and growing in their problem solving skills and creativity...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Kindergarten books we've enjoyed...

So, now to step it up with a post about actual homeschooling stuff. =) Our library system is just so awesome. It really is. I need to make the children's librarians those cookies I keep threatening to make (and then never do) because they soooo deserve them.

I rely heavily on the library for the books that I get to supplement our Five in a Row reads. Come to think of it, I have only bought one of the Five in a Row books. And they actually have a category in the catalog there for "Five in a Row." I swooned when I saw it pop up.

Anyway, I request books online every week or so, and then I go to pick them up, and the librarians give me ideas for books that I might not have thought about when I was requesting.

As I've gotten to know the non-fiction stacks at our library better, I've discovered some books and series that are just better written and more accessible for kindgergarters than others.

My favorite series so far is "Let's Read and Find Out about Science." I'm linking to this one on Amazon because the boys couldn't stop talking about it, but we have loved their books on ducks, flying, clouds, muscles, etc. These are well written, and they often have simple experiments in them for the kids to do. For example, in the book on flying, they had the kids stand up and hold their arms out while spinning to illustrate the principle of drag.

We have also enjoyed a simple series of books on individual countries. Our library has several of them, but I wish they had more. Basically, the titles are "Insert Name of Country In Colors." We've read China in Colors and Russia in Colors and some others. They're simple and have beautiful, large illustrations. The boys have remembered more from these books than they have from other, more complicated books we've read on the same countries.

And I turned up my nose at this series in the beginning, but I've decided that being a snob was in bad taste. Yes, they're not original Dr. Seuss, but the books from the Cat in the Hat Learning Library are great fun... and they provide a lot of details for the preschool and kindergarten set. "Clam I Am" is one of our favorites, but they're all good.

And if you don't have these in your local library, and you'd like to see them, I suggest using interlibrary loan. I do it all the time, and then I can see the book so I can decide if I want to invest in the purchase for our personal library.

P.S. I started this post ages ago when we were computerless in January and just now finished it up. :)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

When you give a mom a Nerf gun....

So, when you buy the wrong Nerf gun bullets, you will then get them jammed in the chamber by loading too many, and then you will be prying them out with a pencil while your 6-year-old son and your 4-year-old son cry... And then you will be on Youtube, trying to find a video of somebody using said gun (which you got from a yard sale for $1), and then you will be very grateful to the hordes of teenage boys who post "how to" videos on using Nerf guns. After that, you will wonder exactly how you got from that tiny infant in the pale blue sleep sack to where you are today. And you will scratch your head and smile. And then you'll grab that gun, do some fierce pump action, fire at the wall, and blow pretend smoke from the end of the gun. And smile again....