Monday, March 29, 2010

Misc Fun Photos

Gabriana laughing, which she does so often and so easily. Just looking at it makes me want to go kiss her! I am very lucky....

Katherine learning with her friend about ancient Rome. Beautiful spontaneous and self-directed learning. (That's a "soldier hat" on her head. Pretty appropriate, actually!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Marvelous Mission Science Center

This place is so cool, it seems to merit its own post, seperate from the photos specific to the class.
With the microscope, Gabriana seemed to find the pond water or leaf details hysterically funny and giggled and laughed with the science teacher who noticed her enthusiasm and came over to show her more. She also made some impressive noise with the trumpet, having watched Katherine and friends teach each other. The final photo was taken as Gabriana and friend were watching and petting a very friendly, very energetic, very large iguana and then laughing about it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unmake Bicycles!

We went to our second "Unmaker" class at the fabulous Mission Science Center. This time we took apart bicycles, learning how they work in the process. Gears, brakes, ball bearings... pretty cool. The kids started racing their disconnected wheels and had lots of fun with that and marvelous Mario also brought out a solar panel that was connected to a radio and explained solar energy as the kids turned it on and off by blocking the sunlight.

Friday, March 26, 2010

La Peluqueria

Spanish class mimicked a trip to la peluqueria (hair salon). How fun! Missed on film: Mommy as client (it was wet and messy, but I looked "better than I ever have" (per Katherine). The experience began with placing a request, continued with the application of "product," and concluded with payment, tip included. (English or Spanish, I don't think K or G knew what a tip was!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


No Mill Valley school would be complete without a garden, and Saint Agatha Lin Academy certainly won't be beat! I was inspired when reading (and helping to edit) my friend Marion's wonderful and fun book about making home and garden improvements and staying financially healthy in the process. You can find "The Real Deal, Making Big Changes with Small Change" at: and on amazon at:

Just a start, but it feels like progress, reclaiming our postage-stamp sized yard from chaos due to neglect, Ike droppings, and a destructive gopher. So far, corn, flowers, tomatoes, and strawberries. Who-knows-what to come!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girl Scout Camporee 2010

The theme was "Mythology in the Mountains" and the girls were encouraged to dress in ancient Greek costumes. Katherine's troop started with the troop identifying t-shirts they'd made during their meeting the previous week (bottom), then changed into the recycled "Queen of the Nile" costumes we'd used at the bday party the week before. Thank goodness for creative moms (not me - thanks, EB!)

They played, did crafts, then did a bead swap with the other troops from the Mill Valley/Tiburon/Belvedere area. Each girl brought 20-30 beads and then traded them with others, so they each went home with a diverse collection to remember the day and the other scouts by.

Dinner was followed by a campfire - no marshmallows, but each troop got up to share a song with the others. Katherine's troop had only two (including her) by that point and they weren't sure what they wanted to do, but they were determined to get up there nonetheless. The older girls were encouraging and patient as they decided, then they very quietly performed "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold." We had to call Uncle Paul the next day to see if he remembered Boy Scout chants, which he did - the same ones I recalled. Whadacachu!

Opening Day, Mill Valley!

Parade of all Little League and Softball teams, followed by the first game. Who won? At our level, everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Guest Student at St. Agatha Lin Academy

We started with a field trip to the Audubon Center in Tiburon. We got explorer backpacks and ran to our "secret garden," benches surrounded by plum trees and accessed through a narrow, hidden path. Cool! Then off to the beach to identify birds, look for crabs (lots!), talk about sharks, and answer unprompted questions from the kids about God and Jesus (yeah!) At the end of the day, it was the shared information about how a shark kills its prey that Will most remembered.

We also poked at a seemingly mummified cat that had washed up on the beach (skin and bones and a good anatomy lesson), talked about geography and directions (prompted by views of SF and Mt. Tam), and recorded our observations by each keeping a nature journal. We even practiced writing our names in ancient Egyptian script before going home and starting on art projects.

Flowers, designs, science, and math riddles (the jokes were silly, but reinforced underlying understanding). Throw in some ad hoc reading and it was a very productive "unschooling" day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


My friend Zoe, who will soon be a mom, posted a concern a while ago on her blog about not being good at crafts. As these photos show, if I can help the kids do them, anyone can! (BUT craft glue doesn't work on fabric - FYI! I had to get my sewing kit out.) Thanks to Uncle Paul and Aunt Susan for the sock puppet kit and Maryellen and Lily for the Model T Ford model set.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


From a girl scout meeting to karate. Amazing! A Great Egret and a Western Grebe... among much other natural beauty and wildlife too fast for film.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Queen of the Nile has a bday party

The Birthday Girl with her cake... and Gabriana.
A pyramid cake with treasure in the burial chamber... Katherine is among many kids (and adults!) who just had to see!

Gold faces and elaborate eye makeup. Even in "regular" clothes again, we got some looks at mass that night, for sure!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Club! The Secret Garden

Another fabulous day: art projects, baking, and planting, all while discussing and playing parts of the book, Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Secret Garden," which is one of our very favorites. The rain meant that some of our plans were curtailed, but the ten kids who came seemed to have fun anyway.