Saturday, April 25, 2015

National Mythology Exam Results

The girls have been on edge since they so-meticulously prepared for and took this exam; finally, the results are in!  They both took the exam at the high school level, though they could have opted for just the questions assigned to the school grades that correspond to their ages.  They wanted the bigger challenge, though, and so took multiple additional sections of the test, which included Greek/Roman myths, African myths, Native American myths, and questions about the Odyssey. 

They both got medals (only 40% of those who take it do) with both getting perfect scores for their grade-level.  K had a perfect score even when compared to the high school required exams and G got one question wrong, dropping her to 97% for the high school level.  Not bad! 

K expressed disappointment at the one mistake she made and vowed to take the test again next year, but both were clearly proud and wore their medals to choir practice.  I'm proud of them, too!  I read through the questions and most certainly could not have tested as well as they did.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Creating an Original Musical Score

This is the group of kids who are working together to produce their own television show; they work together so well and it is absolutely awesome to see them having so much fun while working so hard.  They decided that their "outro" music (that at the end of the show) should be a unique composition with all of them contributing their musical talents and they did so this day, with the direction of the amazing Lee Watson.  The score includes several duets: of pianists, violinists, classical guitarists, and electrical guitarists.  Boy was I impressed! 

Afterward, most everyone stayed to play and we had a delightful afternoon relaxing and playing and then barbequing together.  Great day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Science Dad Strikes Again

Water pressure, gears, and making a radio; this class was, as usual, filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and kid-led projects.  They are developing great knowledge about physics, chemistry, and engineering, but I think that the most important learning outcome is intense enthusiasm for inquiry and understanding that such questioning and exploring is essential for scientific understanding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Safari West

The other part of K's belated birthday celebration: pure fun back at Safari West!  We skipped the tour (too expensive), opted for a picnic on the porch of our tent instead of eating at the lodge and we had a great time together.  After dark, the girls put on a hilarious show for us, then we all got under luxurious electric blankets together and took turns telling each other stories.  All night, we could hear monkeys, guinea fowl, and flamingos; magic!

Some highlight photos:

Domestic guest: a nesting Canadian goose roosting high in a tree

Love wood ducks!

Wood duck mama and four-day old chicks!


Guinea fowl in foreground, giraffes in rear

Love love love the exotic and noisy birds!


Gorgeous flowers all over the property

The view I love the most

Monday, April 20, 2015

Charles Schultz Museum

A belated birthday celebration for K included a stop at the Charles Schultz museum; lots of fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Track Again

This was a fifth grade invitational with 15 or 16 schools competing and it was again really fun to be there.  K did the 100 this time and was in the same heat with the daughter of a friend whom we know originally through my mom and then through St. Dominic's, which is the church where we met.  Quite a coincidence to have K and her daughter in the exact same heat, same race!  This time K got second in the shot put against quite a lot of competition; very impressive.  (She still isn't a runner, but was competitive in the 100 and I'm impressed that she keeps on trying new sports, new events.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Friday

We abandoned all pretense of academia and played the day away, joining several families in hours and hours of play.  The kids all begged for more days like this (and why not, especially when joy really is the point.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Science Dad

He looks like a mad scientist here; love it.  The kids love him; every class they are exuberant about science, excited about everything he presents.  This class was on light refraction and color indicators.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Track Meet

K's first meet in which she is assigned running events: the 200 and the 400 (both would be pure torture for me; I thought that the 800 was an agonizing sprint!)  Running isn't her strength or her favorite thing to do, but she did her best and it was super fun to be on the track, cheering.  And she had a fan base, which is always fun!

She also did the shot put again and this time placed first, beating the closest female competitor by five full feet and the closest fifth grade boy by two feet.  Not bad for an event she squeezed in before rushing off to a baseball game.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Liquid Nitrogen Accident

Puck knocked over the canister and the carpet froze; he was fascinated by the puffs of steam that arose for a while afterward!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TV Show Planning Session

This time they practiced the questions and answers they'd developed and timed themselves, working through the "ahs" and "ums" and helping with conversation transitions.  Love the way that they work together; serious about what they are doing and having fun throughout too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Egg Decorating

It's still Easter week... we weren't late!  Turned out great too... will need a bigger Easter Egg tree next year to hold all of them; these were beautiful and cute, too.  (Eggs and girls, too; just don't tell K I called her 'cute!')

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Happy Birthday

To my wonderful, amazing, brilliant, tough, sweet, strong, helpful, amazing, affectionate, responsible, beautiful, insightful, cool, athletic, kind, Shakespeare and baseball loving daughter, my philosopher athlete.  You are both smart and wise.  You know yourself so well and are magnificently confident about being authentically yourself, which inspires me and has taught me tons about myself.  I love you beyond words.  You have brought me more joy than I could ever imagine and thanks to you, I can give thanks to God for moments of bliss every single day.  Thank you for being my daughter and my friend, my love.

First thing: opening presents:  books and baseball shirts

Sniffing her cake in delighted anticipation

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Dressed in "Easter best" for choir, our beautiful girls

Photo is blurry, but the singing was lovely!

Traditional bunny cake with the ear maker/baker's helper

Easter Egg Treasure Hunt

I got up at 3:30 Easter morning to prep for the day, including getting what has become an annual treasure hunt ready. It started with an egg hunt, but each of 34 plastic eggs contained candy, money, or a clue and they were valued in that reverse order. I never thought 1) candy could hold so little value or 2) that the girls would voluntarily decide to pool the found money and divide it. (I was impressed!)

The "clues" in the eggs were a combination of things: instructions for the actual hunt, the first clue, and decoder information. The first clue said, "on your birthday, you get this," which led them to the birthday cake. The clue under the cake cover said, "gymnastics during a storm," which led to the book we are reading, "Cartwheeling During Thunderstorms." Inside that book cover was a riddle, "young I am tall, old I am short, I love to glow, breath is my foe." After some deliberation and searching, they found the next clue in a candle holder. That one was written backwards and said, "rorrim" (or "mirror,") which led to one inside the bathroom mirror written in mirror writing that said, "Unlimited, Together We're..." It took K no time to locate the Wicked CD and the clue there was an instruction: "go outside. Walk around house. Don't jump." They found the next clue under the neighbor's trampoline and it said, "camping in luxury," which took them without much deliberation to the Playmobile camper. That clue took them outside again, telling them to "follow porch to the corner, then take a rest;" the clue was under the footrest on the porch. That clue said, "look for an ace, the clue's in that place," which led them to the playing cards. That clue had to be deciphered with the code and when readable, told them to put all of the found clues together and unscramble the letters on each of them. That led them to "mom's shoes" and the treasure I'd been hiding under my sweatshirt all week.

Fun one! I'm always afraid I'll miss a step or put the wrong clue in the wrong place or get them out of order, but all went well. I'm thinking that some version of this might make learning math more fun. Maybe a treasure map with labeled numbers, each indicating where a clue is hidden, but needing to solve a math problem correctly to find the right number. Hmmm... more planning to come! (I'd actually hoped to make this one more Easter themed, maybe answering biblical questions about Christ's Passion or the disciples, but I didn't give myself enough time. Next year!)
Clues laid out in the early hours of the morning

Eggs packed with clues, candy, and cash (coins)

Decoding together .  The only real flaw is my bad handwriting, which takes great decoding skills!  :-)

Saturday, April 4, 2015