So… what do you DO all day?

We do things… and stuff.

One more week down… October 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 9:31 am

I can’t believe it’s report time again already!  This week flew by.

Bailey and I went to the Big Little Science Centre‘s open house on Saturday and reallyenjoyed working with all of the hands-on experiments.  This place is truly the product of a passion for science and a love of children.  It was started by a retired science teacher.  Bailey especially enjoyed the marble mazes and looking at things under the microscopes.

Bailey had a very creative week.  On Friday she went to her grandparent’s house to make her Halloween costume.  She has decided to be a slice of pizza!  They made it out of foam that they spray painted and cut out toppings from scraps of fabric.  Bailey helped with the planning, cutting, ironing, and painting. 

She had her second acting class on Saturday and they did character work.  She is really enjoying the class, and I have encouraged her to be herself (except while acting of course!).  I asked her afterwards if she was able to do so and she said she was.  I asked her how it felt in comparison to times when she has hid behind a mask of inauthenticity and she said it felt great.  Yay!

She is continuing to work on her spelling words.  I found the winning and runner-up words for the Canwest Spelling Bees from 2005 on, and we had fun trying to pronounce them, let alone spell them.  I also found a couple of spelling-related websites that Bailey enjoyed perusing (http://www.wordcentral.com/ and http://www.myspellit.com/index.html.)

We also played some Yahtzee, and built with Lego.  She really enjoys it when I can play with her, and it’s nice when Ocean is distractable enough to allow me to do so! 

Bailey went swimming this week, and continues to enjoy Wii Fit Plus.

We studied the neo-pagan sabbat called Samhain at the U.U. Fellowship by hearing a revised story about Persephone, Queen of the Underworld.  I brought a pomegranate to share with the children and Bailey enjoyed that immensely!

Speaking of food, Bailey baked some delicious treats this week, including peach crisp.  She mentioned that she really enjoys baking.  She also made supper for us one night without using a cookbook… she just made it up as she went along and it was delicious.

Bailey also worked on making a magazine this week, complete with health tips, cartoons, quizzes and book/DVD/CD reviews. 

Bailey enjoyed playing The Sims 3 this week.  She likes making families, and tweaking the options to make them look like people we know.

I’m sorry this is a day late… I fell asleep on the couch last night!  🙂

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Week Number 6! October 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 9:17 am

Bailey enjoyed a variety of different activities this week. 

This weekend was the “Freeze Off” SCA event  and it was in our home shire so we were able to attend.  A friend of ours came from out of town with his daughter and stayed at our home.  Bailey was thrilled to find that his daughter was a lot like her, and the girls spent an enjoyable weekend together.  The made supper on Friday night (spaghetti), and filmed their efforts as though they were filming a live cooking show.

They also did some experiments.  Bailey already knew that mixing baking soda and vinegar creates a fun chemical reaction but wanted to try mixing baking powder and vinegar.  Apparently it still fizzes, but not as much.  They also tried to make a raisin dance in a mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda, but had limited success.

At the Freeze Off banquet on Saturday Bailey and her friend entertained the younger children between removes (courses).  They also learned about how to behave at Court (listening when royalty speaks, bowing/curtsying in their presence) — things I wouldn’t ordinarily condone, haha!  There was rapier fighting to watch, and many adults doing medieval crafts.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much for the kids but Bailey made a halloween mask and played a castle siege game.

Saturday was also the first day of an acting class that we signed Bailey up for through Project X theatre company.  They played “get to know you” games, and over the next 7 weeks they will explore acting and improv.

Bailey did a lot of writing this week.  She let our friend from out of town read some of her stories and he was very impressed.  He told me that he used to mark papers for grade 10 students and that Bailey’s writing was easily on par with or better than most of their work.

Bailey baked twice this week.  She made oatmeal raisin cookies and apple crisp.  She also concocted a mixture of epsom salt, vanilla, and olive oil to be used in the bath.

She spent a lot of time this week exploring a website called Girlsense and making fashions.  It turns out that she is still very interested in fashion design–just not very interested in figuring out the Fashion Design Conference on the Self Design site. 

Speaking of fashion, Bailey spent some time thinking about her halloween costume, too.  We visited a professional costume shop, and Bailey did some research online.  She finally decided to be a slice of pizza, and called her grandmother for help making the costume.  They will likely get started on that this week.

We recently purchased the upgrade to Wii Fit (Wii Fit Plus) and Bailey has been using it every day.  She especially likes the balance games, but also likes the bike riding program.

We are still enjoying the They Might Be Giants CD.  Bailey’s favourites are the one about the Sun (“The sun is a mass of incandescent gas/A gigantic nuclear furnace/Where hydrogen is built into helium/At a temperature of millions of degrees.”) and “Meet The Elements” (“Iron is a metal, you see it everyday/Oxygen, eventually, will make it rust away/Carbon in its ordinary form is coal/Crush it together, and diamonds are born.”)  She has been inspired to learn more about outer space and elements and we plan to work on some posters about elements.  We also looked up the word incandescent in the dictionary to be sure we knew what it meant.

Spelling has been another hot topic around here, especially since she found out that her Learning Consultant managed to be able to help her with registration.  She has been studying the Grade 5 level words every day, and we also plan to study the word lists for the other grades, too.  She decided to write a sentence for every word on the Grade 5 list and came up with such gems as:

LAUNDRY: “If I see another load of laundry, I’m gonna flush it down the drain.” [an homage to Charlotte Diamond.]

SENATOR: “Senator McCain is funny.”

APPLAUSE: “The applause light went on.”

Also, last week we went to my Mom’s in Vernon for Thanksgiving and visited the Allan Brooks Nature Centre and the Okanagan Science Centre.  We had a wonderful time at both places! 

At Allan Brooks, Bailey especially liked learning about the local animals.  She made animal footprint rubbings (from a tile imprinted with footprints) and we went for a walk around the site.  At the Science Centre Bailey dug in a sandbox that is done up to look like a paleontology dig.  They even had fake dinosaur bones buried in the sand. 

We visited a display about aging and there was a thick foam pad on the floor to walk on that simulated how it feels to walk when you are elderly.  Walking on it made you feel like your feet weighed much more than they do, and you couldn’t help but walk slowly. 

The stairwell was painted to look like the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere (troposhere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermospere, and exosphere).  At the bottom of the stairs the walls were painted light blue and it got progressively darker as you climbed the stairs until you reached the exosphere and the stairway was in complete darkness except for a black light.  Upstairs there was a space exhibit, and Bailey was most interested in the different sizes of the planets, especially in how they compared to the sun!  There was also a display showing what a carton of milk would weigh on each planet.  She was amused by how heavy things would be if we could stand on Jupiter!

That’s it from us!  We look forward to another fun-filled week.

 

No Report, But… October 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 11:00 pm

Apparently I don’t have to file a report the week that I make the Learning Plan.  Wish I’d remembered that last week when I actually wrote the thing!  Anyway, this week I just edited it some more and added a ton of resources.

Just got back from Vernon.  Steve had to take some training there Friday and Saturday and then we went for Thanksgiving dinner today (Sunday).  Unfortunately we had to come back home Saturday night so I could teach Sunday School this morning or we would have just stayed there both nights.  Oh well, this way we got to bring my baby sister Jennifer with us today.

Bailey, Ocean, my Mom and I had a great time while Steve was at work.  On Friday Bailey, Ocean, and I went to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.  What a great place!  And such an amazing view.  Then Mom met up with us and we went downtown Vernon.  I wamted to visit the teacher store.  That was a really fun store to explore.  There was lots of traditional school stuff, but also lots of fun stuff like magnets, test tubes and beakers, puzzles, games, musical instruments, manipulatives, etc.

On Saturday Bailey and I went to the Okanagan Science Centre.  What a blast!  I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I have a baby sleeping on me and I’ve typed this whole thing one-handed.  I know I keep promising pictures, but sorry… not today.

 

4th Week’s Report October 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 6:00 pm

Another busy week!  On Monday we went to a park so that I could be interviewed for a local TV segment about breastfeeding (to advertise an upcoming breastfeeding celebration).  Bailey got to be on TV, too, and of course she was thrilled.  She found the equipment interesting; especially the microphone’s battery pack that I clipped to my belt.

After the TV stuff was done we went to our friend’s house for lunch.  They love cooking and were happy to hear that Bailey enjoys it, too.  In the near future they will teach Bailey how to make bread from scratch.

We spent a lot of time reading this week.  I think it has to do with the cooler weather.  I bought Bailey a magazine on Tuesday and we went to the library.  While there I helped Bailey find some books about acting (more on that later in this O4L) and she discovered the Young Adult section.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to show her this section sooner… she was happy to find books written at her level. 

We also went to the library the next day… twice, actually!  The first time was a different branch of the library and she asked the librarian for some fiction recommendations.  She was looking for a series that she could get addicted to that wasn’t fantasy or sci-fi.  As I’m writing this I’ve realized that the book is in Bailey’s bedroom and I can’t remember the title.  Bailey is enjoying it, though!

The second time we went to the library that day was in the evening to hear an author speak.  I was worried Bailey would be bored but she really enjoyed it!  Pamela Proctor came to speak about her book “Honouring the Child: Changing Ways of Teaching.”  Ms. Proctor told the audience about how she evolved from a traditional 1950s teacher into someone who developed a whole new program with emphasis on allowing children to learn through play and physical activity.

We went for another family drive in the country on Thursday, and talked a lot about our desires for the future.  Steve and I have a vision of an intentional community of unschoolers on land near town (because we’re city slickers).  We are currently living in a tiny two bedroom apartment that we outgrew the instant Ocean was born.  Bailey likes to brainstorm with us, and we started a discussion about how it would be.

Thursday night we watched a video (yes, a video… on a VCR no less!) made in 1991 when I was nearly 17.  I attended the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts and took a fun course in acting for the camera.  The class essentially made our own soap opera.  I showed it to Bailey partly for fun, and partly to show her what a “cheat” is. (When you look into the camera or off to the other actor’s side instead of directly at the other actor.  I think it’s so the camera can get a better view of your face?)  Bailey thought it was hilarious to see me in my younger years.

Bailey has been after me to get her into acting, so I have been doing some research.  It seems like it would involve a lot of travel to Vancouver, but besides that it doesn’t seem too bad. 

Friday morning Bailey woke up with a cold, so we just stayed home in our PJs.  We watched a remake of “The Little Princess,” and did some more reading.  Bailey also worked on one of her stories, and played lots of online games.  We recently bought a book called 101 Things To Do Before You Grow Up and it has a segment that supposedly allows you to win at chess in 5 moves.  Bailey tried it against the computer but it didn’t work.  She’s going to try it against me next!

Bailey was feeling a bit better on Saturday so we went to the Breastfeeding Celebration.  Bailey won a door prize (5 kids movies) and I won a gift card to Chapters, so we went there right afterward and browsed for hours!  We ended up getting a book for me and a CD for the family: They Might Be Giants’ “Here Comes Science.”  Bailey loves it and it has been playing non-stop since we got it!  What a fun way to learn.

She used the Wii Fit that night and today, and this time she especially enjoyed walking the tightrope.

 

3rd Week’s Report October 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 6:00 pm

We had a fun week.  Colder weather is definitely on the way now, and we’re making the most of these last sunny days.

The week started off with some scary news from our next-door neighbours.  They were expecting a baby any day and we hadn’t heard from them in awhile.  Finally the dad came over and told us that his baby girl had been born here in Kamloops via C-section on the 15th but had been airlifted to Vancouver Children’s Hospital.  She has spina bifida among other disorders.  Bailey and I looked up spina bifida and discussed what we could do to support the family when they get home.  We’ll probably make some meals for them.

In other baby news, we are clients of a “Baby’s Headstart” program here in town.  The program is much better suited to at-risk or mainstream parents, but we get $10/week in free groceries so I’m willing to put up with the obvious suggestions like “don’t shake your baby.”  They give us handouts to tell us what our baby is likely doing now, but I don’t usually read them.  Bailey, however, reads everything she can get her hands on and was especially interested in the “fact” that babies Ocean’s age cry an average of 2.5 hours EACH DAY!  She (and I) couldn’t believe that was true, so we timed him the next day.  It turned out that she was right, at least about Ocean.  He only cried for 10-15 minutes.

She continues to enjoy cooking.  She made cupcakes for us and experimented with food colouring.  We had lavender-coloured vanilla cupcakes.  She also made tuna wraps for lunch one day.  We watched some shows on the Food Network one morning and enjoyed learning about how Dots candy is made.

We went to the local museum on Tuesday.  They currently have an exhibit about medieval times.  Bailey was most interested in reading about how people lived then, especially women and children.  Later we discussed the differences between the way we play in the SCA and what the middle ages were really like.  She noticed that most of us in the SCA dress like nobles, but that most of the people who actually lived during that time were peasants.  She also noticed that women in the SCA are equal to men, but that that was not the case in real life.  She was also interested in just how difficult their lives were compared to our modern lives.  She tried to imagine what cooking a meal back then would be like, from keeping the fire going, to killing the chicken, to preparing it for eating.  Thank goodness she doesn’t want to try it!  (Just kidding.)

She had a rotten, terrible day on Wednesday.  She just couldn’t get herself out of the dumps, so we ended up going for a nice drive in the country, which seemed to help somewhat.  That night we went to a work bee for the Unitarian Universalist church that we belong to.  Currently I am the Sunday School teacher, and we were making story kits.  As usual, Bailey was the only child there.  She helped cut out laminated pictures and organized supplies.

Thursday was a special day.  We went to Ashcroft for another Not-Back-To-School Party.  (A 2nd party was required because our friends in Ashcroft were out of town for the first one.)  Bailey had a wonderful time all day, playing with fellow unschoolers.  A friend from Kamloops brought some bones along to share, so we looked at a beaver skull, a wolf skull, and a fossilized allosaurus bone, among others.

Saturday was another special day.  We went up to my Dad’s girlfriend’s cabin on North Barriere Lake to visit them as well as my sister and her family and my Aunt and Uncle who were camping there as well.  Bailey chased after her young cousin, made a sandcastle, posed for photos, and found a beautiful rock.  She had a nice visit her her great aunt and uncle, too.

Today was Sunday School and she was the only kid there.  That was fine with me, and we actually had a wonderful time learning about Mabon, the neo-Pagan harvest celebration.  Then we discussed the ethics of food consumption.  She mentioned that she wished she could be a vegetarian but she loves meat so, so much!  We then discussed ways that we could eat meat but have less impact on the environment, on animals, and on farmers.  She drew a little cartoon, too, about how the price of food in the grocery store doesn’t truly reflect the work and environmental impact that went into getting the food to the shelf.

Tonight she saw her Dad (and in the near future I will definitely send you a separate e-mail about her history with him).  He taught her a new recipe, they watched Mythbusters (and debated about whether or not the myths would be “busted,” “plausible,” or “confirmed,” and played crib.  She wondered if Mythbusters “counted” as learning, and I assured her that in my mind it did.

By the way, she is not as interested in the Fashion Design conference as she thought she would be, but I’m leaving it up to her to decide what she wants to do with it.

 

2nd Week’s report October 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 6:00 pm

This week’s theme seemed to be “friendship.”  Bailey and I had at least 3 conversations this week about her relationship with her best friend and with other children.  Bailey often feels frustrated by children when they behave like, well, children.  I remember that feeling from my own childhood as well, and told her so. 

She is in a tough spot.  She wants to play and have fun, but feels like she is too old to play with kids in her age range.  Younger kids listen to and look up to her, but don’t necessarily understand what she is talking about.  Older kids don’t want to hang out with “a little kid.” I asked Bailey if she enjoyed hanging out with adults she gave me an emphatic “YES!”  So I proposed to her that I make more of an effort to get together with my circle of acquaintances (I tend to be a hermit).  She specifically requested several members of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) because she says they are “like kids in the way they act but still adults so they’re not mean.”

Part of the reason that Bailey was feeling discouraged this week was because the ball didn’t happen the way she was hoping.  Bailey says that she had the original idea and that what she was hoping for was to see her extended family and some friends dancing together and having fun.  She had originally envisioned having the ball in a park or renting a school gym.  Her friend loved the idea, and they started planning it together, but Bailey soon found her ideas being pushed aside and she felt unable to stand up for herself.  Eventually, the entire event had changed into a fancy dress party at her friend’s house with only girls from her friend’s school (and Bailey) invited and none of Bailey’s family invited.  The event was Saturday, and from what I hear dissolved into a catty series of “secret meetings” and tears.

One thing I suggested to Bailey was that we could maybe have a fancy xmas party here at our apartment or else we could see about her helping behind-the-scenes at a gala fundraiser here in Kamloops. She didn’t seem too interested in either option but sometimes it takes her a few days to process.

Thankfully, other things happened this week, too…

You had asked me if Bailey ever used our camera for interviews, and lo and behold, this week she did!  She did a newscast every morning (with a written script based on the Weather Network and our family calendar), and one day interviewed me about being a mom.

She has been writing a lot this week.  One of my favourites was a little song she wrote.  It is for the opening credits a (non-existant) TV show called “Twinkle Little Spy.”  She is also writing a new story, but I’m not allowed to look yet.  🙂  In addition I bought her a journal-type book with fill-in-the-blanks called “My [Not-So] Perfect Life.”  She has filled in about 2/3 of the book already!  The questions range from serious to silly.  One of the questions asked her to describe how she was different from other babies and she wrote, “I was advanced.” 🙂

She wanted to play “school” this week, so I assigned her a couple pages in a math workbook.  She did some multiplication problems (like 87*2, and 42*3).

One evening she went through my bookshelves looking for things she hadn’t noticed before.  One of the books was called “Kokology,” and we did some of the quizzes.  (From the back cover: “Kokology, the study of kokoro (“mind” or “spirit” in Japanese), asks you to answer questions about seemingly innocent topics–such as which is the cleanest room in an imaginary house?–and then reveals what your answers say about you.”)

On Tuesday we went to the local petting zoo.  (Really, it is just a guy’s hobby farm that backs onto a city park.)  Bailey had a great time feeding the goats and chickens.  She was especially taken with a funny looking white chicken (we think it’s a silky bantam?).

She has been continuing with her cooking and cleaning activities.  This week I finally bought a muffin tin (it’s just one of those things that I didn’t have and never remembered to buy) and she made Triple Berry Chocolate Chip muffins.  I asked her to use applesauce instead of margarine to help cut the fat down, and she looked up how to do so on her own.  They were delicious!  I should mention that whenever anything is cooked or baked in this house she always calculates exactly how much we each get so that it’s fair.  This has led to us cutting the last perogie into thirds!

We spent some time at the university library this week helping my baby sister with her very first university assignment.  I’m not sure how much Bailey took in, but I helped my sister find the right person to ask for help (as I was having no luck) and later helped my sister begin to analyze a journal article about female delinquency, specifically crime rates.  This Bailey did comment on, as she was as surprised as we were to find out that the rate of female crime is rising.

This was a week for extended family fun, too.  We went to Steve’s parent’s house for dinner on Wednesday night.  His Dad tried to teach Bailey about music (keyboard and guitar) and when we asked her later what she had learned she replied, “I learned that I’d rather teach myself.”
Thursday night was my nephew’s 5th birthday party, and we went to my Mom’s (1.5 hours away in Vernon) today for lunch.

Physically, we have slacked off a little in the going for daily walks department.  We walked to the post office early in the week and nearly died from the heat!  She has been wrestling with her stepdad, though, and when she goes to her friend’s house they are quite active.

Bailey took an interest in the Wondertree Village, too, and wants to join the Fashion Design Conference.

Whew!  I didn’t think we did much this week, but I kept notes and that really helped me to see how much we really did.  I hope I’m not writing too much, especially about the friendship stuff.  As I said, that seems to have been the theme for the week.

One last thing, you asked how often Bailey saw her Bio-Dad and the answer is almost never.  It is a long story and I am happy to share the details with you if you think that would help you get to know us better, but to spare you another 1/2 hour of reading I’ll just say that he is a troubled man and Bailey has decided that she doesn’t feel entirely safe with him.  Technically he and I share custody and are supposed to have a one week on, one week off living arrangement, but she decided in June 2008 just before I  married her stepfather, Steve, that she wanted to live with us full-time.  Surprisingly there was no battle from her Bio-Dad, and she has been with us ever since.

Hope you have a great week!

 

New Idea! October 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — keekahoney @ 9:07 pm

So… it has been awhile! But I have a good idea. I registered Bailey for the Self Design proram through Wondertree in Vancouver. It is technically a school, but is supportive of unschooling. In addition to having access to some great resources and a community of fellow homescholers, you also get some money for educational supplies.

One of the things I have to do is write a weekly report detailing what Bailey did that week (just the most important stuff)… I’ve done a few now and I realized that they are a helluva lot like blog entries! So my great idea is to repost them here.

Since I already have 4 done, I’ll post them one per day for the next four days and then I’ll post the weekly one on Sunday. After that I’ll only guarantee to post an entry once a week (on Sunday) but that’s better than the NOTHING I’ve been posting for awhile now, eh? Oh, and I might edit them slightly to be more releveant to a blog.

In other news, Ocean is huge, adorable, and fitting into our family so nicely. If he stays asleep long enough I’ll post some pictures, too. Anyway, here is the first of the four reports:

*          *          *

Well, here it is: our family’s first O4L! I’m sure I’ll get better at doing these as time goes on.

This week Bailey’s best friend had to go back to school, and I know that was tough on both of them. Over the summer they tried to see each other every day. They had one last summer sleepover from Sunday to Monday, and have decided to plan a ball. I am not privy to all the details, but from what I can gather it involves fancy dresses, music, games, and food. I hope Bailey’s friend’s mom knows that they intend to hold this ball at her condo!

Wednesday was the first full day of school for public school students, so we thought we would have a Not-Back-To-School Party instead! Earlier this year we met another unschooling family here in Kamloops, so we went to their house for a potluck lunch and some cake. Bailey and Jack had a great time playing with Lego and riding their scooters. We also made a trip to the public pool.

We took a lot of walks this week. Bailey has become my partner in getting myself back into shape. We walked (and scootered) in two different parks and one different neighbourhood for variety. One park has a butterfly garden and a xeriscape garden, and the other has a meditation labyrinth. The neighbourhood we visited is full of older homes and young families, and it was neat to watch people’s interactions. Bailey mentioned that she would like to live in that part of town.

Bailey cooked dinner for her lucky family twice this week! She has a few cookbooks and enjoys going through them to find recipes that she can make with the ingredients we have on hand. She is also getting more confident about making substitutions.

This weekend was the annual Hamster Race at a local pet store, and Bailey was very excited to enter her hamster, Brownie, in the race. There was some local TV coverage as well, and Bailey noticed the differences between our little camcorder and their large, professional TV camera. She was thrilled to be interviewed, too. (Brownie placed 1st in the first heat, and 3rd in the semi-finals, by the way.)

After the hamster races I took her up to Lac LeJeune to meet up with her paternal grandparents and her biological Dad. It sounds like they had a great time. The campfire ban is over, so Bailey got to enjoy some s’mores. They also went goldpanning and went on a hike.

Just after I tucked Bailey in tonight and was leaving her room she asked me if I knew how to make a good fake bruise. I replied that I did not, and she informed me that wetting blue and gray eyeshadow could make a convincing bruise on, say, someone’s leg. That triggered a memory of a “bruise” I noticed on her leg earlier that week that was now mysteriously healed!

As for me, I hope to be more organized about recording what goes on here this week. We are in chaos right now! My 3.5 month old, Ocean, wants nothing but Mama these days, and my husband is starting a new job. That, coupled with the stress of learning the First Class software made for a difficult first week with Wondertree! I am normally able to figure out computer programs quickly and easily, but found this program to be overwhelming and not at all intuitive!

Enough complaining. Onward!