Egads, we’ve been busy! Summer is always such an explosion of activity. On the one hand, it’s wonderful to have so many opportunities. On the other hand, it gets a wee bit overwhelming. 🙂
Here’s some of what we’ve been up to……..
1. Jack started T-ball and is loving it! His first game was in the rain (that’s some of our cheerleading crew in funny hats to keep the rain off of us) but he did great anyway. He’s really enjoying himself. He played outfield and catcher. His second and third games were rained out, so we’re really hoping it dries up around here soon!
2. Anna and Victoria are in swimming lessons, levels 4 and 5. Victoria is not sure she wants to take level 6 next year since she’ll need to swim the length of the pool and back 20 times in a row to pass! They’re having a blast though, and swimming all the time on their off time too.
3. Anna and Victoria are taking their California Achievement Test. Since it’s in 9 fairly long sections, we do about one a day. Afterwards I sometimes go over any that I spotted that they got wrong so it’s a learning tool and not just an evaluative tool.
Victoria zipped through all the language arts tests and then got to the computational math one and was not nearly as happy. We went over some of the concepts that were new to her afterwards. I do not teach to the test. We don’t do any review or practice or anything ahead of time because I want it to be an honest evaluation of where the kids are at, not a test of how well they can cram before a test and then forget half of it a week later. Since we don’t report the scores (we are required by the state to do yearly standardized tests but only we see the results), I see no reason to worry about what numbers they get.
The kids have always scored well above grade level even without any studying beforehand. I think Victoria would prefer it if she could though, because she panics if she’s not perfect at things and some of the material was brand new to her (it has advanced concepts to see how advanced the student may be). Maybe I’ll buy some tests for her to take for fun and use those as a curriculum after this. 🙂
4. Anna and Victoria attended Who Wants to be a Scientist? on the Ecology Bus. From the flier….
Science is great fun – especially when you get to do it outside! Take an Ecology Bus field trip to Boot Lake wetland and do what aquatic scientists do – test water! You’ll have a blast conducting a variety of tests and exploring the wetland from the inside out! Meet at the PEBC in Spark’s Park in Lakefield to don rubber boots and board the Ecology Bus.
They got to attend free since they were taking part in their Survivor day camp through the same organization, and one of their friends attended with them.
At one point they had a big container of water creatures they’d scooped up from the lake to observe and a Predacious Diving Beetle larvae was one of the creatures in the jar. It apparently is well named and is VERY predacious! It began to gobble up all the other creatures in the jar that they were supposed to be studying. Anna was despondent for the other creatures, their friend Bella got mad and Victoria said she just thought it was really interesting. 🙂 Their leader said it probably appreciated them catching him his dinner. Here’s a pic of the nasty creature, which is apparently bigger as a larvae than as an adult! Note the description of them as vicious. My little scientists concur!
My trusty camera and I weren’t around to take pictures but here’s some shots of the girls with some of the other creatures they got to meet on their field trip, from when we visited the next day.
Victoria said this little guy likes to be petted and he feels a bit sticky!
5. Jack and Victoria gathered sand from the banks of Plum Creek. We wanted to contribute something to the silent auction for Carol Decker that I blogged about recently and I wrote the woman in charge of it that I could donate some little decorative jars with sand from the banks of Plum Creek, Victoria was going to donate some earrings that she made and Daryl would donate a Native American style choker that he made.
I sent Daryl and the kids down to get sand so I could make them up right away but the woman never wrote me back. I’ve seen the items on the auction and they really are beautiful and above our standards I suppose, or maybe I volunteered our items too late (it was only a day or so before the auction started but I said I would assemble it all and rush the pictures to her that afternoon). I was a little surprised I didn’t even get a polite refusal though! Perhaps we’ll have a fundraiser ourselves and just donate the money directly to the Decker family.
6. The girls had their first official sleepover with a friend at our house. They’ve camped out in the back yard with their friend Addie before but this was the first time Addie spent the night inside. They watched movies, ate popcorn and spent lots of time playing on computers. I made sour cream coffee cake in the morning and it was so sweet we got belly aches but we think it was worth it!
7. Daryl and the girls are busy with play practice every weeknight. The boys and I are having a lot of together time! The girls love getting to spend so much time with their pageant friends. When they’re not in the scenes that are rehearsed the kids all play games and talk.
8. We’re learning about plant propagation, thanks to Alex. He was quietly playing on the window seat the other day and then Victoria shrieked. He had happily pulled all of the “babies” off my spider plant and every single long stem off my happy, long and dangly plant next to it. (That’s it’s official latin name — Happylonganddangly Planteus!). So I put the spider plant babies in dirt and the dangly stems in water, to show two ways to start new plants from old ones besides seeds. If life gives you lemons, right? 🙂
9. We’ve been watching nature around us, as always. From stopping to watch families of ducks and geese with their babies to finding different kinds of birds nests to rescuing Japanese Ladybeetles from water buckets, we’ve been enjoying the explosion of life that spring and summer brings.
10. Books, books, books! As always, we’re keeping the libraries in business. 🙂 We made a detour to a neighboring town’s library today while on a grocery run to snag some new-to-us books and the latest in the Ivy and Bean series. We’re reading about amphibians, medieval castles, silly chickens, middle children, haunted woods, funny toddlers and dozens more.
And with that, I’m off to sign a permission slip, read three books, give one bath, switch one load of laundry, snuggle one toddler and rest for a bit. T-ball practice and swimming lessons come very early in the morning!