Tag Archives: Drawing

Day 160: Box Aquarium

Last night while I was at a meeting, Boy and Girl started working on a box aquarium, and they started this morning as soon as they’d gotten a quick bite to eat. They worked on the box aquarium on and off throughout the day. I have to say their teamwork was exceptional.

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Girl was feeling completely better, and made a drawing about that.

Girl drew this to celebrate her recovery, and as a PSA of sorts.
Girl drew this to celebrate her recovery, and as a PSA of sorts. “Things to do when you’re sick.”

Next, Girl found a box that said FRAGILE on the front of it and said she wanted to be a box troll. (Whose name, by the law of box trolls, would then be ‘Fragile.’) I cut out arm holes for her, and she put on her box and went out back to play with her brother, dad, and dog. I went out back to play with them a little, too.

Fragile swinging.
Fragile swinging.
Fragile playing basketball with Boy and Papa.
Fragile playing basketball with Boy and Papa.
Fragile hiding in her box.
Fragile hiding in her box.

When we came back in Papa made the kids some lunch while I got ready for my meeting with Miss P down the street, to make a plan for tomorrow’s Geography Club meeting (Tomorrow: Costa Rica and Panama). Before I left, I also made a worry doll, since I hadn’t gotten to finish the one I started during last week’s Geography Club meeting (wherein we studied Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua). All three age groups made worry dolls for a craft, but we all used a different method. I liked the way the oldest kids had done it, and tried that myself. Here she is.


I’m hoping to do more with the kids. In fact, while I was gone, Girl made one of her own, and made her a little bed and a blanket. (Pictures to follow tomorrow; there’s not enough light now.)

When I got home, Papa made dinner so I could finish getting ready for our Costa Rica and Panama activities. I needed to find all of the pieces of our water table necessary to set up a lock and canal system (to illustrate the Panama Canal).

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I put it together, cleaned it, and made sure that everything still worked. Then I let the kids play with it while I cut out pieces for paper ox-carts, so the kids can make a Costa Rican carretas craft tomorrow. We didn’t really get a chance to practice our Costa Rican dance (featuring some fancy scarf twirling) and I didn’t get fish for ceviche. So we will wing the one, postpone the other (Colombians also love ceviche!), and I did manage to find video of howler monkeys and wattled bellbirds, two animals we’d been wondering about last week. I’ll be cooking corn tortillas for lunch tomorrow.

Day 123: If You Lived With the Hopi

So, I’m not really sure what was wrong with all of us yesterday, but today was much better. It was surprisingly cold, though, so we stayed inside.

Last night after the kids went to bed I got out some things for the American West discovery table, which the kids were happy to see this morning. I was tickled that they immediately recognized the black-footed ferret after reading our prairie book yesterday.

The kids wanted to add more animals to the table, so they went through the bin of Schleich animals picking out appropriate ones: deer, horses, cattle, sheep, tortoises. Girl got out the meercats and said we should pretend they were prairie dogs. Boy remembered the book we read called prairie holes (wetlands) the “duck factories of North America,” so he put out ducks.


We had breakfast and I sat with Boy on the couch and read him some more about Ben Franklin. We read about lightning, and electricity. Girl made this drawing of herself laying on the “smooth grass” in a thunderstorm.


I wanted us to do math and violin next, but Boy and Girl greatly preferred to build with Legos. So that’s what they did.

And I was still terribly tired, as I was yesterday, so I fixed them a nice snacky lunch, and then I took a nap for an hour or so. I heard them playing very nicely a couple of times during my nap, but I probably stayed lying down five minutes too long, and overheard Boy complaining that Girl had taken all of the Lego plates, Girl telling him not to touch her thing, and then she said, “I’ll be watching you!” Boy started crying saying that Girl was threatening to watch him even when he only had underwear on. Clearly, that does not follow, but I just figured they’d been alone together for too long and needed a break. So I got up and asked Girl to go in her area, asked Boy to stay in his room, and he was fine within five minutes, and they started playing together again.

So I took a shower and then gave Boy a bath, and snuggled him up on the big chair with a book about cowboys from the discovery table while I bathed Girl.  They were both hungry, so I suggested that I make popcorn and hot chocolate and coffee, and I’d read to both of them. Both kids got dressed while I talked on the phone with a friend for a minute, making a Saturday playdate for Girl. First Girl wanted me to read one of our books, so I picked out a cute one about hugs, and then I made the snacks and sat down with them to read If You Lived with the Hopi.

I don’t think I can overstate how excited Girl is about the Hopi now.

Things she likes: That the Hopi lived with all of their relatives. That women owned the houses. That everyone built the houses together. That women and girls hung out together making food and singing songs. That they made beautiful pottery. That they believed all things have a spirit. That they always helped each other, all the time. Girl said she would like to be Hopi. “It’s perfect for me,” she said. She likes being with her relatives, and building, and working together, and singing songs, and she also thinks all things have a spirit. Boy was quieter, but also very interested.

After that I asked them if they were interested in looking at pictures of designs from some Southwestern pottery, and drawing some of them. They were.

Girl's drawing of a pottery figure of a woman and child.
Girl’s drawing of a pottery figure of a woman and child.
Boy's drawing (unfinished) of a prehistoric design of woman collecting clay by a river. I think he is going to add other figures.
Boy’s drawing (unfinished) of a prehistoric design of woman collecting clay by a river. I think he is going to add other figures.

Then I went to go make dinner. Normally, Friday is our movie night. Tonight we decided to watch an old documentary about Hopi pottery and history, also talking about the Anasazi.  I was asking Boy some questions about the Hopi, and he remembered a remarkable amount from the book, as he did from yesterday’s prairie book. We finished the book about the Hopi in bed, and I read them the book about prehistoric pottery designs in the Southwest.

I genuinely love this part about homeschooling, when my kids go to bed knowing a whole lot about something they woke up not even knowing existed, and that I didn’t even necessarily plan on them learning. And that I get to do it with them, that we are building this whole imaginative structure of things that we learn together, and love together.

Like Inuksuit! We learned about them two weeks ago when we studied Canada and the Inuit with our Geography Club, and tonight Girl built some more.

Girl’s Inuksuit

Learning this way can be kind of….thrilling.

Day 113: First day of co-op

Today was the first day of co-op for the spring semester.  This is a secular weekly co-op held in a local Unitarian church, with extremely high quality classes. It has two semesters a year, and this is our fourth semester.  Our routine is that I read Boy and Girl the class descriptions at the beginning of the registration period, and they pick what they want to take (if anything).  So, while to some extent these are ‘traditional’ classes, their participation in them is not coerced, but voluntary. They have complete control over what classes they participate in. And I cannot overstate how much the kids love their classes.

Girl is in the morning Play and Learn program with all of the kids her age, and then she has a “Hands On Science” class after lunch. A class in which she will be wearing a smock and safety glasses on a regular basis. She told me that today she learned about carbon dioxide. She said carbon dioxide a number of times, and that to me says it was a successful day!

I’ll be helping Girl’s teacher in the Play and Learn class this semester, though today I was downstairs helping with first-day goings on, helping returning and new families get their folders and information cards straight, helping make sure all the teachers got paid. But I know that Girl had a nice day in class. She made a family portrait and did a thumbprint numbers page. She made a couple of mistakes, but did her page completely independently, when a lot of the kids needed some assistance.

Girl's thumbprint number page.
Girl’s thumbprint number page.
Girl's family portrait.
Girl’s family portrait.

Boy has a very full day with four classes. In the morning he has a parent-taught Biographies class, in which every mom of a student in the class teaches two classes. I’ll be doing Harriet Tubman and Alexander Graham Bell. This morning his friend’s mom talked to them about Pocahontas, and they made clay pots. Boy’s is beautiful. He did great, his teachers said, except for briefly crying about writing a letter of his name wrong on the cover of his sketch pad. (He briefly cried about something in 3 out of 4 classes today, though everyone is very kind and understanding to him about it.) He also drew a picture of the Jamestown Fort and the English ships that Pocahontas was kidnapped and taken to.

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Jamestown Fort and the English ships, by Boy.

Second period Boy has a forensics science class given by an outside instructor, in which the kids investigate crime scene mysteries. As far as I know that went just fine, and he said he loved it. At lunch he ate with a tableful of boys and then they all went outside and ran around in the freezing cold for a while.

After lunch he has a Fables class, in which they hear a story, then do various activities like skits, and some kind of art project. Today they were meant to make a picture using only shading (with the side of a crayon) and no outlines. Boy accidentally made a line, and cried, but the teacher and assistant got him calmed down pretty quickly. Here is his bear, being attacked by bees. It’s lovely. (The general consensus seems to be that Boy is pretty hard on himself, but otherwise a great student.) One of the moms took a very cute video of the kids acting out the Bear and the Bees, and I could see how much fun Boy was having.

Bear with bees, by Boy.
Bear with bees, by Boy.

At the end of the day Boy has the Daring and Dangerous Club for Boys, which is probably not all that daring, and definitely not dangerous, but mostly meant to engender confidence and build up their relationships. Today they went outside and played games, and Boy mostly had a great time, but cried when they formed relay teams and he was left out of the group he wanted to be in. Of course, my first thought was, how did that make the kids feel that he was supposed to be with, that he was crying about being on their team?? But of course he didn’t mean it that way, just as I’m sure his friends didn’t mean to exclude him.

One more note about today: I got permission to share Boy’s bird pictures! He said he wasn’t embarrassed about it, now that we explained it to him. That of course, he said, it’s silly to think that girls could own birds, and lots of men have been interested in birds and drawn them. I can’t find his osprey carrying a fish picture (it’s possible he crumpled it up when he was upset about things not being perfect) but here we have yellow-bellied sapsucker drilling holes in the pecan tree with a squirrel, and another bird that he drew trying to figure out what wings look like.

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Day 97: Girl’s day of rest

What I didn’t say about Boy’s birthday adventure yesterday is that Girl got terribly sick mid-hike.

Poor Girl. At first we thought she was just being cute.
Poor Girl. At first we thought she was just being cute.

Papa carried her back to the visitor center, and ultimately the head parks officer drove her and Papa back to the parking lot in his own vehicle. She is sick still tonight, after a difficult night last night, and a day on the couch today. She was such a cup-half-full Girl, though, today, trying to make the best of it.

Making her ‘rest-day’ to do list

When she felt well enough to do anything, she started drawing on her little tray. She drew countdown ‘calendars’ of the number of days until Boy’s birthday, and the number of days until Nana and Uncle J go home. She asked me to  draw her a Christmas tree and a leaf, so that she could make her calendars.

Five days until Boy’s birthday
Nine days until Nana and Uncle J go home.

After that she asked if I could think of any more calendars, and I suggested instead that she make one of her wonderful picture-lists, things she’d like to do when she gets better. She liked that idea, but instead she made a list of things she would do today, on her ‘day of rest.’

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She checked things off the list as she went. After four items, she fell asleep for three hours, then woke up and finished the list. (Its items included things like, rest, draw, watch tv, have mumma read a story, get love from mumma, rest, draw, give mumma a hug, watch more tv.)

After her nap she asked me to suggest something to draw, and I suggested she draw our adventure walk yesterday. To her credit, she still views it as an adventure, and she made a lovely memento drawing.

Our adventure walk.

Girl drew the trail, end to end, and the things we saw along the way. An eagle, pine forest, ‘windy’ live oaks, deer tracks, a little ‘water with sticks’ (pond with reeds), the snack table and ‘big water with birds.’

She also drew two number lines to compare them: the number of days that Nana and Uncle J were to be here in total, and the number of days they still have left.

Number line comparison

I have noticed a real uptick in Girl’s interest in numbers: counting things, writing numbers, adding and subtracting, comparing sets. The other day we were talking about division, and Girl chimed in with, “I know what that is! It’s when you draw a line to make two parts, like if you have two, and you draw a line, and then you have one, and one.” Today she asked me to count to a hundred, and counted with me as best she could.

But now she is asleep again, out here on the couch with me (it’s not safe to leave her alone in case she starts throwing up). I’m so hoping she has a better night than last night, and she starts feeling better tomorrow.

Boy had a good day, too, I think, though I didn’t spend much time with him. I was on the couch with Girl almost all day (we couldn’t leave her alone, and she wanted me). He built his own big yellow beach transporter, like the one we were supposed to ride in yesterday, but that broke down.

Boy’s beach transporter

He played with his uncle and his Nana and his dad.  He took his Nana on an hour long walk around the neighborhood after the rain stopped. It was lovely and warm today, and it’s always pretty after rain.

Day 91: Paints and arrays

It was another very rainy day today, so we were home inside until it was time for ballet in the late afternoon.

I’d promised Boy he could have the first turn on the laptop this morning to work on code.org. He worked on using loops and functions, as well as geometry and degrees, in the artist program.

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We had to figure out how many degrees he needed to turn to make different shapes depending on how many angles the shape has, divided into 360 degrees. Triangle: 3 angles, so 360/3 = 120 degree turns. Hexagon: 6 angles, so 360/6 = 60 degrees. And so on. You can see one of the crazy designs he was making. He still gets confused by loops, and doesn’t quite get what a function is, but he’s still learning so much, in just a week or so! I’ll try to sit down with him and explain things and do things in a little more structured/thorough way this week.

Girl was jealous of Boy’s turn on the laptop, so I asked what she wanted to do. And what she wanted to do was paint, so I set her up in the kitchen with the easel. First she did a ‘splatter’ painting.

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Then she made a picture of her and her friend doing an ‘experiment’ and me telling them that a snack was ready.


Next Boy said he was done coding and wanted to paint, but I told him that Girl’s paintings had to dry, and that he could have a turn first thing tomorrow morning. (It’s always a bit of an issue that if one kid sees the other kid doing something, they want to, too. Instead of trying to make provisions for them to do things simultaneously, I’m starting to try telling them that they can have the next turn with whatever it is, even if that ‘turn’ is a different part of the day or the next day.)

Instead of starting on his math right away, Boy started drawing the skyscraper that he has been imagining building. He wants to tape pictures of a city up on his wall in his room, a collaborative project with Girl. These are two of the building drawings they did today, and I’ll update on the project as it proceeds:

The lower floors and entry to Boy's skyscraper.
The lower floors and entry to Boy’s skyscraper.
House, by Girl
House, by Girl

Again, something Boy is doing independently dovetailed nicely with his math lesson. Today we talked about arrays (arrangements of objects into rows and columns), and when I asked Boy to think about examples, he produced his drawing immediately. Arrays provide a good way to visualize multiplication problems. Boy finished the last multiplication problems in his workbook, and as soon as he finishes the Review pages, we can start on division.

While we did math, Girl had a turn on the laptop, and learned about the structure of the ear with a Cat in the Hat game on PBSkids.org. Then after some free play time (and a brief nap for me) we all had a pretty substantial snack and started getting ready for ballet.

In other news, we found Ted the Real Girl Bear, Girl’s favorite stuffed animal who she contends quite seriously is alive, and who had been missing. After a happy reunion, Ted had a snack of a carrot, and after being denied her own turn on the laptop (this was hotly contested, because Ted has never played a Cat in the Hat Game, and would like it so much), she went into hibernation in her cave with her friend Floppy Ears. So I’m not sure how much we’ll be seeing of Ted in the next few weeks, but is is very good to know she is safe.

Ted the Real Girl Bear, in hibernation.
Ted the Real Girl Bear, in hibernation.

Tomorrow morning Boy has been promised easel time first thing, and Girl gets a turn on the laptop, and we’ll see how the day proceeds from there.

Day 88: Everybody’s doing math

It was too cold to walk at the botanical gardens with friends like we’d planned. But some pretty good math happened today:

1) Girl did an Odd Squad game on PBSkids.org today that asked her to measure gaps in a tube, and then find combinations of tubing to fill the gap. This required her to add numbers within 10, and so she used linking cubes to figure out what combinations of numbers would make the total she needed.

2) Over lunch, Boy told me that if he charged someone $24/night to stay in his skyscraper (he has been talking a lot about building a skyscraper), and someone stayed for a week, they would owe him $168.

3) This dovetailed beautifully with today’s math lesson, which was…multiplication stories! We read the textbook together, then he did all the exercises for that section.

Other than that, let’s see…Boy played violin, played outside with the dog, and spent a long time experimenting with creating drawing programs on code.org.  Girl helped me do laundry and practiced writing letters and numbers at her table.

Girl's number and letter practice.
Girl’s number and letter practice.

I also found a bunch of drawings that she must have done recently.

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And that, in a nutshell, was our Friday.

Day 79: Happy New Year!

Every night after the kids go to bed, I pick up a little, and very often I find the things that Girl has drawn during the day. This is one of the greatest joys I’ve been given in my life, these drawings. Tonight I found this one, made with pencil and the new washi tape Aunt S sent to the kids. I don’t know anything about it, but it looks like a party to me.

A party, by Girl
A party, by Girl

There aren’t any actual New Year’s Eve parties happening in our house, but I really like this imaginary one.

I didn’t realize until now that it was sort of appropriate, but I spent today mostly making plans. Plans for a hike with friends tomorrow, plans for Boy’s birthday adventure later in the month. Plans for a weekly board game afternoon at one local library branch, starting next week, and plans for a monthly art program at a different local library, starting the week after that. Possibly even a weekly homeschool geography co-op, littles to teens, with food and maps, culture and literature. We’ll be busy this semester, doing different things than we were last semester. It’s a good way to start the year.

Days 71-72: Things Girl did while I was sick

Paper fires.
Paper fires.

So, I am finally feeling (mostly) better, as are the kids, and we happily spent the last couple of days food shopping, wrapping presents, making and eating food, and playing.  We are having a wonderful time with our visiting family. Because Grandma L is doing so much of the cooking and kitchen cleaning, I got to sit on the couch today while Girl brushed my hair, gave me a face massage with lavender lotion, and then gave me a ‘manicure’ with lotion, too. The full Girl spa treatment.  It was the kind of thing I think a person dreams about when they first learn they will have a daughter. Papa and Poppy spent a lot of time driving to different Lowe’s and Best Buys trying to find a washer and dryer that he and Grandma L wanted to get us for a Christmas present. (Which we are so grateful for! And excited!)

But before it gets lost in the shuffle, I wanted to post a few pictures of things Girl made, some with Papa, some alone, while Boy and I were both so sick.

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Paper ballerina dolls.
Paper ballerina dolls.


Playing with symmetry, using paper towels and glitter glue.
Playing with symmetry, using paper towels and glitter glue.
A star to put atop a Christmas tree.
A star to put atop a Christmas tree.
A drawing of all of us having a picnic, by Girl.
A drawing of all of us having a picnic, by Girl.
"Scary animals that are lost in our city" by Girl. A grizzly bear, a lion, a cobra, a tiger, and a stinkbug.
“Scary animals that are lost in our city” by Girl. A grizzly bear, a lion, a cobra, a tiger, and a stinkbug.

Days 57-63: Nutcracker week

We did it! All six performances! Boy did really well all week, and I bought two last minute tickets for the last performance today so I could see him onstage, and he could watch the second act (I collected him at intermission). There was a little chaos surrounding his makeup midweek, but we got that sorted, and he looked great. We worked out a good makeup routine, and he’s even being cool about having me put on eyeliner.

I have to say, he looked just adorable on stage, his tiny little self. His costume included a little brown cape, a satiny white shirt, a vest, and knickers. He was poised, even graceful, remembered all his steps.

And the rest of us survived. I have so much to say about this week, but it’s going to have to wait. I’m so tired that when the kids were giving me a hard time going to bed, I went and sat in a chair and held my head and cried. They rarely see me cry, so they were pretty alarmed. Girl sat in my lap and wiped my face. Boy got lotion and started rubbing it into my hands and arms. They both tried to give me stuffed animals. And Girl suggested she just go to sleep in my bed so they didn’t stress me out anymore with their shenanigans. Funny, right?

This week we need to clean up the house (it’s awful) and decorate for Christmas. We don’t even have  tree yet!

But here are a few notes about this week until I can write something more coherent tomorrow:

Boy went outside every day this week and tidied up the Fairy House, especially the little yard. It looks just as nice as the day we built it.

I got out the kids’ trampoline and set it up in a corner of the living room for stress relief for Boy before and between shows. It worked magic.

Boy had a great violin lesson on Wednesday, and made a very articulate apology to his teacher for having a meltdown in class the week before. He said he’d been feeling really worried about the Nutcracker, but that he was very sorry he’d spoken to her disrespectfully.

Boy built an amazing roller coaster in Minecraft.

He’s also started trying to learn Russian. That is entirely his idea. He’s working on remembering different conversational phrases (hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, I love you, please give me a tissue), trilling an r, he copied the cyrillic alphabet from the internet, and is frequently answering me with ‘da’ instead of ‘yes’.

Girl was pretty sick for the first part of the week, but she’s been a trooper throughout. She played, she made crafts, she drew stuff.

Ladybug Girl
Ladybug Girl

We had our last day of co-op for the Fall semester, but couldn’t go because Girl was running a fever. But we also signed up for classes next semester. I heard Girl telling her brother:

Do you know what class I’m taking? It’s a kind of big kid and a hard class. It’s about SCIENCE. We’re going to get messy and have adventures, like on Magic School Bus…

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Day 56: Nutcracker hiatus

We had a lovely cozy Sunday today, since Girl doesn’t feel well and the weather was kind of cold and blustery. We napped, we ate, we played, we talked about Christmas, we sang Christmas carols, we watched TV. (We’ve had the same illustrated book of Carols since Boy was a baby, and we all really like to sing them. All of the verses.)

One of Girl's completed gift lists. (It's a three year plan.)
One of Girl’s completed gift lists. (It’s a three year plan.)

Early in the day we watched episodes of Ghostwriter on YouTube, and when they told the audience to get out their ‘casebook’ and write down the clues, Girl did! Sniffly as she was. In complete earnest.

Clues in Girl's casebook
Clues in Girl’s casebook
List of possible suspects
List of possible suspects

Then while Papa, Girl, and the dog were all asleep together for like three hours, Boy and I watched (most of) the second Hobbit movie. We ate popcorn and snuggled in the big chair.  (He’ll be going to see the third in the theater on opening day, with a whole bunch of boys.)

And by this time next week, we will be done with the Nutcracker for this year. But before then, Boy will be on stage as a ‘Party Boy’ (a boy in the party scene) for six performances, and multiple dress rehearsals and spacings. Nine times at the theater in total, between Tuesday and Sunday. Last year he sailed through this week, cool as a cucumber. We were amazed at how he seemed to take it in stride. This time, a little older, a little more aware, he’s pretty anxious. He told me this morning that he’s afraid he’s going to make a mistake and ruin a performance. I told him it would be pretty hard for him to ruin the performance short of burning down the theater (which made him laugh), that no one in the audience is going to notice a little mistake, and that he should just do his best and try to have fun, and remember how much fun it was last year.  We’re just going to do everything we can to help him have a good week. Towards that, I think I’m going to take a break from writing the blog. First, in case Boy is having a hard time, I don’t want to write about that (it feels a little disrespectful) but also, I want to be getting to bed as early as I can and we’ll be getting home pretty late every night. I’ll file a report on Sunday!

So wish us luck, and see you on the other side!