Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swimming into Spring

We recently went on a tour of a local grocery store with our homeschool group. The kids thought it was so cool to finally get to go through those backroom doors they have always been so curious about! This also happened to be the store where John and I worked together back in the day, and where John's mom works today. The kids got to go into the refrigerators and freezers, see the big cardboard compactor, see how they stack all those pallets up to the ceiling using the lift, and visit each department. They got to sample some fresh fruit from the produce section and then at the end got to decorate cookies at the bakery. The tour was full of fun facts that even the adults in the group enjoyed.

The kids were excited to see their Grandma at work that day!

Earlier in the week, the kids were playing with a suction cup from some baby-safety device we never used. I think it was a toilet lid lock at one time. Anyways, this made for an opportunity to discuss the idea of an air vacuum. We talked about the air being pushed out from under the suction when you stick it and the pressure changes and how strong they are. We may be getting to see a demo later this month about air vacuums with our group so this gave them some hands-on memorable background to it! And it was fun for the kids and something they came upon all on their own.

Decorating Bobble Heads

More fun around the house.

We went on a family vacation to a waterpark hotel in Duluth last week. The kids got a ton of swimming in. Noah has absolutely no fear of water. Upon walking in to the pool area for the first time, he walked away from me and jumped into the 4 foot pool without hesitating. He had his swim vest on but wasn't doing so good with it, plus I hadn't zipped him up yet, so I had to hop in and fish him out. John worked with him the rest of the time until he could balance the swim vest well and by the end he was swimming around the pool in it. Ava also did great, she learned to doggy paddle by the end of the trip.
I had this ideal vision in mind of getting to all the great educational places in Duluth, such as the museums, aquarium, train depot, the ships, the lift bridge, the parks, etc. But, on the day we were going to go out and do some of it, the kids were so exhausted from all the swimming they all needed to sleep. And not at the same time either. First Ava took an hour nap, then as she woke up Amora fell asleep for a couple hours, then Noah looked like he was next. So we ordered Pizza Luce delivery and stayed in. Gotta be flexible I guess!

The computer program ABC Mouse is still a hit with the kids. When we got back from being out of town last week, Ava actually said she missed ABC Mouse! So the three of them all jumped right back into that. I love watching them work together and learn together. There is a toddler option on the program that is for Amora, and Ava and Noah will win her "tickets" and help her pick things out with them. Ava also helps Noah with the activities he does. It's such a natural flow to all share the learning and teaching. I think it builds such a great trust and bond as a family to get to do so much learning together. I love when the kids take on the role all on their own.

Ava has been working on counting by 5s the past week or two. She counts to 100 by ones and by tens, so now she can pretty much make it by fives which will be helpful for time telling on the clock. That along with sight word practice has been the focus these past weeks. She's been doing well with reading words individually but still seems intimidated by reading full books. So we play match games with sight words and are putting sentences together to build her confidence. I've talked to many other parents who have said their kids could read but just didn't seem to really believe it. Then one day, the kid just picks up a book and starts to read. I could see that being how Ava will start with books.

Now that the weather is warming up, we're getting ready to try year two of our little garden. I'm hoping we can expand it this year. Ava helped me plant some seedlings indoors to get a start on things and soon we'll get to plant outside. That is definitely something I want my kids to know how to do, is grow their own food. I think it's imperative that we all can do that, and start doing that. If you think about it it's very strange we rely on grocery stores for our very survival! In emergency situations, shelves are cleared and prices can sky rocket, and then what do you do? I'd love some day to be more self-reliant and teach my kids how to be as well. We have a long way to go, but it's a start.

Speaking of Spring, the day before Easter, we went to a near-by Nature Center for their Spring Fling festival over the weekend with some friends. The kids got to see their favorite fairy tales come to life and check out the Nature Center too.

Easter Morning Candy Picnic

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