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Random Silliness: Scotty Goes Exploring

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Let’s just say I couldn’t sleep, so this is the random silliness I got up to to distract myself from thinking about being awake. A friend’s mother gave us this giant Scotty bathroom tissue stuffed creature. At first I thought it was straight to the give away pile, but my brother and I laughed so hard over thinking about stupid things we could do with it, that it’s still here, exploring the world and having adventures.

Since I’m frequently up at night in the bathroom (gotta love the squished, almost 9 months pregnant bladder), I may as well have some fun with the Scotty creature. Someone’s gotta have some excitement!

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Thank you to my sweet brother who bought me this fun pen for my iPad!
Perhaps doing kindergarten style art will convince my body it’s way past bedtime and help me sleep… here’s hoping! ;)

Maybe then I could have enough brain power to actually finish the drafts I’ve been working on about leadership in learning and fostering peace in a warring world…but for now, it’s the adventures of Scotty, and me dreaming about soft pillows and happy sleeps.

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Academia Nuts

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Tonight my oldest daughter and I were cleaning up the kitchen while the second oldest, ever studious, worked on her homeschool. She had us guess words starting with the same letter:

“A is for apple, armadillo, Australia…”

“Academia nuts!” chimed in my cleaning helper. Hearing me laugh she said,

“Mummy, it’s a good thing you got married and had kids, cause your job is blogs, and otherwise you wouldn’t have much to write about.”

True enough! ;) So what have we been up to lately in Crazyland anyway?

We’ve been reading lots of books from the library. Here they are reading bedtime stories with their uncle. The big girls also like reading to the little ones, which is great practice for reading aloud and with expression. They also get to feel like the teacher, which pleases them…imparting their greater wisdom as the little ones snuggle up to listen.

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The kids have been colouring pictures and practicing letters.

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And making crazy drawings just for fun. Who can this crazy coffee monster be?!

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They all love stickers but these googly-eyed mermaid and pirate stickers were a special hit with my preschool crowd, who love the mermaid show Bubble Guppies. Three kids kept very happy for half an hour for $1.25. Not bad!

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I finally found the half-blank, half-lined journal notebooks I wanted at Shopper Drug Mart. I told the girls they can draw and write about anything. Not just what happened yesterday, but anything special they did before, read about, learned, etc.

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We’ve enjoyed making shapes on our geoboards. Mouthfuls like ‘parallel’ and ‘perpendicular’ are less intimidating when you get to make them with elastic bands! And we discovered times tables are much more fun when you recite them in silly voices. I’d do my best Gollum impression:
“Threeeee plus threeeee is NIIIIIINE!”
The girls would copy me then say, “Do it again, do it again!” Then they’d have turns choosing the silly voice themselves. Drama and math in one easy package.

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Nanna came and baked this birthday cake with my girls. They practiced math by measuring fractions and doubling the recipe. They sure love baking! I have many kitchen helpers pushing up chairs to stand near the counter, whether I like it or not! ;)

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We have been making cloth dollies and clothes with felt from the dollar store. Very fun, and great way for them to work on fine motor skills with little scizzors.

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This was our easy birthday party craft…even uncle and grandpa got into it!

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Our days have been very full…all this can be exhausting, especially if you only just turned three! ;)

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For a very interesting article featuring retired UBC prof Bob Steele on the importance of spontaneous drawing for the development of self-expression and literacy in children, check out the link below. It will make you happy for all the “scribbling” your kids do, and help you see that in drawing and expressing things they can’t yet put in words, they are learning to communicate, bond and interact in ways essential to developing later literacy skills.

Raise-a-Reader: Is childhood art key to developing language literacy?

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On 2 am Poetry (and Chocolate Cake)

Oh the strange vigils of late pregnancy
when losing the battle between hunger and heartburn
means staying awake for the long haul
shuffling position in bed
and crunching tums like candy

Then taking long showers past midnight
and finally giving in to chocolate cake
at 2am
to appease that nocturnal belly beast
who jealously demands spoils
the way a dragon demands treasure

Only in this strange vigil of late pregnancy
would I be submitting poems to a prairie newspaper
at this ungodly hour
while eating plain yogurt with maple syrup
and sipping warm almond milk
to get sleepy

I wonder if I should go stare at the moon
with the ravenous racoons
who prowl my back yard

or stay inside and pray
cause it seems—
after the craziness of the day with kids—
that in this quiet moment
God wants to hang out
keeping me company in this sleepy solitude
as we wait together for the dawn of birth

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Pregosaurs: A Scientific Study

After living in the jungle for quite some time, I have been able to make a detailed study of the little known creature called the pregosaur. Here are my findings.

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Pregosaurs are large, sleepy beasts with ferocious appetites and dreadful tempers. Neither nocturnal or creatures of the day, pregosaurs sleep in small fits throughout the day and night, and frequently wake to roam in search of food.

After feeding, they often fall asleep, but are prone to waking up shortly after belching gas and roaring terribly. Other wildlife wakens them at risk of their own lives, due to this peculiar crabbiness.

Pregosaurs have difficulty getting comfortable, perhaps in part due to their distinctly shaped body, which includes a large protruding stomach, so it takes them a long time to settle in their nests. Their belly appears swollen, and seems to have life of its own as it ripples about in strange movements when the pregosaur is resting.

Their skin is rather like that of a chameleon, capable of taking on the shades and patterns of the jungle around it. Thus you will find floral pregosaurs, spotted pregosaurs, striped pregosaurs, etc. It is quite the sight to behold a pack of them socializing. They communicate through a variety of sounds from growls and moans to what sounds like hysterical laughter. They like to carry each other food in their claws and eat it together as they interact.

Some go together to the steaming mud pools to drink herbal soups or that dark sludge called caffeinus perkius, which seems to make the pregosaurs a lot more cheerful.

After nearly a year in this strange stage of development, pregosaurs morph into a new creature: the Momosaurus Reck. But that is a topic for a future study!

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Laying the Foundation for Homeschool

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This summer I’ve been busy working to organize our home and lay the foundations for homeschool. While I prefer a flexible, creative approach to homeschool, rather than a workbook only style, I realize that having an orderly environment where we know where all our great books and supplies are is conducive to achieving this. So in this spirit we’ve been clearing out our junk (over 7 garbage bags have gone to the thrift store, not to mention all the garbage and recycling we’ve cleared out). And we’ve been organizing our homeschool books and supplies. My oldest daughter has had lots of fun helping write labels for them.

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She is actually, unlike some of my other kids, quite naturally orderly and loves all this house beautifying. We spent one morning hauling apart our overcrowded kids book shelf, giving away or recycling some, and putting the rest back in categories like stories, French books, reference books, science books, pre-school, arts and crafts, etc. After I took this picture we got out our dollar store labels and wrote all of these and put them on the shelves.

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My 8 year old was very satisfied:
“I’m so proud of us, Mama! Here, tell me to get a science book.”
“Ok, grab a science book.”
She ran and got it and showed me.
“See, we look at it and then we put it back where it goes!”
I’m so glad she gets excited about this; as order is not my natural forté it helps a lot!

We labeled our binders with partitions for our different subjects, too.

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I recently read a great post on the blog “Capturing the Charmed Life” about homeschooling:

The Art and Science of An Education

It’s a beautiful testament to the benefits of a flexible education tailored to your own children specifically. I like her broad vision of education as something that helps us learn how to live, not just how to pass certain exams. Definately worth reading for anyone interested in education or child-rearing.

Here’s a wonderful quote by John Taylor Gatto she included in her piece:

“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist: it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges: it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing; wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die”.

This is what I hope to do: expose my kids to great works of art, literature, science, etc and help them to develop a life-long love of learning. I also want to teach them to think for themselves, to care for others and to become the best people they can be. It’s a big goal; wish me luck!