Friday, August 7, 2009

Babies, Birds, and Making a Book

Baby D likes birds so we're going to make a bird book. I've looked for ones to buy, stories, etc. but I think the best will be to have him take photos of birds that we see with our own eyes in the yard and places we go, then make a scrapbook ourselves. I downloaded a polar bear book and a tiger book from for the littles before and they both (little A and baby D) really enjoyed the pictures, learning the facts, and making their craft bear and tiger. A couple of months ago I found a cheap little bird and nest with eggs from the Family Dollar store that he liked. We play bird games where I'm the mommy and he is a baby cracking out of its egg, then learning to fly. Then we watch out for the big bad hawks that try to come after him. He loves these games.

When we find a bird and get its picture, we can look up what type it is and find out a bit about its habits. Maybe I can get D to try to play its song on the keyboard too. My only problem with the pictures is that both littles think I'm just being mean when I "won't" show them the picture before it's developed. They're growing up in the age of immediate digital cameras but I don't have one. D does but there's not even the slightest chance he'll let baby D use it and I understand completely. Maybe D can take the picture while baby D tries to whistle the bird's song and that way it will be more fun - if D and I can remember to photograph the bird and not the baby being cute and adorable trying to sing to it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

We forgot about PHI!

Today I started reading The Da Vinci Code and I'm glad I finally decided to do so. It reminded me to measure things with D to show the ubiquity of PHI. He already loves PI so this one should be interesting to him - when I showed him before, he was quite surprised but then we forgot to do much with it. I wonder if the human body ratios remain intact through puberty? D is also interested in music, we can explore the presence of PHI in that as well as art. He hates art but if I can add math into it that may spark a bit of at least temporary interest!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

SAT Question of the Day

This is at the bottom of my blog, I forgot it was there! I wanted it in the sidebar but it doesn't fit. Maybe just the link would fit but I want the whole question there.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Need A Real Wristwatch, Not A Clock On A Phone

The babies are with their mother right now and with my free time I want to go spend money! First I planned to go to Subway but my teeth aren't really up to food right now. I want to buy toys and gadgets but have no real reason to. The boys want me to buy groceries but we need to not be lazy and cook real food, not always go look for the throw-it-in-the-oven or microwave kind! WE HAVE FOOD. Still, I want Subway and chocolate.
D needs a new watch, he doesn't carry a cell phone and he makes lots of use out of gadget watches. He wants a stopwatch on it, clock, alarm, anything else that comes on one and is fun to play with! Guess that's what we'll be doing next, the band on his is partly broken and I can't imagine how undressed he'll feel without a watch if he loses it. Not to mention the feeling of the losing itself. He times everything, his experiments require timing, he uses it all day. I need a job so spending money on things we use isn't a big question all the time. We mostly have what we need so we're not suffering and this isn't a complaint. It's hard to decide to be a stay-at-home Grandma when I thought all that was over. But I can't imagine putting babies in day care all day if we don't have to. They've been moved from caretaker to caretaker way too often. I have to balance what my D needs and what the littles need. Having the babies here has been good for D because they usually put him in a good mood with their sweet little faces and amusing ways.

Wow, that was way off the subject! I was posting about spending money on a watch and wanted to add something about considering a statistics course for D - he's as interested in numbers as his brother was and his brother LOVED his statistics class. There's time though, school is almost over for the year.

Teeth and Health

My teeth hurt! I found a dental school near me (looking for cheap, all I want them to do is yank one out!) but they aren't accepting new patients. Looking in the phone book isn't as good an option as looking online because online they give more information like this site: Plano Dentist. I want to be able to go in and ask questions first because I know I have a couple of routes I can go with this, but I don't want to spend tons of $$ just to ask. The littles have their own dentist already, big A needs one because I took the same meds when I was pregnant with him that my mother took when she was pregnant with me - and it was disastrous for developing teeth! Lucky for D, his teeth look great. I'm not sure he's ever even been to a dentist before but we have no insurance so upfront costs matter a great deal. Finding out about oral health is part of D's need to know health class so I think I'll involve him in the search. Not only is it a health issue, it's a financial issue as well as the whole subject of insurance from a job/insurance just on one's own, etc.

Friday, May 1, 2009

At Least It's Good For Something!

The course I actually chose from The Teaching Company is one called Biology and Human Behavior; The Neurological Origins of Individuality. The one called Consciousness came with it in a special deal - I was thrilled with that option, however, Consciousness is so abstract and philosophical that D is lost almost from the beginning. For a moment I thought he was understanding it (I was totally surprised to think he was able to) because of a comment he made:

D: Well, Mom, this does stimulate creative thinking.
Me: ?! You understand the points he's making?
D: Oh, no, no, not at all after the first ten minutes. My mind is wandering and I'm coming up with all sorts of creative ideas I can experiment with!


Friday, April 24, 2009


We just received two courses I ordered from The Teaching Company (I love this company's courses so far). This is from the intro page from a course called Consciousness and Its Implications:

First, that consciousness and mental life are not "like" anything else.
Second, what distinguishes consciousness (and the term presupposes consciousness of something) from all else is its phenomenology--there is something it is "like" to be conscious that is different from all other facts of nature.
Third, conscious awareness is a power possessed by the normal percipient, including non-human percipients. This power is such that much that impinges on the sense organs is filtered out and sometimes only the weakest but the most "meaningful" of occurrences gains entrance.
Fourth, such powers vary over the course of a lifetime, are subject to disease and defect, and thus, lead to questions of profound ethical consequence.

D has had questions about this subject, perhaps only a passing interest, but it's always been of great interest to me. I'm hoping we can both get something from it. Like the Quantum Revolution course, this and the geometry course I got for him are college level. D has a great many ideas and understandings in his head that he lacks the vocabulary to explore and express.
At times this is a challenge because I need to give him higher level information explained with lower level vocabulary. Of course, that's what much of parenthood is about, isn't it?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Use Those Milk Caps!

We get our milk delivered from Rosehill Dairy and I hate throwing away the caps; they look so useful. These are larger than lids on our (formerly) usual gallon jug lids. These are a little over 2" in diameter, hard red plastic. That's a lot of plastic to waste for one.

A while ago, I downloaded Phonics Bingo by Brandenburg Studies from CurrClick and it's given me the perfect use for all those milk caps. The game has real-life photos set up as a bingo game card; I printed them out on photo paper and will most likely go ahead and laminate them. I don't know that that's necessary with photo paper but I plan to get a lot of use out of these cards. Anyway, this game also comes with game cards with capital letters. I printed those on regular paper, cut them out in circles that fit into the milk caps and now have the perfect game pieces for bingo!

The littles weren't interested before in games with paper pieces, these give them something to grab hold of. It also has the added benefit of keeping baby D from destroying them so easily. The funny part is that he's the one who knows all the letters and their sounds so it has to be suitable for him to play as well. Little A isn't very interested, she knows a few letters reliably, some occasionally, some not at all.
I've decided, just now, how to increase her interest in playing this game. Just as was suggested in the instructions for the game, I'll have the neighborhood kids join in. Little A is very sociable, any alone time is waiting time for her - waiting for it to be over. She has managed to get 5 or 6 neighborhood boys as well as the girls to play "dollies" with her! These boys, who range in age from 5 to 11 or so (I think one's 12 but he's mostly just hanging around talking to the kids while they play) actually wrap up dolls, play house, etc., in the front yard with little A for hours at a time! Sometimes the play is interspersed with shootouts when bad guys come and try to cause trouble. :-)
Anyway, I'm pretty sure most of the kids will be happy to play bingo a few times with us. The milk cap idea will definitely be helpful keeping the pieces in good shape.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun Experiment Idea Site

Here's a fun site with science experiments to try: Exploratium Science "Snacks". D has done a couple of these, now he wants an aquarium for one of the experiments. Collecting items for experiments may seem to be a pain at times but he'll use things for other projects and experiments later anyway. The more stuff he has, the more ideas he comes up with. I like science sites like this because it gives me ideas on items that aren't just so ordinary and common necessarily. There are many experiments to be done with common household objects (and that's often considered a plus for the publisher of an experiment book or site) but he wants to expand! He still is relegated to what can be easily obtained online and used in a residential area, it'll be great when he's old enough to participate in true research labs.

This makes me think of a cartoon (I want to post it but can't find it, still looking!) in Foxtrot by Bill Amend. It shows Peter zipping around in some sort of control room of a spaceship, doing things at the speed of light, etc; then he comes out of his daydream in class with a toy car, marbles, and a wooden ramp - he has to figure out the equations for acceleration or something. His comment? Somehow I expected more out of a physics class...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

100 Events, Very Good Book To Read

D has been reading a 100 Events That Shook Our World by the editors of LIFE Magazine. I really like how it introduces him in short articles to things most adults know about, he'll understand more references and conversations now. It helped a great deal that big A saw it and took off with it to read and D had to let him know it was part of his school and ask for it back for a short while. That showed him it's not just a boring history book Mom makes him read, it's of interest to adults. His brother didn't even have to read it but he just wanted to? Hmm, maybe there's more to this than he thought. (At least, I hope he thought that way about it. He doesn't complain or even seem annoyed anymore at having to read it.)

Actually, we've discovered he's NOT quite ready for this. I told him to look up words he didn't know so he could understand what he was reading - for most pages he writes down 5-10 words! These are not long articles either! I played with the idea of dropping this book until next year but I see the next two articles use his regular vocabulary words, the ones he's actually supposed to learn. The ones from this book were meant to be casually looked up when he occasionally ran across a word he didn't know. After these two next articles, I'll have him read from this book only once or twice a week instead of every day. I'm having trouble finding reading material that's a good level. I want him challenged but not completely lost. I'm definitely glad I chose to spend this year concentrating on reading skills and vocabulary. Like someone commented on here before, he's short on the knowledge that makes reading easy. Too concentrated on numbers to be aware of much of the rest of the world I think.