Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Idea File

We finally have a few running things in our 'idea file' of projects.. so I can start  a running post to keep them in for later.. -^- are Esme's own ideas.

-^-Aquarium of paper fish, find information in books, draw the fish/plant/animal and write a 'file card' for them
--Make our family tree on a wall in the house (social studies project in our book)
--Make a timeline with pasted pictures for our history projects / dinosaur info
-^-Make paper dolls and/or puppets on popsicle sticks and put on a play with them
---------sewing sock puppets maybe
-^-Get another large cardboard box and paint it with a scene
-^-Make a painting on plywood and cut it apart with a jigsaw to make a puzzle
-^-Make something bowl or jar-like with bake clay and paint it like the Indians did (this would go great with the story in the Spinners reading book)
-^-Go to the Japanese Hibachi restaurant
-^-Find more Make/Craft books and find more awesome projects
---------Maybe make this a library initiative to look for these kind of books to read and make notes

--Play recording studio (She made one in Minecraft, but didn't know exactly what it all included)... maybe find some resources to show what really happens in a recording session

--Try to find a place with more musical instruments to look at and try

-^-Learn Spanish 

-- Make an accordion book out of paper and draw or glue pictures inside of a story
--Use printed words to cut apart and tell a story - add punctuation and choose the words that make sense ie: catches/catch, and capital letters at the beginning vs. the lowercase version.
--Use these printed words to play a sorting game of verbs, adjectives and nouns

Monday, July 27, 2015

More paintings

 Esme and I were painting dinosaurs side by side on the easel.
Hers lives in a park, (instead of a volcano) and has great fashion sense.  I didn't want her to feel stressed to paint exactly the dino model we were looking at -and she added lots of details instead of giving up.  I think they both turned out great :)

When it was just about time to clean up, Daddy held up Columbus dog and said 'Paint a portrait of this!'...Esme said she couldn't...I said 'OK.'  (The photograph was taken later, to show the comparison for the post)  Mark had to put Columbus down halfway through (he was very embarrassed by it all) so I didn't get his markings just right...but the general idea is there.

About 9"x12"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ready for Second Grade homeschool

 Ready to start 2nd grade on August 3rd
at Mixie Engineering Primary School (homeschool)
She says she is excited to make things, dig for gems (geology kit) and learn about dinosaurs!

 Mom and Esme

 And with Daddy the silly faces reign!

 Silly tongue out and air swim

With a kitty all ready to go to town

I ordered several photos for her 'school years book' and to give out to relatives.
We had a long day and she built several 'mob grinders' in Minecraft that turned into restaurants selling freshly gathered chicken, beef and wool bits.  She hooked a furnace up to the grinder/gathering hoppers and served cooked chicken with the push of a button....pretty cool.  I did help her get stuff into the hopper, as the water flow she had started was a bit off.

Pumpkin is disapproving (after taking a rare very close look) of the colorful thing that isn't really there.
I played a bit with painting after coming across an article about an artist named 
Rena Thiagarajan artist website  I was inspired by the way she applied her colors.  I mixed that thought with the bouncing around in my head of the Spanish I am learning as well as the 'schematica' and organization of things I have been working with lately (crystal structures, math, even homeschool charts and supplies)...I imagined Spanish word shapes as I painted, and then electrical circuits, then finally it seemed like a broken city landscape was coming into view...which I finally saw the doors, stairs, windows, lamps and plants take shape.
I think Pumpkin thinks I should add a cat in the 'blank window' at the top.
Anyway...as Esme and I do more art this year I definitely need to practice with this sort of 'the art leads and I follow' type again...it has been a long time.

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Horizons Minecraft World

 Esme wanted to start a new world the other day.  So, we did.
We still intend to continue with Freeway World, but this was a change.

We each built a house and a bridge...and then we added a garden and a dock.
Our fishing dock in the 'magic lagoon'.  It kept returning a larger than usual percentage of non-fish items.  There is also a little library building I was putting some new books in about Astronomy, Geology and Paleontology (before we moved on to make the museum)

 Museum and treehouse
She built the T-Rex skeleton -and I built the museum around it.
She then suggested a 'pottery exhibit' about the Egyptians.

 'Egyptian exhibit' and T-Rex skeleton|

 You can see the T-Rex from the outside...

And even climb some stairs to go inside his head...hmm...not sure if that is a good idea ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2015


We went to the library yesterday - and then on to work for me.  I need to close again tonight...this week is just too long...that six day stretch.  But, on to the bits.  I finished reading 'Girl with All the Gifts'...scary as heck..I bawled about a third of the way through...disgusted with 'crunchy reality' halfway through it and the end left ashes in my mouth.  So sad...poignant, I guess one would say.  I read 'The Road' and 'Blindness' on reccommendation a few years ago...also chilling human-horror/disaster stories. I couldn't not finish them, but they don't ever leave the brain either.  I'm on to 'The Green Ember' now...such a different thing - it's like Watership Down and Nimh put together, so far.

Esme's 'Gifted and Talented Reading, Writing and Math' workbook came yesterday.  I had worried it had gotten lost in the mail.  But, it's here, and she paged through it and said it looked great.  The writing is high-end for her (that is where she struggles) but has good ideas for 'how to proceed'. The reading/English activities and the math are going to be great go-tos for her this year...things Mom couldn't easily dream up for her to work on when we come to a blank space. I enjoyed paging through the math puzzles myself before bed...she'll need some help understanding the question, but I know  she can figure out the math once the question is posed correctly.

I am an overplanner of sorts... I was sketching out idea trees at work yesterday during a break about each 'subject' she wants to study this year and what our 'pull out of a hat' type options are for each subject...I can't really turn that stuff off- overplanning etc.. I was trying to work out just what we should be working on as 'every day' stuff and how often the 'electives' should work in...eventually we usually have Esme direct that part herself...I do want to stress the Social Studies/History stuff as a bit more than an 'elective'...a two to three times a week activitiy/lesson sort of thing.  If she is really going to go for Spanish we need to schedule that at least once a week intently or more for practice through the week.  I think she will self-direct on all of the Science as she is interested, and we can throw the Art, P.E. and cooking lessons in wherever they seem appropriate.

Mark said she cooked a scrambled egg sandwich with minimal help (lots of supervision) the other day, and was very proud of herself.  She needed help cracking a tough egg and he pulled the hot pan off the stove and served the egg onto the plate - but she helped wash it in the sink with the brush.  She said the sandwich was good :)

We picked up a few Spanish dual language books while we were at the library.  We read one before bed.  I have been learning French for the past year or more...and now she wants to learn Spanish (her friend is learning Spanish in school).  That means Mom has to learn Spanish...a language I've tried to avoid really diving into over the years (I've done German and French...Latin and Japanese before...modern Greek with her last year). But, I've found her some good online resources and I'm using them, too. I know the fact that Spanish has multiple similar words for the same thing (mono, mico for monkey) is going to be a potential arguing point. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I need to be making my lunch for work.  But, post a tiny bit.  We had an awesome morning discussion (over and before Minecraft) about planets, the New Horizons spacecraft, fossils and dinosaurs... we even looked at the Laetoli footprints.  I was sort of following her lead but in a very 'Mom really is a geek' way... we built a new bridge and houses in Minecraft and a fishing dock.  And I have to get ready for work...

Our official timekeeping for school starts in a few weeks - but if today was a day for it, it would have been about two hours of discussion/Minecraft combined.  She was also reading the Ancient History exploration book I had found at the dollar store and asking questions out of it. She was upset by the book burning description, and said she couldn't wear a kimono because it was just one big cloak and it would get hot.

Thinking a bit further about how to organize activities and subjects for the first few weeks, until we get going on our 'own fuel.' ... hmm...

In the Social Studies book we will be doing the family tree exercise in the first few weeks...and I want to maybe use the 'Mesozoic Disaster' video about the dinosaur extinction as one of the first kickers to our extinction talk and science questions about the biology science needed to bring them back.  Also, probably start with the digestive system in the body chart because she already asked about the 'food and air tubes'...and after it is discussed it is easy to tie the heart/blood system in next, then air, then return back to the kidney/liver/spleen etc to explain how the body stays healthy by taking bad stuff out of the blood and foods.  How can I work some boring stuff like carrying and borrowing in math into all of that?  There are the 'Math Spies' plans I'm making.  Vocab and spelling will work okay...

And I wish I could just bring her to a place that will have kids to play with much more often - but this place is so rural about the only three places are the public school, the public library (hit or miss she'll find someone there and hit or miss if their mom will let them play with 'strangers' while at the library) and the park/playplace (wild animals resume your positions)... She told me this morning that she had a bad dream that she had no friends, never got invited to any more sleepovers and peed in her bed and got in trouble.  But they were just dreams...but they were scary ones.  All of those weigh heavily on a little mind (we are going through the last one so tough now, she sleeps like a rock and even started sleeping through the new alarm clock after a week).