Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Break! And, Week 25!

Last week was our Spring Break, which actually coincided with my husband's Spring Break for the first time since having school-aged children. This meant that he had the chance to spend LOTS of time with the boys! =) I used the time to work on my book about motherhood and found my new home-away-from-home, the McDonald's closest to our house. I know, it doesn't sound that appealing, but with free Wi-Fi and a lovely, quiet atmosphere between 9 a.m.-12 p.m., it was the perfect place to spend time thinking, reading and writing! (I even managed to avoid the temptation of buying anything unhealthy to eat small feat once they started making french fries and the odor filled the place!)

Due to my writing obligations, we didn't go anywhere for the break, but DH did take the boys to a fun mini-golf outing...

...then later in the week, we visited a local farm to see maple sugaring in action as has been described in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books we've been reading this year. Sadly, the temperature was not cold enough to get the sap to run, but the boys had fun pretending to tap trees nonetheless!

The visitor's center also had a life-size model of a cow, complete with a rubber udder filled with water for kids to try their hand at milking (sorry for the poor picture quality below!):

The boys had a blast visiting all the animals at the farm, including some newly-born baby lambs...

One of my sons took the photo below. We all found it pretty hilarious. Guess these sheep were not in the mood to socialize with us!

We also saw horses, a chicken coop, and a number of cows. This one shocked Harry with the size of its tongue!

The farm also maintains an 1890s-era farmhouse, so we enjoyed the tour; we were only allowed to take a photo of the kitchen, with its stove and the bathtub hung on the wall. It was a great day at the farm!

As for school this past week....I think our highlight was doing our science activity of making water molecules. First we made some out of grapes:

(Dobby prefers to just eat the materials!)

Then we made a whole glassful out of marshmallows and the boys gave their dad the "water" when he came home:

As for other aspects of school, I've continued my more relaxed attitude this week, not worrying if we haven't completed everything as I have before. So we have fallen a little behind in our Classical Writing Primer, for example. I've decided that there is no reason we can't continue into the summer anything we didn't finish in the school year. But I also feel like we've made up for it by emphasizing math more of late; Harry started Singapore 2A but we've also continued working on word problems from 1B to give him more practice in that area. In the end, it doesn't really matter that he can add and subtract if he doesn't know when to use which operation! The word problems really help with understanding how to apply the operations so we keep working through those.

I've also learned that I know very little about phonics. I have no idea how I learned how to read; I was an early reader and probably learned mostly by sight, which is how Harry learned to read, largely on his own before kindergarten. (I'm a little concerned that this will all catch up to him with his spelling and that we'll soon have to do some remedial phonics work with him, too!) I've been more deliberate with Ron, using Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and as a result I've discovered all kinds of phonetic rules I never knew before. We're a little more than halfway through and things are getting confusing even for me--i.e, sometimes -ow sounds like "ow!" and sometimes it sounds like "oh!" Sometimes I wonder if Ron is able to keep all this straight as I barely can myself! I think we'll be starting to build in more review of the different possible sounds soon. This makes me wonder, how exactly do they teach reaching in the public schools?

Lastly, one of the states we covered this week was Iowa, Harry's birthstate nearly 8 years ago! Here we are just before our move away from Iowa, in front of the hospital where he was born. And the next shot is basically what we saw all around us for miles on end. One day we'll have to take him back there to see it all in person for himself. The town he was born was so small that they announced every baby birth over the radio, and as we were one of the very few Asians there, random strangers would easily spot us and know exactly who Harry was. Life in a small town!

Next week...we celebrate our 100th day of school! I need to start gathering ideas to make it fun. Technically, we've done more than 100 days including co-op days, but to keep it simple I've just counted M-Th days so we've reached this point later in the school year than others. I haven't told the boys yet so shhhhhh.....let's keep it a secret from them! =)

(P.S. I forgot to mention that we've been enjoying this live online feed of a nesting barn owl named Molly...she has been incubating 5 eggs this past months and one hatched today! Fun to check out to see all kinds of animal behavior, including the amazing way owls consume rodents and their unique mating calls and rituals!)


  1. I'm so interested in your book! Can't wait for it to become available! ;)

    The cow's tongue is too funny, and I LOVE the grape water molecule. We are studying chemistry next year, and I was planning on using marshmallows. I think two different colored grapes is a superb idea!!!

    We are still unsure about our vacation plans this summer. We are going to Indiana for Scott's brother's wedding, but we have not yet decided if we're going to spend a few days in Chicago after the wedding. If we do, I'll be sure and let you know!

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful spring break! I love the way you used all the "family time" to enjoy learning and experiencing the world together.

  3. We are another MFW family and I'm also a writer (with NavPress). Saw your link on the yahoo group and wanted to drop by to welcome you! :) There is a blog roll currently going. You can grab the button toward the bottom of the left side bar on my blog at :)

  4. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for stopping by I just found your comment! Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day and I look forward to catching up with you again, soon. :)