Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For the Birds

We made our own birdhouses as a fun project last week. We used Paul Newman's lemonade and limeade cartons, cut out holes, put in perches, and filled with birdseed. Super easy. We hung them out on the pole on our deck that housed last year's birdfeeder that the squirrels chewed to pieces. Nice, quick project. No problem.

Only.. the next day, when the birds arrived.. there was a little bit of a problem. The cartons are just hung with a loop of string, and when a bird lands on a branch (or when the wind blows just a smidge), they spin like crazy. That makes it difficult for the following birds to land on it, and they often miss. I feel bad for them, really.. but it's so funny to watch. I can fix it, really.. it's just a matter of getting off my butt. In the meantime, the kids are having a blast watching the birds and occasional squirrel get dizzy.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Fledgling Co-Op

Our homeschool group is going through some changes. Now that it's not nice enough for us to just meet up at the park, attendance has been changing and I've had to reevaluate what the group needs and what I can do to keep everyone coming. Jen and I talked about it and we decided to set up something along the lines of a co-op. Jen is going to be in charge of a book club geared towards younger kids. They'll meet every other Friday to do an activity based on a book we've all read. I think she's going to go for beginner chapter books.. the sort of things that parents can read to their kids if the kids aren't reading on their own. We did a bit of brainstorming about what kind of activities we might be able to do.

On the alternating Fridays, we're going to meet at my house and do either science experiments or craft projects. Today was the first meeting at our house and only one family showed up, but that was actually great since it was a nice way to ease into it. We let the kids play for a little while to warm up, then I lead an experiment about color dispersion and molecular properties. The only problem was that Fiona was fussy, so I was trying to soothe and entertain her while also keeping the activity moving along. Robin was a great help setting and clearing up, and we got to chat for a while, too.

Hopefully with some cross-posting to other groups, we'll get a bigger turnout and it'll end up being something that everyone looks forward to attending.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Political Primer

November 4th was a day filled with anticipation, pride, and teachable moments. I've always brought the kids with me to vote because I think it's important that they see us in our roles as conscientious citizens. This is the first time that Colwyn's been old enough to really get what's going on, though. I explained, in kid terms, what a president does for our country. I explained how one man has been in charge for eight years and now it's somebody else's turn. I explained how it's everyone's responsibility to learn about the candidates and pick who they think will do the best job, and then go vote. We talked a little bit about Obama and McCain, and Colwyn said he wanted 'the white haired man' to win. I told him that was great, and it's good to have his own opinions (meanwhile, groaning over his choice, heh).

So we went to storytime at our local Borders and picked up some diapers at Target, then came home for lunch. After lunch, we all went out to vote - me with the three kiddos, my mom, and my dad (Doug had to work, so he voted in the morning.. and I made sure the kids knew that Daddy had already voted). The volunteers all made complimentary comments about how great it was to see the whole family out voting together, how important it was to vote and include our children, etc.. so the kids got an outside affirmation of what I had told them, too. Colwyn helped my mom vote while Lachlann helped me, and when they saw who we were all voting for, Colwyn switched to Obama's side. Lachlann, however, still maintains that McCain is the man for him.

They watched the news with us a bit last night and we talked about how everyone across the whole country has to vote and how it takes a long time to add it all up and find out who won. This morning when they woke up, I told them that Obama had won, and Colwyn was very excited. We watched some of the news and then later I showed them a bit of his victory speech.

It was quite a nice lesson in civics, and right at their level. I decided not to bring up the whole "First African American President" thing because I didn't think Colwyn would get it.. he still doesn't see his African American friends as looking any different from him, and I don't want to change that any sooner than it has to.

I'd really love to be able to take them to the inauguration, but it's doubtful that we will. It just seems like it would be an awful lot of work for something that probably only Colwyn will remember, and not necessarily well. The only way we'd seriously consider going is if Doug's dad could get us in somewhere cool.. he's a reporter for AP and that's a slight possibility.