Archive for Mini-Morts

February 25, 2008

Hanging Out and Doing Stuff Leads to More Hanging Out and Doing Stuff

We began President’s Day weekend with a flurry of activity out of the house, and then returned home to a cozier flurry of activity inside the house. Some of us chose to doodle, while others dabbled in 3D programming, while still others cooked and wrote and read.

Mr. Enigma sat down to draw in his sketch book. The Duke walked by on his way to do something else, noticed that Dad was drawing, peeked over his shoulder and asked, “What are you drawing?”

Monkey see, monkey do

Monkey see, monkey do

They talked about the drawing for a moment while my husband kept working. Suddenly, The Duke grabbed a chair and pulled it up alongside Mr. Enigma’s recliner. Then he went into his room, grabbed his sketch book and pencil, and sat down next to his Dad and began drawing.

They worked that way for at least half an hour, and what a special, bonding time it was. Completely unplanned and uncoerced, creativity begot creativity.

daughter programming in Alice

While this side-by-side drawing was going on, my daughter was hogging my laptop, programming her first 3D animation in Alice. She took the tutorial and spent about an hour noodling around. Her finished piece was, as she put it, “A Shakespeare kind of thingy,” by which she meant a whole bunch of characters fought, declared their love for each other, and died, all in a 20-second animated movie.

What was I doing? Well, my daughter was using my computer, so I read, started getting dinner ready, and took pictures of my family just hanging out and doing stuff. It was a good day.

To see scenes from my daughter’s first movie, click the link below.

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January 11, 2008

Oh Those Busy Homeschoolers

What do homeschoolers do when they’re not busy winning spelling and geography bees? They make things. Give homeschoolers a simple tool, and look what they choose to do with a little free time. And a lot of snow.

Because, you know, it’s important wrap up your study of the Alaskan Inuit with a hands-on project. Or something like that.

igloo on front yard

The kids did have help from Dad to finish the igloo. Well, okay, they had a lot of help from Dad, especially when it came time to put the roof on. And then that night, it warmed up and rained. And rained. And rained. And by morning, the igloo was nothing but a mushy foundation.

No worries, no tears. Around here, we enjoy the process as much as the product. Or something like that.

But then, like a phoenix from the ashes, another igloo emerged from the snow, this time in the backyard.

left-hand shot of igloo in backyard

Hey kids, you must really love igloo building, huh? Congratulations on some fine brickwork in that there v2.0 igloo. What? You didn’t build this one. Not a single snow brick? Dad made it all by himself? It took him all afternoon?!

right-hand shot of igloo in backyard

He must be planning to show the kids the proper use of a keystone in an arch. No, wait: he wants to show them how the laws of thermodynamics apply to life in Alaska. Yeah, that’s it. Next, when we study ancient Greece, we’re going to build our own Trojan Horse and storm our next-door neighbor’s yard.

Because we homeschoolers really like to immerse ourselves in our learning.

Or something like that.

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July 18, 2006

He’s a Poet But Didn’t Know It

My kids started swimming lessons at the town lake last week. The kids were in the water with the lifeguards/swim instructors, who were busy assessing each child’s swiming level and then sorting them into groups. After each child demonstrated his or her skill, the lead instructor called his/her name and the group number to which she was assigning the child. “Karen, group 2!”

As one of the youngest kids finished his demonstration, the teacher said, “Omar, group 1!”

And then I heard my five-year-old son, The Duke of Hazard™, who was swirling around nearby say, “Omar. Omar Khayyám.”

I stifled my laughter, confident that the average pre-kindergartner doesn’t know the names of 12th century Pesian poets. Of course, The Duke knows the name not because his parents read him the classics, but because he’d recently watched a Rocky & Bullwinkle episode, in which the daring duo found a Ruby Yacht and returned it to Omar Khayyám (under great duress, I might add).

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February 10, 2006

Richard Thompson: He’s Missing the Stew

On our way to my son’s preschool one day last week, the boy asked me to turn some music on. So I punched the stereo power, and out blared the Richard Thompson CD I’d been listening to a day earlier, Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years. The song was “Cooksferry Queen,” an upbeat tune with a snare drum and bass line that drive the song’s rhythm. The song kicked in at about the middle, just before the musical break, during which my son shouted:

Mommy, you know what? This music is is making my heart dance!
Dancing Heart Image

I knew exactly what he meant. Between the drum and bass, my crappy/buzzing minivan speakers, and the volume, my heart was dancing in my chest, too. At the preschool, we sat in the car and listened until the song’s abrupt downbeat end, at which point the poor kid groaned.

I’ve played the tune for him every day since then.

About a year ago, my daughter, then six, had a different response. I my sucked my daughter in the first time with “The Goldilocks song,” more appropriately known as “The Uninhabited Man.” The refrain:

Who’s been sleeping in my bed?
Who’s been sitting in my chair?
Who’s been sipping my bowl?

She liked it! Then we listened to more songs, and she ultimately came to favor “I Feel So Good,” a song about a recently released inmate who’s on the prowl.

Perhaps that’s not the most appropriate theme for a six-year-old, but sometimes you just have to live on the edge. Of course, living on the edge meant living in fear that she’d one day sing a verse along with Thompson:

Now I’ve got a suitcase full of fifty pound notes,
And a half-naked woman with her tongue down my throat.
I feeeeeel so good. I fee-eeeel so good.

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