Monday, April 27, 2015

Poppies at the Park

Today's home(pre)school co-op lesson was about poppies. We met up at the park, fed the ducks, made two poppy crafts, released ladybugs, ate poppy seed cake, looked at silk and real poppies, learned some poppy facts, and listened to the story Ava's Poppy by Marcus Pfister.
California's state flower is the Golden Poppy, so we made paper plate poppies, and thumbprint poppies.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ph of Common Kitchen Liquids

I had some litmus paper, and my three year old wanted to "do" science, so I poured the first five liquids I could find and let her start dipping.
My daughter liked seeing the litmus paper change color, and she liked matching the color to the ph number on the chart.

  • Vinegar has a ph of 2.
  • The apple juice appears to have a ph of 3.
  • Diet Coke was a 4.
  • I read on another chart that black coffee is 5 (acidic), so my coffee was a big surprise - 7! - which is neutral.
  • Chocolate milk - Milk has a ph of 6, but the chocolate milk made the litmus paper look, well, chocolate. And chocolate wasn't one of our color choices. :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

March For Justice: Armenian Genocide Centennial

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. My great-grandmother Marta was an Armenian Genocide survivor, so it was important to me to participate in today's March For Justice. We walked for two hours, walking two of the march's six miles.

Here is a link to news coverage of today's march.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Salad

This, my three year old said, is a salad for predators. Salad predators.

2 Drawings

This drawing is me and my 3 year old. Those circles with dots in the middle of our middles are our belly buttons. I'm not exactly sure why we're not wearing any clothes, or why my daughter drew herself looking a bit like Oscar the Grouch.

This is evidently me, "crying for joy," in the winter. That's why I'm wrapped in a blanket.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Children Are Born Persons

Charlotte Mason's first principle is "Children are born persons," meaning that children are people when they are born; they do not become people.

The fact is, we undervalue children. The notion that an infant is a huge oyster, who by slow degrees, and more and more, develops into that splendid intellectual and moral being, a full-grown man or woman, has been impressed upon us so much of late years that we believe intellectual spoon-meat to be the only food for what we are pleased to call 'little minds.' (Mason Vol. 3, pg. 172)

What is the historical context for Mason's principle?
In SAGE Directions in Educational Psychology, Salkind writes about educational psychology at the turn of the 20th century...
...In conversations surrounding public schooling (which is the focus here), more indirectly in teacher training, the idea that schools and lessons should be built around the child's developmental stages as opposed to the organization of classical content was a radical one...
...The child, instead of being perceived as a subject that would fit around the order of knowledge in the school, was newly positioned as the central subject around whom knowledge should be ordered. The teacher, rather than looking for true knowledge in the classics, was now to look into the child, via science, for true knowledge of development...
...Genes were thought to constitute the child's nature and the child's potential for good and evil. The judgement of potential, of nature, would subsequently determine how the child should be treated and how the environment surrounding the child should be organized...
.. Educators contesting developmentalism's rise, in a variety of forms, often protested on the grounds of its lock stepping the child, its predetermined view of what labor a child would perform in adulthood, and its neglect of the classics...
Is the goal of education to turn out students who are "career and college ready" (the public school phrase-o-the-week), or more?

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Today my daughter petted a Chinese water dragon, an albino Honduran milk snake, a tortoise, and two blue-tongued skinks at my school's annual community fair.

Word of the day: ovoviviparous.  
  • ovo (egg) 
  • viv (alive, living)
  • par (bring forth, bear)
An animal that is ovoviviparous is an animal that is inside an egg, but brought forth alive! The egg hatches inside the mother's body!

A skink is ovoviviparous. A viper (vivus parere), which is also "brought forth alive," is ovoviparous.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beach Bouncer

I let my daughter do the Beach Bouncer today at the pier. It costs $5, but they let you bounce for what seems like forever, and she laughed the entire time. My face hurt from smiling so big.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


It was Free Cone Day yesterday at Ben & Jerry's. We live within walking distance of Ben & Jerry's, so going for ice cream was a must-do.

What My Three Year Old Said...

...while I was working on my laptop, entering my 4th grade class's book orders:
"Mommy, might I interest you in the dessert menu?"

She then "read" the dessert items to me:

"We have my famous circles, some long cylinders, a cookie, and a cinnamon roll."

My order? One of each, of course.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

One Reason You Shouldn't Drink Out of the Water Fountains at the Beach...

Might I suggest one of those collapsible doggie bowls?

Wake Up With the Waves

We saw Birdie's Playhouse, a children's singer, yesterday at the pier, as part of the Santa Monica Pier's Wake Up With the Waves children's concert series. This is my daughter and her friend playing with Birdie's streamers.
All of Birdie's songs are about animals. During one song, she let the kids carry animal signs. My daughter got to hold the crab picture.
The best part? The sky was filled with kites!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Birthday Party Planning for a 4 Year Old

My daughter wants a magic groovy shirt princess party for her 4th birthday...

ME: What do you mean "a shirt party"?
HER: Oh, you know, I'm going to give all my friends shirts.
ME: What kind of shirts?
HER: Just shirts.
ME: So, about this shirt party, what if you and your friends decorated shirts?
HER: No.
ME: I've been thinking about your shirt party, and I really think that instead of just giving your friends shirts, you all can decorate the shirts. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?
HER: No.
ME: Well, yeah, I think it does.
HER: Well, okay.
HER: I'll give everyone shirts, and then we'll break the piñata!
ME: What does this piñata look like?
HER: A shirt.
ME: (Google Search: shirt piñata)
ME: The only shirt piñatas I can find are Hawaiian shirt pinatas.
HER: No.
HER: I want a magic shirt party.
ME: Magic shirts?
HER: Yeah, you know, like the Great Grinaldi. You know, from Odd Squad.
ME: I don't know, but okay.
HER: And we'll have magic stuff.
ME: And shirts.
HER: Yes.
ME: But not magic shirts.
HER: No.
ME: So, I talked to Grandpa, and he can do magic at your party. What kind of cake do you want?
HER: You know, like a shirt, with magic stuff around it.
ME: Magic stuff?
HER: Yes, like stars.
ME: Around it? What about on it?
HER: No.
ME: Those groovy shirts on Peg + Cat are cool. What about tie dyed shirts?
HER: Yes!
ME: (Google Search: how to tie dye shirts with preschoolers)
(At Hobby Lobby, after seeing the princess cake decorating kit...)
HER: I want a princess cake.
ME: A princess cake at your magic groovy shirt party?
HER: Yes.
ME: A magic groovy shirt princess?
HER: Yes.
ME: We'll put Grandma in charge of that.
HER: I want star balloons and princess balloons.
ME: At your magic groovy shirt princess party.
HER: Yes. And Pin the Tail on the Donkey...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week in Review: Spring Break

This past week, we got to visit family. 

A while back, I bought a science kit that included a piece of dolomite. Dolomite contains calcium carbonate. The instructions said to pour vinegar on the dolomite and watch as the acid dissolved the calcium carbonate. Nothing happened. So we took our dolomite to Poppa because we knew he'd know what to do (he was a science teacher for 30 years, and keeps muriatic acid around the house). He added some acid to water and poured it onto the dolomite, causing a chemical reaction. The dolomite fizzed and bubbled as the acid dissolved the calcium carbonate.
Here is my daughter with Grandma, dyeing eggs for Easter.
On Thursday, we went to Grandma's Hebrew teacher Keren's house. This is my daughter with Keren's husband Kenny. He let her dig up leeks and use his knife to cut Swiss chard. Keren and Kenny have about 35 chicks, as well as some adult hens.

Here is evidence that Easter candy and cookies aren't the only things my daughter ate this week...
My daughter got to have three Easter egg hunts! One at Grandma and Poppa's, one at church, and one at Auntie Barbara and Uncle Al's house. Here she is on Good Friday, hunting eggs in her pajamas. (Later, she re-hid the eggs so I could hunt them. And Saturday, she asked Grandma and me to hide the plastic eggs around the living room so she could hunt again.)

 Here she is at the park with Poppa...
And here she is using a wooden mallet to play "hit the hanging tennis ball Grandma uses to gauge when she should stop pulling into the garage." She was determined to hit it 100 times, and she did. That kept her busy for an hour.

That evening, we went to an art opening. The cookies were from Mel's Famous Bakery. That's Mel with the ponytail and smile. My daughter chose a purple, rabbit-shaped, sandwich sugar cookie, filled with vanilla icing, and topped with purple crystal sprinkles. She shared a bite with me. It was sugar-cookie-perfection.
 This picture cracks me up...
 My daughter wanted to help Poppa build something in his shop. I suggested she sand a piece of wood. She liked that idea, so Grandma taught her how.

 Sunday morning, we went to church. Here she is with Grandpa...
 Between Easter breakfast and service, there was an egg hunt. My daughter looks so serious as she shakes that plastic egg, listening for candy rattling inside.
That evening, we went to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner. They gave her some Easter presents, including a set of Resurrection Eggs. Each egg has a trinket in it that tells the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. A donkey, silver coins, a cup, praying hands, a piece of leather, a crown of thorns, nails in the shape of a cross, a die, a spear, linen cloth, a stone, and the last egg is empty to symbolize Christ's empty tomb.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Math with Rooster's Off To See the World

Earlier this week, I used the book Rooster's Off to See the World (Eric Carle) to introduce the concepts of addition and subtraction to our home(pre)school co-op.

This book is simple and predictable, and was perfect for our three and four year olds. The story is about a rooster who decides to go off and see the world. Along the way he "adds" 2 cats, 3 frogs, 4 turtles, and 5 fish to his entourage. I had the children stack Unifix cubes to represent animals.

  • 1 rooster + 2 cats = 3 animals off to see the world
  • 3 animals + 3 frogs = 6 animals off to see the world
  • 6 animals + 4 turtles = 10 animals off to see the world
  • 10 animals + 5 fish = 15 animals off to see the world
But then the animals realize that rooster hasn't planned the trip very well, and they "subtract" themselves from the group.

  • 15 animals - 5 fish = 10 animals
  • 10 animals - 4 turtles = 6 animals
  • 6 animals - 3 frogs = 3 animals
  • 3 animals - 2 cats = 1 rooster
The preschoolers enjoyed acting out the story with the Unifix cubes. Manipulatives aren't just for math!

What are your favorite math storybooks?