Monday, March 26

Wizard of Oz Unit


When I went to bed last night I had no idea what we were going to do in school this week.  We just finished studying about India last week and I didn't feel the need to stretch that out any longer.  So, we have this one week left before we take off two for spring break.

What to do.  What to do.

We have spelling, math and writing and Bible to continue in.  Those can all be stand alone sujects just fine.
B has been asking us to help him grow crystals (a Christmas gift) and that sounds like a good school activity to me.  Additionally, I had also begun reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to B&S off my Kindle while we were waiting for appointments.  And they've really been enjoying it.

If crystals can be dyed green they might resemble emeralds... hmmm.

And so began our Wizard of Oz Science Study for the week.
...growing our own Emerald City.
...soda bottle tornadoes.
...animal (lion), vegetable (scarecrow) or mineral (tin man) classification.
..."Witch" dissolves in water?

And because our vacation in May will be in Santa Fe where the Georgia O'Keefe museum is AND poppies show up in the next chapter of the book we'll work on a huge O'Keefe poppy mural I just purchased from Art Projects for Kids.  It will be huge and B is so excited to get into my pastels.

I love it when all things converge.

Wednesday, March 7

Number Card Activities

I made over a hundred number flashcards about 10 years ago and I just keep using them over and over again.  Each card simply has one number 0 - 100 written on its front.  I have duplicates for 1-20 as well as smaller cards with + - =  signs on them.

Today we pulled them out to use with S and I discovered that I had a cheat sheet of activity ideas stashed in between the cards.  I don't know who to credit for the ideas, but it made for a perfect day of math activities with him.  I love it when my past-self helps out my future-self.

Grab a stack of cards and a marker and make your own set.  These were great activities to do with my 5 year old:

  • Hold up a card and have him say the number on the card.  We worked with 0-20 today, but in the next few weeks we'll work through chunks all the way up to 100.
  • Hold up two cards and ask which number is greater.
  • Hold up two cards and ask your child to count forward or backward from one of the numbers to the other.  
  • Pick a card without showing it to your child.  Have him or her guess the number by solving a number clue such as, "This number is one more than 63," or "This number is one less than 35," or "This number is between 59 and 61."
  • Place the cards into number families (20's, 50's, etc.)
  • For basic identification practice, create a concentration game using the duplicate cards and try to find matches.  
  • Make your own number sentences:  put one card down, put a +/- card down and put another card after it.  Follow it with the = card and have your child solve it.  
  • After you use them, they'll need to be put back in order so make this your child's last activity.

Monday, March 5

Broken for Me

The memory of tonight's homemade macaroni and cheese lingers.  

Made by my husband's hands with the guidance of a capable recipe, it met me after my Monday evening workout with all the comfort and satisfaction it promised.  I was looking forward to this meal.  It didn't disappoint.  Thirteen days without meat and I'm at the threshold of walking away from it for good.  

That's not the point of this fast.  However, as I daily engage it I continue to question what its point exactly is.  My understanding of Lent was enriched through some of my weekend reading. 
During Lent, death gives way to life, just as it does in the change of seasons.  
A part of Lent is death. That's the giving up.  Last Sunday I made sausage.  Sundays are a traditional day off from the fast. Our boys are enjoying that little break and I wondered if I should break my fast too.  My husband said, "Not for me."  And where he goes I will go.  It's easy to make succulent meals without the meat.  I haven't missed it.  I wanted to do some missing.  I made two sausages for myself, I thanked God for it, for the day of grace and feasting.  And I gave my share to my boys.  I needed to feel a little of the death -- to intentionally go without.  
The fast was a way to ritualize and enter into the death of Christ, with the hopes of sharing in the resurrection...
There is joy yet to come in this season.  In me.  In the world.  We daily step forward into it.  But for all of us, our death is present even at our birth.  All life is joy and sorrow; not one without the other.  In this season, I am attempting to invite a bit more of the sorrow.  But I can't keep from focusing so much more on the joy -- like reading a story when I already know the ending.  To this point, the true practice of penance is still quite lost on me.

For me this fast is a joyful tension.  I'm happy to give up, happy to work around, happy to find another route to nourishment.  The challenge itself makes me happy.  How carnal of me to actually enjoy Lent.  Yet, each time I prepare a meal I sense the brokenness of it.  It is incomplete and still it's the best it can be.  The meals without meat reflect who I am; broken and longing for a day to be made whole.  Knowing the joy will come... is coming.  I cannot completely grieve.  Yet I cannot completely rejoice.  This is the joyful tension of Lent.
...the practice of penance is a way to ritually experience in our own lives the self-emptying of Christ.
He gave himself up for us.  The fast doesn't truly make me more like him.  It's a tawdry attempt at best.  But as I continue to push into this meager sacrifice I can more intimately connect with the ultimate one given as grace on my behalf.  

Thanks be to God.