Power (and TV)

Pumpkin told me today that electricity can be “made” with wind and water. That gave me a chance to describe coal and nuclear power as well. 

She learned the first two kinds from Magic School Bus, and to visualize molecules and atoms in helping understand nuclear power, I reminded her of the Magic School Bus Rides Again episode on states of water. 

Sometimes TV helps us learn! 

Pumpkin learned phonetics thanks to Super Why! a couple years ago as well. 

Other than that, we’re just playing today. And that is learning too. 


Autumn science (and home decor)

Another way we learn is by collecting berries, seeds, and leaves in the fall. We fill a glass jar or vase with all the exciting things they find and use it as our centerpiece. We talk about why we have fall (colder temps, tilt of the earth, and more!) and sometimes we talk about the different kinds of plant or tree: how does this tree/plant spread its seeds (burrs, blowing, birds, etc). 

We love observing the squirrels working hard to find and hide their acorns!

We also found a woodpecker skull recently. Once the bugs and maggots have finished their part in its decomposition, we’ll be looking at it to observe the way its skull is protected and absorbent of the constant impact from its pecking. 


This weekend involved a kid oriented symphony orchestra concert with both Pumpkin and Peanut in attendance. 

We played different instruments beforehand and then clapped, danced, listened for high/low or loud/soft along with all the rest of the auditorium full of kids. 

Such an awesome way to experience great music and learn about the orchestra!

Other than that? Another documentary on Netflix, Life, and some new lessons in predators and prey! And we’re continuing to read Little House in the Big Woods (history and literature!) and make cards for people (lately it’s been making Happy Birthday art and cards for The Hunter–writing and art!)

Some days…

I’m not sure where the day went. We played outside a little, I managed to mostly keep up with the dishes, and then went to work for a few hours. 

Pumpkin and her Grandpa went to a string quartet concert, which she mostly slept through, and at bedtime, Pumpkin asked for help writing the playbill for her play “Fairy Knight.” 

Peanut had some potty training successes and some fails. 

Some days are just getting by. 

And Peach smiles and coos to help us keep our smiles!

Bugs, bags, and inspiration

6 weeks ago, we had to bag up all our clothes and almost all our earthly possessions in order to have our house sprayed and eradicate a certain pest…

For 6 weeks, we’ve had almost no toys. Two baby dolls, some of our books, and a few toy kitchen appliances. And the kids? Today they’re making fancy fans out of napkins.

When shredded napkins didn’t work quite right, we found a YouTube video on how to make a fan, and then we made several together!

I love the creativity they have! And I hope that I can get rid of some toys so we have more freedom from stuff as we unpack our house again!

The only toys I’m excited to see again are the duplos and building blocks. And our art box!


Timeline and future learning

Yesterday, the kids played outside a lot, and I got carried away making a timeline. It goes back as far as 0 A.D. 

It’s old scratch paper and some lines, but each page represents 50 years. Simple, not incredibly pretty, but so far, we have these dates noted:

0: Jesus is born (I know not technically, but we’ll go with it for now!)

33: Jesus died and rose again

325: Nicene Council

476: (ok, might be off a hair, I’m not looking at it right now) Fall of Rome 

590-604: Pope St. Gregory the Great

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 

1252: St. Elizabeth of Hungary died

1373: St. Bridget of Sweden died

(Those two dates? Requested by Pumpkin since we talked about holy queens/royalty the other day!)

1492: Columbus discovered the Americas (we’ll add the Vikings living in North America at some point too)

1620: Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

1776: Declaration of Independence 

1814: Star Spangled Banner written 

1861-65: US Civil War

1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born (we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods so this was of interest!)

In the 20th century we include: the Great Depression, WW I and II, landing in the moon, fall of the Berlin Wall, St. Gianna’s death, Mother Teresa’s death, great-grandma’s birth, all grandparents’ births, parents’ births. And in the 21st century: 9/11, death of John Paul II, parents’ wedding, sibling births–and that brings us to today!

Learning with the Hunter

Aside from taking Pumpkin hunting for ducks and doves, which provides opportunities to discuss conservation as well as other wildlife sightings, the Hunter watches documentaries with the wrapt attention of Pumpkin and Peanut. Some of our favorites include:

BBC’s Planet Earth and an awesome new favorite: Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey.

We’ve also watched and loved some of Peanut’s favorites: Wild Kratts and Octonauts! These shows have developed a love of wildlife and an understanding of species and habitats far beyond what I knew as a child!

Our days

I have a new and simple goal for this blog: snapshots of our days and what we learn as we live.

Yesterday: Columbus Day. We discussed with 5yo Pumpkin that Columbus’ goal was India. He was mistaken in the size of the earth and thus discovered continents otherwise unknown to each other. We also discussed how the people living where he landed lived and ate as well as how people lived in North America where we currently live (BISON as clothing, tent, and food). We discussed where our ancestors lived at the time of Columbus’ discovery (Italy, Ireland, and Germany to name a few). We talked about the ships that Columbus sailed and alternate routes to India.

Google Maps helped visualize and we googled for images of natives in the Bahamas, Great Plains of North America, as well as life during the late 1400s in Europe.

Social Studies: check.

Today: while pretending she was a queen, we discussed the stories of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and her dedication to the poor (this would actually make an awesome Disney princess movie complete with evil queen and all). We talked about Queen Bridget (Brigitte?) of Sweden as well and her dedication to the poor and her many children.

In a little bit, we plan to make banana bread. Always a lesson in chemistry and math.

Pumpkin and Peanut (2.5yo) almost always manage to do the 100pc Poland puzzle from their aunt on a daily basis. Shapes, patterns, and geography in one!

Helping take care of their baby sister, Peach, has to count for something too!