Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blog revival starts now!

Well, hello, stranger! It's been a long time since I've blogged. Seems I've taken a long summer vacation off. But, I think it's time to come back now that things are starting to settle.

To recap the summer, I hosted two weeks of camp at my house for seven of Maylin's friends each time. We had a lot of fun learning Chinese songs, playing games, doing arts and crafts, running around outside at a nearby playground, cooking, and baking. The most popular activities included food -- making lemonade (in June), cutting and eating a pineapple (Mr. Pineapple, to be exact -- he got a haircut), making whole wheat waffles, and baking a whole wheat quickbread (gotta send out the recipe soon). The second week was a lot easier since I had a better rhythm, knew how long activities took and which activities were more successful, and had a better group dynamic and gender balance. I got rave reviews from the kids -- "best camp ever." I would still make changes if I continued this next summer -- fewer kids, shorter day. Instead of 9-4 pm, I'd end at 3 pm. Fewer kids because I want to get to know each child better. I'd also have more activities in the afternoon -- one craft, one cooking activity, and a playground trip wasn't enough. They enjoyed their free time, but I think, in retrospect, it was too much free time. I prefer to have a bit more control.

John took me to Hawaii for our real honeymoon and I took the kids to Seattle to visit my best friend (more later, and pics later, too -- just having problems with my external hard drive). Seattle pics are on my flickr site, actually.

Maylin and I started homeschooling in August. It's been fun, but a lot of work. Looking forward to sharing the details with you later. Our latest successes included counting by two's hopscotch-style in the house forwards and backwards up to 40 (we have a concrete floor and used the sidewalk chalk on it), coloring/cutting/pasting vital organs onto Maylin's traced body, and visiting the Bone Room in Albany yesterday to check out their various animal skeletons and insect specimens (which are the vertebrates?). Our favorite way to study math? On the couch, cuddling each other, and our workbooks and pencils. Stefan is pretty good with all of this. He's learning at the same time -- knows lots of his letters and numbers already. And he plays on his own so well. Perfect for homeschooling.

Maylin's also resumed her Chinese classes, started karate, and will be taking a chess class starting Friday. I'm also trying to get back into piano with her (she wrote her own song and I taught her how to play it!). That was a cool experience.

She also loves doing science experiments. For a few days, we were doing one a day, complete with written lab reports! I just love it when she says, "I love science!" or "I love math!"

Maylin writes, but I think I'm behind with grammar and phonics. MadLibs are really helpful, but I think I need to step back a little. I can't keep reminding her what an adjective is. She's got to learn it. I'll think of some fun way. Maybe we can stick the words on our bodies. I could be the noun, and she could look for adjectives to stick on herself, and then she could stand next to me in the correct position.

My precious morning hours are almost over. Time to bake bread for our charter school (supporting our homeschooling) potluck. Take care!

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