Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicks and Other Spring Occurences

After a winter that can hardly be called one except by name alone, spring is here! And again, despite my best intentions to the contrary, we've started experimenting with homesteading again. Last year was more or less a fail at gardening- I think we had the wrong proportion of regular dirt to fertilized dirt. This year, we haven't planted anything yet (and may not), but we've gone and bought half a dozen chickens and a couple ducks. The kids are loving our chickies! There are 3 Rhode Island Reds, and 3 Black Barred something-or-others, and they really are adorable! Their names are Piper, Princess, Celeste, Sterling, Lily, and Ariel. The kids helped name them. (Our ducklings are Duck-Duck and Goose, which is already pretty confusing!) They love holding them, and feeding them, and doing just about everything they can with them. Even Nick and Bella are warming up to them, though they're still pretty rough with the little things. I wasn't wanting to get chicks since we'll be moving later this year, but I really am looking forward to having lots of fresh eggs. We're not sure if the ducks are male or female, but we're guessing Duck-Duck is male because of his size and aggression. He's got that whole dominance thing going on with the other birds.

I bought a book about Passover a week or so ago to read along with the Easter books. I've actually learned about Passover from it. I've been so amazed at how much I'm learning about God and Christianity by going back to the Jewish roots and Jewish celebrations. It's like seeing the inside of a quilt. There's nothing wrong with only seeing or appreciating the outside, but when you look at how it's been put together, and you get that knowledge of what went into making it what it is, it adds a whole new depth of understanding about it.

Since Easter has sort of snuck up on us this year (less than two weeks, really?!), I saw a little project someone posted that the older kids and I did yesterday. You cut out an egg shape, put it on wax paper, draw what you want on it with preferably a white crayon, drip food coloring all over it, then spray it with water. It makes a very pretty watercolor effect (and is a good lesson in color mixing to boot!) We're going to hang them up in the kitchen today.

We got a lot of really interesting books from the library last week. One of them was a Backyard Science book that Colin has been completely enamored with. We have plans to do some of the projects in there, but haven't yet.

A few weeks ago, I got to give the kids a couple astronomy lessons. Venus and Mars got really close together, so I pointed that out to them, and showed them the constellations know. Colin actually remembered Orion from last time.

Brennan and I did a color-blind test online, and he knows all the letters and numbers by sight. I was surprised, because I really haven't done anything about teaching him or exposing him, other than a couple kid shows on Netflix. Oh, I did the color-blind test because he never says "brown" is brown. Depending on the shade, he calls it grey, orange, or black. Nothing on the test showed he was color blind, so he may just be using his artistic mind to try to explain variables in the shades (or something like that- Matthew explained to me what he thought it might be, and my brain did not process most of his explanation!) I've always known he's my artist. though, so that explanation lines up with what I know about how his brain works.

Nikolai is speaking a little more. Sometimes he's adding several words a day- one of our jokes about starting a farm is that it's teaching Niko to speak! He learned "chick" and "duck" on the same day! Most of his words are only distinguishable if you have a good understanding of Caveman and are a master of Guesstures, but at least he's getting the right amount of syllables in words, and a few of the right letters. It's still frustrating that he's taking so long to speak, when the other two were so much faster.

Annnnd, we got a little keyboard on our last trip to the thrift store. The musical ones among us are having a blast! I'm going to look for some el cheapo piano books to see if I can start learning/teaching any of them how to play.

I love this homeschooling life! <3