Boys, boys…

Now that Boo is getting bigger, and a little steadier, there is nothing the boys like more than to wrestle…

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Maybe I’m just “being a girl”, but I foresee a lot of bruises, boo-boo’s and bandaids in my future…

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From the Mouths of Babes : Save the Sharks!

The following took place between 2pm and 3pm today.
(Insert funky “24” music here).

Tt : Mom, are sharks real?

Mom : Yes, Tt, you know sharks are real. You’ve pet them, and seen them in lots of different aquariums.

T : Oh, but I mean are GREAT WHITE sharks real.

soe dot ucdavis dot edu

M : Yes, you’ve seen them on TV. Oh, well, most things you see on TV are not real… Ok, um… Movies are stories which are rarely “real”, but documentaries tell real-live stories. We’ve seen two documentaries on sharks – do you remember?

T : Oh, the one where they were killing all the sharks? (Sharkwater)

M : Yes, that was one.

T : And we learned that sharks can kill people.

M : Yes, we learned that sharks sometimes (about 6-12 times a year) kill people by accident, but people kill over 1 million sharks a year on purpose.

T : And some people had those signs, and they walked around.

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M : That’s called a protest. The people were upset that sharks were being killed, so they wanted to tell people to “Please stop killing sharks”.

T : I want to make a sign. And walk around with it, so people will stop killing sharks.

M : When we get home, we’ll get on the computer and see what we can do to help stop sharks from being killed.

T : When is the new Transformers out?

Apparently that was the end of that conversation.

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Sharkwater is a documentary on the status of sharks in our oceans. Sharks are a top predator in our oceans, whose presence and well-being have a significant impact on the entire ecosystem of our oceans. The cinematography is amazing, and it hits sad, amazing, angry and inspiring notes. Go rent it today at your local video store. (Sharkwater)

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Help stop the killing of millions of sharks a year, and start by not eating shark fin soup. Actually, stop eating at any restaurant that even serves shark fin soup. Our family is half chinese, so it can be tricky. Join Yao Ming and Jackie Chan by refusing to create demand for the finning of sharks. (ABC News : Decimating the Shark Population for Some Soup) (Westcoaster : Shun Shark Fin Soup)

Call ahead to restaurants and ask if Shark Fin is served. If they say yes, then let them know you will not be eating there and find somewhere else. Leave an anti-shark fin soup message on popular restaurant websites such as Yelp.

Write a letter to your local government to stop the importation of shark fins (and/or finning).
Find your local (Canadian) MP here : Find Your Member of Parliament

animals dot nationalgeographic dot com

Send a letter to the UN requesting the banning of finning. Email : inquiries at un.org, I believe. We’ll give it a try anyhow.

Wear a shark-lovin’ shirt! Tt drew this applique (which I will try to get him to re-print…), which can be mailed TO YOU free of charge if you will iron it on a shirt and wear it about! Just put your interest under the comments section and we’ll hook you up via email.

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There we go, Tt.

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Travelling with Kids – Extra Advice

A few more things that have come to mind that we’ve learned while travelling with our Kids.

1. Plan. Have an itinerary. For Italy (and Paris before that), not only did we have an itinerary, we had addresses, maps and photos of each place we would need to find. It was a crazy amount of detail, but when you have 4 cranky kids and you don’t really know where you are or where you’re going, you need all the help you can get. Besides, photos of what your hotel looks like from the street, and a walking map from the train station to the hotel – it’s all available online nowadays.

dsc_9137(Our lose-it-and-we’re-screwed, EVERYTHING folder. It kept our passports, air tickets, train tickets, emergency information, stubs, souveniers, hotel confirmation numbers, detailed (!) itinerary – you name it, it was in what I lovingly called our “FOLDER OF FUN”, as in “KIDS!! Who’s seen the FOLDER OF FUN??? I left it RIGHT here!”)

2. Plan more. I had pre-researched a number of things to do in each city, with, of course!, maps and photos. Then we kind of went with the flow – if we wanted on the spur to visit a museum, I already had the hours, fees, directions all handy.

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(The itinerary to beat all itineraries – even including how much a cab should cost (but didn’t…), check in/out times, maps between our hotels + the train stations, and sometimes what the hotel breakfast buffet would look like!)

3. Got milk? Foreign countries don’t drink milk. If your kids gotta have it, it’s best to try to find out ahead of time where your next milk will come from. We didn’t, and paid for it a few times. Next time I would pre-locate a number of supermarkets about each town. Also, we didn’t prepare for the 11 hr plane ride back home and, so everyone knows, airplanes don’t drink milk. Again, next time we’ll better prepare.

4. Be aware if you have an “Extra Kid”. I’ve learned over the years to treat Hubby as an “extra kid”, who rarely knows where we’re going, needs to have something also of interest for him, needs daily naps!, gets cranky without food… Generally, he needs all the same care, attention and concessions as the other 4 kids do. On holiday, he IS the 5th kid. (Which, you may realize, means it’s never really a holiday for ME.).

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Happy travels!

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Homeschool #010 – Math Worksheets!

Worksheets now available for homeschoolers or not!
Tt’s had fun learning his numbers with these. I write in a few random numbers here and there along each line, then he fills in the rest.

I try to make a new sheet up every now + then to keep him interested. Next up is Scooby Doo…

No laughing at my little drawings allowed.

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Bugs, etc: Butterflies (good for counting in 2’s), ladybugs, ants (count in 3’s?), suns, frogs (ok, no laughing – they’re hard to draw!!), raindrops (yes, I ran out of ideas…), and a giant caterpillar.

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Transport vehicles: train, cars (apparently in a traffic jam), UFO’s, scooters, space ships, a massive bus (with only 2 wheels?!), and pirate rafts.

math_swIs it me or are the stormtroopers all leaning a little? Hmmm. In case the drawings are difficult to figure out (lol): stormtroopers, spider droids, super droids, yodas on his floaty thing and AT walkers. Ok, so some of them need a little imagination…

Here is one of Tt’s “finished” worksheets:

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***I don’t know how to .pdf from either laptop, and I don’t know how to do a d/loading link, so I hope this works ok for d/loading to print by right-clicking, save-as’ing and print’ing.

**** See also Homeschoolin’ Activities for more Math / Spelling / ?? Worksheets. I mean, ACTIVITY sheets. I should try not to call it “work”.

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Other posts you might enjoy:
Lego Math Worksheets
Math / Spelling Worksheets

Homeschool #009 – Jammies Days!

Granted, we’re only in “K/pre-K” and not quite as “busy” as many older h.schooled kids, but we’re sure enjoying one of our traditions from as far back as… 6 months ago! Jammie Mondays.

Mondays have become JAMMIES DAY and we love it! What better way to end a weekend and start a week than relaxing…

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reading lots of books…

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enjoy a nice, relaxing latte…

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playing a video game or two…

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(Ok, so Momma was playing SW Lego while the boys battled and played… I just HAD to finish those last few levels!!!)

doing a craft…

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(In case anyone’s wondering… that’s Tt’s gum. Painted. Oddly enough, that isn’t the first time chewed gum has been used in a craft ’round here.)

or two…

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having peaceful naps that AREN”T in a carseat…

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having an imaginary war or car race…

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or teaming up against some imaginary “bad guy” stuffies…

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Ahhhh, Jammies.

Momma even got a few things done (in her jammies!) – I completely reorganized the boys books and craft/drawing supplies…

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and my homeschool shelf!

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(We won’t get into the lack of 2008 scrapbooks sitting nearby. I’m totally behind for the first time EVER! It stresses me out to see this shelf.)

Jammie days are EXHAUSTING. 

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Homeschool #008 – READ.

It’s amazing how much one can learn from just reading… That said, we’ve done very little actual reading time around here. (YES< shocking, I know). Tt actually LOVES to read and look at books, especially if they have a. sharks or b. star wars characters in them. He’ll even turn away from a movie if someone sits to read a book with him.

So, for starting K this spring, our main (and pretty much ONLY) goal is to read.
We have plenty of books around, as Mom isn’t allowed in any of the libraries anymore due to, well, overdue books. I’ve decided it’s cheaper to go to Chapters than it is to pay all my fines…

Here is a list of some of what we’ve been reading lately:

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Tt enjoys anything to do with weapons, so we try to use it to read a bit further into Medieval times…

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This was one of our “curriculum” books from Sonlight. We always read it with an Atlas to see where we’re “visiting” with each story.

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We found a few of these “Frog + Toad” books on the Chapters bargain shelf. Tt loves them – they’re cute stories about friendships.

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I found a few of these books at Superstore, of all places. They go chapter by chapter in cartoon style through a classic story. We also bought Swiss Family Robinson – Tt seems to really enjoy both and I hope it’ll open the door to reading the “real” books one day when he’s older.

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Tt got this one for Cmas – it’s the kind of book that’s right up his alley. Lots of pictures and facts about all kinds of animals – including Sharks.

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I picked up a few of these at Costco once. Tt loves to look at all the pictures of battles, mummies, knights, vikings and his “new favorite” – the Colosseum in Italy! All kinds of things for boys to look at in these. And sooo educational ;-).

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This is another from the Sonlight “curriculum” that we’ve loved. Great poems on all kinds of silly things. I’ve heard since that there are more of these – we’ll have to find them.

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Then there are our dozens of readers… Backyardigans, Transformers, Star Wars, Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, Madagascar 2, Lego knights – you name it, we’ve probably got at least one.

I’ve heard that to “keep up” with school Kindergarteners (?) and be “ready for Grade 1”, we need to read for 15 minutes a day. So far so good – and then some!

Happy reading!

Homeschool #007 – Field Trips?

One of the great things I’m anticipating about homeschooling is GREAT FIELDTRIPS. You just can’t beat learning something first hand, right there, at your touch. So I’m anticipating anyhow…

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One of the homeschool groups we’ve become a part of this year as we “try things out” has monthly field trips to all kinds of locales all over Vancouver. We’ve tried to attend two of them.

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Tried. And really pretty much failed. At some point, on both trips, Boo has had the urge to wander far, far away and Tt feeling left behind has ended up in tears. Although I’m sure Tt still got SOMETHING out of each trip, I’ve found it too stressful to go with Boo in hand.

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Even when we have gone to Museums, Art Galleries etc. on our own, it’s just useless to expect to spend some real deep one-on-one time with Tt, learning alongside him, with Boo on hand.

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We’ll try leaving him with Nana more when we’re out with groups, and see if we can keep trekking out on our own. Maybe I just need more practice ;-).

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This year we tackled:
– Vancouver Aquarium (membership)
– Science World (membership)
– Monterey Aquarium (holiday)
– San Fransisco Aquarium (holiday)
– Burnaby Wildlife Rescue
– Burnaby Heritage Museum
– Royal BC Museum
– Museums, sights in Italy