Friday, May 18, 2012

No Comprende

So I've been teaching the girls lessons on World Geography since December, with one country spotlighted each week using video tours, map work, worksheets, and fun country-specific activities.  So far we have covered the assigned countries in our curriculum for Europe, Asia, and North America.
This week, we studied Mexico, with the first part of the week focused on learning a little about the history of Mexico, including the history of the native Mexican people and how Spanish Conquistadors explored and later claimed Mexico for Spain until Mexico became it's own independent nation.  Later in the week, as part of our studies we created a "quilt" of images that are representative of the culture and peoples of Mexico.  We colored images of Chichen Itza, a cactus, a sombrero, the flag of Mexico, etc. 
One of the last images added to our patchwork of Mexico was of a bull.  When we got to that image, Sarah's eye's lit up with a spark of recognition... "Momma!  Is that bull there because they have bullfights in Mexico?!" 
"Yes," I replied,"bullfighting is the national sport of Mexico"
"But Momma," Hannah said, "that's the sport for Spain, too!"
"Mmm-hmm.  Why do you think Spain and Mexico would have the same sports?" I asked.
"Ooh ooh, I know!" Hannah said excitedly.  "It's because Spain and Mexico are neighbors!"
Mentally facepalming myself... I sighed and composed my patient, kind-Mommy response.  "No honey, remember we learned about Spain, that it's part of Europe, and that the explorers who came to Mexico came all the way across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain.  It was a far voyage, so they're definitely not neighbors.  Try again.  Why would Mexico and Spain have the same sport?"
Sarah chimed in, "Ooh, it's because they both speak SPANISH!"
"Oooookaaayy.  But why do they share the same language and sports?"
"Remember girls, we learned that Spain ruled the country of Mexico for many years?  That means that people from the country of Spain owned and lived in Mexico, and so they would have similar language, foods, sports, etc." 
"Do you remember, girls, when we learned that Great Britain used to own and rule the 13 original colonies of what is now the United States?  Remember I told you that?"
"YES!" they beamed cutely. 
"Ok, well we speak English here and for many years had many things in common with the people of Great Britain because it was British people who originally helped start our country.  In Mexico, it was the country of Spain that helped make Mexico what it is today, so the people there speak Spanish and have more in common with the people of Spain." 
"Sooooooo, Mommy," Sarah asked, "Most people here in America speak Spanish?"
(Losing my cool)... "What?  Where did you hear me say that??  Most people here speak English.  That's the official language of the United States." 
"Ohhhh, ok," Hannah mused, "so that means in Spain people speak English,too?"
"Gah!"  I decided to start again,  "Ok, listen.  In Spain they speak..."
"Good!  And what do they speak in Mexico, since Spain ruled Mexico for many hundreds of years?"
"Good! And since the United Stated was ruled by Great Britain instead of Spain, what do we speak here in the United States?"
(real facepalm)
Is it this hard when teaching in public schools?!
In their defense, they're mostly right nowadays for a big part of our country.  :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why I am well suited for raising a preschool/kindergarteners...

I sometimes ponder the fun I have with the kids and think to myself, I have so much in common with the boy, it's no wonder I find him so entertaining.  I was never the girliest girl growing up, but there's just something about playing with Caleb for which I just feel so well suited.  Here are some of my ideas why:
1.  We share similar literary and television tastes... In Caleb's case, in particular, we love all things superhero.  An actual excerpt from our car conversation today:
Caleb: Mommy, what does the Green Lantern do?
Mommy: He channels green energy from his special Green Lantern ring to create all sorts of special weapons and crime-fighting tools. 
Caleb: How did he get his ring?
Mommy: It chose him after its former owner, another member of the Green Lanterns, was killed. 
Caleb: So is he a hero or a villain?
Mommy: Definitely a hero, Buddy.
Caleb: So what about Iceman?...
You name the hero, and Mommy knows his background, origins, and the villains associated with him.  And if I don't, you betcha I'll look it up. 

2.  We both have a deep and abiding love of base humor. - I'm sorry, but the word "poop" still makes me giggle, though I have to, as Mom Law states, pretend not to think it's funny and remind him it's inappropriate for social circles.  I also think that farting can be really quite funny, as well.  Esp. when it's done around Daddy, and not me.  Yep, my sense of humor hasn't evolved much beyond my three-year-old's level. 

3.  We both would rather play soccer than dolls. -  I just get the love of kicking and throwing balls (though I stink at it, thus my negative school sports record) and vrooming cars around the house.  Doll play, not so much, though I try hard to show interest for the girls' enjoyment.  Thankfully none of my kids are that into dolls except for occasional stints. 

4.  We both find bugs fascinating. - I love a cute little wiggly worm or a neat millipede from the sandbox.  We'll sit and study them for long periods of time.  We name our garden spiders, and sit entertained for hours watching them wrap up their prey in their webs.  I do, however, draw the line at slugs.  Do NOT bring Mommy a slug.  The consequences may involve vomit.  Sorry for the mental picture, but I don't do slugs.  Worms are somehow kosher in my mind, but their smaller, black, slightly slimier relatives must die.   Irrational, yes.  Logical, no.  Nonetheless true. 

5.  Simple games are awesome. - I'm sorry, but in my stage of the game, when I'm exhausted all the time, I HATE any game involving much brain power.  I am not cognitively alert enough for monopoly or chess, or even really the game of Memory, but I can totally hang out for a game of Candy Land, Twister, or War.  Just don't ask me to remember what color my game piece is.  That's my kids' job to remember that little detail for me.  :)

6.  We both think brussel sprouts suck.  Unfortunately being the adult, I have to choke them down and pretend their AWESOME in order to broaden the horizons of the others in my home.  I guess that's what makes me the adult in this zany madhouse.  In fact, I can think of a whole list of things I hate that I have to pretend are great for the sake of the littles, including (but not limited to): car trips, grocery shopping, most raw vegetables, brushing my teeth and flossing (dirty little secret alert... I totally hate the feeling of the toothbrush on my teeth), healthy cereals (OH MY GOSH, would somebody PUHLEEZE sneak me some Lucky Charms?!), and being outside on a cold day, etc., etc.

 I do so enjoy getting to hang with my little peeps all day, especially at this particularly fun and adorable age where practically anything could fall out of their mouth at any moment (like Sarah pointing to a Muslim woman with a headdress and asking, loudly, "Momma, what kind of a person is THAT!?"... I swear I've explained other world cultures, but she had a moment of forgetfulness).  And hopefully some day I'll mature with them, so that I can continue to enjoy the things they're interested in, but for now, who's in for a game of Spiderman vs. She-Ra? 

"I'd totally kick Spiderman's tail, by the way." 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First let me apologize...

    I am a terrible blog-keeper.  But I beg your forgiveness, being a Momma of three (four if you count the hubs), and a homeschooler, and a Jane-of-all-trades lately has made it tough to log in and share my experiences.  I find myself at the end of some days with my head spinning from all the busy-ness and wondering how I ever got it all done.  So here I am, playing catch up.
    First of all, I can start with the girls' sixth birthday.  They didn't have a party this year, but they did get some good celebratin' in with Ryan and I and my parents, and a small to-do at Ryan's parents' house during Easter.  We had a nice night out for sushi (their choice) and presents all around.  This year their big present was a soccer goal.  They've started playing again this year with the Upward organization, and Mommy can't get enough of them running up and down the field.  Hannah loves it, and scrambles back and forth in the yard every day to her little hearts content trying to shoot her ball in the goal.  She's turning out to be our little sports-enthusiast, who knew!  Especially since normally she hates all things competitive. Sarah, on the other hand, informed me after practice 1 that, "I only wanted to sign up so I could play the games, not PRACTICE! (rolleyes)"... I call her "the entemologist"- too busy looking for bugs and butterflies to take the time to practice.   So I have a braniac and a jock.  Ok by me :)
   And then there's Caleb.  Ah, Caleb.  Sweet and sparkly, full of mischeif Caleb.  He's really starting to enjoy school now, as long as it's on his terms, and he can't wait to play soccer, either, once they let him.  He's a total trip, trying his hardest to figure out how to make jokes, singing lyrics to our favorite songs at top volume and with hilariously mispronounced wording, and finally starting to try to do things for himself (like put on his own no-tie shoes... COME ON, You're THREE already! Men!).    And he still lives to make his sisters crazy.  Sometimes it takes only an otherwise-innocuous sound, aptly timed and at the appropriate volume at the breakfast table, and he masterfully can have his sisters squealing and writhing in agony and angst, begging me to intervene. 
    Meanwhile, Ryan and I have been house hunting... searching for a quasi-home-of-our-dreams.  Mostly we'd like to find a place with another room for homeschool so that we don't have to take down all our stuff when family comes to visit.  And we'd also love to find a place with a pool and some land for things like gardening and maybe keeping some livestock (because, oh, I don't know, I don't have enough beings to care for as it is?! I think maybe I must have contracted mad-cow disease or some other brain eating disease to think I need more work, but I've somehow convinced myself it will be fun, ha!).  I'm finding house hunting to be harder and more emotional than I expected, but I'm trusting that God will lead us in the right direction, or tell us to keep our butt right where we are.  Either way, it'll all work out. 
    Anyway, just wanted to explain what's up lately, and let whoever cares out there know I'll try to get back on real soom with more posts, but if your still here, thanks for listening and I'll try to do better :)  Or I'll collapse from exhaustion and then it won't matter, will it?