Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where did our rhythm go?

Being gone for two weeks has really disoriented me. The kids seem to be readjusting better than I am thankfully. We have been back for almost two weeks and I still haven't quite gotten back into the solid rhythm we had working so well for us before we left for the mountains. I think part of it is that I really didn't get a good dose of nature when we were there. It rained nonstop the entire time we were no hikes in the woods or up mountain trails or dips into mountain streams. I usually get so invigorated and renewed by a trip to the mountains but not so this time. I left feeling unfulfilled and kind of empty. Then we had a craft show the next weekend on the road where it rained and sales were lousy. We made enough money to get home which I am thankful for but I am still a little bummed. I haven't had a show that slow in years. So.....getting back into my groove in the pottery studio has been difficult.
I have had a hard time getting myself really focused on Cammy's school lessons as well but we are trudging forward. I have made it really fun and loose this past week with a lot of imaginative play thrown in. We built the time machine last week and took it on our first adventure this week. Monday, Cammy launched from headquarters and went back in time to the Medieval/Renaissance period in history. We chose this time period because I am teaching a workshop in Charlotte later this month and we will be going to the Renaissance festival.
We have been doing some work with telling time and with calendars and so it was a nice fit to build the time machine. The other neighborhood kids have been congregating on the porch to play with the time machine as well.
I must give credit to the many Waldorf homeschool bloggers who I pulled bits and pieces of stories and ideas from to create our adventures from but I do not always know how to insert a link....gotta get some tech help from my hubster when he gets back home.
For the first stage of our adventure Cammy took her time machine back to the Renaissance period and ended up in the castle of the benevolent King Equals who was quite distressed because the Dragon of Numeria was very angry with him because he had not been invited to the last royal ball. The dragon had locked the gates to the land of Numeria until someone brave enough and clever enough to solve his math riddles could unlock the tweleve locks. We have had a jolly good time pretending to be a host of characters this week. My husband stood in as King Equals being quite dramatic and begging Cammy to help him decipher the dragons riddles. I was the royal servant (kitchen cook, maid, messenger, etc,) and the demanding Queen. Cammy was herself ....although she did have to change into proper attire for the time period for the Queen did not approve of a lady of the court wearing pants. Cammy had a blast. I as the royal servant showing her the lay of the royal land upon the request of the King and Queen was quite fascinated with the odd trinkets she brought with her in her time machine. Cammy thought it was so funny that I didn't know what all these modern technological things were and she was delighted every time she had to explain to me what something was or how they did thing now versus how they made things in the Renaissance. I was most fascinated by her iron horse which she called a bicycle that she rode on in the streets( apparently she brought everything in the house including the kitchen stove with her in her time machine...she said she had a shrink/enlarger machine on board).
I (the kitchen cook ) enlisted Cammy's help in determining how to cut the cake or in our case brownies up so that everyone invited would get an even sized piece; for the great King Equals always wants everything to come out even and fair for everyone. We traced the pan onto a big sheet of manilla paper and cut it out and then folded it in halves until we had an adequate number of pieces for everyone who was invited. This was a good lesson in doubles and fractions.
I did not have our beloved math gnomes ready for the adventure yet so word has been sent via paper origami cranes for them to come and help their dear friend King Equals and Cammy with her training before she goes up against the math dragon. We started some of her physical and mental training even though the gnomes are not here to oversee everything yet. I made bean bags with numbers up to twenty on them for the girls. On one side there is an even number and on the other an odd number. We played games on the castle stairs like even or odd or greater than or less than where I tossed out bean bags at random and if it was even she jumped up one step or if it was odd she had to jump down a step. For Greater than or less than she got to jump forward if it was greater than or down if it was less than the previous number, etc. We also did some double digit addition this week and Cammy picked up on it with no problem and took to writing her own problems on the board and solving them. I also challenged Cammy to see how many blocks it would take to build the castle stairs. This involved adding multiple single digit numbers. She also got to build some nice block towers in the process for Karma Kong to knock down. All in all we had a royal good time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Building a time machine

That's right, we are building a time machine. Inspired by our recent trip to the mountains to visit Nana. We had a great time despite the rain. Cammy enjoyed it......especially watching Nana's cable TV (it was verrrry rainy). She got to watch a show called Time Warp Trio and got interested in time travel. The whole way back from the mountains she was rapping about everything and talking about what she would do if she was a kid in Time Warp Trio. Karma was so entertained she didn't cry once......for five hours in a car!!
We started our project today. After a few review lessons today we went on a scavenger hunt for materials to make our time machine with. We got a great big box from a local heating and air place. It was big enough for Cammy to kneel in ( I secretly wish it was bigger so I could get in too). To make it a little bigger we taped a sturdy banana box to the top and cut out a hole for Cammy's head. I keep a box of odd sculpture stuff like cd spindles, bottle caps, broken toy parts etc. in the garage because you never know when you are going to need spare parts for a time machine.
We are going to the Renaissance festival in Charlotte, NC at the end of the month. I have to teach a workshop for the Red Hat society and the girls and I will be topping the trip off with the festival. I have been to one in Sarasota, FL and it was great. Cammy is going to love it. I wanted to work the subject of the Renaissance into her lessons but it felt like an awkward leap from our current studies but the time machine solves that. Now instead of feeling like an awkward leap we are simply jumping back in time with our new time machine. That's all!
Cammy has been building great block towers and asking about Leonardo Da Vinci, so I guess it's a good fit right now anyway. To start the time machine journey off right we rented Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and made some popcorn. After taking a few test spins through the centuries and encountering dinosaurs and dragons Cammy decided she wanted to work on "What do you call it mom....the outside of the space know the part that keeps it from burning up? The musilage?" "The fuselage," I say(while I'm thinking how does she know this stuff?...because she reads a dictionary for fun in the car). So we got out the tin foil and some glue sticks and duct tape and got part of the box covered in a protective shell. She also wanted some rocket boosters so we taped on some cardboard tubes and now we are turbo charged. Since Cammy is the captain she said that apparently if you don't have security clearance to operate the time machine you will go straight up into space and the computers will go all wacky.
It must have been meant to be because I found a great book for a quarter entitled The Time Traveller Book of Knights and Castles by Judy Hindley.

Also on our last trip to the library Cammy checked out the book Ms. Frizzle's Adventures Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole.

We already had the book Castle by David Macaulay.

We are going to the library tomorrow to see what else we can find.
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