Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lots of curious kids, and why we cry

Lately the kids have asked about all kinds of interesting topics.
What is supply and demand? What is capitalism? How does reselling work? Why do we buy so much from China, why is it so cheap there? What is child labor? Fair labor? Minimum wage?

This has kept Ricky and I busy answering all sorts of interesting questions! I love how worldly homeschoolers are! Not that other children in formal education can’t also be worldly, but gosh it’s amazing how much more so homeschoolers are, and from such a young age. There is so much world out there to be aware of and so much to discover. I’m so glad they explore, ask, and ponder so much and so freely!

We did a unit study on consumerism. We watched clips from of the new National Geographic special The Human Footprint. We talked about what we all can do to make our impact on Earth smaller. We also had a good conversation about how we could all take better care of our stuff so that it lasts longer, and as a result we would need to buy less new stuff. Also when we take care of things our old stuff can be used by others more effectively when we are done with it.

The kids asked what slang was and I gave them several examples and had them come up with some of their own. Ethan then asked, "Hey mom, isn’t slang from Uncle Doyle’s time calling a girl a plate?"

I could barely keep a straight face. It was so funny!

"Ohhh you mean a dish Ethan, yes a pretty girl was called a dish."

So cute. I remember years ago telling them about a dish being a older saying (from around Uncle Doyle’s generation) for a pretty girl. And he remembered that, sort-of. Haha.

This was one of the most interesting questions and answers I’ve researched on behalf of the kids. At first I was like 'well we just cry cause our body triggers tears to fall.' Then I said, you know what kids, we’ll go look that up. (I didn’t really want to) BUT I soon found that I never knew how interesting tears were until reading this

First of all there are three types of tears.
Second, and totally interesting is this:

"Scientists have discovered that the emotional tears contain higher levels of manganese and the hormone prolactin"

I know about Prolactin of course, it is the hormone that is primarily associated with lactation. While it is actually secreted by the pituitary gland in both men and women, it is considered a female hormone because of it's connection with breastfeeding. Prolactin is what stimulates the production of milk (along with oxytocin which lets down the milk). It’s these feel good hormones that relaxes the mother, promotes bonding, and promotes maternal behavior. Prolaction has also been associated with not only feelings of well being but also as having a tranquilizing effect on nursing mothers and babies. So, this could also explain why we feel better after crying!

So finding out prolactin is secreted as a part of our emotional tears is very cool to learn for me!
This also explains why women tend to cry more than men. Women produce more prolaction.

From a different article online:

"...women have serum prolactin levels much higher than men. Prolactin is a hormone connected with the production of tears as well as breast milk. "Hormones may help regulate tear production and have something to do with crying frequency."
Interestingly, studies show that there is no difference in crying patterns between boys and girls up to the age of puberty. "Then, between the ages of 12 and 18," says Dr. Frey, "women develop 60 percent higher levels of prolactin than men, and they start crying nearly four times more often." "

Just fascinating!
In addition, Sage knew where the pituitary gland was located when I mentioned it. how do you do so much magic on my kids and teach them so much?!! :)
Also, This site is cool with a diagram of the brain, where we are learning about the parts of the brain.
Charlotte wanted journal prompts and I found lots she loves here Hopefully I will get her in the habit of writing in her blog now. Today she wrote a draft on paper, but didn't finalize it or put it in her blog yet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 15, 2008- April 23, 2008

Lots of days have been going by quickly and since the weather is turning nice a lot of time has been spent in free play outdoors. The kids have been playing a lot with sand, water, and on the trampoline. We also have spent a lot of time at the park because Charlotte has had lots of soccer practice.

I've been much better at limiting TV and video games lately. We generally have a no TV rule until 3pm but that had slipped over time. So unless it pertains to our homeschool lessons in someway TV is off. Sometimes video games are used as an afternoon incentive to get work done quick, clean up, and then leave mom alone to make/cook some lunch :) But for the most part finally the TV is off again.

Ethan has started reading Magic Tree House books on his own. Sage is doing really well with his flashcards and finally seems to be less frustrated with reading. I found a page I think could help Sage immensely links for k-12 teachers more specifically this page here . I am excited to help him with the pages today and see how it goes. Charlotte is reading the Chronicles of Narnia. She has finished the first book and is now reading the second. It's good to see her into a series again.

Lately they want morning noon and night. And I'm cool with that.

I've got Ethan writing in his paper journal again and I'm trying to get Sage to get back into the habit. I'm also hoping Charlotte will start writing in her online blog again this week. She likes journaling, I just have to remind her to. So I need to make it more of a priority and routine for her.

Yesterday we went to the Earth Day festivities at the university. We got to see good friends and the kids and I came home with sprouting flowers, planting seeds, a bird house to assemble, bird seed, pine cone bird feeders, Charlotte got her face painted, and we have assortments of handouts and what-not.

It was a long day. We had Earth Day at 11am, Sports program at 1:30pm, and soccer practice from 5-7pm. I was pretty tired when we got home and everyone crashed hard after seeing dad for a little while.

Humm what to do today. It will be 82! I think we should paint outside after we do some reading and journaling.

Monday, April 14, 2008

chicks hatching, free play

The chicks started hatching a couple days ahead of schedule. Layla and Penelope are beyond themselves with excitement. Penelope (18mos) points, squeals, bounces, and just loves these eggs that just popped open with something alive! The older kids are of course having fun too. We also just had one of our cats give birth. She had 5 kitties (want one?). Penelope squealed about those too. Spring is in the air!

The kids played from sun up until sundown yesterday. I kept waiting for a good time to pull them away for worksheets (or lunch) but they never let up with their fun and games. They actually choose to skip lunch which is just a shocker! They had so much fun and there wasn't one bicker or fight. It was a welcome surprise. Lately they have been playing a lot, but bickering incessantly. To top it off Penelope took a 3 hour nap by herself. So it was a good day!

The other day the older 3 played for 3 hours straight with balloons on the trampoline. Before that they had made kites from balloons and shared them with their younger sisters. I so long for those endless days of childhood when such simple activities provide literally hours of imaginative play. What happens to our adult brains that we forget. I love having kids because it keeps me young at heart. It's like reliving childhood, but through the eyes of an adult so it can be appreciated.

Today is sports program, and then soccer practice. I better get moving or I'm never going to get out of here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 7-12 2008

Since a conversation about the weather and temperature came up we made a quick make shift chart for our wall that gave an idea of what different temperatures are like. For example in 20-30 degree weather we pasted a picture of a snowman and the word freezing cold. At the 40 degree weather mark we pasted a coat and the words cold. For 50-60 degree weather we pasted the words coat or jacket needed and the word cool. 70 degrees got a picture of a park and a guy riding a bike, 80 and 90 degrees got a guy swimming, sunglasses, and shorts. This took all of 10 minutes to discuss, make a wall chart out of our last strip of butcher paper and put it together. Online we also went to a few weather related websites. They also have asked about other various things I can’t think of right now, one such thing was about sonic booms, which we haven’t discussed yet as we got sidetracked.

READING: Ethan finished his 100th lesson at YAY ETHAN! It really seemed to teach him a lot, and of course he has become a reader since starting the program. Sage still doesn't want to do the click n kids lessons. So we are still limping our way through phonics workbooks. Sage did really well with his reading flash cards this morning. He separated words he knows and words he needs help with.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Some 'disturbing' topics came up for some reason. Their thoughts/ questions are in parentheses: Cannibalism (does it really exist?), the death penalty (it’s legal in the US ?!), serial killers (they kill cereal?)

SATURDAY SOCCER: Charlotte had soccer today (2 games in fact) and it was 35 degrees with sleet. The other kids stayed home with Ricky and I braved the cold with my lounge chair, feather down coat, and a sleeping bag. I thought I was going to outsmart the cold, BUT I still froze my butt off. All my fingers actually went numb and they didn’t feel cold after that, just tingly and numb. The things we do for our kids!

IN THE KITCHEN: This week we made homemade cracker jacks and 3 glass pans of banana cake. SOOO goood! I am trying to make at least two things a week with some (or all) of the kids. Layla is a little baker. She loves baking.

LAYLA: When I fix something for Layla she exclaims in a really over exuberant voice, "Thanks SUPER MOM!!
I just love when she says that. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Science, Art, and the Bead Incident

Last week was interrupted with a bead that got stuck in Ethan's ear. Sage "accidentally" dropped it in his ear (they had been playing and throwing the beads). It did not hurt or bother Ethan, and the bead was clearly visible. We tried for 6 hours to retrieve it the first night before giving up. The next morning I called three hospitals and two doctors offices trying to make the right decision about where to take him. All but one place told me to take him to the ER. I wasn't convinced that the emergency room was appropriate action. It wasn't an emergency first of all, second who wants to go sit in the ER, third I don't want just any on call doctor digging in my kids ear (I had done enough digging already haha)! The children's hospital in St Louis suggested I contact a ear, nose, and throat specialist. Ah, brilliant! So we made him and appointment ASAP which actually coincided with my 30th birthday (at 8am in the morning no less)! What are the chances? I told Ethan I'd surely always remember what I did on my 30th birthday now! The specialist was nicer than we could have ever hoped for. We were in the exam room for all of about 7 minutes. She had the lighting, special tools, and skills that we lacked. She painlessly removed the bead with a smile and we were on our way. What we couldn't achieve in 2 days, she did in no time at all. Thank you specialists!

Tonight at the dinner table the kids brought up and discussed the following; oxygen, hydrogen, iron, copper, zinc, the periodic table of elements, flammable elements, the basics of space travel, space craft construction and the use of asbestos. They learn a lot of things from and then discuss them with us and we fill in the blanks. I just love when they bring up so much science and social studies out of the blue, and they do it all the time.

The kids have been playing with modeling clay and sculpey a lot. Charlotte made a fairy from sculpey and we baked it. Everyday the kids have been getting clay out. Even Penelope gets in on the fun.

On my birthday (after bead extraction took place) we saw a fun show of visual comedy which included some magic, juggling, imagination, and hilarity. Watching the kids laughing was as much fun as the show. Then we ate a late lunch and picked up a luscious ice cream cake.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The First Post: Science, Math, Life

We have two dozen chicken eggs in our incubator. I hadn't planned on us hatching again this year but we had a horrible dog attack on our chickens two weeks ago and we need to replenish our chicken/ egg supply. It was a real disappointment because these chickens were the eggs we hatched last spring, and they had just been laying really, really well for the past few months. They were great big hens. Now we start over. We used a flashlight to see the chicken embryos and we can see them really well! Renewing life is exciting. Spring is in the air for sure. Between a cat ready to drop kittens at any moment, baby chicks due in 13 days, and my swelling belly, everyone in our house is getting excited! We will be doing butterflies this Spring too. I haven't decided when we should send our live caterpillar certificate in though. I think we should wait until the chicks are hatched.

I started yet another new approach at homeschool organization (it's never ending and ever changing). I bought the kids all their own set of 5 colored folders, one for each day of the week. (Sage-blue, Ethan-green, Charlotte-purple, Layla-pink) I am trying to keep all their routine work and worksheets (math, spelling, reading, whatever) for the week updated in each of them. That way they can get their work on their own and they can do it throughout the day as time permits. Most days we have a 'plan' but we wing it for the most part. I am constantly pulling worksheets for one kid while others are waiting their turn, so this helps with that.

Yesterday we had a group art lesson and did a worksheet on a Monet painting. The kids' observations and ideas about the piece were great! We also did worksheet stuff but nothing overly exciting. The kids experimented on their own outside with water, some big plastic jugs, and knitting yarn. The boys came in and told me they were seeing how long it took water to soak up into a strand of yarn. GREAT! Science. Half the time they school themselves, honest to goodness!

This is the type of stuff I want to log about here because so much discovery and learning goes on when my back is turned. Today we have a "chemistry" set full of activities we are going to do.

We just started a math program called MathUSee and I love it. We all love it. I hate math, HATE it (and fear it). And I hide that fact from the kids. Well this program is awesome. So slow paced and perfect. Charlotte (11) and I are both doing the boys' lessons to relearn concepts and so that we can get the programs strategy for the higher maths.