I was just thinking this morning - gee the month is nearly over and we haven't really done very much. Then I had a look at all the photos I had taken and find that is not true. We have experienced quite a lot!
We had great fun with making chemical reactions earlier this month. Bicarb of soda and vinegar as well as coke and mentos. We put some bi carb in balloons and the children's faces lit up to see how the reaction inflated the balloon like magic. Then on to the messy experiment! We tried a few different cola combinations but diet coke and mentos worked the best (pepsi, you got nufin'!) and when we do it again I will just get a carton DC and the kids can go for it. First I might find them some white lab coats for the three of them so they feel like Flint Lockwood - a real scientist! (see below)
After all of that we watch a few YouTube videos by our favourite scientists like Veritasium, The Slow Mo guys and the Crazy Russian (this guy lives up to his name and his language is not always G rated, viewer beware!) The more gross or the more dangerous the experiment the more interested the children were in watching! Typical.
We love having homestay students, as you might know! At the moment Riho is staying with us and we have had a couple of sushi nights as well as a okonomiaki night with her friend Nene, both girls cooking for us. I have to admit that I actually taught Riho how to make sushi and sashimi. No, really! In Japan, street food is much more cost effective and convenient to eat rather than home cooking. So it is not unusual for Japanese not to cook. Oh how I would love to eat okonomiaki (a wonderful blend of pancake and omelette with vegetables and Japanese flavours) every breakfast! And sashimi. And takuyaki - a ball of octopus and other stuff that is so yummy!!!
We had planned an excursion that was cancelled so we took ourselves to the museum instead. Always a hit with my three! We ended up at GOMA and the exhibition of Jemima Wymann. Jemima was my studio technician while I was at QUT doing my visual arts degree. She was amazing then, I remember her awesome exhibitions and again, I was so in awe of her exhibit at GOMA. She is in to pattern - as am I! and I learned so much for her children's exhibit. My three loved creating circular works and seeing how they change when they were spun around. They also made bandit scarves and bandannas that they wore all afternoon! They spent lots of time on their kaleidoscope videos and they were not worried that there was no record of the images they made (except for the photos I took). They just loved making images appear and disappear, living in the moment. I learned much from them too...
I bought some new maths workbooks for the girls a couple of weeks ago and I though I would get a kindy workbook for Henry. Just in case. He was not too impressed by the pink cover but two weeks later he is more than half way through the workbook. He is holding the pencil well (the week before he refused to hold any other way than fist grip) and is able to count and write up to the number 7 so far. He can also recognise most numbers up to 100, thanks mostly to the number chart on the kitchen wall. He loves learning! I can see the light bulb go on with him. I have seen it quite a few times with the girls and with other students I have taught over the years and there is nothing like it. It is a buzz a mother and a teacher can feel that is mostly indescribable except to say I can still see their facial expressions. All of them, like a photograph in my mind. The 12 year old boy I was reading poetry to during my prac at Ipswich Grammar; the signwriting apprentice who wrapped his head around some fundamental brush work and of course my own kids. Oh so many times with my own monkeys, possible most days I see it in their face and I think 'Something just clicked, they just understood something for the first time. I was here to see that'. The buzz is almost like I have understood it for the first time. I love that I can be here and see that with my children. Blessed? You bet.
The highlight of the month (for me anyway!) has been the trip to the Scenic Rim Robotic Dairy. We met some dear friends there and were given a very personalised tour by one of the owners of the dairy. The children had a somewhat shorter attention span than my friend and I but we think they enjoyed the experience just the same. The calves were just so cute and the robot milking machine blew my mind. Even our technologically saturated children got a kick out of seeing where milk actually came from and I was a little proud that they knew it was not from a bottle! We picked up some farm fresh milk and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I can buy the Scenic Rim 4Real Milk at a store just down the road from home. Now I know the difference in taste and health benefits, this will be the milk of our choice in future. I encourage everyone within two hours of the dairy to try it as it is also a great way to support our Aussie farmers.
Other activities we have been doing seem to happen spontaneously these days. I had left one of my art books out the other day and Zoe opened up to a page that interested her. Soon enough all three were engrossed in making their own versions of sgraffito (scratch board). The results were of course amazing and I really got a kick out watching them go back to the same piece of work all day and even just before bed time. We have done a little baking and I must admit they are all getting better at not making too much mess. Well, maybe that might be some wishful thinking on my part!
Sometimes I spend quite a long time setting up an activity that I think the children will love only for them to give it up after a few minutes. This used to frustrate me but recently they have been coming to me to do those activities again, like simple weaving. I kept all the materials for this activity in a box for the last year or more waiting for them to be interested but I didn't really think they would ever ask to do it, as Lily did on Sunday morning. We had a lovely time together just playing with yarn and not really making anything. Just having fun. We are doing quite a lot of that lately...