Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dolphin Tale

We went to see the movie Dolphin Tale when it came out on Friday. Crumpet and I have been watching previews for months, and as total animal nuts, we couldn't wait. The movie was also highly recommended by the Homeschool Movie Club, so we had high hopes.
We weren't disappointed! We loved this movie. In fact, Crumpet pronounced it 'the best show ever'. There were so many great messages, and a dolphin. It had to be good.
There is a little girl who is homeschooled in the movie, and I could see Crumpet's ears perk right up. It was good for him to see someone else who is homeschooled - right now he doesn't have any friends who are schooled at home. There is a lesson in the movie about life experiences being as important as anything you might learn sitting at a desk in school, and it was nice to see.
One character is a young man who comes home from Iraq, injured, and we learned a bit about disabled veterans. Yesterday, we went to the airport to welcome home a sailor from my husband's command. He was returning from a stint in Iraq, and when we explained it to Crumpet, he said "Oh, like in the movie?" We said yes, but this soldier wasn't injured. Crumpet thought a good way to welcome the young man home would be to let him come stay with us for a while so we could spoil him. I love my Crumpet! He has such a sweet heart.
The children in the movie end up organizing the adults in order to save the dolphin and the aquarium she lives in. It was great to see children make a dream come true, and to have the adults support them.
There was some brief talk in the movie of having to euthanize the dolphin, and Crumpet's first question when we left was "Why were they going to kill that dolphin?" He was MAD. Given my history as a veterinary technician, the fact that we foster animals periodically, and the fact that we plan to volunteer at the animal shelter, I figured we would have this discussion soon anyway, and I think it's an important one. He handled it well, especially because they saved that dolphin.
The real life dolphin who inspired the movie lives in Florida, and she has become an inspiration to many, many disabled people. At the end of the movie, they have real footage of people with disabilities getting in the water to swim with her. And yes, I cried... And, yes, now that's on our list of "Places We Have to Visit"!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Matt Damon speech on education

I copied this link from Fairy Dust Teaching. It is video of Matt Damon speaking at a Save Our Schools rally, and it really is worth watching. It is a touching tribute to teachers and how much of an effect they had on his life, as well as an indictment on the current culture of testing...
Matt Damon's speech

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What is THAT on the counter???

Wanna know what this gross stuff is?

My husband sure did when he found it on our kitchen counter! It's paper pulp! We made our own paper this week from old newspaper. It was a science project I found a while back on the Scientific American website, but it fit in really well with our history study about early writing. We talked about writing on stone, clay, and finally papyrus.
We shredded newspaper and put it in the blender with some water. Then we spread it out and let it dry. It actually dries into a nice thin layer that you can sort of write on. (Please ignore Crumpet's less-than-happy face. He got a bit tired of being my model during the photography class!)
So, we still like history. Science is also going really well. We have actually flown through Nebel's book... I only meant to do 20 of the 40 lessons this year. We have already done 10, so I thought I'd start spacing it out and doing monthly lessons. However, Crumpet is asking to do more science, so that's not going to work. I'm afraid that if we get too far into the book, the concepts will be beyond him. I guess we'll just plow through until he gets confused, and then find another science program to keep us busy until next year, when we can pick up Nebel again.
Writing has suddenly become Crumpet's first choice subject every day! He is very very proud of the fact that he can make letters and numbers! Hurray!
I'm hoping to have the same breakthrough with spelling soon. I learned yesterday that I can put the spelling words into sentences about Star Wars. He spells the whole sentence, and the idea of writing his own Star Wars stories soon is huge motivation... I'm thinking it will be great for handwriting practice too. He can spell the sentence, I'll write it, and then he can copy it!
Reading is going well. He still hates Explode the Code worksheets, but when he's reading, I can see him automatically applying the phonics rules he's learning.
Math is math. It's going well. We just started working on minutes on clocks though, and that has him a bit confused. I think it will click as we work more with the topic.
There really hasn't been much else going on here. LOTS of Lego Star Wars on the XBox. My hubby bought it to keep them busy together while he was home recovering from surgery. I'm hoping to cut the play time drastically when Crumpet Sr. goes back to work next week. I've been going out on my own a lot while hubby was home too. It's been nice! But back to normal next week, and that will be nice too.
I tried to teach Crumpet to play tennis this week. I'll leave you with a picture of his favorite part of the experience - wearing the racket cover on his head. Of course...