Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is amazing.  Today makes it three times that we have been there are we still haven’t seen everything there is to see.  This indoor and mostly outdoor museum exhibits plants, animals and minerals of the Sonoran Desert.  In the heat today we were only able to explore for a couple of hours.  The restrooms are equipped with sunblock dispensers!

Here is a view from one of the paths.

Nature boy.

There are so many different kinds of animals int his desert.

My favorite part of this museum is that along the paths there are volunteers at a little set up table showing an animal to talk about, fossils to show, etc.  Here we were learning about the “boots” in the Saguaros.  Gila woodpeckers build their homes in the cactus and years after the cactus has died and rotted away, the boot, or little woodpecker home, is left.

We also learned from a “table person” about the Mountain King Snakes, Pack Rats, Fish Fossils, and here were are learning about “eyes in front, ready to hunt” and “eyes on the side, run and hide.”  Meaning, if an animals’ eyes are in front of their skull, they are predators if their eyes are on the sides they are prey.

It is truly a whole other world here.  And speaking of different versions of classic stories, The Three Little Javelinas is a Three Little Pigs story with a Sonoran Desert setting.

The heat was great because there weren’t very many people there, but I think we will wait until the weather is cooler before we visit again so that we can stay all day.

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Homeschooling with Grandparents

When grandparents visit, we throw any kind of schedule we have out the window and spend our time playing games, going fun places, and reading.  Around the house we’ve been doing puzzles, lots of read a loud books and Luke and grandpa played a game of chess.

We have been to see the bats come out at sunset, the Mini Time Machine Museum, and here we are at the Botanical Gardens.  Tomorrow we are off to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Sylvia is Five!

For Sylvia’s birthday, grandma and grandpa Oldham came! Sylvia thinks that grandpa calls her “Upsidaisy” since that is what he says when he helps her up into his van.

Sylvia had Indi and Josey over for some freeze dance, hot potato and thimble.  And for some cake!

After the party Sylvia wanted to stick her face in some flour.

It made me realize that I should have made her whole birthday be about what she loves.  Making messes.  (I would say, ‘oh well maybe next year’ but I am hoping that next year will be the year she decides making messes isn’t that much fun.)

Yesterday morning, she thought that she should be taller and was happy that her swim suit still fit her.  Also, I asked, “How does it feel to be five?!”  She responded, “Not so good, my head hurts.”Joey and I are constantly saying how boring our lives would be without our crazy, loving and fun Sylvia.

Super Luke: The Treacherous Plant of Destruction!

Like so many boys, Luke idolized Superman when he was three and four.  Here he is in his Superman cape he wore everywhere.

Once he was five, he decided that the only thing that would be better than the man of steel would be a boy of steel, so he created Super Luke.  Here is just one stack of Super comic books.  I think I have another stack packed away in a box somewhere.

Believe me, there have been Super Luke mazes, board games, and even trading cards.  Here is a Swot Bot trading card (I hear it’s a pretty valuable collector’s edition).

I also found these little cut out characters in a bag in his room.

This is the newest comic book, created just this morning.

I love my bug catching, comic book writing boy.

Favorite Pictures From This Week

Here are just a few of my favorite pictures from this week.

I love this first picture of Luke surrounded by the wilderness.  This is right out back doors.  Luke loves exploring.

I love how Isabel has her own style and has a lot of confidence in putting her outfits together.

Sheesh, the “little girls” as Joey and I call them.  The other day we went out for sushi as a family and I couldn’t help but think about how peaceful the dining experience would have been had we not had the “little girls” with us.  But who wants peace and quiet…right?!

This picture I love because it shows how beautiful Tucson is (and Sylvia in her witch costume.)

This last picture was taken by Hazel.  It’s of me taking a shower.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to never clean my shower door just in case such a situation should occur.

Check out our new SchoolTube page!  Our favorite YouTube videos.  Some educational, and some not so much.

Story Time at the Library

We try to go to pre-school story time at the library every Thursday.  Luke brings his book to read out in the main area while us girls enjoy some stories, along with the “Bean Bag” dance and singing about shaking our “sillies” out.  I love Meg our story time teacher.  She keeps story time pretty routine to help the children feel comfortable and familiar with it, at the same time she adds new songs and activities to keep their interest.

Also, every Friday afternoon our library has “Read to a Dog.”  About three docile trained dogs are there waiting for children to read them a story.  Isabel loves it.

This week we tried out toddler story time.  Pretty much the same as pre-school story time, except a little simpler.

There is always a craft at the end.  (well, in this case, it was coloring a clown.)

The other cute two year old is Hazel’s friend, Ellen!

When it’s time to leave, we pick up our order of books and try to get out of there before Hazel can steal too many squirts from the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser.

Multiplication Tables

Behind Isabel’s back, Joey and I proudly call her “Rainman.”  She memorizes everyone’s birthdays, she knows our phone numbers and address, even our old address, and has all of her multiplication facts up to the elevens and then the fifteens memorized.  All without any help from me.

Luke on the other hand has inherited my up-in-the-clouds brain.  Not necessarily a bad kind of brain, just difficult to keep numbers in.  We’ve gone through multiplication flashcards, worksheets, I’ve even tried mnemonic stories or rhyming to help him know his multiplication table.  After a day of feeling like he’s made some progress, once we try again the next day, it’s as if all of the numbers have fallen out of his brain again.

I am thinking about getting these multiplication table practice pads and have him fill one out every day.

Ooooo, I am sure these mnemonic stories might work.  (I don’t think the ones I made up made much sense.)

I know what pencils to give my kids to use if they ever need to take a state math test…CHEATING!

As I was searching around for some ideas I learned about Kuku Tables.  Do they call it that because Math makes you Kuku?

Kuku – Memorizing Multiplication Tables

“Kuku” is a Japanese method for memorizing multiplication tables by using a rhythmic chant. Japanese students are supposed to learn “Kuku” by heart in the second grade. For example, “two times three equals six” is said as, …

I think Genki-Math had this in mind for their youtube videos.  They just make me giggle.

GenkiMath.com: 8 Times Table Song Multiplication Table

“Maths Games – Which style do you prefer, this or the Hip Hop style of the 11 times table? To try and make math a little more interesting, here’s a simple song of the 8 times table. If you know anyone who’s learning their ti…”

But seriously, does anyone have any suggestions, ideas or resources on memorizing multiplication tables?