October was a bit of whirlwind month, but I think we have settled nicely into a few routines – and a healthy dose of flexibility – that help us manage, even during times of busyness.
Here is a brief summary of our month:
Discretionary money, budgeting and internet shopping safety:
A large part of our approach to the children’s education has been to make it real world. I’ve written a bit about what we are doing to help make money real for the kids and along with this, the children all have their own accounts for their money. We introduced them to the system we are using in September, and, in October, allowed them to make their first online purchases with it. I’m working on a post that details the system we have in place, including our fails and successes, and I can’t wait to share it.
Though their approaches, techniques and styles are each unique, all of the kids love drawing, painting and creating. For Declan, we have found that it can have a calming effect, especially once he gets into his his ‘flow‘.
Declan spent a day with one of my dear friends making lanterns and a cute bat tree for Halloween. They turned out adorable and it was fun to see him come up with his own ideas for painting them!
We’ve always enjoyed looking at birds when we go for walks, but it wasn’t until last year that we realized just how many birds we have within our own backyard. Earlier this year, we started identifying the birds we see daily, and tracking when we saw them. With fall here, it’s been interesting to see how the birds have changed: which ones have stayed, which ones left, and which new breeds have arrived. We spend a lot of time watching out our backdoor, observing, making identifications and learning more about the world right around us.
A Real Telescope:
Our neighbor gave the kids a real telescope that he had come across at a second-hand store. Needless to say, they were beside themselves. It wasn’t working properly when they received it, but the boys were determined to trouble-shoot it. Shea found the manual online, figured out what types of batteries it needed. Quinn realized the the entire optical tube (along with some other part) was connected backwards and in the wrong direction, preventing anything from being able to be seen through the telescope, and connected it properly.
And the up-close stargazing commenced!
October is a crazy month in our home – not only do we have normal (heh) daily life, we have three birthdays and an anniversary, so by the time we get through Halloween, we have the potential to be all kinds of jacked up on sugar! We always try to make treats that actually have a bit of nutrition to them, but this year, everyone wanted pies for their birthday, and I’ve yet to come across a pie that isn’t filled with some sort of sugar.
So sugar it was.
Abbie and Shea both picked out their pies – Chocolate chess for Abbie, Key lime for Shea – and made the shopping lists. They shopped for their items and then made the pies with me.
Through their planning and baking, real life math was reinforced (money, budgeting, fractions, percentages and measurements) along with real life skills necessary for becoming comfortable in the kitchen (planning, shopping and baking).
The kids were really excited about the partial eclipse on October 23rd, and asked if we could get up for it. The weather forecast was iffy, but we all managed to get out of bed super early, and drive to a better vantage point – (still wearing our pajamas, of course). In the end, we had too much cloud coverage to see the actual eclipse, and we were only able to see the color of the sky change behind the clouds (and I somehow managed to only get a photo of the kids -and our waiting-to-be-painted porch- as we returned home). But it was a fun experience to share together.
On our daily walks, we pass a lot of fallen walnuts. We have a pecan tree in our yard, and cracking open nuts that have fallen to the ground and eating them is nothing new for us, so, we gathered walnuts, found some rocks and worked at breaking apart the shells.
Some of the nuts were tasty and some were really bitter. We tried a taste experiment, and although we weren’t able to determine by sight how each would taste, it was a fun, brief study in tree identification and nuts.
The ISS passed within view again in October. It was a really clear night and it passed directly overhead this time. It’s always so exciting to see it!
We go to the library every Wednesday, and I love seeing the variety of books that the kids find and choose. I try to pick several as well, to add to the mix (and to read myself!)
Digging and Excavation:
When Declan told me he wanted to be a pirate when he grew up, I mentioned it to some friends, and my friend Jeni showed me this Pirate Dig Kit (there are also kits with dinosaur bones and Egyptian mummies). I ordered one to give it a try, and, when it arrived, promptly forgot who I’d gotten it for (Declan) and handed it to Seamus. The two of them got busy digging and excavating with the bones from the block of plaster with the little tools it that come with it. It kept them busy for hours! (warning though: it’s really dusty and messy, so I recommend doing it outside)
Online Art Lessons:
Abbie and Declan have been doing online art lessons. I love watching them attempt new styles and techniques.
After watching Abbie and Seamus bake their pies on their birthdays, Declan wanted to bake with me. So he researched some Halloween recipes in books from the library, and chose some decorated like mummies. We decided to experiment with a coconut flour/almond flour vanilla cupcake and they were delicious!
(yes, those are mummies).
We live on a road that doesn’t get trick-or-treaters, and we aren’t keen on driving around to neighborhoods we don’t live in, so for the last five Halloweens, we’ve celebrated with a family party at home. We facepaint, listen to Halloween-theme music, watch a lot of crappy Halloween shows and movies, and nosh all evening.
This year, Abbie was Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, Quinn and Declan wanted their faces painted like Jack Sparrow on the Island of Pelegosto and Shea just wanted a cool pattern painted on half of his face.