Today we met at a lovely creekside park to make some (totally legal) guerilla style art. The kids painted rocks that can be placed in various places for the delight of passersby and they made seed bombs as well. Thankfully dirt balls are fun to make, because the delayed gratification of growing plants is not a big draw with my kid.
Our family recently stopped using shampoo, in favor of baking soda and vinegar. Our hair and skin has been behaving badly all winter and eliminating unnecessary chemicals seems to be helping. Of course, if you are going to start washing your hair like a pioneer, styling au natural is the next logical step. Violet is the guinea pig. My hair isn’t really long enough to do anything with, so experimenting with sock rollers fell to Violet’s head.
They actually worked quite well and would be reasonably comfortable to sleep in…if five year olds were patient enough for such things.
Here’s where I got the idea, Heat Free Dolly Curls.
Over in the Meadow is a lovely counting book, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. I have been obsessing about unit studies and themes and other conniving ways to trick my kid into learning— and after reading this book last night the activity just popped out of my head fully formed. It was astonishing, because normally my ideas fall to pieces as soon as I attempt to implement them.
We are still pretty green with the abacus (I had honestly never used one before we bought ours). Violet counted out beads for each animal and along the way I pointed out that the beads were forming a pattern —each row having one more bead than the row before it. The last part of the lesson was to figure out how many baby animals there were in total. Had the rest of the lesson not gone so well, I might have thrown in the towel at this point. Violet became insistant about just counting each picture to calculate the number of animals and could not come around to the concept that while there were, in fact, 10 types of animals, there were many more individual animals involved. I got through to her by using the mammals in our household as an example. We have pets and we have humans — 2 kinds of mammals, but we have 6 individual mammals in our house. That made enough sense to her for us to continue with our big calculation.
Violet can only consistently count to 13, so I knew that this exercise would require a major assist from me. After many deep breaths I got her to count her beads slowly, touching each one with a finger and after 13 I fed her the numbers to repeat. Long about 40 she started to recognize the pattern for two-digit numbers, but she wasn’t confident enough to venture many guesses.
All in all, I’d say this turned out just as I planned. I don’t know if Violet felt a twinge of pride, but my confidence was certainly improved and that’s enough for today.
Violet is prone to bouts of tearful frustration. We were painting on the backs of glass pebbles today and what was supposed to be a fun craft turned into a therapy session. The painting has to be done in layers, with drying time in between, so you can see the picture through the glass. This was harder for Violet than I anticipated. After a few failures she gritted her teeth and screamed, “I am not good at anything.” Tears popping out of her eyes. I managed to compose myself and calm her down. I convinced her to try a more simple painting and after hiding quietly under the table for a few minutes she emerged with a more positive attitude. I tried my best not to act surprised, but I was. In the end she made some lovely accidental art, including one piece that looks like a silhouette of the Wicked Witch of the West. When we were done painting pebbles, Violet suddenly experienced a lightening bolt. She literally lit up and said to me, “RED has a D in it!” From there she sounded out the rest of the word (with a bit of guidance) and then used her leftover red paint to spell it out. It was spontaneous and organic and wonderful to witness.