This morning I was going to set the kids up with a quick bowl of cereal.  If my kids were in school that would be a pretty logical thing to feed them before the rush off to school but my kids are pretty lucky in our home where I do believe breakfast is the most important meal.  But really, come on – sometimes cereal is just such an easy option.  When I insist it is a cereal morning they usually complain but they still get cereal.  Today was a different story for how could I possibly resist the efforts of chef Sam.

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Samuel did everything that you see in that slide show.  I pretty much turned my back for a moment and instead of getting into trouble Sam was prepping as much as he could so that we could have a fabulous breakfast.

Credit in this case would go to him of course but his leading influence on this count would be his father who could be called Barnabas The Baker along with his other alias Barnabas The Builder.  He guides them and sets an example for food and good eating.  Not so much organic or grain free but more so home cooked and true preparation opposed to quick fast food.  Samuel seems to have taken to this the most for he rarely needs prompting and in this case none at all.

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Those Cows

January 30, 2012

Watch how the curiosity is exchanged between both the kids and the cows.  In the end in true boy form they chased them on the bikes.  Nelly our dog really enjoyed the excitement as well – unfortunately for her she was tied up for the duration.

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Last year we were aligned with the Alberta curriculum and we had to learn about Alberta in social studies.  During one stage we were specifically learning about the Foothills and though the program we were studying was done quite well – the boys simply hated reading about the province and watching videos on the internet.

This year we are not aligned and so I can let these lessons come more naturally through life experience.  The following illustration is precisely why I believe the best learning comes through that which happens out in the world:

One day in the early Fall we had gone out to McClean Creek Pond to have our usual picnic, biking and fishing day adventure but on this particular day we had some very big and very funky visitors.  Yes indeed the cows came and came until there were about a dozen – slowly creeping around the corner and into our picnic area.  It was this very vivid lesson about ranching in the Foothills.  I got excited and said “Remember our social studies last year!  This is it!  This is cattle from the ranchers and this is why the cattle guards are everywhere.”  Well indeed they did not listen for a second and spent the next half hour stalking and sneaking up on the cows as they moved slowly and then quickly through the area.  What a riot and what a lesson learned – real life, real time about ranching in the foothills.  Beats a book any day indeed and I am pretty sure my stories about Ranching in the Foothills had gone in one ear and out the other but this they will never forget. 

To be honest in trying to connect the dots (for my own satisfaction) I rambled on and on about the connection and the things we learned in school but again they were on to new things by then – my voice like the droning sound in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  I had to smile knowing full well this is the beauty of natural learning – they are on to new things and learn just as much if not more soaking up life and living things all around.

By the way I love cows and so excuse all of the photos.  I grew up on a farm in Northern Saskatchewan and though we moved to BC when I was a young girl I remember vividly the cows and watching them.  I dare say I was a little bit like the main character in Charlottes’ Web – loved those farm animals and especially the cows.

Team Work

January 24, 2012

How do you move a sheet of plywood up the tobogganing hill?  When you get it to the top what should you do then?  If you ride it all the way down the steeper side instead of the gradual incline from your first effort will it be possible to get it back up again?  What sort of teamwork and encouragement is required?  Will you ride it down again? What is a sheet of plywood doing out there anyways??!!

 How do you move a sheet of plywood up the tobogganing hill?  Simple you take the toboggans and slide them under – it will take three and the style is going to be a factor.  Take four boys and get on one side and slide it on up.  It will require even pushing and so communication will be necessary.  One will have to ease up, one will have to speed up and this will go back and forth until you all get going at the same pace.  Bickering, fighting and arguing will be detrimental and everybody knows it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJsonMwhCq8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

When you get to the top the fun thing to do would be to ride down.  In this case the slope up was gradual and the distance travelled was short.  I think the best thing would be to find the steepest slope and then ride down.  Standing if your mom will let you!  Warning – it may not work out quite as well as you planned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7EDZme8iVI

Once you get to the bottom you might realize it is a long way back up.  When you work together its going to be a longer go and you will need to add in plenty of encouragement.  Your team mates might get mad and even sick of it.  Some may want to give up but in feeling the team pressure press on.  The challenges are more but it can be done and so you persevere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTtZHtcn-xY

At the end of getting it up you will have practiced excellent team work and you will feel very accomplished but you will not ride down again.  The challenge was good but now it is time for simplicity and toboggans.

Not really sure what a sheet of plywood was doing there in the first place but my boys can always find these strange things and a creative “something” to do.

Oh and just so you fully realize how very important this project was view the intense preparation before the first Big Slide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VuOSewfRZM

It marvels me and fills me with joy when my boys make something so simple, interesting, and fun.  The language they use and the communication involved in this task was amazing.  I just love my boys and my life.

Aikido Orange Belt Test

January 18, 2012

Paul worked hard over the past 4 months and worked particularily hard over the past 3 weeks to prepare for his Orange belt test.  He was very proud of his success this past Saturday when he was officially tested and passed.  He will be presented with his new belt tonight!

I had filmed his test but I am having troubles with uploading movies so I will take a photo tonight and send family the video.