Thursday, September 30, 2010

Emmett says

Emmett's been reading "How Things Work" a lot lately, so I get to hear excerpts. Today he was telling me about alternating current (AC) and "de-alternating current" (DC). I thought it was a pretty clever construction, even if it resulted in a non-word.

This afternoon, Emmett and Luke were making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a snack. Henry was buzzing around, eagerly anticipating his own sandwich. Henry had brought a stool so he could reach the counter better, and I made him a sandwich. They all sat at the table and ate together. As Emmett finished eating his sandwich and was getting ready to do something else, he wandered into the kitchen and asked, "Is Henry awake yet?"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Power police

If you're sitting on the couch and your laptop isn't plugged in, Henry will find a power cord and try to plug it in. You're pretty much not allowed to have a laptop running on batteries if Henry is around.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Third child

Every once in a while, I realize it's been almost a week since I took pictures of Henry. I wonder what the biggest gap has been...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Standard algorithms

So far, Emmett and I have been exploring math concepts without writing them down. We haven't been memorizing anything, and it's interesting to see which facts stick in his head and which don't. For example, he doesn't know the answer to 4x4, but he knows it's the same as 2x8 and he knows that's 16. He doesn't have much trouble with small-number division problems that don't have whole number answers (like 5/2).

Recently we've been doing some word problems that involve slightly bigger numbers division, so I've busted out the standard algorithms to show him there's a way to find the answer when you don't just know it in your head. At first I'd planned to explain what was going on as I did it, but I realized it was more important to finish the problem we started than to stop and learn multidigit multiplication or long division (and there's a bunch of setup I want to do before showing him those compact ways of calculating), so I explained minimally and told him we'd go over that later.

All of this chatter about math is just to set this up - he watched me do the calculations with wonder on his face, like I was doing magic. It was fun.

Swimming progresses quickly

One-on-one lessons really move fast - last week Emmett was practicing elementary backstroke, and yesterday he started working on crawl and regular backstroke. I've noticed that they aren't teaching him to breathe yet - obviously he can breathe during backstroke, but when he crawls they teach him to take a few strokes and then roll onto his back to float. I can see why - breathing is the hard part so it makes sense to figure out how the stroking works before adding the breathing part.

Watching Emmett swim has had a big effect on Luke. He's been saying he'll swim when he's four, so yesterday I told him that his birthday is next Wednesday, and he could start swimming lessons if he wanted. I've made it clear to him that if he doesn't like it, he'll still have to give it a try for a few months at least. He just said, "Sure." It wasn't enthusiastic, but there was no "selling" on my part, so I'm hoping this will all work out. We signed him up while we were at the pool, and we bought him a pair of goggles. I have my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This morning while I made breakfast, Emmett helped Luke read some "BOB" books (today's version of "I See Sam"). Then while I ate, Emmett got out some coins and started teaching Luke their values. We talked about distinguishing features of the various coins, the two of them made piles of equal value, and Emmett led Luke through figuring out the values of different combinations of coins.

In other "homeschooling" news, last night I realized that Emmett can read Spanish. We have a Spanish/English version of "Are You My Mother" that has both languages on every page. Emmett read the Spanish and I read the English. A year ago he couldn't do this, but I don't really know when it started.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Elementary backstroke

Emmett had his second swimming lesson today and learned how to do elementary backstroke. The teacher taught him three positions - "chicken" (with arms and legs bent), "airplane" (arms out, legs straight and out), and "soldier" (arms at sides, legs together). It looked pretty good! Out on the deck, I caught a glimpse of Luke going through the positions, too. He still says he'll do swimming when he's 4, even when I tell him that's just two weeks away. We'll keep our fingers crossed!

Very early memory

We're planning a trip to Disneyland soon, so we've been talking about the park a bit. Our last trip was on Luke's second birthday so I wasn't really expecting him to remember it. Still, not wanting to leave him out, I asked him what his favorite ride was. He said he didn't remember the name. I suggested Dumbo, describing the ride to him. He said no, and then said it was a ride where you had a gun and got to shoot at everything. That's Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin! It's a dark ride crossed with a shooting gallery - everyone gets a blaster and you get points for hitting targets all through the ride. It's not a ride we've been talking about at all, so I'm pretty sure Luke actually remembered it from when he was 2!