Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Low Tech Life

I'm on more than one Yahoo! homeschool/classical education group and it often seems as though everyone's kid logs a fair bit of computer time. My kids, on the other hand, have little interest in the computer beyond the Royal Scotsman Haggis Hunt every Christmas, then they become obsessed with Haggis Watching. To be honest, it's a monster created from my own Luddite inclinations (as well as some residual scarring from watching my nephews every Christmas, intent on their hand-held computer games and completely ignoring the world around them). "Computers are okay when you're older but now you need to run around and play instead of sitting in front of that computer!' I'd tell my kids. 'You won't be able to do anything else!' Of course, now I have to eat some of those words, because my kids think I spend WAY too much time on the computer. They think I should be outside running around, getting some fresh air! Sigh.

I had a big laugh the other day, though, when I happened upon my daughter and her high tech View Master. Talk about delving into virtual worlds!


Another science coop experiment that enthralled us. It's amazing what a little glycerin will do to some dish soap. Max and his pals made some triangles and cubes and even some flat plane structures, and dipped them in the solution. Such a simple thing, but it was incredibly absorbing. A bit drippy (the kitchen table is sighing at all the drippiness it encounters), but fun.

In Living Colour

It was hard to know what to call this entry - but I settled for the title of a long-defunct TV show, as opposed to my favoured-but-sure-to-be-misinterpreted A Religious Experience Of Colour (more apt but you get my drift). This is something we made in our science coop. Essentially it is a cooked gloop of cornstarch, sugar, and water, with food colour added in for extra squoosh appeal. Call me a pessimist but I was prepared for this experiment not to work all that well, but I did it because the boys in the coop like cooking sludgy mixtures. On paper it looked rather uninteresting, but in hand, luxuriously warm as it was, not to mention how exquisite it appeared when held against a window, the experiment was irresistible and compelling. The best part of it all (for me) was how ephemeral it was: an hour later the cornstarch had congealed and the magic had subsided.

We found this dead bird on our travels...

We found this dead bird on one of our walks. While a part of me relived the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch, my gotta-remember-this-for-later side took some photos for Max's zoology journal. It was the most beautiful bird and try as we might we couldn't seem to find any reason for its early demise. I kept wanting to say "it is a VERY dead bird!" in my best John Cleese accent but my son would've been even more creeped out, I think. He found the body compelling but scary. Several days later we were out walking in the same general vicinity and what should we see but another Red Shafted Northern Flicker, hurtling by us at great speed. Relative? Friend? Ghost? Now we take binoculars with us, and my camera if we remember. Oh, and a bag should we meet any more dead birds.

Christmas Card 2006

Here's our Christmas card. I like to do collage photo cards to send to people in the various places we've lived. But it's a challenge finding pictures to suit a slightly jokey and here's-our-life-so-far-in-thirty-seconds card, without anyone's photo appearing TOO big (because you know what THAT might mean) or the wording too cryptic. What I like best about doing these cards is the going back through time bit. Seeing what we've done over the past year is heartening, particularly if it involved sun, beaches, or late nights with friends. This card features, from left to right, Dominic, his twin sister Katie, and their elder brother Max. In the background is our house, with Dominic weaving around in the garden with his Easter eggs (some kids play with matchbox cars, Dominic likes plastic eggs).