Camp Akita- UGO Campout

We just got back from the Unschoolers’ Campout in Hocking Hills. This year we stayed in the lodge with a bunch of other families which worked out great, especially considering the cold, rainy weather. Things were clear enough on Friday for some boating and fishing and a campfire complete with S’mores at night. The other days were filled with indoor games and activities, the talent show, stories and dancing by the indoor fireplace, and lots of hanging out. We all had a great time and made some new friends.

My kids passed on their love for “Scribblenauts”
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Wikki Sticks Art:
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Music and dancing and singing inside:
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Outside for woolybears, swimming, boating, and fishing:
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Kid Fight

My kids are fighting over who gets to use which dictionary. Curse you, Scribblenauts! Well, not really. Apparently this game not only covers logic, reading, spelling and (potentially) writing, but also leads to dictionary usage, LOL.

Fight over. My son just read all the “A” and “B” words to me from one of the dictionaries. Time for sleep. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

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Milestones

We got new shoes for the kids yesterday so we would have them for the campout this week. I let the kids pick whatever they wanted. My daughter insisted on “tie-shoes”. She really wanted them and within minutes of getting them home had pretty much mastered the double bunny-ear method for tying them.

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In the past month or two, she has also learned how to whistle and how to blow bubbles with bubble gum.

She is growing up so fast.

Couch’s Hat

While I was crocheting something today, my daughter decided to sew some clothes for her reindeer named Couch. Some of you may notice this is not the original Couch. There is no problem; She is safe and sound…this is just her “other self” in Webkinz form πŸ™‚

Anyway, she got out her sewing kit and some felt and with a wee bit of direction from me, she made Couch a hat complete with ear slits. Then she made a headband all by herself. Next she wants to make a jacket and boots.

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Fun Day

J. and I got a little time off this afternoon while his sister took the kids to a paint your own pottery place. We probably should have warned her about the speed at which our children move (and paint). They each finished two items before she was done with her single one. She went for the bribe of ice cream on the way home to get them to stay put while she finished. Not sure exactly how well that worked for her…

While she was gone with them, I installed the new headrest DVD players we got in the van. These ones are independent screens so each kid can pick their own music, movie, video game etc. and put it in/control it themselves. And each will have headphones!

The kids wanted to try them out when they came home, so we tested them out while running errands. Then we hit the schoolyard to play.

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Swimming Day

We had our second homeschool swim at the Community Center today and had a blast. Apparently, the state was going to close the pool at noon to do an inspection of the drains, but the director held them off till after we got to swim πŸ™‚

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Can I just say- I LOVE not having to drive 35-40 minutes to swim!

We had everyone come over to play afterward and my son showed off his “Scribblenauts” game and got all kinds of new ideas from his friends.

Coolest Video Game Ever! (Scribblenauts)

When we had people over on Wednesday, one of the moms recommended a new DS game to me. It is called Scribblenauts. I am not going to try to rewrite the description, so here are the basics, courtesy of Amazon.com:

Amazon.com Product Description
Scribblenautsis a completely original gameplay experience that anyone can play, offering fun for all ages with two styles of gameplay and more than 200 levels. In Scribblenauts, players use the Nintendo DS touch-screen to help their character Maxwell acquire the Starite in each level by solving a series of puzzles armed with their stylus, notepad and imagination. Players jot down the word for any object that comes to mind in order to reach the goal. Every object behaves as it would in the real world, and players can combine countless objects to create completely new scenarios. Every level has more than one written object to use as a solution, opening up the game to endless replay. In Scribblenauts, players advance through ten worlds, each with eleven puzzle and eleven action levels for a total of 220 challenges to complete. Each level has a β€œpar” for the number of objects suggested to finish the level. Beating a level with under par, earns β€œOllars”, the in-game currency, which players can use to purchase new levels and music.”
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What this looks like in our house is amazing creativity! The game recognizes more than 30,000 words, including things like ninja, pegasus, ichthyosaurus, dunkleosteus, anvil, magic carpet, gun, alien, U.F.O., and more.

In the puzzle solving mode, my son and I have worked to figure out such things as how to get past a bee. Seems simple enough. I used a bear first. It ate the bee…then it ate me! I tried a butterfly net. The bee chased me off the edge into water where a pirahna was waiting to eat me. I tried a jar. Nope. I tried repellant. Nope. Finally a frog worked for me. My son shot it with a laser gun. Every player will come up with unique solutions through trial and error.

Today, he has been playing what is basically a free play mode. You get to choose the background for your scene and then pick what you want to have in it by typing or writing the words for the objects you desire. Then, those things interact. For example if you put a fish and a shark together, the shark will eat the fish. Take that out to a silly level and you will have my son’s favorite game. In fact, he enjoys it so much he is sounding out words (which he was previously loath to do) and making his own book of words so he can refer to it when he isn’t sure how to spell something. J. and I have been adding to it for him as he comes up with words he needs. Here he is copying down dinosaur names from his Dino Hunt game.

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Screenshot. He told me made King Neptune by typing in “crown” and “trident”.

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Zoomorphs

I headed out to the thrift store tonight to see if I could come up with some warmer clothes for us for the campout next week. It is getting cooler here at night and I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t freeze by the campfire πŸ™‚

I found lots of long sleeve shirts and pants, so I think all we really need yet is warmer shoes.

While I was there, I also found a box of Zoomorphs, little interchangeable animal body parts that you can put together to make animals. Our set is Dinosaur, but they also offer Jungle, Pet, and a few others. We had seen them at the toy store in the past and I knew the kids would love them. I was right. They dove right into them and then every once in a while would ask me to take pictures so they could take them apart and make new ones. My son is asking for the other sets for his B-day so he can put more pieces together.

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Edited to add: Still going strong days later.

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Dentist

The kids had their 6 month dental check-up today and we got a not-so-great surprise. My daughter has a few cavities between her back teeth where they touch. I hadn’t even noticed they were that close together in the back, as it looks like she has tons of space from the front. We will need to get them filled as the teeth won’t come out on their own until she is 10-12 years old. Hopefully, the experience won’t make her hate the dentist forever…

My son doesn’t have any cavities, so that was a relief.

The dentist gave them new toothbrushes and some stickers to take home. Within minutes of getting back home, my daughter had used hers and made some pictures.

Meet the veggies:
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A fairy:
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Unschoolers’ Co-op

Today, we had a few families over as part of a local unschoolers’ co-op. Each week, a different family hosts and others help provide snacks and activities for the kids. We met a few new people and got to catch up with some others we hadn’t seen for a while. The kids got along well and had a good time (thankfully, as we haven’t really hosted stuff at our house lately and I wasn’t sure how my kids would feel about it). The group is pretty spread out, so I am not sure how often we will be attending.

Park Day and Spider Hunting

The weather was perfect for heading to the park after gymnastics today! Our kids split up almost immediately with my son and one of his friends going off to search for spiders while my daughter played on the swings and ran up and down the hill. Once in a while, the other kids would check in with the spider hunt.

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Here, they are checking a known spider hang-out, the bathrooms… LOL

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The girls on the hill.

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Hopefully, the weather will work out for next week too. It was nice to get back to a park day.

Grandma and Grandpa’s House

It has been a long time since the kids and I have been to J.’s parents’ house. He is allergic to their dogs, and in the past our daughter was scared of them. Not a great combination for a visit.

The weather seemed like it would work out perfectly for us to be outside this weekend, so we decided to head out there to celebrate my birthday and J.’s sister’s together. Thankfully, J.’s allergies did not act up and the kids both loved, loved, loved the dogs. They actually wore them out, which can be hard to do with Jack Russells.

Here they are with Grandpa’s remote control vehicles.

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We had a nice time and will have to try to get out there more often!

More Dough

The kids have been making lots of stuff from our homemade dough lately and they wanted more colors. We were out of salt and I was feeling lazy, so I asked J. to pick up a multipack of Play-doh the next time he hit the store. There is a difference for us. Many of the molds and extruders and such work really well with Play-doh and not so much so with our homemade dough, which can stick inside of things. The kids were happy to get lots of colors and have been playing together and with our neighbor.

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First Day of Swimming

Today was the first day of homeschool swimming for us at our local pool. We had been going down to Cuyahoga Falls for the past year and a half to swim, but it was quite a drive and was getting cost prohibitive for anyone without a membership. The director at our pool helped me set something up after I asked her about options for swimming with another family. She runs the swimming lessons that our kids are in and has been extremely helpful with looking into what the Community Center can do for us.

Today, we had 3 families make it and had the whole pool to ourselves. It was nice and warm and they had all the swim floaties and toys available for us. I am looking forward to next week!

One other thing to come out of today’s swimming was the decision to get a haircut for my son. His hair was getting in his goggles and bugging him, so now he will have short locks again…

Random Things About the House

The kids like it when I take pictures of what they make, especially if it will be smooshed or broken or taken apart later to make something new. Here are some of the things they have been up to lately.

My daughter has been creating doll worlds from stuff in her room. This one has sleeping bags and furniture, along with a raft πŸ™‚

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Here, we were reading “Miss Rumphius” together on BookFlix, generously supported and paid for by our local library system. We read this book a bunch when she was little, and I was surprised that she didn’t remember it. Then I figured out how old she likely was at the time and it all made sense…

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Here, the kids had gone off together and played while J. and I were watching a movie. They came in and surprised us with matching Lego creations. They had gone through the Legos to get the exact same pieces for each of them. They were pretty intricate.

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Bathroom potions and play. My daughter has been hiding out quietly in the bathroom and making potions out of bits of soap and other toiletries. Yes, I gave her the grater and the supplies and the go ahead. She has also been playing with the foamie dolls again, setting up play scenes.

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My son has taken to creating lots of his drawings on the computer and has been making them interactive on “Scratch”. He makes all of the sprites and then moves them around with the mouse as he tells the story. It is like high-tech paper dolls or puppets.

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This is just a picture he wanted me to put on my blog.

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