Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egg Foo Yung Yum

We're nearing the end of winter eatin'. I'm pretty tired of it and supplies are running low. As a family that tries to eat in season, I'm rarin' for garden goodies and something different.

On that note, I tried to find a new recipe to try tonight, using what we had on the shelves. Eggs are especially plentiful at the moment. This recipe for Egg Foo Yung was a hit with everyone except my child who was born in China. Apparently it wasn't part of his China. The comments with the recipe indicate that testers think it tastes like what you'd buy at a Chinese restaurant. I've never had Egg Foo Yung before so have no comparison, but I thought it was tasty. Quite.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Puppet Shows & Public Speaking

Reposting from my other blog...

In conjunction with our farm unit we decided to do a puppet show of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. My student drew one goat which we photocopied and reduced by 75% and 50% to make the two smaller goats. He also drew a troll. Little helper, just turned 4-years-old and only 10 months into learning English, assisted in the performance, repeatedly begging, "Do it again! Do it again!"

"Speaking" of which... 

When I first started homeschooling, I had a few concerns. "Socialization" was near the top of the list. (I soon came to realize this was a joke. We socialized so much the first year that we hardly had time left for school. We cut waaaayyyy back and eventually came to a happy medium.) Related to socialization was the idea of public speaking/presentations. Since my children were not in large classes, I felt that speaking opportunities must be deliberate, frequent, and purposeful. At young ages we acted out stories or made puppet shows, performing for anyone who would listen...usually Daddy, siblings, and grandparents. We joined book clubs and co-ops where students regularly presented. Later came Lego Robotics and Shakespeare productions. It's paid off. My daughter, now a freshman in a large public high school, has excelled in speech competitions. Last year, two of my kids competed in Lego Robotics on a national level, where their performance depended heavily on their speaking/presenting skills.

All that to say that this is where they began...

The older kids did their own version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff when they were young. We all start somewhere. :) 

When kids are young, I start by repeatedly reading a story. When they have the story line down, I like to do the puppet show with them, modeling how to use the puppets in the context of the story. As soon as they're ready to take over, I happily bow out and let them continue without me. Today I heard many, many different versions of the story as they considered what they wanted to say. (A lot of whispering went on "backstage.") It's fascinating to watch them internalize the story, getting louder and more clear as they become more comfortable with the performance aspect. The request to "do it again, do it again!!" didn't stop today.

Love of learning. What more can we ask?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spinach in the Spring

Photo: mostly spinach with a few mustard greens...
We've now had our raised beds for a couple of winters. My experience? If I plant in the fall, little seedlings will appear and grow REEEAAAALLLYYY SLOOOOOWLY all winter long and then BAM! they take off at the merest hint of even slightly warmer weather. For the last 3-4 weeks I've been able to harvest about one large salad a week from the spinach I planted late last fall. But at this point, I'm thrilled! We really do eat "in season" so I don't buy salad greens in winter. A few spinach leaves add a lot of excitement to dinnertime. ;)

In the right hand photo you'll see kale, planted last fall, then new little mustard greens in the center, with peas sprouting up on the right.

And below...spinach salad...oh what a treat!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Now Dr. Seuss????? (Racism & Children's Literature)

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love children's literature. Love, love, love it! But I am increasingly disturbed by some of the images I'm finding lately...

Today my mom was--innocently--reading to my two youngest from And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (Classic Seuss) by Dr. Seuss. Granted, it's been a very long time since I read it. But I do own the book. And here is what's inside...
It's even worse because the images that follow the "Chinaman" are supposed to be kinda goofy..."A big Magician doing tricks..." and a man with "A ten-foot beard that needs a comb." I briefly looked around the internet and it's looks like more recent versions *might* say "a Chinese man" instead of "A Chinaman"...not that it's that big of an improvement when combined with the illustration and the text.

If anyone has a newer version of this book (copyright 1937, mine is eleventh printing), I'd like to know what the current illustration/text are like.

Laura Ingalls Wilder...Dr. Seuss...who's next????

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Come Visit My Class!

I've started a blog just for the purpose of posting photos and information from my classes. You are welcome to come visit us at love2learn2day.

Thank you to my friend in PA for modeling how to start a "classy" blog! ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

GG's Memories of China

I've been hearing some interesting stuff lately from GG, now 4, and home for about 9 months. It goes something like this...

"In China [his name...I'll use GG] cry, cry, want Mommy. Mommy cry, cry for GG. GG here!" and he grins.

I think this started because I used to tell him that when he was still in China I missed him and wanted him to come home to Mommy. But over time it's like he's revising history. My interpretation of what he's saying now? "In China I was crying because I wanted Mommy and Mommy was crying because she wanted me and now we're happy because I'm home." I think he knows/remembers that he cried a lot in China but his mind is not allowing him to remember why...or perhaps the real "why" doesn't make sense to him anymore.

He cried because he loved his foster family and we--strangers--were taking him away from them. But now he loves us and the memory of them is fading and the only thing that makes sense (to him) is that he must have cried because he wanted us. Up until recently he's had very definite feelings of missing NaiNai (foster mom.) But today after he said the scenario above I said, "And NaiNai took good care of you in China." (He may have even mentioned her, but can't remember.) He didn't respond. So I tried again, this time in the form of a question, "Did NaiNai take good care of you?" He wouldn't answer. I think that he's forgetting just what role she played in his life. While it's sad, I wonder if that's how a child this age "moves on." He is basically having to put the framework for his new life on top of the framework for his life in China...and when they don't match up, he revises history to make things fit. It makes me wonder what, if any, lasting memories he will have.

It sure makes it easy to see how someone could plant a false memory in a young child's head. All I would have to do is suggest that NaiNai was somehow a negative in his life* and I think he would adopt that as factual history.

(*And to be perfectly clear...she was a huge positive and I would never do that! But even now I'm seeing how his own brain might be rewriting history only to force his world to make sense.)

Clear as mush?

On a slightly related topic...GG has recently started having more regular night awakenings. They look like a very mild form of night terror and I do think they relate to the trauma of his transition this past year. He wakes up crying 1-2 times a night in the first couple hours of sleep. He looks awake but pushes me away and refuses comfort. He's had night awakenings of one kind or another since he got home, but the regular, couple times a night, "night terror"ish things are new, I think. Interestingly enough (or perhaps sadly enough) LilDude started having night terrors after being home about 9 months as well. His, however, were a whole 'nother category of terror. True terror.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Go Fish!

To follow up on the last entry's p.s....

Now they are playing "Go Fish."

GG: You ha' any fours?

LilDude: Nope. Go Fish.

GG: Eights?

LilDude: GO FISH!

GG: Eights?


Are just-turned-four-year-olds supposed to be able to do this???

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

GG's Language Explosion ...or "I Cannot Hear Myself Think!"

Once upon a time, there was a mom who felt badly for her son. He spent his first three years in China, learned two languages, and was suddenly thrust into an environment where people spoke yet a third language.

But as time passes, the child's vocabulary explodes. The mom begins to realize that she no longer hears silence. In fact, on the odd occasion that she hears silence, she wonders if there is something dreadfully wrong. This is how every moment of the day is now spent...

In the car on the way to town...

GG: What name 'dis road?

Mom: Oak Street.

GG: What road?

Mom: Oak Street.

GG: What name 'dis road?

What road?

What name 'dis road?

What road?

What name 'dis road?

Mom: What is the name of the road?

GG: I no know.

LilDude: Oak Street.

GG: Oak Street.

What name 'dis road?

What name 'dis road?

What name 'dis road?

What name 'dis road?

Mom: What IS the name of the road?

GG: [grins] Oak Street.

At dinner:

GG: I want cherries.

I want cherries.

I want cherries.

I want cherries.

I want cherries.

I want cherries.

I want cherries. (...said at least 5 more times. It makes no difference if you say, "I'm getting your cherries." He just wants to hear himself talk!)

[I start dishing out his cherries.]

GG: I want juice in it.


I want juice in it.


Juice in it!!


I want juice in it.

Juice in it!!

[Juice is poured.]


P.S. This kid is unbelievably smart. He LOVES to play games with the "big kids." He's learned to play Uno and can play it just as fast and easy as the rest of the family. His hands are barely big enough to hold the cards, but he sure knows how to lay them!
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