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Showing posts from November, 2012

One very busy girl

This time I would like to write a few words about my 15 year-old daughter.
After we got back to Taiwan from Poland I've realized what a busy teenager she is. It's really hard to believe in how many different things/activities she is involved.

This semester she doesn't have many classes outside home, only art class and ice-skating. After 10 years of dancing in Cloud Gate Dance Studio, Zosia decided to quit, not because she doesn't like dancing anymore, but because of conflicting schedule. She chose to take part in the production of a first Taiwanese musical "Dancing Diva" 台灣舞孃. One night a week she spends 4 hours observing the rehearsals and helping with little tasks. This way she is learning how a big theater production takes shape. She can see the work of director, producer, music director, choreographer and of course dancers and actors.

Last week TEDx Youth@Taida took place in Taipei. Also in this event Zosia had a small part to play - she was one of the ann…

Siblings' botany lesson

Zosia and Jas are five years apart, so it doesn't happen very often that they can work together on something. I do try to get both of them involved in the same projects, but it usually ends up with Zosia finishing what Jas has started.

Last week we started reading together one of Sonlight's recommended books for science. Zosia already knows most of the things in it, but I think it is a good review for her. Jas, on the other hand, wants to do all the experiments in the book and is fascinated with all the interesting facts about plants and animals and ways to observe them.

The book we are reading:
Yesterday, after reading a chapter about experimenting with plants, Jas has started a few 'experiments':

How long will it take for the cherry branches to have leaves?
Learning about osmosis (sugar in a potato in water).
Starting to grow green beans (unfortunately we didn't have any larger variety of beans at home):
Beside reading and setting up these ‘experiments' Zosia…

Jas' first dinner

Yes, that's right - last Friday Jas, all by himself, has made dinner for the whole family.
Last week he has studied a few of his cookbooks and chose one of the dishes. He then asked me to buy a few things he needed to make the dinner he chose (which was Pasta with Tuna and Tomatoes).

The only thing Jas needed help with was opening the tuna cans. He boiled the pasta and made the sauce and later baked everything all by himself. He was very proud of himself when the meal turned out really tasty. I hope that there will be more dinners 'by Jas' in the near future.

Learning about the wind on a windy day

Looks like the weather knows exactly what we need :-)

Yesterday we read about the wind in our science books

 and we made the "instruments" needed to measure the strength and the direction of  the wind:

We couldn't try our "instruments" outside in the wind, because simply there was no wind, not a tiniest breeze.
Today, on the other hand, we woke up to a beautiful cloudless sky and some pretty strong winds!
Yeah! It was time to try out what we've made! Take a look at what was happening to our "instruments":

Preparing for All Saints' Day

Every year, just before Nov.1st, Polish people go to the cemeteries to clean their family graves. Then on the All Saints Day they go back to light candles and place flowers.
This year cleaning the graves was a bit difficult because of the frozen snow and leaves. Normally Tim, kids and I would have gone to 4-5 different cemeteries in Warsaw, but this time because of the weather we went only to one, where we cleaned three family graves. It was a lot of work, it took us over three hours to get the snow and leaves cleaned up. Unfortunately on Nov.1st we were already on our way to Berlin so we couldn't visit other cemeteries and light the candles.

Homeschooling away from home

The time spend in Poland, by some would be considered as vacation or holidays. But do homeschooled kids have vacation? 
For us "schooling" and learning happens all the time, no matter where we are or what time of the year it is. Visiting a different country, going for an art exhibition or to a museum, going hiking or taking a walk in the forest - all this is part of learning, part of our school. 
We don't want the kids to think that learning happens only behind a desk, with pen in the hand and a book or computer in front of you. Learning is a ongoing process and it can take any form, not only reading and writing. Talking to older people about their experiences, about their childhood is also learning. Taking care of younger children or helping with the chores at home is learning too. 
Some of my friends, and even my parents, think that the kids should not be given any school work during the vacation time. But how can it be done? Our family is away from home at least 3 months…

Warsaw in snow in October

Who would have thought that in the middle of autumn it's going to start snowing in Poland? Fortunately the snow came after we got back from our trip to Podlasie. It would not have been fun driving in snow without winter tires ...
Kids had a real blast. Jas wanted to play in snow as soon as there was enough to make a snowball. Problem was - the gloves got wet  immediately and the hands got cold soon after, so he gave up the idea of making a snowman. Zosia was happy to try out her winter boots and coat she got for her birthday.

National Parks in Podlasie

Time flies ... after almost a month in Europe we are back in Asia. Despite of that I would still like to write something about our time in Poland (and later in Germany).

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to Podlasie in the eastern part of Poland. And although weather was not perfect - chilly and a bit wet, we managed to see quite a bit. In that part of Poland there are three big National Parks - two river parks (Biebrzański i Narwiański Park Narodowy) and a big forest park (Białowieski Park Narodowy). Originally we were supposed to go to the Białowieski National Park to see the famous bisons, but I couldn't find any nice and not too expensive pensions to stay and that's why we ended up in Pentowo.