Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Homework - Again!

This is the 5th year of summer homework for us and the 3rd year of elementary school summer homework.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Beach Days with Kids

One of the things we love to do the most in summer is visit the beach.
A successful beach trip, especially when traveling by train, is partially the result of careful planning.

I saw this video on Facebook this week and it reminded me of some of my favorite tips that I've received.  Here's our Top 5!
- Keep a bottle of clean water for washing sand out of eyes.
- Use baby powder to help dry/wipe sandy feet.
- Store sand and beach toys in a mesh laundry bag
- Pack quick-dry towels so they will dry between uses
- Pack healthy food - fruits and veggies - with bottles of frozen drinking water


Our beach packing list usually includes:

Wet/sandy bag (big Ikea plastic bag)
 - Inflatable inner tubes for the kids
 - Kid's lifejackets
 - Sand toys in mesh bag
 - Small sun shade tent
 - Bottle of water for washing sand from eyes

In the Cooler
 - Frozen Nalgene bottles of water
 - Fresh fruit and veggies cut and in baggies or empty milk cartons
 - wet washcloth for wiping hands

Backpack
 - Suntan lotion
 - Phone (in a water/sand proof bag)
 - Change of clothes for end of day (in a plastic bag that will hold wet clothes when done)
 - More snacks
 - Towels

Looking for a beach? Here are some links to information & even some example itineraries from moms!
Atami Sun Beach, Shizuoka
Onjuku in Chiba
Okinawa
Inn By The Sea - Kamakura
Chiba - Splash Guest House

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What are they reading?

Zilla is 8 years old
Mega is 5 years old 

Reading is so important yet it can be hard to know where to start, when to start and which books to move on the next. Here's an update on how the reading is going at our house.

Mega is confident in reading hiragana (one of the Japanese phonetic alphabets) so she reads books and magazines at school as well as the few Japanese books that we have at home.  Recently she's been growing in confidence with her English books as she works her way through the BOB Books series and the Early Reader books that we have. She is enjoying reading to the stuffed animals and preparing to read to her younger cousins when she sees them this summer.



At bedtime Zilla and Mega each get to choose a book or a chapter to listen to.  Mega enjoys the Star Wars parody style picture books or a fairly tale.  Reading the "real" fairy tales has been eye-opening for her as she is familiar with the Disney versions and some of the Japanese versions.
Both kids enjoy the "Who was..." series. We are currently reading about Harry Houdini. I've enjoyed this series as well. It is a great one to use to review before a trip to an art museum or to learn about a famous composer before learning to play one of his songs.

Zilla is required to have a "regular books" with him to be read at school He's working on a series of Start Wars books for kids.

SaveSave

What are they reading?

Zilla is 8 years old
Mega is 5 years old 


Reading is so important yet it can be hard to know where to start, when to start and which books to move on the next. Here's an update on how the reading is going at our house.

Mega is confident in reading hiragana (one of the Japanese phonetic alphabets) so she reads books and magazines at school as well as the few Japanese books that we have at home.  Recently she's been growing in confidence with her English books as she works her way through the BOB Book series and the Early Reader books that we have. She is enjoying reading to the stuffed animals and preparing to read to her younger cousins when she sees them this summer.


At bedtime Zilla and Mega each get to choose a book or a chapter to listen to.  Mega enjoys the Star Wars parody style picture books or a fairly tale.  Reading the "real" fairy tales has been eye-opening for her as she is familiar with the Disney versions and some of the Japanese versions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dino Night

Zilla is 8 years old
Mega is 5 years old 

Often children have a time of strong interest in a topic. Then, a short time later, they've moved on to another topic.  For Zilla and Mega there are some topics they repeatedly return to. One of those is dinosaurs. It seems like 2-3 times a year they have a "dinosaur era".  Sometimes it is organic (the interest pops into their own minds) and sometimes it is something we present.  

Currently there is a special dinosaur exhibit at one of the science museums in Tokyo. We've visited similar exhibits in the past and really enjoyed them so we hoped to visit this one as well. Plans came together in such a way that we were able to join an English tour lead by Dr. Manabe, the chief paleontologist at the museum. It was a wonderful chance to see a bit bit behind and scenes as well as talk about all things dinosaur with someone who gets really excited about the topic. They kids enjoyed asking their questions and comparing favorite dinosaurs.

The kids found out about the tour plan a couple of days before we went.  To get ready the got out some of their dinosaur toys as well as the flashcards so they could do some review. 
 Recently the kids have enjoyed a TV show on Japanese Netflix call Dinosaur King. While not highly educational, it is entertaining and sparks a want to learn more.

One of the really cool things from this museum visit was the chance to hear from Dr. Coy about his work on a dinosaur skeleton fossil that he discovered. While we've seen fossils before (up close in the Badlands), this was the first "new" dinosaur we've seen up close. He has enjoyed being able to concentrate on this project for hours on end as well as being able to use some of the research tools such as a special MRI for artifacts. He explained how technology is allowing them to see the inside more accurately and without having to fully open up the dinosaur. Also, with computers, comparisons can be made to other fossils and to known animals, allowing them to have a better idea of how the dinosaurs might have fnctioned.

I know it probably seems strange that a family of creationists would be so into a evolution-based museum exhibit... but in the end we're admiring the same thing. The fact is that dinosaurs existed. The fact is that there is still much to learn about them. We can learn much from the fossils and the research that is being done even if we have different ideas of how the dinosaurs came into being or about how they become extinct.  

Before I forget, here are some links to dinosaur things the kids have particularly enjoyed. Hope you enjoy them too!
Buddy Davis's Amazing Adventures