Letter cards

Amelia came out of her room this morning with a set of “letter cards” she had made “for Baxter’s classroom.” I asked her how she imagined the kids in preschool using them, and as she tried to explain, I suggested she try to show Baxter how to use them. Hilarity ensued (for me at least). She’s ridiculously patient. An excerpt: 

Amelia: “Now I’m going to teach you some double sounds.”

Baxter: “Ugh, I don’t know ANY double sounds.”

Amelia: “That’s why I’m going to teach you.”

Another game she made up with the “letter cards”: 

She puts out three letters and explains to Baxter what they all are. Then she asks him to identify them back by asking, “Can you touch B? Can you blow a kiss to E? Can you sing C?” 

I think it’s interesting she wants to teach the kids letters because at their school, all the kids focus on phonemes first, not letters. 🙂 That said, phoneme cards might be harder to make than just a bunch of slips of paper with letter on them. 

Bax got silly pretty quick and the lesson devolved into play quite gracefully: 

“It’s not time to be silly right now, Bax. OK, you’ve had enough learning.”

Learning face


We’re learning about worms, with an eye to start vermicomposting. Portland has public composting, in which you can put all your food waste into the yard waste bin and have it taken away by the city every week. Since we mived to Milwaukie, we have been putting our food waste in the trash, and it just drives me crazy. The kids are so accustomed to composting at school and from our old house that they look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them to scrape their plates into the trash. I wanted to get back to composting, but frankly was not looking forward to buying a $300 rotating compost bin and knew from experience that we wouldn’t pitchfork a pile. 

My friend got a worm composting system and didn’t keep up with it, and she offered it to me. So now we have a Worm Factory with two trays and I’m trying to learn about what it would take to start using it. 

Of course Amelia wanted to know what I was doing and then spotted a video on the website, which led to another video, and now the kids have been watching worm videos on YouTube for 15 minutes. I’m counting on Amelia to “give me a lesson” (as they say in her Montessori school) on what she’s learned while I was making quesadillas. 🙂 

A candid conversation about the anatomy of plants

Amelia and I were eating some of the previously mentioned strawberries for lunch. 

Suddenly she said, “Mom look: stamens!” 

 And we started talking about how the green flowery-looking stem of a strawberry is actually the cover of the bud of the strawberry flower, and that the flower was pollinated by bees probably, but other animals can also pollinate, and then she adroitly finished the discussion with:

“Well, I’m eating a swollen ovary right now — I know that!”

Thank you, Montessori education! 

That time I sent my 6-year-old to camp

camp1-2xMy little girl is spending her second of three days (and two nights!) at Outdoor Science School today, learning about ecology and geography with her elementary class and the elementary class from another local Montessori school. She’s been super-excited for months about this, and in true Montessori style has had an active role planning the school fundraiser and in preparing herself for camp. I’ve seen a huge leap ahead in her independence and sense of responsibility. Also, she loves geography (well ok, pretty rocks), ecology (cats, slugs, worms, and flowers), and the outdoors. So I’m sure she’s having a fantastic time right now, and I’m so excited that her school offers such rich opportunities for learning.

Amelia, ready for camp
Independent but still feeling a little vulnerable. Or sick of me taking pictures; one of those.

That said, the child is SIX. And she’s my baby. And she’s the youngest kid of all the kids who are on this trip together. And the morning we dropped her off for camp, she woke up scared, and curled in my lap and cried. I’ve never been much of a “these are the wonder years” parent — I don’t prioritize my own needs well, so I’ve been enjoying the process of the kids getting older and thus needing less All-Mommy-All-The-Time — but right now, I get it.

She’s just going to get bigger and bigger, and she’s going to do amazing things in this world… farther and farther away from me. And I’m going to miss her. I miss her now (so does her little brother; ZOMG that’s a whole different blog post, let me tell you), and I can’t wait until she gets home and can tell me all her stories.

In a way, it’s kind of cool that she’s had this opportunity to range so far away from us this young, while she’s still small enough that I can mush her into a tiny little ball of love when she comes back. And so I can follow through on some of the promises I’ve made to myself in the last 24 hours to enjoy every moment I get to spend with my fantastic kids. Every moment they’re not whining, begging, complaining, or otherwise annoying me, that is. 😉