31 July 2015

SQT: Monster pita, blueberries, and preschool planning

It is Friday, and I am posting my Seven Quick Takes this week, by George. Why do we say George? Google probably knows...


Falafel for supper tonight. They're so good! I don't know why I don't make them more often. Since it was cool and not smoky outside, I made my own pita this morning instead of buying it; pita bakes at 500 F, so if we can't have the door open, it really heats up the house! Most of the pita turned out just like commercial pita. There were one or two that came out completely flat, no pocket, and then there were two of these monsters:

Definitely no trouble fitting the falafel into that pocket!

This has been an unseasonable summer. Unseasonably hot. Unseasonably cool. Unseasonably smoky. Unseasonably precipitous. This part of Alaska is classed as a desert because of how little precipitation we receive, and yet we've had thundering downpours almost daily for the last week. Yesterday afternoon as I was heading in to town, water was running across the road and the rain was coming down so hard you could hardly see even with the windshield wipers on high. And some crazy people didn't even have their lights on! In gray vehicles! I just can't even... Okay, I'm sure some people just forgot, I've certainly done that, but probably close to a quarter of the cars on the road didn't have headlights on.

A bunk bed is admittedly not the easiest bed to put fitted sheets on, but the other day Matt was having more trouble than usual: he'd get one corner on, and another would pop back off.

Little Bear: "Daddy, do you know how to do that?"
Matt: "Yes, I do." It happens again.
Little Bear: "You do, or you don't?"

Last Saturday the whole family went out blueberry picking, out in the middle of nowhere about a half hour north of town. I called my mom before we left to make sure I knew how to get to our spot, and the directions she gave me were literally, "Turn at the parking area. Take a left; I don't know if it's the first left, but you'll recognize it. Go down that road father than you think you have to, then turn into the spot. You won't have any trouble finding it, don't worry."

She was right: we found it just fine. We parked up what I thought was a four-wheeler trail and Matt thought was a perfectly passable road for the jeep; I closed my eyes, and he was right. There were so many berries! Some areas were picked over, but when we got into a clearing there were a good many patches that were more blue than green.

Kit slept on me in the wrap for a while, but after nursing and getting changed decided that she was NOT going back in that thing. She lay happily on the folded-up wrap for a while, but when I disappeared from her line of sight, she was all done. She and I walked slowly back to the car while Matt and Little Bear even more slowly picked their way over. We wound up with a couple quarts of berries, plus just enough for blueberry pancakes the next morning.

After carefully putting the berry buckets in the back of the car, we took a quick walk over to a rocky outcropping my siblings and I played on as kids. Getting to go play in the woods or climb on the rocks was the prize we were all working toward for filling our buckets. Matt and Little Bear climbed up the back side of the outcropping... It's so fun to see them exploring places together that I grew up with.

Kit, at six weeks old, is rolling over (front to back). I wanted to call it a fluke the first time or two that it happened, but she's done it seven times in the last week, so... I don't think she actually knows how she's doing it yet, but she's definitely strong enough to get off of her stomach.

"Mama, look! A seven!"

The last couple of things I wanted to use with Little Bear for this coming school year came in the mail yesterday, and he absolutely cannot understand why I'm saying that we aren't going to use them for another couple of weeks. "But school, Mama! Let's do school!" Anything to do with letters or numbers, this boy is all over it. I finally gave in to the overly-excited-about-homeschooling voice in the back of my head this afternoon and sketched out the subjects we're going to cover, the primary materials we'll be using, and how frequently I hope to touch on each. That last category will be completely subject to change depending on Little Bear; he's only three, and I don't feel any need to push "doing school" more often than he wants to right now.

The preschool plan as of today:

Religion: I'm shooting for one chapter a week, plus coloring pages, activities, or special foods for feast days. Using Pre-K Religion for Young Catholics, Catholic coloring books, my A Continual Feast cookbook, and random supplemental books and stories.

Literacy: As often as he asks, so at the current rate, up to seven days a week. Using Early Literacy for Young Catholics, Little Folks' Letter Practice, and Little Stories for Little Folks (not all of them at once), plus reading books with him daily, trying to make it to preschool storytime at the library at least once a month, and printing off pages from www.worksheetfun.com when he just really wants to keep tracing letters.

Numbers/Math: Same schedule as Literacy. Using Little Folks' Number Practuce and more pages from www.worksheetfun.com, plus encouraging counting and using numbers in things he's already doing, like helping in the kitchen.

Visual Discrimination & Fine Motor Skills: I don't anticipate pulling out the book for this more than once a week, once he has other types of school to be doing, though he's wanted to look at it almost daily this week. Using Visual Perceptual Skill Building as a text, but he'll certainly also be working on this with puzzles, coloring books, and helping me cook.

Science: One chapter and/or one experiment with Matt per week; if he's really excited about something we read about or they do, we'll look for books about it at the library. Using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and two books of PreK-1 level experiments, Earth Science and Earthquakes. Going for walks in the woods, helping me cook (he really likes cooking, I promise I'm not just using "doing school" as a tool to get more help in the kitchen!)... Even just giving simple explanations of how an appliance works or why things fall when you throw them.

If you have preschoolers or homeschool, have you planned out your year yet? How structured do you keep school with littles? Like I said, we're not really taking things too seriously this year, but I'm so excited to be finding books I like and figuring out what we're going to be doing, from the position of parent/teacher for the first time instead of student!

Have a good weekend! Stop on by This Ain't The Lyceum, where in a complete coincidence Kelly is talking about a really great-sounding elementary to middle school Bible curriculum today, for more quick takes.

And Google doesn't know why we say George. Almost every search result I looked at gave a different answer!


  1. I'm going to start with Peter this fall once Andrew is in school. We're going to follow Catholic Icing and learn letters and sounds, and some basic math and science to go with it. One lesson per week for each. Plus reading books and outings. So not a lot and not at all formal. Peter is still 2, but he is also excited about letters and numbers. I'm impressed with how much Andrew has taught him. (Because I haven't! ) I haven't gotten into what I will actually do with all that, but I kept my plans from when Andrew was in preschool.

  2. This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you. preschool curriculum