Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Josh's Morning

A typical morning for Josh (10y) looks like this-
Wake up around 8:30am. Let the dogs out. Feed the dogs breakfast. Do one lesson each in math and grammar workbooks (this is not something he's forced to do). Make coffee for me.
I never asked him to do any of these things. This is how he's self regulated and self organized his morning. He loves his dogs, so he loves caring for them. He likes getting his work done early so he's got the rest of the day to play. And my personal favorite, he knows I'm a happier camper when coffee hits my system as soon as I shuffle out of bed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

EGG-citing EGG-speriments!

In anticipation of Spring Equinox this Friday, we decided to do some egg themed experiments.

The first focused on osmosis, with a bit of chemistry as well.

1 egg (fresh, not hard boiled)
clear container
white vinegar
corn syrup

Osmosis is the movement of materials in a solution across a membrane, typically from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. An egg has a membrane we can use to see this, but first we have to get rid of the shell.

Before we began we found the weight of our egg on a simple kitchen scale. Ours was 2.25 ounces. We then placed our egg in a glass and covered it with vinegar. The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate in the egg shell to make calcium acetate and carbon dioxide. The bubbles were visible almost immediately.

We left the egg in the vinegar for 48 hours and got this- 

Since the vinegar had a higher concentration of water than the inside of the egg, some water moved into the egg by osmosis. At this point the egg weighed in at 3 ounces. We put it back in the glass and covered it with water to see if it would take on even more water.

After just 30 minutes in water the egg looked like this. The lighting accounts for some of the color change, but not all. At this point the egg weighed 3.25 ounces. 

We then poured out the water and covered the egg in corn syrup. The corn syrup has a lower concentration of water than the inside of the egg, so we're expecting to water to now move out of the egg into the corn syrup.

At this point the egg had been in the corn syrup for about 4 hours. You can clearly see the less dense layer of water which has come out of the egg floating on top of the more dense corn syrup. We left the egg overnight in the corn syrup.

We woke up to this. The egg weighed 1.25 ounces, losing a total of 2 ounces from when it was placed in the corn syrup. 

We had so much fun with this experiment! The boys especially loved touching the egg without it's shell and showing everyone who would look at it in the various stages. 

Peeling Oranges is Tough

Last night I let Bug have some ice cream after dinner, fully knowing he would be a sugar crashing mess afterward. At bedtime he was acting as expected, and wanted an orange. I calmly told him no, and he ended up trying to peel the orange himself. When he couldn't get it, he got frustrated and slapped the orange.
I said, "Peeling oranges is tough, huh."
And he responded, "Yeah. And shirts." (He had struggled getting his pajama shirt on earlier.)
"And pants" (He's just learning about the tag going in the back of pants and often has to take them off to turn them around.)
"And socks" (I've not noticed him struggle with socks, but it does take him time to get them on just right.)
I was suddenly overwhelmed with how many obstacles he faces every day, and he handles it really well considering his emotional immaturity. If I felt half the frustration he does in a given day, I'd be a mess and need to be held while I cried too, which is how we spent the next 30 minutes or so before he calmed down and fell asleep.
Being a kid is tough work. What are your children working through lately?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Praising Hard Work

There's plenty of research now showing that praising your child's hard work instead of their being "smart" sets them up for future success.
I did not follow this advice with Josh (10y). Instead I doted on him throughout his younger years, telling him how smart, special, talented, etc I thought he was. This has set us both up for a lot of frustration. He has trouble handling situations in which he struggles and feels like a failure if he doesn't achieve perfection on his first try at something.
Which leads to one of my worse parenting moments, or perhaps on of my better ones.
Josh was struggling with piano drills. He shut down, threw things, yelled, and told me to leave. I refused. He didn't need to be alone with those emotions. I needed to help him find a healthier way to express himself. But after so much yelling AT me, I snapped as well. I said some harsh things, things that negated all the doting I'd done for years.
It was a sobering moment for us both.
We came up with a mantra- "I will work hard and figure this out." He said it, yelled it, and tackled his piano drills. Practice ended on a positive note. wink emoticon
Later at bedtime we were doing our Best, Worst, and Looking Forward To (where we reflect on our day), and I told Josh my worst was yelling at him. His response was, "That's okay, I needed to hear it."