Monthly Archives: September 2012

Visiting the Museum of Flight to See an Aerocar

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 4

If you haven’t noticed, we have been going on a lot of fieldtrips the last couple of week. This is something I do every year, at this time. September is the absolute best time to fit in field trips. The weather is still fine and since school just started, the museums aren’t packed with public school field trips yet. Our most recent trip was to the Museum of Flight in Renton, WA. Our trip was inspired by Dora’s recent interest in cars that can fly. She really didn’t seem to be able to understand why cars can’t fly. The idea of being able to have a vehicle that can easily convert from road travel to air travel does seem like a good idea, on the surface. I wasn’t really interested in teaching her about all of the logistics that make this idea quite difficult, I just thought it would be cool for her to see that people have actually created such a device. The Museum of Flight in Seattle 5

The Museum of Flight has really grown since we last went there! Dora’s favorite part of the place was the “traffic control tower” where you can listen to flight chatter and watch the planes come and go from the small, regional airport (as opposed to SeaTac, which is the big passenger plane airport in our area).

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 13

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 17

The museum has a Space Gallery, but Dora was scared of the area, because it was dimly lit.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 19

The museum has a whole building devoted to the history of early aviation. This building is actually a two-story barn, which is the “historic birth place of the Boeing Airplane Company” (whatever that means).

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 24

The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing has two floors dedicated to World War I and World War II fighting planes. Unfortunately Dora was pooped by the time we got to this building, so I really didn’t get to see much, which was disappointing as it was the only part of the main museum that I have never seen.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 26

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 25

Dora is too young for us to have seen everything, such as the movies, Air Force One, etc. but she did see a lot of planes…

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 8

…and enjoyed a lot of the museum’s interactive exhibits.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 11

The useum of Flight in Seattle 10

The Museum of Flight in Seattle 12

What about you? Have you been on any fun field trips recently?

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

History of the World in 2 Minutes

I just saw this video today and had to share. It’s really cool! Video: History of the World In 2 Minutes

Labels: Social Studies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Montessori Monday–Care of the Environment

Practical Life Skills - Care of Environment - Dusting

I find that one of the easiest areas to teach Dora is care of the environment. In fact, I think that in this one area, it is easier to teach the skills in a homeschool than a Montessori school. Dora loves to follow me and do almost every chore that I do. It makes me wonder if my older kids would be more helpful now if I had used the Montessori method with them. Only time will tell if Dora still likes to help around the house in ten years.

Practical Life Skills - Care of Environment - Cleaning Tile Grout with a Toothbrush

Last week, as we finished our summer break, Dora and I did some cleaning chores that were on my summer bucket list and I had left until the last week. (BTW, the Dawn dishwashing soap/hydrogen peroxide combination that I read about on Pinterest did not clean our bathroom tile grout at all, but it did an awesome job of getting a black stain out of the carpet!).

Practical Life Skills - Care of Environment - Mopping Floors

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Labels: Montessori
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Kids’ Craft Time–Sharpie Tie Dye Shirt

Sharpie Tye Dye Shirt Title

I’ve read many blog posts about people using Sharpies to “tie dye” a shirt and Gohan even did this activity at a camp once, but I had never done it myself before. It was a little hard to do with Dora, because she wanted to wear the shirt right away and could not understand the need to wash and dry the shirt, before wearing it. In fact, she was so excited and stressed by the idea of being able to design her own shirt, but then having to wait for it to be washed before she could wear it, she would only draw a scribble on the short. So you get to look my design.

Sharpie Tye Dye Shirt 4

To complete this activity at home:

  • Place a small cardboard box or piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt that you want to decorate (to keep the ink from bleeding through to the back of the shirt, we found that an actual box worked best as some of the color still bled through the cardboard)
  • Draw a design on the t-shirt with Sharpie pens (we found that the pastel pens did not work as well as the darker and brighter colors)
  • Use an eye dropper to drop rubbing alcohol on to your design
  • When you are satisfied with your design, dry your shirt in the dryer for about 15 minutes to set the design (be sure to keep an eye on your shirt while it is in the dryer, as rubbing alcohol is flammable)

Sharpie Tye Dye Shirt 5

Sharpie Tye Dye Shirt 7

This craft also functions as a practical life activity, with the child transferring the rubbing alcohol to the shirt with an eye dropper and using fine motor skills to control how much rubbing alcohol gets transferred on to the design. If you want to throw in some science, there is an excellent explanation about how and why this works at Steve Spangler’s site.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Arts and Crafts
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschooling With Field Trips–Kubota Garden Is Not Haunted!

Kubota Gardens 8

I have wanted to go to Kubota Garden for many years now. We actually tried to go once, but it was on Mother’s Day and let me just say, “Do yourself a favor, stay away from gardens on Mother’s Day.” It was so crowded that we left and I kind of forgot about Kubota Garden, until recently, when something reminded me that I wanted to go there. I thought Dora would enjoy going there, so I typed “Kubota Garden” into Google to get the address. Well, imagine my surprise when Google suggested that I try “Kubota Garden haunted”! According to Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle (referring to the Heart Bridge in Kubota Garden):

When walking over this bridge from west to east, sensitive visitors may feel the rush of unseen men running past them as if they are being chased. The sensation is not detected when walking east to west. One psychic described the men as short, dressed in black or dark Asian clothing, and wearing small cloth hats. These spirits are frightened, but they dash across the bridge in silence.

There is no record of civil disturbance taking place in the Kubota Garden. But in the early days of World War II, Japanese living in this neighborhood – including the Kubota family – were rounded up by military police and loaded on trucks destined for internment camps in Idaho. The sadness and horror of that experience may have created an energy vortex isolated at the Heart Bridge.

Obviously, as an educated and enlightened individual, I immediately dismissed this notion with a quick snort of laughter, but still, every time I planned to head out to Kubota Garden, I found myself saying things like, “Oh, it’s too rainy” or “Dora is too tired” and so forth. Then last week, we happened to be exiting the freeway, when right before me was a sign stating that Kubota Garden was 1.5 miles away! Of course, I still went to our intended destination and dilly-dallied there. When all was done, however, I had no excuse, other than irrational paranoia, to not go to Kubota Garden. It was sunny and clear, not too hot, not too cold. In other words, a perfect day to explore a beautiful 20-acre garden!

Kubota Gardens 3

Kubota Garden was built by Fujitaro Kubota, an emigrant from the Japanese island of Shikoku. Fujitaro Kubota was a self-taught gardener, who installed many gardens throughout the Seattle area. Originally, Kubota Garden served as his family home, his landscaping business’s office, and his design and display center. Thanks to the Kubota family’s generosity, the garden also served for many years as a center for cultural and social gatherings for the Japanese community in the Seattle area. The garden was abandoned for four years, while the family was interred, but Fujitaro and his sons rebuilt it soon after the war. In 1981, the garden was declared a historical landmark. In 1987, the City of Seattle acquired the garden from the Kubota family. It is currently maintained by gardeners from the Department of Parks and Recreation and many dedicated volunteers.

Kubota Gardens 12

Kubota Garden is nothing like the Japanese Garden in the Seattle Arboretum, which completely surprised me. Kubota Garden does not have all the Japanese maple trees that I usually associate with Japanese gardens. Plus, there is much more natural vegetation and winding trails in Kubota Garden. My best guess as to why Kubota Garden is so different, comes directly from the garden’s website,  which states that Fujitaro Kubota “wanted to display the beauty of the Northwest in a Japanese manner”. The site does not say that he wanted to recreate a Japanese garden in the United States, instead he wanted to use Japanese design principles to work with the landscape that is native to the Pacific Northwest.

Kubota Gardens 1

Dora and I really enjoyed Kubota Garden. I loved following the smaller trails, which were often hard to find and entailed walking through forest overgrowth which resembled “tree tunnels and caves”. Dora loved jumping over the river stones, playing under the giant wooden umbrella,  and running up and down the Moon Bridge, which symbolizes the difficulty of living a “good life” – “hard to walk up and hard to walk down” (they aren’t kidding about the “hard” part, the bridge looks normal, but when you start to walk up or down it, it is amazingly steep, though not dangerously so).

Kubota Gardens 9

I’m also happy to report that, though we crossed over the Heart Bridge in both directions a number of times, we neither saw nor felt any evidence of the garden being haunted!

Kubota Gardens 7

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff