Monday, July 26, 2010

Vacation Collage

This week we are finishing up our summer-long study of the ocean. The highlight of course has been visiting the beach not once, but five times, while we were vacationing in the Florida Keys. Even though my grandpa lives there and I have visited the Keys several times in my life, the first thing I always do when I arrive is pick up vacation pamphlets to look for coupons and deals on local attractions. This time I decided to bring them back home with us so that the boys could make a collage to remember the places and experiences of their vacation. Diego loved this project and couldn't wait to show Papi his collage. Papi could not make it this year because of work. :( Mateo just enjoyed making huge puddles of glue.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bilingual Homeschooling Blog

We are back from our trip to Florida. I haven't downloaded any pictures yet so I will wait to talk about it. I will say that changing a dirty diaper in an airplane bathroom during turbulence has been added to my list of least favorite things to do.

I would like to take the opportunity to give a shout out to one of my favorite new blogs. I have been following Monica's other blog Latin Baby Book Club for awhile now because it is full of great reviews of both bilingual books and books in Spanish. Monica recently started a new blog, Mommy Maestra, to chronicle her journey into bilingual homeschooling.

This is a topic that fascinates me because I do not know what the future holds concerning our children's education. My oldest son attended a Spanish immersion preschool last year and will again this year. The school plans to offer a Kindergarten class that we would gladly take advantage of it, but then what?

We have a few choices. Diego could attend our local public school which is within walking distance from our house. This choice is not acceptable to us since the school is an English-only environment as it has no Spanish education. We want the boys to be educated in both English and Spanish. We could try to send the boys to one of the Spanish immersion or bilingual elementary schools scattered around the area. The problem with these schools is that they are extremely difficult to get in. You have to live in that specific area and even then a lottery system is used to select students for the program. If I could find one and could afford it, a bilingual private school would be an option. So far I haven't found any. This is shocking to me given where we live.

Many people have suggested that I just let the boys go to public school and the boys will keep their Spanish because it is our home language. I know from experience that it is not that easy. One of our nieces did not speak a word of English until she started Kindergarten. By the end of the school year she was fluent in English and now as a third grader, she refuses to speak Spanish. I taught a Spanish for Native Speakers class at the high school level for five years. The majority of my students who grew up in the US spoke Spanish at a conversational level but could not read or write. While speaking Spanish is a very useful skill, the job market for these kids would be greatly widen if they were able to read and write in Spanish at the same level that they are able to read and write in English. This is what I want for my children. I would like for them to receive a balanced education in Spanish and English.

At this point in time, bilingual homeschooling seems like an attractive option for our family. I think that I could provide the type of education that we desire for our children. I love that Monica has started her Mommy Maestra blog so that I can get a glimpse into the life of a successful bilingual homeschooling family as we try to make this huge decision for our family. Whether you are homeschooling bilingually or not, I highly recommend this blog for excellent advice and information.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Family Dinner and Movie Night- Finding Nemo

Dinner time at our house is rarely fun. The boys are actually good eaters but my husband works long hours during the week and is often gone during dinner time. This makes for a tired mommy by this time of day and I am usually get ready to get everyone feed, bathed, and to bed.
However, I could not help but be inspired after reading the fun Dinner and Movie Nights by Jaime at Momma's Playground. When we found out that Papi would be home for dinner on Wednesday night, we planned our own. We used the movie "Finding Nemo" as our theme because we are studying the ocean right now and because it was available at the library. :)

First, we prepared our placemats. For two of the placemats I wrote NEMO and other designs in glue and the boys covered it will sand.

After they dried, they looked like this.
For the other two placemats we made more handprint clown fish. We also used this to make Father's Day cards. Diego continues to be fascinated by the relationship between the clownfish and the anemone so I used my hands to make the anemone (in green.) He told me the other day that he was a clown fish and I was like anemone and then hugged me afterwards. I (think?) that was a complement.

Next, we took out our shells from our last trip to Florida and examined them closely.

We decorated the table with a large beach towel as a tablecloth and other ocean-related items that we found around the house.

We prepared the meal which consisted of "ocean water" or blue Kool-aid with fish and star-shaped ice cubes, fish sticks, and shell-shaped macaroni and cheese.

Finally, we enjoyed our meal (with shades on, of course, since we are at the beach) and watched the film. It was a big success and I am sure that we will be planning another one soon. I am also proud that besides the macaroni and cheese it cost me nothing. I just used things that I found around the house and a free video from the library. :)

Garden Update

Back in March we had a great time planting a backyard garden. The was the second year in row that we attempted a garden and we had very high hopes of producing a lot of vegetables to eat this summer. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the extremely hot temperatures did not allow many vegetables to grow. We actually were only able to eat two very small yellow squash and a handful of lettuce. This did not bother the boys at all. They have had a great time watering their plants, examining all of the bugs that the garden has attracted, and most of all, watching our sunflowers grow. For some reason the weather conditions must have been just perfect for sunflowers because we ended up with six plants and dozens of flowers. I would say that this garden, despite its lack of produce, has been a huge success and we are looking forward to trying again in the fall.

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