Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Learning untaught lessons and goofs. . . .mine.

Columbus Day. One of my favorite things about home schooling are the freebies. We live near enough several parks that have teaching programs. Today, we went to Pattison Park for a lesson in condensation and evaporation, some of us more willing than others. My standard attitude is, "I know you’ll have a great time when we get there." I’m usually right. (No brag, just fact. One has to take one’s gold stars where one finds them.)

As we stepped out of the car, several boys playing touch football called out for Jarrod to join them. It turned out they were boys he knew from Leaves of Learning. Don’t you love it when the unexpected turns out to be pleasantly surprising? The park ranger, Keith, had some good experiments to demonstrate the scientific principles. He made it so clear even I began to understand how hot air rises and what makes it rain. (Rain happens when the big jar filled with water tries to pour into the little jar of water and overflows - SPLASH! Although we were to imagine the jars were clouds. I think.) The boys made barometers and learned how to use them.
The ranger also gave ‘homework’ with some worksheets on predicting weather.

One experiment involved baby powder and a light. The idea was to show how heat rises. Miah loved that. We never use baby powder here, so he was quite taken with the fact you could squeeze the can and powder shot out It wasn’t until the next morning I found out he’d decided to do some experimenting on his own. A gritty white powder covered the dining room table, the PC, the printer, and the piano. It had sifted inside my purse, into the keyboard (imagine trying to type with cornmeal crunching with every key), and over all the books. I’ll be wiping the stuff up for days. I can only hope there is no damage inside my PC. Can you imagine telling the repair tech--yes, it does have a lovely orange scent. Yes, there is Carpet Fresh sprinkled into my computer and printer.

At first I wasn’t sure what it could be. . . . then reality dawned in the form of the crushed box of Carpet Fresh. Tropical Orange. Miah admitted he’d squeezed the box to see if it shot out like the baby powder. Somewhere he’d missed the corresponding lesson that some of the baby powder sifted down like powdered sugar. Instead, he was quite pleased with another idea. "Hey, that’s how the clouds make snow!"

Sometimes it’s hard to see the humor in an event until after the fact. Like yesterday. We "did" school. This week we started a unit on the respiratory system in science. For reasons known until to themselves, the boys decided to read the work in a sing song rhythm. Hey, whatever works! The laughed themselves silly over the word ‘trachea’ which Jarrod kept saying was tarantula. Ever literal, Miah kept reminding him there was no L in trachea.
There were no clean clothes for ‘school’ today, so we knew a trip to the laundromat would be the afternoon’s business. Jarrod also wanted to make his winning recipe, "Upside Down Taco" for supper. (He won first prize in the casserole contest at the fair this year.) We did our errands. Got home and Jarrod decided he didn’t want to cook. Would I?

The casserole is pretty simple so I put on the ground beef to brown and decided to check email. Chatted with a friend. Left to mix in the other ingredients and put the casserole in the oven. I’d layered the refried beans and was spooning out the ground beef when I realized I’d left out a step. Before you layer in the ground beef, you mix in water and taco seasoning and let it cook a few minutes. Oops! Have you ever tried to unlayer a casserole? It is not a pretty sight or an easy task. Finally had the corrected casseroles in the oven—one meat, one vegetarian. Went back to my next task, putting a new cartridge in the printer.

I had no trouble putting in the cartridge. The problem came when I tried to print the alignment page. Every time I pressed the "Install new cartridge" button, an error message came up. Printer is not communicating with the computer. I tried once, twice, three times, four. I jiggled plugs. Turned it off and on. Pressed the help link which is very UNHELPFUL because I’d already tried all the steps. I was about to get a hammer and work on some communicating of my own when a thought jiggled in my mind. Was this the right printer?

Not long ago, I bought a Lexmark 1100 printer. Because I am not the only one who uses the printer and pc in this house, this brought a lot of grumbles and gripes. With the 1100 model, you had to turn on the PC to copy. Everyone missed the last printer where you didn’t need a PC to copy but could just push a button. When a 2300 model went on sale at Wal-Mart, I was the first in line. I was tired of the grumbling and complaining.

Because I am not one of those ultra organized people, I never uninstalled the 1100 printer. I know, I know. So there I was trying to install a cartridge in a printer that was upstairs in my closet. When I went to the 2300 icon, it worked in about two seconds. And did I spend the evening uninstalling the 1100 printer? Ha, and waste time better spent scrapbooking!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is good to have an unscripted life, because if I knew the script in advance for some of my days, I'd never get out of bed. Keep plugging away...and now I want a parfait.

Anonymous said...

test comment..Donna you can delete this if you want

CJ said...

At least the laptop smells pretty