A goal of mine was to do more science with the kids, and so this morning, after a brief introduction to the music of the Romantic Era (we hit the year 1900, woohoo!), we did a few experiments to learn about volume and surface tension.

Using beakers and test tubes, droppers and coloured water, we poured and measured. We added and subtracted in our heads before using the water in the beakers to check our work (what’s 50ml plus 250 ml?). We multiplied and divided (how many full 50ml beakers would it take to fill the 200ml beaker?). Leila arranged the dropper, test tube and three beakers in order of capacity.

We played around with this for a while before moving onto surface tension, talking about how water molecules are attracted to each other. Leila used a dropper to fill a test tube, drop by drop. I pointed out that even when the test tube reached capacity, the water did not immediately spill over. Instead, the water molecules clung to each other for dear life and formed a little dome on the top. The kids shrieked wildly at the addition of each drop, and much theatrics were involved. At some point, though, the surface tension did break, and a mess was made. So Leila was happy.

We also performed the little experiment of floating a paperclip on water. We added a drop of water on top of it to break the surface tension and sink the paperclip.

When the big kids moved on to reading and math, Leila and I worked on the letter h. Um, yeah…we’ve obviously let the letters slide for many weeks. In the beginning of the year, Leila was really happy to “do her letters,” and her penmanship was remarkable for a four-year-old. But then she went through an intensely crafty phase (during which I introduced cutting skills) and wanted nothing to do with letters. Today, I thought I’d give it another go and nonchalantly brought out the sandpaper h and a sheet of paper for her to write h’s on. She went for it. We also used oven-bake clay to make an h and a heart.

By this time, Zahra was finishing up her piano practice, and so I brought her into the kitchen with me to practise singing while I made lunch. Making meals is not my favourite task, but it’s considerably more enjoyable when Zahra’s belting out “Colors of the Wind” with her typical passion.

Saïd was working from home today, so we ate lunch together and then he kept Noah and Leila while I zipped Zahra off to her art class at 4Cats Art Studio. Zahra loves this place, and so do I. All three of my kids have accomplished great things here. Zahra in particular is quite good at art, but this year, she seems to think she’s not. She gets frustrated easily with her drawing, and I’ve noticed her enthusiasm waning. All the same, she really wanted to take this class, which is a “woodland creatures” themed mixed media class. It was a goal of hers to learn new art techniques, and I’m confident this class will help her do that. While she worked on sketching a deer, I sat in Starbucks putting together a presentation for a client of mine.

When we got home, I tried to gather the kids around the table to finish up our 2016 Goals exercise. We had made a list of goals last week, and I typed them up and printed them in a fun font. The kids started whining and claimed they had other things to do, so I sent them on their way. I thought I’d just cut out the sentences from the paper myself, but Leila the Craft Queen can hear the sound of scissors cutting paper from rooms away. She must have had a change of heart because she quickly grabbed a glue stick and joined me at the table, followed minutes later by Noah. Oh yeah, this is where the fun’s at. The three of us made a sticky poster of Our Goals for 2016. Some of our goals are quite grand (have a daily tea time and learn Arabic); others are more modest (swim more often and ride bikes to Ste-Anne and have ice cream). I taped the poster to the wall behind the table so we’ll look at it every day.

The final goal of the day was to get everyone’s hair washed, and sometimes it’s the simplest of tasks that are the most satisfying.