You have to watch this. How cool is that? Our SQUILT selection for this week is Bach’s “Air on the G String” (stop snickering), and my kids loved this version. We listened; they drew what the music made them think of (in another eyebrow-raising development, all three of them drew bats); and then they played with spoons and glasses full of water, playing a musical number that wasn’t quite as pleasing to the ear but fun all the same.

Later, while Noah tackled some reading, Zahra started division. I had no idea how this would go. I wrote ten division problems on a piece of paper (all of which were some number divided by two) and let her have at it. She solved them all with no difficulty, including an odd number divided by two. And then she asked for more. I wrote a dozen equations with some number divided by three. This time, she grabbed the Cuisenaire rods for help, and the final equation (which was a number not evenly divisible by three) halted her in her tracks. Great time for a quick discussion of decimal points and places, although thinking back on it now, I should have introduced fractions.

Ah, those Cuisenaire rods. After reading How Children Learn and How Children Fail by John Holt, I ordered some Cuisenaire rods with a vague idea of how we might use them in the future. The kids have actually played with them a lot, mostly for building little structures or making puzzles and patterns with the different sized rods of various colours. Today was the first time Zahra used them for figuring out a math problem. For a couple months now, I’ve been meaning to get my hands on an instructional book that would give me concrete ways to use those Cuisenaire rods. I found a couple on Amazon, but they’re outrageously priced. Last Wednesday, when we went to the library, I found a couple books for on-site consultation only. I finally found one book that’s available to check out but in library storage, so I requested it. The librarian paused before making the request on his computer and said, “You know this book is from the sixties, right?” Yes, thank you, I think I’ll find your one book on math from the sixties to be of more value than your entire shelf of books on new math.

The kids spent the rest of the morning before lunch building dens out of couch cushions. This game has been going on for years in my house. I don’t remember playing at animals so often in my childhood. I do remember playing “Babies in the River” with my sisters, where we were abandoned children trying to survive in the wilderness. Stairs became waterfalls that we would fall down, couch cushions were pieces of land or life rafts in the sea of carpet. Good times, good times.

But my children are always animals, and often a pack of wolves. It’s not a hard stretch for the imagination. Now that the days are getting colder, the family quilts are being pulled out, placed on every bed and even a quilt or two on the couch for reading. My grandma and aunt made these quilts, and they are well loved. Besides keeping us warm at night, they serve as den roofs and tents, should there be an explorer or wildlife rescuer or veterinarian or other scientist in the game who requires one. The game almost always drifts outside, into the treehouse or the woods, and I’ve laughed out loud by myself more than once, wondering if neighbours could hear my children howling in the woods. That weird homeschooling family…

After lunch, we headed to 4Cats Art Studio. I was able to get the owner to offer a stop motion animation course to homeschoolers on Mondays, and today was our first class. Both Zahra and Noah are taking this 6-week workshop, and they’re joined by four other kids, two of whom are friends of ours. They came out of the class chattering excitedly about the scenario they’re putting together and the characters they’re creating, and it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.