a stone of hope


we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the mall this weekend,
purposefully after the holiday.
yep, we’re the typical nonconformist homeschooling family.

the memorial is stunning in a confident, spiritual kinda way,
regardless of the drama around it being made
in China from Chinese granite by Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin.


if you choose to visit, first read a little about the memorial and its design elements.

besides the memorial being impressive,
i also appreciate that it is accessible to all
— e.g. there are no steps that seem to be at all the other monuments on the mall —
and that there are bathrooms nearby.
those with small children and/or weak bladders feel where i’m coming from.
it will probably be quite lovely when the cherry blossoms come in the spring.

here are the big girls’ favorite quotes from the Inscription Wall:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs “down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

i thought about making them memorize their favorite quotes,
but i’ll settle for just letting them feel Dr. King’s eloquent presence in their minds.

oobleck science

on our weekly library visit
signGirl picked up How to Make Slime by Lori Shores…
how to make slime book
so, of course, we had to do it.
it was pretty simple:
just water, cornstarch, food coloring, a bowl and a lot of stirring
made some stupefying slime.

after stirring forever the slime finally started to show its solid-side. look above the spoon: when have you ever seen a liquid crack?

it was almost solid when you squeezed it,
but as soon as you let it go
is oozed away from you like a liquid.
slime is bipolar. it's both liquid and solid.

the science behind it:
even though it may look like it,
the cornstarch doesn’t dissolve in the water,
but it is rather suspended and spread out in it.
most liquids flow at consistent, predictable rates.
cornstarch slime, however, doesn’t follow the rules of liquids
as stated by Sir Isaac Newton.
it all ended quite messily after a crescendo of slime. next time everyone gets their own pie pan. fortunately clean-up was pretty easy.

oh, the beauty of non-Newtonian fluids!

plant buildings and garden railways

season's greenings
most common phrase when entering: oooooh!

the US botanic garden’s “Seasons Greenings” exhibit this past December
brought out the kid in all of us.
there was nothing but oohs and aahs and wide grins
as we watched the model trains moving through fantastical homes and DC’s most famous buildings and monuments
all made of plant materials!

scorpion house
y'think a scorpion lives here?
amazing!
yep, it's pretty much amazing.
a giant lady fixes a train that went off track.
a giant lady fixes a train that went off track.
the white house
the white house...
white house playground
...complete with Sasha and Malia's playground set!
cocoa
THIS is how cocoa grows. we've read about it and seen video, but now we've seen it live!
lincoln acorn head
can you see Lincoln's acorn head?
hibiscus?
found this in the rainforest room. will gaze upon this when i need a mental vacation.
with mamama and washington monument
the big girls with their favorite fragrant flower: Mamama! (and a plant-based washington monument.)

building bridges at the navy museum

not figuratively, but literally.
we learned the history of the CBs or US navy’s construction battalion and how they build bridges.
the big girls worked as part of a team to design and build a bridge,
while the little ones explored tension and compression,
then designed, built and tested their own custom pontoon boats
to withstand the stress and load of little lego pirates.

pontoon bridge - home school at the navy museum

book: the wise fool

the wise fool: fables from the islamic world
the wise fool: fables from the islamic world by shahrukh husain

i first encountered nasraddin jooha when i studied arabic in amman, jordan.
on a quick visit to cairo, i found a book on him in the hotel gift shop.
these are tales known all over the muslim world
— india, pakistan, turkey, afghanistan, iran —
but also greece, bulgaria, macedonia, albania, russia and china.

the folk tales of mulla nasruddin
— generally thought to have been a traveling suffi in 13th century turkey —
may have a different name depending on the culture
(like khoja or its variations: hodja, hoja, khawaja)
but the stories seem to transcend culture.
through his playful antics and peculiar ways
we learn wisdom;
explore logic, reason and common sense;
and take lessons in how to make a “point without getting in trouble.”