Various and random things to share about this past while:
1) I have no idea what has happened, but my children have suddenly started turning towards making up their own math questions. I can't think of anything specific I have done, other than pull out the multiplication bead board and the simple division board and beads. Maybe it's the kids connected with math in a different way and so now they want to do more? I have no idea. Ds (10) was trying to figure out how much money he had a couple of days ago, so I wrote down the different amounts he had received recently as part of gift cards and money. We worked out the addition, so he asked for more questions like that. "Do you want to come up with your own questions?" "No." Not only did he not want to come up with his own questions, but he wanted me to make sure there were at least 3 addends in each question and that there should be 10-20 questions. He finally did them today and I think I will show him some addition problems with the bead frame. He's forgotten about carrying over numbers.
I pulled out the division board to demonstrate something to dd, to show her division didn't have to be complicated. Somehow, that led to her tying it into work she did today. We bought a funny die yesterday--it's not a normal shape, but does have 6 sides--and she decided to roll the die a bunch of times and tally which number it landed on each time. Then she decided to manually work out what percentage each of the results was of the total. This meant having to do LONG division, which I only just showed her briefly the other day; she may have seen some examples in the past, but there was also such resistance to long division that I just never really showed her. There were some melt downs today with it, but she persisted--with breaks here and there. Which is something because she's not physically well today, which already means a day of being sensitive and emotional. She discovered at one point that she's pretty sure she did at least one of the divisions wrong (okay, well, she's convinced they are ALL wrong--she did it on a whiteboard and erased her work; it might be a good idea if I suggest she write it on paper if she wants to be able to go back and check her work), and that led to it being pretty much done. I'm still impressed.
2) Social studies, the dreaded subject. Except, it's actually turning out to be the most interesting of the subjects and the only one the 16yo feels like doing. lol. If we could have interactive discussions for math and chem, he would do so much more, but alas, I'm not sure how to go about that. The Socratic method comes to mind for his math; the chem is a ton of learning terms at the moment. I think daily conversations about the work and his goals--even if it's to avoid having to do an extra year of high school--would help have him connect more with a desire to at least get the work done, even if he doesn't really like the work.
3) My almost 3yo niece is going through some sort of phase. She gets here in the morning and just clings to her dad--although you can tell it's half for effect. She used to come in, insist on taking off her shoes and coat herself, then off she went to play or look at a book or something. Her mom has said that at home, she has stopped talking to ask for things and regressed to baby-like behaviour. I've noticed it here. She has also stopped doing the various activities she used to do: practical life things, mosaic pegs, even puzzles. She follows somebody around most of the time or plays with my son, but even then, she's not talkative like she used to be. The morning clinginess started when her dad was away for a week, but the day-long behaviours seem to have regressed more and more. I'm thinking that when I can, I need to just give her more attention, invite her to cuddle with me, things like that. She's also been more tired than usual, which may be part of what's contributing to this behaviour. She's napping right now, but once she's up, I think I'll invite her to help me make some ice cream. :D