My Girl got braces yesterday morning, and while she was at the orthodontist, the Boy (who is very math-phobic) and I worked on some cryptarithms. These are logic puzzles where the numerals are replaced by letters, and you have to use logic to figure out what the problem is. For instance, HH + HH = OOT is (and can only be) 55 + 55 = 110. (Letters next to each other represent place value, not multiplication. Each letter must be a digit from 0-9. Within each puzzle, a letter’s value is constant. In the above example, two matching 2-digit numbers with the same number in each place value spot add up to a 3-digit number. If you add matching double digits, starting with 11 and continuing up, you’ll find that the first pair that makes a 3-digit number is 55. Numbers high than 55 don’t produce a pattern that fits “OOT,” so 55 + 55 = 110 has to be the answer.) This is math he gets, and has fun doing.
After that, we picked up the Girl from the orthodontist’s office. Before she went in, she’d been studying the palette of color choices, and I was leaning on her, kind of heavily, to opt for the one labeled “obscure,” which looks like teeth. The other options included black, hot pink, neon orange and what I call spinach green, among others. When I was growing up, the only kids who got braces were the ones who had severe dental issues or a parent who was an orthodontist, and you could have any color you wanted, as long as it was silver. Having colored brackets seems weird to me. But I realized that they don’t seem weird to her and she’s the one who will have to deal with them. She’s the one who will see them in the mirror when she’s brushing and flossing. Yes, I will be seeing them a lot, too, but I’d rather see her happy and smiling with colored brackets than scowling because she doesn’t like the way she looks. So, I backed off on the “obscure” brackets and said, “You know, I guess if I were the one getting braces, I’d get those, but I can’t wait to see what color you pick.” She picked lavender. And she’s beautiful. 🙂
After ortho, we went to lunch at Wendy’s (a Frosty seemed like a tempting treat after two hours of work on her teeth – even if it was -13 degrees), and had a big juicy conversation about the science of post-apocalyptic dystopias – what would it take to wipe out most of Earth’s population (short of nuclear war)? How do nuclear weapons work? (The Girl surprised me by giving a pretty good explanation of that process.) What kind of diseases could wipe out millions? How high would sea levels get if the polar caps melted? Etc. We talked about math – if you are writing a book in which Earth’s population was reduced by, say 6 billion, what would a tsunami hitting New York City get you? (God forbid, for any of this, of course, but both kids love young adult literature, and you work with what you have!) NYC has about 8.5 million inhabitants, so after the tsunami hits, you’d still have to bump off 991.5 million more people just to get rid of the first billion. The Girl came up with a disease passed to humans from sea creatures that were now swimming in closer contact with humans, due to sea level rise. The Boy proposed the classic comic book theme of a science experiment gone wrong, by suggesting that maybe, in trying to splice plant genes into humans, so we could make our own food from sunlight, something went horribly wrong and the plant-people hybrids became . . . zombies? Pod people? I don’t remember, but we were all giggling by then.
After lunch, they had a 2-hour indoor rock climbing class at Fairbanks’s Ascension Rock Club
After I picked them up from rock climbing, the kids played on School of Dragons and watched YouTube videos on Star Wars conspiracies (Just who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Whatever happened to Mace Windu – could he have survived the fall from that window on Coruscant? Why does Finn seem to be Force-sensitive?) as I made dinner. After dinner, the Girl and her Dad worked for more than an hour on a boat design she wants to build. He helped her calculate water displacement (unit conversions! density considerations!) to figure out how much weight she wants it to carry. They talked about physics while designing a workable propulsion system. She had to draw plans to explain clearly what she had in mind – and she spent another couple of hours making a water-resistant scale model of her design from cereal box cardboard, packing tape and toothpicks.
I love these kinds of homeschooling days. So much learning happens – and without any “school.”