The mom of two schoolmates of Julian's commented that her girls tell her from time to time about playing with Julian. Nice to know, because he volunteers nothing about other kids and little about school itself....except for one thing: science.
"If we throw those things away then the sun will get so hot and burn up the earth."
"Sound travels in waves and then it reaches your ear and you hear it."
"The badder gets all full of pee and then you have to empty it."
"French fries are a fat food."
"You eat food and then it goes down a tube to your stomach, but I forget what the tube is called."
It intrigues me that these are the things that he talks about. Occasionally he'll mention something about a classmate, like one whose shared "Indian sweets," but if he says anything at all, it's usually a fairly well-thought-out statement about the earth, body, nutrition or whatever he's been learning about. And much of it is from his regular class; only specific things (like body parts) come from the Science Explorers class.
Ironically, Gabriel's homework isn't driving us as crazy lately, because it's past the dorky introductory stuff. It's been a lot more straightforward, not as open-ended, with clearly defined tasks. We all like that a whole lot better. Not that I'm opposed to searching around the house for real-life examples; I think that's great -- sometimes. But for as much homework as he gets, it has to be independently performable. The past two weeks, it's all been about adding coins and very basic time-telling, both of which Gabriel is very well versed -- thanks to his allowance, and numerous clock timeouts in his room when he was younger!
I heard an actual conversation today between Julian and Katrina. She repeats everything she hears, and she declares and observes things all the time with increasing grammar. But for the most part her conversation hasn't been much more interactive than automatically saying "No!" to everything. Today, however, she and Julian just about discussed things in a book she brought in the car. He pointed out things in the book, helped her count flowers, talked about the characters' names. She asked questions, tried to count, and also pointed things out or made comments about things he pointed out. It was very sweet.
I watch these interactions and marvel at how this must shape her. She's never known life without her older brothers, and they dominate her environment. No one makes her laugh harder or scream louder. She has Gabriel as a guide, and Julian as a playmate. What a lucky, lucky girl.