Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Telling Time the Old Fashion Way

In our history, we have now entered the Dark Ages (Early Middle Ages). I can already tell my daughters are going to have a blast learning about this time in history. Today was just the introduction. Besides castles and Knights, my daughters actually got into this lesson asking a lot of questions about the food they ate, the hard work they had to do, their healthcare, etc. It was all pretty interesting to learn about. At the end of our lesson, we decided to make a sun dial. We talked about how they used hour glasses, sun dials, and bells to tell time. The girls really enjoyed this. They marked the hour change on their sun dial, as well as came up with the idea of putting our camera on time lapse to see it move slightly - along with the sun and clouds.

 

 




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ghost Rockets

This year, we still did the normal Halloween things, such as carving and decorating pumpkins and attending numerous fall festivals and pumpkin patches. Here's a picture. My oldest was creative and decided to do Grumpy Cat.

However, the girls really had blast with this activity that we did the week of Halloween. All you need for this activity is cornstarch, water, alka seltzer, and a container with a lid to put it in. We painted ours like a ghost.
You fill the container about 1/3 full of cornstarch, then add water until your container is about half way full. Stir the cornstarch and water together. We then broke up two tablets of alka seltzer and dropped them in the container. Finally, we put the lid on the container and then gave it about 30 seconds and then in flew! I really wish I would have taken a video of this. We enjoyed it so much that we did it over again. Each time when the container seemed to pop and fly, we all jumped. Beware though - it makes a mess. It splattered all over my face and clothes, while it will easily wash off - if you have somewhere to be, change into clothes you don't mind getting dirty.

Seeing our ghost fly was just a fun experiment and I talked about the chemical reaction that was happening with the built up pressure in the container to where it had to explode! I think the girls enjoyed this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cloud Makers

In learning about the water cycle this week. We read Once There was a Raindrop and The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks. We also watched a few science videos on http://www.sdaccelerate.com. My children really enjoy their curriculum and videos. They make them entertaining. We also did a few science experiments of making our own clouds in a jar and a bottle. Pictures are below, but the girls had fun with these. I tried my best to capture the cloud as best as I could, but it really just looked a lot like steam. It was hard to capture, but the girls could see it swirling around, and they liked that.
They let the cloud of the jar here and really liked seeing that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Natural Land Forms

We have just finished learning about volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, caves, and mountains. We've already studied volcanoes before, but they say science and history is repeated. In our case, it was sooner than later. You can see my volcano post here. We did the usual volcano activity of making a volcano and watching it explode. We also demonstrated with graham crackers the movement of tectonic plates. I came upon that idea from The Homeschool Den Blog. So this year, I just decided I was going to let the kids make their own natural land form, such as those we just learned about. During this project though, they had to build a model, find out a little research about it (including superlatives), and then diagram how their land form was formed. So my youngest goes with what we are learning about and she decides to do a mountain. My oldest, however, decided to do nothing that we just learned about. She decided to do a Redwood Tree, but I was okay with that - after all, as long as she is still learning and its a natural part of the earth. This is Earth Science we are studying. I thought they did pretty good and wanted to post pictures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

So everyone's starting school and we're already taking a break? How's that?

Everyone is starting school this week and well - we're enjoying summer! I've had many comments this week about "When do you do school? I see pictures of you at the lake or with friends." We decided to join the families that try to do the year round school year. Really though - its not all year round. The kids still get a summer break, it is just shorter. But they also get a week break almost every month. This week has actually been ridiculously awesome! As school kids are starting back, we're enjoying lakes, pools, and trails all to ourselves (and with friends). I wanted to post our calendar online, because this took me a while to get our scheduling right. I wanted to be able to work around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but to get our 180 days on the calendar - this took some time. So here it is. Obviously, we've already started, but my hopes are for this to be easier for someone to figure out next year if you would like this type of schedule. There are 36 school weeks in this calendar (5 days a week = 180 days). This leaves room for flexibility, for example, already this year our vacation week may be changing in September, so I will be trading a week for a week in September.

Calendar Key:
The weeks that are highlighted in yellow are when we are in school.
The weeks that are highlighted in blue are our break weeks.


You can find printable or downloadable calendars here to make your own schedule.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Put on your thinking cap!

So, we are learning about the brain. The girls loved putting their "thinking cap" on! You can print out one of these for yourself here. We played a lot of games with this cap and pointing out the different lobes that have different jobs. I think our favorite was learning that the saying, "You've got eyes in the back of your head" has a little truth to it. The statement that people have eyes in the back of their head may have a little truth to it. The occipital lobe, in the brain, is located in the back of the head. This lobe is responsible for controlling most vision. While we may not see out the back of our head, this back area in our brain interprets the images from our eyes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blood!

We've been learning a lot about the heart along with arteries, veins, and capillaries. So we took the time to make some blood that the girls will never forget. Here are the instructions: 1. Fill a jar with water, you could put in a little yellow food coloring to make it look like plasma. 2. Take some cheerios and put them in a zip lock back and shake them around with red food coloring. This makes the red blood cells. 3. Pour the red blood cells, white blood cells (white marshmallows), and platelets (purple pom poms) in to the jar. Then you have something interesting to look at.
Along with this little activity - we filled up 5 liters of water and poured it in a huge bowl. I made the girls guess how much blood we have in the average adult size body - their guesses were 5 gallons, 10 gallons, etc. So when they learned it was just a little over a gallon, they were quite surprised. This opened up a lot of discussions like getting shot in an artery, etc.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bile!

We have been learning about digestion. My girls really thought this activity was cool to show how bile breaks down fat. In this experiment, the dish soap is our chemical for the milk. You can find the activity instructions here. Click on day two activity.

Here is a video to show the experiment.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

100 DAYS SMARTER!

We've done 100 days of school, "structured school" that is. As homeschoolers - they are always learning. So all those field trip days, days where they are doing math and reading in the summer, as well as the days they have been off of structured school and are learning things that interest them on their own don't count in this count. So here's to 100 days of being smarter!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hollow Strength

The girls had fun with this activity. You can find the activity here. They put in their guesses of how many blocks that they thought the "hollow bones" would hold. These are literally rolls of computer paper. So obviously it doesn't look that rolls of paper will hold much. Their guesses before they started were only 2 and 3 blocks. To their surprise, they were wrong. This is a great activity to show the strength of hollow bones.