Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Backyard Nature Study

Boy on Left says that it is this kind of scat. And Boy on Right examines logically. Girl in Pink holds Waterford Press's Animal Tracks Pocket Naturalist Guide.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Heart of the Matter & Rosetta Stone - Homeschool Study Abroad Op

"Surround your family with language. By taking them there!

Travel to Paris, Madrid and Barcelona with Homeschoolers from all over the United States. Join Rosetta Stone Homeschool, Heart of the Matter and Fusefly on the inaugural Homeschool Language Learning and Networking Trip August 2-11, 2010. Become immersed in new lands, explore history, culture, art and community. And truly speak to the world. For more details visit

Hurry, registration for the trip ends February 15, 2010."

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The alyssum and pansy seeds from last year are in startermix and there's nothing winter can do about it! I took some crazy "What flower are you quiz?" AND it turns out that I'm a canna. Seems appropriate too in that I plant and dig my canna bulbs/corms every spring and fall with the utmost care b/c I live in Zone 5 and that's the only way to even start with cannas.  But, it'd be ok to have a bit more winter b/c I've no idea what to do with my landscaping challenges and no money to throw at them.

So, it's back to homeschooling and its challenges ...
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

So, what am I forgetting?

Science was all about the Halogen group this week. We enjoyed the experiments about fluorine and iodine (see pictures of testing for starches with Iodine). Everyone’s apples dried into brilliant sculptures and there were paintings done of these dried pieces. For SOTW3, we adored the story about Don Quixote and windmills from Kimmel, along with the Anno’s book about Spain that included the confused conquistador and his sidekick, Sancho. The Disney movie about El Dorado was fun and colorful. My 3Gs practiced their narrating about the Mayan game of pok-a-tok in Rain Player by Wisniewski. I’ve finally found and read aloud the books about kids during the age of renaissance and exploration from Newbridge publishing. We’re soon to finish studying about the desert habitats. Spelling and handwriting were a bit frustrating, but Explode the Code was fun as always. The Latin vocabulary is expanding around here and music lesson came off ok. Individual reading choices were recorded and the reading program began for winter at our local library. Math and African flags are no problem and we completed a bunch more of those. So, what am I forgetting? Well, maybe we haven’t done the scheduled amount of lessons from First Language Lessons for each of the students here. How, oh, how do I get those grammar lessons done each day? Truthfully, the grammar lesson book has taken a lower priority around here and is sadly left behind. Any ideas about using starburst candies to entice interest or gumption for grammar?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reading from the juvenile fiction section suits me just fine

I don’t know about you, but the best stuff I’ve read in the past 2.5 years is from the juvenile sections of the libraries. The latest selections are no different. For chapter one of Story of the World 3, I read a story about a famous painter in Spain and is written from the perspective of his African slave. It is a book I would encourage my upper elementary child to sit and read in order to soak up the cultural and historical content as well as the story. It is not a book I want to read aloud to my 2nd and 3rd graders nor do I wish to wrestle them through it as their personal individual read. There were four other individual or read aloud books from the SOTW chapter about conquistadores and Charles the fifth that we used, but those fit my children’s reading ability and our time use.
My choice from chapter two is about a group of school children who live in a village along the dikes of Holland. I was not quite sure why this area of Europe was included in the chapter about Mary, Queen of Scots, but I’m not into the chapter yet (that’s next week) and the importance of this book is not just the site. The question is posed to six grade school kids to wonder why there are no storks in this village. To investigate and hypothesize what makes their village different from surrounding villages where storks nest freely. I’m excited about the scientific method in play and how it will change the lives of these children and their fellow villagers. I am so pleased that when it is time to work through the logic stage in classical education, I will have a clue what the content is of so many of the books I request my children to read. More to come as there are 42 chapters in each SOTW volume.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First week of 2010 Science and Art

2 eggs; one control with an X in permanent marker, the second smothered in fluoride toothpaste for a day.

Soaked in vinegar over night producing many bubble of CaCO3.

The shells became leather-like and became similar. The experiment to compare the effect of fluoride toothpaste on our calcium enamel wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, but it was a relief to a frustrating week of transition into the new year.

I was then able to implement the Artistic Pursuits lesson about Michelangelo’s sculpture skills by enticing the children to carve a face into an apple.   These will continue to dry for several more days and produce our effort to sculpt.

Lastly, I asked them to use the red cabbage indicator liquid in a spray bottle and make designs in the immense amount of snow. They hadn't enough friend-time and were drawn away from the assignment. Maybe we can see that art later.

But for now, I introduce Story of the World 3 about 1600-1850 this week. The Christmas tree is put away and the house is prepared for business as usual. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

IT'S time for The Grail viewing with dear friends. England 932 AD, YAHOO!