May 31, 2009

Astronomy Mural Completed

Though we are still working on our Astronomy unit, KM has finished the mural.

If you click on the photo it will open up in a bigger window and you can see it with more detail.

Here are some more pics from our trip to the MOS last week from the planetarium area -

we checked out the scale model of the planets.

analyzed the stars lights

sent and decoded messages with extraterrestrial life
and discovered her weight on the moon would be 14lbs.
but on Jupiter it would be 148!

May 30, 2009

Human Body Study - update

I have mentioned several times ~ starting way back when ~ how much KM has been enjoying her Human Body study.

First I have to mention the new subscription that we got to Adaptive Curriculum through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op group buy. OH MY GOSH!!! It is fantastic, I was so impressed with the 10-day trial that we did get the year subscription and it is such an incredible supplement. Science is one of KM's favorite subjects, whereas for me it is one of the most daunting because I feel like I know the least in this area. Therefore it is far and away the one area that I spend the most money on, but I am also so super careful that the things that I get are secular, accurate, engaging, entertaining and WORTH THE COST! This program so is!!! KM has been asking each day to redo the experiments and activities that are on it and since it is interactive she is really understanding the concepts and can work through the situations and experiments on her own. WE LOVE IT! Here is a screen shot of the DNA building model -

You had to build the DNA strand and then it showed you what you animal you would have built based on the given combination that you picked! VERY COOL!

We also did some exploring at the Museum of Science last week. Of course it was their busiest field trip day of the year - just our luck! - but we did manage to get to most of the exhibits that we wanted to -

Explored the different mechanical solutions to bone repair and zapped tumors.

Hmmm...that eye looks familiar, she got it together in a snap and the giant ear was a cinch as well!
She had a very lengthy and informative conversation with a MOS volunteer who explained how infrared lighting works and how the different levels of light can be scene by the eye.

Her FAVORITE exhibit though was a new one on Nano technology

It was amazing to see all the things that they can do with these TINY little particles! I think this will be next weeks research project!

May 29, 2009

Lesson Completed -

Our proverbs lesson "April Showers Bring May Flowers" was completed this morning and I think the lesson that I needed to learn was completed as well. The title alone could not have been more perfect to me. We started this a while ago and at the time had no idea where it was going to lead us, so I thought I would share the incredible results that have come from this very simple art project.

I have expressed how much KM disliked the process of writing many times here on my blog and in real life to nearly anyone I can think of, so when I was looking into curriculum choices for next year I decided to speak to my all-time favorite homeschool guru, who also happens to be a published writer and has a daughter who received a perfect score on the written part of the SAT, so I felt she surely would have some incredibly wise words of wisdom for me and sure enough she did.

After a long discussion of what the situation was and how KM behaved when given any sort of writing assignment, we came to the conclusion that she was self-editing in her head as she was writing and this was causing her to be blocked right from the get-go. She was so worried that it wasn't going to come out perfectly the first time that she wrote something down on paper that she just wasn't able to cohesively express herself through the written word. So my guru gave me some tips and exercises to try.

The first suggestion that really made sense to me was to have her write for two minutes - either giving her a prompt, word or whatever - she was to just write for the full two minutes whatever came into her head. She shouldn't stop, erase, correct anything, worry about punctuation, spelling or anything else. She just had to have pen to paper for a full two minutes. Well this made so much sense to me, if she was not worried about it being corrected it should alleviate the blocks. So we started doing this every few days using the proverbs that we had written out for our April Showers Bring May Flowers project. It worked like a charm. KM would pick a proverb from the bag, think about it for a minute and then I would set the timer for 2 minutes. She would just write and write and write, what she thought the proverbs meant. There were times when the timer went off and she wanted to continue writing. It was as if I had another child sitting there with a pencil in hand.

The results have baffled me. Although of course they are not perfect grammatically or content wise, she has written down at least 3 to 4 sentences each time. There have been no complaints, arguments, or begrudging stares. The more we have done it, the more she grabs a new proverb out of the bag in the morning and wants to do it.

She is growing so much and truly becoming an independent learner. She is very happy to take the books and go. She wants to be able to learn these things on her own without someone hovering over her. When she has a set assignment she is completing it with no problem. Who is this child? How can this be the same individual that I had to stand over and watch her complete every word she wrote down to make sure it was done - just a year and a half ago? She is not the same child. She is a homeschooler, even better a home learner now. She truly enjoys learning and wants to find out more about EVERYTHING!

So this morning when she grabbed the last proverb out of the bag, it literally brought tears to my eyes...
One today is worth two tomorrows.

This is one of my favorite proverbs, the truest to my heart. You must cherish today because tomorrow may not come. You must love life for it can be taken away in an instant. You must enjoy the time that you have with your family because they could be gone at any moment. Though I do not want to live in constant fear of losing everyone or of tomorrow never coming, it is good to remember those that I have lost in order to remind myself that I need to cherish the people that I have in my life while they are hear.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of her accomplishments. I can tell you the joy that I feel in my heart when I see her completing a project and suddenly the light goes off in her brain. She got it! Something made the concept click and now she truly understands it. She does not remember long enough to complete the test and then proceed to dump it to learn the next information, she truly and completely is becoming educated! Every day that I spend with her I learn more about her and myself. I am truly grateful this path that we have chosen has brought us to such an incredible place.

May 27, 2009

Astronomy Elective Resource List

KM wanted to do Astronomy for her elective this term and she has been doing an incredible job!
Here is a list of the resources that we have been using -

I will post pics of the mural that she is finishing up this week as well as pics from our trip to MOS to do the planetarium exhibits.

May 25, 2009

Another Busy one!

We had another rather hectic time last week, but it was again doing lots of things that we really wanted to do - which is always good!

We had some HOT days and since the pool looked like....

They decided to fill up the kiddie pool on the deck.
We couldn't get to the water toys so they went digging through the craft closet for things they could recycle into squitters, scoops and floaties!
We went to a local park to do our nature journal pics for the week - TAKE A PEEK!

of course SC was attached to KM, per usual...

they couldn't help wading in a bit

then it was back to the house for a picnic lunch...I was not cool enough to sit at that table!
We experiment with some new bread recipes...
KM said that these were better than the restaurant bread
and she can be a tough bread critic!

We worked on Ancient History and decided to turn the History Pockets into a giant lapbook!
Using this scholastic box as a tri-fold presentation board...
and pieces from different History Pocket books...
we think it is going to work rather nicely
We will let you know how things turn out as we progress through this one...but it will take us a while as we plan to work on the ancient at least through this next year!

Finally our homeschooling group did a benefit performance of Midsummer Night's Dream
for the museum where we have our coop classes.
They had another spectacular performance!
KM's favorite part is the fight scene, though she had a bit of trouble staying in character!
This is the cast mascot, who must be fit into each set!

All and all it was another GREAT week!

May 22, 2009

Science this week - Nervous System

As we were finishing up on the nervous system this week I remembered that I had some little kits that I had picked up on clearance somewhere or gotten with my Scholastic teacher points - not sure which one...

First was the brain -

Next was an eye -

She has also been diligently working on our human body exhibit and we will have updated pics of that next week!

Sorry ....

I have been so quiet and non-existent this week, but I promise I will have some great pics to come!!! We have been very very busy and we will be sure to share this weekend!

May 18, 2009

Egyptian Resources

I got asked about our history plans 3 times over the weekend and twice today on a wet hike so I thought I would get myself together this afternoon and get them posted! Here is what we have so far -

  • Complete Book of World History by School Specialty Publishing - this is may all time favorite spine. I am very impressed with how this book lays things out and although it is listed as grades 4-8 it could easily be used for younger or older children with very little modifications as a spine/timeline guide.
  • Pocket Timeline of Ancient Egypt by Helen Strudwick - this will be our guide to the specific point in history. It has a beautifully done timeline that folds out of the book and looks like it will be a good read for KM.
  • History Pockets: Ancient Egypt By Evan-Moor - We are really liking the looks of this series, we have experimented a bit with the lower level ancient civilazation kit when we got it as a free download from currclick a few weeks ago. I wish that I had known about the ebooks beforehand as this is basically a reproducible book, that will need to be photocopied/scanned, but hey at least I get to give you guys the recommendation - right?
  • Egyptian Kid Kit by Usborne Books - this is another great hands-on thing and of course this is KM's favorite way to learn.
  • Horrible Histories - The Awesome Egyptians - by Terry Deary and Peter Hepplewhite - we came across this series during our Prehistoric Study when KM read and loved Who are You Calling A Wooly Mammoth.
  • Egyptology Code-Writing Kit - by Emily Sands - As many of you may remember KM LOVES anything that has anything to with codes, so we had to grab this kit when I came across it on clearance at a local book store.
  • Pyramids: 50 Hands on Activities by Avery Hart - You can never have too many hands on things around here!
  • Ancient Science by Jim Weiss - we have been using this book for a few months now and it has GREAT activities
  • Websites that look rather interesting -
I will continue to add to this list once we start the study itself as I know that we will be adding more as we go. If you have any favorite Egyptian resources PLEASE feel free to share!

May 16, 2009

This week's experiments - week of 5/11

We did some Ancient Science this week and saw how soap seperates and clings to oil, as well as the differences in using hot and cold water

iThen while KM was working on her Nature Photo Journal for our blog - CJ caught a mosquito and they had to pull out the new microscope to check it out...

If you can see the laptop screen that is a super close-up of the mosquito's proboscis - the part that actually goes into the skin. For some reason I could not get the computer to catch the image that it was streaming, but I am going to figure out how it works this week!

We then did some bubble experiments to see what type of solution works best for different types of wands and pipes - the hardest part was getting SC to use the correct end of the pipes!