Friday, March 28, 2008
What a fun day! After a short school day, I took Alexandra out to a local "farm" that has homeschool history classes, too. Her class was on Da Vinci and Rome.
The place is beautiful! They have quite a few acres with: swings, a playground, mini-golf, a barn, a boat, a zip line... and much more!
Well, this farm lets their animals run around - goats, chickens, sheep... I got excited when 2 baby goats started coming towards my table. And, then, this brave little guy jumped ON my table and spilled some of my water. I thought it was cute and poured a little more on the table. But, then his sibling jumped on the table, too. And suddenly they wanted to get at my bag, my book, my drink, Alexandra's drink, my sandals (I'd taken then off)... It was all I could do to get my sandals back on while I tried to keep them out of my stuff. It was hillarious, but I was really almost ready to yell for help! They were quite aggressive. I went to a different area where I could close the gate.
I hadn't charged my camera, and I was sad to see it die very quickly in the day! But, I did get this insect on the tree - it is a bordered plant bug.
And, I got a pretty cool shot of this inch worm. So, I've been trying to figure this out - what's the difference between an inch worm and a caterpillar? Or is an inch worm a type of caterpillar? (I guess I should go look in the Handbook of Nature Study!) And, we saw lots of little green "inch worms" hanging by a "thread" from trees - all over the farm. What are these? Possibly oak worms? Just wondering if someone can help me out before I do lots of research.
And, this was Alexandra's absolute FAVORITE part of the day - the zip line! She went on this 3 different times for a total of over an hour! And, yes, I tried to go off it once. I used to love these as a child, but I honestly had to sit down to make myself "jump." And, then I landed pretty hard on the bottom of one of my feet and it stung for about 15 minutes. I don't think I'll try to "zip" again anytime soon.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
- Adventures in Odyssey - Alexandra listens to these almost daily
- Your Story Hour - we used to listen to these quite often - I need to get them out again
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - Alexandra has listened to this CD many times
- Classic Stories for a Girl's Heart: Focus on the Family Radio Theatre - 3 CDs - Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables - Alexandra got these for Christmas and they are WONDERFUL! (though they are theatre, and not readings of the books)
- Jim Weiss CDs - Alexandra went to bed nightly with these for several years, but now she usually chooses Adventures in Odyssey - maybe I should buy some new ones
That's all that I can think of right now. I'm really interested in finding some more stories that we would enjoy. What are your favorite CDS - either books or stories? Thanks!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
First of all, how long do we do school each day? It's probably easier to answer per week. On Mondays and Wednesdays we have our long days. We usually do school from 9 until 3 or so, but probably with an hour lunch. So, about 5 hours each of those days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have to leave the house around noon. So, we usually do school for about 2.5 hours. And, we often have a field trip on Friday, so we'll do a few hours in the morning if we can, but if it is a full day field trip, we don't "do" school that day. So, I guess we do a total of about 15-18 hours on a "usual" week - that includes Bible time, math, language arts, lapbooks, history projects/models, science experiments, piano practice, etc.
I was also asked about my cameras. I use 2 different cameras. My smaller, point & shoot, is a Canon PowerShot SD900. I use this "every day" and I also use it for all of my macro shots - like photos of insects. My "big" camera is a Canon Rebel XTL and I also have a zoom lens for it (Canon Zoom Lens EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS). I use that primarily for my birds - even in my own backyard.
Next, we finished our "Legend of the Easter Egg" lapbook. Yeah! This one turned out pretty nice - I think because it is so "full."
Besides the other things I've already shared, we also read the story of Jesus death & resurrection from the Bible. And, we read about Jesus last supper for the "Celebrating Communion" booklet.
And, we started a new lapbook today - on dolphins. This was Alexandra's choice. Today, we had some "ph" spelling words like telephone, nephew, and photograph. These were great words for Alexandra to work on.
We also talked about the classification of living things according to Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. I memorized these by the mnemonic King Phillip Came Over For Girl Scouts - there are some other versions here, but I found lots of different ones online. Did you learn a sentence to help you remember these when you were in school? If so, I'd love to hear it!
Another booklet had us making as many words as we could from the letters in "dolphin." This was harder than I thought, but we came up with quite a few. Our words: I, hi, in, hip, old, lip, pond, pin, pod, old, hold, no, on, pod, and lion. Do you see any others?
Last, we watched a few online videos... of dolphins blowing cool bubble rings! This is incredible! I really had trouble believing these bubbles were made by the dolphins. This site gives an explanation of how the dolphins make this incredible toy. Once again, I stand in awe of God's marvelous creation.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Last night, I re-read the section in HONS about bracket fungi. Bracket fungi come in many colors and are usually found on dead logs. If they are found on living trees, they are usually destroying it. Thankfully, all the shelf/bracket fungi we found were on dead logs.
Then I remembered seeing some photos of flowers taken from the underside. I turned this group of flowers over to photograph it, and found this neat insect! You might enlarge this photo - the "hairs" on the plant look really neat. Identification: Zebra Longhorn Beetle. They occur in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and are active March to August and are seen on a variety of flowers.
And, who would have guessed how beautiful a dandelion could be? This one looks really neat enlarged, too.
After Alexandra got out of class and had recess, I took her on our nature walk. Two of the little boys from her class joined us for the fun! We came up to a tree (at this point, it was just Alexandra and me) and I challenged her to find an insect or spider before I could. Well, what a find! You'll have to enlarge it... if you dare! I mean, if you want to. :-) It's a very well camoflauged spider eating a caterpillar! (So sad, but that's nature!)
My biggest thrill was passing on some of my love of nature to two more little boys - both of who probably love nature already, but we got to enjoy it together. And, I enjoyed our hunt for fungi, wildflowers, insects, and spiders.
Monday, March 24, 2008
This was an all day trip as we were up at 5:30 am and left the house at 6:40. And, we had to pick up my husband from the airport and then went out to dinner, so we didn't get home until 8:30 pm! I took almost 200 photos, so I can't believe I narrowed it down to so few.
At Barrington Hall, I noticed lots of these egg sacs. The tour guide confirmed they were spider sacs. I saw up to 8 at one time and they were almost the size of a golf ball! I wonder how many baby spiders will hatch???
Piglets!!! They were only 2 weeks old and SO cute! Since this is a working farm, they even raise their own meat. They cook their own meals. They do it all!
I love the scarecrow! Last time we were here, we saw gourds growing and learned they used them for drinking out of and many other things. I was suprised to see the scarecrow's face is a gourd!
One of the tour guides showing us a photo of Anson Jones family just after his death. The following was taken from a sign at the museum:
Anson Jones arrived in Texas in 1833 virtually penniless, but soon developed a medical practice in Brazoria. His medical practice was interrupted when he served in the army at San Jacinto. Before being elected president in 1844, Jones served in the Congress of the Republic and as Secretary of State.
As the last President of the Republic, Jones supported annexation under the best possible terms, advocating a negotiable treaty. His motives being misunderstood, he was severely criticized and stripped of power.
Annexation was finally achieved on February 19, 1846, when Texas formally became the 28th state in the United States. President Anson Jones lowered the Lone Star flag, and raised the Stars and Stripes, stating, "The Republic of Texas is no more."
A fall from his horse in 1849 left one arm paralyzed and constantly painful. Jones wore a glove over his purple, withered hand. When morphine no longer dulled his pain, he became terrbily depressed, and took his own life in the early morning hours of January 9, 1858.
This is the lady who is actually making lunch for the workers on the farm. She was making potato soup, biscuits (shown in photo), and a cobbler-like pear dessert. She has to rotate these big iron pots every once in awhile. Cooking was the job of one of the slaves. We have it easy, don't we?
She had all of her ingredients laid out on the table and I loved this bowl of eggs. Then, one of the other moms noticed the green egg and asked out loud why it was green. I then had to tell her that you can tell the color an egg will be by looking at the chicken's ear lobes! Isn't it neat to use new knowledge?
These are some of the spoons actually made by the tour guide/farmer at Barrington Farm. Some of the older boys got to try a little wood carving.
After the farm, we had lunch and then went to the museum. It is a great museum that packs a lot in a small space. We could have spent a lot of time there! And, I'll tell you a little more later. But, I thought this piece was interesting. It was in a display called "What is it?" Any thoughts??? (Answer at the bottom of the post.)
The Star of the Republic Museum is shaped like a star and at each indent is one of these circular "wells" that the kids like to play in. In front of Alexandra is her scavenger hunt sheet. The kids had a blast filling in the answers to this quiz - and learned so much!
Our last stop was Independence Hall where the Declaration for Texas Indepence was signed. This was done in the city of Washington, also known as Washington on the Brazos because it is on the Brazos River. The above sign showed how people crossed the river by a ferry just down the hill from Independence Hall.
This sign says, Washington was a raw, new town when delegates from all over Texas crowded in for the March 1816 convention. Santa Anna's army had moved into San Antonio de Bexar, and the Alamo was under siege. War was at hand and the Convention had to act.
Texas has an amazing history which we've studied some in the past, but I hope to study it more in the future.
And now, a couple of videos. Unfortunately, I'm so used to holding the camera side-ways, that I filmed these that way. Ugh! (Does anyone know how to turn them around???)
Alexandra making a shingle!!! How cool is that???
Alexandra playing with a toy. It has little grooves on one side and you have to run the stick on the grooves and your finger on the flat part. It takes a little practice. And, it is the vibrations that make it work.
Hope you enjoyed this trip into Texas history. Oh, and the "What is it?" item was used under the legs of chairs with some kind of liquid put in the outer circle to trap ants!
- "The study of fungi is called mycology and scientists who specialize in their study are called mycologists."
- "Fungi unlike most other plants, do not contain green chlorophyll and so cannot manufacture their own food. For this reason they must obtain their nourishment from other forms of life, either plant or animal."
- "Some of the most serious and destructive plant diseases are caused by fungi. The great Irish famine of 1845 to 1860 caused by late blight of potatoes, a fungus disease which destroyed crops, causing a million people to die of starvation. During this time, another million and a half people were forced to emigrate to other countries, including the United States. The Irish people had become so dependent upon potatoes that the loss of this crop brought about widespread starvation." (Alexandra and I just finished reading a book about the Irish potato famine, Katie's Wish by Hazen.) (Also, online I've found the famine lasted from 1845 to 1849 or so - I need to check these dates.)
- "There are also a number of serious animal and human diseases caused by fungi; the most common of these is athlete's foot, a fungus infection of the skin."
- "... many fungi are useful to us both as sources of food and of important drugs. Penicillin, for exmple, is produced by Penicillium fungu or mold."
- "Yeasts, also classified as fungi, are of importance to man. While some yeasts are harmful, others cause the fermentation of sugar, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. Baker's yeast, of course, causes bread to rise by its production of gas. The flavors of various kinds of cheeses result from special kinds of molds."
- "While a few mushrooms, sometimes called toadstools, are poisonous, many may be edible."
- "Now and then, large circular rings of mushrooms appear overnight on lawns and often cause considerable comment and wonder. In former years, knowing little about the natural growth processes of fungi, often attached supernatural interpretations to these so-called 'fairy rings.'"
There were so many more intersting facts about fungi in this book - and that's only one chapter! I can't wait to learn more!!!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
How Great Thou Art
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power through-out the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:
When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
- Bible Story - We're using Student Discovery Bible: A Journey Through God's Word. It contains actual scripture passages and also some background information. I like that it is walking us fairly slowly through the Bible using kid-friendly stories, but real Bible scriptures.
- Bible Verse - All year, we've been memorizing fairly long passages. Right now, we are working on Phil. 2:3-11.
- Timed Math - We're working through Calculadders and I can see a big improvement in speed.
- Singapore Lesson - I actually highlight in her book what problems she needs to do that day. We might do several problems from several different lessons.
- Key to Decimals 2 pages - This is our 2nd of these books, and we're enjoying them, too.
- Read 15 minutes Bambi. We actually finished Bambi yesterday. It was a long book with wonderful descriptive passages and some very sad scenes. Quite different from the Disney version.
- Copywork - taken from whatever current literature we are reading
- Cursive - I make up a short page for her to copy.
- Language Arts - various - sometimes computer games, sometimes some workbook pages
- Piano - practice 15 minutes
- Piano worksheet
- Lapbook - this week we've been working on 1 section (like science) per day
On another note... several of you have commented about the chicken ear lobes. Even though I'd read that fact on 2 different websites, I started to doubt it. So, I looked up chicken anatomy, and they do have ear lobes! You can look here. :-)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A: An egg shell
We enjoyed looking around the Golden Eggs site today, including finding some cute "egg" jokes.
We also spent part of our day working on our Legend of the Easter Egg lapbook. Today we were concentrating on science.
Do you know why some eggs are brown and some are white? White eggs come from white chickens and brown eggs come from brownish chickens. And, you can actually tell what color of eggs a chicken will have by looking at its ear lobes. (Did you know chickens had ear lobes???) Cool!
We also talked about the parts of an egg and labeled a diagram.
Then, we did a few egg-speriments. We are currently soaking some eggs (the raw one accidentally broke.) One of the eggs will soak for 24 hours and then we'll observe it and record our observations. Then, we'll let it sit out for 24 hours to see what happens. The other one, we'll soak for 3 days to a week and see what happens.
And, we took a raw egg and a hard boiled egg and spun them both at the same time to see which one spun faster. There was a pretty dramatic difference. And, we had a lot of fun spinning the eggs over & over.
(Book we enjoyed: Guess What is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The kit came with 3 bunnies, but only one of ours survived. I really liked this kit (I just saw some more at Target today), because the hutch is already put together! At Christmas, we had a really hard time putting together our gingerbread house. And, decorating it is the best part anyway!
We've also been working on a free lapbook from Homeschool Share using The Legend of the Easter Egg. It's kind of like a FIAR (Five in a Row) study.
On Monday, we did the language arts section - we read a poem about dying Easter eggs, worked on learning some vocabulary words from the book (like "bedlam" and "pelt"), and talked about similes. We had never discussed similies before and had fun doing a worksheet from this website and then had more fun making up funny similes during lunch.
Today, we did the geography component of the lapbook. We talked about faberge eggs and looked at photos of the eggs we'd made 2.5 years ago when Alexandra was only 4! And, we located Russia, Moscow, and St. Petersburg (where the eggs were made) on a map.
Tomorrow we plan on doing some neat science experiments and there is still more to do! And, there are recipes listed which we will probably do this weekend.
And, on Thursday or Friday we will discuss the real meaning of Easter - Jesus and His death and resurrection. The lapbook includes a Bible verse to memorize, a little book to discuss Good Friday and Easter Sunday, another to discuss the meaning of the bread and wine for communion, and one about the symbolism of the Easter Egg.
We are really enjoying these lapbooks from Homeschool Share and can't wait to do Rechenka's Eggs next week! The study includes more details of the geography of Russia, explains oviparous animal, has Russian recipes, and much more! And, Alexandra has a whole list of lapbooks she'd like to do after that.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The first part of our assignment was to make a list of things found in the book that we think we'll be able to find and study. I think we will study:
- the hair-cap moss
- bracket fungi
- morels (possibly)
Part 2 was to go on our nature walk. Since I'd already decided we were studying puffballs today and we knew two areas in our yard that had some, we just went straight to the puffballs.Next, we were to discuss our finds. So, we used the questions listed in HONS on page 721. This was the first time I'd used the questions in the book, and I found them really interesting.
From the questions, we learned that puffballs can be up to 4 foot in diameter! And, that some type of puffballs are sliced and fried.
We also learned that if you give a puffball a light squeeze, "smoke" spurts out. This is actually the spores and they are normally released from a little hole on their top. Alexandra enjoyed making the spores come out over and over again. (see video)
The puffballs we have in our backyard are a special type called earthstars. We opened up some of the earthstars to see what was inside. As Alexandra described it, it looked like "coffee grounds."
We also drew pictures of the earthstars in our nature journals and Alexandra added some spores (covered by tape) to her journal.
CORRECTION!!! On the first draft of this post, I showed some photos of some greenish mushrooms and thought they were puffballs. But, I just realized we never got them to "puff!" So, I don't believe they are puffballs and I deleted them from this post.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Barb's challenge #4 was to pick a focus for the next 6 to 8 weeks. We decided to study trees, but I couldn't resist looking at more mushrooms, lichens, etc. So, I think that will be our focus!
I haven't read HONS yet, but I did check out a few books from the library. Plants without leaves include: lichens, fungi, mosses, liverworts, algae, slime-molds, and horsetails. So, eventually, I plan on having photos of each of these leafless plants! But, to start, I thought we'd see what we could find in our own backyard (and our neighbor's front yard). And, I only had 15 minutes so some photos didn't turn out and I'll be going back this week.
I don't think I'll be able to identify actual species of these different plants, but I do hope that from this study my daugther and I will be able to identify a moss from a fungus or a liverwort from a horsetail. (All quotes are from a book I'm using, Plants Without Leaves, by Ross E. Hutchins.)
This is a type of moss. The things that are "standing up" are the stalked spore capsules. The caps will eventually have a lot of pressure build up in them and the cap will "pop off, throwing spores for some distance. These little 'explosions' sound like corn popping, though not as loud." Boy, would I like to hear that!!!
This one I'm not sure about. It's growing on my fence. I think it's a crustose lichen.
This is a type of fungus - a mushroom. I believe it is an earth star mushroom. They are a type of puffball and "puffballs release their spores through openings in their tops. If one is squeezed, a cloud of brown spores is ejected. Normally, these spores are carried away by winds to new locations where they germinate, producing new puffballs."
This is also an earth star. However, it was in a damper place. When an earth star is on damp ground, it "is lifted off damp ground by its spidery 'legs'." But, when it is on dryer ground like the one above, it doesn't "stand" up. "Earth stars are a type of puffball inwhich the outer wall peels downward in sections, exposing the spore sac. Clouds of brown spores escape through the small opening in the center." I plan on looking tomorrow and seeing if I can find the small opening.
This is a photo of my "moss rock" we bought years ago. As you can see, it isn't covered by moss at all, but by lichens!!! In fact, I believe it is a foliose lichen.
This is the other type of lichen growing on my "moss rock." A crustose lichen.
And, this is a photo of my neighbor's tree which they planted last year. It is very small in diameter - probably about 3 inches around. It is COVERED with lichen - I think both foliose (leaf-like, think foliage) and fruticose (wiry, bush like). I wonder if it'll survive, but it really looks neat.
Just a reminder that lichen are a fungus and an algae living together. I like the comment that Jennifer left. She said her professor taught her "fungi and algae - they are 'lichen' each other." Doesn't that make it easier to remember?
I'm already learning a lot about plants without leaves. Hope you'll join me for our adventure! Maybe you can join us as we do Barb's Green Hour Challenges. Just jump in and go outdoors for some fun! (Also, I published 2 long posts today, so don't miss the post about our monthly group nature walk!)