Friday, January 14, 2011

Show & Tell: Adventures Week 17

This week we finally resumed school after a ridiculously long Christmas break.  I had every intention of starting school last Monday when Greg went back to work, but the fact that we got back from Christmas with my in-laws late Sunday night plus the fact that our house was in typical post-Christmas disarray meant there was no way that was going to happen!  We decided to use last week to clean out toys and closets to make room for new Christmas presents and just get our house back into some sort of order.  By mid-week Hannah was asking if we could please start school again, and I knew it was time.  Seven weeks is just too long for us to go without structure.

In our United States studies, we learned more about the Wilderness Road.  We read three chapters in American Pioneers and Patriots about a family that left their home in North Carolina and traveled west.  The girls always love listening to stories from this book, and this week Hannah especially enjoyed the pages that described how pioneers made cloth.  When we went to the Renaissance Festival back in October, she spent quite a while watching a lady weave thread into cloth.  She must have been playing close attention because she was able to point out several differences between the loom pictured in the book and the one she observed at the Renaissance Festival.

We also learned that Kentucky was the next state added to the union. 

Did you catch that?  Kentucky.  If you've kept up with this blog at all, you know that I love to tie food into our lessons wherever I can.  Yet I somehow managed to muster up enough will-power to make sure that no pictures of us eating fried chicken appeared anywhere in this post.  And let me tell ya, that was no easy feat!  :)

In science this week, we focused on weather.  (I have never claimed to be a whiz when it comes to science, so I just have to take this opportunity to give a big shout-out to My Father's World for making science seem so easy and for arranging the units in such a logical order.  Thanks, Marie!)  In our last unit we studied how heat expands and cold contracts.  What a great thing to have fresh in your mind when you study weather.  My girls now understand that thunder is just the loud "boom" that results when a lightning bolt heats up the air around it, causing it to expand.  Maybe—just maybe—the girls will keep this in mind next time there's a thunderstorm, and Greg and I will be the only two people who end up in our bed!  Maybe.  But I'm not holding my breath.  :)

We also did a super-awesome activity where we made our own weather vane.  Am I the only homeschool mom who puts off activities like this because it just seems like it's too much work???  Fortunately, I finally got my behind in gear and we put it together.  I'm glad we did, too, because it turned out to be a really neat little project!  (And, like always, it was neither difficult nor time-consuming.)

All it took was an Amazon box, a chopstick, an empty spool of thread, some air dry clay, and about 20 minutes!

Success!  It really worked!  We had a good strong wind that evening.  First it was coming from the west ...

... but then it changed direction and started coming from the north.
When we get done with science, I'm usually impressed when the activities and experiments work.  I kind of sit back and say, "That's so cooool!  But how did somebody figure that out?!"  I can follow directions with the best of 'em, but I'm not naturally one to explore and observe and discover things on my own.  So I was a little proud when we finished this project and Hannah said, "Mom, you know you could just take a Wal-Mart bag outside and hold it up and see which way the wind blows it."  Yeah, Hannah!  Way to think for yourself!

In addition to this week's science, Hannah also did several science activities on her own over the Christmas break.  Grandma and Grandpa gave her a Tasty Science kit for one of her presents, and so far she has done three of the experiments. 

In the first one, she took a look at the effect baking soda has on food by baking two batches of cupcakes, one with baking soda and one without.  (Funny story about the cupcakes:  She made them on her own, but I checked the consistency of the batter before she put them in the oven.  It looked a little funny to me, so I had her walk me through all the steps again.  Come to find out, the recipe called for 1/8 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla, but she accidentally used cups instead of teaspoons when she measured.  Oops!)  We made a new batter, baked our two batches, and compared them when they came out.  The baking soda cupcakes were obviously bigger, so Hannah—believing that she had just made the scientific discovery of the century—said, "Oh, wow!  So baking soda has yeast in it!"  (If that doesn't make any sense to you, this might help explain it.)

For her second experiment, she made homemade soda pop.  I tasted it, and I did survive, but I can assure you that if all soda tasted that way, the average American would be a much slimmer person.

And finally, she made some good old-fashioned rock candy.  She mixed water, sugar, and blue food coloring in a pretty big jar we had at the house and let it set.  After three weeks, this is what we got.

We knew there was candy on the string, but we were surprised to pull it out and see the big chunk of candy on the bottom!

You could definitely see how the sugar had crystallized.

And when I went to empty the bottle, which I assumed had nothing but blue water left in it, I was surprised to find lots more rock candy at the bottom!
 MeeMaw and Kimpaw also got Hannah a science kit for Christmas, and this one just happened to have a little archaeologist kit in it where you dig for the dinosaur skeleton.  Hannah is all about dinosaurs these days, so she had that baby excavated in no time flat!

Don't let the picture fool you!  Occasionally, we do brush hair and get out of our pajamas.  Even during the holidays!  ;)

As far as the three R's are concerned, things are progressing well.  We started Unit 4:  Verbs and Adjectives in Rod & Staff grammar this week, and we started 2A in Singapore Math.

It was a gentle first week back, but a good one.  And it feels so good to have structure in the home again!

1 comment:

Mom said...

I'm so glad you are posting again! I really miss being updated with stories and pictures of the girls. I bet it's good to be back in a routine again:)