Finally the Homeschool Science Share and Tell is back hosted by TheHomeschoolScientist.com and Apologia! Yeah!! I’ve missed the event over the break and the loads of amazing science lab ideas from fellow homeschool families. Since the last link up we have finished Astronomy from Apologia and are into our second chapter of Botany. We enjoyed our studies thoroughly with astronomy and always looked forward to science. For our family the notebooking journals made all the difference and we will always use them with our future Apologia science studies.
I was going to share our favorite chapter and lab from the book with you but my little scholars could not agree on a group favorite. So here is a list of our favorites:
moon phase activity
The Moon: This was a popular chapter. The crew continue to use terminology from this chapter even now…so naturally it is one of my favorite chapters. My brother was living with us while we studied this chapter and he helped them to build the Galilean telescope. I ended up just getting a simple kit on Amazon because it was cheaper than getting all the parts…this isn’t usually the case with the lab exercises. To help my crew learn the name of the moon phases I made some moon phase cards. First I cut some white construction paper up into smaller rectangles. Then I used a white crayon to
Uncle John lends a helping hand
draw the different moon phases. My little scientists then used black watercolor to reveal the moon phase and we compared the card to a website with a moon phase chart. We then used these as flash cards and I think this activity helped my kids to remember the names of the moon phases. We also enjoyed decorating some cookies with moon phases…yum!
The Venus and Mars Mishap: I got ahead of my self and we did the volcano experiment with the Venus chapter when it was supposed to go with the Mars chapter…it helps to look more than one chapter ahead sometimes. Who doesn’t like making a volcano?! You can read all about our volcano fun here. So when we got to the Mars chapter we used the legos to build a Mars colony. Our colony took some time to build (about a week). The kids spent a lot of time brainstorming items and food the colonists would need to survive on Mars. I was really impressed with their list of necessities and the work that went into building the Mars station. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture…but it was really cool.
working in their notebooking journals
Reader’s Favorite: One of my most popular posts on this blog is the Lego Stonehenge . It was my first post to be “pinned” and it held the number one most read post until recently. (My top posts are now the Beautiful Feet history posts.) I now use legos every chance I get for learning opportunities and projects.
We were sad to close the book on astronomy but are now looking forward to exploring botany with Apologia. Thank you Jeannie K. Fulbright and the team at Apologia for providing us with great science to study and teaching my kids that the beauty of science points us all to our Creator. Faith and science are not enemies but complement one another in building faith and helping my children just to see how amazing and creative is our God.
Littlest entertaining himself during guitar lessons
Tomorrow is Littlest’s birthday party (actually birthday is Monday). We will be celebrating three years of his life. He wants a Batman birthday cake. Later today I will bake a cake and make buttercream icing in various colors. Then I will turn over the project to my amazing husband and he will make Littlest’s dream for a Batman cake come true. The guys at work tell my husband he has to surrender his “man card” because he decorates the childrens’ birthday cakes. Well, I am not sure exactly what that means…I am a woman and will never truly grasp why men speak to each other as they do…nor do I really need to. My husband is an attentive and playful father to his children and my very precious unmerited and undeserved blessing from God. I honestly believe Jesus placed me in my husbands arms and chose him to be my knight in shining armor on this earth. He is my everything and I often pray that when it comes time to meet Jesus we can do so together. I cannot imagine the pain of leaving him in the arms of Jesus and having to live in this world without him. He is my man and that is all the “man card” he shall ever need.
Yeah…I got a little off topic there.
Middle Boy playing in the corn pit
Our church celebrated 120 years of ministry this past weekend. The kids had a great time playing games and running all around the church property. I enjoyed listening to the singing and blue-grass music. Middle Boy’s front tooth has been ready to come out the past couple of weeks…he’s had that snaggle-tooth look. He played in the inflatables with such abandon that I was pretty sure the tooth was going to come out at church. But no, it did not. Then I was certain his tooth would get lost in the corn pit as he cannonballed himself into it…but no…didn’t happen. Instead his tooth came out when we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. Now he can wish for his two front teeth for Christmas this year. Middle Boy thinks it is pretty cool that a Dum-dum sucker fits perfectly in the spot his former front teeth occupied…for some reason his stunt makes my skin crawl.
at the church 120 year celebration
I’ve slowly worked on the apples this week. I put up about sixty apples in storage. I picked the most perfect apples and wrapped them in paper towels and then in a plastic grocery bag and stored them in the fridge. I am hoping they will at least last us through February. The imperfect apples I made in to a gallon of applesauce and we’ve been munching on the others. I still have more apples to process and they may just become applesauce too. I can make a half gallon in my crockpot at a time so I could likely finish up this weekend. I’ve also have a dehydrator on hand…dried fried apple pies are good.
Wednesday night Littlest fell asleep at church and ended up sleeping in the nursery the entire time. My friend Mrs. Cuddle-me (Littlest gave her that nick name for the blog) carried him to the van for me. When we got home I realized he had a little fever which made me feel bad. Hopefully, no one else will catch his cold. Yesterday Oldest wasn’t feeling well either so I called it a sick day. We did watch a couple of educational shows on Amazon and Netflix so the day wasn’t a total washout. If you happen to be studying the Pilgrims right now the documentary called Mayflower Pilgrims on Amazon (free if you have Amazon Prime) is pretty good and goes nicely with the book Pilgrim Stories. I spent the time making applesauce muffins and apple chips.
Apple Chip Recipe
Slice apples really thin or think if you like chewy apple chips. I then simmered them in simple syrup until translucent. (Simple syrup is one cup of water and one cup of sugar brought to a boil.) I put the apples in the pot when the syrup boiled and then turned it down to a simmer. I simmered the apples about ten minutes (but that will depend on your apples and how thick you cut them) and then drained them a bit before arranging them on a cookie sheet. Bake until golden for crisp apple chips or take out of the oven when first starting to color for chewy chips. Mine baked for about twenty minutes. The chips are soft when they first come out of the oven but crisp up nicely as they cool. I salted the second batch before putting them in the oven and we liked those a bit better.
Last week we finished our study of astronomy from Apologia. We celebrated our accomplishment by snacking on astronaut food during game time. I can’t say it was something I’d ever want to eat again but it wasn’t horrible. The kids loved the dried ice cream and it did taste good but I could not get over the texture. I feel so sorry for the scientist who have to live on this stuff in the space station.
My family’s “busy season” is about to start. This weekend is the Pig Roast. Harley Man (one of my brother-in-law’s) spends several days roasting an entire pig the old-fashioned way. Family and friends from the area and a few states away will come by for the weekend bringing food and fun times. For me this is the start of my own anticipation for Christmas. I’m not putting up decorations or anything but I start thinking about family and begin praying and planning for the year ahead. October is always a sad month for me…tears come easy this time of year. I enjoy the fall colors and the brisk air but to me there is a tinge of sadness to the earth.
working on our See The Light art review
Anyway, I am so humbled by the many notes I received this week from y’all asking how I am enduring the caffeine withdrawal. Thank you for the prayers so very much!! My first few days were kinda rough and yesterday was my first headache free day. Despite my pain we were able to get school accomplished this week with my scholars and a massive art project completed with our friends for an upcoming review. School went well and we finished our study of astronomy with Apologia this week. Today we will be snacking on Astronaut food during our game time. We loved the course and I plan to blog about our experiences with it in the next couple of weeks.
Yesterday, my order of two bushels of apples arrived…so I will be busy making applesauce and other apple-y goodness. I am also going to try just storing some of them whole. The kids and I love fresh apples so we will see if some of these tips I’ve read work. I promise to share what worked for us.
I miss my Granny and this month marks her five years in the arms of Jesus. She used to make this wonderful apple recipe for breakfast sometimes. She usually made this when the earliest apples were ripe in June. The fall crop were used for drying or canning applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling. I do not remember the name of the apples…she called them June or first apples and they were a light yellow color…This recipe is mostly from memory, when she did write a recipe down it was not for a novice cook!
Pan Fried Apples
Heat about 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in skillet (I use cast iron just like Granny) and toss in sliced apples (about four or five apples). She did not peel the apples but I do. Stir in one to one and a half cup sugar, one-half teaspoon cinnamon, and one-half teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook until the sugar melts a bit about five minutes but not over. Then remove the lid and let fry, stirring on occasion until apples are tender and liquid is cooked away.
I highly encourage you to serve these apples with fresh hot biscuits and butter. If she did not have regular sugar on hand she would use brown sugar. I like to prepare it with a mix of both sugars. Enjoy!
We enjoyed a short three-day school week followed by two full days of “field trips”. Both Oldest and Sparkles had birthday’s this week so my husband took a couple of days off work and we went to the St Louis Zoo on Thursday and to Land Between the Lakes today.
Sparkles turned eight on Thursday. She wanted her ears pierced for her birthday and we will get that done on Monday…we also have Literature Club that day and my mother will arrive too. Monday may be scary for me…Anyway, we had a blast at the zoo. Getting to St. Louis was not so much fun. We lost about two hours on the way due to road construction. Frustrating. We ended up sitting in front of the VA hospital in Marion Illinois for just over half an hour. My brother is being treated there so I ended up thinking about him for a while.
at the planetarium
Oldest turned ten today…wow! Ten years…I really just don’t know what to say. If I dwell on it too long then I’ll start to cry. We gave him a Snap Circuit set for his birthday. He wasn’t sure what to think of it at first but he is hooked after building a working radio. We went to the planetarium at LBL and watched a little show about the sun and planets. We are nearly finished with our astronomy book so it was a nice little review of our studies. We then went to see the bison at birthday boy’s request. LBL is nice but I always get a little upset when I think about all of the families the government removed from their homes and land. It always leaves me wondering about our perception of freedom…
Tomorrow I will spend the day cleaning and making birthday cakes for the little birthday party on Sunday. My husband will decorate the cakes tomorrow night. Next week my mother will arrive…that spells stressed-out for me.
Our science experiment this week was making a cloud in a jar. The experiment is from Apologia’s Astronomy book in the Uranus and Neptune chapter. Thankfully it is one of the easier experiments and I had everything on hand…that usually never happens. To do the experiment: Fill a glass clear jar half full with very hot water. Toss a lighted match into the jar and cover with a bag of ice. We covered ours with a lunch box ice pack. Wait a minute and watch the cloud form! Quick and easy! The kids had a lot of fun doing this several times and setting the cloud free.
Today my husband took a half day from work and went on a field trip with us. We went to see the Nina and Pinta. These are replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships. The ships are staffed by volunteers and are really amazing to see. I am glad we got to see them so soon after studying Columbus. One of the crewmen we met is a marine archaeologist. Oldest was impressed to meet an “actual” archeologist since it is (at this point in his life) one of two career choices he has made…the other being an engineer like his Dad. The question he had for the archaeologist was how Columbus’ crew went to the bathroom…sigh…I wonder if that made us the weird homeschool family for the day…Despite the awkward question we enjoyed a beautiful day out and ice cream.
Well I missed the weekly wrap-up last week. We had a date night last Friday and then on Saturday morning my husband left for Bristol. We were also celebrating his birthday last weekend and while we are out one of his friends calls with an invitation (and free ticket) to the NASCAR night race in Bristol…he’s always wanted to see a night race at the Bristol Speedway. With no help from me I think he had a pretty good birthday weekend…I even lost the cool Batman birthday card I got him (still lost) and had to give him one of the generic lame birthday cards I keep on hand for emergencies…
Their sunflowers planted during VBS finally bloomed!
That was not the only cool thing that happened around here recently. Beautiful Feet Books recently had a notebook contest on their blog. As most of you know we love our Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. The kids all entered their favorite pieces they had completed in their notebooks and…We Got First Place!!! The kids were thrilled and way too excited to do their math so we went through the catalog and decided to spend our winnings on the maps for their geography study. We are going to be studying geography and Bible studies for our summer semester. Yes, I plan that far ahead…
Speaking of winnings…we came in third place in the Apologia contest I mentioned in my first weekly wrap-up. The nice folks at Apologia sent us a lab coat to wear during our experiments. Sparkles prefers to wear it while pretending to be a veterinarian. And I won a ten dollar gift card to Amazon from Math U See in a random drawing for answering some of their surveys. Normally, I do not win anything in contests…maybe I should buy a lottery ticket this week!
WPSD TV studio
This week we went on a field trip to WPSD TV and Midwest Aviation in Paducah with a group of homeschooling friends. It was fun to see the news studio and learn a bit about broadcasting and local history. The studio is a lot smaller than I had imagined and so was the tiny closet they use as a dressing room. The tour was really interesting for older teenagers and adults but really boring for the younger crowd…Our next stop at Midwest Aviation was fun for my kids. They enjoyed a tour of the various planes and watching two planes take off as well as one plane land. Each kid also got a chance to sit in the pilot seat of one of the aircraft. I learned that Middle Boy is not a big fan of large group field trips and just tunes out. However, when he did get a chance to talk to our guide one-on-one he was full of questions and really animated. I think from now on we will avoid group field trips and just go exploring on our own…we’ll learn and enjoy the activity more.
In school this week we finished the Pocahontas book in our early American history studies and built the little film canister rocket (Apologia: Astronomy ) in our science studies. My husband ended up helping us with the rocket experiment and I’m glad he did…not so sure I could have done everything quick enough to make it work. I’ll post sometime soon about our Pocahontas unit.
Our science studies (Apologia’s Astronomy) took us to Venus and Earth this past month. We also managed to combine some history and art into our science labs this time…always nice when projects and disciplines can be combined!
Our first science project was to make a Venusian landscape in a box and then map it out with radar. Biggest and Sparkles really took to creating a landscape with hills, cliffs and a volcano. We then covered the box with grid paper and used a bamboo kabob stick to poke holes in the grid squares. To learn how radar works we then measured the distance from the bottom of the stick to the point where the stick touches the grid paper when it cannot be pushed further down. The crew measured every single grid square covering the box and were really excited when they found their cliff.
building the volcano
Our next project was to build a volcano. We were supposed to build a volcano when we studied the Minoan civilization in volume one of The Story of the World. But we never got around to putting the volcano together (some believe the Minoans were destroyed by a volcano). The instructions for building the volcano are in the Activity Guide for The Story of the World. (Turns out the Mars chapter in the Apologia Astronomy book has volcano instructions as well…I should read more than a chapter ahead…) We used air dry clay to build the volcano around a POM juice bottle. After drying a day the kids painted it…including Littlest who found all of the paints unattended! They were supposed to put the art supplies away while I made dinner. He had a blast painting the volcano and made the least mess. After the paint dried we blew the volcano with vinegar and baking soda! That particular combination is always a good time!
volcano art project
While waiting for the volcano paint to dry we worked on a volcano chalk pastel art project from Hodgepodge. The tutorial for the art project is available to those on her mailing list. The lesson is still (not sure how long) on her site in the sidebar if you subscribe to the blog. As a first time homeschooler I have turned to her blog many times and found much-needed advice and encouragement. In fact, her blog is often the first place I go for any questions or problems I am having. So far, I’ve always found a working solution there. Anyway, the instruction for the art was easy to follow and I was really happy with everyone’s finished project. Yeah!! Something nice to put in the portfolio!
treat showing layers of the Earth
We then moved on to our study of the planet earth. The best project for this chapter was making the rice-crispy-earth-layers treat. I had never made rice-crispies before…does that make me a bad mom? We used a red peanut butter M&M to be the outer and inner core of the planet. We then wrapped the candy with the cereal layer to represent the mantle. After these cooled a bit we dipped them in chocolate almond bark to represent the earth’s crust. Here is a tip for you just incase you have never made these cereal treats: wait for them to cool a bit before forming them into spheres. I had almost given up on making these until I decided to try one more time to get the cereal to stick together. Yummy!
The past couple of weeks in history we have been studying the life of Julius Caesar. The kids were having a hard time coming up with a Lego project to build for these chapters from SOTW. After studying about the many war campaigns he fought in the crew opted to make Roman swords. I didn’t think much of the idea at first but the swords turned out really nice.