Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Sharing Monday--Elephant's Story

It's Book Sharing Monday again!

Today I am sharing another book we have had for a while. Sometimes we get great books as gifts (sometimes we get terrible books as gifts, too!) This one is great!

Elephant's Story by Harriet Blackford and Manja Stojic


This is another book that follows the life of a baby elephant. The story is beautiful, as are the pictures.


This is a great picture book accompaniment to a study of elephants. We'll be using it when we cover mammals soon!

The author and illustrator team have two more books, one about tigers, one about gorillas. I plan to check those out, too! I can't believe I haven't seen the gorilla one, given that Kiddo loves gorillas!

Would you rather...?

Your child be interested in Sp*nge Bob Square P*nts or Harry Potter?

(Yes, this is a serious question!!!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up--February 25, 2011

I should be realistic and just plan to do this post on Saturday. I never feel ready to wrap-up our week and summarize what we have done on Friday. There are usually loose blog posts floating around, too. So here it is, on Saturday again, and probably for the foreseeable future that is the way it will be!

We had a week at home this week, because Kutey was still under the weather.


It snowed here Monday, a continuation of the storm we started on Sunday. In all we got about 18 inches of new snow. Hubby's office was closed for the day because of the snow, which was fun! I ended up taking Kutey to the doctor because she had had a fever for 5 days. Diagnosis? Influenza. Joy. Kiddo stayed home with Daddy and worked on his school stuff. Yes, he still had to do school even though our schools were out for Presidents' Day and Daddy was home for snow. We finished up our Great Backyard Bird Count by seeing no birds, and we punted on our bird lab, since we couldn't really get to the zoo. Kiddo and Kutey also did some bird drawings.

Tuesday and Wednesday we did lots and lots of school. Kutey was still sick, but Kiddo was able to get through lots and lots of math, reading, Explode the Code, science, and history.


Wednesday night, Kutey started complaining that her ear hurt then didn't sleep much. So Thursday we headed to the doctor again. Once we got home, gave Kutey antibiotics, and got her down for a nap, Kiddo and I watched the last launch of the space shuttle Discovery.


Kutey was still feeling not well on Friday. Kiddo worked through his school work and hit the LEGOS. Math was his big thing of the week. We also managed a Friday History Field Trip! It was a virtual trip to Mount Vernon.

Kutey is slowly getting better. No one else seems to have come down with what she had, or if we did, we had a more mild case. I am thankful for that. I am also hopeful that after 10 days (yes, 10 days!) of fever, Kutey will be much, MUCH better tomorrow.


This week's curriculum:
  • Kiddo finished up Explode the Code 5 1/2, a full week ahead of schedule! He'll start the Book 6 on Monday!
  • Math, Math, MATH! Kiddo took giant leaps forward. With understanding came enjoyment. I know it helped that I sat down and took the extra time to be present with him. Three and four digit addition with multiple numbers? No problem. Let's hope subtraction of the same comes just as quick and easy next week!
  • In history, we read Chapter 24, "The Wars of the Greeks," in Story of the World, Vol. 1. We also read a bit more about the Greek Gods from last week, since the books finally came in to the library!
  • We finished up Unit 23 on birds in R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey-Life 1, and started Unit 21 on amphibians. I admit I am a bit blocked on science right now. I have a tough time gearing up for lab days, even when the labs are super simple. We should have finished amphibians this week, but we will have to work on it next week.
  • Kiddo read the Magic Tree House Research Guide Sea Monsters, in addition to 3 very easy books on Presidents' Day, and the continuation of Harry Potter.

We are linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Click to see what others did this week!

LEGO Shuttle

After we watched the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, Kiddo set to work making a LEGO model of the space shuttle and it's boosters.


He worked with what he had, and I think he did a pretty decent job! I looked up a couple of pictures for him to work from, but that was it. The boosters all fall away, the cargo bay is open, an arm is able to bend in all sorts of directions, and there are 2 astronauts and an space suit inside the shuttle.

The two vehicles outside are the rovers. One is older, one is newer, according to Kiddo.

So fun!

What's LEGO creations are in your house this week?

Lego elephant

Have you seen the new PBS show Wild Kratts? Kiddo and Kutey enjoy it and actually learn quite a bit about animals from it. This week there was an episode on elephants and afterward, Kiddo built this:


The creativity LEGOS bring out is wonderful. What have your kids built lately?

Math, Math, Math


What a difference a few weeks makes! A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to determine if our math curriculum (Singapore) was a good fit for Kiddo, and ME. Mostly me. Math-U-See was looking attractive, thinking maybe I just needed someone else to explain things to Kiddo. We may still look at Math-U-See, but for the moment, things are going much more smoothly. And Kiddo? Kiddo has been bounding around the house for the last few days saying math is his favorite subject.

He has also been doing this:


Those are all math problems. Most of them he has made up himself. He carries the clipboard around the house, writing problems, solving them, then checking with Daddy or I to make sure he has done the problem correctly. I did make an effort to spend a bit more time just hanging out with Kiddo at the table this week. We had no outside activities (other than our trip to the doctor for Kutey) which left lots and lots of time for Kiddo to process new concepts. Big wall, crumbles down. Love it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mount Vernon--Friday History Field Trip #14


It's been a while since our last Friday History Field Trip. Winter isn't the greatest time for them, but we also have been focused on other things. With Kutey sick, the last two Fridays were out of the running for any outside activity.

Enter the virtual field trip. We had so much fun on our last virtual field trip, we decided to try another one! Since it was President's day on Monday, I looked for a George Washington themed trip. Mount Vernon was just the ticket. Kiddo did some reading about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Presidents' day earlier in the week (actually, ON Presidents' Day), but I saved the field trip for today.

The Mount Vernon website is great. In addition to a tour of the Mansion House (where Washington lived and died), there is a tour of the Mansion House Farm that includes many buildings. Each building included has a picture and a description of the building's purpose. We read each one, though I will admit that the kids tired about half way through. If we had stopped there, however, we would have missed out favorite building!

The Dung Repository.

Bet ya can't guess what this building was for! That's right, it was the poop building. Hysterics ensued at my household when I started calling it that. It is the first known structure in the United States* devoted to composting. Fun, right?

After we read about each of the outbuildings, we FINALLY entered the house. I think the kids were a bit overwhelmed at this point, and I probably should have stopped and done the interior later. But on we went. Through all three floors of the house. It is amazing. Most of the rooms have points of interest you can click on to see more details about a painting or piece of furniture. All of the viewable rooms give a 360 degree view of the room. My one complaint was there seems to be a lack of ability to pan up and down, making it a bit less interesting. In Martin Luther King, Jr.'s house, we could spin around while looking at the ceiling if we wanted to. The feature was missed (not that we wanted to spin around while looking at the ceiling, but panning up to see the paintings might have been good.)

The descriptions are rich in history. I learned so much just from reading all the descriptions and connecting all the people of the time period. The kids learned something too, don't worry! This is a field trip we will definitely take again, maybe even in person someday!

*I find it hard to imagine that the Native Americans here prior to colonization didn't do some form of composting at some point in some area. So it is important to note that they do say, "In the United States" which rules out anything in colonial times or prior, at least in my mind!


No, that isn't a radio station. It is a temperature. Specifically, it was Kutey's temperature yesterday on our second trip to the doctor this week. Monday was the first, on day 5 of her fever. She tested positive for influenza, so we were sent home--fluids and rest.

But the fever got worse. It fluctuates greatly. She'll have no fever in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, she is feverish again. Wednesday she started complaining her ear hurt. Wednesday night she didn't sleep. She cried and said "ouchy, ouchy, ouchy," all night long. Thursday morning it was back to the doctor.

And that is where the 104.4 temperature was recorded. And an ear infection (with rupture) was diagnosed.

She is on antibiotics now, which are helping. She had no fever this morning, but she does again now. 9 days of fever and counting.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Final Launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery

A friend of mine alerted me to the fact that there was to be a space shuttle launch. It could not have come at a better time! Kutey has been sick for over a week. That means Kiddo hasn't gotten much of his regular social time. He was due something out of the ordinary.

So we set up the computer, linked in to the live webcast, and sat down to watch. Kutey was unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) napping, so she missed it. Kiddo and I loved it.


I had forgotten how exciting it is to see the shuttle take off. I remember watching when I was younger. I remember seeing the Challenger tragedy. But I forgot the excitement. It was a huge treat to share it with Kiddo. This particular launch did require a bit of explanation as we watched. A computer glitch nearly canceled the launch with only 5 minutes left. Kiddo was anxious for the launch, and watching for 20 minutes only to have them pause was a bit frustrating. The launch went off, though, with 2 seconds to spare in the window. Whew.

Kiddo loves space, but somehow that interest has been on the back burner this year. After the launch, however, the LEGOS went back to creating space vehicles. More specifically? Space Shuttles. Too bad there are only 2 more launches. I better make sure to mark them on my calendar!

Here are a few links I dug up for Kiddo after the launch:
Anyone else still thrilled by the launch? Any good resources out there?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Great Backyard Bird Count--2011--in Review

This was the best year we have had for the Great Backyard Bird Count! It is our third year of participation, and we had the highest number of birds we have had ever (it isn't hard to get more than, um, zero).

We counted from home all 4 days. Between 3 and 4 seems to be a good time to count at our house. we tried morning on Sunday but saw nothing, then around 3 we started seeing lots of birds. We didn't see a great variety of birds, but at least we saw something!

Here is the rundown:
Friday: 4 mallards, 3 crows, 2 house sparrows (yes, our house sparrows stuck around this year! No hiding, woo-hoo!)
Saturday: 1 crow, 3 house sparrows
Sunday: 3 mallards in the morning. 3 crows, 8 house sparrows, 1 junco in the afternoon. This was the best day we had, ironically, since it also snowed over a foot! The afternoon birds were all seen when it looked like this outside:


Not kidding! See the sparrow in this picture? It kept getting covered in snow!


After that great day, on Monday we saw? Nothing. Well, Kiddo claims to have seen a huge flock of geese (at least 50, maybe 100!) but we can't verify that...and since he didn't count them, we won't report them anyway.

Still, 28 birds in 3 days, beats the last two years! I have read a few wrap-up posts about the Great Backyard Bird Count this year, and I admit, I am jealous of the people who manage to see hundreds of birds in the four days. I have to remind myself that it is still winter here in MN, I don't live in Florida. We'll take what we can get.

Did you participate? What was your favorite sighting?

If you are interested in seeing this year's results, here is a link!

(I never did figure out where everyone got their buttons this year!)

Book Sharing Monday--I'm a Duck!


We have been immersed in birds. We covered them in our science curriculum, participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and even drew some for art. With all that, this weeks book had to be a bird book. Next week likely will be, too.

I'm a Duck by Teri Sloat is a book we have had for a long time. It was a gift when Kiddo was about a year old. It is a great picture book, the text has a wonderful flow, the pictures are wonderful. I have read this one hundreds of times and unlike so many books, I still enjoy it. The other great thing about it, though, is how nicely it follows the life cycle of a duck, from egg to duckling, to duck, to parent of ducklings.



Check out more books at Book Sharing Monday on Canadian Home Learning!

(sorry for the lateness of this post...Kutey has influenza and has basically sat on my lap for most of the last week. Blogging is tricky with one hand!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bird drawings

As I was preparing for our study of birds, I was browsing my bookshelves for an entirely unrelated reason and came a cross a few books about drawing. "How to" books. One of them happened to be Kids Can Draw: Birds of the World. What luck, right?

One of Kiddo's cards told him to pick a bird from the book and draw it. I also had him color it in. He chose the bird (he actually chose the first bird in the book), and how to color it (he copied the coloring in the book). It took him no time at all. A great art project for the day!


Obviously this book was too complicated for Kutey to draw. As luck would have it, however, I also found I can Crayon on the shelf. The cute bird on the front seemed easy enough for Kutey, maybe with a bit of help.


She was not pleased with the results. I wasn't there when she drew this, I ran to the store to buy juice for Kutey since she is sick (influenza, bleh!). But Daddy was there, and apparently didn't help her as much as he might have. Still, I think it is cute, and the effort is as important as the end result at this point, at least to me!

This proves to me, however, that I need a better system for knowing what books are on the shelves! Anyone have a good way of keeping track of books you own? I am all ears!

Bird classification

One of the labs in our science curriculum required going to the zoo or a nature area to view birds of different kinds. We have a great zoo, with lots of birds. We were looking forward to going!

Then Kutey fell ill. I put it off, but well, it was holding up the unit to not get the lab done! When Kutey was still sick on Saturday, I started pulling together pictures of birds to do a virtual visit to a zoo. I did try to find a zoo or aviary that had a web cam to make it a little more like a visit to the zoo, but, well, I couldn't find one.


So I collected pictures. Many of them came from Nature's Pic's. Beautiful pictures, wide variety. I printed them 8 to a page, cut them out, then hung them on the walls of the house in 5 different locations. There was a tropical area, birds of the antarctic, the African Savanna, a water habitat, and birds we see in our area.

Once I had them all set up, Kiddo and I went to each area and talked about all of the birds. The idea was to put each bird into one of seven groups. It isn't about being right, the process is what mattered. As long as Kiddo could tell me what his reasoning was for putting a particular bird into a particular group, it was fine. I did the writing--I wanted him to enjoy the activity, the writing would have made it less fun for him.

He loved it! I asked a lot of questions in the beginning, making sure he understood why a bird was going to a particular category. As we went on, however, Kiddo was telling me why as he classified the animal. I asked less questions, because it was obvious he understood.

We will still do the activity when we are able to get to the zoo, but sometimes you just have to punt. This activity worked well enough for now!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up--February 18, 2011

We had a productive week this week,in spite of illness. We didn't get to everything I had hoped, but we got through enough to make us feel good about what we accomplished.


Valentine's Day was Monday. We had the three kids I watch on Mondays here for some Valentine's fun. We played games, read about Valentine's Day, and had a special Valentine's treat!

Tuesday is our regular Tuesday group day. We had originally planned to go sledding. Unfortunately we have had exceptionally warm weather (in the 40s!), which has melted a great deal of our snow. As it turned out, two families couldn't make it this week, and my kids wanted to go no where. So we invited the remaining family out to our house. The kids spent the afternoon playing, while my friend T and I chatted about everything and anything.


We spent Wednesday working on school. We started our study of birds in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count. The lab we did was fun and SO easy! We also studied the Greek gods, and Kiddo worked on Mount Olympus.

2011,Mystery Class

Kutey fell ill Wednesday night, so our planned trip to the Zoo to work on our bird study had to be postponed. Instead, on Thursday, we read a little, caught up on all of our Mystery Class work, and played a lot.

Kutey was still not feeling well on Friday, so we stayed home again. We were able to get our Mystery Class information recorded and get through our regular school work. We also started the Great Backyard Bird Count, with much success, at least for us!

Curriculum for the week:
  • We read chapter 23 in Story of the World, Vol. 1, focusing on the Greek gods. Kiddo also read "The Gods of Olympus."
  • We began Unit 23 in R.E.A.L Science Odyssey-Life, studying birds. We only got through one lab, unfortunately, so we will be spending more time on this unit next week.
  • Kiddo is still working through Explode the Code 5 1/2. I showed this piece of our curriculum to my friend T on Tuesday when she was here. She commented that her daughter could read all of it, so she wasn't sure how it would be helpful. Kiddo has no trouble with reading the content. I view it more as a way to teach the rules, or at the very least reviewing the rules in a more organized and formal manner. I'm not actively teaching him how to read anymore, simply making sure the foundation is well established.
  • Kiddo also continued to move ahead in math. I have been extremely pleased with his progress. He actually seems to be catching the material! I need to be more consistent with his math, that seems to be helping immensely. We have been doing it right away every morning, I think we will continue that pattern. I am also planning some funnish activities for place value review and I hope to bring out the dice games again. Reviewing them regularly seems to help, too.
  • Kutey did some fun patterning work and some sorting with fun valentine manipulatives. She was too ill the latter part of the week to do much else. I have read Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book many, MANY times this week. It is her current favorite. I yawn every time I start reading it.
I am contemplating a self-inflicted quarantine for the next week. We have been sick far too often this winter. I feel like if we continue to go out, we might never get well!

We are linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Click to see what others did this week!

The Great Backyard Bird Count--2011

The Great Backyard Bird Count has begun!

We are having better luck than we did last year or the year before.

This year, Kiddo is eager to look up the birds we see. He is also eager to hear them, and thanks to the book Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song. It has most of the common birds we see, making it easy to hear them while we continue our viewing.

Are you counting this year? How is it going?

Cleaning between the couch cushions

No I didn't find any money (sadly).

I found 6 pens and 4 pencils.

No wonder I never have a writing implement! The couch eats them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Greek Gods


In history this week we have been studying the Greek Gods. Kiddo has a fair amount of interest in this area, so it has been a fun week! After we read our chapter in Story of the World, Vol. 1, I asked Kiddo to read "Gods of Olympus."

I picked this book up at the T*rget Dollar Spot a bit ago, knowing that Kiddo was interested. It was a perfect fit for this chapter! It also worked well as the first test of a new system we are working on. I'll share it once we get a few more kinks worked out. I used it as "guided reading," where I get to pick what he reads. He reads a lot these days, but sometimes I need him to read something more specific to what we are studying. And it worked! Not only did he read it, but he liked it. Whew.

After he read the book, I asked him to draw a picture of the home of the gods. He set to work, and finished it in record time. Then he picked out LEGO mini-figurines to represent each to the gods in the book. Once you have picked out LEGO mini-figs for each god, what's left to do? Oh, right, build Mount Olympus out of LEGOS!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Journey North Mystery Class

2011,Mystery Class

From the Journey North Mystery Class website:
The Mystery Class investigation is an eleven week hunt in which students try to find ten secret "Mystery Classes" hiding around the globe. The changing amount of sunlight at each site is the central clue.
I had not heard of Mystery class until this year. If I had heard of it before, we likely would have participated prior to this year! The upside is that Kiddo is probably more interested this year than he might have been previously.

In the beginning, it is mostly recording data. We started late; I have trouble adding new things into our day! We recorded two weeks worth at once. We are graphing the amount of daylight (the photoperiod) each of the 10 mystery classes has along with the amount of daylight we have. Even after only 2 weeks, you can tell which classes are in the southern hemisphere (losing daylight), and which are in the northern (gaining daylight). Kiddo caught on before I said anything. We have also gotten to use our globe to talk about latitude and travel along our parallel to see what else lies along it. Quite interesting.

We are very much looking forward to finding out more about the locations! I am also hoping to get Kiddo to journal a bit of this. They have journal pages each week, I just haven't been able to work them in yet...

Thanks to the bloggers who posted about this before it started! I saw it first on Here in the Bonny Glen and Canadian Home Learning. I love the internet!

How do birds stay dry?

We started our bird unit in science this week, in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend! I didn't get the books requested from the library, but they will be in soon, so we went ahead and started the labs, anyway. The first lab recommends going to a zoo to view and observe the different birds. Both of my kids have colds. Kutey's is nasty. The zoo was out of the question. So we moved on to lab 2: how do birds stay dry.


The lab was quite simple, but demonstrated the idea very well. Birds oil their feathers, oil and water don't mix, so the oil repels the water and the bird stays dry.


We had 2 "bird" bags--we oiled one, left the other one as is. Then we sprayed with water. I stuck my hand inside as they kids sprayed. I might have pretended the "bird" was flying. Maybe.

Not oiled:


It was immediately obvious what the difference was. I think the kids enjoyed using the spray bottle the most.

This is from Unit 23 in R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey-Life 1.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Capture My Heart Bingo


When I had extra kids here for Valentine's day, I wanted to do some extra fun games and things. A few years ago, I made "Capture My Heart" bingo cards at a MOMS Club function. I made the cards, but we never played the game. In the time since then the pieces used to call the game have gotten lost, though I still have the cards. The game, however, seemed like fun! So I made my own set of cards for the kids on Monday.

The game is played a lot like bingo, but instead of trying to fill in a whole row, you are trying to fill all the spaces that touch a heart that has been placed on a square on your card. The heart can either be placed by an opponent or by the player. We did the latter. You can use a foam heart (you know, the ones that you stick on things for crafts. My kids love those!) or, for added fun, use a candy or marshmallow that can be eaten when the game is won! We used heart shaped marshmallows, which the kids adored.


It wasn't a fast game. I had to call nearly all 36 items to get a winner. Then I called more to get everyone to "win," at their request. We basically filled the whole card every time. But they loved it. Next time, I might just let them use the heart as a "free" space, and try to get a regular bingo. The game might go faster that way!

I have uploaded the cards here, if you care to play the game yourself. The last page is the pieces to cut up to call the game. Each card has the same 36 pictures, just in different orders. It was easier for me if they all had the same things--the kids knew they would find the item on their card. You could also play by passing the call cards around in a bowl and letting each person draw one, call it, and everyone cover it. Lots of options!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Snacking

What's better than rice crispy treats?


Rice crispy treats with Valentine sprinkles, of course!

Lots of things are better with sprinkles.


Monday's Randomness


  • I put on my oh-so-fun Happy Valentine's Day special socks this morning.


  • A short time later they had a hole in them. So sad. Kind of how the rest of the day felt!
  • I have 3 extra kids today, which is normal, but somehow today has thrown me off completely.
  • The weather is warm enough that I sent all 5 kids outside to play for a while...and they complained the entire time they were out there.

  • I had to deal with this when they came in. And all of it was wet. Really wet.
  • I made rice krispie bars, and they are gooooooooood.
  • Can I make them into a meal?
  • Instead of taking a nap today, C (who is the youngest of the children I take care of) cried. And cried. And cried.
  • It was just that kind of day.

Book Sharing Monday--Celebrate Valentine's Day

I like to read books to my kids that are not just stories that take place on a holiday, but that also explain the holiday. Valentine's day is fun, but I like to go to the why do we celebrate, too!


National Geographic puts out a number of series I like, but this series was new to me. Holidays Around the World. Valentine's Day doesn't seem like it lends itself well to an "Around the World" look, but this book has enough information on the history of the holiday, the legend around St. Valentine (though told more in depth in other books), and fun tidbits to make it worth the read .


I love this picture! As is true with National Geographic's magazine, the captions for the pictures are not just a word or two. They provide a great amount of information.

At the back of the book, there is a page of quick facts about the holiday, along with a recipe for cookies and a game suggestion. We actually played the game, and the kids enjoyed it!

I'm linking to Book Sharing Monday at Canadian Home Learning.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up--February 11, 2011

It was a fairly uneventful week here. Sometimes, though, that is best!

We had a busy, but extremely fun weekend, culminating in watching the Super Bowl with family. So much fun!


On Monday we ventured out to downtown Minneapolis for the Physics Force Physics Circus. While I greatly dislike driving into downtown, the presentation was well worth the stress! The kids loved it. I'll definitely have it on the schedule when it is presented again!


Tuesday was bitterly cold. After great debate, we headed out anyway. We hit the zoo again with our Tuesday group. Sometimes it is nice to go walk through the lush green and flowers of the tropics trail when it is really, REALLY cold.


We spent Wednesday and Thursday just doing some of our regular school work, getting plenty of time to read and play, trying to stay warm, and of course, playing with LEGOS. We also finally began some of our Groundhog's Day study. We will be finishing it up next week, doing some note booking.


The temperatures on Friday rebounded enough that we went to the library to pick up a few books about Valentine's Day...pickings were slim, but we got a couple! We also finished up a plant lab.

In our curriculum this week:
  • Kiddo started Explode the Code 5 1/2. This is all review from book 5. It is one of the things he can do completely independently from me, which is great!
  • Kiddo also started the next Math book. It is going better than I anticipated! Math has sometimes been painful for us, mostly because I don't explain it in a way that Kiddo understands. We're working on it...
  • We read chapter 22 in Story of the World Vol. 1. I have been a bit lax with the extra activities the last couple of weeks. I might throw in a week where we simply review by doing all the extra activities I have planned, then skipped. It could be fun!
  • In science, we are finally wrapping up our study of plants. We finished Unit 28, but the leaves on our plant for Unit 27 refuse to cooperate. Next week will start our study of birds (Unit 23) in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count.
  • Kiddo continued to read, read, read! YAY! He is still working on Harry Potter, but loves it. He also started one of Mary Pope Osborne's books on the Odyssey. We are listening to all of them, but when Kiddo realized what we were listening to, he remembered he had one of the books on his book shelf. It was a clearance purchase from Half-Price Books, 50 cents. Love it when it works out that way!
  • Kutey did some work on numbers this week. We used floor numbers to practice putting them in order and to practice number recognition.
  • I made some pattern cards for Kutey wot work on as well. A post on that is forthcoming (with printables!)
We have Valentine's fun and games planned for the upcoming week--along with the regular school work, of course!

We are linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Click to see what others did this week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Plants get water from their roots!

We were finally able to see some visual evidence that plants get their water through their roots, not through their leaves.


The difference was mainly in the flowers, but it was sufficient to allow the kids to see the difference, which was the important part. When we measured, though, we did find that the pink plant had grown a centimeter while the red plant was actually 3 centimeters shorter. The leaves were that much less rigid. We only measured to the top of the leaves, not the flowers, since those have a cycle and may or may not have been there when it came time to measure.


Once we completed the lab, we pulled out the foil and watered them both at the roots. The red flowers had perked back up by the end of the day when Daddy came home. He noticed right away that we had watered it.

Once we finished up that lab, we talked about the different parts of the plant and what part of what plant we eat. The curriculum calls for making a "Plant Parts Salad," but, well, the idea did not appeal to my kids or myself. We made a list of what we could put in, but we didn't make a salad.

Our final plant lab is still in a holding pattern. We are STILL waiting for the leaves on the plant to change color!!! Apparently our plant is just too healthy, which is odd, since I horribly neglect my plants!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Kiddo has been reading the first book of the Harry Potter series for a couple of weeks now. It is a bit of a leap for his reading level, not that he is a poor reader, but this is a bit more than what he had been reading. He has stepped up to the challenge quite nicely.

The added benefit is that he is also extending in other areas because of this. He has been drawing the entire story in "story board" fashion. He has a book of potions and spells going. He writes down the spell, what the wand motion is, and what it does. He writes down the potion, the ingredients, and how to mix it. That is more voluntary writing than he has done for a while!

It has also invaded his LEGO play. He knows there are Harry Potter LEGO sets. We look at them every time we go to T*rget, but we own none of them. Don't worry, they are on his list, but he has to wait for a gift season to get them. That has not, however, stopped him from creating Harry Potter scenes from pieces he has. This weeks masterpiece was Gringotts.


He worked on this in between reading and school work.


Tweaking things here and there.


Before he was finally happy with how it came out.


I love how he made Hagrid and hid his wand in an umbrella. I also love how he put the characters in motion.

It took over the dining room table.
(forgive the blurry photo...still haven't figured out what is going on with the camera. I am researching new ones, if any one has any suggestions...)