Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dangerous Density and Other fun Stuff

Last week's science club was a bit crazy. We studied density, so of course we made rainbow density liquids.  You start with honey, then syrup, soap, water, oil, alcohol, and on top is lamp oil (might have missed a liquid or two) and they all nicely float on top of one another because of their different densities.

Well, it was one little girl's first time to my science club. I had not even considered wearing eye protection (which I have for everyone) for this experiment, because I saw no need. After everyone had seen how everything was floating on top of everything else, they asked if they could shake it up "sure." Could they get lids to make that easier "sure."

Wrong judgement call. TWO kids got squirted in the eye! Including the new girl. I ended up squirting them with my sink hose, and things were not pretty. Well, at least they seem fine and their moms don't hate me. The girl even wants to come back, but wants her own eye wear from now on!

Later that week we did this particular experiment again with just my boys because Hyrum opted out during the club, and I wanted him to have a chance. I was also going to get him another helium balloon because he wasn't able to get his voice to change with helium.

Hyrum gets lost in big groups, which is weird because he's an entertainer. I guess when he's not in control, then the noise and chaos get to him. But I'm mainly doing science for my kids, so if Hyrum gets left behind, what's the point?

So we did somethings again for Hyrum (and my other boys don't mind.) This time we used eye wear.

I didn't do science club this week because my boys had thrown up the day before...yah, one of those weeks...

For history we learned about ancient Persia.  Let's just be honest here though: My history has gone down the tube. I was freaking awesome four years ago, and now...if we get to it, we get to it.

For our activity, we made our very own genie in a lamp. What was supposed to be like this:

It most disappointingly turned out to be this:

I'm not sure what went wrong. I thought I got all the right ingredients and stuff.....ugh I hate when I can't get science to be as cool as I want it to be.

This week, however, I have started making my boys memorize the first half of the CLassical Conversations Timeline song. So that counts for something....right?

Now for a quick math update on Maxwell- He doing multiple digit multiplication like a pro.

And Daniel has asked that I skip ahead to where he learns how to tell time because he really wants a watch. He already knows how to skip count by 5s, so that was easy to say yes to.

And I must say I'm quite proud of myself and Daniel. Daniel's writing has been AWFUL. I mean, it's not too bad for a first grader, but anyway.....he couldn't grasp that you need to separate words. We have been diligently working on this, and his writing has gone from this:

Uhhh....what are you trying to say?......

To This:

Of course, I was over his shoulder with this one, but even writing on his own, he remembers the spaces now.

And last but not least, this week my boys went to a few classes at the alternate school. Heather, the principle, taught a mindfulness class. HALLELUYAH! This is exactly what I've known Hyrum has needed in...forever.

He was so funny, he decided he didn't want to take part in the class (no shocker) but look on and see if it was interesting enough to join. Heather said it was like he was auditing her class.

Well he did find the classes interesting, and he internalized some things.  When I ask him to do things now, he disappears. Then he resurfaces a few minutes later and says "I had to go to a quiet place to find my calm." Lol I love that boy.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A REALLY long post about science, Halloween, and HAWAII

Well, it's been awhile. I've really meant to post, but I was so busy getting ready to leave my life behind while in Hawaii, that I kept on thinking "I'll have time on the plane" and then my computer went haywire.

So yah, here I am over a month later, by hey, Here I Am!

Back a long long time early October...we were still learning about Egypt. I had bought more celery, so I made more papyrus with Hyrum and Maxwell. I've found that Hyrum actually does enjoy crafts, but he needs me to 100% support him and not have distractions.

Of course Maxwell wanted to make more papyrus....because he's Maxwell. He made his as perfect as he possibly could with weaving it.

Hyrum is so funny. When the papyrus had finally dried, he ATE it! Yuck. His way of being funny, the little stinker.

We also did Cartouches out of sand. Everyone really enjoyed this. Abby was very particular about hers and it turned out great:

The younger boys were not quite so particular....especially William, who, in the end, mixed all the sand together and put it with glue and was delighted with the result.

I think I said in the last post how when I teach about Egypt I planned teaching about Bible teachings too. Well I did Abraham at least. I found this super cute book that I will buy later about Abraham as a little boy.

I love it because when my boys wanted to name our Abraham "Abraham" all I could think of was that it was an old man's name, but this book helped me change my mind about that.

That week's science was fun. My sister-in-law Heather helped me, and was my camera man. She took a lot of photos which was a new experience. Most times when we are doing something really cool I remember to take one quick photo, or I remember after class and take something leftover.

You can't see how many experiments I actually do with just one photo, so I decided to show all her photos to give you a better sense of what my science class is like:

We start off with a Brainpop video about the changing states of matter (which is our topic of the week:)

Then we bring out ice and boil water, and show the condensation on the bottom of the ice tray:

We then get a balloon that was put in the freezer and put it over the steam to show how the air expands as it gets hotter:

Then we put ice cubes on the lid of a jar of hot water.  It was supposed to create a cloud on top of the ice, but ummm, I wasn't thinking and it wasn't working so I put the jar on the broke.....yah....

We put string around ice cubes and pulled tight to talk about how you can change states of matter through pressure. Didn't work too well, but I remember it working four years ago....maybe the string was too thick this time.

I showed them some butter I had melted earlier that I had then re-solidified. It had a hole in the middle of the jar. That was to show how it got smaller as it became a solid.

Than I showed them a frozen water bottle that was bulging and we talked about how water was the only matter that expanded when it becomes solid.

Then we took bottles and put cornstarch and vinegar together to blow up a balloon. We talked about how a solid and a liquid were making a gas, and gas takes up more room than solids and liquids, so that is why the balloon blew up. I had a lot of kids and no bottles. I went down to the bottle depot to get some, and they gave me BEER bottles! Haha, oh well.

Then we made alka seltzer and film canister bombs to show how gases WILL expand, even if they have to blow up their container to do it:

(this was a big hit....pun intended)

Then we played with cornstarch and water and talked about polymers again, because we didn't get to that the previous week, and it's way too fun to skip.

So there you have it! What my science club really looks like. Including all the mishaps.

In the middle of October we had Canadian THanksgiving.

Hehehehehe isn't he cute? My little turkey.

Good friends and food. Although I don't like celebrating Columbus instead of the pilgrims. I'm not sure I'll ever get over that.

And now it's time for a math moment:

I knew I needed to get done with a certain amount of math lessons before I left for Hawaii so I wouldn't be behind schedule.

Hyrum's math book has more lessons in it than the other boys for some reason, so I was working with him like crazy to get it all done in time.

He is AMAZING!!! He understood everything I threw at him, and kept up at my fast pace.

He is learning the concept of multiplication. Although, I have to be careful of how I word the problems. I first introduced it as "groups of a number" and he totally got it. Then Rightstart told me to change what I said and say "a number taken this many times" like "5 taken 6 times is 30" BUT this totally confused Hyrum because he associates the word "taken" with subtraction. We always say "6 take away 5 is 1."

I thought this was an interesting manifestation of his learning style.

He also has mastered telling time. I could see some troubles he was having, especially with memorizing the 15, 30, and 45 minute placement on the clock, so I decided to make a movie for him. I'm quite proud of it:

It totally worked, and he can tell time quite well, so I bought him a wristwatch as his reward.

Oops...that's sideways, oh well.

He's also adding long numbers. He puts the place values together like a pro. We practiced with place value manipulatives to get things visualized, and Hyrum loved making towers out of it as he did his math:

Notice we were doing math at night? Yep. Double time was needed.

The next science club we had was AWESOME.  I decided to have a whole day devoted to dry ice! In Canada it's hard to get dry ice, and I had to drive to Lethbridge to a welding supply store to get it. But it was worth it!

I found tons of experiments on line to do with dry ice, and we did every one that was semi-safe. We even made dry ice ice cream! Dustin made it. Dustin helped me the whole time, thankfully.

It was the last time we were doing science before Halloween, so I told everyone that it was a halloween party and to dress up. Dry ice goes very nicely with Halloween.

We did those huge dry ice bubbles that you always see Steve Spangler do:

And we "carved" a pumpkin with a dry ice bomb!

We made the dry ice into a really cold liquid and froze things quickly and we blew up balloons with it, and well, dry ice is just one of the coolest things ever!

We did learn about the science behind it, so it was educational I swear!

One of the coolest parts of the party was my friend, Cayleen Blackmore's, contributions. Out of nowhere, she decided to make the ENTIRE periodic table out of COOKIES!!!

Get it? the Tin man ate the Tin cookie! Hehehehe

Also, Cayleen watched my little men during the party!  THANK YOU!!!

And we continued to preemptively celebrate Halloween by carving pumpkins! Dustin and Tyson got out their hand saws....I'm serious. They hand sawed their pumpkins.

It ended up to be quite memorable.

And now for a English moment:

Along with getting to a certain point with math, I needed to get to a certain point with reading and spelling.  Hyrum is going at his pace, and I'm not stressing. He is who he is, and he will learn and I might have to do some innovations, but it will come.

Maxwell was on target to finish Barton book 5 by the end of the semester, but after Hawaii, I really doubt that will happen, but Maxwell is really feeling more and more confident about reading everyday and that is something that is wonderful.

Daniel has finished book two!!

Remember how I said that IF Daniel has Dyslexia, it's really mild? I still stand by that. I'm excited to see where he goes this year with reading.

I have been uh...bribing...uh encouraging my kids to read their books by paying them, and they all decided to save up their money to go to the LEGO STORE!!!

Oh my goodness my boys were in heaven! You can fill up a bucket of legos for around $7 in the back and you can make your own guys, and they spent an hour at least deciding on how to do this the best way for them.

The Lego Store nearest us is in Calgary, which is over 2 1/2 hours away, but we knew we were going there for the airport anyway because......GRANDMA AND GRANDPA CAME!!!

.....and I was a little unsure if they could handle my crazy crew, but I knew that they loved them, so it was going to be okay for me to leave to......


I had never gone to Hawaii before, and wow. It was everything it was cracked up to be.

And it was the best time to go to Hawaii because we had so much family there.  I bumped into sister in laws at the store. We also went all together to the beach or on a hike or whatever, but Dustin and I could slip away and be ALONE at any time. PARADISE!  

We were all there because of a beautiful wedding between my nephew, Ammon and Mia.

He is my only McKay niece or nephew that was not primarily homeschooled. But hey, he was homeschooled for a couple of years, so there: He's a homeschool success ;)

I had three things I really wanted to do while I was in Hawaii:

1:  Go to Pearl Harbour- a good experience, but I must be honest, everyone says how impactful it is to see the oil still coming out of the Arizona, but for me I couldn't help thinking "they're hurting the bay! Stop the oil!"

2: Get a lai at the Polynesian Cultural Centre-  So....we decided to go as a group to the PCC, but everyone went on a hike to swim in some waterfalls in the morning, so we weren't there when PCC opened, and we all got in for SUPER cheap because my niece's good friend who works there let us in. But I didn't care if I got in for cheap, I wanted the LUAU!!! I wanted the LAI!!! But it was sold out :( I felt like crying and I was kicking myself that I waited to get tickets with the group. But really, I knew I would see a lot of dancing so I didn't mind about the Luau....but I WANTED THE LAI!!! Not only that, I wanted a beautiful Hawaiian girl to put it on me while saying "Aloha."  I had made this very clear to everyone from the beginning of our trip or before, and so my niece's friend told me not to worry, that I would get my Lai, and I did!

So the PCC ended up being everything I hoped and more. I felt the spirit as I thought about the church and its way of letting so many wonderful people get their education for free, and share their culture with the world.

In fact, it's been a 150 years since the church bought the land in Laie, so there was a special devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson on Sunday night, and it was so neat to go to and feel the spirit of this unique amazing place.

And last but not least:
3: To swim with Turtles- I heard that my best chance of swimming with turtles was at Hanauma Bay from my sister, Danette (who might be the only one who will read a post this long...Hi!) So I was excited. But although I saw tons of fish, no turtles. 

Then something started to hurt my leg! What was it?! I started flailing around and around trying to figure out what was going on, only to realise that I was wrapping myself up in the tendrils of a JELLYFISH! I kinda freaked out....a lot. But it only hurt for a couple of hours after the lifeguard doused me in vinegar. And now it's a good story.

That day ended up being my favourite day. We ate lunch in Haleiwa, snorkeled in Sharks cove (a very protected cove where no jellyfish could come.)  But we also went to a Laneakia beach where turtles are reported to hang out pretty consistently. 

There were no turtles on the main beach, so I wandered off alone over the rocks and all these big crabs ran away from me and led my eye to my TURTLE!!  It was a very magical moment for me.

And I did actually swim with Turtles too. Dustin and my main thing we did in Hawaii was snorkeling. We spent more time underwater than above at times! (Although I was very cautious after meeting my jellyfish friend.) And when we went to Electric beach, we spent lots of time chilling out with turtles in the water. Wow.

But we had to get home and back to life and homeschool (sorry to get off topic, but I couldn't resist.) We had specifically gotten back on this day so we wouldn't miss.......


We got back just in time for the play, and the first time my kids saw me after the trip was while they were on stage. We couldn't help waving at each other.

It turned out to be so cute. The sets were amazing, the costumes were cute and the special effects were cute too.  Of course I might be a little biased.

I think it's so important for kids to be in plays. It's such a good way for them to work as a team for a common goal where the end product is so rewarding.

Even Abraham got into the spirit of it all.

Daniel and Hyrum were munchkins. Hyrum was a "tough guy" munchkins that sings about the lollypop guild. And boy did he ever ham it up. He was meant for the stage.

Maxwell was a cyclone, rainbow chorus, wincky and Ozian guard. "NOT NO WAY! NOT NO HOW!"

Love it.

I kinda felt like I cheated by having my parents deal with all the craziness of the play while I was off in paradise.  My mom had planned on teaching my kids all about England, and I asked her to teach them a bit about old testament stories (Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and David....all the ones I'm behind in.) But the play took so much time, all she got in was Joseph and made some pyramids. She kept saying "I don't know how you do all that you do." which made me feel good.

It was such a blessing to have my parents watching my kids and loving them just as much as I would. My mom said it was a personal revelation to watch them, because she realized that she had done everything she could while raising her kids, and that if she went back she would do it the same. That gave her peace to know that she had given it her all.

Another impactful story she shared was how she could not get Hyrum to do his job, the dishes, so she went away and prayed and came back and said she would do it with him and put on a timer, and he happily complied.

Here's my mom's perspective of the week:

You are amazing, and you are doing work that far out exceeds the work of a CEO, or other of the  world leaders in some organization, or something. Hey when I was tending your kids I thought Lindy has ten more years of this, but you will keep getting better and better.  I was pleased with how Hyrum  and Maxwell did their reading with me (before the iPad broke) That was my bribe to get them to read.  I watched them play on the iPad and it seemed harmless enough, so it seemed like a good bribe, but now I know that couldn't work long if I wanted to accomplish all of the things you do, but Hyrum was very, very, motivated and would bring 12 books at a time, and he would read them as fast as possible.  I learned from taking a Spanish class that feedback was important to me to learn Spanish.  Like the recording of Spanish words kept confirming (that is correct) all the time, so I did that with Hryum ,  I kept saying very good, that is correct, over and over and he tried to read faster and faster, but it is like riding a bike you have to kind of get a rhythm, but Hyrum is smart he soon memorized the pages, and didn't want to do the blue books that were harder, so I would have to think of a new strategy if I had more time.  Maxwell did the same thing.  I kept telling him that he was getting the rhythm. Trouble with teaching little ones you have to learn by trial and error, but the little children are so forgiving.  No wonder the Savior said that unless you become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.  You are doing a marvelous job with your kids, that's why they were obedient with me, because they did not like my rules of asking if they could go down stairs.  I needed that, because I wanted to know where they were all the time. I thought I could not of home schooled when my kids were little because I was not educated, but home schooling is much more than being a mother who is educated, it is dedication to the Max.  It is inspiration, it is  perspiration, and a million things more than that.  When you are done raising these little boys you will know that you did all you could do.

Don't I have a great mom? She also said to Hyrum "Hey, your mom will be glad to hear you reading so well" and he said "No, then she would make me go to the next level." That stinker.

Hyrum has got on a kick of creating games out of lego pieces. He makes up the game board, the rules, the storyline, and everything.  Although sometimes he changes things to ensure that he'll win.....hmmm.

Grandma and Grandpa were very sweet to play his games with him....and let him win.

I think my dad had a harder time than my mom, but before they flew home, we went to Waterton where my dad got to touch some "wild" deer, and that made all the difference.

It was sad to see mom and dad go.

Then there was another very sad departure. My Brother-in-law's family moved back to Arizona. They have spent 5 months in our basement apartment, and to kids, that's a very long time. They had become like siblings. They loved eachother so much and got along so well. I'm not sure how we will get along without them!

Daniel said the other day "It's not right! They're family! They should live with us!"

It snowed a day before they left, so at least they got some Alberta fun before they went back to dessert.

And then things got back to normal. I even did science club this week. We learned about the different ways to identify elements. One of the funnest ways, of course, is to BURN it to see what colour flame it is! Turns out Boric Acid is green:

Well, I think that about sums it all up. I think this is my longest post yet.

And to make it a bit longer, Daniel wanted me to include this photo of him and his fingers that were badly hurt when he was roughhousing outside.