Monday, November 24, 2014

Williamsburg and Fun Machines

This week we learned about simple machines i.e. levers. It was a short lesson, and at the end I showed them a Rube Goldberg machine, and had them make up their own. What a success! Here's a Rube Goldberg machine:

He uses crazy stuff to do a mundane job. Here are my boys' drawings:

Daniel:
 Maxwell:
 Hyrum:

Every kid at science was so excited to explain what their machine did and how they did it. It was way cute. It got creative juices flowing, and excitement out the roof.




We also studied Williamsburg. We read Meet Felicity and watched the movie for our activity. I think if I had a girl, I would be obsessed with the American Girl world. As it is, Maxwell requested to read all the Felicity books, and I happily ordered them from the library.


And as followups from last week, Maxwell made a beaver habitat of his own volition.


And the alternate school finished their tree for the Festival of trees. I spot a few of our decorations on it. Fun fun.


That's all I have to report, because for the rest of the week, Dustin and I went on a pre-christmas retreat. Whoo Hoo!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The hat that changed the world.

This week we learned about the fur trade, namely the Hudson Bay Company. Of course, we talked all about beaver hats.  We learned how there might not be a Canada (for sure not the Canada we know) without the beaver hat craze.

Hyrum was quite distraught. He didn't like talking about killing beavers. We ended up watching two documentaries about the beaver (WOW what an animal!) and I think in the end we learned more about the importance of beaver conservation than beaver hat making.  Haha.


We also got around to talking about the Filles du Roi. Not sure if my kids would recognize the french name, but if you asked them about the daughters of the king in Canada, I bet they could give you an educated response.

I found a series that's like Magic Tree House books, but Canadian focused called "Canadian Flyer." They have a Filles du Roi book called "Lost in the Snow." I think it's very fitting that the US has a magic tree house while Canada has a magic snow sled.

For our activity we made Christmas tree ordimants out of old books. This might have nothing to do with Filles du Roi who I'm sure didn't throw away books, but the alternate school is putting together a tree for the festival of trees, and asked everyone to chip in.


We also talked about the 7 Year War, also know as the French and Indian war. When I was looking for books at the library on this subject I forgot that this war had two names. I was frustrated that I couldn't find anything on the Seven Year War, but now I look, and can find lots on the French and Indian War. Oops.

Oh well, the History of US account was sufficient. Although I'm thinking I might get some kind of version of "Last of the Mohicans" to read anyway.

This was one of those history subjects that was interesting to learn from both Canada and US perspectives.

For our activity we made hoecakes. I couldn't find a hoe, so we used a small shovel (covered in tinfoil.) I got the idea for this out of the Four Year Plan book, which has tons of recipes. I just assumed that they had a recipe for hoecakes since they suggest making them, but when I was ready to do the activity, they said "just do the recipe in this book"


Well, I didn't have that book, so I got a recipe from Paula Deen. They ended up to be really tasty.


And as for Science, we didn't have science because it was Remembrance day. Canadians know how to do this holiday justice. Cardston had a Remembrance day service. Maxwell took part as a cub scout.

Truly Canadian.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

William Penn, My Hero

Up until this year, I didn't know much about William Penn. I was listening to Story of the World with my kids (I SOOO RECOMMEND THIS SERIES!!!) and there was a section in there about him, and I fell in love with his story.  I knew we needed to study him as part of our history.

A Religious Freedom story at it's finest.

We made pull taffy as our activity. I made it too hard. They could hardly pull it, and then it turned into HARD candy. I got it as hot as the directions, but I think I won't let it get that hot when I try this again.


For science, we learned about potential and Kinetic energy.  As part of it, we got out a Mouse Trap game I borrowed from the alternate school. Has anyone got this game to work well? I never can.


But what the kids really liked was this youtube video about potential and kinetic energy (well---it is!) So cool, check it out:


I also took some experiments from Steve Spangler. He's a hero in my boy's eyes. They could watch his youtube channel for hours.

And this week, Heather Burton put together a fun morning of good food and good work to celebrate the book "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Such a good book. I enjoyed reading it with Maxwell.


I so appreciate Heather and all those in this community who make homeschool a group effort. Heather even gave Maxwell a pumpkin. Although, it was not milk fed like Almanzos. ;)


Also, I went to a couple meeting teaching about the brain. I am a little obsessed with learning about the brain these days. It really fascinates me. It affects how I interact with my kids. In fact, after this week I plan on working with Hyrum differently before his one-on-one schooling. I plan on doing simple messages and words of affirmation before we start learning.

Hyrum had a traumatic birth and he got hit by a horse as a toddler. I feel that it is up to me to do everything I can to help his brain and skin on skin touch has been proven to overcome brain damage. We are already doing a bit of Brain Gym and we always have fish oil, but bit by bit I need to include more and take out more that will help my kids.

Anyway, here's a couple awesome videos that Alberta Family Wellness has put out about the brain:





And that's it for this week. I was going to teach about the Filles du Roi, but I had THREE extra boys all week long since my friend and her husband went down to Utah, and I think I did pretty awesome just plugging along, and Filles du Roi will have to wait.



Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween, with Pirates, Witches, and Scary Closets

Happy Halloween! I LOVE this holiday.

Here's my cute crew...

My William dragon.

 My Abraham puppy.
 Hyrum the scary lizard.
 My vampires, Maxwell and Daniel.

 And my cute hubby. As ummmm a guy from the past I guess.

Fun fun. Our history went along with the season. We learned about pirates (I used to do pirates at the beginning of modern world history, but I decided I had more time this year than that year, so I changed it.)

We dressed up, made Blackbeard's jolly rogers, and went on a treasure hunt.





We also learned about the Salem witch trials. We carved pumpkins as our activity.



For science, we learned about different kinds of energy (Light, heat, nuclear, etc) As one experiment we lit sparklers and talked about the different kinds of energy it was making.


And as for scary closets---take a look at what my school closet USED to look like:


yah, scary-----but check out what it looks like NOW!


BOOM BA DA BOOM! No more searching frantically for that eye dropper while a dozen kids are waiting for me and the next experiment. I KNOW WHERE IT IS NOW!!! WHOO HOOO!

And my kids have finally memorized where all 50 US states are.


Well, Maxwell memorized it at least.

Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Iroquois, Hurons, Wampanoag, and Newton

Well, I did it. I finally did two history activities in one week.  Oh man, I need to shape up this year.

We did continue to learn more  about Champlain, the iroquois and Hurons. I still have more books I want to read.  I. have. more. books. I. want. to. read. always.

Anyway, we played Lacrosse as our activity since the Iroquois made the game up. It was slow going at first because the dollar store sticks (I'm in Canada, all dollar stores sell them here,) had huge nets that made it so you couldn't throw the ball. They worked much better once we fixed that.


We also learned about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. I LOVE this story. I love that it's about religious freedom. I love that they created their own government. I love that there were already fields ready for them to plant. (Although I don't love that the reason for this was all the natives dying of smallpox before the pilgrims arrived.) I love that they treated the wampanoags like fellow human beings and signed a treaty with them that boths sides actually kept. I love that Squanto helped them so selflessly. I just love it.

We "planted" corn (i couldn't find candy corn, so it was reeses pieces) and fishy crackers in our pudding/oreo dirt with gummy worms. WAY too many sweets. My boys loved it. Shocker.


As for science, we learned Newton's other two laws of motion. We used swings to teach his second law about force, acceleration, and mass.


Yep. Swings in my garage. My husband is AWESOME.

And we made paddle boats, balloon rockets, and air rockets to learn about how every action has a reaction.


Yep. Homemade air rocket. Did I mention that my husband is AWESOME?

Also, my cute sister in law did a couple on-the-fly experiments with Maxwell.


I would also like to share how well Daniel is doing at kindergarten. He is doing wonderful with his handwriting:


And he has memorized his "Yellow is the Sun" song from Rightstart. And as per tradition, here is the cutie:


And here's another cutie who loves to sit smack dab in the middle of the action at all times. He is sporting the "magic letter 'C'" cape.


And as promised, Maxell's story. Be warned: It's long. But it's very cute. Well worth the read (I might be bias though.)

Here are his writing prompt pictures:



The witch was leaning over, putting scales, fur and all sorts of things into her cauldron. There was a bad stench in the air like rotten flesh and boiling apples. The witch said "Come alive! Come Alive! Live Again! Get your Second Chance! Live Again!" The witch and a dead young woman with a golden cloak were high upon the magic alter. It was just before sunrise. The young woman was Princess Elizzabelle. The witch took a cup of her potion and opened the princesses' mouth and poured the drink in. The witch put her fingernail on the princess' forehead and immediately Elizzabelle came alive.

The princess said "Where am I?"

The witch said "You are going to be my slave."

Just then a slithering creature ten feet long and six feet high and swamp lizard-like jumped from behind a rock and frightened the witch. The witch was still as a stone. While the witch was frozen, the creature blew a tiny speck of fire at the witch that acted like a small missile that burned her mouth. When the witch tried to say "Be gone! Be gone!" it came out in mumbles. The Princess said to the lizard "Swang! You found me! I didn't know you hid in these rocks and haunted the witch!"

The witch tried to speak "Be my slave." But she could couldn't because Swang's little fire ball had burned her mouth into a fresh scar that covered her lips, tongue and chin. Her words came out like the sound of the wind. It did nothing to Princess Elizzabelle. Elizzabelle hopped on Swang's back. Swang whipped his tail at one of the posts that held the magic alter up. It all tumbled down and made a huge sound like thunder while there was a big flash of light. The light was purple, pink, and blue and all sorts of different colours. The witch was lost in the rubble.

Far away, the wizard saw the flash. At once he knew what had happened. He used his magic to get to where the flash started. Swang and the princess saw another flash and there was the wizard. The wizard turned around with amazing speed and said "What has happened?" Swang made a sound like a peacock. The wizard turned and said "Princess Elizzabelle! You are okay, but we thought you were dead!" But Swang communicated with the wizard that the witch had brought Elizzabelle back to life and was going to turn the princess into her slave.

The wizard said "I'm guessing the witch wanted to turn you into a slave so she could rule Prince Isaac's kingdom." The princess said "What? That is silly. Prince Isaac does not love me. How could the witch control the kingdom with me?"

The wizard just smiled and said "We'll see, we'll see." He then said "Excuse me princess, but I just need to ask something that Swang might know. Swang, do you happen to know where a crystal kind of blue ball is?"

Swang nodded his head and communicated with the wizard. Swang told the wizard that Prince Isaac kept it in his strongest dungeon and if the wizard worked for him, the prince will let him use it. If it is to destroy the witch.

The wizard thought for just a little bit and nodded his head to Swang, and Swang communicated "Watch out! Watch out, the witch is about to strangle you!"

The wizard turned around, lightning quick, and the witch was so surprised, that she made a screeching sound. When the wizard saw the scar on her face, the wizard laughed. "Are you trying to trick me? Because if you are, you are not doing it well." Swang communicated with the wizard that he had destroyed the witch's power of magic words with one of his fire balls. The scar had swelled up now to look like a small pumpkin where her mouth had been.

The witch felt frustrated that Swang had stopped her magic words and saved the princess. The witch had been the one to kill the princess by food poisoning. She was the one to take the princess out of her sarcophagus made of gold. She was the one to bring her back to life. Then Swang had broken the magic alter, and stopped her plans.

The wizard put a spell on the witch that made her fall asleep for three days, and the wizard said "Now let us go home." The witch fell down sleeping on Swang's back next to the princess. The wizard said "Magguy Maggoo Isaac's palace." A portal appeared and Swang, the witch, the princess and the wizard went through the portal. When they came out, they were in front of Prince Isaac's castle.

When Prince Isaac saw them waiting outside the castle wall, he said "Open the gate!" Immediately two men in armour of silver and crystal pulled the gates open. Prince Isaac was at the top story of his hundred story high castle, but suddenly he was there to greet the visitors. The way he got down so fast was because of his homemade magic elevator. 

The prince greeted them and said "Welcome, step inside." Swang communicated with prince Isaac that they had the witch and that she would be asleep for three days. Prince Isaac said "Good job Swang." The wizard cleared his throat, and Swang told the prince of the wizard's help. Swang told Prince Isaac that the wizard was going to work for him to get the magic ball.  

The wizard said "Hello Isaac, Long time no see." Prince Isaac said "Hello dear friend!…" but the princess interrupted and said "Shouldn't we get the witch down stairs into one of your dungeons.?"

Prince Isaac said "You're right. First, let's take the magic ball out of the strongest dungeon and put the witch in there instead."

In the next three days, the wizard worked for the prince. He helped the chef by making enough food for 10,000 men by magic.

The princess and the prince spent lots of time together.  On the third day, they were in a garden together. There were beautiful flowers, swans, and ducks. The prince and the princess were holding hands.  Prince Isaac looked at the princess and thought how beautiful she was because of her dark blonde hair that was curled at the bottom. Today, princess Elizzabelle was wearing a bluish gold cloak. There was a gentle breeze and a smell of roasting turkey for the up coming feast. 

Prince Isaac said "Will you marry me?" and the Princess said "Give me one day to think about that. Tomorrow evening I will announce if I will be married to you or not." 

The next day down in the dungeon, the witch woke up. When she awoke, her scar was completely gone, and she yawned. The wizard had put a magic gargoyle next to the window that would glow if the witch woke up. The wizard saw it glowing and went to tell Prince Isaac that she had awoken and said "Should the witch and I have a fight for your entertainment." he joked.

Prince Isaac said "Wait until after the feast to do it." He said with a smile.

Down in the dungeon, the witch was trying to use her words of magic to make a hole big enough for her to go through. At last, she escaped into the courtyard. She was too exhausted to use her magic anymore. She knew why she was so exhausted. The magic ball had this force field around the castle that sucked the power out of her slowly.

Then the wizard went into the courtyard, saw the witch and yelled "Prince Isaac! Prince Isaac! The witch escaped!"

Prince Isaac said "There's only one thing to do. That is to get the magic ball that I moved to be under the magic elevator." 

The prince and the wizard ran to the elevator, and made it go up just enough to get the magic ball from under it. Prince Isaac handed it to the wizard, who said "Thanks."

The wizard ran back to the courtyard and planted the ball into the ground. Really quickly, a special plant grew. The witch was so exhausted, that she was laying on the ground. 

The plant was green with blue blossoms. The wizard took the blossoms and boiled them for ten seconds. He took a cup and drank the potion.

The witch had regained some strength, and so in a rush, the wizard had left a little bit of water and one blossom in the pot. When the witch saw this she grabbed it with her magic and drank it herself. Usually you can't destroy a witch or wizard, but this potion makes you have a special power of destruction. But when you have a little bit of it, it will only make you stronger.

The wizard said "Prepare to die." 

The witch said "I've got my magic words back and I'm stronger."

The wizard spoke "You shall die forever more." and by moving his hands over one another spherically, a lava-like ball began to shape until he had made a golden ball. The wizard threw it at the witch. The witch made a force field, but the golden ball went right through it and hit her right leg, which made her limp.

The witch made a golden diamond snake-like thing from her magic. She put it on the ground and said "Come alive." and the snake started to go towards the wizard. The wizard saw this happening, and quickly made a golden dragon and told it to come alive. The golden snake and the golden dragon began fighting each other. The snake was like a worm to the wizard's dragon which was so huge. The dragon stepped on the snake which desolved into the dragon, making him stronger and fiercer. 

Then the dragon started attacking the witch who started making a diamond lizard. While she was making the lizard, the wizard was making another dragon, but this time it was made out of diamonds. The witch put her strongest force field around her while she was making the lizard. 

The two dragons started blowing fire at the ground where the witch was. She was done pith her lizard which started to fight the dragons. The golden dragon distracted the lizard as the diamond dragon got ready to step on it. The witch shot a lightning bolt underneath their feet, but the wizard saw this, made a force field, and the lightning bolt barely dent it. 

Then the wizard thought "Maybe I should do lightning too, but a lightning dragon." since he loves dragons so much. He started making a lightning dragon. The witch started making a lightning lizard because the dragons had been able to destroy her diamond lizard. 

They were both done making their creatures, and they both let them out of their force fields. The lightning dragon and lightning lizard fought. Eventually the dragon was defeated because the lizard had shocked the dragon with so much energy that he exploded. But than the golden and diamond dragons rushed over and stomped on the lizard and got his powers. Then the two dragons turned on the witch who started making a diamond fish. The dragons broke through the witches force field and stomped on her so much that she was now the size of a brick. Her fish was absorbed into the diamond dragon.

The wizard said "We have defeated the witch and all of her creatures! And now we have two diamond and gold guardians! Now, let us feast!"

All the trumpets blew, and the people began to shout "Hurray for the wizard! Hurray for the wizard!"

They all went to the feast, and as people arrived, the trumpets blew once.

"The princess will now announce if she will be married to the prince or not." The curtains opened, and there was Princess Elizzabelle on the stand.

She said "I have thought, and I accept Isaac's hand in marriage." Everyone cheered.

Prince Isaac smiled and said "Let us feast."

The next evening they got married and lived happily ever after.


The end.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Newton, Explorers, and PARTY PARTY PARTY!

Well, in the past week we have had over a hundred people over to our house.

First we had a cider party. Not very many people came. I was okay with this. We had spent the day at a birthday party anyway. We made so much cider we don't know how to store it all.


Then we had Thanksgiving.


Then we had a Halloween party.


Yep, Dustin says I'm not allowed to have another party for awhile.

Anyways, thanksgiving kind of doubled as a history activity for learning about Columbus. You know what? I really miss celebrating Plymouth pilgrims, Squanto, and religious freedom for Thanksgiving. Columbus' story is a lot darker. Oh well, welcome to Canada.

We have read the first volume of A History of US now. We read additional books on Vikings, Marco Polo, Columbus, Pocahontas, and Samuel de Champlain. I'm not done with Samuel de Champlain. It's my plan to learn more about him, the Hurons, and the Iroquois this next week. I'm actually more interested in him then other historical figures because I know nothing. I'm learning with my kids and it's fun.

 As far as activities go, I have not had motivation to initiate any. Maxwell was undaunted and has made boats in the explorers' honour without any coaxing. I sure love that boy.


Just you wait for next week though. I am going to do activities from now on! I AM!

In science we learned Newton's first law of Inertia. I love this law because kids understand it so easily. Among other things, we had a "car crash" and showed how people have inertia and keep moving after the car stops.


The next week we talked about acceleration and centripetal force. We spun pennies in balloons and spun ourselves and spun cups full of water. And unlike last time I taught this, I miraculously was not dizzy by the end.


Also, Heather Burton is doing an excellent job teaching the kids creative writing. (As a side note, Crystal is out on sick leave and a teacher I'm not familiar with has taken over book making.) Anyway, Heather taught them all about quotations this week, and I walked into the end of their lesson as they put their "66-sixes and 99-nines" on each side of their head as they said quotes. Cute.


She is also initiating a writing contest. Hyrum has finished his story, and I'll post Maxwell's next week. I have to admit, I had to ask a lot of questions like "how did the squirrels feel about that?" To get this story to the point it's at, but I think it's pretty cute.

Hyrum chose these photos as his writing prompts:




Wonder the Super Squirrel By Hyrum McKay

Paul the Lion roared "Attack the village!" As he started stomping and kicking the houses of the little squirrels. 

"Ahh!" said the squirrels as they started to run away. They were crying and yelling. Some of squirrels got hurt. They were angry and sad at the lion. They did not want to move their village.

"What are we going to do?" They said. One squirrel said "I know! Let's ask super squirrel for help." Another squirrel said "Good idea."

Wonder the Super Squirrel was asleep high up in the tree above the village. The other squirrels knew where he was, and ran to get him. 

"Wake up! Wake up!" they all said as they shook him. 

"Hey, I need my sleep, okay?" said Super Squirrel

One squirrel said "But Paul the Lion is attacking the village!"

"Really?" said Wonder.

"Yes."

"I'll go as quickly as I can and Thunder him out of the village!"

When Paul saw Wonder, Paul said "You can't get me, or thunder me."

But Wonder was a super squirrel and got on his super suit to fight him. Wonder can make lighting and thunder come out of his paws.

Wonder jumped from the branch and as he flew, he zapped Paul. And Paul ran away roaring with pain. He never came back again.

"Yeh! Wonder saved the day!" all the squirrels said. "That was a good plan to ask Wonder." said one squirrel. Another squirrel said "Yes,that was a good plan because Wonder is a hero!"


The end.