Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Digestive System, the Cold War, and Easter

For science we learned about the digestive system.  We actually measured how long an actual digestive system is in an adult by taking a hose and marking it with tape. (Mouth 3 in, esophagus 10 in etc)  It really brought it home for the boys.

We did a few more experiments. One included some panty hose and a ball to show how the smooth muscles make food move through your digestive system.

For history, we are beginning to learn about the Cold War.  We talked about how they prepared for the worst, and so we looked through our own preparedness things ei 72 hour kits.  They are two years old, and so they really needed to have food cycled.  I let them at the fruit roll ups and stale granola bars.  Maxwell said this was his favourite activity ever because of the food.

Also, it was our ward's cub car rally.  FUN!  Dustin helped the boys make their cars, and I helped with the McQueen decorations, but the boys painted them themselves   I thought our ward did an excellent job of making everyone involved and feel good about their car.  Daniel is sure he won the whole race because HE got an award.

And it was Easter.  Last year we did a passover since we were learning about the old testament and I thought the next time I would do the passover was four years from then, but my sister in laws insisted I make it an anual event, which made me feel good.

There were 58 people in my house for the Passover!  And miraculously it was a success. Some even dressed up.

We had a very fun easter weekend.  One highlight was riding my sister in law's new PONIES!!!  Crazy fun!!!  I love living the pastoral rural life vicariously through my sister in laws.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sickness and McDonalds

All that learning about germs got to us I guess, because we caught some germs ourselves.  Enough to cancel science.

So contrary to what the title implies, McDonalds didn't make us sick.  But it felt like it.

We studied McDonalds for history because I think it represents pop culture quite well.  We went to a McDonalds (the closest one is an hour away!!!) and got happy meals.  The boys LOVED this activity.

And here's the part of the activity I thought was fun.  We bought an extra hamburger and fries.  Experiments here we come! HEHEHE!!! I've been wanting to do this forever:

Two days later, we learned about preservatives. We made our OWN happy meal from scratch.  Nothing but potatoes and oil for fries (lots of oil---oops), and nothing but the basics for homemade buns.  I made the hamburger from a meat that's completely preservative free: moose.

At this point, the McDonald's happy meal was two days old.  Stay tuned for my update in one month.  It is my secret hope that the McDonalds one stays exactly the same, and that the homemade happy meal is disgusting with mould. 

And now:  an update about reading, writing, and arithmetic:

Maxwell is, of course, awesome with math.  I didn't do "RightStart" while we were in Idaho or most of Dec. and so we are behind, but we are catching up and Maxwell gets it all.  Here's an assessment test he got 100% on recently:

Hyrum is doing quite well with math.  I was worried about him and math awhile ago.  When he turned four, he couldn't count to four, but now I think he's about at the level any five year old should be at.

Maxwell's writing has improved tons since we did "Handwriting without Tears."  From this example, I know it looks imperfect, but honestly, it is WAY better then it would have been if we didn't do the program.  Trust me.

Hyrum can now write all the Capitol letters correctly.  

Maxwell's reading had undergone a back-tracking.  Granny Wendy says "confidence is the habbit of past success" and we weren't having as much "success" as wanted, so we are reviewing courses.  Little by little, right?  I'm so glad I know so many other boys who had trouble reading when they were little who are now very successful in their education.  Maxwell is very smart.  It will come.

Hyrum is doing better then I thought he would (of course.) He was slow to talk, so I was worried about reading, and have been taking it really slow.  He got excited about "Explode the Code Online" and now three letter phonic words are very doable for him.  

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the things I worry about most.  I know I only mention science and history on this blog most of the time, but in actuality, that's just the frosting on the cake.  They are just fun to post about.

It's reading writing, and arithmetic where I start to doubt myself and wonder if I'm a good teacher or not.  I constantly need encouragement from moms who have been there and homeschool kids who are in college or beyond. 

It will all be okay.  Better Late then Early.  That's a book title.  I should read it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


This week in science we learned about Lungs.  We made our own lungs.  This was not too smart of me.  I should have made one model before hand instead of having everyone make their own.  It go too involved and time sucking. I don't know what I would have done if my friend hadn't helped me.

We also sucked through straws while running. This simulated smoking.  They thought smoking was a bad idea after that.

For history we learned about vaccinations, immunization, and antibiotics.  I know that sounds like science, but I was thinking about inventions when I created this plan, so I stuck it in history instead. I think it goes really well with our biology year.

Immunization.  I would like to state that I KNOW this is a controversial topic that many moms are very adamant about.  I don't really want to get into the debate here.  I have friends who are sure immunizations gave their child asperger syndrome.  I have friends who had their baby die of whooping cough because they didn't immunize. It's up to you what you do and how you teach your children about it, and then you should have no regrets.

Personally, I immunize.  I taught my children about Jenner and Pasteur and the miracle of their scientific discoveries and then I took them with me for William's shots.  I actually hate doing it.  Inflicting pain on my child is not my idea of fun.

We aslo learned about penicillin, antibiotics, and super bugs. Did you know that if a cleaning supply does not have alcohol or bleach in it, and it says it is antibacterial, IT IS BAD FOR YOU!  I had know idea!  It is creating super bugs in your own home.  No more antibacterial hand soap and dish soap for me!!!

Also, I thought it was cool that vaccines and antibiotics were both discovered by "accident."  I love the statement "Chance favours the prepared mind."  We talked about that a bit this week and how that "chance" is very often the spirit guiding you.

We played a game (I invented) where you take Mike 'n Ikes and eat them, and put some on a square of the game to see what is happening to the bacteria because of you eating penicillin.

I made this from clips from a Brain pop movie on super bugs and some photoshop magic.

We then ate some yogurt.  Daniel came up to me later and said "I want more bacteria!"  Too cute.

And of course it is that time of year again for the making of Leprechaun traps.  Gotta love St. Patricks day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A cow heart, naughty plastic movies, and death to co-op

In science last week, we learned about the heart.  I realized I knew nothing about the heart!  How wonderful to be a homeschool mom and keep learning. Among books, we also learned from Bill Nye the Science guy.  I forgot how much I love him!  How fun.

For our club, we dissected a cow heart!!!! Granny Wendy has a friend with a slaughter house that was willing to give me one.  When they gave it to me I thought there was a mistake because it was HUGE! After this whole year of dissecting, I've been fine, but there was a major blood clot in the heart that made me gag a bit.

We also checked our heart rates and we saw how quickly the heart pumps gallons of blood, and tried to see if we could do it with water.

For history, we learned about the Zionist Conference and the creation of the Israel Nation.  I don't remember learning about this in school. Ever. Not even in college, but I think it is so important to modern politics, that it is a must learn.

We also learned about plastic. If you haven't noticed, I have purposefully had an invention-focused history year, and of course plastic is one of the most important inventions of our age. I had rented a video about the invention of plastic from the library.  After it went on forever about bras and then started talking about plastic contraceptives, I realized it was not for children.---really?----

We made our own "plastic" out of milk and vinegar.  It reminded me a lot of when we made homemade cheese.  Who knew cheese and plastic were related?----well, anyone who's eaten processed cheese ;)

Maxwell started CUBS!  How did I get so old?  You have never met a more enthusiastic new recruit:

And I had to include this:  Daniel often colours while the older boys do their reading, writing, and arithmetic.  This is one example.  He made "pirate animals."  Too cute.

Lastly, yes there will be no co-op.  I missed most of last semester because of Idaho, and this semester there was too much sickness and babies being born that it just never happened so we threw in the towel.  I think my boys will be okay without it, and hey, I really don't need another thing on my plate because---well----I'm lazy.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Muscles and the end of World War II

For science, only one kid showed up!  That was easy ;)  We learned about muscles.  We experimented with our own, especially our hand muscles, and we played with our muscle model.  It wasn't too hard to make, and it really helped visualize what is happening in your body.

What it looks like when your arm is somewhat straight:

and bent:

By the way, the three main resource books we're using for science this year are the Reader Digest books "How the Body Works" and "How Nature Works" and Janice VanCleave's "Biology for Every Kid."

And We are done learning about WWII.  Whew.  It was getting a little too intense in our history lessons.  Glad to be done with it.  Hyrum, who is pretty emotional and sensitive,  was in denial about the whole holocaust. "They weren't real." He would say.  I don't mind.  He is five, and such sadness should be beyond his comprehension. BTW, "I Will Come Back For You" by Russo is another good holocaust children's book.

We made gas masks. Idea from here. I told them about my mom and her green gas mask.  She was born in 1940 in a factory town in England.  Bombs and gas were part of her daily life as a child.

We talked about how the war changed the world.  Woman now worked away from the home, and the US culture was spred throughout the world.  We made star flags for the windows to remember this.  I told them just to glue them together, but Maxwell insisted on sewing it, and I thought he did a great job.

And to wrap up the WWII, we learned about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I had rented this children's book to help explain things, but I thought it was too intense for my audience.  I just read from "A History of US".  So so sad.  Did you know that 700,000 pamphlets were dropped on Hiroshima the day before, warning them that their city would be destroyed the next day?  Well,  at least we did that.

As I was learning about it all, I found out that Hiroshima has a memorial day every year where they write the names of the dead on lanterns that they send down the river. 

When we made our lanterns, we took pictures of Japanese people from the war, and glued them on paper sandwich bags. Maxwell said we couldn't put them in the river, because that would be littering, so we needed to do it in our tub.  This was great in my opinion, because the rivers here are frozen over!

Now on to the rest of modern history---if only it was war free :(

PS-this is my 100th post!  Whoo Hoo for me and homeschooling!!!