Sunday, December 20, 2015

Art, China, and Lego Angels

I tried to catch up a bit in history by actually doing it this week! But I have to say, this Monday was the pits! Dustin was incredibly sick, I was super-duper busy, and I was super-duper grumpy and I even made a meme for how horrible it was:

Well we did do some fun stuff. I wonder if my kids will remember their crazy mom, or if they will remember just the fun of lighting floating lanterns and going to the live nativity?

We did floating lanterns in honour of ancient China. And this little movie is a good example of my day: magical stuff and crying:

We also made paper. it was so beautiful. I love paper with pedals!

For science we learned about Carbon Dioxide. Only the Barrys came and not all of the experiments worked, but it was low key and chill----and I needed that. We talked about how foods have carbon dioxide in it, including root beer...we drank it all!

We also went to the boy's art show. It was quite cute. Their teacher, Mr. Scott's wife is my friend and just had brain surgery, so I wasn't sure if they would even have the show, but he pulled it off amazingly.

And we found an extra Christmas tree that the McKays left here, and my boys decorated it with lego ornaments that they made. This is an angel. Love it.

And even with all that, I went to FOUR parties. Tuesday and Wednesday my sister-in-laws had little get togethers (which Dustin pushed me out of the house to go to so I would get out of my grumpiness) and then Friday my friend Rachel had a party and then Saturday my neighbor had one for my whole family...but Dustin didn't go to one! as soon as he was feeling tolerably better from his strep throat nastiness, he threw his back out moving furniture for a service activity. Poor guy.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tis the Season-for running around like a chicken with it's head choped off

I've felt really busy lately. Too busy for everything I want to do. But hey I accomplished things, so that's something....right?

Two weeks ago, it was crazy. I didn't even get the nuts and bolts of homeschool done. I did, however, make almost 200 little tubs of slime:

It was for our Cardston Community Awareness day that I help with each year. It was all gone by the end of the day! Maxwell counted how much slime we had by finding the volume with multiplication...oh yah.

They have a contest where you have to make a poster if you are in an upper grade. I taught Maxwell a bit of photoshop, which he picked up super duper fast, and he made this poster all by himself:

"Seasons change but bugs remain" had to be the theme of the poster and it was by the health department.

I thought he was quite good! We don't know yet who won.

Then, the NEXT DAY was Christmas in Cardston that I help out with. I had made a tree for them which sold at the tree action:

I realized that day that hardly anyone had sent in any gingerbread houses, so I quickly got my family on the job of making some...too bad I didn't have my sister Danette here who makes very elaborate gingerbread amazingness!

Yah, uh, I didn't help and they were truly kid-created.

Maxwell insisted on doing a rice crispy one like last year, but this time he wanted it to be Santa's sleigh. You can't tell how cute it was from this photo, but it was pretty cute.

See the reindeer?

That week I was also making new sight word flashcards. I know they don't look like much, but they're quite hard for me to come up with. Here's a few

Every YEAR you have a birthday. The YOUNG kids like toys. BEFORE Christmas you decorate your house, and WASH the dishes.

Also, my kids have been going to Westwind classes still. I'm not sure if this has helped or hindered my business, but I think it was good for my boys regardless. They had a watercolour class and made scenes reminiscent of Van Gogh.

That week's science was awesome. Awesome because I feel like the kids really grasped the things I was trying to teach, which was molecules, physical vs chemical change, and mixtures vs compounds.

One of the things that I believe made it so understandable was this book:

It so perfectly tells how and why molecules are made in a way every child can understand. So cute. Highly recommend.

We made molecules out of CANDY! Why not?

Notice his glasses? Yep, every class from now on!

It was a very yummy sweet, but stinking science class.  We ate cake (chemical change) and trail mix (physical change/mixture.) And hard boiled eggs (chemical change.)

The stink came from mixing sulfur and iron together which you could seperate with a magnet, and then burning them together to make the compound iron sulphate. Burnt sulfur is stinky just so you know.

I'll have you know that I purchased an electric piano at the beginning of the school year. Mostly because of all these brain studies that say how great music is, I knew I couldn't NOT have it be part of our school, but I didn't know if it would be hard to get it all hooked up and synced up with my I put it off....for over three months...uuuhhh.

Anyway, regardless of my business that week, I got it all figured out, and the boys have been BEGGING to practice the piano!

We use Piano Marvel. I thought it would be a computer program where I wouldn't have to do a thing, but it turns out, I actually have to teach them a bit here and there, but I still love it.

Hyrum (my electronics junky) really took off with it. He practiced for more than two hours in two days!  Check out this video:

You like Abraham crying in the middle? Yah, that's my life. If I don't push through and do things even with a crying baby in my arms, things don't get done in my house.

 But Abraham likes to get into the action as well:

So stinken CUTE!

Also, we had to decorate our house. Thank Goodness Maxwell is so stinkin excited about things like that. He really helps me a lot these days.

This week slowed down a bit, although I had to get some photos done for a friend and make my mom's secret pal gift and other things.

This week's science we learned about oxygen. I gave them balloons towards the beginning of class, which was a bad idea and they started going crazy, and I had to finally say "If you don't put those balloons in the bedroom and come back without them, I am going to pop them!" and their eyes got big, and we continued on...without balloons.

 I really don't know how to discipline. I don't know how to discipline my own kids properly, nevermind handling a whole handful of kids. Oh well, I keep trying.

Anyway, one of the experiments we did was the egg-in-the bottle trick because it shows how oxygen takes up room, and once it's gone, there's pressure where it was. I did it because I had messed up so bad at it two years ago, and I had just read in a Steve Spangler book how if you put birthday candles in the egg, it is way easier.  I was excited to try that, but guess DIDN"T WORK!

The candles did nothing but get wax on the bottom of my beautiful bottle. The candles go out as soon as they go upside-down.  I read it awhile ago-maybe I missed something.

But anyway, while I was trying (and failing) a boy just stuck some burning paper down into the bottle, and that did the trick.

And I've been feeling really guilty that I've been so bad with history, so this saturday we finally got around to doing some. We talked about ancient Persia and India, read some "Just So" stories, along with some other treasures (the one called "Gilgamesh the King" I want for my collection of books.)

We marbled shirts as our activity. This took all day to prepare because you have to soak and dry clothes and get the marble bath ready. By bedtime we were actually ready to do it. I let the boys watch a movie and I took each boy separately to do his shirt. That was a genius move on my part. I think I might do that again.

The dyes were old (I had bought them four years ago when we did ancient history then but never got to it.)  So they weren't working. They were sinking in the bath and not spreading out. Maxwell (my grand excited helper) and I had to come up with how to make them less dense than the bath and Maxwell said "ALCOHOL!" because of our density lesson.

Sure enough, we mixed a little alcohol with the dyes, and they worked like a charm. Good ol' science club!

Not sure if you can tell how cool they are from these photos, but marbling is really cool and fun and beautiful!

And as a bonus, out of nowhere, Daniel decided he wanted  to do a little creative writing.  Here's his story and prompt picture:

Bunny Invasion!

Super Hero Daniel heard a big bang. He looked outside, and he saw Dirt Bunny and Cloud Bunny. Daniel had seen these bunnies once before. They were mean and they were 20 feet tall. Dirt was brown and Cloud was white. Dirt had black eyes and Cloud had red eyes. 

They were stomping down the town that everyone was running away from. They were putting people in their mouths and stuffing them in their cheeks.

Super Hero Daniel came out. The bunnies were chasing him. Then Dirt tripped in a trap that Super Hero Daniel had built. Then Cloud fell in the same trap that Dirt had fallen in. 

Super Hero Daniel told them that they needed to take the people out of their cheeks, or he wouldn’t let them go. Daniel the Super Hero let the bunnies out of the trap once the people were safe. He told them they had to leave, or he would do another trick on them. 

Dirt and Cloud never came back, at the people lived happily ever after.

Now is that the cutest story about bunnies stuffing people in their cheeks ever or what!?!

A Three Wisemen Christmas

Not sure how this fits into my homeschool, but I don't really write on my personal blog anymore, so here you go:

We've made it a tradition to do a "three Wisemen Christmas." Santa still fills the stockings, there's presents from Grandma, friends, and brothers, and we have balloons everywhere for Jesus' birthday. But as to other gifts under the tree, it's limited to three gifts: 1-Educational 2-Apparel 3-Just for Fun

There's a story that we read while we give out these three gifts which we've printed on a canvas scroll. We follow what it says, because in addition to getting gifts, you have to give something as well. When it asks if you have anything to give for education, you go around and say something you learned that year. For clothing, you go in your closet and find stuff for good will. For special items, you find toys or other things to give to good will.

So, here is the story, written by me, my mother-in-law, and my sister Heidi:

Long ago,  three kings gazed with wonder at the star that foretold the birth of the greatest king ever to live on earth. 

The first king, Aabaca, a serious scholar, was the first to understand the meaning of the star. He wanted to be of the greatest service to the King of Kings,  so he set out early on a journey to find the newborn babe.  Along his way, he met many people curious about his trek.  "Where are you going?" they would ask.  "And why do you bring so many camels laden with scrolls and tablets?"  These people knew nothing of scriptures or astronomy. In fact, most of them could not even read.

The king thought, "I have come out so early, surely I have time to teach these people the things that are so precious to me."  He quickly built a school and taught them about the signs in the heavens, and all the prophecies telling of the great Messiah.

The people rejoiced at the freedom and opportunities that this education gave them and wanted to show their appreciation.  The king's school was built under a Boswellia tree, which produced a rare resin used for perfume and healing.  The grateful people gathered all of the precious resin they could, and presented it to the king.  King Aabaca breathed deeply of the aroma and studying the golden chunks, said, "This Frankincense will be my gift to the Christ child."

You have been given the gift of education this year.  What have you learned this year that you would be able to share with those around you?

The first wise man's gift was the gift of education. He wishes to share that gift with you.

Becede, the second king, lived in a mountainous country where snow fell and winds blew cold. He had many ornate robes, elegant head coverings, rich silks and embroidered tunics that had been passed down to him from the kings of the past.  This fancy apparel brought him no happiness.  He wished to simplify his wardrobe to wool coats and sensible clothes  like those worn by his subjects.

The people of his kingdom wanted for nothing, but King Becede had heard of neighboring lands where people froze for want of clothes.  He realized that he would be traveling through these lands on his way to the Christ child, and saw this as an excellent chance to distribute his surplus wardrobe to those who needed it more than he did.

When he handed out all his clothes to the people, they wept with gratitude.  Secretly, they met together to decide how they could show their appreciation to the king.  An old man of the village reminded them of the thorny bushes growing over the mountainside that produced an very aromatic resin, myrrh, which was highly prized for it's medicinal value.  All night long thy gathered resin and in the morning, as King Becede prepared to leave, they offered him a basket of hardened resin. The king accepted gratefully, telling them that Myrrh would be his gift to the Christ child.

You have been given the gift of clothing this year.  What clothes do you have this year that you would be able to share with those around you?

The second wise man's gift was the gift of clothes. He wishes to share that gift with you. 

The third king, Cidifi, was the richest of all. He had inherited a kingdom full of precious items., but he saw most of these as excess in a world where many went without.  His subjects were well provided for, so he knew they wouldn't benefit from all the extra articles.  His wise advisors told him that he would likely meet many poor people before he found the Christ child, so he decided to take all his riches with him on his journey.

After traveling for many days, King Cidifi came upon a group of miners whose life was a grey drab existence.  The men spent most of their time in mine shafts, blocked from the light of the sun and the color and richness that light brought with it.

When the miners first caught sight of King Cidifi and his caravan, they were stunned at the beauty of the articles spilling out of the trunks and baskets carried by his camels.  Seeing how entranced the people were, the king promptly opened his trunks and shared his treasures. They were over joyed to gifts that brought back the color they missed in their daily life.  For three days, they labored in the gold mines so they could present the king with a gift of their own. When he saw the carved chest full of gold, tears ran down the cheeks of King Cidifi.  He knew how much they had sacrificed to give his this and told them that this Gold would be his gift to the newborn King.

You have been given the gift of special items this year.  What things do you have that you would be able to share with those around you?

The third wise man's gift was the gift of special articles. He wishes to share that gift with you. 

When the first, second, and third wise men came together to present their gifts to little baby Jesus, this tiny King of Kings smiled up at them.  Even though he was just a baby, Jesus knew that these were not three simple gifts.  These were gifts that represented service, love and sacrifice to many children of God.  

This was the beginning of the spirit of Christmas, which inspires us to give love and service to Christ and all the children of God. Jesus wants us to remember the true spirit of Christmas this day and throughout all Christmases to come.