Chemistry for kids

We’ve been loving our science curriculum — Chemistry by REAL Science Odyssey.  I never took chemistry in high school (though it’s on my transcript, go figure), so it’s eye opening to all of us.  Amelie, especially has taken a shine to the elements.  Her birthday gift to me earlier this week was a collection of elements that she had written out and illustrated, it’s pretty darling.

We got this book from the library.  Highly recommend.  I think we need one for our library.

But back to the curriculum.  Frankly, it doesn’t look like much.  The layout is kind of plain.  But the contents are fantastic.  A bit of read aloud (or read to yourself), and then the labs.  I am not much of a project girl – I lose enthusiasm for messes or things that take too long.  But these labs are interesting and just the right size so that none of us (Mommy included) loses interest.  There is a consistent emphasis on observation and data recording.  Scientific method for six (and nine) (and 33) year olds.

Today the girls made muffins for our lab.  Well, the half that we put baking powder in were muffins.  The other half (minus baking powder) were more like hockey pucks.  Carbon dioxide, it’s good for the plants, it’s good for the muffins.  Lucky for us, the hockey pucks still taste good thanks to the (very) liberal sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

I’m thinking now that we need a gigantic periodic table on our living room wall.

end of summer, photos and notes

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:: Friday night supper on the back porch, blueberry cornbread and a strawberry smoothie.

:: And we’ve discovered Monopoly.  Any game with play money is of utmost interest.  Today’s school (actually, today’s dayconsisted entirely of games with money.  (Or, as we discovered with the new-to-us Bibleopoly, it’s not money, it’s offering.  Whoever made up that particular knock off certainly had a sense of humor.  At least, I hope they weren’t serious.)  Lunch and supper were not eaten at the dining table, as it was holding the ongoing Game of Life.  Fascinating to see how acing worksheets of place value exercises don’t seem to make the jump to understanding the difference between $5,000 and $50,000.  They understand now, now that it matters.  I particularly loved how they love to acquire children in Life.  Children, I am informed, are what make them rich.  Indeed.

:: We did our first one-night camping trip.  (Did you see the deer?) I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the effort packing and unpacking for just one night.  It was! It was!  I loved packing only one day’s worth of clothes and one day’s worth of food.  It took us two hours to pack up and go, and everything was clean and put away by bedtime after we got back.  Without monumental effort.  Our next trip is already reserved – Joshua Tree in October.

::  I’ve picked up a total of three pairs of roller skates for $2 a piece over the last several months.  Our church’s thrift store is a gold mine of treasures with golden-hearted people who do the pricing.  Roller skates are an excellent way to get from your bedroom to breakfast.  Most days our house resembles a roller derby.  Even Kiri can put one foot in a skate and hop along to get where she wants to go.

:: We made an awesome geoboard using this tutorial.  We eventually filled in the entire pegboard with the screws.  The geometric exercise often shifts into rubber band shooting sprees (I’m sure shooting rubber bands is teaching them scientific principles).  It’s big enough that several of us can play at the same time.

:: A “This is How We Roll” photo to add to my collection.  Home Depot has awesome new car carts.

:: A photo of a lovely, lovely moment during the school day.

:: The obligatory, traditional First Day of School photo.  We go to the same lake and take a picture on the same stump every year.  After our stint as tourists this summer, we’ve taken to trying to strike some sort of pose other than Stand and Smile.  I like to think of this one as “I’m Going Somewhere”.

:: I love the last photo of me and my True Love.  Love.  Warm.  Kind of smooshed.  Happy.



this morning

lia breakfast

Today was Mommy-and-Lia breakfast out.  Wednesday mornings, Jamba Juice.  Order anything you want.  Devo and I switch back and forth taking the kids–  one-on-one has to be scheduled in around here.  Next week, Mommy-and-Levi.

Chatter, chatter, our boots match!, with freckles sprinkled across her nose.

We squeezed in a trip to the used book section of the thrift store and added a like-new copy of Ramona the Pest to our permanent collection of favorites.

Back in time for Devo to leave for work, and school to start.  (Showers, breakfast, practicing, all done on time today!)

Kiri is entertaining herself.  Her activity of choice is to push a dining chair to a destination of her choice, climb, and get in to something purposely kept above the high-water line.  I’m keeping up with my exercise by lifting chairs up to the table, getting them down when the school kids need them, realizing the chairs have been abandoned and Kiri has requisitioned one for her own use, then racing around trying to put them all back up before she runs off with another one.

As Levi sounds out words, and Amelie dashes off a page of math problems, and Lia types away.

A lesson on chloroplasts leads to a study of Seurat, pointillism, and the color wheel, painting with dots of color.  And, of course, we have to try it out for ourselves with paint and Q-tips.  (Does anyone actually call them “cotton buds”?  Devo calls them earbuds, but he’s not from around here.)

Lots of roasted broccoli with garlic spaghetti and fresh parmesan for lunch.  With sauteed, salty mushrooms if you’re so inclined.

The kids and I tried out a friend’s soymilk maker to make almond milk.  Generally, we use the vitamix and a bag to strain out the solids.  Neither Devo nor I care for the zen-like process of squeezing the milk out in the midst of the bustling morning routine.  It’s fun for occasionally, exasperating for routine.  I think what we really need is a salad spinner-like apparatus that spins the milk out.

Almond milk for dessert, in fancy glasses and teacups.

An after-lunch, before-rest, clean up session.  I, again, contemplate therapy, seek a release from the daily freak-out (mild today).

Resting time is in full swing for the older three, and the Mama.  Devo works from home and keeps an eye on Kiri.  (A new and blessed commitment this year).  Always an hour rest after lunch.

 

Starfall

Our friends Alan & Nicole were in town this last weekend and introduced us to Starfall.  It is an education website for preschool through ???.  It teaches reading and cognitive skills, among other things.  It’s like a more developed LeapPad…without paper pages for the little sister to rip.  Lia spent a very happy 45 minutes on Starfall yesterday.  Nicole’s daughter, Anaya, has learned all of her letters almost solely from Starfall.  Anyhow, check it out just for the fun of it, even if you don’t have small children around (especially you, Grandma Ruby!).

Another great plus is that it is not character based.  No princesses.  No Dora the Explorer.  No Sponge Bob.  What a blessed relief.

http://www.starfall.com/