Saturday, June 30, 2007

End of June Update

The girls have been practicing playing their recorders. Georgia has been learning how to read music in her recorder music book and has learned three new notes. They like to have a jam session with Mark and his guitar. Recorder + guitar is an acquired taste! I don't know if I have acquired it yet...but they have fun! I've joined in with the maracas on occasion. It is quite a mix!

The girls have learned about ants, bees, and butterflies by watching the Magic School Bus: Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! Later in the week the girls collected some bugs to study. They went outside searched for some unique specimens to put in their bug jars. They also found one that looked similar to an ant, but they deduced that it was a spider after counting its legs and body parts.

Georgia has participated in Kids' Hour at the library for the past couple of weeks. The first week was about air. She made a wind sock and then showed Olivia how to make her own when we returned home. This week's topic was water. She made a bottle of colored water and cooking oil that she shakes up and then watches it separate.

The girls also had fun with balloons and kites. Georgia asked me why a balloon with a string on it floats in the air. I thought that was so cute! She thought it was the string that made the difference! We have talked about this before, but we talked about it some more and I explained to her about helium being lighter than our air, and we checked out the periodic table of elements.

The girls played with money and made a pretend store. They practiced counting the money and making change. Olivia recognized Monticello on the back of the nickel as the place we visited in May.

The girls have continued reading daily. Georgia reads silently to herself or aloud to one of us. I read to Olivia, but she helps with some words. The girls also have fun creating different crafts with materials from our "craft cart". (drawers of craft supplies on wheels) The most recent medium used was yarn.

The girls practice gymnastics just about daily. They love to try to perfect their handstands and other flips and rolls. Georgia tried kickboxing with me; Olivia joined in occasionally.

The girls tried crystal mining last night. I bought the kit from the Boonshoft Museum gift shop. They have a block of plaster that has eight crystals inside. The girls need to use their tools to slowly chip away at the block. This activity definitely encourages patience! Like a real geologist, they need to take their time and be careful not to chip or crack the crystals.

Olivia was the first to work on the plaster block.

Georgia proved she had the most patience and continued at the activity after everyone else left the table.

She found four of the crystals but they are still inside the plaster block. She now needs to work carefully around them to loosen them from the block. But this will have to be continued another day.

This morning she is working on creating a game. She is drawing it out on a piece of paper first, writing the rules and choosing what the spaces will say. She's then going to draw it onto a piece of cardboard and paint it. The idea is that the animals are at the park and need to find their way home. Along the way they encounter obstacles or bonuses. Can't wait to play it when she's done!

We recently watched Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit movie and watched how they made the rabbits in a DVD bonus feature. Olivia wants us to make our own characters with play dough today.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Geology and Archaeology

Last week we learned mostly about geology and archaeology.

Georgia looked through her rock collection and at the new specimens she collected while on vacation. She also looked through her library book about minerals and learned about the different ways to identify a mineral. She learned about luster, cleavage, hardness, gravity, and the streak test. She also visited a couple web sites on minerals, such as this one:

While learning about minerals we also talked about the periodic table of elements and the chemical make up of the minerals we learned about. And we learned about the historic uses for minerals, too.

We also visited the Journey of Mankind site and learned about the migration of humans through time found here: We talked about archaeology and the clues that may be found and put together. We also viewed and read about some cave art and rock art. We also talked about the climate changes in earth's history, and of the Bering Strait.

We watched a documentary on the Mayan civilization and talked about their system of time keeping and their extensive knowledge of astrological events.

Georgia had a class at the nature center about reptiles and amphibians. She was also able to hold or touch a variety of species while learning about them. The class went on a hunt through the woods to search for what they learned about, too.

On Wednesday we went to Boonshoft with some friends. We looked through the science room at the different specimens.

They each tried on a turtle shell to see what they would look like if they were a turtle. (of course they were all cute lil turtles) Olivia could be totally hidden beneath the shell.

We visited the bats, the wild animals, "shopped" at the grocery store, and experimented at the water table. Georgia was particularly proud of her water works!

The kids also had fun pretending to be archaeologists as they searched for dinosaur bones!

We watched a documentary about the beginnings of life on earth called Before the Dinosaurs on the Discovery channel. And another called Walking with Prehistoric Beasts about animals after the dinosaurs. The show ended with the Australopithecines .

Afterwards, we looked through elephant book and learned about its prehistoric, extinct, and living ancestors.

We all played the National Geographic Geography Bee Game.

Today, the girls went to the library and passed in their reading record for last week. They each got to pick a prize. They each chose a pink snake.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

For Father's Day, the girls made Mark a t-shirt. They each drew a picture that I scanned onto the computer and printed out onto iron-transfer paper. After transferring their pictures to the t-shirt, the girls used fabric paint to put handprints around their pictures. Olivia's picture is on the front and Georgia's is on the back. Mark loved his new shirt.

We went to the movies in the afternoon and saw Surfs Up.

Afterwards, we went to the Nature Center and the girls showed Mark all the fun things they like to do and see. We looked at the bees buzzing away as they worked. We saw the turtles, snakes, fish, frogs, and salamanders. We saw the stuffed animals, looked through nature books, looked at different types of seeds and fossils. We viewed different animal bones and guessed at what they were. And the girls showed Mark one of their favorite things to do there; dig for "treasures" as archaeologists.

We then took a walk on one of the trails through the woods. We brought our binoculars and Mark had fun bird watching as we went.

When we returned home, Mark had fun blowing bubbles outside with the girls while I cooked him his special Father's Day supper.

He had a nice day and we all had fun. He is such a wonderful father to the girls. He is so caring and loving, fun and playful. I am very thankful to have such a wonderful husband and for the girls to have the best dad in the world! Mark, we love you!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Homeschool Cartoon

"Go to your local public school, walk down the hallwaysand see what behaviors you would want your child to emulate." -Manfred B. Zysk
He has some other good ones there, too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Do schools today kill creativity?

Here's a video of a speech on creativity in education...I love this guy! The video is twenty minutes long but well worth it, in my opinion.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Cats, Bats, Snakes, and Earthquakes!

Here's what we have studied, researched, or done since returning from our vacation:

Cat Breeds We have a dog breeds book and poster and Olivia wanted to know about cat breeds. We watched a slide show and read about the different breeds and their origins at

Calendar Olivia has been wanting to know how much longer until her birthday. Nearly everyday she takes the calendar down to look through it to check. This has helped her to learn about months, days, and weeks. It is also a weather calender from Farmers' Almanac. The picture for June is a tornado. So she has also learned about tornadoes!

Painting The girls both wanted to add to my Mother's Day paintings, so they had fun with that.

Dark Ages From playing Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, the girls have learned about several civilizations. We have read about Genghis Khan and the Mongols, the Huns, Goths, Franks, Vikings, Celts, Joan of Arc, etc. We have also read and watched a show on the History Channel about ancient weapons, ships, and technologies.

Virginia Wildlife Georgia read in the book she bought while in Virginia.

Cooking and Baking The girls have each had their own jobs to do for preparing supper. Olivia cooks the vegetable in the microwave, and Georgia has made mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and chopped vegetables for a salad. Georgia has also made muffins and pudding, reading the recipe herself and measuring out the ingredients. This was a great lesson in fractions for her. She even added fractions together in her head pretty quickly.

Parasites We watched a show on human and animal parasites on the Animal Planet. (Eeew) And Georgia read some more about them in her Weird and Wild Creature Cards.

Bats We went to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery on Wednesday and saw the new exhibit on bats. We learned about several different types of bats from all over the world. We learned about the different things they eat, different places they live, etc. We learned about how they hear and tried on some bat ears that amplified noise. We also experimented with echoes. And we got to see live bats hanging upside down, flying, and eating. They are so cute!!

Georgia hearing like a bat

Igneous Rocks Also at Boonshoft, Georgia was having a ball checking out the different rock samples they had.

Spelling We watched a national spelling bee on television and Georgia loved it. (a homeschooler ended up winning, too!) During commercials Georgia had me look up words in the dictionary to ask her. She wants to have our own little spelling bee each week.

Jamestown & Powhatan Village When we visited Historic Jamestown we purchased a set of miniature Jamestown villagers and Powhatan villagers. The girls play with them and learn a lot about life in the early 1600s, as well as what tasks villagers had, transportation, weapons, clothing, diet, etc. We want to make a diorama of this one day this summer.

Beavers, Wasps, Hippos, Cobras, Cottonmouths, and Copperheads Some of the topics of the library books Georgia read this week.

Ohio Snakes Georgia read about snakes in Ohio on the Ohio Dept of Natural Resources Wildlife Division web site. She also read a booklet we have from them on Ohio Snakes, and another on Ohio Fish.

Soccer We have had fun kicking around the soccer ball, and Georgia enjoys trying new tricks with the ball.

Rummicube game We love this game. Olivia does not yet understand how to play but she helps one of us out.

Feathers Georgia devised an experiment on feathers. She has five different feathers and wants to know which one will "fly" the farthest when released in front of a fan. And another experiment will be to time them and see which one is airborne the longest amount of time. Today we wrote out our question, hypothesis, and procedure, but she wanted to wait for her father to perform the experiments.

Plate Tectonics Georgia was interested in learning how and why earthquakes occur. We looked up plate tectonics and had a quick overview of the process.

Minerals Georgia was interested in seeing a picture of gold and copper. We have a mineral book from the library so we looked it up. This spurred a conversation on atoms and molecules. We then talked about the molecular structure of water. We looked in one of her science books to view pictures and diagrams of atoms and molecules.