Saturday, January 31, 2009


Inspired by Survivorman and Man v Wild, the girls think of different ways to build shelters in the house.

There's the bunkbed shelter...

The long and low shelter...

the video shelter, where they can watch Survivorman and Man v Wild

and most recently the snow shelter...

I lured them back inside with some hot chocolate...

Monday, January 26, 2009

In the Paper

Phew! We don't look like goobers! :-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Homeschool Nature Club

Georgia went to her second meeting of the homeschool nature club. They meet at a nature center, so while we waited, Olivia and I had fun exploring. We first checked out the bird vista and looked in the bird books to identify what we saw. She found a ladybug crawling around in there, too.

Right after I took those pictures a photographer from the local paper came in. He is doing a story on the bird vista and wanted to know if we would like to get our picture taken and be in the paper on Sunday. So we did. We'll check the paper tomorrow to see if we made it. Olivia said, "I hope we didn't look like goobers, that would be embarassing." Ha ha...I agree.

We also went for a winter hike. We saw a lot of animal tracks, and heard a lot of birds.

The first club meeting Georgia attended was about rocks and fossils. She learned all about the rocks and fossils that can be found locally. She also made a rock collection container with an old egg carton. She received garnet and a fossil to start off her collection. However, she has loads of rocks in her collection at home. So when she got home she went to work organizing her rock and fossil collection some more. She used white-out to make a white spot on each sample and once dried she wrote a number to correspond with an egg compartment. On the lid she listed the number and name of each specimen.

This meeting was about Winter Adaptations. She said they played Animal Tracks Twister until everyone arrived. They talked about what animals do in winter and the different signs of wildlife to look for. They were introduced to an eyeless owl. He was found and brought to the rehabilitation center where he now lives. They also met a cornsnake, which Georgia held! The kids took a hike through the woods to look for the signs of wildlife they discussed. They found tracks, scat, yellow snow!, a bird's nest, evidence of digging, insect tracks on logs, and scratches on trees.

Olivia is now signed up for the nature club. There was a confusion about age requirement and space. The club is for kids over six, but Olivia is five. Also, I think Olivia is the last one to be added, unless someone else cancels there is no room for new members. Phew! Glad we made it! The homeschool nature club will meet once a month from September through May.


The next Think! challenge the kids participated in was building a city from cards.

Here's what they came up with...

and her final city...

Olivia's turn...

Olivia had trouble getting the cards to stay where she wanted them to be...they kept falling down. So she focused on practicing her card stacking skills.

Another fun challenge from Think!.

Afterwards, we were directed to a gallery of photos from Cardstacker Bryan Berg.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ancient Egyptians

Georgia has been reading about the Ancient Egyptians. In the book Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt: Projects and Activities That Bring the Past to Life by Linda Honan she learned how to make an Ankh necklace. She made one out of Sculpey.

She watched some videos at on the Ancient Egyptians, the Nile, the Pyramids, Egyptian mythology, Ancient Egyptian farmers, Heiroglyphs, and Papyrus.

She made a pyramid from construction paper using a template at

She learned more about mummies from the BBC's Mummy Maker, and from the book Mummies!.

She learned more about the Pyramids, mythology, and the geography of ancient Egypt from the BBC's Pyramid Builder Challenge.

At she watched videos on Egyptian Pharoahs, Mummies, and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

We read the Secret Name of Ra by Anne Rowe, Temple Cat by Andrew Clements, Ancient Egyptian Art by Susie Hodge, and I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built and Other Questions About Ancient Egypt by Philip Steele.

We still have more library books and websites to check out, and more projects to do.

Think! Challenge: Scales

In week twenty of the Think! challenge, the kids were asked to:

Use some or all of the following materials to build a scale. Then see if you can balance it with 5 pennies on each side.

2 pencils
an eraser
a cup
4 straws
4 paperclips
2 pieces of paper
1 item of your choice
4 inches of string
4 inches of tape

You may use scissors in construction but not the solution.

Georgia chose an empty tissue box for the item of her choice. She cut it up to make two small rectangles for the pennies to sit on. She used the two pencils and a straw to make a tripod, and used some string, tape, and paperclips to make it stand. The crossbar was made from a straw, and she used strips of paper to hang the cardboard holders.

But when she tried putting the pennies on they wouldn't stay.

So she took off the cardboard rectangles and added rolled up paper and paperclips to hold them in place. She also used the eraser to stop the straw from sliding. Now the pennies would stay!

And that was her solution that we submitted to the Think! site. But she wasn't done with her scale. She decided to weigh some other items. She measured 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar into bags.

But when she went to weigh them the straw leg of the tripod bent.

After swapping the straw for another pencil, she weighed the bags and found that sugar weighed more than flour, even though they were the same amount. So we talked about density.

Georgia went on to weigh some of her horse figurines and other small toys. She loved this challenge.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Arts & Crafts

The cold days of winter are perfect for staying indoors and getting creative! The girls have been busy with their projects.

Georgia started and finished a paint by number.

just getting started


She also made some magnets with Sculpey. She shaped and baked them, painted them, and then glued magnets to the back.

a horse and an apple

Georgia tried latchhook for the first time. She loves it. This pattern is for a snowman.

just starting

Olivia has done a lot of painting and drawing.

She painted horses

and candles

Owls of Ohio

Olivia's January nature class was about owls of Ohio. The kids listened to a slideshow presentation about owls and their adaptations. They also got to see, or hear, the difference between the owls feathers in flight compared to those of a wild turkey. The owls wings flapped silently, whereas the turkey's were noisy. They also listened to some owl calls on cd.

The kids played a game where they had to collect mice in a field in the dark! They started in a hula hoop on the floor, and when the lights were turned out they ran to the other end of the room and collected as many laminated pictures of mice as they could. Sounds quite dangerous! But there was enough light coming in from the doors that there weren't any collisions this time! When the lights were switched back on, the kids ran back to their starting positions.

Olivia got to dissect an owl pellet like Georgia did in her owl class last year. She found two small rodent skeletons in there. She matched up the bones to a sheet of paper, figuring out what each bone was.

Georgia's January nature class was canceled due to weather.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter Woodland Survival

Georgia's December nature class was called Winter Woodland Survival. The local Long Hunter (1790-era interpreter) Chris Supinger taught the kids basic survival skills used in the 1790's. They learned how to find landmarks to navigate through the woods. Mr. Supinger had a fire going and cooked up some tasty snacks for the kids, which included dried apples, beef jerky, and dried corn. He also taught the kids how to build a basic shelter. They split into two teams and worked together to build their shelter. Of course, Georgia LOVED that! Her and Olivia are always building shelters around the house after watching Survivorman or Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. (Survivorman is her favorite.)

Chris Supinger, Long Hunter
(this was taken at the Maple Syrup Festival in March 2008)

After a week of strong winds and rain, we took a walk through the woods to find the shelters the kids built. I didn't think that they would still be standing...but to my surprise, they looked like they were just built! They did a great job constructing them.

This class is the first of a new quarterly series for Park Pals on surviving and living off the land. We think this is excellent! Soon, Olivia will be joining Georgia in her Park Pals class. She can't wait.

Shelter # 1 Georgia's Team

Shelter # 2 The other team