Tuesday, October 21, 2008

-Never be indoors when you can rightly be without -- Charlotte Mason

After a long, hot and humid summer, we're so happy that it's October! For the previous months we would gingerly go outside, or go to parks later in the day, and son would complain it was too hot or simply get red-faced and fussy. In our neck of the woods October means getting outside and savoring the cooler breeze, the warm but not too warm temperatures (mid 70s, aah) and watching all the creatures small and smaller fly, slither and crawl.  

First Daddy took us to our local Bird Center, where we saw pelicans, ibises, owls, cormorants and spoonbills. I picked up a book on land birds as we'll be studying birds next year. The children were wading in the water, looking for shells and minnows. 
We spied a blue crab and a nurse shark further away in the water. We had such a good time.
Our youngest is fascinated by birds.

Next week it's Halloween! We all like to dress up and do some trick or treating around neighborhoods. Perhaps I'll write about that next time or our soiree at our local Pumpkin Patch. The colors, the
fragrances, the temperature dropping a little bit, the mood -- it's Fall, everyone!  Can you tell it's my favorite time of year?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our Lesson on Solids, Liquids and Gases

As daughter has been out of sorts for a few days, we didn't school on Thursday.  Son and I are spending two leisurely weeks on Solids, Liquids and Gases, Thread A-2 of the excellent Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Dr. Bernard Nebel.  Fridays are my days of Science, Geography and Spanish.

First we did the game of sorting each item into three different boxes: solids, liquid or gases. Son was good at this game, and was able to identify many items correctly. For air/gas, I had son fill up a balloon with air and was sure to point out that the air that he blew out was inside the balloon. We talked about the actual words: solid, liquid and gas and the general qualities of each. We also poured some water into a container and put it into the freezer. An hour later and it turned into ice -- solid. 

Gas was a bit more difficult to understand, as anticipated, because you usually can't see it. I showed him how I sprayed some perfume (a liquid) and the liquid dispersed into the air and we were able to smell it in the air. This meant that some of the liquid turned into air particles that mixed into the air around us. 

We also talked about how our bodies are made up of solids, liquids and gases.  He was able to think for himself which parts were each: bones are solid, blood was liquid and for gas he came up with farts -- haha :)  I was proud of him.

During the week we read the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science's Solids, Liquids and Gases. The Let's Read and Find Out Science is an excellent series of books with simple, but interesting explanations on the world around us.  I highly recommend this too.

We'll be doing an experiment this week further exploring the concept.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Our Art Lessons -- The First Month

I must say, I'm very pleased with son's art lessons this first month.  So far this has been the progression of his once weekly art lessons with his handsome art teacher (Dad -- hehe):

Week 1   Cave painting with fingerpaints
Week 2   African tribal mask
Week 3   Make up Egyptian deity in Crayon Resist
Week 4   Make Mayan stella in clay

Each week husband (who happens to be an artist) talks about the period, history and culture of the peoples.  He also shows him pictures, maps and art of the period and culture. For the Egyptian deity, son came up with an Elephant god. Each project is fun, and son looks forward to it every week. 

In the process, he's getting a good idea about chronological history while looking at maps and pictures, and learning about different cultures. This is great! I would like for him to whet his appetite for history, the world and cultures.

Here is son rolling out the clay dough on a square plastic storage cover (to keep it square):

First he cuts out figures to represent the characters on his story with cookie cutters:

And here he is putting on the designs to make his relief a story:

Son is carving out designs with plastic knife to mimic ancient Mayan writings:

Finally, here they are laying out the stella to dry out in the hot sun:

Here's the final product!  Santa riding a dinosaur and a rocketship pumpkin in the background.  The way he tells it is this: He arrives with a rocket ship on a planet with Santa riding a dinosaur.  There's a pumpkin there because it's almost Halloween. 

Saturday, October 04, 2008


We have been hit by colds lately. First it was dh, then son. A few weeks later daughter gets roseola. It's nothing serious, just a three-day fever and rash that disappears after three days, but I didn't get sleep for a week! Consequently, I came down with a cold and son caught it too. He's better than I am. I just feel really tired. 

I'm so glad we're homeschooling. If we miss school, say, in the morning, we can always do some in the afternoon or even read a book or two in the evening when Daddy's home. The flexibility is precious. Son would have had to miss at least 2 whole days of school, but instead we just did "lighter" days where he focused on his math, reading and phonics. He is only doing Kindergarten after all. He also likes to play Spanish on the computer with the Spanish immersion program, KidSpeak. 

Next week hopefully things will be back to normal and this head cold will just be a distant memory.  Off to rest some more and drink my fluids.