Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Co-Op, Week 7

This week my 5th and 6th graders are finishing up module 2 in Apologia General Science. They also created an experiment following the scientific method. They combined yeast and warm water in a bottle and then added one of three different variables: coke, orange juice and lemonade. They placed balloons on top of the bottles to measure the reactions. Then we charted the results.

My 7th and 8th graders are working on module 4 in Apologia General Science. We fell behind last week with the experiments, so we performed those this week in order to catch up. They included:
  • Experiment 3.2: Which "Boat" Will Move?
  • Experiment 3.3: What Does Soap Do To Water? - Part 1
  • Experiment 3.4: What Does Soap Do To Water? - Part 2

I forgot to bring my camera this week, so unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the experiments.

Next week we have a break from Co-op (half way point in our fall term). The kids still have assignments to work on and will stay connected with our online classroom (

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cooking with fractions

I have found a fun project that incorporates math with cooking - yum!

Book Review ~ Watcher in the Woods

I just finished reading Watcher in the Woods, by Robert Liparulo. It is the second book in the Dreamhouse Kings series. I pre-read the first book in the series, House of Dark Shadows before placing it in Nathan and Ryan's book basket. I wrote about this book in an earlier post.

The second book picks up right where the first book ends (or not ends). I just can't stop reading this series. The story just sucks you in and never lets go. There are more alternate worlds to explore, which adds plenty of tense action and adventure to the story.

Brothers, Xander and David King, along with their sister and parents move into a creepy old house that is chock full of secrets. First, sounds are never what or where they seem to be in the house. There is a secret portal from the linen closet to a locker at school. Then there is a secret third floor with portals to alternate worlds. If that is not enough, the house is set in a rather dense dark forest that contains a clearing where you can actually float.

A family member has been kidnapped and taken to an alternate world and the rest of the family must work together to bring them back. Now, a stranger shows up trying to get the house for himself and is willing to do anything to get it.

What can possibly happen next? I have no idea. But, I can't wait to find out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rock Climbing

Sunday afternoon, DH and the boys enjoyed some rock climbing at Cherokee Rock Village.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tapestry of Grace Year 3, Week 5

Week 5 ~ Jefferson and the Supreme Court

Key Facts:

1. The United States Constitution
a. The Preamble
b. Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
c. Article 2 - The Executive Branch
d. Article 3 - The Judicial Branch
e. Article 4 - The States
f. Article 5 - Amendment
g. Article 6 - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
h. Article 7 - Ratification
i. Amendments

2. John Marshall
a. 4th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
b. Announced Washington's death, planned his monument and wrote a biography on Washington.
c. Presided over Aaron Burr vs. United States case for treason

3. Judicial Branch
a. Judicial Powers
b. Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials
c. Treason

Activities: Activity from Wilberforce Activity Book

Unit Projects: Add information about the branches of government to the display board.

Digging Deeper:

  • William Wilberforce



  • Amazing Grace (Netflix)

  • Wilberforce: An Activity Book
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
  • The Supreme Court

Friday, September 25, 2009

Young Writers Program

Apparently, November is National Novel Writing Month. Who knew??

NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge where you write a novel in 30 days. The word count goal for adults is 50,000 words (yikes!). But, the Young Writers Program allows participants 17 and under to set their own word-count goals.

The website also offers free workbooks (elementary, middle school and high school levels) to help walk kids through the writing process.

Ryan (my ambitious child), has decided that he would like to participate in this challenge and has set a goal of 10,000 words. Oh. My. Goodness. He might not get anything else done in November! I'm glad that he has shown interest in this, but I also hope he has the perseverance to see it through to the end.

Week 8 Review

Well, we are 8 weeks into the school year and things are going relatively well. We are only off by a few days from my semester schedule. So, I should feel pretty good about our progress. But, as soon as we start to fall behind, I start feeling rattled. Hum... Maybe it's time to change things up a bit.

Just as there is no such thing as a perfect homeschool curriculum, I know that homeschooling isn't ever going to be perfect. There is no "normal" day. However, I can tell things are starting to slip - just a little (hence the stress). The initial fun factor of a new school year has worn off. Sometimes, we don't get to every lesson scheduled because the boys are dragging along. Or, the boys don't do their best, so I reassign the same lesson the next day (insert groans and complaints).

It doesn't help that we have had rainy weather for two weeks straight. The boys are literally climbing the walls. Next week the weather is supposed to beautiful. Yeah, can't wait for that!

Next week will also be the end of our first 9 weeks. So now I'm brainstorming for some ideas to liven thing up a bit. After all, learning is supposed to be fun, right?

Chemistry Labs, Week 4

This week the kids completed the lab for experiment 2.2: Measuring the Specific Heat of a Metal.

We also spent time going over the math problems in the module. They are finishing up module 2, taking the module test and starting on module 3.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Field Trip

We took a field trip to the Early Works Museum this morning. The exhibit was part of a Great American Series that paid tribute to Thomas Edison.

We had a lot of fun...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Co-Op, Week 6

This week, my 7th and 8th graders are finishing up module 3. In class, we finished our module discussion, went over all of the questions on the module summary, and went over a few of the "On Your Own" questions.

They will be taking the quiz and test this week for module 3 in our online classroom (virtualhomeschoolgroup).

However, we ran out of time and didn't get to any of the experiments I had planned for them. Hopefully, we can complete several experiments next week.

My 5th and 6th graders are still working through module 2. In class, we finished discussing the first half of the module and went over "On Your Own" questions 2.1-2.8.

They were able to complete two experiments this week:

The first was called Drops on Coins. I handed out an assortment of coins (pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters) and each child had to guess how many drops of water they thought the coin would hold. Then they performed the experiment and we compared the actual results with their initial guesses.

The second experiment was called Baking Soda Bubbles. We slowly added vinegar to baking soda creating CO2 and then blew bubbles across the top to see the bubbles float on top of the CO2. This is because the bubbles are filled with air and air is less dense than CO2. Neat experiment!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Into Reading

Katrina from Callapidder Days is hosting the Fall Into Reading Challenge. Sounds like fun - I'm in!

So, I've compiled a list of books that I'm all set to dig into and read. I'm not reading them in any particular order. But, I know that I'll be starting with Green, by Ted Dekker, because it's already sitting on my nightstand.

  • Green, by Ted Dekker
  • What in the World Is Going On? 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore, by David Jeremiah
  • Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
  • Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
  • Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn
  • Atlantis Found, by Clive Cussler
  • Farraday Road, by Ace Colins
  • The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck

Now the fun part begins... reading and checking out what others are reading.

Making geography fun...

Monopolycitystreets is a free online global version of the Monopoly game. I saw this link earlier today and had the boys try it out. I figured it would be a fun way to reinforce mapping and geography skills. They thought it was great!

You start by buying any street in the world. Then you can construct buildings and collect rent. Chance cards are given out randomly and you can sabotage your friends by building hazards on their streets. All in good fun of course.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It came!

Finally, the new Hunter Brown book arrived in the mail today. I had to order it from CBD because I couldn't find it available anywhere else. The boys (Nathan and Ryan) are absolutely ecstatic! It's been a long time since they have been this excited over a book series. They have always enjoyed a good story, but rarely do they share my enthusiasm for reading. I'm always on the hunt for books that will get this kind of reaction from them and get so excited when I find one. I'll write a more detailed book review once I actually get to read it. I'll also have the boys post their reviews to give their thoughts on the book.

Tapestry of Grace Year 3, Week 4

Key Facts:

1. Thomas Jefferson
a. Author of the draft of the Declaration of Independence, third President, legislator, lawyer, diplomat, architect, inventor, scientist, agriculturist and writer.
b. Monticello
c. The Louisiana Territory purchased from France for $15 million. That's 3 cents per acre
(512 million acres).

2. Meriwether Lewis
a. Personal Secretary of Thomas Jefferson
b. Corps of Discovery Expedition - Served as Naturalist
c. Governor over Louisiana Territory

3. William Clark
a. Second Lieutenant / Captain
b. Corps of Discovery Expedition - Served as Mapmaker and Mediator
c. Principal Indian agent for the Louisiana Territory

4. Sacagawea
a. ShoShone woman married to Toussaint Charbonneau
b. Gave birth during Corps of Discovery Expedition - Interpreter
c. Believed to have died after giving birth to second child

5. William Burr
a. First Vice President to Thomas Jefferson
b. Judiciary Act of 1801
c. Killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel July 11, 1804

Activities: Make a compass

Unit Projects: Add information on Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea to the display board.

Geography: Map out Louisiana Purchase

Digger Deeper:
  • 12th Amendment: changed Presidential election rules.
  • Sedition Act



  • Thomas Jefferson
  • The Louisiana Purchase
  • The Year of the Horseless Carriage: 1801 (Read Aloud)

Week 7 Review

Finally, a full week of school. Sometimes it is hard to get back into the groove after a short week, but we were ready to get back to our routine.

We accomplished our school goals for the week, attended Co-op, music lessons, chemistry labs, band practice and the first 4-H meeting of the year.

Nathan and Ryan are working on a 4-H project (photography), which will be due next month. David is enjoying his driving privileges and looking for a part time job.

I should have scanned some of their work into the computer to get better pictures, but here are a few quick snap shots of handwriting and math. I keep forgetting to do this before I grade it and file it away. Ugh...

A page from Ryan's handwriting assignments

Nathan's fraction math review sheet

The house is clean (for the most part), I have laundry going, chili simmering on the stove and college football on TV. I love fall.

So, what have I not finished this week- closets. I have started, but I'm no where close to being done. So far I have one bag of clothes that I need to give away. I will probably have at least 8-10 bags by the time I'm done. At this rate, I'll be done by Halloween.

DH and David are kayaking down part of Little River Canyon today. Nathan and Ryan had a friend sleep over last night and are busy playing. So that leaves me time to research on the computer, read, finish my lesson plans for next week and work on those closets.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chemistry Labs, Week 3

This week the kids completed experiment 2.1: Calibrating Your Thermometer
We discovered that our thermometer was off by 1 degree.

They also viewed the following websites:

God's World News

I've started subscribing to a new magazine this year: God's World News. I received a great rate through my local Co-op group that I couldn't pass up. So, I thought I would try it out. It comes in different grade levels, so I chose Top Story (for grades 6-9). In addition to the magazine there is a website with extra teaching material, articles and links. I have no idea how I'm going to integrate all of this great info, but it should certainly liven up our current event discussions.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Book Review ~ House of Dark Shadows

I have just finished reading House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo. I was actually pre-reading this for Nathan and Ryan. They love spine-tingling mysteries, but there is a fine line between a book that is spooky or mysterious and one that is scary or terrifying. However, I think that they are really going to enjoy this series. It is a little reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time.

In the book, the King family move from Pasadena to the small town of Pinedale. The house they move into is not what it seems. Brothers Xander and David discover a secret third floor with rooms that lead into the past. Unfortunately, most of these rooms seem to lead to life-threatening scenarios that are almost impossible to survive.

The book actually leaves you with more questions than it answers. So, if you read this, be prepared to read the entire series.