Friday, October 9, 2015

Week of October 5-9, 2015

I have no idea here this week went. I just looked through my camera and I have NOTHING to show for it, so I'm going to intersperse this post with random photos that we've taken in the past, say, month.

For starters, K,23 has been working all week for a contractor who is renovating a cottage relatively nearby on Lake Huron. A neighbour suggested K when he heard that the contractor needed someone to help with with a new roof and dormer windows. If there's one thing we all know well after all these years it is roofing! K is loving it.

M turned 15 on Tuesday. She still went to her volunteer job at the women's shelter, and she still insisted on doing her schoolwork when she got home. My parents came by after supper and we had mini pumpkin pies (always a request where M is concerned) and chocolate cake. We sang a cringe-worthy Happy Birthday until she begged us to stop! My in-laws phoned and M got to have a good chat with them, something I'm sure she's been missing.

Our dogs play-wrestle all.day.long.

Wednesday, we drove off the island for animal supplies and various fall necessities like new socks and gloves, which are twice the price and half the selection on the island. We ate lunch at McDonalds.....there are no fast food joints on the island. I do not miss them, I've discovered! That took up the whole day, so we did nothing school related when we got home. Well, I say "we"....D and I did nothing. M insisted on working on a paper she's been writing for her lit class. You have to love that kind of work ethic.

Thursday, M worked on the finishing touches for her paper; D and I went to a friend's house and baked goodies like banana bread and spiced pumpkin muffins and apple bread for an upcoming fund raiser that the women's shelter is holding. The friend has a very small, very timid dog named Bruiser, who is normally afraid of kids but ended up snuggled against Dane watching tv while we waited for the last batch of muffins to finish baking. It was hard to tell which one of them enjoyed it more! Then we got home and my house did not smell nearly as delicious, so I ended up baking a few more bits and bobs here as well.

Today is Friday and I am theoretically determined to get some schoolwork done....but it is raining and we're all still in pyjamas and D is watching Day of the Triffids, so I think I'll just call this week a vacation week for D and replace it closer to Christmas.  I'm looking forward to reading M's paper......it's apparently Dr. Who related, about the possibility of time travel and the science behind the idea of the Tardis. Should be fun!

On the homestead front, we accomplished absolutely nothing new - well, I'm told that my Mum and Dad stopped by at some point and replaced the broken porch railing and re-shingled a small patch on the outside of the new goat barn, but I wasn't here to see it.

I hope you accomplished more than we did! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

I'm linking up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Thanks Kris!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Painting with leaves

Inspired by an idea we saw on kokokids.ru, D,8 and I got out the watercolor paper and paint and we had a little fun with some fall leaves the other day.

First we wet the paper, Waldorf-watercolor-style. While that was soaking in, we dabbed paint onto the ridged side of some maple leaves in various fall colors.

 Then we used paint brushes and our fingers to spread the paint around the leaves.
 We flipped them over onto the paper and pressed the ridges to make sure the shape of the leaves showed through. Then we carefully lifted them off.

 Using the same leaf again and again, we experimented with adding more color and pressing them down again. It was really interesting to see how the results differed each time!

Finally, we got out cotton swabs and dotted a few leaf colors along the bottom of the paper, so it looked like a pile of leaves..... if you squint your eyes just right from a distance.

This was definitely a whole lot more process than product! D spent about an hour blending paint, pressing leaves, re-wetting the paper and just generally experimenting before he declared himself to be finished. And as a bonus, M,14 baked a spice cake with buttercream icing while we were doing it. :)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How does bile help digest fat in the body?

In our homeschool this week, D,8 looked at more of the human body and we did this easy experiment to show how bile works to break down fat for digestion.
easy bile digestion experiment
This post may contain affiliate links.

In a nutshell, bile is a chemical produced by your liver. It's stored in your gallbladder and it  breaks down the fat molecules so they can't bind together during digestion. They're then swept through and processed/excreted with everything else.

Here's his experiment page:

And here's how he did the experiment. Please note that the food coloring is there specifically to help you see the fat moving within the liquid, with the dish soap acting as the bile in this example.

Don't miss these great posts by my co-hosts!

Glow in the Dark Lava Lamp from The Science Kiddo

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week of Sept 28-Oct 2, 2015

Happy Friday! Can you believe it's already October? Neither can I. We've still got glorious sunshine and hot summer temperatures here, which means we're still getting a ton of produce from our garden:

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, our strawberry plants have bloomed a second time this year.
Not too shabby for October in Northern Ontario, eh? [pats self smugly on back for all-Canadian reference] We're not complaining!

It has been so warm that the kids are still swimming in the lake, albeit with wet suits. Amazing.

In other news from around the homestead, we got the goat shed painted.

The goats are very pleased with this new development and inspect regularly. We are, too, because having them further down the property will mean that we aren't being awoken by Cletus's honks, snorts and "Hey ladies" noises every morning. I always picture him as one of the guys in that old SNL "What is Love?" skit, the one with the dance music and the head bobbing.

Homeschool updates for the week:

We went on a field trip with our local (read: the entire island) homeschool group to the Chocolate Works Factory in Kagawong on Wednesday, the only cold day of the entire month. It was a real hardship going into a warm room full of chocolate, let me tell you.

After the tour, which was super interesting and culminated in free samples, hot chocolate and coffee (these ladies are so nice!), we went for a hike down the forest trail to Bridal Veil Falls (you've probably seen our visits when it's frozen solid). The first thing that you see when you go in from the beach end is this incredible carved salmon in a huge stone, made by talented local artist Michael Belmore:

We were all oohing and aahing. Anyway, we got about 30 feet past that and who should we stumble across but Michael himself, working on a new carving! He was incredibly gracious and when he saw how interested everyone was, he interrupted his work to give the kids a mini-lecture on how he makes them and about how long they take, as well as telling us where we could find his next carving along the trail. It was an unexpected but very much appreciated field trip bonus!

When we got to the falls, the salmon who'd made it upstream already were all swimming around, so we looked at them for a while and then the kids went back to stick swordfights, climbing behind and around the falls, and hunting crayfish in the pools of water on the shore.

The kids were fascinated by the crayfish already feeding on a dead salmon! See the second one on the right, and the third climbing up at the base of the tail on the left?

All in all, a most excellent day and it was really nice to see our friends.

On our bookshelves this week:

I have a bunch of Enid Blyton's adventure stories from when I was a kid, and I scored a bunch more at a vintage store this summer, so D,8 has been working his way enthusiastically through them. This week, it was Five on a Treasure Island and Five On Finniston Farm.

K,23 has been enjoying Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. This author has several equally entertaining books, and this just happens to be the first of the three we bought. If learning about exploding shrubs, a leaf that triggered a war and many similar pieces of information appeals to you, this is a must-read and I am eagerly awaiting my turn with it.

I've been reading a book (only one - very rare for me but I keep dozing off!) recommended by our library assistant this summer, called Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.
It's like Harry Potter for adults, kind of, and it's all based around bizarre and occasionally mildly disturbing vintage black and white photos that he hunted down or borrowed the use of. Really, really good! There are 3 books in the series so far and I've already requested a hold on the next one. (Note to my father in law: I think you'll really like this one.)

Some school stuff we got done:
D looked at poems and had to write a couple of short lines of poetry himself.

"Red, juicy, sweet. Good pies a healthy treat!" (It certainly beats my own first 3rd grade poem of "I have a little turkey, he is a little jerky" which I have never lived down.)

He also had to look at a picture of a bridge and write what it made him think of:

"A wonderfule (sic) bridge over the beautiful water well. The beautiful water well will be drunk from". Ok, not so much on the grammar but I liked the creativity and imagination!

He's had a few online chess lessons and is eager to start playing his dad and siblings (not me-I consistently forget what the pieces do!). He aced his first biology test covering various muscles, cartilage, skin and a few other things I can't remember right this minute. He also did a fun experiment about bile's purpose in digestion, which I'll share in tomorrow's STEM Saturday post.

He is really, and occasionally overdramatically, missing the Waldorf method of schooling that we went with last year, as am I, but since budget does not allow (Note to any Waldorf curriculum providers: want to sponsor us?!) we'll just be using Earthschooling's monthly Waldorf enrichment packages at D's request so we can still get some extracurricular goodness in. More on these later.

M,14 is chugging along and mostly only checks in when she's done, or when she has something to show me. She made it through another two dozen SAT prep words and got 100% on the quizzes. She's always had a good vocabulary but this is really expanding her ability to express herself clearly and we're seeing the new words sprinkled into everyday conversation (with a twinkle in her eye).

She read a chapter every day from Tom Sawyer and made notes for her upcoming paper.  On a couple of those days, though, she read them in bed and the warm blankets and helpful affectionate dogs had a somewhat soporific effect, leading to an extended school day!

A poem she wrote this week made me laugh. She gave me permission to share it:

"As I look at the sun
I wish I was done
for the world is bright and gay.

Yes I wish I was done
out there in the sun,
whiling my time away.

As I sit at my desk
it's not a hard guess
that I'd rather lie in the grass

I could find a sweet nook
and read a good book
but I'm here at my desk, alas."

Smart-aleck girl. :)

In her financial math class, she had her older brother join in because it was a group exercise. In the first week, she had to choose from one of three apartments, fill out a lease agreement and begin entering her debits and credits in her fake checkbook register.

This week, they had a list of furniture that they might need and had to guess the price for each and then compare. It was a real eye-opener for them to look online at what those items might really cost, because we mostly buy vintage or antique pieces and they hadn't had a lot of exposure to new furniture costs. I think they both experienced some major sticker shock! ("Seriously, people spend a thousand dollars on a couch?!" "Forget the bed if it's that expensive. I'll just sleep on the couch in a sleeping bag.")

In her animal science class, she covered classifications for fish. She also continued to record daily observations of other animal related things around the homestead. She lets me read these and I am seeing new things through her eyes. I had never noticed that the baby chicks occasionally follow the wrong Barred Rock hen and get slightly lost!

All in all, it has been a really good week, something to hold me over on a bad week which I'm sure will come! How was your week?

Linking up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and a few other great link parties.

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