Friday, October 20, 2017

Awesome American History: 1892-1898

 This covered Lizzie Borden, Helen Keller, and the Spanish American War, pages 173-183 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

Having friends in the NFB, we decided to focus on Helen Keller on this one.

I know that a lot of people going for "what it's like to be blind," set up blindfolds.  Talking to actual blind people, this is not what it's like to be blind, and it tends to perpetuate stereotypes of blindness as scary and debilitating.

Instead, we did a fun project where the kids did their names in braille, using bumpy jewels to make large feelable initials or names.

We also did the punch method where we pressed a pencil point through paper to make raised dots.  The advantage was that the dots were much more the size of regular braille.  The disadvantage was that you have to do it reversed, which was too hard for kids.

Instead, I did some and had the kids read it using the alphabet guide.

 It was really fun! 

We also watched this TED Ed video of Ted Kish explaining how he uses sonar to navigate.

For our active activity we tried the sonar exercise he suggests in his talk.
 For our snack, we had brain cupcakes in honor of Lizzie Borden and it being October.

In a weird coincidence we (my A + P classes and I ) dissected sheep brains the same day I made brain cupcakes. It was weird.

Actually, I felt stuck between, "My life is weird" and "We are rocking this homeschool thing!"

And then the kids went outside and had an epic nerf battle, because... Spanish American War? 

Yes, I'm sure that was it!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Anatomy and Physiology: Have a Heart

A fun video for my class showing how blood moves through the heart as well as other great heart info.  I don't categorically endorse all the Crash Course videos (they can be a bit crass) but I liked this one.😏

Monday, October 16, 2017

Painted Pumpkins

 One October, many years ago, we bought 6 pumpkins, one for each kid, and stored them festively on the porch, waiting for carving.

Someone stole one, evidently thinking that we had a lot of pumpkins, and wouldn't miss one.  We did.

Leena's Tahu mask, Oob's Soundwave, Zorg's Deathstroke
For those of you living in other climates, around here you can't carve your pumpkins more than a few days before Halloween, because, after that, they start to rot.

Mxyl's Wanderer above a Sea of Fog
But we figured out that we could paint our pumpkins, and since then, we've painted our pumpkins with Biocolor, a kind of washable paint that you can peel off of any nonporous surface.  When we're ready to carve, we peel and wash off the paint and go at it!

Klenda's Hydra

 It's actually doubled our enjoyment: we get to do two fun and creative things with our pumpkins!

Usually, I neither paint nor carve a pumpkin because I'm helping out various kids.  As they get older, and need less help, I find myself at loose ends.

This year, I started doodling on a white (eating) pumpkin with a marker, and then on a gourd, and then things got out of hand.

 But it was fun!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Poem of the Week: The Beautiful Changes

The Beautiful Changes

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you   
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed   
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;   
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves   
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Awesome American History: 1885-1892

 This covered Skyscrapers, the Johnstown Flood, and Ellis Island, pages 163-172 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

We started out making construction paper skyscrapers as our art activity.  Some people got fancy and made cars and garages.  The kids got really into it!

Then , for the active activity, we set up all out buildings as a "city"in an underbed box, and had a flood!

For our snack, each family brought in a food from our immigrant ancestors.  It was so delicious, I forgot to take pictures, but our Irish family brought soda bread, our Swiss, German, Mexican, Cape Viridian family brought Mexican breads, and we made German Apple Fritters.

We are Prussian, Scotch-Irish, (and Scottish, and Irish), Bohemian, English, and French with some Scandinavian and Italian if you go back far enough, so we had options.  I opted for the apple fritters I was going to make anyway!

Wordless Wednesday: Roosevelt Island

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Apple-ying Ourselves

 So, did I mention the kids picked 87 pounds of apples?  Five kinds: Fuji, Aztec Fuji, Sun Crisp, Jonagold, and Cameo.

When most people hear this, they respond in one of two ways. 

If they know me, they roll their eyes.

 If they don't, they ask what I am going to do with all those apples.

 It's a lot of apples.

So far: apple sauce, apple butter, apple dippers,  apple pie, apple fritters (which I totally cheated and used as "German Apple Fritters" for our immigrant food project in Awesome History), and we've just eaten a lot of apples!
We also have enjoyed giving away fresh picked apples to our friends and relations.

 And we'll have more apple sauce and possibly butter in our future, definitely more pies and dippers, probably apple cake and apple quick bread, pork and apples, and maybe apple fruit leather.

And we'll keep eating lots of apples!

Klenda made this beautiful caramel apple pie to welcome us home from NJ.
 And, evidently, art projects.  I was informed that this apple has the intelligence of a two year old child that can not speak.

The pear (also created without my knowledge, but by another child) has a similar intelligence level.

They also informed me that this particular apple and pear were "strange."

So now you know.

Monday, October 9, 2017

NJ Trip

Zorg with Tacky Man!
 This time I went up with Zorg, who is a little over half way through his 60 hours of driving practice.  Going to visit my more rural folks lets us practice driving on highways that are a bit less crowded than the ones closer to home.

It was his first time on any highway, and he did really well!

While we were there, his grandparents decided to give him a late birthday celebration.

This makes me feel less bad about our candle tradition in which I never have enough candles, so I put them on in binary.  The Emperor just had 2 lit candles and 4 unlit candles.

My folks just go with whatever candles they have on hand, which makes Zorg 120.  And I'm old enough to be his mother!  And Mumpy is old enough to be his grandmother!

While we were up there, we planted a little garden of mums, daffodils, my Dad's favorite coneflowers, and some asters that are my Mom's favorite color.

This part is in front of the driveway, but we also did some in front of the house.

And we picked pears!

This time they had some extremely cool and effective fruit picking tools.
 How cool? 

This cool!

How effective?
 We picked 200 pears!!

And the weather and changing leaves were lovely!  Best of all, it was just wonderful to see Mumpy and Pa, and have some time with them!