Monday, January 30, 2012

Playdough Science

 Can you tell what this is? It is my model of the Heart I put together while learning about the Cardiovascular system last week. I mostly have green playdough so that is all the kids had to work with. Here are their hearts.

 Since my kids loved the play dough the week before I decided to get it out again today while we discussed the central nervous system and Neurons.  Each kid had clay and each of course wanted me to snap a picture of their creation. So bear with all the pictures.

 This is mine. Of course,  I can't let them have all the fun.
 We then moved onto neurons. These were even more fun to make. We started with the cell body and added the nucleus and added little indentations to represent the mitochondria or power houses of the cell. Can you see the dendrites the axon with the myelin sheath?
 This one is mine.
 Here is Sophie working on not just one but two neurons.
 Ian had to work fast because Molly was busy bashing his dendrites as she gathered more and more of his play dough onto her ball.
 Henry added a a brain and spinal cord to his.

I think these kids got the idea and can name the different parts of the neuron and some basics about the central nervous system. But more important that that is that they had fun doing it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Derby

Ian has only been a cub scout for a month and today he got to participate in his first Pine Wood Derby.

He designed his car and went to the wood shop with his den about two weeks ago. His Dad went with him too. He spent some time sanding and painting it until he decided it was done. They also got a kit from the wood shop to help you sand down the nails that act as the axles. You really can spend a lot building the perfect car that will fly down the course. Ian told me about all sorts of books and kits that they sell so you can get all the secrets to making the perfect winner.

I wanted to make sure it was Ian's project so I tried really hard to let him do what he wanted when they came back from cutting the body. He decided it was going to be green (his favorite color) and he added some brown and gold and sort of dabbed it all around to make it look rusty or old. He was going for scales because he wanted it to look like a snake. I think it sort of looks a bit more like a frog but, oh well.

We actually took it to the post office earlier in the week to see exactly how much it weighed and the post lady knew exactly what it was and happily placed it on the scale. We were just a little shy of the 5 oz that is allowed. So at the official weigh in they gave him one more washer to glue to the bottom and that brought him to about a hundredth of an ounce off the 5 ounce limit.

I never realized how serious cubs and their leaders take the Derby. He had his weigh in on Thursday and the car was placed in a little white styrofoam box where it had to stay and was kept under lock and key until race day.
Here is Molly waiting for the races to begin.
Each boys car raced three times against different cars each time. Ian's car seemed to do well. He won one by quite a bit and barely squeaked out a win on another and on the third came in 2nd to what ended up being the car that took the overall best time.  So despite having a tire pop off just before one of the races his car seemed to do great!

This is the practice track that the scouts used after their cars raced.
When the ranks were announced I was shocked to hear that Ian's car got first place in our ward's pack. His even did better than some of the boys' cars that take this race very serious and are out to WIN! His time was 6.837 seconds. The next fastest time was 6.863.  And what was even more amazing was that his car was ranked third overall. His car was the third fastest in our stake or I guess it is a Den, I don't know all the scout terminalogy. (I guess sanding down the nails worked!) So he could go to the district race. We decided to decline that honor.  We have heard some real horror stories about that event and decided this derby was enough for us.

So it was an exciting morning and our boy is very proud of his little green car!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Music and Art

Sophie's art assignment for the past week was to take some music and draw/paint what ever comes to mind while to listen.  So one night while the boys were off with their dad I put on a Chopin CD and gave Sophie a big piece of paper and she started to draw.
At first she didn't know what to draw but soon started thinking of different things. She listened to the entire CD and had a few small drawings scattered about her page.

Here is Pan playing his flute in a little forest.
an underwater castle,
And of course there was a cat.  Sophie explained that the cat was looking out the widow wishing to go out but it was raining.

After listening for a good long time I gave her a fresh page and got out the watercolors. She picked one of her images and painted it.

I am not surprised it was the one of the cat.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A little light bedtime reading

My kids have a really hard time calming down and going to bed. The bedtime ritual has to happen or else they just can't go to sleep. And the ritual is that their papa reads to them each night. At first I read a book to Sophie and the boys got their papa but Sophie always felt like she was missing out on something so would want to hear what book or story they were getting. Then when Molly came and I was off taking care of the baby my reading to Sophie stopped and she just joined the boys for a book and story from their papa.

And he spoils them. They get a good 30-45 min each night with him reading a book and then telling them stories. He makes them up on the spot and they often tell him what characters they want and he has to weave them all together. Often Harry Potter characters meet up with Tin Tin or Indiana Jones and have some adventure. Lately they have all been battling hydras or cyclopes or perhaps even a minotaur.

I usually pick out the book for the read aloud. My husband trusts my picks and lately I have picked some really great ones.
I gave him The Chocolate Touch which is a sort of King Midas story but set in the 50's and the boy turns everything chocolate. The kids loved telling me all about what turned chocolate each morning.

Then when that was finished I gave him Archimedes and the Door of Science . This time he would come and tell me about the book. He said this was not really a story book but sort of a biography but more about the gadgets and things Archimedes created. The kids loved it and so did he so it was a winner.

The current read aloud wasn't expressly chosen to be a read aloud. I actually checked it out of the library for me and my husband to read just because it is a topic he is interested in and it was recommended somewhere in the many blogs I read. It is an adult book and not from the children's section. The book is called How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.  He was reading aloud a section of the book to me while the kids were playing Legos one night and they enjoyed the storyline. It is told as a story. People live on an island and start trading fish which becomes their monetary system and the story continues as their economy grows and then begins to fall apart.

They are only half way through the book and my kids love it. I catch them reading it (all of them, Henry too, he likes the illustrations on many of the pages) during the day.  Tonight at dinner they kept telling me all about how the government on this island started to create fake fish and the fish kept getting smaller and smaller until you had to have lots and lots of fish to satisfy yourself when you used to only need one.  It is amazing how much economics they are picking up from this story.

The only thing with this whole read aloud set up is that I don't get to listen to the books. They are often books I haven't read either and when the kids tell me about them it makes me want to read them too.  I guess I just need to start sneaking a peek into these books so I know what they are talking about when they excitedly tell me the latest of what is happening in their night read aloud.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We had Prime for about 30 Min.

I love Amazon. I shop on Amazon all the time. I had prime membership for about a year because I joined their mom's club and because I bought diapers every month or two they continued to offer me Prime Membership for a year. That all ended in December (Thankfully, after Christmas). In December we decided to get a Roku box for our t.v. so that we could get BYUtv which would allow us to watch conference from the comfort of our own home without having to have cable or watch it on our laptop computer.  With the Roku box we also are able to get the Amazontv app which would make it possible to stream movies from the Amazon library.  I had been tempted to pay for Prime membership since getting the email that says prime members would get to stream a large library of movies for free. Prime is about $80 for the year. That is a lot less than what our Netflix costs us each year so it sounded like a good deal.

Last night I finally took the plunge and bought prime membership thinking we would then be able to drop the Netflix. But after setting up the app and looking at what was available, my husband and I were greatly disappointed with Amazon. First of all, most of the things we would want to watch aren't free even for Prime members. But what we were the most put off by was the lack of a queue or list where we could collect the shows and movies that we would like to watch eventually or that we know the kids would like to watch.  This lack of a queue means that each time you want to watch something you have to search for it first. And in the searching you come across a lot of things that aren't for little eyes to see.  Just flipping through the movies listed as new arrivals was almost pornographic. Thomas the tank engine videos were right next to a slasher movies or a scantily clad female bodies. Not something any of us need to see.  Even just using the search engine where you have to click in the title of the film resulted in a lot of films other than the one you want to come up also.  This doesn't happen with Netflix. I fill my queue online and the recommendations that pop up on the homepage are all based on things we have previously watched so it is very family friendly.  When the kids click on the Netflix app on the tv they get our queue with is full of movies already approved by me for their viewing.  There aren't any adds or recommendations there. I like that!

So after just a few minutes on Amazon's web page and tv app we could tell this wasn't what we wanted. We like Netflix and it is worth the extra money to keep things clean for our family.  I quickly went back to the Amazon website and canceled Prime. Since I hadn't actually used any of the Prime benifits in the 30 minutes since I had clicked that order button, they refunded my money and canceled it. I did leave a comment with that cancellation so they at least got my opinion of the service and they could see about changing things for my demographic.

For now I will have to go back to filling my shopping cart with over $25.00 worth of items so I can qualify for free super saver shipping. And for now we will continue to pay for Netflix.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Organized? I don't think so.

About a week ago I got an email from the lady in our ward who plans Relief Society Activities (formally known as Enrichment which used to be homemaking). In this email she asks me if I would be willing to speak to the group about organization. She said I had been recommended as someone who would have something to share.

I laughed!

Me talk about organization and about getting our lives organized? Wow.. wrong person!

I of course said yes because I have a problem with saying no. I just had no idea what to talk about since I have no systems that work. My house is not run on a schedule. I don't have meals planned out and baked for the month sitting in the  freezer.  Most of my days are spent juggling all the different parts of my life and hoping it all turns out alright. I had nothing to share with a bunch of other ladies of a variety of different ages and situations who all could tell me a thing or two that I know I am not getting to and not doing.


I decided to talk about Wisdom. What does Wisdom have to do with Organizing our lives?

First of all, I have been reading and studying about the topic quite a bit over the last few weeks. After reading the Duggar's latest book A Love that Multiplies I was inspired to read the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.  Proverbs was just quoted a number of times throughout the book and I realized I had never really studied that particular book so I decided to give it a go.  So a few weeks ago, around Christmas time actually, while the rest of the Christian world was reading about the birth of Jesus I was reading Proverbs. I was reading about the Savior's birth too but in my personal study time (when I could fit it in) I was reading all these wise sayings attributed to Solomon. I was even taking notes and writing in my new Scripture Journal. This is something new for me and so far I am enjoying it.
Don't look too closely at what I wrote mostly it is just quotes from the scripture and then my little thought about it. Nothing very profound but a good start, since this is a new way for me to study.

So anyway... for a few weeks I have been reading all these great thoughts about wisdom and what a wise person is and what they do and don't do. 

As a result, I have the topic of wisdom on my mind and since organization isn't my strong suit I figured the change of topic would be more applicable to the ladies of our group. I tried to tie it into organization.

I shared my list of attributes that I had gathered from the book of Proverbs, used to describe a Wise person.

A wise person is

Reverent (Fears the Lord)
Has Discretion
Has Understanding
Teachable/ Humble
Willing to be chasened
Hard Working
Full of Integrity
Slow to wrath
Abides Satisfied

I also shared a few of my favorite Proverbs

Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all they getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
 Wisdom is needed in all aspects of our life. Wisdom comes from God and we should consult him about everything we do. So if we are struggling with something and lack wisdom then we just need to ask. He will share his wisdom with us.
There is no Wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord. Proverbs 21:30

 We need to choose what we walk with, who we walk with and what we bring into our lives. We need wisdom to determine if what we have in our schedules and lives is worthy of our time and not a foolish waste.
He that walketh with wisemen shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs 13:20
 Life isn't going to always be easy. We are going to have hard stressful times and yet we need to not wallow in it. But be faithful and find the joy in the journey we are taking.
He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15

So it wasn't a lesson on organization. In fact it wasn't a lesson at all. It ended up being more of a spiritual thought. Thanksgoodness I wasn't the only one scheduled to speak!

To even illustrate how disorganzied I am. I arrived late to the meeting. I thought it started at 7:00 and arrived 5 min early so I could quickly run to the copier and have a handout but when I got to the church the meeting was already underway (evidently it had started at 6:30) and it was my turn in mere moments. So no handout and I was a bit flustered because I had rushed to get there, only to be late.

I guess this only proves how funny it is to think of me as organized. My brain and schedule are zipping around bouncing from topic to topic and place to place with no rhyme or reason.  I guess I need a little wisdom in my life to sort things out so my juggling act doesn't come crashing down around me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

School Work

I haven't posted a weekly report in ages. Not that these are the most interesting posts but they are a good record of what we have been doing and since I was sitting here writing up a report for our last month of school to turn into our Charter School I figured why not put some of it here.

We will start with Science.
My hardest subject to actually get excited excited about. We have only done one chapter in our Anatomy Apologia text in the last month. We learned about blood. Next week we will get into the circulatory system hopefully but we have taken a long time learning about what is in our blood and what blood does for us. I have also been having Henry read a lot of the Magic School bus easy reader books. We have read about bones, blood, germs and a few others I can't remember. Some not even related to the body but just because they are fun and easy for him to read.
The kids start back into their science workshops this week so I won't feel quite so guilty about not doing formal science with them on a more regular basis.

History isn't too hard to fit into our schedule. We love reading books and my kids have really taken to Greek Myths. We listen to our chapters of Story of the World but mostly we read books about Greece or Mythology.  We are also on the last book in the Percy Jackson series.  There are a lot of things yet to cover about the Greeks that we haven't gotten to yet so I think we will be here for another few weeks.
Writing is going well with IEW. Sophie decided to switch to the Ancient History based Lessons rather than finish the All thing Fun and Fascinating.  We have even stepped away from the lesson and just practiced the technique with things from the books we are reading in History and even Science. She has done a number of really good notebooking pages about blood and the Olympics in which she uses the techniques and dress ups she has been taught so far in in the IEW lessons. I love that she is feeling more confident in her writing.

I think I am going to start Ian on the Student Writing Intensive soon. He has been doing Literature based Language arts the last few weeks and it has been going well but I think we need to move on.

Henry is still doing explode the code. He finished book 4 and is going to do 4 1/2  and just like I did with Ian, I am going to stop them there. Henry is really starting to read well and it is time to start working on more. I am going to have to think about what to do with him in a few weeks when he has finished this workbook.

Math is going smoothly. Sophie started back into Singapore 5B and is having not any trouble with decimals. Ian has gotten through all the multiplication chapters but still doesn't have all those math facts stuck in his head so we are going to go through Math Mammoth to cement them into his head. Henry finished his 1B workbook and before moving on we are reading through the Life of Fred Elementary books that our family got for Christmas. We have already finished Apples and have started Butterflies. I don't have all of the elementary series yet so we will only get to read through Dogs right now but my boys really enjoy these even if they are really simple math. But they now have the days of the week and the months of the year down. They can even spell them, thanks to Fred and me quizzing them on them almost everyday!

We have reviewed our Latin Lessons this week since we have taken some time off from doing any Latin lessons over the holidays.

We read books about Grandma Moses for Art. I can't say it was an in depth study but we read her biography and looked at a few other books that use her artwork. It has also been a good way to go over the months of the year and the seasons.

Our read aloud has been The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. We then discussed it at Co-op.
I really liked the book but I can tell the kids only got some of the greatness of the book. It is hard to get all the puns and use of idioms when you are young and haven't heard them as much. But the kids, even at co-op, seemed to understand the point of the book.

My favorite quote from this book.

"Whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer."

"Many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow. "

Other read alouds have been plentiful. I feel like I read and read and read to these kids. Molly loves the Fancy Nancy books and I noticed that the boys got very excited when they saw that I found a whole bunch of new ones at the library this week.  I have also picked up a number of books to read about Mr. Magee. These are some very funny, rhyming books that are just fun.
Sophie was very excited when I found the new American Girl of the Year book at the library.  She has already finished it.
That has been about it. There is all sort of other things we are doing but that is it for school.

Of course what I can't report to the school is the gospel study. They don't want anything to do with that. But we are reading the Book of Mormon again this year. We started reading the old testament at Christmas time because we had finished the Book of Mormon but our Stake President and Bishop challenged us to read the Book of Mormon since that is the course of study for Sunday School this year.  My kids decided they would have to come back to the Old Testament once we have read through the Book of Mormon again.

We are reviewing the 2 Psalms we have learned. My kids have psalm 23 down but 100 needs a lot more help. After a week or two of not repeating it they have forgotten a lot of it. We added in 1 Nephi 3:7 to the list as well as all 13 articles of faith which they all have down pretty well thanks to those Scripture Scout songs.  Ian has also been working on the things he needs to have memorized for his Bobcat badge. I signed them off so I think he should get that Bobcat at the next pack meeting.

As for our Hymn, Primary song for the month. We decided to learn Nephi's courage since we are reading those stories right now in the scriptures.

So that is a long list of the things we are studying. There is a lot going on and I know there are holes here and there in our studies but my kids love to learn so those things will eventually get filled in. 

For now we are doing pretty well.