Life Science

We recently had to rehome of our rooster “Storm” because he was a bit too good at being a rooster. He protected his ladies too well and attacked the kids when they were collecting eggs. We were very sad about this and tried to remedy to situation, but sadly we weren’t successful.

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We took Storm back to the breeder and swapped him for Frosty, our new rooster.

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Long story short, we wanted some of Storm’s babies, so into the incubator went some of the eggs fertilized by him.

21 days later we had the best science experiment ever…getting to see life emerge.

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These chicks were half blue orpington (Storm) and half Easter egger (Mama)

26 days later we opened up the unhatched eggs. Mostly we found icky yokes that never really took…

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…but then we discovered two chicks that were well on their way. It was sad for the kiddos and they wanted to bury the chicks.

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You can see one dyed before it’s yoke sack was absorbed into it’s abdominal cavity…but the other chick was ready to hatch and never pipped or unzipped for some unknown to us reason.

It was a good science lesson on how delicate life is.

The kids decided they needed to bury the chicks at the base of a tree, so they can climb up to the top and learn to fly. And because according to my daughter it takes a year to get to heaven and well the flight journey there is a long way. She’s pretty sure heaven is on a planet not discovered by humans yet.

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Each one decided to add some sort of token for their journey before we buried the little peepers.

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Then we came inside to celebrate the life of 8 baby chicks that did hatch.

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Could we be lucky enough to have 8 HENS??? Lol…against the odds, but we are hoping for all hens! Frosty (our roo) doesn’t need any competition. 🙂

It would be nice to add some more grey/blue to our colorful flock.

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Ideally I’d love for the flock to have a plethora of colors and variations. I think when we incubate some of Frosty’s offspring we will get to add even more variety. 🙂

Homeschool Science Rocks…it’s hands on thru the entire process!

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Beautiful Butterflies!

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If you have the chance to watch butterflies develop I highly suggest it.

In spring we order caterpillars from Insect Lore’s website

(http://www.insectlore.com/cup-of-caterpillars)

And then set the butterflies free after a couple of days of observations.

Through books and hands on experiences, the kids have learned all about the butterfly life cycle.

They also have learned to be very gentle with butterflies.

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And maybe the butterflies know my kids are gentle or maybe it is their bright clothing, but for whatever reason, butterflies seem to land on and allow my kids to hold them often.

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Here are some great supplies to consider if you are interested in learning more about and raising your own butterflies:

Glass Blowing Is Amazing!

 

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Recently we had a rare opportunity to watch a glass blower create amazing artwork. Saul (the glass blowing artist) and his wife Gina were both really kind gentle people who took the time to share this incredible craft with our kids.

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He showed the kids all his supplies, how he makes the various colors, how to add colors to the clear glass, showing us all the tools and ovens used to make his creations. (Which are VERY HOT! 2000+ degrees hot!) He also crafted a gorgeous vase for the kid’s demonstration so they could see a ball of scalding hot goo turn into a masterpiece before their very eyes from start to finish.

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Saul is very humorous and entertaining for both the children and adults alike. His demonstration was so captivating, my wiggly giggly kiddos were frozen like statues watching, learning and sucking in every aspect of glass blowing like little sponges. They enjoyed every second of the experience and were in complete awe!

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When he was finished with his demonstration, he took the time to let the kids create a piece of glass work themselves. He was very patient. Words can not describe how great he was with the kids. He is exactly what you would want in a mentor. My son was actually terrified at first of being burnt, but Saul was so good with my son; he was able to conquer his fears and create his bird.

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Both of my kiddos chose to make birds. They were able to pick their colors, manipulate the glass goo ball, use his tools and literally create their very own piece of art.

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In this mother’s opinion, these two birds are priceless!

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As a home schooler, I was thrilled to find out Saul and his wife Gina home schooled their children who are now in college.

If you have the opportunity to see glass blowing I highly recommend it.

Tis The Season To Be Busy…Fa La La La La La La

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog, because life just has a way of speeding by during this time of the year. We arrived home from our vacation and came home to boom boom boom a long list of events…We start off with Harvest, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah this year for our Jewish friends) and POOF Christmas is right around the corner.

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On this particularly busy day, it was a super crazy day. I was going all day and exhausted. The kids were off playing and I saw a window for myself to just have a calm quiet cup of tea. I made myself a cup of tea, got a book, a couple extra cushions for the patio chair, settled myself down. Look over and see this! Seriously! Really? You gotta be kidding me! Ever have days like this!?! Well you aren’t alone! 😉

Here is a photo blog of what has been keeping us so busy and hopefully that will release me of my poor blogging skills guilt! (there’s always hope right!?!? ha ha!) It should make the family happy to have current photos of the kiddos doing what they do. 🙂

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Harvest Time – We generally spend a little time in the vineyard picking grapes with the crews. They often will save us a small plot to pick, because to be honest the crews are MUCH MORE efficient then we are. They can clear three or four rows in the same time we pick our small patch. But it is still fun to be a part of the harvest, eat a few grapes, dodge a few bees, learn hands on what a harvest really is about.

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Horse riding lessons – Each week the kids have horse riding lessons with an amazing trainer. Each week they alternate between English, Western & Vaulting lessons. Their balance and spatial awareness is growing leaps and bounds! In this photo the horse is walking. She is learning various vaulting skills at walk and trot.

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Science Experiments – This was a science kit explaining quick sand. After this experiment I found a better recipe online and we created a larger bowl of “quick sand” that occupied the kids for days and sadly killed many small plastic animals. (no worries though, all were saved by the dishwasher!)

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Pumpkin Patch Farm With Homeschooling Friends – we spent about 6 hours at this farm enjoying every aspect of it. Seeing the fields on a tractor hay ride, running thru hay mazes, feeding the farm animals, shopping their fresh product, eating yummy treats in their restaurant. It was a great day and the kids (mama too!) were tuckered out afterwards!

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And of course we carved pumpkins…Jack O’lanterns are always so much fun!

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More BIG NEWS – “Mom Dad, come see” – sooo we head outside and there she is, riding her brothers bike without training wheels. Apparently big brother helped her learn how to ride his bike. We were able to see the first steps as he ran behind her on his bike, hilariously cute! So dad took the trainers off HER bike and she “relearned” on her bike…she is very proud of her new-found skills!

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And of course “SCHOOL TIME” – both kiddos enjoy desk work (believe it or not!) I have my theories on why my kids think school work is fun…pretty much has to do with the fact it’s THEIR CHOICE.

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“SURFING” on Grandpa’s back – I remember doing these things with my dad as a child and it’s fun to see my kids enjoying the same adventures. He would throw us up in the air, across the pool, we’d swim on his back and pretend he was a dolphin, Surf across the pool on his back. And it appears he still has the touch!

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Homeschool Park Day – Halloween party for the homeschoolers. Some people believe homeschoolers are unsocialized and they never get to play with their peers. I will tell you during this fun adventure I heard a lot of the kids using their words to say things like “please pass the stickers” or “thank you” I didn’t see any pushing, shoving or grabbing going on. I’d say they were very well-mannered and displayed great social skills.

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Trick or Treat – Halloween is always fun! This year we celebrated with some friends. The kids ran from door to door and then afterwards enjoyed a good old fashion candy swap. I think all the kids felt they came out ahead!

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School Math the next day included Candy sorting, charting, adding and the kids favorite SUBTRACTING (aka eating!)

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Homeschool Park Day – Each week we get together with homeschool friends for park day and it is always so fun to see the older kids helping the younger kids and all the kids having fun together just being kids! I love it! So much joy!

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We made a little road trip to see JACK HANNA in action! he brought a bunch of wild animals to share with us and teach us some interesting facts about animals and various areas in the world.

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Our reading tree is SLOWLY filling. We actually have read way more books, but we unfortunately keep forgetting to add them to the tree. Each item is for a different reading situation, the animals are for chapter books, acorns for readers, leaves for story books, etc…

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Rain Gutter Regatta – This is a cub scouts event. The boys build sail boats and then using their breath power they blow the boat in a race down rain gutters. Its great fun and the kids all design great vessels!

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More School Time – they love their desks and it cracks me up every time they happily work away at their desks asking for more work.

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Another opportunity to do some math, geography, foreign language and character work – each year about this time, Samaritan’s Purse puts on the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD program http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and each year I give the kids a budget and a list of approved items. I take them shopping and they can choose what they want to go into their shoe box. They need to stay within budget. They need to scout out items that are on the list and fit in their box. They deliver the boxes to a local church and see all the work people put into making Christmas special for others. They learn about giving. We purchase tracking codes so we can track what country our boxes go to and learn more about that area. And they HOPE a child will return a letter one day. This year we wrote our letter in a couple of languages hoping someone would translate for the receiver. We shall see.

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We read a bunch of books on nature and animal tracks. One of the books suggested looking for an OWL during the day. So we headed out in search of tracks, owls and owl pellets. (which is owl puke, some people think it’s poop. The owl eats a WHOLE mouse and then the fur and bones bundle up together during digestion and the owl pukes it out)

We did find lots of tracks, bobcats, deer, pigs, coyotes, birds, and our dogs! ha ha! At the base of several trees we searched for owl pellets. We looked at the tippy tops of many trees. No owls and no owl pellets. But lucky for us, Amazon.com sells owl pellet kits and has two-day shipping! ha ha!

The kits are great, because they come with little bone charts and the kids can pretend they are paleontologists, digging around for bones and then placing them back together to see if they have a whole animal!

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When it was all over the kids drew pictures and wrote about it in their nature journals.

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On occasion we get to do school with our homeschooling friends.

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and we also get to do pizza parties and arcade games with our homeschooling friends.

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We have a few family traditions that make our Thanksgiving one of our favorite holidays! For starters we eat venison instead of turkey. 1) we’re pretty sure they had venison at the first thanksgiving meal. and 2) no one in our family likes turkey, so who wants to spend all day cooking a big old bird no one will eat. We have a TURKEY SHOOT, which is great fun! The kids blow up surgical gloves and we decorate them to look like turkeys. Take them down to the shooting range and take turns shooting the turkeys. (We use both rifles and bows) And last but certainly not least, we have a pumpkin toss. And all of those pumpkins we collected are tossed down the canyon. We see who can throw the farthest, highest, funniest, etc… Then we hike down the canyon and smash the pumpkins open, getting any aggression out on the poor little pumpkins! ha ha! But this opens them up so nature can take its course and the pumpkins do their part in the cycle of life.

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And then comes the food coma! I couldnt eat another bite!

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We also have piano recitals that keep us moving and grooving!

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Before you know it, it is Christmas tradition time! Poof, three months has flown by! This year for the first time, the kid’s gingerbread houses don’t look like a candy/frosting factory puked on them. This is the first year they both decided to follow some suggested ideas in the directions! I was both impressed and sad to be honest. I was impressed with how well their houses came out (one is in the background, but you can still see it, lovely icicles!) But I was sad to know their childish glops of frosting and uneven gum drops were days of the past now. It has spurred a field trip. We are going to go check out a bakery that makes professional gingerbread houses and see how they do their amazing decorating tricks.

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And with Christmas comes the shelf elves! Meet Sir SugarSocks MacMistletoe and his lady elf friend. They get into mischief in our house on occasion, but for the most part they are decent elves that simply report to Santa how the kids are doing throughout the season!

Please forgive my lack of blogging lately, but as you can see we have been keeping busy with events, friends, family and school.

How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

For those with skeptical family and friends, this bit of homeschooling info is always handy to have in your back pocket! 🙂

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

Independence Day!

I have decided to start expecting more of my children. I have run a few experiments in the past regarding their basic needs. Like for example, if I don’t supply breakfast, what will happen. Will they tell me they are hungry? Will they get something to eat? Will they ask me to make them something to eat? If I don’t remind them to get dress for the day, will they stay in jammies all day? Will they get dressed to go outside and play? At what time of day will they get dressed? Will they dress appropriately for the weather? Etc…

Well my son got dressed immediately after waking up. My daughter stayed in Jammie’s the entire day. Neither of them mentioned hunger or desire for food until 2:00 in the afternoon! And I replied to their request with, “you can get a snack off the snack tray yourself or wait for me to finish what I’m doing to get you something”…they both replied they’d wait for me to get them something to eat!

This is NOT going to do IMHO! So with the help of jet lag (earlier wake up and bedtimes) I started a new routine that I hope will stick. But the process is slow and painful for mama!

This new routine involves being dressed for the day (mama Lou included) by 7am. Fixing their own breakfast under my supervision. So far they are mastering pancakes, hard-boiled eggs, and toast. The painful part comes in watching how slooooooow the process is, when I can whip out breakfast in a flash…but they have to become more independent or their future spouses will never speak to me.

We accomplish our three Rs and if we haven’t taken too long in doing so, then I toss in another subject…if the day seems to be dragging on or the work has been tough, that’s it for sit down work. We might listen to story of the world later while driving to park day for some playtime (aka socializing!)

Then we mustn’t forget lunch…grilled cheese, peanut butter & honey or jam sandwiches are what they are mastering at the moment. And again a very slooooow process of getting the step stool, plugging in the griddle, getting the butter bell, getting the butter knife, spreading the butter…oh wait need to get the bread, get the cheese, and well you know the rest…step by step…

Cleaning up after themselves is constant as all mothers know, but we are taking it to another level which requires me to be on top of two people in different rooms sometimes making multiple messes….training them to not start a new game until the other mess is cleaned up…and not just cleaned up, but put back where it belongs the way it was when it was found, is a daunting task for someone who finds it much easier to kick the kids outside to play and tidy up in peace & quiet.

While I wait for my photos to arrive, so I can share with you a great family holiday, I’m spending my days (which used to be more relaxed and easy-going) setting up a routine and teaching some independence skills to my children. The thought is once that independence kicks in, we can go back to a more relaxed mode without having to worry that my kids will never change their underwear or eat a healthy morsel of food on their own! Haha!

Quick Easy Organic and Yummy Science Experiment

Yesterday the kids wanted to know why I don’t love them eating straight butter, even though I did as a child. We talked about fat content in our diets. How fats should be in smaller amounts.

This discussion quickly moved into liquids and solids and the components of butter, where it comes from, how you make it etc…

My kids have made butter in the past so I assumed they knew all about it, but over time (even with hands on experiments) info is lost and needs a refresher. So off to the market to buy organic cream we go.

We poured a little cream into a jar (forgot the marble, some people recommend putting a marble or penny in the bottle) we gently and consistently took turns at shaking the jar.

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You can see the liquid and fat separating. Many people drain the liquid off. Some use it in other ways. (All worth researching online) We just kept on shaking haha! So we ended up with really creamy butter.

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Some folks add salt too. We were going to use this butter up on grilled cheese sandwiches so I opted for no salt.

I highly encourage you to make some butter with your kids. Its great fun and very interesting to see the different stages. Lots of opportunity for science discussions there.

I also encourage you to use organic cream. Who knows what is in our food these days with all the toxic chemicals, hormones and genetically modified foods. And worse companies that refuse to label their foods properly.