Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night

We are doing a little school on this election night. Thing 4 is learning about politics and geography. She is coloring in an electoral map as results come in. She's doing a little math, too, as she keeps a tally of electoral votes for each candidate.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

A very long overdue post

It's been months and months since I've blogged. We switched things up a little last year with the kiddos going to a Montessori school a couple of days a week. It was a good fit for them, but it caused a real time crunch for me, trying to cram five days of lessons into three days. I felt like I didn't have time to do anything extra, so the blog got put on the back burner. I regret not having blogged much last year because I really enjoy going back through my old posts from the first couple of years and seeing what we did.  It's a homeschool diary.

Today was a beautiful day here in OK so we headed out to the nature preserve this afternoon. It's one of our favorite local places to hike, and every time we go there, I wonder why we don't go more often.

While we were hiking around, 

looking for letters in nature for art projects for the kids' rooms, 

enjoying having our pictures taken,

and watching butterflies do their thing, 

I had a moment of clarity. 

Lately, I've been feeling like I'm at a crossroads with this whole Otherwise Educating thing. This is our fourth year, and I've loved it. I haven't loved everything about it. There have been days when I have not loved it at all. But overall, it has been a wonderful experience for me and for my children. I wouldn't care if they hadn't learned anything (they have), I would not trade the time I have had with them for all the money in the world. However, we are quickly approaching the high school years with Thing 3, and Thing 4 has been telling me she wants to go back to school. She doesn't want to go back to any school. She thinks she might want to go back to public schoolYou know, that place from which I rescued her over three years ago. 

I've had many conversations in my head, with my husband, with my neighbor and favorite homeschool mom about whether or not to continue on this path. I wonder if my children would be learning more in school.  Would they be better off socially? I have doubts about my ability to homeschool high school.  It's one thing to homeschool elementary school kids. Anyone can teach state capitals and multiplication tables. But how will I teach geometry, chemistry, writing? Can I do this for the long term? Do I even want to? Should I have done this at all?

And then, as she often does, Thing 4 said something that brought me back to the moment. She has been learning about food chains and food webs. Before we headed out today, we covered (for the third time) the various parts of the food chain...producers, consumers, scavengers, decomposers. As we walked past a log that had been eaten by termites, I casually mentioned, "Oh look. Termites have been eating that log. Where do you suppose termites fall in the food chain?" She looked at me, looked at the log, thought for a minute and shouted, "Decomposers! They're decomposers. And look, Mom! You can see how they're breaking down this log. It's turning back into soil." Then, "Wow. You know, it's one thing to read about decomposers, but when I can actually see and touch what they've done, I really get it." 

And that's why I do what I do. I'm doing it again tomorrow. After that, who knows? For now, I'm just going to enjoy the moment.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Science Experiment That Actually Worked!

Now that's blog-worthy!

We came across the following brain teaser and had to try the solution for ourselves.

A man in a restaurant asked a waiter for a juice glass, a dinner plate, water, a match, and a lemon wedge. The man poured enough water onto the plate to cover it.
"If you can get the water on the plate into this glass without touching or moving this plate, I will give you $100," the man said. "You can use the match and lemon to do this."

A few minutes later, the waiter walked away with $100 in his pocket. How did the waiter get the water into the glass?

 First, the waiter stuck the match into the lemon wedge, so that it would stand straight. Then he lit the match, and put it in the middle of the plate with the lemon. Then, he placed the glass upside-down over the match. As the flame used up the oxygen in the glass, it created a small vacuum, which sucked in the water through the space between the glass and the plate. Thus, the waiter got the water into the glass without touching or moving the plate.

This was so cool that we did it three times. Try it! For other brain teasers, check out Briangle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homeschooling With Weird Al (Again)

Hello again! It's been a crazy year, and I haven't found much time for blogging, but some things are just to good not to share, so here I am again.

Last year, we incorporated some Weird Al into our Language Arts studies. I know we are a family of total nerds, but we really love Al. Have I mentioned that the man is a goofy musical genius? Anyway, this week the kiddos and I were learning a little about the digestive system and the question arose, "What does the pancreas do?" Weird Al to the rescue again. I have it on good authority that this silly little song about the pancreas is 100% scientifically accurate. My son's high school biology teacher even uses it to teach his students about the pancreas.

Given that my kids retain pretty much anything they hear in a Weird Al tune, if he wrote a home school curriculum in song, I'd buy it.


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