Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Science Books

This is the reason I love our new school room. There's enough space to give each subject its own little space. I actually feel quite organized. This is how I have our science books organized. I love, love, love that they can be separated from all the other books.

It's certainly not fancy. But, it works.

These are larger, just random books on science type subjects.

Here we've got the Magic School Bus books (which I did not enjoy when I was a kid, but my kids love them and there's actually a lot of information in them), The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library books and a variety of others.

Over here we have level readers with a science theme, Nature's Children animal books (which Mr. T picked out at a sale at the library) and misc. science books including science experiments and human body books.

There's a little space on the shelf not filled with books where we add science/nature items. Today we have a couple deer horns and a bird nest on display.

Audubon Society

As part of our bird studies we took a trip to the Audubon Society. They have many trails through a forest that is home to wild birds. They also have an animal hospital for injured birds, as well as a handful of birds for educational purposes.

This was definitely a successful field trip. The best part was watching the excitement in Capt. N while seeing these birds up close. I gotta say, I was a proud mama when he was able to name the species of bird before being told or reading what it was. He was also able to hold a great conversation with a couple of the bird handlers. Another proud moment was watching him read the signs outside the education bird cages to find out why that bird can't be released back into the wild. It was a great time. I'm so glad we took this spur of the moment trip.

The first thing we saw after stepping out of our car were two women, each holding a bird. This is an American kestrel, a small falcon. The other woman was holding a great horned owl. Capt. N was hooked from that moment. He loves Birds of Prey.

Julio, the great horned owl and his yellow eyes. I was surprised at the large size of this owl.

Another one of their education birds is this peregrine falcon. Capt. N knew right away what this guy was.  I admit, I had to read the sign to see if he was correct. It kinda makes me proud and embarrassed at the same time when my kids show they are smarter than me.

Syd, a red tailed hawk

The day we walked the trails the creek nearby was flowing muddy brown. Then I spotted a stream merging into the brown creek. The stream water was crystal clear. You can see the distinct line where the two come together. Capt. N didn't find this near as cool as I did.

Near their nature store they had various mounts, including this cougar & bobcat.

A spotted towhee, one of the wild birds hanging around the sanctuary that day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 26

I need to come to the realization that we just don't have a "normal" week. We have our daily routines, but for an entire week to be the same as the last just doesn't seem to happen for us. A typical week is school at home in the morning & afternoon on Monday, Wednesday & Friday with lots of instruction from me. Tuesday & Thursday Capt. N does independent work in the morning. My hubby works from home those days & I am in town taking the other two kids to school. He also has piano lessons & Taekwondo on Thursdays. Tuesdays he has Taekwondo & for awhile he was going to a lego class. We also go over whatever he worked on while I was gone. That fills up the whole week & is the schedule we've come up with that works for us. But.... there's always something that steers us away from that plan. This week Mr. T didn't have school on Friday due to budget cuts. So, I had planned for Capt. N not to have school either. What I hadn't planned on was for Mr. T to end up with a snow day on Thursday. Princess K also ended up not having school. Capt. N had a few things he needed to finish up before his Spring Break, so he did those things. Life is just weird. We had 4" of snow on Thursday. That's a decent amount of snow, but if I can get out of my driveway then I don't think it's a lot. And, I can drive out in 4" of snow. So, on a day we have 4" there is a snow day and no school. The day we had 27" there was school. Weird how that works out. Anyways, Capt. N still had piano lessons that day. So, before we went to that I took him to the Audubon Society. He loved it! On Monday we had gone to the zoo. Yep, so much for a typical week.... Although, I am thinking April might be a little less crazy. Mr. T doesn't have any days off school - so neither will Capt. N & hopefully there won't be any snow days.

Pics from the Week:

Amur Leopard

Polar Bear

Sea Lion

Sea Otter

We go to the zoo often, and each time we go there seems to be something exciting that we don't usually get to see. This time it was watching the sea otter eat. Look at those teeth! He uses them to crack his shellfish.

The Oregon Zoo has themed curriculum on their website. We used the one called ZooScope this time. It explains the scientific method. Then you put what you've learned to use & graph what you observed. During this trip we were able to observe the African birds & Amur Leopards. Capt. N loves making graphs.

As part of his math, Capt. N has to measure & graph the growth of bean seeds. One pot is in the light, one is in the dark. We actually used pea seeds since that's what we had at home. The ones in the light are doing well.

The ones in the dark are lacking color and do not have many leaves. They are using all their energy trying to find the light.

American Kestral at the Audubon Society.
To see more of this trip click here.

Yippey! It is officially Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Week 25

 Mr. T had another short week at school, so Capt. N had a short week as well. I don't have a ton to report on the 3 days we did have school.

Pics from the Week:

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, Capt. N is reading Leprechaun in Late Winter.

As part of our St. Patrick's Day activities we made flubber - although this recipe calls it slime. To read more about how we celebrated St. Patrick's Day read this post.

Capt. N totally rocks the rock walls at fairs and other community events, so for the first time we went to a rock climbing gym. I think he really enjoyed it, but it did wear him out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Activities

I wasn't prepared this year with St. Patty's activities, but with the help of Pinterest, I was still able to quickly throw a few things together.

Fruit Rainbow
Capt. N had a friend over on Friday & I made this to go along with their pizza for lunch. My version isn't near as cute as the one on Pinterest, but the kid's still loved it. They even asked if I would make it again. So, of course I will someday.

Glow in the Dark Slime
My favorite thing about this project was that I already had all the supplies. I got the recipe from Domestic Charm.
This is a fun science project. At first the concoction is just watered down colored glue. Then presto-chango once the borax is added it turns into a soft, flexible solid. This pic is the finished product and doesn't show off the ooey-gooey goodness during the making of the slime. I'm sure that part of the process was the boy's favorite. It's really ooey, gooey & slimey at that point.

Scavenger Hunt
I printed this scavenger hunt from Wray Sisters. I made up this scene and left it for the kids to find. It starts out by saying that a sneaky leprechaun snuck in the house and scattered a rainbow. Once the rainbow is pieced together you figure out the clue to treasure.
One clue led the kid's here.
Finally, they found all the clues & figured out the treasure was in the closet.
The treasure!
I didn't add much to the bags, but it's always fun to find treasure. I printed the tags from The Crafting Chicks. I also added gum, a chocolate coin, a couple small toys and a bookmark from Jan Brett.

A town nearby always has a St. Patrick's Day parade. I think I enjoy parade's as much as the kids do. I love all the excitement and the colors and sounds & they always seem to make you proud to be an American.

Lucky Charms & Green Milk
For some silly reason I didn't take a pic, but the kid's had Lucky Charms and milk colored green for breakfast.

Capt. N & I watched a few You Tube videos of Irish Step Dancing. I love, love, love it. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Platypus Lapbook

Mr. T loves platypus' for some reason. Over the summer he took a week long pottery class. The animal mask he chose to make was of a platypus. His instructor said it was the first platypus made in her class. For Halloween he wanted to be a platypus. So, we transformed a lion costume into a platypus. When I started school with Capt. N, I found this platypus lapbook from Homeschool Share. I had to print it knowing Mr. T would love it. We've worked on the lapbook now and then over the past couple months. He finally finished it today & is so proud of it.

Front Cover
It's one file folder with an extra folder folded in the middle.

These 4 mini books are from Homeschool Share.

Left Side: Artwork by Mr. T: platypus drawing, clay piece and a page from a book he and I made over the summer.
Right Side: Life Cycle from Field Guide Final Project

Left Side: Mini books from Homeschool Share
Right Side: Mini books from Homeschool Share, Road Sign, Drawing from Enchanted Learning, Electroreception pic from Reed College (which I added to this lapbook because Mr. T told me about it. Who knew? Ok, maybe you knew, but I had no idea that they had the same sort of thing as a bat's echolocation.)

Left Side: Mini books from Homeschool Share
Right Side: Mr. T got a kick out of this comparison

I saw a cute platypus sewing pattern at Craftbits.com. It is definitely going on this summer's bucket list. I think Mr. T & I could do it together.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Carnivorous Terrarium

Mr. T loves plants & flowers, so last year for Christmas I got Mr. T this carnivorous terrarium kit. It's a good thing he's a fairly patient kid because we've had it over a year and it's just now getting interesting. Apparently carnivorous plants are slow growing.

Planting Day ~ January 2011

I was so excited. I thought the terrarium looked so cute.

Little did I know, it would sit & look like this for months. I was beginning to think nothing was going to grow even though I thought I followed the instructions exactly.

7 Months Later ~ August 2011
Finally, we ended up with this... not very exciting. But, at least things were growing.
Pale Trumpet 1
The most interesting plants are these. I think it is a Pale Trumpet plant (Sarracenia alata).
Pale Trumpet 2
Another pale trumpet plant seems to be growing well. I have no idea what the mounded green plant is. The soil is starting to get slimy looking with green growth on it. I looked on the Carnivorous Creations website and this appears to be normal - I notice the sliminess in one of their pics, too.

13 Months From Plant Date ~ February 2012

Pale Trumpet 1
This guy looks good & healthy.

Pale Trumpet 2
This pale trumpet plant isn't as big as the other one, but seems to be doing fine. The mounded plant from the pic taken a few months ago has changed a bit and is spreading out. There's also a couple other smaller versions of this same plant in other places in the terrarium.  And, there's this new plant (down by the purple fly). I don't know what it is either. All the green slimy stuff has turned into a plant that looks similar to moss.

All in all, I'm happy with this project. It's been fun watching it change, even if it has been a very slow process. It will continue to keep changing. I read one plant takes 3 - 5 years until it starts flowering. Yikes! I didn't realize when I bought this kit that it would be hanging around for so many years. The kit comes with venus fly trap seeds. So far, I don't see a venus fly trap growing. It may be one of the unknown plant, though. If another year goes by and there's no sign of a venus fly trap I might just go to Home Depot and buy a small one to add to the terrarium. This isn't a project we investigate every day. But, every month or so Mr. T will take the top off to see what has changed.

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