Friday, April 04, 2008

What We Have Been Up To

I'll start this post with one of my favorite Todd Wilson cartoons:

Taken from the Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons

According to the calendar, we should be right

Does that look like you? I just looked in the mirror and it definitely looks like me! Happy April!

I remember at a MOPS convention I went to years ago, Elisa Morgan showed a picture of a shriveled up juice box with straws sticking out of it all over, and she asked, "Is this what you feel like??" I just wanted to cry! I was that sucked-dry juice box! To this day that image pops into my mind from time to time.

Well, what in the world have we been up to in our homeschool, anyway? It's been weeks since I've posted, so we must be doing SOMEthing... I haven't posted a "school update" in months. But, believe me, we have been doing school. Boy, have we! Well, since I posted the cabbage juice post last month, I might as well follow up with the pictures of the pHun we had testing the pH of various substances.

As you can see, the cabbage juice being poured in is purple, but as it hits the substance in the cup it changes color. Pretty cool!

Here are some of the substances we tested:

It looks like we were dying easter eggs, doesn't it? It was a fun experiment, and very easy to put together using (non-yicky) ingredients from around the house. It was in our BJU Science 6 curriculum, but there are some links for similar experiments in this post if you want to try it. And, if you're one of my friends who lives nearby, I've got a jar of extra cabbage juice!

This semester we made a switch in my daughter's science as well. Since we are in the midst of an adoption, and we're not sure when our new addition(s) will arrive, we are trying to make hay while the sun shines and really get ahead, to give us some margin after we get home from Africa. I've been thinking for some time that I'd like to try a BJU dvd course for science to see what I thought of it for possible use for Biology or Chemistry for high school. For various reasons the co-ops around us aren't a good fit, and I acknowledge that I need some support in the area of upper-level science. SO, we ordered the BJU Physical Science 9 dvd course for this semester (continuing in the summer.) We started it after Christmas in January. We wrapped up the Earth Science 8 in December. It was a push, but I condensed the chapters and feel that she got a good grounding in Earth Science/Astronomy. (The grade 6 book had a substantial amount of that as well, so she had it two years ago...)

We've been very pleased with the DVD course so far. The teacher, Mr. Harmon, is pleasant to watch and, while he's not completely goofy, he doesn't take himself too seriously so he holds her interest. It's a very thorough course (as I've found BJU science to be... packed with information!) and she's really understanding it.

I went ahead and ordered the Science 9 Kit from Home Science Tools because it had some things in it we didn't have (like a bunsen burner, test tubes, etc.) and some chemicals that I didn't have around the house like, oh say, sulfuric acid... It's been SO handy to have it all ready for labs. At $399 the course seemed pricey to me, but when I compared it to the $40 or so a month (plus fees) my friends pay for 9-10 months of a co-op, it came out almost the same. Also, with the DVD's, she has instruction every day and not just on Fridays. I do have to set up the labs and help her with them, but in return I'm not driving her to a class and volunteering in Cooking with Tots, and/or finding somewhere for my son to be or paying for him to take a class he doesn't necessarily want to take (and thus, volunteering my time on his behalf as well) so it works out, at least for us. And, I enjoy teaching science, I just needed support. My son enjoys watching some of it as well, and it's preparing him for some of his upper level work as well.

We took a brief break from Omnibus I to read something "lighter" for the past few weeks. She's finishing up Christy by Catherine Marshall and then it's back to Genesis to begin the Omnibus Primary books. I have found that it helps sometimes to alternate between something really heavy and serious to something lighter and a bit easier to read. That may not work for everyone, but it works for us. It's something I've done in my own reading over the years.

Kyle read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 recently, per the Veritas grade 6 list. It was quite a challenging read but it lead to some great discussions. There is a synopsis here if you don't remember that book from high school!) We checked out the movie from our library and watched it after he finished the book. It's interesting, the wall-TV's that were so "futuristic" in the mid 1960's are the flat screens that are common today. People in the book went around with tiny earphones in their ears as well... Hmmm.... This book sparked (pun intended!) some great discussions about media, reading, v*oyeurism (and the link between that and watching "reality TV"), etc. I'm glad we tackled it. This week, for something a bit lighter, he read Two Williams by Doug Wilson, a new sequel to Susan Creek and Blackthorn Winter, which he read and enjoyed last year. These are very well-written and historical books, and beautifully illustrated. I highly recommend these for logic stage reading. Speaking of beautifully illustrated, next up for him is The Yearling, which we checked out from the library. The version we found is from the Scribner Illustrated Classic series and was illustrated by N.C. Wyeth.

For Kyle, we took a break from Teaching Textbooks when we got to the decimals and percents chapter and he is working through the Zeta: Decimals book in Math U See. I wish I had done that with Bethany when she was in the Pre-Algebra TT book, as we had jumped right into TT from MUS without completing the decimals section of MUS and she experienced some frustration. Hopefully we'll adequately cover decimals and percents and he can jump right back into the Pre-Algebra in a few weeks. It is going very well right now.

Bethany is continuing to enjoy TT Algebra I. She attended an SAT/PSAT prep class this week and is ready to jump into Geometry (she was at a distinct disadvantage for PSAT prep without it thusfar... but she's only 8th/9th grade, so it's coming!)

We've FINALLY wrapped up Latina Christiana I and are getting into Level II. Believe me, when Leigh Lowe said, "There's no reason to hurry through Latin" I took her at her word! Let me encourage you... Latin is wonderful and worth it, so go for it! There's no reason to hurry through it, and it's a very valuable endeavor. (I wrote about why we study Latin here.)

It's always worked for us to study one language that's not spoken (Latin) and one that is (a modern language.) Kyle is continuing to enjoy studying Spanish, and is gaining quite a vocabulary! Last year at our annual book fair, Sr. Gamache invited Kyle to help him run the Clase Divertida booth this year, so he's really been working. Bethany continues her Chinese, which I can tell is a truly God-given passion and gift for her. In fact, she will be returning to China next month, so she'll get to use what she's been learning.

Our current missionary study is Amy Carmichael. This is our second time to study her. I LOVE HER. In fact, it is very likely that our next daughter will be named Amy. Her life and her writing has spoken into my life so much. We are enjoying our study of her. She was amazing. Truly amazing.

We are also enjoying reading Grandpa's Box. You can go here for more info about the book and to see the corresponding projects we are doing. I highly recommend this book.

Well, there it is. That's some of what we've been up to. (There's more, but this post is long enough!) We're continuing to plug along, and when the sun is shining we read on the patio.

Spring is here!


Christine said...

Wow! Awesome! I love reading about what you're up to. And we are definitely like that April picture on the cartoon. I love that one!

School for Us said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. And, I'm going to go back and read your post about "why study Latin." I really want to start Latin with my dd next year, who will be in 3rd grade. And, I'd like to re-start Spanish. I just keep thinking that 2 languages might be too much. I'll be praying about it and reading what others have to say! :-)


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