Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week in Review - 21 November

Monday we had a wonderful day in York, here are some of the photos. J has already asked when we are going next.

He is heading towards the Minster. 

Tuesday is our crazy day. We still have houseguests and while in many ways they didn't not disrupt our schedule is was a bit of a challenge to continue school while they were visiting.

So all of that made Wednesday the Monday of the week. Getting back into our routine was a challenge. There was a mini protest complete with signs stating "No school". It really didn't last long.

History - We were reading about Martin Luther this week. We finished the 1st quarter. Time to find the test and see what we remember.

Science - I was amazed at how J remembered the cell cycle. I had some cards that I had made and mixed them up, asking him to put them in order. He got it and it had been a week. I might need to do more things like that. I think just the process of drawing it helped him to remember it and understand it.

It was one of those weeks. On Friday morning I fixed a coffee for myself while we were doing school. I love using these cups and having a saucer with it makes me almost feel like I am in a coffee shop. I needed that feeling for a few minutes and then I was able to make it through a bit more of the day.

Some weeks it is an accomplishment to make it to the end of the week. I felt that way this week though one student had half their work to finish today. That was a result of not getting started and not focusing.

I am thankful for the weekend.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Day in York

I think York is my son's favourite city. If you come to visit us, he will probably want to take you to York. He is already planning the next trip with Aunt Becki.

We had houseguests and decided that we would go to York for the day. There is a park & ride outside of the city but since we were only planning to be there for a few hours and since it was not summer we decided to park at Castle Parking Lot. It is called that because it is next to the Castle.

Last time we took a walking tour. J did say that this time we didn't see as much as we did on the walking tour. I think he wants to go on the walking tour again and see the city gates, walk along the wall, and see more of the city.

Our first stop was the Jorvik Museum. We had walked past this and did learn that the museum began when they were digging to build the shops they excavated and discovered the remains of a Viking house so they turned it into a museum.

There is glass on the floor so you can walk around and look at the old floor of the Viking house. The Viking house will make any house look big. There is a ride that takes you through what it would be like in the Viking village of Jorvik. It was realistic with sights, sounds, and even smells.

We met a Viking in the gift shop. No, it was just Miss K.

The museum took about an hour and was a fun experience. I had packed some sandwiches and so we found a place and ate those before heading to the Minster. We did walk through the Shambles. The Minster is an amazing sight as you walk through the city.

Last time the kids and I just went for Evensong but this time we took a tour. I have found that tours give you so much information and you learn so much more of course it does depend on the tour guide. J was burnt out on tour guides after our experience with Chinese tour groups. Thankfully our tour group was just the six of us.

We learned some about the building of the Minster which began in the 1200's. We saw the St. Nicholas Chapel with a painting of St. Nicholas on the wall. The cushions on the chairs were needlepoint of the 12 days of Christmas.

Miss K got a Little Explorer backpack or is it a rucksack? There was a simple form to fill out, no ID, no deposit necessary. Fill out the form and then return it on the way out.

I was impressed with the things inside - a magnifying glass, binoculars, pencils and paper, a map, and a few other things.

I am impressed with the way that places like this make it children friendly.

Our tour guide had a been a headmaster for a number of years. He told us that Americans always ask so many questions but they don't walk. I think we were too busy trying to look at everything and get photos.

We finished our tour and then went to the undercroft which sounds so much better than saying basement. Here there was more information about the building as well as some interactive things for the kids. J is building an arch.

I have learned from a friend that most places have dress-up things as well. Even here at the Minster there was a section of dress-up.

We did spent quite a bit of time in the Minster. Our tickets are good for a year so we might go back again.

We came out and found the statue of Constantine. J wanted to use his sword. The end of the sword is broken and laying on the statue. It was made that way. I wonder if there is some meaning to that. Could it be that Constantine was the one to end the persecution of Christians? I don't know.

The day was overcast and it rained but thankfully when we were in a building and stopped by the time we came out.

We enjoyed dinner at the same Italian restaurant that we did in June. We did plan that though as we were trying to find that restaurant again but we couldn't remember the name. When we were inside, we realised it was the same one. I did try something different this time.

York is full of history and so many things to do. I think it is a city we will visit often which will make my son happy. Come visit us and we will take you there.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cell Cycle

I mentioned that we spent some time on the cell cycle in the week in review. I decided that it needed its own post.

Metaphase, anaphase, telophase -- what is the order? What do they look like? I ignored any questions on why we need to study this.

How do I make this topic easy to visual and tasty?

Just to give a bit of hands-on experience. I asked J to copy the Cell Cycle.

That did help to get the different phases in order and to begin to understand what is happening in the cell during each phase.

Then to make the activity a bit more tasty we demonstrated the cell cycle on cookies.

I went to the shop near our house delaying a bit of school looking to see what they had that we could ice and decorate. We considered pancakes but would have had to buy two packages. Yes, we can buy pancakes in the store. Then we found a box of cookies (these were called cookies and not biscuits) that had 18 cookies and were reduced so that is what we bought. That is a confession on how I plan school as we are getting ready to do the activity.

J iced the cookies and then began the decorating. I separated the sprinkles into piles of the different colours to make it easier.

Upper left is the Interphase where all the chromosomes are in the middle.

Then begins the four phases of mitosis moving to the right we have prophase where the chromosomes begin to coil up and are composed of two identical sister chromatids. Then it goes to metaphase where all the sister chromatids are lined up in the centre of the spindle (we didn't include the spindle on the cookies). Anaphase, the top right cookie is where the sister chromatids separate into two chromosomes. Telophase shown on the bottom right is where we see cytokinesis beginning.

The last phase is cytokinesis complete is on the bottom left.

We did it. We made studying the cell cycle fun and tasty. I think it was helping when J asked to eat telophase.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Week in Review - 14 November 2014

It is mid-November; the days are short. I am thankful for my new coffee maker. Coffee keeps me going. I will sometimes drink just hot water. I started that when I lived in Asia and it was cold and the buildings were cement and so it was cold to the bones. It is not that cold here and our house does stay nice and warm.

So what did we do this week besides drink coffee?

We went on a nature walk. I know not the season or weather but we did it. Miss K filled her bag and ended up with some things in the bag that she did not plan on putting in. Check here to see what was in her bag.

J discovered all his art supplies this week. He brought them downstairs and so the kids had fun drawing the other morning.

He said he missed his art classes from Seattle. I need to contact the art teacher here to see when she is offering classes.

One of the activities that I had Miss K do this week is one for finger strength and fine motor. She was pushing/pressing Wiki sticks onto a piece of paper. To check how she pushed I turn the paper over and see if the Wiki sticks stick.

J amazes me at times with the things he is able to build with Legos. I have tried to build and it looks like a bunch of bricks stuck together. The other day he came down and showed me what he had built -- the Ruins of Ephesus.

He took a few photos but I don't know that we got a good overall photo. It was two boards together and in moving them Ephesus had further ruins.

J wants to start a Lego link with a theme. Let me know if you are interested. He has already come up with some themes. We will host it here on the blog.

In the midst of all those other activities we did the book learning -- maths, history, grammar, reading, spelling (we finished Sequential Spelling Book 3 -- why do they do 180 days?), geography and science.

We are doing Life Science this year and using BJUP. I wanted to give some time to transition to that type of learning as we prepare for high school. Life science and biology are not his favourite science. He would rather mix some chemicals or build something or try to create an explosion. He just didn't see why he had to learn the cell cycle. He even asked me if I remembered any of this. That is totally not a fair question -- doesn't matter you still need to take this class and to take this you need to learn this.

We paused and reviewed the cell cycle today and drew it.

That helped a bit to understand the cell cycle but there is nothing like eating it to really learn it.

We iced cookies because that was what we found at the store this morning and then decorated them to show the cell cycle. I picked the sprinkles and put them in piles so he could arrange them on the cookies. He did say that helped him as he ate metaphase and telophase. Yeah, me I found something that was exciting and helped him to learn life science. Thanks to some time on Pinterest last night and a quick trip to the store this morning.

That about wraps up our week. We have a busy weekend with some events at church, houseguests from a church in the USA arriving, and my online grocery order coming. That might become my new love.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Patterning and Sequencing Manipulatives

I have recently been adding more patterning and sequencing activities into our math time. Both of these skills are foundational for math. Patterning helps you understand what comes next, to fill in the missing information and requires being able to make predictions.

I have sequencing bones. We have been using them recently. At first I thought Miss K would only be able to do it if it the question mark was at the end but she has been able to do some of them in the middle.

I don't remember where I found these. They are marked EdTech which I have found online here in the UK but I bought mine in the US.

One of the things we enjoy is the Discovery Toys Bugs. I am guessing that I found this at a thrift shop. There are bugs and then cards with different activities to do some of which are patterning.

She found the yellow beetle.

We also have a bead sequence activity. This requires both the sequencing and patterning as well using some fine motor skills to get the beads on the rods.

She was doing a good job. There is one part that is a bit difficult, one of the beads is a half bead and you are to put two of those together to make a round bead.

We have sequencing story cards and will use those some as well.

Patterns are all around and so teaching to observe and create patterns is a good skill.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

TOS Creative Nature Study Review

I was excited to have an opportunity to review The Old Schoolhouse Creative Nature Study. This is an ebook from The Old Schoolhouse.

Just the other day I looked at my bookshelves and saw the big thick Handbook of Nature Study sitting there. When was the last time we opened the book, I couldn't remember when we had used it. I have grand ideas of adding Nature Study to our school. I dream of journals filled with our nature doodles. I long for time in our schedule to just go for a nature walk. I need some creative ideas to help me with this.

So with those thoughts in mind I was excited about the opportunity to review the Old Schoolhouse Creative Nature Study ebook. This is a compilation of various authors writing on nature studies giving ideas on what has worked for them.

Chapter 1 began with What is Nature Study and Why Do it. I loved the emphasis on knowing God as a result of studying nature. I agree with that foundation and love having one more way to know God in our daily education and learning.

The other chapters includes topics like how to get started, creative walks, creative projects, and other ideas to include nature study in your homeschool days. I found some easy ideas to incorporate into our life. We do lots of walking and so one of the things that I wanted to do was think about how we can add nature study into our walks.

It is autumn with cold and grey days not exactly the nature study weather but I decided to use one of the ideas in the book and just go out. The rain had stopped but it was still wet. We needed a break in our day.  I gave each of the children a brown lunch bag which they decorated.  Our goal was to fill the bag.

As we walked down the street, we saw leaves falling from the trees. Miss K was excited to go out and wanted to add all the leaves to her bag.

We do have a small nature reserve nearby and so we looked there for some things to add to our bags.

We took some time to look at the small things as well as the big things. This snail was just on the pavement.

Miss K was mainly collecting leaves. J was collecting some twigs, leaves, and added some moss. Sometimes when you study nature you end up with more than you thought. We dumped the leaves on the table. Thankfully I had put down a big piece of paper. We discovered some other nature that had come home with us -- some bugs. We watched them crawl about.

The children enjoyed the walk, it gave us a break, but at the same time we used our observation skills and learned a bit about nature and God who created all things. 

This book encouraged me to add some nature study into our homeschool day. I realised it can just be a short study and does not need to be an all day event. I am looking forward to utilising some of the other ideas like a listening nature study. I wonder what sounds we will hear. We do have a bird feeder, which will be an easy way to study nature as we watch the birds that come to the feeder. 

I found the book easy to read. It was fun of ideas and practical. This ebook is available from here at The Old Schoolhouse for just $12.95. It is a great addition to your homeschool books as a resource and idea book. 

This review is done for The Old Schoolhouse. Other reviews of homeschool curriculum, books, and helps can be found here.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Remembrance Sunday

This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday. It was originally established to remember World War I and those who fought in the war. It was on November 11, 1918 at 11:00 that the fighting ceased. That was called Armistice Day.

For the past few weeks people have been wearing poppies. The poppy is based on poppies of Flanders a region of Belgium that saw so much of the fighting. The poppies are also remembered in the poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae.

So today at church we began by singing Before Jehovah's Awesome Throne and then at 11:00 as the half-muffled bells were ringing we began two minutes of silence. It was very meaningful to stand in silence for two minutes and to think what it must have been like to hear silence after four years of war.

There was video shown. The best I can do is give you a link to it, here. It made me pause and thing was the fact that each of us have with us that causes war. I was reminded of the verses in James, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?"

The sermon this morning was a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus' death on the cross. He gave his life not for his friends but for his enemies. Because we war with God, we war this others. Jesus is death has given us peace. Jesus' death has changed the world. This is a love that changes hearts and we need a change of heart.

This is the memorial for World War I that is right here in our community.

This is one of the websites that I have enjoyed for learning information about Britain.

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