Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Busy little beavers

Our experiment in homeschooling has been keeping us busy around here. Realistically, we're probably not doing much more reading/crafting/field-tripping than we normally would, but the fact that it's all channeled in one direction makes it seem to add up quicker. In the past few weeks, we have ...

- read in our history book about everything from the creation of the Earth to homo habilis.
- made a timeline of what we and our friends and relatives did every day for a week.
- made a timeline showing the important holidays and events for our family for a year.
- made a papercraft volcano that's so wonky, it appears to be shooting lava out at a 45 degree angle to the ground.
- made a papercraft lizard that actually looks like it's supposed to (and is so easy, I think Liza could have done it herself, if I'd let her hold the sharp scissors).
- did an experiment to see how bones became permineralized to form fossils.
- watched way too many Bill Nye videos on evolution, the Earth's crust, fossils, dinosaurs, volcanoes, amphibians and mammals. And then we watched them again. And again.
- looked at maps of all the continents and read stories from or about each of them, then painted pictures to go with the stories (or colored in the map with the addition of Liza's signature rainbow-colored butterflies).
- read the first couple of chapters of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle out loud.
- traced pictures of dinosaurs from a book.
- went to the natural history museum to see the fossil collection (and visit the otters).
- read several poems, including some limericks that are unfortunately not the adult versions I remember learning on the bus in junior high.
- memorized the poem "Happiness" by A. A. Milne and recited it to our next door neighbor.
- made a kitchen volcano out of an empty yogurt cup, some baking soda, and some vinegar.
- painted countless pictures of volcanoes, dinosaurs, volcanoes AND dinosaurs, and rainbow-colored butterflies.
- made and painted clay sculptures of dinosaurs, tree ferns, bushes, a nest, and eggs.
- turned a Costco Special-K box into a dinosaur diorama with clay sculptures of dinosaurs and blah blah blah.
- went on a field trip to the river near the beaver pond to check out the rock layers on the sides of the valley (and try to catch some minnows, which we learned have very good hearing/vibration sensors and are even faster than a 4-year-old with a jelly jar).
- practiced handwriting by writing a poem and labeling the dinosaur tracings.

And I'm sure there are some other things, too, all of which probably involve either watching the damn volcano video again, or painting something with watercolors. She's painted so much, we've run out of green. In the past two weeks. But she's getting really good at using nontraditional colors, so we've got lots of red dinosaurs frolicking next to purple volcanoes.

It's all good.


mlf said...

Contemplate making slime...
1) Mix Elmer's glue (or equivalent) with equal parts water. Have between 1/4 cup and 2 cup of diluted glue.
2) Dissolve Borax in a little water. About 1/2 tsp to 1tblspn of Borax.
3) Mix the diluted glue with the diluted Borax.

Borax causes the glue to crosslink. More borax causes more crosslinking, which makes more of a bouncy ball appearance. Less crosslinking makes slime. You can break the crosslinking with acid (vinegar).

virtuallori said...

I love this. That's one lucky girl.