Some Science Experiments

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This year we’re studying Physics in science using Elemental Science. Over the last couple weeks we’ve done several fun experiments.

Cameron assembled a balance using two baby bottles, a yardstick, and some twine. We quickly figured out that Cameron holding it while I held the candle was not going to work. Cameron got the idea to hang it from the chandelier. That worked perfectly. Cameron held the lit candle under the mouth of the upside-down baby bottle. That side of the balance went up showing us that hot air is lighter than cold air. (The lights are off because Adrian said if we were using a lit candle it needed to be dark in the house.)
Some Science Experiments

One experiment failed miserably. We put a funnel in a soda bottle, sealed it with clay, and poured water into the funnel. The water was supposed to stay in the funnel, but instead it just poured right into the bottle. We discussed how it was supposed to have worked and guessed at reasons why it didn’t.
Some Science Experiments

We set up a system with a large empty bowl and a smaller mixing bowl filled to the brim with water. Then we submerged objects we wanted to measure completely in the water allowing it to spill over the edge of the mixing bowl into the larger bowl. Then we poured the water caught in the large bowl into a measuring cup. This told us the volume of the object we were measuring.
Some Science Experiments

We had so much fun with this experiment that the boys decided to find out the volume of their hands.
Some Science Experiments

We put a paper towel in the bottom of a cup and pushed it down in the water. The paper towel stayed dry because the air stayed inside the cup. Then we tilted the cup to the side while pushing it into the water so the air left the cup. The paper towel got soaked. By doing this, we proved that air takes up space even when we can’t see it.
Some Science Experiments

We did a couple air pressure experiments. For the first one, we put a piece of paper between two books and blew underneath the paper. This results in the paper being sucked downward toward the table.
Some Science Experiments

For the other one, we blew up two balloons and tied string to them. Then we held the balloons up using both hands and blew between them. The balloons instantly were sucked toward each other.
Some Science Experiments

We made a hovercraft by cutting off the top of a soda bottle, cutting a hole in a disposable plastic bowl, and taping the soda bottle neck in the hole. While it was being put together we were pretty sure there was no way at all that it was going to work. We were very pleasantly surprised when the hovercraft worked perfectly. We blew in the soda bottle neck and the bowl lifted off the ground very slightly and moved around.
Some Science Experiments

Another day we used the soda bottle top and some plastic kitchen trash bits to make more hovercrafts. We guessed which would work best. The pie pan top won (Cameron and Fritz chose that one) followed closely by a small Noosa yogurt container (Adrian picked that one). We were thrilled that our additional hovercrafts all worked and some worked even better than the first one.
Some Science Experiments

Some Science Experiments

We put a balloon with the neck cut off onto our little funnel. Then the boys took turns sucking in to show air pressure is the same no matter what direction the funnel is pointed in.
Some Science Experiments

We put a lump of cement in a juice glass and covered it with apple cider vinegar. A few hours later the cement was starting to crumble a bit. We’ll leave this one for a couple more days to show how acid wears down cement.
Some Science Experiments

We filled a cup to the brim and placed a piece of cardboard on top. Cameron then carefully turned the cup and cardboard over and let go. The air pressure kept the cardboard in place. This one especially delighted the little boys.
Some Science Experiments

We crumpled up a piece of paper and left another one flat. The boys then dropped both at the same time and discovered that the crumpled piece hit the ground first because the wind resistance was greater on the flat piece.
Some Science Experiments

Cameron Got a New Belt

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Last week we tested for new belts in taekwondo. Cameron earned his black-recommended belt. He’ll be testing for his first degree black belt in December.

Cameron Got a New Belt
His belt waiting on the table for him. (The crazy thing is one of those brown belts is mine now… there’s only one color between me and black now!)

Cameron Got a New Belt

Cameron Got a New Belt
Putting on a black belt takes some practice since it’s double wrapped.

Cameron Got a New Belt

Cameron Got a New Belt
I’m pretty sure our instructor is the best, most awesome one there is!

It’s All About Socialization

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The other day Ani’s friend came over to bake (gluten free) cookies. This friend is 18 days younger than Ani’s little brother (so 20 months younger than Ani). They get along great and have fun together. My best friend is a month older than my older sister. She’s 3 1/2 years older than I am. This is how socialization is in the real world. Ages don’t matter. Friends are not limited to a class of kids in your geographical area who happened to be born within the same 12 months as you. Friends are made because you have things in common and get along well.

As time has passed since we pulled the kids out, we’ve learned some things about their time in public school. The education was great. The schools (with a couple exceptions at Ani’s high school) were great. It was the socialization that was a problem. Two of my kids actually regressed in social skills while in public school. And, yet, people always ask homeschoolers about how they will possibly properly socialize their kids.

Adrian can be a handful. We knew this before he ever entered public kindergarten. The number of days he ended up on red on the behavior chart far outnumbered the days he got yellow and those far outnumbered the days he got green. By November, kids in his class would walk by him and whisper things like “you’re a bad boy” to him. I told his teacher about this and she talked to the kids, but it continued. Adrian didn’t seem to care, but it can’t be good for a 5 year old to hear that over and over from his peers every day. It did seem to make him think there are no point in trying to be good and he did tell me often that he’s just a bad boy. I began to have some serious anxiety every time my cell phone would ring. Most of the time it was the principal calling about Adrian yet again.

Fritz started talking in his head rather than out loud. He was so worried about going down on the behavior chart that he chose to simply quit talking. His teacher didn’t even notice. She liked that he was so quiet and easy to deal with. When I told her that Fritz said he would have whole conversations (sometimes “with” other people) in his head, she was a bit concerned. He quit talking to non-family members except when absolutely necessary. He became afraid of most social interactions. Fritz has always been prone to anxiety, but previously it had only been related to severe weather. Public school made his anxiety much worse and more generalized. Only after we pulled him out and some time went by and he started talking a lot again did we realize he had greatly reduced his talking at home, too.

Cameron has always been pretty much in his own world and things roll off of him easily. He says the main thing he learned in school was how to ignore other people because, most of the time, his fellow students were just trying to annoy each other. He says that if someone videoed the students during the passing periods it would be rated R due to language. The language used by most of them was quite foul. This was 6th graders. Eleven and twelve year olds. The grade levels are on separate floors at the middle school he went to, so it really was just 6th graders.

Ani is my other kid who regressed in her social skills. She took somewhat the same route as Fritz. The kids at her school (and I’ve observed this in other places with high schoolers who attend a different school than she did) were just plain mean to each other. Insulting, rude, picking at each other – even when they claim the people they are talking to are their friends! Ani says she mostly stopped talking to anyone but her teachers. Most people had something nasty to say every time anyone else opened their mouth, so why even talk in the first place. In addition, she had always been complimented on how she could communicate so well with people of any age. While in public school, she became terrified of talking to people, particularly those she did not know well. Social anxiety became an issue for her, too.

It’s been over a year since any of my kids attended school. Ani and Fritz are talking like they used to. Fritz is back to only being anxious about weather. Ani has no problem talking to people, including strangers, now. Adrian no longer tells me he’s a bad boy. Cameron has become sensitive to hearing cuss words and they bother him again. Their friends, like the one Ani likes to get together and bake with, come from a variety of ages. It looks to me like the best place for real, positive socialization for my kids is not in a public school classroom, but, instead in the real world.

The Kids on the First Day of School

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Adrian, age 7 years 2 months, 2nd grade
The Kids on the First Day of School
Favorite food: Hot Pockets
Favorite movie: Big Hero 6
Favorite TV show: How to Train Your Dragon: Race to the Edge
Favorite subject: Math, specifically Math-U-See
Favorite color: Yellow
Wants to be when he grows up: YouTube Video Editor
Height: 3’11.5″
Weight: 54 lbs

Fritz, age 9 years 1 month, 4th grade
The Kids on the First Day of School
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite book: All the Wimpy Kid books
Favorite movie: Big Hero 6
Favorite TV show: Girl Meets World
Favorite song: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite color: Blue
Wants to be when he grows up: Physical Therapist
Height: 4’3.5″
Weight: 80 lbs

Cameron, age 13 years 10 months, 8th grade
The Kids on the First Day of School
Favorite food: Bread
Favorite book: Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
Favorite TV show: House M.D.
Favorite song: Little Talk by Of Monsters and Men
Favorite subject: When school’s over
Favorite color: Mint
Wants to be when he grows up: Absolutely no idea
Height: 5’8.5″
Weight: 119 lbs

Ani, age 15 years 6 months, 11th grade
The Kids on the First Day of School
Favorite food: Popcorn
Favorite book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Favorite movie: Big Hero 6 or Maze Runner or The Giver
Favorite TV show: Girl Meets World or Doctor Who
Favorite song: Youth by Daughter or Waiting for Superman by Daughtry or Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant
Favorite subject: ASL
Favorite color: Orange or Mint
Wants to be when he grows up: Taekwondo Instructor with her own studio (she even has an idea where she wants it to be)
Height: 5’3″
Weight: 116 lbs

Bonus: Heather, age 37 years 4 months, teacher
Favorite food: Salad from a salad bar
Favorite book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Favorite movie: Miracle on 34th Street (original version)
Favorite TV show: Girl Meets World or Psych
Favorite song: Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
Favorite subject: All of them when the kids are cooperative
Favorite color: Purple

First Day of School!

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Yesterday we went back to school!
First Day of School!

We talked about the timeline and wrote in important family birthdays and when the kids will graduate from high school. Adrian pointed to where we are right now on the timeline.
First Day of School!

They watched some of their Latin video.
First Day of School!

We went over some religious vocabulary words. This year we’re doing modern teachings using ideas from the Come Follow Me lessons.
First Day of School!

We started our modern history year learning about Africa, which Fritz found on the map.
First Day of School!

We read a book about Georgia O’Keeffe.
First Day of School!

Cameron outlined a two page spread in the Kingfisher History book.
First Day of School!

We took a break in the middle to go to taekwondo, eat lunch, discuss some current events, and read a chapter of a read-aloud.
First Day of School!

The kids did lots of Language Arts…
First Day of School!

…And Reading.
First Day of School!

And Math.
First Day of School!

Everything went really well until Adrian had to do actual work that involved him actually reading and writing.
First Day of School!

But once he got over not wanting to do school, he really enjoyed playing with his homemade playdough that my Beautiful Beehives made at our activity last week.
First Day of School!

The day was completely finished about 4. We got started around 8. We took about a 3 hour break in the middle for taekwondo, lunch, etc. Fritz and Cameron didn’t have much left after lunch and were both done by about 2 or so. Adrian’s on his own work is really what took so long (his break between all together and on his own work was much longer than his brothers’).

NOT Back to School!

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The kids in our ISD went back to school today so we had our annual NOT Back to School celebration. Adrian proclaimed it “the best day ever!” (I love that since a few years ago Ani declared NOT Back to School Day 2010 her best day ever, which was really the start of our super fun, rather than just a day off from school, NOT Back to School days.)

The day started out like every other Monday – with gluten free chocolate chip muffins. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t make these one Monday I’d have a mutiny on my hands.
NOT Back to School!

Honey, I’m Good by Andy Grammer came on the radio while we were driving. It’s one of the two songs (the other is Bad Blood by Taylor Swift) we turn way up and sing and dance to every time it comes on.

We went to Thin Air, a trampoline park. The kids were so excited that I actually jumped this time.
NOT Back to School!

NOT Back to School!

NOT Back to School!

They have really cool obstacle courses.
NOT Back to School!

I even tried one. I could only make it to the third one.
NOT Back to School!

Ani can make it all the way across easily.
NOT Back to School!

Find the Cameron.
NOT Back to School!

Flying Side Kick!
NOT Back to School!

It’s incredibly hard to get out of the foam pits!
NOT Back to School!

Cameron can climb all the way the wall.
NOT Back to School!

Proof that I actually jumped!
NOT Back to School!

The trapeze is really cool.
NOT Back to School!

NOT Back to School!

Flips are way more fun on trampolines.
NOT Back to School!

I had Ani and Cameron do the first half of In Wha 1 (our current form in taekwondo) while jumping. I tried it. It’s super hard.

An hour of jumping seriously wears you out!
NOT Back to School!

When our hour was up, we went to Mellow Mushroom for some awesome pizza.
NOT Back to School!

The little guys (they aren’t so little anymore!) got macaroni and cheese. Fritz got broccoli with his and Adrian got apple slices.
NOT Back to School!

Ani got Kosmic Karma and I got White Pizza. They are gluten free and so good. Mellow Mushroom does everything in their power to prevent cross contamination which makes having Celiac suck a little less (thanks, Mellow Mushroom!).
NOT Back to School!

Everyone else got a Mighty Meaty pizza. It got devoured really fast.
NOT Back to School!

After we ate, we dropped Ani off to help at taekwondo (our festivities got a little out of hand and she barely got there in time) and then ran to the library to get the last two books I had reserved for the first three weeks of school. Jamie took the little guys to the playground at the library while I ran inside. They didn’t argue at all about getting back in the van when I got done. It was hot (close to 100).
NOT Back to School!

So now we have played and partied. Tomorrow it’ll be time to hit the books for the start of what is sure to be another awesome homeschool year.

(A look back at our previous NOT Back to School celebrations: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, somehow I missed 2011, 2012, 2013 they went to public school, and 2014. We started out just having the day off. It’s morphed into a day – or two – of super fun.)

The Classroom is Ready!

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I spent a couple hours this morning finishing getting the dining room ready for school to start on Tuesday.
The Classroom is Ready!

The tall bookcase holds the kids’ binders and folders, some books and things, our awesome pencil sharpener, library books for the first three weeks, and the Math-U-See blocks and algebra/decimal inserts. (My sister made the welcome sign hanging on the wall several years ago. The little picture thing at the top changes each month.)
The Classroom is Ready!

The long bookcase holds some childrens books, our Life of Fred collection, some random school books, and all of Ani’s books for the year. On top are the kids’ books and notebooks in magazine holders (pink flowers for Ani, orange for Cameron, blue for Fritz, and red for Adrian). They have matching pencil holders. The red and blue flats on top hold my answer keys. (Ani likes to use the whiteboard to help her memorize everything related to our current cycle’s taekwondo life skill.)
The Classroom is Ready!

The three drawer shelf holds various school supplies, art supplies, and the science bags. On top are my binders.
The Classroom is Ready!

On one wall are the New American Cursive alphabet sheets for the boys to look as when the need to remember how to form letters.
The Classroom is Ready!

Across the hall on the wall of the craft room is the timeline ready for the boys to write in dates and facts as they get to them (we’re doing modern history, 1850-present this year).
The Classroom is Ready!