Best Christmas Present Ever

This year Santa brought the little guys Magna-Tiles. 32 black ones for Adrian, 32 ice ones for Fritz, and 48 colored ones for both of them.

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The boys have never played with a non-electronic toy this much. Fritz, especially, can’t get enough of them. Best Christmas present ever!

Lots More Science Experiments

We put a saucer of cold water in the sun. Soon after we checked it and the water was warm due to the infrared radiation from the sun.
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We filled a small pot with ice cubes (which are solid) and heated them until they melted (into a liquid). This demonstrated that solids can turn into liquids when heat is added.
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We rubbed our hands together briskly and then placed them on our cheeks to feel how warm they now were. This demonstrated that friction creates heat.
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We touched a light bulb that had been off for several hour. It was cold. We turned on the light and waited a few seconds and then touched the bulb again. It was warm. This demonstrated that electricity creates heat.
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We laid a string on an ice cube. We sprinkled salt on the string and waited a minute or so. Then we lifted the ice cube up by the string. The salt caused the ice to melt a little bit and then that melted bit refroze around the string making it possible to lift up the ice.
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We did two friction experiments. We sent a cork critter down a broom handle and a clay head down a dowel (both were attached to paper clips wound around the handle/dowel).
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We made a lazy Susan using two slightly different size jar lids, a paper plate, and marbles. We put the marbles in between the jar lids and then put the plate on top. We could spin the plate like a lazy Susan since the marbles acted like ball bearings and reduced friction.
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We pushed a book across the floor and then built a sledge out of pencils to move it. It moved better with the sledge because the friction was reduced.
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We made a little man and hooked him up to a plastic bag parachute.
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Sometimes experiments don’t work the way they are supposed to. This was supposed to be a dinosaur that would move its head up and down on its own when a metal nut on a thread was swung back and forth. It was supposed to teach us something about gravity. It didn’t.
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We made a game using a string, toilet paper tube, and ball of aluminum foil. The foil ball, attached to the string, was tossed up into the air and then caught in the tube. After just a few minutes of practice Fritz got really good at catching the ball.
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We made another game using a dowel, rings cut out of a cereal box, and string. The idea was to toss the rings up in the air and catch them on the dowel. This proved pretty much impossible. The boys could catch one ring, but never any more than that.
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We pushed one penny and flicked the other penny off the seat of a chair. This showed that gravity works the same to pull things to the ground whether they go straight down or out and down. Then we pushed a penny and a quarter off the chair seat. They hit the ground at the same time, showing that gravity pulls things to the ground at the same speed even if the objects are different weights.
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We wrapped a wire around a broom handle, attached paper airplanes to a straw, attached the straw to a paperclip, and the paperclip to the wire on the broom. Then we sent the airplanes spinning down the wire.
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We put together a marble run and observed how gravity pulls the marbles down the ramps.
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We made two very different egg drop assemblies. Cameron stood on a chair and dropped them one at a time. Both of them survived their drops.
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Timelines and Stickers

My Pandia Press order from Black Friday finally arrived yesterday. I got five 5′ timelines (ancients, middle ages, early modern, modern, and also prehistory) and 200 stickers (50 for each of the 4 history time periods). The timelines can be put on the wall or in a notebook.

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I can’t want to start using these next school year when we cycle back to ancients (with one grammar stage, one logic stage, and one rhetoric stage kid…).

They’re First Degrees!

Saturday morning Ani and Cameron tested for their first degree black belts. They were both so nervous, but they did awesome.

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First they did their forms.

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Then they did board breaks. Ani broke on her third try (the reverse side gave her trouble).

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Cameron broke all three on his first try. He makes breaking boards look effortless.

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Next they sparred.

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Finally they did the fit test. No one likes doing the fit test. It is 30 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 10 repetitions of 6 specific kicks, 10 repetitions of a punch-punch-kick-punch-punch-kick combo, and 10 repetitions of four punch combos (equaling 100 punches).

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And then they were all done!

Saturday evening was the Black Belt Gala. The belts were presented there.

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Ani receiving her new belt from Master Nery.

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Cameron receiving his belt from Master Nery.

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The kids with our a-meza-ing taekwondo instructor, Mr. Meza. He’s helped make these kids awesome.

Back to School, Post Surgery

My surgery being scheduled for November 23rd was perfect since that was already scheduled (when I made my lesson plans back in March – yes I am crazy) as the first day of a one week Thanksgiving break.  At least half of our weeks are 4 day weeks so we were to have off the 30th as well.  We were scheduled to have off on the 19th for Jamie’s birthday as well, but he ended up working that day so we did school which gave us an extra day off after my surgery so we didn’t have to get back to doing school until Wednesday.

So we’ve done 3 days of school (9 left until Christmas break!) and it hasn’t been too bad. I do whatever I can with them from bed. I can read just fine and with the exception of science, I’ve been able to do all the all together work with them. On Wednesday Jamie did science with the boys and today Cameron ran the experiments himself. When it comes to on their own work, I only do writing with Cameron and grammar and writing with Fritz and could still do those from bed. I did grammar and writing with Adrian and Jamie and Ani took over his other on his own subjects. He decided this week to do math on his own with limited help (including at 5:30 in the morning and 9:30 at night…).

So getting back to school has gone okay. Next week I’ll be able to go downstairs for part of the day so we’ll do school like we always have.