Monday, 30 January 2012

Teaching DNA and fun experiments

This week my friend and I did such a cool science experiment with our children!! We are using the Real Science 4 Kids program and the last chapter is DNA. So for the last two weeks we have been working with the children on understanding polymers, DNA, and genetics. We decided to veered from the experiments in the book and do a few different ones. 2 weeks ago we had the kids build polymers using tooth picks, gum drops and marshmallows. We also built DNA and RNA strand with K'nex and explained genetics.

We used cake decorating pens to label the marshmallows

Kids had fun assembling various molecules

Then the best part-- they could eat them:)

Building DNA with K'nex

Making a double Helix

Next the kids made edible DNA strands. Again we had the children label the bases with cake writing pens. Explaining only certain bases can link up with other bases.

They kids had fun playing with them and then they ate them. Class is always better when you can eat what you just created.

This week we found a fun video explaining how to extracting DNA from strawberries. We decided to give it a try and had wonderful results. First the kids watched a video on YouTube.

Next we got out our supplies and tried to replicate the was pretty neat to see.

Need strawberries and a plastic bag

Add a teaspoon or so of water and mushed up the strawberries.

Carefully pour only the liquid of the strawberries into a test tube. Try to avoid clumps of strawberries. Parent help was required for this.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of dish washing soap. Stir it up with a wooden skewer.

Very carefully add ice cold rubbing alcohol to the test tube. You want the alcohol to remain on top of the strawberry juice.

Now just watch and see something amazing happen in just minutes.

We have DNA. The little white strands are what you are looking for.

Looking at the test tube about an hour later.

How cool was that:)!!! The kids really had fun. I must admit I was quite impressed myself.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Weekly wrap up

More like quarterly wrap up as the last time I posted about what we are doing was back in September. But I thought it was time to do another one to at least document what we are doing and how we are progressing:). I also highlighted where we are in relation to where I wanted us to be at this point in our school year. Since we school year round being behind is not quite as big a deal to me as we will just do catch up in the summer. However I do like our summer months to be lighter in school load. So here is where we stand...

We are using AAS and are trying hard to get one lesson done a week. I really like the program it is just fitting it in that is not always easy with everything else we do.
Behind due to not completing one lesson a week working on improving this

Hand Writing with Tears
Both kids are continuing with their work books and have almost completed the book they are on so we will soon start the next book. I will admit to not being very consistent with this as there always seems to be other things that appear more important.
Goal: Behind target

We are half way thru our Spectrum writing book which is where I wanted us to be at this point. Both kids are demonstrating stronger sentences structures. Still working on paragraph skills with Princess, but it is getting better.
On target for both kids

Continuing our study on the Victorian era and the Industrial revolution. I had hoped to wrap this up by Christmas and then move on to WWI in January. But I found one last great book that the kids and I are reading about the Industrial Revolution. By February I plan on moving on to study WWI.
Goal: Slightly behind target

Continuing with the Olivia oink Spanish program 2X a week. We are about half way thru the program.
On target for what we can commit too

Princess has started the Delta book from Math U see. Little Man is continuing with his second grade work book and is getting much better with borrowing and carrying over problems, YAY
Goal: Both kids on target

We are just about finished with our Chemistry book Real Science 4 Kids. We are on the last chapter of DNA and enjoyed it so much we are doing a little extra to really cement the information in. It helps that we are doing joint science experiments with another home schooling family who is very strong in this field of science. Next we plan on studying Physics together using the same Science program.
Goal: On target

We are continuing working with Growing with grammar with both children and we are half way thru the books appropriate to their levels.
Both kids on target

My goal was to do one country a month and I am trying very hard to do that but am slipping a bit so it is one new country every 6 weeks. We are using a multitude of resources to help explore and understand a country. I didn't have a set goal of the number of countries we would cover in a year, figuring we would do as many as we can.
Goal: On target

We are using Meet the Master art program and while I would like to do one artist a month is it more like one artist every 6 weeks. Currently we are working on Claude Monet. We are reading a great book called Linnea in Monet's Garden there is also a video out but I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet. Again I didn't set a set number of how many artist we would cover in the year so we are just doing as many as we can.
On target

Kids are continuing their Piano lesson with a instructor and working on taking their level one test. I am really torn about this process as I don't want the testing to make the kids feel judge about their piano skills. Not sure if this is something they do in the states but it is very important in the UK and the teacher is very keen for the kids to take the test. Right now I am having her work on the skills the children need to take the test to pass but haven't decided on whether they will actually take the test. I am just not sure the test is necessary for our purposes. We had a very successful first piano recital over the holidays that the kids loved participating in. We are continuing to listen to all kinds of music in the car with home made music CD's. Next year I will probably have to get more structured with this but it is what we can manage for now.
Goal: Both kids on Target

Kids are using the typing program Typing Instruction 3-4 times a week. Princess has managed to master all the levels at 20 words per minutes. I am going to readjust her settings and try to increase her speed and accuracy. Little man is still struggling to not look at his fingers and met his set goals.
Princess on target
. Little Man behind target

Daddy has been able to work with the kids a couple of times on the computer but still not what it should be, though no fault of his own, due to work commitment. Still haven't used the computer books I bought at the beginning of the school year:(
Goal: Way behind the eight ball on this one:(

Swimming--really pleased with how the kids are progressing in their swimming. A change in teachers was a good thing:)
Martial Arts--continuing to work hard in this area.
Horse back riding--Princess is still enjoying her lessons.

Extra Curriculum
Boy scouts
Girl Scouts
Homeschooling group activities and field trips as they come up.

Whew when I write it all down I suddenly realize how much have accomplished. I am very happy with we are at at this time and am happy all the curriculum is working out for us. The kids are even showing increase independence with some of their work which means I don't have to hoover over them quite so much.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Birthday trip

Rather than having birthday parties for our children we instead do a family outing of the children's choice. Princess's birthday was this weekend and she wanted to see the show the Lion King in London. It was amazing!

This theater is dedicated to showing the Lion King every day for I don't know how long. I am sure they spent quite a bit to get the stage ready for the show...but it was worth it

We were quite a ways from the stage as theater prices are ridiculously high in London. But on the seats we could rent a small pair of binoculars if we wanted to see the performers better. To be honest we didn't need them although the kids like looking thru them. We got there early but by show time the place was packed!

Enjoying the intermission. This show was about 2.5 hours long. Little Man was getting a bit restless towards the end but he manage to make it thru till the end. Both kids loved the music and seeing the performances.

After wards we headed to the Rain Forest Cafe for dinner. Princess has picked this restaurant every year for past last 3 years:) for her birthday dinner. The kids really enjoy the surroundings.

Meeting Cha Cha at the Rainforest cafe

Having her ice cream birthday dessert. We had cake waiting at home:)

It had been in the plans that we would stay in London all week to see the sites as my Husband had a conference there. But that did not work out, at the very last moment the trip was cancelled:(. However Princess enjoyed her Birthday celebration and trip into London as did the rest of the family.

I am linking this post up to the Home school Field Trip Hop

Sunday, 22 January 2012

We have a tween in our house today!!!!

Yes, I am now the mother of a 10 year old!!! Where, oh where did the time go? I still remember bringing my baby home from the hospital.

Here is a record of how Princess has changed and grown up over the last TEN years. So many wonderful memories, can someone please pass the tissues, sniff sniff....

Princess was two weeks over due, hence the blue hands and feet at birth.

age 1, look at that red hair!!

age 2 last year of being an only child

age 3 became a big sister and we moved from VA to MO

age 4 still allowing me to put ribbons and barrettes in her hair. Princess started preschool 3 half days a week,

age 5 I think this is about the age when wearing a dresses lost its appeal so it is pants from now on.

age 6 starting to lose her baby teeth

age 7 the year we started to home school and we moved to England

age 8 school assignment in the kitchen

age 9 now in full dragon obsession

Happy 10th Birthday Princess, we LOVE you!!!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Forest School--The Wild Place

The kids and I participate monthly in a Forest school at a local park with a British home schooling group. Every time we go we are helping the park ranger with his many tasks. Last time we attended we help to coppice hazel trees and you can read about it here. This time we were doing a few different things to get the park ready for spring.

Our first task was to bring in some mulch and to spread it out in the designated area.

next the children worked on cutting down logs to add to the fire log pile

Both children love trying their hand at this and were so excited when they were able to chop the wood in half:)

Then they stacked the wood

Then they stacked the wood

Next we worked on cutting limbs off wood and got to work building some dens in the woods

After all that hard work it was time for lunch. Hot soup made over a fire along with bread, tea and hot cocoa.

After lunch it was time for the kids to play and have some fun!

I am linking this up to the Home school Field trip hop