Friday, 29 April 2016

Weekly Wrap up 4-29-16--building DNA Helix model

Firedrake is working though EO Wilson's biology book this year and recently finished up a chapter on DNA.  For her lab assignment she built a DNA model using this kit.
I bought this kit years ago but felt at that time the kit was to complicated assemble when the kids were younger:) 

First we needed to paint all the parts.

using toothpicks we set the pieces up to dry.

Next she needed to string the balls in order to make the strands

Two identical strands that represent the Phosphate groups (yellow) and the Deoxyribose sugars (green)

Next we made a set made sets of Adenine and Guanine (red and blue) and Thymine and Cytosine (pink and black)

assembling the pieces together

adding labels to our model so we can remember what is what:)

Completed DNA helix model

Since MarioFan has completed his Bridge unit he is working on a Minecraft class learning about the Periodic table.  I am sure I could do some extra projects with it but I am giving myself a bit of a breather and just letting that be his science for the next few weeks.  This summer we will begin working on the K'nex simple machines kit that I bought

For History we are working on the Spanish American War and Teddy Roosevelt era.
Just a few of the books were have read.

We have also watch several videos about this era, such as the Roosevelt documentary and Crash Course progressive era videos. Next up is to talk about the lead up to WWI and what was happening in the United States just prior to the war.  When we studied the WWI before we had already look at the European side. This is a topic I expect to take us though the summer months.

Friday, 22 April 2016

weekly wrap up 4/22/16--Piano and project show

The kids had their spring piano recital performances with their piano tutor.  Both kids played very well...but I am very biased on that front:)
MarioFan played Rockin Robin

Firedrake played Samba by her favorite Modern composer - Ludovico Einaudi 

Hard to believe there is only 5 weeks of coop left for this coop school year.  Lots of activities happening at coop as the school year closes.  The coop put on a project fair where kids could display something they were working during this school year.

MarioFan working on his project board--putting together everything he learned about Bridges over the last several months

How he set up his table at the Fair

Firedrake did her presentation on Gilgamesh and did 80-90% of the project by herself!

Her project board set up.

There was no judging for this fair just the kids getting together and showing what they have been learning.  There were over 50 kids present this evening ranging in age from pre K to high school.  Topics ranged from favorite stories, famous people, science project and everything in between.  I learned quite a bit looking at everyones boards!  After all the parents and kids looked at the boards there were snacks and certificates handed out to all participants.  

We also attended a Hockey game this week.  We watched my husband's favorite team the Capitals beat the St Louis Blues 5 to 1.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will earn the Stanley Cup this year as they have an amazing record this year!
We proudly wore our Capital jerseys and weren't heckled too much by the Blues Fans:)

It was a fabulous game and we loudly cheered when goals were scored!
Another great, but busy week for us all.  Next week is still looking busy.  We are going full throttle until mid May!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Weekly Wrap up 4/15/16

Another busy week for us as we work on many school projects, field trips and family outings.  Spring is in the air and we are anxious to get outside and have fun so we are reducing our school work and taking advantage of some of our warmer days.  Since we school year round we can easily do this:)

Firedrake is continuing to work on her fencing skills and participating in class tournaments, even winning a few games.  She is really enjoying this sport and has asked to sign up for next session.  Right now she is working on her foil technique, next term is using a different type sword.  
MarioFan is trying a class in Floor Hockey at a local gym.

MarioFan has finished up his bridge unit by looking at how iron (metal deteriorates) and how engineers inspect bridges.  We watched several videos on bridge inspections and if you are already afraid of bridges I don't suggest you do this:( currently our country's infrastructure is a mess.  We watched several bridge collapse videos due to bridges that were compromise, pretty scary.

After going to the hardware store and finding untreated iron parts we added them to 3 different solutions, plain water, vinegar and salt water 

after 2 hours we pulled out the pieces and examined them noticing the differences in the metal. 

next we left the metal pieces in for 1 week and then recorded the difference, it was pretty amazing the amount of  deterioration of the metal in such a short time.

We squeezed in a field trip to the Holocaust museum with a homeschool group.
 the local Holocaust museum and saw a play about an 11yr girl who had to leave Germany without her parents as the Nazi rose to power!
 I will admit I teared up during this play it was very emotional.  
Next we toured the museum and examined pictures and stories of the many survivors of the Holocaust.  

When we took our kids to see the German concentration camp several years ago I told the kids this poem and we had a discussion about it then.  Both kids pointed out this sign to me and remembered the discussion we had in the past

One of the docents did an excellent presentation about Genocide around the world and about leadership and hate.  Many of the homeschooling kids mentioned our current political process and how similar it is to her discussion.  I couldn't agree more!

That has been our week in a nutshell.  Hope yours was a good week too:)

Friday, 8 April 2016

Weekly wrap up 4-8-16--Spring Break

We were on Spring break so pretty relax this past week. Our spring break is late as the coop we attend takes the week off when the Homeschooling expo is in town.  I will be attending today only, sitting in all the high school sessions!  As for school we did the bare minimum of school and went on a few more outings when the weather was nice.

I thought I would share something I have been learning the last couple of weeks.  The photography teacher at the kids coop has graciously agreed to help improve my photography skills during her lunch break.  Currently all my pictures are taken with my iPhone.  But we do own a great Nikon camera that is hardly ever used.  One day at lunch she was showing me a few pictures of what her photography students are doing in her class and I was literally blown away by the kids photographs.  They are amazing.  Right now she is teaching me about the Bokeh photography technique.  My husband and I went to the botanical gardens and spent several hours there practicing this technique.

So for those of you who are novices this technique is to blend the background away and here is an example of what I did with a piece of iron work on a fence
Here you can clearly see the background and it distracted from the image I was trying for 
so I tried again but was still not happy that I could see a faded line in the middle of my image

and this is the final picture that I am very happy with.  

I spent a lot of time just trying out different ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings for each picture.  This allowed me to understand how the ISO, shutter speed and aperture all work together in getting that perfect photo.  I still have so much to learn but I do think I am getting a better feel for this technique:)
This is the final photo that I submitted to the photography teacher who  critique my photo  and gave me a new assignment

My next assignment was to work on photographing considering different perspective and having the picture tell a story.  So I came up with a few shots
I really liked this one but you can see my focus was off:(  Looks like two beardies but there is only one with his reflection

This was is good but does't tell a story really 

I like this one and it is titled--Lunch time!  
I haven't pick the final photo for this assignment still have the weekend to work on it:)

Not sure I will be switching to the Nikon camera permanently as it is quite heavy to lug around and honestly the apple iPhone is so convenient...but I like the creative side of photography:) so I want to learn how to use the camera properly:)

I also finished my newest stain glass piece that I have been working on for the last couple of months.

Now to get it hung in the living room window:)
My next stain glass project will be a water lily piece to hang in my master bathroom.  I haven't found the perfect pattern yet so I will be looking trying to find one that I like in the next few weeks so I can make it my summer project.

My husband and I managed to squeeze in a date night by meeting with friends and going to dinner at a great Italian restaurant and then attending a concert!
We saw the band play at the Peabody theater which is somewhere I hadn't been before and it was a beautiful facility built in the late 1930's

The band  was very goo, I did laugh when they announced they need to take a 20 minute intermission, the band like me is getting old :)

I took my son and his friend to the magic house one day for the last Homeschooling day of the year where they played and explored.  Then afterward I treated them both to a pizza lunch.  My daughter decided to enjoy a quiet day at home:)

I was going over the kids schedule over spring break and totaling days and hours (my state counts hours for attendance) and realized we only have about 30 hours left to record for the year!  Official school will be over by the end of April...although we continue to do school lightly over the summer months.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Weekly Wrap up 4/1/16 trip to San Antonio

I had an trip to met up with a friend in San Antonio, Tx.  My friend lives in California so we met about half way.  Neither of us have been to San Antonio but had heard it was a great place to visit with lots of history, shopping and a gorgeous riverwalk! We spent four days away from our husbands and kids and just had fun talking, exploring and shopping!

I thought I would show you just a few of the the things we did while touring the area.  We didn't have a car so we did A LOT of walking!

Our first stop was to see the oldest church San Fernando Cathedral where the ashes of some of the Alamo fighters are supposed to be buried.

The tomb of ashes, no one knows for sure who the ashes  belong too as Santa Ana burned all the bodies after the battle of the Alamo.  There is a picture on the tomb of Crockett, Travis and Bowie 

On Saturday and Sunday night the Cathedral had a beautiful lazar light show on the front of the church that shows the history of the the state of TX.  Truly magnificant 

 the Governors palace during the time TX was considered part of Mexico 

The river walk was just outside our hotel and it just beautiful it has shops, restaurants, and a great atmosphere to just walk along and enjoy people watching.  We took a small boat ride in the canal one evening and heard many stories of the buildings and the history of the area.  

 There are five Spanish missions in the area but we were only able to see three of them due to limited bus travel.
We explored San Jose mission and my friend attended Palm Sunday mass in the little chapel while I toured the grounds.

Rose window

well--there were several wells throughout the compound as well as clay ovens.

All along the wall of the mission were the homes where the Indians who lived and worked at the missions stayed.

Next we toured Mission Concepcion 

Another beautiful mission
here we saw many of the original paintings on the walls

A beautiful outdoor altar

Lastly we stopped at the Alamo.  We listened to several talks about the battle of the Alamo and saw many exhibits, none were allowed to be photograph.  
Across from the Alamo mission is a monument honoring those who fought  Santa Ana

Here you can see a indentation of a canon ball on the fort wall

Herring the stories of the New Orleans gray who defended the Alamo

We enjoyed traveling to all the missions and learning the history.  But our trip wasn't all about history we also enjoyed plenty of time to just sit, chat, shop and people watch!
I finally tried Chicken Mole while there.  Chicken covered in chocolate peanut butter sauce.  It tasted better than it sounds:)

We are hoping to plan another Mom's get away in a year or two seeing that when we both arrived home our husband and children were just fine without us:)!