Friday, 25 August 2017

Weekly wrap up 8/25/17-- Public school begins and the Solar Eclipse of 2017

Oh my, it is official Firedrake has returned part time to High School!  Her first day began this past Wednesday.  She is taking 3 afternoon classes at high school, Creative writing, Algebra, and Psychology.  I wanted to get a picture of her on her first day but she declined.  She was pretty apprehensive about going.  Her stress level was pretty high but she made it for the first week, YAY!  She is still deciding if she likes it:)

The Solar eclipse just happened in our area this past Monday.  We have been planning and preparing for weeks to make sure we are ready to see it.  We have also been keeping our fingers crossed that it won't be a cloudy day!!!

MarioFan and I read this book which is about 3 kids one of which is a homeschooled family and the solar eclipse.  It is an excellent book and there is quite a bit of science in it as well, always a plus in my view:)

Even if you didn't see the solar eclipse this is a well written book about pre teens and families.  In addition to providing information about the solar eclipse 

Prior to the big day we been working on reviewing the Moon phases and understanding what will be happening on the day.  A lot of this was review for the kids and it was nice to see they still remember most of it:)

Using a lamp and a dark room we recreated the phases of the moon

Repeating a favorite activity

Completed (again) the cookie phases of the moon!  Science is always better when you can eat your work afterwards:)

We went to the Science center and saw a small exhibit not he solar Eclipse and the last time it was seen in our area!  We also went to a planetarium show so we would know what to look out for.
Looking at just how infrequently a solar eclipse strikes are area

Learned some interesting myths from the ancient world

Looking at how the eclipse works on a model

Watch the Planetarium show on the eclipse

What we hope to see on the big day!

My son and his friend built pin hole cameras before the event so they could better see the action

They are easy to build and we found lots of variations on the web

Testing out our cameras and very please to see they work beautifully.  Each family now has two cameras to use on the  the big day.  Hoping for a sunny day that day!

Months ago I bought solar glasses and a poster to celebrate getting to see the eclipse.  The kids and I learned how to safely view the eclipse and practiced before the big day
We talked to the boys about the dangers of looking at the sun and what it does to the retina of the eyes..  We then did an experiment which the boys thought was very cool

Using a magnifying glass (the lens of the eye) the boys aimed it at the black construction paper (the retina) and after only a minute saw smoke (can you see the tiny wisp of smoke:)

They burnt a hole in the paper.  They of course had to do this many many times:)

Next they tried to do the same thing on paper paper and  it didn't burn.  We discussed the reasons why it didn't work on white paper but did on black paper and how it relates to the eye and the sun

Next we all practiced putting on on solar glasses and looking at the sun.  There is a certain way it is recommended you do this and we reviewed this technique with our boys.  
Firedrake's school was opened for the day but they did allow parents to keep their children home with an allowed excused absence, so she was able to see the eclipse with us.  I do believe the school is going to have the entire student body outside to view the eclipse but Firedrake wanted to be home for it.

I made the kids a simple form to record what they saw.  These are all the things we learned about for the solar eclipse.
I didn't take a picture of the completed copy as there was a little personal information on it but you get the idea.

And then the day arrived and we rushed outside before it was to begin getting our items ready.  We were one of the lucky ones as we didn't have to leave our house to see the entire eclipse.  The sun and moon could be seen in our driveway!!!!

Awaiting first contact:)  It was so hot outside that we had to go inside every once in a while just to cool down

Trying out our pin hole cameras but everyone preferred to just watch with their solar eclipse glasses

My pictures didn't turn out

Tried to take a picture with my phone through the eclipse glasses but it didn't work so I gave up taking pictures and just enjoyed the experience.

Looking for the shadows using a colander.  We never did see the solar bands although we did look.

It was so exciting to see the entire process and the kids and both my husband and I thought it was amazing!!!!

We celebrated the by indulging in a snack after the event:)
Definitely one of earth's most amazing moments, one we will all remember

Friday, 18 August 2017

Weekly Wrap up 8/19/17 -- loose end before school begins!

We did another Spokes Team Science day with our Secular coop group.  This time the team came from Stanford and it was their first year doing this, so it wasn't quite as coordinated at the last group but they are still working out the kinks.  The kids were only able to stay for the morning session as we had hair appt in the afternoon.
Meeting the team

MarioFan did a programming class...first the kids tried to give specific directions for making a peanut butter sandwich.  It was harder than they thought it would be;)

Next the work on building a game in teams using the scratch program

Firedrake did a neuroscience class.  They talked  about the brains function

looks at how neurons work using a nifty tool  All the kids took turns :0

Next they dissected a sheep brain and discussed the different parts of the brain and the functions

Also this week the kids participated in a student study for the computer program called the Looking Glass at the local University.  For working for about 90 min they earned a $10 amazon gift card!

About 50 kids were to participate in the study but on the day we arrived it was stormy so there were a lot of cancellations.  You can download this programming software for free and they are working to build it better hence the various studies going on regarding the program

Firedrake was a Junior Camp Counselor for two days.

Camp was called Buddies not bullies and was for at risk kids in elementary school

She really enjoyed it but came home exhausted .  I had to laugh when she said "Mom did you know little kids don't listen very well"  :)

I got a few more stain glass projects completed before school began which I wanted to show you.  Now that school has resumed my work in the studio will decrease significantly:(
Here is the piece with just my studio light behind it.
My husband wanted a replica of the Pink Floyd album Dark side of the Moon.  It was a quick and easy piece to cut and assemble.  I was very pleased with how it turned out until I held it up to the light and notice the crack in the green rainbow glass:(  I am disappointed I didn't notice it sooner:(  Now to decide if I want to go thru the hassle of taking it apart and recut the glass or just leave it.
Here is the piece with natural light form the window!

I chose not to take it apart to fix the broken glass at this time.  Maybe later

I have also finally hung up a few other pieces in the window. My husband and I did these together when we first got married.  Plus one I recently did.

When we first got married my husband and I took a lead class together and we made matching pieces.  I hung them side by side so it looks like a single piece.  The black and purple piece I recently completed.
I have also got a new Callie Lillie pattern that I have cut out (still have three pieces left to cut -- the Stamens), just need to assemble!  Can't wait to get this one in the window:)

I have another one all cut out but not assembles yet, still trying to decide it I want to do it in lead came or copper foil.
Lastly I have two patterns that I can't wait to get started on, one for my Mother and another one my husband requested for his office.
I am making this for my mother and I found someone who is willing to make me a fused plaid glass piece for the kilt and socks.  I am so excited.  I am just waiting for them to ship the finished pieces to me so I can begin.  Since my mother is Scottish the lady will attempt to make the kilt in the Menzies clan tartan:)  I am hoping to have it completed by Christmas.

I am still working on the pattern my husband wants.  I haven't been able to find a pattern on line so I am doing something outside my comfort zone which is making my own pattern, YIKES!

Next Week full time School Begins!!!

Friday, 11 August 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum choices

It is almost time to get back to our full school schedule.  I have been working and planning all summer and think I have it finally figured it all out for both kids.  I think I have most things purchased and have a plan:) Whether I stick to that plan is the unknown LOL

This year my oldest, Firedrake, will be entering 10th grade.  After much discussion, after finding out our local inclusive homeschool group has split and we lost our favorite Literature and Spanish teacher, we decided to send our daughter to High School part time.  Firedrake is not happy with the decision but has reluctantly agreed to give it a try.  This has been a very tough decision for us all but we feel like it is time as we are finding it impossible to find decent secular science and history curriculums in a coop setting.  Our daughter also struggled a bit with Algebra last year and I am just not the right person to teach that subject, I must know my limitations!! By doing this my schedule will be even busier as I try to meet the needs of my oldest as my youngest will continued to be homeschooled.

Firedrake -- 10th grade total of 9 credits earned this year

PE/Health (.5 credit for each)-- we are participating in the program couch to 5K and circuit training at home.  Our goal is to participate in a 5K race this fall. She is also reading and working through the book Lifetime Health by Holt.  I also found a great online course which teaches first aid and CPR which she will be completing. Check it out here. We have already started working on this subject this summer with the hopes to wrapping up with the required hours by the mid September, if not sooner.
Geosciences (1 credit)- going to do this with Dad this year.  My husband is a geologist and plans to delve deeply into this topic and will use this Glencoe book as a spine.  This is one topic my husband is planning and I don't have too:)  He did amazing teaching biology the last two years:).
World Literature I and II (1 credit)--We will be using Lightening  Literature and I am going to use their plan as describe in the books and try to keep us on schedule for the year.

Vocabulary --Worldly Wise

World History (1 Credit)--  I am creating my own world history program using Crash Course World History and the following book as my spine for this class.

I read this book this summer and just loved it.  It really gives so thoughts to why things are they way they are.  I may not agree with everything but it will be interesting to discuss as a family.  My husband read this book years ago and love it!

Japanese 1B (1 Credit)-- with a private tutor using the book below  Firedrake has already spent a year working on Japanese with this tutor.  She has already completed 3 years of Spanish but decided she didn't want to continue:(

Piano and music theory (.5 credit) -- with a private tutor

Art (.5 credit)-- She will be taking lessons at coop once a week with the art teacher who will be designing a specific class just for her, working on the skills she still needs to improve on.

Classes being taken at the local High school--Firedrake will be attending the last three classes in the afternoon.  While I will drop her off at school she will take the bus home:) this is so I can still get MarioFan to afternoon activities as needed.

Psychology (.5 credit)

Creative writing (.5 credit) 1st semester with possibly taking Science fiction or art the second semester

Algebra 1 (1 credit) --the one area where I feel I have failed my daughter, I am just not able to teach the higher math and my daughter really struggled trying to figure it out herself so we thought and hope going to a class with a teacher 5days a week will help her be successful with this topic and be able to move on.

the second semester she will pick two elective classes she is eyeing a science fiction class and an economic class, but we shall see how it works out scheduling wise

MarioFan -- 8th grade

English --  We will be working on Lightening Literature 1.  I plan in doing this with a friend and her son.  We will be getting together weekly to do a class and then the boys will work on their own during the week for writing assignments and homework

Vocabulary-- we will continue with the book Wordly Wise, this book only has 20 lessons so we will be spacing out this topic for the whole year in conjunction with our Literature program

Growing with Grammar--This is the last book in this series and we like this program and he can do it independently.  I am hoping that once this book is completed we will no longer need a grammar program  in high school.

All about Spelling book 7-- last book in the series (we have done them all)  MarioFan is a natural speller but I do like these books.  Once this book is finished we will not need a spelling program in high school

Pre-Algebra --I am torn here.  I have used Math U See for many years and do like the program, esp since the answer book gives a complete break down on how to solve each problem (which helps a math phobia like me)  However my oldest really lost the enthusiasm for math and struggled mightily with algebra last year and I am not sure if it was the math program or something else.  I ended up buying a used Teaching Text book to use but I really don't like the way the answers are layed out in the teacher book (it doesn't break down the problem--so it will not be of much use to me, should I need help).  I might use a mix of both books and see which one my son gravitates more to for his learning style (which is completely different from his sister)

Science--I am going to use these three books as a spine for the Science this year.  MarioFan loves science and has requested more science experiments!! I plan to mostly focus on genetics, evolution and cell biology.  I am throwing in a bit of physics and chemistry too, because they have the coolest experiments;)

Geography--We will be using this work book for geography.  MarioFan loves maps and learning where countries are so this appeals to him.  I find the book a bit dry but he liked the one we used last year so we are going to use this one this year.

World History-- I am choosing for the first time to use a text book for this topic.  I usually hate text books for history as they sugar coat a lot of history and whitewash events.  I prefer to find alternative resources and create my own curriculum, however this year I am going to be really pushed for time due to our oldest returning part time to High school.  I have decided to use the following text book as a basic spine for our world history but I do intend to find additional resources to try to make it more even in the recounting of history.  

Computer-- We are using the program Kid Coder Visual Basics  MarioFan has already started this program over the summer and is halfway done.  We have used this company for several classes and I like that MarioFan can do them independently, as I know nothing about computers!  Plus the customer service is excellent!

Spanish advance intermediate-- taking at local coop, trying out a new teacher, fingers crossed that it is successful.  

Art --  Using Meet the Masters program and meeting weekly with a friend to work together on this program with our boys.

Piano and music theory--We use a private tutor 

PE -- couch to 5 K and circuit training at home with the goal to participate in a 5K race this fall

I want to clarify that while it looks like a lot for each child, we do stagger some things so the kids don't do everything every single day.  That would be overwhelming for us all!  I usually do a mid year (around January) progress report and always find I dropped the ball on something (usually vocabulary, spelling and geography, if I am being honest).  I simply do my best and since we school year round we often fill in our summer with what ever didn't get done from Sept to May.

Public High School starts next week for Firedrake and we will allow her a couple of weeks of working in just those three class, in order to get settled before adding additional subjects.  Coop starts Sept 5 for MarioFan and he will only be taking one class there this year.  I will begin our regular school with him once Firedrake begins high school.  I am hoping this all comes together, but we shall see as I know we have a very ambitious plans for both kids.