Ang4him - A Moment in My Life

Share in the struggles, triumphs and laughter of raising three children,
and homeschooling while working full-time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Recent Homeschool Projects

This year we seem to be getting a better hang of this homeschool thing and getting more creative regarding different projects.  Here are a few that we've been working on the past few months.

Weaving - I found a nice little bag at a book fair that comes to my work.  For $15 I was able to get Tyler a small loom with yarn and everything else necessary to learn how to weave.  Below are pictures of her first attempt.  The boys want her to make them blankets now.  I guess if she stuck to it she could do squares the size of the loom and then sew them together.  Her weave is not real consistent yet, but for a first attempt I think she has done a wonderful job.

Pottery - a friend of mine from work makes pottery.  Mostly vases and coffee mugs.  She was kind enough to share a few hours on a Saturday with us to show Tyler how to use a pottery wheel.  The wheel was a bit large for Tyler, but from what Jennifer said, she did a great job for it being her first time using one.  I went out and got her a cheap kids version to practice with some and told her if she continues with it and shows me she is serious I would look into getting her a real wheel.  She is already making plans to take over part of Shaun's shed and trying to figure out where she can sell her masterpieces and for how much.  The boys even tagged along.  They did not use the wheel, but they got to play with the clay too.

Austin's Masterpiece

Tyler getting instructions from Jennifer

Tyler's masterpiece

Jesse doing his thing

Solar System - Tyler and I have been spending a few weeks now on the solar system.  We did one really fun experiment where I made a landscape in a box of tinfoil covered in clay.  We then covered the box with a piece of paper with a graph and she used a small wooden dowel to measure the terrain using the graph.  We used different colors to represent the different depths and she charted the colors on a duplicate graph  So one color was the valleys and another was the mountains.  Due to Venus being so covered in clouds of gas they've used a process similar to what they use to map the ocean floor to understand the terrain of Venus.  It involves sonar and this project was to help Tyler understand that process a bit better.  I was surprised at home much she enjoyed it.  We just might do it again!

We also made a solar system.  Not the traditional one that you usually see though.  We did one to scale using modeling clay for the rock planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Pluto - I know, it is no longer a "planet") and paper to reprsent the gas planets.  We did not do the sun because it would have been 11.5 feet in diameter if we'd done it to scale and I was just not up to doing that.  Shaun actually agreed to Tyler's request to hang this in our front living room so if you happen to come over in the next few weeks you'll probably find it hanging there still.  Here are some pictures.  It was kind of fun to see how big the other planets are compared to each other.

The "rock" planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars to scale. 
You can see a part of Jupiter the first gas planet too. 
HUGE compared to the first four planets.

The "Gas" Planets and the non-planet Pluto. 
It is the tiny little gray dot you see hanging to the right of the pink planet which is Neptune.

All the planets together to scale.  Pretty cool to see the differences in sizes.
Pluto the non-planet is a little tiny gray dot just to the right of the pink planet (Neptune)

More Science - Plants: Our final current project at the moment is a Venus Flytrap.  This was a request made by Austin, fulfilled by daddy and having to be upkept by mommy who has been known to kill an aloe vera plant (which I was told could not be killed!)  So the poor things does not have much of a chance.  But we did do some google searches on how to care for them and have made a little home for it which we hope will keep it humid and warm enough.  Tyler caught herself an ant the other day and I'm sure if anyone had been watching they would have gotten a good laugh at us trying to feed the ant to the plant.  I still don't think the plant got it and I have no idea where the ant ended up.  Not sure I want to know either.  The good news though is they apparently usually only eat once or twice a month.  At first I was worried I was going to have to figure out a way to collect up insects every day for this thing.  I'll keep you posted on how this little guy fares in the Smith household.  It could be interesting.

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