Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Anatomy, Botany, and Edible Cell Model!

 First...a beautiful sight out my kitchen window. A rainbow in the mist over the distant mountains. Breathtaking!
School has been a lot of fun this week. We have been busy exploring and creating with lots of hands on projects . We started our study of anatomy and A is thrilled.
We had a lot of fun looking at slides of mammal organs under the microscope.

After spending a few hours on anatomy, A asked if we could look at plants to. She wanted to know more about the parts of a flower and the actual process of pollination. So we headed off to get a flower and came home and got to work.
While looking in two of our science books, A created this chart, labeling all parts of the flower. I was pretty impressed.
 She also created this diagram of an animal cell.

 Remember I said we had to run out to get a flower. Well when we came back there was a message on my answering machine. It was my neighbor's daughter asking to barrow a lemon, but she spoke so softly I needed to replay it. My answering machine tried to eat the message, and it took me quite a while to find the message and replay it, and of course then call my neighbor back to let her no I didn't have any. During this drawn out process, I noticed A gathering a sticky pad and a pencil. This is what she created.
I love the spontaneity of writing practice!

So cute!

On to today. This afternoon we pushed on with our exploration of cells.
What better way to learn about cell structure than with jello and candy? Yep, that sounds like fun to me!
 Researching cell structure ...

 And there you have it. An animal cell....
jello- cytoplasm
yellow Mike and Ikes- mitochondria
black jelly beans- lysosomes
sour gummy worms- golgi bodies
green sour ribbon candy-  endoplasmic reticulum
orange sprinkles- free  ribosomes

Awesome isn't it?
All this equals one happy girl!
 ...who of course got to eat it. That's the best part!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homeschooling, Salmon Spawning, and Salmonberries- Life on the Tundra

Well we had a great second day of school. It seems we are really finding a rhythm that works for us. It's amazing how much can be acomplished in a few hours of homeschooling, and it makes me really realize how much of A's time would be wasted in a classroom setting. 
This morning we woke up around 8, but hung out in A's bed snuggling till about 8:30. The breakfast and feeding the dog, taking her out, and all those other morning routines. 
We ended up in the school room about 9:15.
From then to about 12:15, we had our school day. 
We covered spelling, math (A did 2 more lessons and their assignments on her Teaching Textbooks program), and our daily science work. We also spent some time on American History. We learned about James Madison, the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key, and the Star Spangled Banner. In fact, later out in the tundra playing, A was singing it over and over at the top of her lungs as she ran from hill to hill. A also started a biography of Dolly Madison.
We even managed to cover some grammar- reviwing action verbs and identifying them in sentences as well as chosing the more vivid action verb to complete sentences to give our writing more punch. We finished up with a quick work out of the daily writing book we are using, and learned more about chosing strong, specific ideas in writing.
For free read time (this is the time from when all school work is complete to when lunch is ready and A can chose any book she wants to read) A picked up Kate D. Camillo's book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I read aloud this book over the course of several days last week, and A enjoyed it so much that she has picked it up and is reading it again on her own.
After lunch and some down time, we took the crazy dog and headed out to Pyramid Valley. A and Bella both needed to run and get out of the house. It was a beautiful day and while they played and explored for several hours, I picked some more deliciously ripe salmonberries. 
When you think about it, all of this was accomplished while the school kids were still sitting at their desks and we even got to sleep later. Man I love homeschooling.

Anyway, on to the rest of this post. 
Sunday turned out to be a pretty decent day...cloudy but not rainy and windy like the day before...so of course we headed out as a family into the tundra for some fun.

The pink salmon are running right now and they fill the streams and creeks, turning the water into a massive black swirling entitity. It is really an amazing sight and the pics don't do it justice, but I tried to capture it anyway to share with yall.

If you look closely you will notice that the massive black area right there in the water is actually hundreds of salmon swimming up stream to spawn. They even create their own rapids.

 The surf was kicked up to much for A and Dh to fish, but they still had a lot of fun.
 Look at all those fish!

 A had a blast trying to catch them in her hands as they came in from the ocean. She managed to get one, but it jumped out of her hands before I could get the camera.
I love the life my child is able to experience here!

 Beautiful isn't it?
 Of course I can't be outside this time of year and not stop to pick some berries.

Salmonberries, super ripe on the bushes and ready for picking.

 A got into the action too.

Exploring secret places in the tundra, a perfect end to a day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our First Day of School

Today was our first day back to homeschooling. We awoke early and had a special first day breakfast. Qusidillas filled with peanut butter, bananas, strawberries, and chocolate chips, topped with cinnamon sugar. Yum!

 Then it was time to get dressed, make the beds, and head into the schoolroom.
Here is a quick tour. A loves this room.

 Here's my sweet girl, all ready to get back into the groove.
 We have always started our mornings with a candle and a prayer.
Today was no different.
 Our first order of business was to create an all about me page. I want to do this every year and be able to document how she changes through the years.
I absolutly LOVE what she wrote.
Check out her favorite food....and what she wants to be when she grows up!
 When I grow up I want to be a vet, doctor, marine biologist, and a fur trader. Oh I can not stop smiling at that. I think my child has seen a few to many episodes of Mountain Men. LOL

Of course we had our school mascot join us. Bella is back in the swing of things, spending her mornings in the school room with us.
 We covered a lot today and was able to find a wonderful rhythm. A worked at her desk...
 ...and on her computer. She completed 3 lessons on her Teaching Textbooks Grade 4. We are both in LOVE with this program.
 Here's a peek at her daily science work. 2 to 3 times a week we will be working on the in-depth focus of Anatomy and the History of Medicine that A chose to study this year.
 We both spent some time in the reading nook. A finished book 8 of the How to Train Your Dragon Series and I read aloud "How the Wolf Was Bound" from the book Norse Myths for Children. We are incorporating the study of myths from different cultures into our studies this year and what better place to start than with the viking culture that the How to Train Your Dragon books are based on.
 A drew in her notebook an illustration to go along with the story. On the top is the wolf and the gods coming with the chains, and below is the castle of the gods and the dwarfs that worked to make the magic chain that finally bound the evil wolf.
 After a yummy lunch, we started back our tradition of Tea and Chapter. This was something A specifically asked to do again this year. We sit on the couch and cuddle with glasses of tea and read. I read aloud a Dear America diary about the Oregon Trail and then A read 2 chapters of The Cabin Faced West and practiced her narration skills (retelling).
 And finally it was time to head out and enjoy the beauty of nature and pick a batch of salmonberries while giving thanks to the bounty God provides.
Off to bed now, and hoping for another wonderful day tomorrow.