Thursday, June 26, 2014

Science day

      I've spent these past few mornings printing out a science curriculum for us to try out.  I have NEVER felt the need to follow a science curriculum in the past but I feel like we're starting to run out of experiments and ideas on our own.  I follow a high school mom's blog called Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and she has mentioned REAL Science Odyssey more than a few times.  In checking out the curriculum from their sight I was so happy to find a "try before you buy" section.  I was able to print off 9 lessons including 17 labs.  It took me two mornings to print it all out since I ran out of ink and had to run to the store yesterday.  The series looks really promising and I think it may be something I'll look into more closely.   We'll have to see how often we use it and play around with it for a bit and I love that the publisher realizes not every family finds every curriculum works for them.  I also loved that there were multiple "try before you buy" options so we can see which area of science the boys are most interested in.  For now I printed off the Life science without really giving it a second thought, but I like that it's all about the human body since that's what we left off learning about this spring.  I think I'll tuck these pages away for the fall when we really jump into schooling-- I have even made up a schedule and everything for us this year so we'll see how it all goes. 
    I had asked the boys to each pick at least one thing to work on for school yesterday while I packed up lunches for our visit to my grandmother.  Ian and Alec both immediately (and happily!) called out "Draw Write Now!" They pulled out their books and Alec got to work drawing his panda bear while Ian worked on drawing an icebreaker.  Alec asked us all if we thought bamboo was a tree or grass.  I was stumped but Evan guessed grass and Ian guessed tree.  Alec told us it was grass and when Ian started arguing with him they made me go look it up and, of course, Alec was right.  Bamboo is the largest grass in the world. 

    While they worked on drawing and writing Evan chose to work in his math workbook and completed two pages on geometric shapes.  I just couldn't get over how HAPPY they all were as they worked on their schoolwork!

    We read another chapter in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before heading to the store to buy printer ink.  We ended up buying a few other things too and as I was checking out Ian turned to me and said "wow, we must have spent like $90 today!"  It rang up to $89 and change!!  How's that for hands- on math?!  I was so impressed even though I was not happy to have spent so much money. 
    We spent the day at my grandmothers visiting her and playing with her kitten until it was time for the older boys to head to karate.  Karate ran a bit late but luckily we were still in time for the summer reading kickoff party at our local library.  The boys were anxious for this years kickoff since they had so much fun at last year's and the same company was coming with animals again this year.  We got to learn about new animals this time around though and the boys learned a lot about local animals.  We saw tree frogs, talked about the life cycle of a frog, toads vs. frogs, peeper frogs, and camouflage. 

 We learned about flying squirrels and I had no idea that they were more prevalent than gray squirrels in our area but they're nocturnal so we don't see them as often.  We talked about their skin flap, their flat tails and their coloring. 
He brought his skunk "double stuff" with him.  We got see their claws and teeth up close and Alec was thrilled to FINALLY be called on to explain why their eyes are not large like a flying squirrels.  Alec was having hard time not taking over and blurting out animals facts but I saw with him and kept reminding him to give others a chance to talk too and not to interrupt.  He was just so excited! 
We saw a groundhog up close too.  They have huge teeth; much like a beaver and Evan could not resist telling about the time we saw a groundhog chasing a cheetah at the zoo.  The man explained that many animals are afraid of groundhogs because of their sharp teeth.   We learned about their burrows, how they dig them, and where they like to live. 
  He had painted turtles and snapping turtles, though the snapping turtle looked so much different from the ones we're used to seeing at our house.  He talked about the colors of turtles, why they sun themselves, what they eat, where they live, and where they like to lay their eggs. 
He had a fox with him.  Alec was really impressed to learn that the fox can climb trees! Though reddish in color it's not a red fox it's a gray fox (since the back of the fox is gray).  He explained that most people don't seem them often because they do like to spend time up in the trees and, unlike red foxes who prefer fields, gray foxes like forest type areas.  The fox ended up pooping on the table and WOW!  The smell was indescribable.  All the kids started pulling their t-shirts over their noses... 
After he cleaned up after the fox he had one final animal to show us-- a fisher.  And while it's often called a fisher cat it's actually part of the same family as skunks and ferrets.  I have to say he was kind of cute looking!  But we did get to see his nice big teeth and large paws.  They like to swim, climb, dig holes in the snow, and, unfortunately, eat house cats.  They will not hesitate to tackle an animal larger than themselves. 

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