Friday, August 21, 2015

CSH Week 2 - Science / Botany

Time for our 2nd week's Botany experiment!

Since we visited King Tut on Tues, We did science on Thurs (I had already bought the spinach and needed to use it up quickly!)

The experiment was to see PHOTOSYNTHESIS in ACTION!
First the prep work: punching holes out of organic spinach (note: see my pretty school wall? I will do a post all about it soon!!)

E2 Punching Leaves, L1 waiting for his turn

N4 Punching Leaves

N3 Tapping the bubbles out of the vacuum on our second try.

It was tricky to get them out of the syringe into the water....

2nd time was a success! We got all of the circles to sink when
they were deprived of oxygen, then about half of the circles to 
rise to the top after they made oxygen under the lamp 
through Photosynthesis.

The lab sheets included in the CSH book didn't work out for us,
because I had to do all the writing x 4... So we are going to draw
pictures in our Nature journals instead.
L-R:  L1, (10 yrs) E2 (8 yrs) N3 (6 yrs) N4 (4 yrs) I sketched and he colored

Thing I learned:

I assembled everything while they were playing, and did the experiment while the twins were napping, which made the whole thing smoother than the last science project!

You really need to pay attention to detail with this one. We had to do the whole project twice, because I missed the part about holding your finger over the tip of the syringe, while pulling it down to create a vacuum. The neat part about it was seeing the wonder in their eyes when it DID work the second time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

CSH Week 2 - History

    We have the privilege of living near the awesome city of Grand Rapids, MI. I am literally blown away with the awesome opportunities we have, and lately by God's providence in lining them up in perfect timing for our school journey this year.
     This week on Tues, since I had babysitter for the littlest 3, I decided we should take in the King Tut exhibit at our local museum: Grand Rapids Public Museum This ended up taking the place of Art in my lesson plans for the week.
     I apologize for the blurry pictures! I toted my heavy camera around the whole day... only to find that I forgot to put the SD card in it :-( Thank goodness for phones though, since blurry pictures are better than none!

The exhibit was made up of awe inspiring, museum grade reproductions.

     The site says to expect 90 min to get through the exhibit, but it took us closer to 2 hrs. We had audio tours (a cool little gadget; you punch in the exhibit numbers as you go through, then hold it to your ear, to hear a narrator talk about them.) You also use the gadget to listen to the many videos with additional information. It was a fascinating multi media experience, although it didn't entirely sit right with me to have everyone in their own little bubble, which makes for less discussion and shared experience. So we did try to stop in between and talk and look without the "noise" in our ears.

    I believe that everything in the exhibit was actually museum grade reproductions, as the originals are too fragile to travel, but they were stunningly executed! The first rooms that you go into made it feel like you were right there when they discovered the tomb.

     I especially loved the replica of the Rosetta Stone. The boys picked the model boats as their favorite.

We took time to look at a section of unfinished fresco on one of the tomb walls, and talk about the next art project "Making a Bull Leaping Fresco"

This "Shrine" held the Canopic jars

This was King Tut's Throne!
     It's hard to see the mural on the back of the throne, but we easily recognized it when flipping through something Egyptian the next day!

     Not Egypt related, but we had time to fit in a planetarium show and carousel ride (both free for members, which helps!) Then we grabbed lunch to make it a special day all around. I am really enjoying reaching this stage with a bit older kids, we share interests and all have fun hanging out together. Of course after a little break, I was more than happy to get home and snuggle my little 3 too :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

CSH Week 1 - Art / Cave Painting!

Our First Art Lesson!!

We did cave painting for our first Art lesson. Since the brown paper that I found in the garage acquired was on a large roll, I decided to change it up a bit, and I taped in under the ledge of our counter, so that it would feel a bit more "CAVE" like. 
N4; yes he owns clothes, but he doesn't like them, and it makes
 for easier paint cleanup!

N3; Hard at work

N3's finished Cave Painting of colorful animals

E2 Hard at work!

I think he liked the project!

And was very proud of the finished Cave painting, of grey
hunters surrounding animals

L1 was a good sport, and didn't mind being
on the end instead of under the counter 

His was the most elaborate, with hunters, woolly mammoths and a
dotted background that he said represented sunlight.
What I learned:

Dollar store paintbrushes were worse than no paintbrushes, I had to go scrounging around to turn up a few decent brushes for this project, and will need to add new brushes to my list.

I failed again in the prep department, I need to do some the night before, and then give then a 5-10 min break while I set up. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day 1 of CSH (sort of)

We have kind of trickled into our first year of Catholic Schoolhouse (We are doing the current cycle, Year 2, which is Ancient History)

We tore into the CDs as soon as they arrived, and have been enjoying the music memory work CDs for the first quarter. Last week, Daddy started reading Adam and His Kin at bedtime. (Early history, written by a Protestant, but an interesting perspective) And this week I started The Golden Goblet, an Egyptian historical fiction.

Because we had a class at the museum to attend on Mon, our official first day for the 15-16 school year was Tues. Aug 11th. I wish I could say it was all roses and sunshine.... but that wouldn't be accurate. I am pretty sure they forgot every thing they learned in Math last year during our 4 week break; and tears were shed over the shortened time to play with Legos and outside....

Getting started; memory work at breakfast is a GREAT idea! I pop on the CD while we eat. We pause to talk about things at will, and when we finish the current week, we skip around to favorite songs on the disc. The Timeline cards are hanging on the Dining room wall, so they are easy to refer too. (N4, the 4 year old was already pointing out the "Creation" card to Grandma VO.)

After breakfast, they had a little break, then on to Math and Science. I decided to combine the Science from Week 1 and Week 3, so that I would only have to stop at the florist for flowers once.

Week 1 Science Project:
I had such high hopes for Science, but was disappointed that our first experiment was less than stellar... Splitting the stems of the carnations didn't work at all :-( so I just put 3 in each color, and they didn't suck up the dye very well that way either.

The celery was much better! It sucked up a LOT of dye, and we were able to easily identify the Xylem. (Turns out those stringy bits of celery are there for a reason!)

L1 was excited to extract an Xylem!

I copied the lab sheets, but I ended up having to do all the writing for them, and a certain 8 yo preferred to profusely decorate his with a garden instead of the experiment. They all wanted their own, but I am considering either pre-writing info on, or just doing one sheet to share.

Experiment 2: (Week 3 in the book)
Because I didn't have a mother's helper this Tuesday (I plan to mostly do Science on the days she is here to distract the twins) I had to stop and take care of them and N4 a few times, and without direct supervision of the Botanists, it turned into a free for all, with flower parts EVERY WHERE! They were happy to examine and dissect, but didn't seem too interested in instruction.... When they were finished, they decided they needed to save their parts, so I gave a quick lesson on how to press flowers between paper, I think they intend to glue into their nature journals and cover with tape to preserve, after they dry a bit.

Just as I was cleaning up, N4 decided he really wanted to do it after all :-) He was actually the most interested in the individual parts, and enjoyed taping them down to the diagram (I printed from the Botany Lapbook) He was so proud of it, that we had to hang it on the wall in his room.

What I learned:
The more I prepare ahead of time, the better!!!
Less is better, next time no doubling experiments.....
The twins are NOT interested in science ;-)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kicking off Botany Week!

What better way to start a unit on Botany than visiting the local Botanical Garden? We were especially excited to see the new outdoor Japanese Water Garden. (Warning: Picture heavy post. I honestly couldn't choose my favorites!)
Arid Dessert Area


Tropical Flower

Japanese Water Garden


Picking out our favorite Bonsai tree



Path on the edge of the water

Saturday, August 8, 2015

CSH Week 1 - What's in Our Basket

Ok, we will see how well I stick to this... but my two primary things I hope to record this year are what's in our basket/ plans for the week to come, with an update of what we actually accomplish.

Reference/ Text Books
Ancient World

Young World

Picture Books
Digging Up DinosaursAliki
Archaeologists Dig for CluesKate Duke

Easy Readers
Dinosaur HuntersKate McMullan
Dicovery in the CaveMark Dubowski

Chapter Books
Adam and His Kin: The Lost History of Their LivesRuth Beechick
The Golden GobletEloise McGraw

Dinosaurs Before DarkMary Pope Osborne

Picture Books
Diary of an Edwardian Lady

How Flowers Grow
The Mangrove Tree
Susan L. Roth

What would you like to see?

I am hoping that my blog will be a way to record what we are doing as a family, and also to inspire and help other families on the same journey out.

Please share what types of free printables that you would like to see hosted here!

N4, holding his ID card from our Eye Spy Birthday party. I will make a post later showing what we did with some free downloads!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Catholic School House Prep in Full swing!

Lots to share! I am hoping to post at least once a week. To keep me accountable :-)

Here is some of my prep so far: (I have posted some of this on the Catholic Schoolhouse at Home FB page, but wanted to consolidate it here for easy reference!)
I made an extensive book inventory. It was a massive undertaking!

First I put them all in a Google spread sheet: My Catholic Schoolhouse Quarterly Booklist
(Highlighted yellow means I hope to read them this year)

As much as possible I tried to put all the historical books in tubs according to the CSH 3 year cycle. (and some of the science, but I decided I still wanted a fair amount of those to stay on the reference shelf) Each year has a box for each quarter, and a box called overview to hold lesson plans, timeline cards, and other reference materials

You can download the bin labels that I printed onto colored card-stock here: Labels

The 2 off years are stored in the basement, but still accessible to add to as I find books for the next 2 years.

This years boxes go in the bottom of the main school cabinet for easy access.

My plan is to have a book basket out and easy to view, so that we remember to read them. Some books will stay in the basket for a whole quarter, some will get changed out every week (like picture books)

This is how I plan to display the 5 Timeline cards per week. (Found at Hobby Lobby for a different purpose, and decided I like it for this better!) I plan to eventually have a whole wall dedicated to Catholic Schoolhouse, but it is a work in progress..... I am not sure where to put it in the meantime.

To Be Continued......