Thursday, October 16, 2008

More School

The highlight of every Tuesday and Thursday for Isaac is doing science. Well, actually I'm not sure he even knows what "science" means, but our science topic for the year is astronomy (yes, astronomy for an entire school year), which he is CRAZY about.

A homeschooling friend recommended "Exploring Creation Through Astronomy." I bought the book and have been blown away! It's geared for students in first through fifth grades (just read/adapt activities to your particular student's level), boasts lots of beautiful pictures and has projects and activities galore (including a list of what materials you'll need for those projects each week -- yea!).

This week we're learning about Venus. Very few photographs have been taken of the planet's surface, because it has a thick, cloudy atmosphere blocking the view, and the surface isn't entirely suitable for spacecraft landings. So scientists have used radar to create a topographical map of the planet (because radar can go through clouds). But how does one explain the concept of radar to a 6 year old? Never fear, activity to the rescue!

This one actually had a bit of parent prep. Yesterday I created a landscape inside a shoe box using newspaper and a flour and water mixture (note to self: would have been easier to use play dough), covered the box with foil, poked 25 evenly spaced holes in the box, created a grid on paper with 25 corresponding squares, found crayons in a variety of shades of brown and marked a popsicle stick with numbers indicating depth (this was by far the most parent preparation intensive one we've come to yet, most are much simpler).

Today Isaac poked the popsicle stick into each of the holes in the foil, and marked on the paper grid the number on the popsicle stick -- a 15 indicated it didn't go very deep, a 2 went down quite far. Then he colored the grid using lighter browns for the lower areas (lower numbers) and darker colors for the raised areas (higher numbers). We studied the "map" and then removed the foil. Voila! Without ever seeing the surface beneath the foil, we had a pretty accurate map of what the surface looked like with it's mountains and valleys. It was too cool not to share, so here's a picture.

I'm thrilled that there are four more books in the Young Explorer series, "Exploring Creation Through Botany" and "Exploring Creation with Zoology" I, II and III (aka "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day," "Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day" and "Land Animals of the Sixth Day").

Levi's Alphabet

Rather than writing a boring old alphabet, Levi jazzed up his letters a bit this morning (someday we'll make it all the way to "z", but for now "o" is as far as we go!).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Picture time

New grandson photos are now available! Let me know which one(s) you'd like Mom and Mom!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Produce anyone?

We've had a beautiful and mild fall thus far, but this week's forecast lists several nights with lows in the mid-20s. Thus I am picking everything that's left in the garden... and it's a lot! Tomatoes or peppers anyone? I may have to do a few more batches of salsa.

The squirrels have also been enjoying our bountiful harvest. They've gotten good and fat off our sunflowers!