I think one of my most important jobs as a parent is educating my children about their inherent rights and liberties that exist regardless of politics or government. I believe that growing up with a firm understanding of their rights will allow them to function more confidently in the world.
This series is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough. Check out the links above and see for yourself – the illustrations are amazing and the stories are powerful. You can also click on my affiliate link to the left of the page to read more about The Tuttle Twins series.
Kyri and I love DK’s My Art Book. This is our main art resource this year and it has wonderful information and projects to work through. Each section has a two page lesson on an art form or particular artist’s style. This is then followed by a detailed art project. The pictures are stunning and really make it easy and fun to complete the projects.
This week we had a lot of fun learning about aboriginal Australian art, and decorating our own rocks.
We used smaller rocks than suggested in the book (because that is what we had on hand), and acrylic paint to decorate. We outlined our animal shape on each rock and then painted. We paused a few minutes between colors to keep paint from mixing. One optional step we did not do was coat the rock, or at least the painted part, in varnish to protect the decoration. We had a lot of fun with this and will end up doing several more, so we may end up varnishing them after the next batch.
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This year we have switched over to Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. We are focusing on Chemistry topics, and so are working through primarily A thread in Volumes I and II.
This past week we’ve been working on topic A7, Air: A mixture of gases (mixtures and chemical reactions).
Air is an excellent example for understanding molecules, mixtures and chemical reactions. Air is made up of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Oxygen is required by animals for respiration, and carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product. The oxygen and carbon dioxide in air are held constant in the atmosphere by green plants, which use carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. We’ve covered photosynthesis previously, in Biology as well as earlier this year when learning about energy, so this cycle is familiar around here. Here is a video that sums covers the Carbon Cycle.
We also love the app My Incredible Body and learned all about respiration to get a better understanding of how we as animals breathe in air to bring oxygen into our body, and breathe out to expel carbon dioxide.
Air is made up of matter and has weight
Sometimes when we can’t see something, like air, it can be a little difficult to understand how it is made up of matter. To help visualize this, we set up this simple experiment. We started by tying string around the center of a wooden dowel, making sure the dowel was balanced. We then blew up two balloons, one much fuller than the other. We tied each balloon to an end of the dowel, spacing them the same.
Kyri is a pretty smart cookie, so she expected the balloon that was inflated more to weigh more as well since it contained more air. As expected, the heavier balloon pulled its end of the dowel down lower!
Burning Requires Oxygen
We next set up a simple demonstration. Placing a tea light in a shallow plate of water (be sure to not cover the candle!), we then covered the candle with a jar and observed how, after just a short time, the flame sputtered and then was extinguished. I explained that the wax was the fuel (potential energy) and burning released this potential energy as kinetic energy in the form of heat and light. Oxygen is necessary for the fire to burn the fuel. Air is made up of approximately 20 percent oxygen, so in an enclosed jar, the oxygen is used up fairly quickly. Once the oxygen is used up, the flame goes out!
Mixtures and Chemical Reactions
When we started discussing mixtures, we used some simple examples to understand – a mixture of coins or a bag of mixed candy. In those simple examples, the individual components didn’t change and were identifiable. But sometimes when components are mixed, a reaction occurs and the components are broken apart and new components formed. Our second demonstration involved the release of carbon dioxide during a chemical reaction.
Baking soda and vinegar can be mixed, and when they react carbon dioxide is released. This is a fun chemical reaction because of the intense fizzing!
Burning Releases Carbon Dioxide
Similarly, when a candle is burned (also a chemical reaction!), carbon dioxide is also released. Carbon dioxide, like air, is not visible. But we used a fun demonstration to produce and observe carbon dioxide.
We lit a tea candle in a shallow plate, and in a half-pint mason jar combined 1 Tbsp baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar (Pour slowly to prevent fizzing over!). The carbon dioxide that is produced from the reaction remained in the jar and because it is heavier than air, can actually be “poured” like a liquid. We carefully tipped the jar toward the flame, as if we were pouring but taking care to not pour out any of the liquid contents. While we couldn’t see the carbon dioxide directly, we could observe the flame sputtering and finally going out, as the carbon dioxide poured over the wick and prevented the flame’s access to oxygen.
I’ve mentioned previously that we are going through a time of transition. We are selling our home due to an impending job change. To make this process easier, I relocated the family to Atlanta for a couple of months while my husband stayed behind to do needed repairs and cleaning to get our home ready for market. All of our belongings went with us into storage.
- Dishes cycled (clean away, and dirties load as they are generated)
- Dirty laundry collected around the house and a load washing
- Bathroom trashes emptied
- Toilets given a swish of bowl cleaner in the morning and left to soak, and a quick scrub later in the day,
- Kitchen and dining room swept
- Counters cleared and wiped down
- Kitchen sink scrubbed
- Spray shower with daily shower cleaner
- Vacuum upstairs
- Vacuum downstairs
- Mop all floors
- Clean showers
- Wipe windows
- Wipe down cabinets and window sills
We are currently living quite a spartan lifestyle – no furniture and very little in the way of toys or kitchen tools. When deciding what larger kitchen gear I could fit in my van for the drive back to Texas, I opted to forgo a soup pot and instead brought my more versatile wok. I prepared this soup in my trusted wok and it worked great!
Potato Kale Soup
It’s that time of year again! I have shared previously how I handle our paperwork and due bills. I’ve used this folder system for two years now and it has made SUCH a difference in my effficiency and organization.
By keeping the year’s documents filed by month, I can easily find and retrieve any needed documents.
Each monthly folder has a “tally sheet” where I list all the bills that are due. There are the usual bills that are the same each month, but I also write out any one-time bills that come in. This sheet lets me keep track of bills that have been payed and that are still pending. Each bill name has a small circle that I check when I pay, and I note date paid, check number or Billpay confirmation code, as well as the amount.
During the month I also check account balances and note account balances on my monthly sheet.
On January 1st, I sit down and go through my folders. Starting with my January folder, I separate individual bills into piles, and from there go through the rest of the monthly folders. By the time I empty the December folder, I have all my bills neatly separated into stacks, and they are already in order based on date. I clip together each pile of bills, put a post it note labeling each as 2014, and then file into my main file folders.
Because I have used this system for the last two years, my master bill folders are neatly organized and I can easily search by year and month if necessary.
I have incorporated two additional items into this system this year.
Previously, I have only included Due Bills in my monthly folders. Any paper work that came in during the month went into a “To File” folder. I know my tendency to lose track of anything in a To File folder, so this year I started putting anything important into each monthly file folder along with the monthly bills. This has made it easier to keep track of documents as they have come in. For example, I put pay stubs into monthly folders as they come in, and at the end of the year, it was so easy to file as they were already in order. I also was able to retrieve information regarding our new health insurance coverage for 2015, because I know I did the paperwork in November and had it filed there.
Additionally, I have included a sturdy envelope in each folder for receipts. As receipts come in during the month, whether it is for gas, medical expenses or a Starbucks coffee, I put the receipts in the envelope. When I file my paperwork, I go through each envelope, trash any receipt that I don’t think is important, and end up with a much smaller pile of 2014 receipts to retain.
My paperwork for 2014 is filed and organized, ready for tax season, and I’m starting the new year organized!