Friday, January 17, 2014

Air Pressure

Mr. Jack always comes up with something fun to do.  Little Man loves the third Thursday of the month!

The topic was air pressure.  What is it?  How do we know it is there?  What does it do for us?  All questions that Mr. Jack had experiments for the children to test. 

He had an empty bottle and placed a small wadded up piece of paper on the lip of the bottle he held on its side.  He challenged the children to blow the paper into the bottle.  Each time a child blew the paper, it went flying out of the bottle.  Over and over, they tried blowing the paper into the bottle. 

He blew up two balloons and attached them to a tube. When he pressed on one balloon, the other balloon became larger. 

He took a straw and placed it in a glass of water.  Next, he put his finger on the end of the straw not in the water.  When he removed the straw from the glass, the water was still in the straw. 

He showed them how to punch a straw into a potato.  He explained why it worked only when the thumb is placed over one end of the straw.  The children loved it!

He then left the children with a challenge.  To make an object that will fall slower than the piece of 11 x 14 inch of paper.  He demonstrated how the paper fell when held flat versus upright. 

He supplied the children with sheets of 11 x 14 inch paper, masking tape, and scissors.  They all began to build their devices.  Many different ideas filled the room.  What would they design? 

Different styles of parachutes filled the room.  Testing of the prototypes began.  Analyzing what just occurred.  Modifications began.  Frustration set in with some.  Why did the piece of paper always seem to to win? 

At the end, Mr. Jack explained to the children about surface area, size, and weight.  When he showed them that their creations did fall relatively slow compared to the masking tape roll, their sense of hope returned. 

This was a delightful lesson.  Bigger and fancier was not always better.  We can't wait till next month!

Writer's Toolkit

The home school class at the downtown library was about writing.  Ms. Jane had the tables set up and eagerly introduced the subject. 

Little Man was not thrilled.  He's my struggling writer.  Egee was very excited.  She had just recently purchased a journal and carries it everywhere.  Like my own two, the girls seemed excited and the boys were not thrilled with the topic of class.  I had a feeling that Ms. Jane sensed this.

She explained to the children that writing takes time and if it was practiced daily, it would become easier.  She showed them autobiographical books her own children made.  She emphasized that just writing a sentence or two a day on anything that interests them would eventually lead to more sentences.  (I think that was more for the benefit of the parents.)

She challenged the children to write during the class.  She offered them suggestions and they set about the task of writing.  Egee chose to do an instructional writing.  Little Man wrote about basketball.  All the children stayed on task.  They enjoyed illustrating their writings.

At the end of class, Ms. Jane asked the children if they would like to share their writings.  Several children volunteered to read.  It amazed me how many children volunteered to stand before the class of somewhat strangers and read.  When I taught ps, the kids never wanted to get up in front of their peers.  The main difference between the home school and the public school children, is that the home school children never criticize or laugh at what another child reads.  The ages of the children varied from 6 years to 12 years old.  Their writings consisted of two sentences to a page.  Some of the younger children wrote better than the older, but no one poked fun at this.  They were all learning together and encouraged each other to do their best.  How wonderful! 

Egee told me that the girl sitting in front of her could not write very well.  The girl was about her age.  Egee helped her with the writing and spelled words for her.  Egee didn't think anything of it.  She told the girl, that eventually she would get the hang of it and not to worry.  Everyone learns at their own pace!  The girl was so proud of her writing, she volunteered to read it to the class.  Although, just a couple of sentences, she stood with confidence while reading. 

Moments like this confirms my decision to home school my children.  Everyone does learn at their own pace and I am happy that my own children recognize this. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

We went to the Music Sandwiched In program on Wednesday.  I thought the kids would enjoy seeing the Buddy Holly rendition presented by some of the cast from the Little Theater.  We rushed from the Inman Homechool program to the Headquarters library and made it just in time!

Little Man picked out our seats and just as we sat, the music began.  This was Grandad's music!  The children began to grin and enjoy the sounds of early rock and roll.  We clapped our hands and tapped our toes.  The actor portraying Buddy did a great job.

The older people in the audience were enjoying themselves and singing along. 

When we got into the car, to head home, the children were full of questions about Buddy Holly.  Who was he?  How old is he?  Why did the old people say 'oh, no' when the announcer said Buddy had to catch a plane?  Why did the plane crash?  Luckily, I was able to answer these questions on our drive.  My father is a Buddy Holly fan and I have seen the movie a thousand times! 

We pondered what rock and roll would have been like if so many great early artists had lived and continued to influence the medium.  They know a variety of songs from the early rock and roll era.  They don't know the names of the songs, but they listen to them when with their grandad. 

It is important to keep the music alive from that time period.  So many great tunes came from it.  The melodies can be heart felt.  They will always look back and remember the music from their grandad's era.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's a New Year!

I had taken a three week hiatus from the blog.  It was a busy three weeks!  During the time, Little Man celebrated his eighth birthday.  He was so excited to be eight!  We celebrated the birth of Christ and the Christmas festivities with friends and family.  I turned another year older.  We watched football, looked at Christmas lights, stayed up to see 2013 turn to 2014.  Three weeks flew!

Where does this bring us?  The possibilities of a new year are limitless. Resolutions and routine return.  I'm not really big on resolutions.  I write down small goals to accomplish all the time.  The goals are spread into daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and sometime.  I have found that flexibility is the biggest goal of all.  We take one day at a time and adjust if necessary.

So, what are some of my goals?  Remove the 'junk' from the kitchen cabinets.  Isn't it amazing at how much stuff we can accumulate over a year's time?  Samson woke me at five o'clock Friday morning.  He didn't want to be quiet and alone and I didn't need him to wake others in the house.  So, I decided to clean out the cabinets.  By seven o'clock, the cabinets were rid of 'junk', straightened, cleaned and ready for a new year.

Clean the laundry room.  To say the least, I have been lax with keeping the laundry room clean.  Piles of this and that topped the washer and dryer, hangers were here and there, empty cleaning bottles had not been thrown out, etc.  The weather cooperated with helping me accomplish this task.  Cold, windy, rainy weather confined us to the house for the day and the laundry room benefited.

I have hauled three bags of outgrown clothing, old dishes, and various odd ends to the thrift store.  I have thrown out boxes, trash, and clutter.  Isn't it liberating to let go of stuff?

I have revamped the children's lessons.  Put new entries onto the calendar and updated existing commitments.

We have made new friends and are planning play dates.  We are committing to enhance existing friendships.  I have talked to friends that I have not spoken to in years.  We picked up right where we left off.

I will make more goals in the coming weeks.  I will change goals, as well.  We will adjust and go with the flow when needed.

Oh, the possibilities of 2014!