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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mad Scientist Party

The party was great except for the amount of guests. Only three of the eight kids invited came. But after doing experiments with only four 9-11 year olds, I couldn’t imagine eight kids asking questions at the same time.

We actually got started ½ hour later than planned because we were waiting on the guests to arrive. We did the following experiments:
1. Marshmallow and toothpick towers.
2. Elephant’s toothpaste (Hydrogen peroxide, Dawn, and yeast) This one did not go as planned. But the yeast finally activated and we got some action.
3. GLOP (Cornstarch and water)
4. Alka-Seltzer explosions (Water and Alka-Seltzer in a old film canister)
5. GAK (Elmer’s glue and liquid starch)
6. Dry Ice. We put it in water and watched it smoke. Then we added food coloring. Then we added Dawn dish detergent. They were more into the smoke instead of bubbles so we started over again. Then I warmed up coins and pressed them against the ice. This according to JD sounding like a "piglet squealing."
7. Ever microwaved an Ivory soap bar? It was cool. We only nuked 1/2 a bar and it almost filled up our whole small microwave. It grew like a giant marshmallow.
8. We did not get to do the colored milk, Insta-snow, cabbage chemistry, or egg in a bottle experiments because we ran out of time.
9. Our finale was a Diet Coke and Mento’s geyser. The boys like this more than the girls.

The cake this year was a cupcake cake. I had planned to do a volcano cake with the dry ice and a beaten egg yolk, but that experiment failed last night. So I took the cake and just put glass bowls with dry ice in them. It was smoking like crazy. The candles all had different colored flames. It was cool.

He got exactly what he wanted for his birthday: cash, Axis and Allies, Cube World people, a model, and a WII. (Wee)


Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday! (½ day)

I had a half day planned for JD since today is his birthday. So we only did the basics today.

The devotion today was created by me and the internet. I based it on Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Then I spent a considerable amount of time the other night doing a time capsule for JD. It had the hit songs of 1999, the prices of major goods, President and vice president, famous people he shares a birthday with, TV shows, toys and books. The price I found most amazing was the price of gas. It was only $1.22. JD shares a birthday with the likes of: “Fats” Domino, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, William Frawley (from I Love Lucy), Jackie Gleason, Tony Randall, and Johnny Cash. We then listened to some songs by Fats and Johnny. JD especially liked “Blueberry Hill” and “Charlie Brown.”

We did not do the Purpose Driven Life today. Instead he read independently from his “Boy No More” book. That was toward the end of our day so he was anxious to read and be done with the day.

For math today we did customary capacity. So he had to know how many tablespoons are in an ounce. How many ounces are in a cup? How many cups are in a pint? How many pints are in a quart? How many quarts are in a gallon? Then in got tricky and wanted to know how many ounces are in a gallon. I don’t know if these are facts that require memorization or if the annual assessment will have a chart to look at and then leave the multiplication to JD. So I’ll have to figure out a way to have him memorize customary lengths, weights, and capacities.

We did not do keyboarding today. Instead we did a language arts lesson. It was short and sweet. JD did a lesson called “Think aloud, level 1.” It was based on the fictional story that they made a movie about. The movies name is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” He did the quiz and scored a 100%.

We also did not do edit rewrite or health today. We moved right into the spelling test. There were a couple of problems with the way he did his spelling cards this week. 1.) They had acrostic sentences that had nothing to do with the actual word. 2.) There were no pictures to go with the sentences. He told me, “I don’t need the pictures.” 3.) He did not actually “study” his words this week. That was evident after his spelling test. (More word to do trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So that was his ½ day birthday. Now time to run around like a ferret on caffeine to get all these birthday party details and decorations in order.

I have a “Worst Mother of the Year” story for you. So since its JD’s 11th birthday I decide I must make a cake for him. He has to have cake for his “birth” day even though he’s having blow out party tomorrow. So I successful make a bunt cake and shaved it to resemble a volcano. I was almost completed frosting the cake when is fell in the dishwater. (I know!) I apologized profusely to JD and he said, “Its okay!” He wasn’t mad at all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

100% independent

The devotion today was about monkeys and how they are always imitating us, making funny of us, or just plain “monkey’n around.” It’s ok to joke around, but there’s a time for it. There’s also a time to get serious. It also quotes Ecclesiastes 3. I love that writing. *Just a side note...I LOVE monkeys! When searching for this picture I wanted to insert at least 10. But I thought this one was particularly cute.

I did not do the Purpose Driven Life reading today because I woke up late and that means school got started late. So I had JD read independently in his book “A Boy No More.” Yesterday when we was reading aloud in the he was doing the right voice inflictions and pauses all at the right times. I was so proud of him.

Math today consisted of customary weights and figuring out whether to multiply or divide to convert them. It was just like yesterday (with length) but today weights. Since this was an easy enough task for JD to do independently, I let him. He scored a 100% on the quiz. While he was doing math I busied myself with yet more birthday preparations. I prepared the goody bags and the chemical trays with everything needed for each experiment. I even wrapped them up in blue paper to make them look like a sterilized package.

We went out of order today because I was doing party preparations. I had JD do language arts independently as well. He did a review lesson on finding the plot in a story. There are two stories and 2-3 questions for each one. Usually there are no more than 10 paragraphs for each reading. Today JD said, “This story has 44 paragraphs!” (Most paragraphs were one to two sentences long. He read both stories and answered 5 questions total. He mastered this INDEPENDENTLY and scored a 100%.

The civics lesson was about competition in the market place. He learned terms like competition, monopoly, diversification, and incentive in the business world. I sat with him through this lesson but I didn’t need to. He scored another 100% on the quiz.

Today during the Email/snail mail lesson JD emailed back and forth with Jeff. Luckily Jeff was not too busy. Cute note though...the first email to Jeff went like this, “Hy! Are you busy daddy?” I’ve got him spelling “stratosphere” and “denominator” but he spelled “Hy?” He did punctuate correctly though. **note to self…need more spelling strategies. Simple phonics does not work with him.

We skipped science again today. It was a long, lazy day for Faith Christian Academy, with LONG breaks, and I was mentally taxed with birthday details.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another good day

Today was another good day.

Today’s devotion was about the introduction of the nylon toothbrush way back in 1938. Then the reading went from taking care of our teeth to taking care of our bodies. If we take good care of our bodies then we’ll live long lives. Every year we live is another year of enjoying life and serving Christ.

The Purpose Driven Life reading was about defeating temptation. I love how God promises to never put more ON me than he puts WITHIN me to handle those temptations. When we’re tempted we need to REFOCUS our attention on something else. Don’t try to block the thought, just refocus. Like a toddler who is reaching for an object they shouldn’t have, pull them away and refocus on something new. REVEALING our struggles to a godly friend is another way to defeat temptation. Then we’ll have the support and accountability partner we need. After we humble ourselves in front of God to reveal our temptations we need to RESIST the Devil. After all we are in God’s army and we all have to fight back. I love that all I need to do is quote the bible like Jesus did and Satan will eventually give up on me, until the next temptation comes by. The last way mentioned to defeat temptation is to REALIZE our vulnerabilities. Don’t ever let your guard down and think you’re beyond temptation.

I think today was the easiest math lesson yet. It was all about standard unit of length measurements. So we had to know inches, feet, yards, miles, feet in a mile, and yards in a mile. The questions would ask things like, “Susie ran 3 miles. How many yards did she run?” JD was all over this. Then it moved onto reasonableness. Is it reasonable for a submarine to be 300 yards long? We answered yes. We were incorrect. It was 300 feet long. (I was Air Force, not Navy, shesh!) So he received a 90% on his quiz.

I had JD do “Word Bank” independently today while I reorganized our messy garage. I had a vision to build a laboratory in the garage by hanging black plastic all over to create a room for experiments. Of course some of those experiments will have to be outside, since some of them will EXPLODE! He did not do well independently and came out to see what I was doing. He finally finished looking them up in the dictionary and writing sentences for three new words. They were abaft, ad hoc, and callous.

There was a huge gap from lessons as I was totally preoccupied with the garage. JD was of course helping me like a little elf. He disappeared for a few minutes and arrived with lunch in hand. He made us both sandwiches. I came in to wash my hands and to put spicy mustard on my sandwich. He told me, “I put some on already.” And they say children look like angels when they sleep. I beg to differ. So we ate and continued building our lab.

I finally ran out of steam and staples so I came in for more lessons. Man climbing that huge ladder all the way to the roof over and over and over again. (Let’s just say, “I have buns of steel now!”) We went out of order a bit and did the history lesson fist. JD learned about wilderness men who trapped beavers for fur. He also learned about Kit Carson.

Then we quickly moved onto journal writing. I said, “Pretend you’re a reported and write five full sentence questions for these wilderness men.” He stalled at first but then got rolling. He completed then in less than 15 minutes. That has to be his best record yet.

The only thing we didn’t do was music. Unless you count singing half the Cantata in the car on the way home from choir practice (without the words.) Both Jeff and I have rejoined the choir. I stopped going because when JD was in public school the homework times were incredibly long. So now that we’re home schooling I have no excuse to miss choir practice. I guess we joined just in time for the Easter Cantata. JD was running from the car to the church with a board game in hand. He started yelling, “I’M RUNNING! I’M RUNNING WITH SCISSORS!” What made him think that? I was smiling when I finally caught up to him. He said, “Why are you smiling?” I said, “Because of what you yelled. I’m running with scissors!” He said, “I don’t get it.” So basically a random though passed through his brain and he had NO CLUE what it meant. Strange…then he said, “What’s wrong with running with scissors anyway?” (Seriously?) Okay Evel Knievel, listen here…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busy day

The devotion today was about a song George Friedrich Handel wrote called Messiah. Jesus Christ came as the Messiah. Christ is the Greek word that means Messiah. He is the one and only one.

The Purpose Driven Life reading was called Growing Through Temptation. Did you know if we become proficient at resisting temptation it could actually become a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block? I like that one day I’ll have stepping stones, but not just yet. One day I will have a produce stand, but again, not yet. The fruit of the spirit matures and ripens slowly. (Bummer) Character development of these fruits always involves choices. God teaches us to love by putting unlovely people around us. After all it takes no effort on our part to love those that are loving to us. God develops peace within us by allowing times of chaos and confusion. How do you react in these situations? Of course Satan has to have his words regarding developing Christ-like characteristics. He preys on our desires and tempts us with that bait. He plants seeds of doubt about God’s laws. He is extremely deceptive. And this causes us to be disobedient to God. When we do fall into the temptation trap, it is not the end of the world. Don’t be intimidated by temptation. Think of temptation as an honor. That means you must be doing something right for Satan to keep his thoughts on you. Temptation is only a sin when you give into it. If you spend your time around those traps, recognize your pattern of temptation and prepare for it. My favorite way to get out of temptation is to say a short prayer requesting God’s presence. I have complete faith that God will defeat Satan here on earth and he would do it just for me. (I took that picture of the apple on the bible.)

Today in algebra we learned solving equations using multiplication and division. They are very similar to adding and subtracting. You just do the opposite that you would to solve the problem if all the numbers were present. We finished algebra today and we will be moving onto “Measurements” tomorrow. (Finally something I know. Did you know 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon? I answered that correctly during a “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” show.)

There were a lot of distractions at the house today so we got very behind in school. The social studies was short and sweet. I sat with JD and looked through an entire atlas to see what capitals are assigned to what state. Then he picked three more states to write facts about. Today he picked: Washington, Maine, and Kentucky.

Because of the distractions and birthday shopping still left to do I scraped the email/snail mail lesson as well as the science lesson. However, during our shopping trip I picked up a cool product called Insta-snow. We messed around with that for a while. One little scoop of Insta-snow and two ounces of water produces 1 cup of a cool material that looks like snow. We’ve frozen it and thawed it with salt. Its real name is sodium polyacrylate (polymer.) It’s the same stuff that they put in diapers to soak up all that…um…you know.

The language arts lesson was a review of comprehension skills. Today he practiced summarizing again. He scored a 100% on the quiz. (Yippie)

We left the house today at approximately 1:10 PM for another shopping trip. Man what was I thinking with this Mad Scientist party. So many places too little time. I must not be in the right frame of mind today, because I dragged Jonathan all around Fayetteville and heard about it all day. (UGH!) First stop Candy Store. I told him we we’re only shopping for rock candy for the goody bags. I scored big time when I found test tube candy. Jonathan moaned a bit so I said, “Okay, $2.00 of candy for you and that’s all.” Next stop Everything’s a dollar store. I warned him again that it’s only for birthday stuff. We were in and out in a pretty good time frame. Third stop, was (get this) Toys R us for some Insta-snow. This was heart breaking for JD because each time I went somewhere I made it clear that it was for birthday shopping only. Oh did I hear about it. “Mommy, why did you take me to Toys R us and so I could see all the things I want?” (Note to self - This is the last time I take him shopping for birthday supplies, because if memory serves me right, I had the very same problem last year.) Then we went to Hobby Lobby again for the second time in one week. I had seen Insta-snow on the internet for $5.00, but when you figure in express shipping there’s at least another $10.00. So I bought the Insta-snow for $16.00 at Hobby Lobby and skipped the “hoping it arrived on time” time. Our last stop was Wal-Mart. I started to say, “Remember only birth…” When he interrupted with, “I know, only birthday stuff.” I was just asking for a Migraine I guess, because I had to go to the toy isle for a rubber frog. (I didn’t find one by the way. Drat!) I picked up a few things and FINALLY headed home. I thought JD was going to fall out. I was walking really quickly in each store but I told him we had to hurry today to be back in time to get his friend off the bus. You would have thought JD ran a marathon the way he was complaining about ALL the walking. (I guess it’s payback for the nearly 11 years of keeping up with him.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Successful day

The devotion today was in memory of George Washington. Today is his birthday! They quoted, “I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree.” Telling lies can spin out of control so quickly. It encouraged readers to tell the truth even though it could result in a punishment or the loss of a friend. But more importantly telling the truth is obeying God.

The Purpose Driven Life reading was about being "transformed by trouble." This is a tough pill to swallow for some people. Some people think God causes things to happen. The truth is God allows things to happen to grow us. Two of my favorite bible verses were in today’s reading. One was Romans 8:28, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And the other was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Knowing those two verses were God breathed makes me more confident in the trials I will face in my life. This is where I usually give a visual to people I speak with about the trials they have faced. Everyone looks at the rose and smells it and glorifies the rose bud. But no one even thinks to thank God for the thorns. I love the thorns. They teach us, and refine us, and help us to mature. (The thorns of course are the trials and troubles in our pathway.) While I dislike situations I am uncomfortable with I know God is going through them WITH me. Thanks God!

Today in algebra we learned how to add and subtract whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. (Come On! Again with the fractions?) But it was easy enough to learn. Example: w + ½ = 1 ½. All we had to do was the opposite to figure it out. Now it’s 1 ½ - ½ = 1. So w = 1. (Yeah, go Cheryl, I mean, go JD!) A follower made the comment, “That math stuff makes my head spin.” It makes mine spin too, but the website I use makes it all so simple. It’s a matter of being a good note taker. This has been my saving grace. Now ask me how to do what we learned the first month and I"ll tell you to wait a minute while I find my notes.

Keyboarding and journal were somewhat combined today. JD did a “sandwich outline” to gather his thought for his journal entry. It had a top bun (topic sentence), tomato (1st writing point) lettuce (second writing point), meat (3rd writing point), and the bottom bun (conclusion.) This helped him keep all the tomato details together and separated from the lettuce and meat. He did pretty good with the outline. When it came time to type it he stalled. He only had small phrases in the tomato. For example: Presents - 1. want 2. need 3. don’t want. He then had to compile a complete sentence for each detail. He required a lot of help, but successfully completed the keyboarding. Writing is such a tough area for him. It takes so much longer for him to formulate sentences than I would like, but he does finally do it. **Funny note: Under presents he doesn’t want…“a letter.” Here’s the specific paragraph…“What I really want for my birthday is the Axis and Allies game. What I need for my birthday is some money to buy some toys. What I don’t want for my birthday is a letter.” **So if you sent a card (not a letter) with money in it, you’re doubly in there! (Score!)

The website I subscribed to added a new lesson block to the curriculum. Thank goodness for the new art lessons. I was running out of lessons. (I’m pretty crafty but artsy not so much.) Today he learned about museums. I thought he would only spend a few minutes on it but he kept clicking and explored the whole (45 minute) lesson. Good for him. Today he learned King Tut was only nine when he became King and Leonardo da Vinci, the painter of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder was stolen in 2003 and recovered in 2007.

Today I developed my own spelling list of words that we will be using all week. Usually I pull the lists off the website. JD wrote all ten of his sentence cards and then I had him hang them off his bathroom mirror. This should help him remember to study them without me reminding him to.

So overall today was a good day but it got even better. Today I received a wonderful and encouraging email. As a matter of fact I was just thinking about the topic yesterday. I thought I fell off the radar screen. Lifeway contacted me about the application I submitted mid January. Remember I had to write numerous samples? Well I must have typed something right because I’m now a stage 2 applicant! They said, “Thank you for sending us information about yourself, along with a writing sample for Children's (School Age) Curriculum Materials. I have reviewed the information and sample and would now like to ask you to write additional sample materials for our evaluation.” I’ll have six weeks to complete the assignments. I know I’ll have it in MUCH sooner than that.