A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Making and Doing

It seems we can't sit still around here these days.  If you do find any one of us in the same place for a few minutes there is a good chance some sort of creativity is going on.

One of Corey's big projects lately has involved trips to Goodwill to purchase old answering machines and the like.  He's got two new books: Robotics and Unscrewed.  The first is a how-to for making robots about of recycled electronics, the second is all about taking apart and salvaging parts from old electronics safely.  He hasn't made a robot yet, but he is learning so much about the way things work.  I am excited to see what he finally comes up with...
Molly on the other hand has been expressing her opinions on t-shirts.  She recently learned how to do freezer paper stencils with our dear friend at Dragon Fly Farm.  There have been a few t-shirts made but this one is my favorite.  Molly has been a vegetarian since she was about 7 and hasn't really wavered one bit.  This particular t-shirt was made for her and she also made one for the grumpy farmer himself to wear while he's caring for the pigs he raises for us and lots of other folks.  He does give those pigs lots of love, which in my opinion results in some of the best pork I've ever had and we will continue to eat meat much to our sweet girl's dismay.

Greg has been spending every spare moment recording an album for the RPM challenge.  Musicians are challenged to write and record an entire album in one month.  He has been doing great, hopefully I can post a link to some of the songs soon as they really are quite good.  Oh this man of mine is talented indeed!

As for me, I haven't been super creative lately...maybe that would explain my somewhat grumpy mood.  Between school and recent burst pipe that has resulted in a relocation of the craffice I just haven't had the time.  I did recently decide it was time to finish the quilt I started for Greg and I last year.  While I love Amy Butler Lark I am doing the backing with some solid cottons that were a bit friendlier to my wallet.  Hopefully I'll be finishing that over the next few weeks and not just talking about it.
We are all looking forward to spring around here.  Though I'd like to get one more snow shoe in before all the snow is gone I am feeling an itch to dig in the garden.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Beach in Winter

Last week right before our big blizzard hit the kids and I took a short trip to the beach.  We were in search of some specimens for microscope viewing.  Boy oh boy it was cold, the trip was quick and there was lots of running and jumping to stay warm.  It's amazing how beautiful our ocean is even in the bitter cold. Even so, I  am more than ready for spring...a bit soon I know but I've got gardening on my mind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Science Lab

I've been away from this space a lot, and though I've thought of it often I haven't found my way back nearly enough. It feels that since we've come back from the rush of the holidays finding a good school rhythm has been anything but easy for any of us.  Finally, in the last week or so; I dare say things are falling into place.  Part of the predicament (this whole school year in general) has been finding curriculum that we are happy with that is at the appropriate level for each child.  Along with this is my continued wavering somewhere between a solid classical education and complete and total unschooling...a bit extreme I know but some days I stand on either side of that proverbial fence.
One thing that is clear is that we all really like science...A week with a science lab (or two) is a good week.  It seems that getting through a math lesson is that much easier when kids know a microscope is coming next.  The CPO Focus on Life Science text and investigation workbook have been a super find for us.  I know I mentioned them at the beginning of the school year but now being in the middle of it I can say I'm quite happy with the curriculum.  It takes a bit of creativity sometimes as it is a school based curriculum and the chapters of the California text available on line are lined up differently; but it is  thorough, engaging and full of extra activities.  There is a plethora of teaching material available for free on their website (another bonus).

Some of the supplies we have gotten from Home Science Tools they are reasonably priced and ship fairly quickly.  Other times I have changed things around a bit,  In the beginning of the year there was a lab with a marble launcher (very expensive for two homeschoolers and one lab experiment).  Luckily I was able to find directions on line to build one with a few things from the plumbing department at our local hardware store for around $5.00!  So presto, just like that we had to labs in one, as you can imagine building it was just as fun as the experiment.
Now we are in the thick of cell biology and really having a blast.  Who knew looking at your own cheek cells could be such fun. 
We've got some live protozoa coming next week to view under the microscope before moving into some genetics and then evolution (something I'm especially looking forward to).

What do other folks use for a science curriculum?  Are you having fun?  I'd love to hear about it.