Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal

June 3-9, 2016,Our Homeschool Weekly Report, days 129-133 and How to Make a Potential and Kinetic Energy Toy

June 3-9, 2016

 This week our furnace was replaced and the crew that put it in tracked in mud on my new kitchen floor...
and we had a terrible wind storm that blew down a few sections of our backyard fence.
On a happier note, Quentin is continuing to make us delicious and nutritious food...

using the herbs that Katie gathers from her garden.
On the ride home from her first class.
Katie started college with a summer English class. (The painting class she wanted to take was cancelled, so she decided to get the required English class out of the way.)
One day I asked James to help bring in the groceries from the car, and he went through the backseat to the trunk. Funny boy.

days 129-133
Wild Thyme Nature Study
 We are doing nature studies of the flowers mentioned in the passage of Midsummer Night's Dream that Quentin is memorizing.
Picnic dinner while we wait for the show to begin.
 We saw Macbeth at a Shakespeare in the Park production.
The setting was gorgeous, with the river in the background.

James made this little spool toy that demonstrates potential vs. kinetic energy.
To make this toy, you will need: 
a thread spool
a small rubber band
a toothpick
a dowel or the like
a washer

Feed a rubber-band through the center of a wooden spool. Stick a toothpick through the loop the rubber-band makes at the end of the spool. 
Tape down the loop of the rubber-band that sticks out of the end of the spool. 

 Break off the ends of the toothpick so that the spool can roll freely.
On the other end of the spool, place the loop through a washer.
 Put a dowel on top of the washer, feeding it through the rubber-band loop. 
 Now turn the pencil around and around, tightening the rubber-band. 
When the rubber-band is very tight, put your device on the floor and let go. 
Or, you can hold the spool and watch the dowel act as a helicopter blade.
When did the potential energy enter the toy? When did the potential energy transfer into kinetic energy?

How was your week?

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How to Survive a Home Remodel

If you follow this blog at all, you know that we have been undergoing a major house renovation. Though we are not quite finished, I can already say that I have learned a lot that I am glad to share these insights with you.

1. Realize that it will take longer than you expect. Prepare yourself that things are not going to go as planned. That is the basic concept that everything else hinges to. No matter how much you plan, things will come up that you don't expect and you are going to have to roll with it.

2. Plan Ahead and yet be flexible. Prepare to grill. Buy microwaveable meals. Buy pre-made meals. Make crockpot meals and freeze them so you can have meals when you don't have a kitchen. We ended up doing all of these at one time or another during the six weeks of our remodeling job, and yet we also had to be ready for the idea that even that may not be feasible, and you may have to end up eating out. I planned ahead and set up a mock kitchen in our dining room, using a table to hold crockpots, the microwave and disposable eating-ware. Then, when the remodel began, I couldn't even get into the dining room because it was blocked by the appliances, such as the range, which were temporarily moved there to get to areas of the kitchen to complete the work. Despite all of this, I recommend that you stock up on paper plates and plastic cups and plastic-ware. At times you won't have anything available to you and so you will need something to use at home, even if you do eat out frequently. 

3. Prepare yourself mentally for the disruption. I am a introvert by nature so having strangers in my house was particularly hard on me, but it will be hard on even the most social of people. Your routines will be disrupted. I had planned to use this time to hide away from the main center of the work and catch up on schoolwork. With all the noise and disruption, however, we found concentrating an impossible task. Things will come up that you couldn't possibly plan for, such as additional work, may crop up. Some of our choice of materials were out of stock by the time we got to actually ordering the product, so we had to alter our plans suddenly. All of these things add to the family's stress level. You may see the worst traits in all of the family members, especially if the remodel goes beyond two or three weeks. You will have to be patient and understanding of each other.

4. Find things to do that bring you comfort to counterbalance the stress. For some that is exercise or meditation. It may simply be getting out of the house. A picnic lunch in a natural setting can be just the salve you need. Remember that each family member may need a different thing, so you may need to provide a variety of outlets.

4. One thing that was comforting during the whole ordeal was the fact that we cleaned up and did our best to regain some normalcy along the way. It is easy to just give into the disruption and wait until it is all over to do anything. My advise is to not give in, but do all you can to regain control of your life. In the end, these efforts will bring some much needed comfort to the family.

5. Keep your eye on the prize. Remember no matter how extensive the remodel is, it will eventually be finished. Rejoice in all the improvements you see along the way, even if at the same time you have to turn a blind's eye to the messes which are also in the room.

May 27-June 2, 2016 Our Homeschool Weekly Report, days 125-128: The Energy Can

May 27-June 2, 2016

As we entered the fourth week of our house remodeling, things have slowed down a bit. The backsplash finally came in and was installed, which pretty much finishes the kitchen remodel. The ceiling of the dining room was painted and various other small things were finished up. Next week the furnace will be replaced.
I love this picture of Katie looking at the flag and thinking during the Memorial Day weekend.
We had several celebrations this week, beginning with a Memorial Day weekend cookout.
There was Quentin's 12th birthday celebration which had been delayed because we had the flu during the week of his actual birthday. I owe him a lazer tag birthday party, which we will fit in sometime this summer.
Then, there was Sam's 19th birthday.
Eddie and Midas love to play when Eddie comes over.
We also met and worked out the preliminary details of Sam, Eddie and Alex's graduation, which will be on June 25th. 
James and I spent one day with Hope and Eddie as Eddie went for a medical appointment in Baltimore.
We have had so much rain, that flowers are coming out everywhere, however some plants are getting too much rain and are drowning!
days 125-128
For science this week, James went back to his physical science study of roller coasters by making this Energy Can and Quentin went back to where we left off in human biology, with the lymphatic system.

James' Energy Can demonstrates stored and kinetic energy. If you are interested in doing James' project, you will need:

an empty coffee can (1-lb. and 5'' diameter w/plastic lid)
Fishing sinker (1 oz.)
1-2 Long Rubber-bands (6'')
2 paper-clips
With a hammer and nail, punch one hole through the bottom of the can and one in the center of the plastic lid. 

Thread the paper-clip onto one end of the rubber-band. Then thread the other end of the rubber-band through the hole in the bottom of your can. The clip should be on the outside of the can.
Slide the sinker onto the middle of the rubber-band.
Thread the free end of the rubber-band through the hole in the lid.
Attach the paper-clip to the rubber-band on the plastic lid so the band won't slip into the can.
Place the plastic lid tightly onto the end of the can.
Now you can explore potential and kinetic energy with this toy. Keep in mind the mathematical formula:

Potential Energy + Kinetic Energy = Total Energy

Can you predict where the potential energy is going to be the highest? Where is the kinetic energy going to be the highest?

Once you have made your predictions, push the Energy Can slowly across a smooth floor, and watch it travel until it stops by itself. Now, push it rapidly across the floor and watch it until it stops.
What did the Energy Can do when pushed slowly?
What did the Energy Can do when pushed rapidly?
How is the behavior of the Energy Can different from an ordinary can?

What conclusions can you make? 
Why do you think the Energy Can acts differently from an ordinary can? 
Where was potential energy the highest? Why?
Where was the kinetic energy the highest? Why?
Where is the potential energy the highest on a roller coaster?
Where is the kinetic energy the highest on a roller coaster?

As the Energy Can travels, some of its kinetic energy is changed to thermal (heat) energy in the form of friction. The thermal energy is waster kinetic energy. It does not help the Energy Can move so the can slows down. The potential energy was highest at the point where the Energy Can stopped moving away from you after the first push because that is where the most energy was stored inside it. Later trips lose more and more kinetic energy to friction, so it cannot build up as much potential energy. 
The same thing happens with a roller coaster. As the coaster train is towed by electrical energy to the top of the first hill, the train gathers potential energy. The top of the first hill is where the train has the most potential energy. As the train travels to the bottom of the first hill, this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. The bottom of the first hill is where the kinetic energy is the highest. The total potential and kinetic energy can never be more that what the electrical energy gave the train. In addition, friction converts some of the kinetic energy into thermal energy instead of movement, wasting some of the kinetic energy. 

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form. How does this apply to the Energy Can or roller coasters? As we learned in Newton's First Law of Motion, the roller coaster cars will continue to move until another force, in this case friction (wheels on the track and the coaster's brakes), acts upon them.

For history, Quentin finished up the crusades by writing a paragraph on them, while James finished up his study of the Mayans.
There was nothing particularly notable about the rest of their schoolwork this week, so I will leave it at that.
How was your week?

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My Summer Bucket List, 2016

Source: Wanelo

  1. Landscape the backyard.
  2. Celebrate Sam, Alex and Eddie's graduation.
  3. Celebrate Quentin's 12th birthday.
  4. Have a lazer tag party.
  5. Celebrate Sam's 19th birthday.
  6. Make dandelion sorbet.
  7. Play with paint bombs.
  8. Make miniature hot air balloons.
  9. Play, experiment and learn about bubbles.
  10. Make a paint pendulum.
  11. Make a footprints in sand craft.
  12. Make a miniature pond.
  13. Make name shoes.
  14. Make gliders.
  15. Visit Brenda.
  16. Celebrate James 15 1/2 birthday.
  17. Make summer grill cupcakes.
  18. Make fruit coasters.
  19. Make sand castles.
  20. Make magnets.
  21. Make kites.
  22. Go to the ocean.
  23. Make coral reef glasses.
  24. Make leaf bowls.
  25. Watch the sunset or sunrise together.
  26. Attend a masquerade ball.
  27. Celebrate the 4th of July.
  28. Celebrate Alex's 22nd birthday.
  29. Make a beach craft.
  30. Paint outside.
  31. Attend theater production.
  32. Have a murder mystery dinner party.
  33. Make tie-dyed t-shirts.
  34. Go biking down a bike path.
  35. Have a movie night.
  36. Have a summer party.
  37. Do a collaborative art project.
  38. Go see minor league baseball.
  39. Have an Indiana Jones party.
  40. Have a family Chopped championship.
  41. Go camping.
  42. Play at the beach.
  43. Make photo tiles.
  44. Play werewolf.
  45. Have a Hobbit party.
  46. Take a flight with Young Eagles program.
  47. Make mosquito repellant bracelets.
  48. See a Shakespeare in the Park performance.
  49. Go to the Renaissance Faire.

May 20-26, 2016, Our Homeschool Weekly Report, days 120-124

May 20-26, 2016
days 120-124

Quentin finished up the study of the crusades with a look at the minor crusades. James made notes on the reading we are doing about the Mayans.  He will eventually use these notes to write a paper.

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows," 
- Midsummer Night's Dream

We started early on next year's  study of Shakespeare, using Ken Ludwig's How to Teach your Children Shakespeare as a guide. James, meanwhile, is using Edcon's Midsummer Night's Dream guide. This is a big change for us, as the workbook format is against everything I prefer in a teaching style, but it was recommended by James' Educational Consultant. It practices the foundational skills needed for kids who are having trouble keeping up with high school level reading material. He is doing well with it. Meanwhile, I am reading the play to them in short bits everyday.

Quentin is working through his Teaching Textbooks math. Since we started this program mid-year, he will be working on it all summer (and maybe the beginning of next year.)
Quentin's seafood dinner of salmon, mussels and scallops, with garlic bread to sop up the broth with. Not pictured is broccoli with cheese sauce that went with his dinner.

Quentin is learning how to cook, and is cooking most of the meals, with my supervision. The goal is that he will be able to cook our basic meals totally by himself.

Sam and Alex have finished their year up, and I have sent for their diplomas. We will have their home graduation late June. I will still be doing some activities with Alex, as he will need mental stimulation all his life since he will not be able to pursue a career.

Katie's garden is producing lots of tasty herbs, which we have been enjoying in our cooking.

How was your week?

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