Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

American Revolution, Part 3: Washington Crosses the Delaware

The boys learned about Washington's crossing the Delaware river for a surprise attack against the Hessian forces at Trenton New Jersey. We noted that the story included horses being a part of the forces that crossed by boat, and that was a fact that I had somehow forgotten. They were not carried over in small boats, however, as depicted in this famous painting, but on barges.

Emanuel Leutze's painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)
We discussed some of the historical inaccuracies of the painting, and about it being not a realistic, but a stylized depiction of the crossing.
Then the boys reenacted the scene of the Hessian soldiers celebrating...

 and not noticing the American soldiers coming across the Delaware.
(Looks a little like the painting, doesn't it?)

 The Americans caught the Hessians unaware.

They also added some interactive maps to their history notebooks.

sources and other inspiration:

Seeing the Effect of Changing Temperature

What does temperature really measure?
In this demonstration, you will see what happen to air when its temperature increases.
You will need a bowl of ice water.
You will also need a plastic bottle. A 1-liter is perfect, but any size will do. You will also need a balloon and access to hot water.
First, put your bottle in the ice water, putting as much of the bottle in the water without getting any water in the bottle. Keep it there for about 5 minutes.

 After 5 minutes, take the bottle out of the bottle and dump out the ice water. Place the bottle on the table and place a balloon on the opening of the bottle so that there is an airtight seal.
 Run your tap until it gets hot. Once it gets hot, fill the bowl 3/4 way full and stand the bottle in the bowl as before. Wait a few minutes and you will see something like this.
Now record everything in your science lab notebook.
In the ice water, the balloon is deflated because the air molecules are moving very slowly.
In the hot water, the balloon is inflated because the air molecules are agitated and moving faster and taking up more room.
Temperature: A measure of the energy of motion in a substance's molecules

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source: Exploring Creation with Physical Science, Wile

30 Days of Gratitude, 22-30

22. Although I do like a simple, old-fashioned lifestyle, there are a few things about living in this period that I am grateful for...like those skilled in medicine. Sometimes I think about how Steven's accident would have affected our lives if he had not had access to skilled doctors. Or, how Sam's arm would be now. Or how Sam and Katie's epilepsy would affect their lives if they did not have the medicine they need.
23. I also appreciate things like plumbing. Nothing like a hot bath whenever you want it or the absence of chamberpots to make one grateful.
24. Electricity. Sometimes I even resent it, but in general it makes our lives so much easier and connects people all over the world.
25. The ability to travel. Although I don't do it much, I do like to travel and it is a wonderful thing to be able to do.
26.The freedom to go where I want, be with who I want and do what I want. Freedom.
27. The senses...the ability to see colors, hear music, touch soft baby skin, smell roses, taste chocolate.
28. During this time of uncertain financial conditions, that Steven has a job that  provides for us a home, warmth, food and all the necessities.
29. Craftsmanship...the wonderful blend of talent and diligence.
30. "For He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son."

Nature Connections in November

The Dogwood tree's leaves.
We joined a nature swap.
Once the leaves of the Dogwood fell off, the beautiful berries were revealed. 
James took this lovely shot of the evening sky.

A well camouflaged praying mantis.

Nature Exchange

Message In A Bottle Project

Nature Exchange from Southern California

We had so much fun with our last nature swap, we decided to join another one. This one was hosted by The Magnifying Glass and it was a nature exchange. This one was different in that you are to collect several different items and send the entire package to just one family and you get a package of items collected by another family.
We received our package today and look what was in it! It was sent from Of Grateful Praise from Southern California, and it was interesting to see what natural items are the same and which are different from the items where we live, on the opposite coast, in Maryland.
Long Beach, California
found at El Dorado Nature Center
Our acorns are so much shorter and fatter than these.
Santa Monica, California
Found at the beach
The shell looks very much like one we would find on our beach.
Pacific Palasides, California
found at Temescal Canyon Park
The maple leaves look very similar to ours.
Pacific Palisades, California
found at Temescal Canyon

We don't get many smoothed stones like this one.
(ordered at Amazon! Have fun!)
We do not have any geodes.
Long Beach, California
found fallen and abandoned at neighbors
Beautiful little soft nest. Wonder what kind of bird made it?
pine cone
Culver City, California
found walking to craft fair
We don't have any pine cones of this size here! Ours are much smaller.

Pacific Palisade, California
Temescal Canyon Park

 These seed pods were sent unidentified, but Steven (who is from Northern California) recognized them immediately as Eucalyptus seed pods. When he told us, we smelled them and you could smell a slight Eucalyptus smell. We don't have those here in Maryland.
Los Angeles, California
from our backyard
I don't recognize this butterfly. Do you?

Thank you so much Of Grateful Praise for our lovely package.

How about you? Do you have any of these items where you live? Do they look any differently?

Little House on the Prairie: Covered Wagon

The boys just love to have toys to play with to act out scenes from the things we are learning in school. A covered wagon is just the sort of thing they will play with for hours. We modified the idea at indietutes to make our model.You will need thin cardboard, cardstock or quality construction paper, thicker cardboard, two bamboo skewers, some white cloth or tissue paper, a ruler, pencil, scissors, scotch tape and glue. You might have an open-topped box on hand that you could use as your wagon box, and if you do, you won't need the thin cardboard, which is used to make the box.
If you need to make your wagon box, take your thin cardboard and use a ruler and pencil to make the box bottom and sides on the paper to draw a two dimensional shape that can be folded up into a open topped box. We used the instructions at indietutes and made the line around the edge of the thin cardboard 1 1/2 inches in, but found that our box was too short and had to add more cardboard strips later to make the side tall enough. If we make another one, I would mark the lines 3 inches in instead. At the corners draw a line one third of the way from the line to the edge of the cardboard as shown. In this example, since the line in the corner was 1 1/2 inches from the edge, we drew a line 1/2 down. If you make your lines 3 inches from the edge, you can make the second line one inch down from the corner line.
 Once drawn, take your scissors and cut along the lines in the corner, leaving the line you just made, but cutting it so that you can fold them in.

Fold those little tabs in. Fold on the other lines to form a box. Glue the tabs you made to hold the box together. This is your wagon box.

 Using some more thin cardboard or cardstock paper, cut strips length ways to serve as the bows. Use scotch tape or glue to secure the ends of the bows to the inside of the wagon box. If you want to get the schooner shape, you can tilt the end bows outwards from the wagon, but we chose not to.
 Before you cover your wagon, the wheels need to go on. The wheels themselves are cut from a thicker cardboard. Find something that you can use as a circle guide, such as a glass or vase and trace the four wheels. You can cut them out with scissors or a utility knife. Mark the center of each circle and punch a hole through with a bamboo skewer. If you want to get fancy, you could cut triangles out of the circle to make spokes, but the boys didn't have the patience for that, so we put them on as solid wheels.
Holes also need to be made in the wagon box to allow the wheel axles through. If you cardboard needs strengthening for this, you can use a bit of tape to strengthen the area, and then pushed through the skewer along the bottom corner of the box. With the skewer all the way though the box, push the wheels onto either end. Trim the skewer to just longer than the wheel. A drop of glue where the wheel meets the axle (skewer) will help the wheels stay in place.

 I cut a white cotton kitchen towel to fit over the wagon. One side had a hem already sewed in, so I inserted a piece of yarn through the hem by tying one end of the yarn to a skewer and pushed the skewer through the hem to the end. I pulled both ends of the yarn tight to make that classic covered wagon hole look.

I could have sewn a hem in the other end of the cloth and fixed this end the same way, but the boys were anxious to play with their covered wagon, so we just tucked the end of the cloth inside the wagon. If you don't have an appropriate cloth, you can glue white tissue paper over the wagon instead.

Now your wagon is ready for all sorts of adventures!
We are off now to find (or make) some horses and people to fit it.
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Happy Thanksgiving

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving Week Science: Yeast and Making Bread

We do a lot of baking at our house, and many of our favorites use yeast as a leveaning agent. Yeast is a member of the fungi family, cousins to mushrooms, molds and mildew. Yeast must have three things in order to grow -moisture, food, and warmth. Once they have these three conditions, they reproduce, which is called budding.

"When a yeast buds, the nucleus of the cell reproduces inside a single cell. A section of the cell wall and plasma membrane then swell to form a pouch...This pouch is called a bud. The bud continues to grow until it is about the same size as the parent cell and then the two cells seperate." -Exploring Creation with Biology, Wile ("Experiment" 4.2)
The yeast begins to feast on the sugars, breaking them down into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide pushes its way out of the dough, causing the dough to rise. When the dough is put into the oven, the yeast are killed and the alcohol evaporates.
Since one of the products of fermentation is alcohol, yeasts are also used to put the alcohol into alcoholic beverages.
Mix one packet of yeast with one cup of warm water in a glass. Add one tablespoon of sugar or honey. Stir gently. Let the mixture stand for five to ten minutes. As the mixture stands, you should be able to see bubbles forming -in fact a whole layer of foam caused by the bubbles will form and grow as time goes on.
If you have a microscope, ou could place a drop of he yeast solution on a slide (and coverslip) and observe the budding process. You might even see chains of budding yeast.

If you wish, you can now use your yeast to make bread, rolls or pizza dough.

Thanksgiving Week English: Storytelling Beads

 Many of the Indian tribes used storytelling beads to help them remember the stories of their heritage. Sometimes the beads were made in the shape of the animal the story was about or sometimes the color patterns were used to help them remember the stories.
For this Thanksgiving, we made our own storytelling beads to tell a story of our heritage, fittingly a story of our celebrating with the Indians, the first Thanksgiving.
 I made an example to show the boys that I had seen at My Montessori Journey, among other blogs.
(You can go there for a printout of what the colors represent.)
Quentin, in particular, was thrilled with the idea...
 and went to work making them for Thanksgiving Day favors.
He added his own accurate variations to personalize it.
It became is own story, which he enjoyed telling again and again, just like the storytellers of old.
If you want to occupy your little ones while you are busy on Thanksgiving Day, you might want to pull out some pony beads and pipe cleaners and have them recall the story of the first Thanksgiving and add colored beads to a bracelet that reminds them of that part of the story. If your little ones don't know the story that well, take a moment out while your dinner is cooking and read them the story and have them pick out beads as you go along. Or, if you have older children, you can have them occupy the little one with this activity. Then, either before or after the blessings are said at the Thanksgiving table, your small ones can use their storytelling beads to recount the story of the first Thanksgiving count our blessings.

The Versatile Blogger Award from Learning Ideas Grades K-8

Many thanks to Marcia of Learning Ideas Grades K-8 for this award!
Rules for acceptance:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
I have shared with you already just about everything there is to know about me. So, now, dear readers, I am going to quiz YOU and see if you remember these things about me. And for those of you new to this blog, you can learn these things about me.
1. What was my major in college? (click here for the answer)
2. What kind of pet did I own as a child (that I have told you about)? (click here for the answer)
3. What did I learn to do before I went to school? (click here for the answer)
4. Name one of the top three places I would love to visit. (click here for the answer)
5. Name one thing that I would like to do that I haven't yet done in my life. (click here for the answer)
6. Name one of my favorite animals.
Bonus Question: What is the thing in common about my favorite animals? (click here for the answer)
7. How many brothers and sisters do I have? (click here for the answer)
3. Nominate 15 blogs.
If you answered all of these correctly, you deserve an award as well, so nominate yourself by adding your blog to the comments and follow the rules of acceptance.