Home School Life Journal

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

Nature Calendar: November

source: The Chuppies Monthly nature calendars from Natural Science Through the Seasons by James A. Partridge

Halloween Week Art and Science: Negative Art and Bones

The boys made negative art by spraying paint on top of their hands. We have done this before years ago when we studied cave art, to simulate cave handprint paintings.
Hands, at the Cave of the Hands
Cave of Hands, Argentina
This time we watered down white paint in a spray bottle and sprayed the boys' hands on dark paper. 
Black would have worked better, but all we had was gray, so we went with that.

After we had their hands painted in negative space, they glued down cotton swabs to simulate the bones in the hand.

James, age 11

Quentin, age 8
We may label the bones once the glue dries.
 And so, we got an art and a science lesson in one!

related posts:

Halloween Week Science: Magical Mystery Slime

1 teaspoon Borax powder
1 1/2 cups. water, divided
4 oz. (or 1/2 cup) Elmer's glue--we used clear glue, but you can also use the white.
food coloring

Fill a small bowl with 1 cup of water and add 1 teaspoon of Borax powder. Mix until the Borax is dissolved and set aside. Pour glue into a medium mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of water. Add four-eight drops of food coloring to the glue mixture. Stir it up a bit and add a bunch of glitter. Now add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture and watch it begin to solidify.
Stick your hands in and and start mixing it all up. Pour out the excess water and knead the mixture until it becomes more firm and dry. 
When you're done playing with it, store in a Ziplock bag or other air tight container. We used 2 oz. Multi-purpose mini cups I bought at Wal-mart.

The Science Behind It: This mixture is a polymer. Polymers have long chains of molecules that can slide past each other until some of the molecules come in contact with molecules that stick together at a few places along the strand. Borax is the compound that is responsible for hooking the glue’s molecules together to form the putty-like material. There are several different methods for making this putty-like material. Some recipes call for liquid starch instead of Borax soap.If you are concerned about using Borax, perhaps this article can help reassure you.

Related Posts:

Our Homeschool Weekly Report, October 19-25, week 8

Week 8
Are you as ready for Halloween as my little boys? 
They decorated the front of the house.
We have enjoyed a lot of season fun this week.
Fall Festival
We had fun with our local homeschool group at a Fall Festival. There was face painting, games, prizes, crafts and refreshments.
Teen Barn Dance
The teens (and up) had a good time at a "barn" dance that evening.

We went to Tipton-Haynes historic site for stories,  a spooky cave to visit, hayride, spooky story house tour and hot dog roast.


Oak Hill School, 1892 Field Trip

We took an all day field trip to Oak Hill School in which the younger boys went through an entire day of school like it was in 1892.
We also studied the history of India, as well as it's geography...
 its culture...
and its cuisine.


Grouping, Addition and Subtraction with Chips

Quentin continues to work on advanced addition and subtraction. Chips provide the necessary link between concrete representation of beans and cups, that we used last week, and the more abstract numbers representing unseen quantities.

We begin with chip trading in order for him to learn that each chip, as we progress to the left, represents ten times the chip to the right.
We begin by his putting seven chips in the green and blue columns and we add one, two or three to the green column, and once he get ten greens he trades them in for a blue chip.
He also trades ten blue chips, when he gets them, for one red chip. We play this game until he can easily trade back and forth when adding and subtracting one to three chips at a time. It is sort of a banking game.
Once he proficient at this, he can begin adding and subtracting, by the roll of four die for the top amount and three for what is added or subtracted.
When he feels comfortable doing so, he can begin to create his own problems in base ten.
He can also learn that he can verify his addition answers by subtracting and verify his subtraction problems by addition.

Division with Chips

James has also made the transition from working with chips instead of beans with his work in advanced division. I first  asked him to put five orange chips, four purple chips, three red chips. two blue chips and one green chip on the new trading board.
He has worked with this color scheme before when we worked with addition/subtraction and multiplication and so he knows that each color is a multiple of ten of the chip to it's direct right.
We began by dividing this amount (54,321) by three. We began by starting at the ones/green column, making trades from the left, as needed. It wasn't too long before he discovered that this method did not work  well for him.
So, he tried again, dividing the orange/ten-thousands column first into three groups. The leftover chips are converted to purples/thousands. This continues with purples, and all the other colors, moving towards the right. Finally the green/ones chips are divided, with any leftovers places to the right of the trading board, for the remainder fraction.
I noted what he was doing on the board on the notebook page. I also noted what was happening on the board in the traditional form.
Now, he can roll dice to determine the number of chips to place in each column of the chip trading board, and the number of groups into which they are to be divided. He needs to learn how to draw a mini board on the notebook page with the appropriate number of rows beneath the chip trading board. He also can begin recording the problems in the traditional form, if he wishes, but is not required to at this time.


We have begun to study Protista and made models of several protozoa.
 Quentin made is Paramecium by tracing his foot on construction paper...
and drawing on its organelles.
James made a thin oval out of construction paper and added a flagellum made out of raffia and beans for the organelles.
Alex's Amoeba is cut of of construction paper free-hand and then the organelles were cut out of different colored construction paper and glued on. He made similar ones for the bottom to make a key.


We learned about contractions this week. At first we cut them apart and re-taped them together to make the contractions...
but then we discovered that it was better to fold them over, leaving the letters you take out in the fold. He then taped them into his book and refer to them, if he needs to, unfolding and refolding as much as he needs to. When writing the words in his writing assignments, he knows to put the apostrophe where the fold is.
They also worked in their writing journals.

The younger boys have been enjoying their twice a week gym class. They work on a wide range of sports skills.

One of the best things we did this week...
 was to go to the Carter Mansion...
at night...

 at the graveyard...
 to listen to storytellers tell scary stories...
Sam is reading The Phantom Tollbooth and I am reading A Cricket in Times Square in the evenings.
We are listening to Just So Stories on CD in the car.

Lastly, one of our postcards made its way all the way to Tyrol, Italy.
Check out Buntmond's post on the USA. It is an incredible study.


We worked on contractions today. (Please pardon the black paint on my fingers.) I wrote out the words used in contractions and he cut them out into rectangles.
 He then folded them over, putting the words that are taken out of the words inside the folds...
 to make the contractions.
He then taped them into his book. He can refer to them, if he needs to, unfolding and refolding as much as he needs to. When writing the words in his writing assignments, he knows to put the apostrophe where the fold is.

inspiration and sources: