Home School Life Journal

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

The Atmosphere, Physical Science Topic for Middle and High School and Our 22nd Year of Homeschooling, January 2018


Atmosphere exerts pressure on everything that is in it. You can easily demonstrate this by putting a thin layer of water in a small bowl. Take a glass and invert it over the bowl. You should have no more water than is necessary to cover the lip on the inverted glass. Now you can take the glass away and add a few drops of food coloring to the water, so you can more easily see the water. put a candle in the center of the water in the bowl. Light the candle. Invert the glass over the candle and into the water as before. As you already know, the candle will eventually go out, but this time observe what happens to the water level within the jar. Because the candle used up all the oxygen (so there are less molecules), the air in the glass could not exert as much pressure as it did before. There becomes more pressure on the water outside the glass than on the water inside the glass. As a result, the greater outside pressure begins pushing water up inside the glass. Eventually, however, the water level goes back down because the extra water added to the force from the air pressure, and at some point this weight makes up for the lost air pressure. This is really the principle that makes barometers work.

Previous Knowledge

Topic Questions for Research

  • What are the layers of the earth's atmosphere, and what makes each layer unique?
  • What are the layers within the homosphere and what are the differences between these layers?
  • What are the layers and unique characteristics of the heterosphere?
  • Discuss atmosphere, atmospheric pressure and the barometer.
  • What ate jet streams and where do they exist?
  • Discuss the difference in temperature and air pressure in the layers of atmosphere. 

Sources and Resources

Our 22nd Year of Homeschooling, January 2018

In January we struggled to get back on our feet from the Christmas holiday. We had a few days (during the coldest of temperatures) when our furnace needed work and we were confined to the upstairs of the house, which had heat. We also had a bout or two of illness, which kept us from completing consistent school work.
Quentin continued with Voice lessons but he did not pick Fencing up this month.


In Physical Science, we studied the properties of air and humidity. In Biology, we studied the basics of organic chemistry, starting with carbohydrates.
In Math, he is still working on fractions.
He is plugging away with his Latin workbook, working on 
Second declension (-us and -ius) nouns.
In History, he is notebooking on American History in World Context, which means that his work focuses about half the time on American History and half the time on what is happening around the world during the time of the various events we are studying in American History.

I am finding, now that I have a curriculum that James can easily do, that he already knows most of the material that we are going through. We are advancing him now to 10th grade and giving him a whole new set of material to work with. He will be keeping his science, Integrated Physics and Chemistry and Basic Math Skills.
For English, we are concentrating on Composition Skills, beginning this minth with the Key topics: word tone, denotation, connotation; how to alphabetize, use a dictionary, synonyms and antonyms, analogies with homonyms; how to use a thesaurus; idioms, nouns—singular, plural, possessive; pronouns—antecedents, gender, person, number, case, exceptions, personal, indefinite, demonstrative, relative, declination, interrogative and reflexive and for Social Studies, we will be using People, Places, and Principles of America II.
We picked up World Geography, beginning with North America Canada, United States, Mexico, Greenland, Caribbean islands, Cuba, Canadian Archipelago, Rocky Mountains, Yucatan Peninsula, Appalachian Mountains, Brooks Range, Yukon River, Kuskokwim Mountains, Mt. McKinley, Aleutian Islands, Mackenzie Mountains, Arctic Cordillera Mountains.
We began the second year of Integrated Physics and Chemistry with these key topics: exploring the Periodic Table, elements, fingerprints, noble gases, argon, chemical bonds, atom, electron, chemical bonding, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, astatine, halogens, acids, bases, salts, covalent compounds, water, ice, solutions, aquifers.

A picture Katie took on one of their trips over the Bay Bridge, coming home from their day at college.

The Graduates


One day we received this in the mail, which was a nice little treat. Sam seems to be enjoying this semester's classes and is getting good grades on his work so far. For his International Politics class, he will have to work one day calling people for a political poll.


Katie is the happiest I have ever seen her. She absolutely loves her Ceramics II class and bubbles over every evening talking about the various technicalities of various slips and methods of ceramics making. She is so happy that she has found her calling.
She also likes her Sculpting class, but as she is doing a bust of one of her classmates, I cannot show it to you until she gets permission from the student. I can only tell you that it is amazingly wonderful. She is enjoying the fact that some of the things she is learning in Sculpture can carry over to ceramics. She is even enjoying her Small Business Marketing class as it relates to starting her own ceramics business. The class she is struggling with the most is Statistics, but Sam is helping her, and hopefully she will be able to complete it this semester so that she can take Genetics next semester.


Alex has been enjoying playing with the gifts he received for Christmas. He especially likes anything to do with art.

How was your January?

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