Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chemical & Physical Changes of Matter

We have been studying matter & the chemical and physical changes of matter.  Here is an experiment your child can do (with your help) that gives them a visual of the process.   All you need for this is a candle in a candle holder, glass plate, & lighter or matches. 

First light the candle & have them observe it for several minutes. Have them list the changes that they see take place in the candle. (Part of the wax became liquid, it got smaller, etc.)

Next hold the glass plate about 3-4 inches above the flame & have them record what they observe. (If you have enough moisture in the air you will see water droplets form on the plate.  Unfortunately, this did not work for us...our air must be too dry this time of year!)  If it does work for you, explain that when the hot air hit the cold plate heat was removed from the air.  The water vapor in the air then changes to liquid.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nutrition Study: Testing Fat in Foods

We have been studying nutrition for part of our science & last week we did an experiment to test the fat content in foods.  My son was surprised at what foods had the highest fat content.  This is something fun & simple for your kids to do.

First get a brown paper bag & cut out 5 two inch squares.  Have your kids choose 5 different foods around the house that they would like to experiment with.  We chose mayo, peanut butter, canned chocolate icing, hot dog, & 1/3 less fat cream cheese.  You can also use cookies, cereal, yogurt....just whatever you have around the house.

Next cut or scoop out a marble size piece of the food you want to test.  Make sure you get the same amount for each food so you get a fair result.  Next rub the food on the brown paper for 20 seconds & then let it sit there for 2 hours.  My son had fun rubbing the chocolate icing & licking his fingers afterwards!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Longitude & Latitude Study

This week in History & Geography we worked on learning longitude & latitude.  Luckily we already have a world map on the wall so it was easy to show the lines & to give him activities to do in searching specific cities to find their locations by longitude & latitude.  
World Wall Map Deluxe Laminated (M Series Map of the World)

 In my search for extra information online to reinforce the learning I came across two websites to share.   The first is   They have great information divided into 2 different age levels...K-3 & 3rd grade & above.  They do have an annual subscription fee but it may be worth the money if you are looking for extra help in the teaching process.  They cover 7 subjects with interactive "movies" & quizzes plus they meet state standards in the curriculum provided.   They also have a Teachers area to help with organization & lesson planning.  You can also try their Free Trial to see if this is something that will work for you.

Another site worth checking out is   This site is geared to teens but is full of free information  & tools on every subject plus has free math videos explaining different types of problems.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Top 40+ Reasons for Homeschooling

I remember when I first started homeschooling that the reaction I got from some people was skepticism,  I even had an ex-teacher roll her eyes at me.   I think I felt guilty about not having him in school & concerned that I could even do a good job at it.

My son is the one who asked to be homeschooled so when people asked "why do you homeschool" I put the blame on my kid in a way.  "Well, he wants to be homeschooled" & I would spout off the reasons why "he" wanted it.   He was really distracted by the unruly children in the classroom, couldn't concentrate because of it...., & I left it at that.

So, I homeschooled him from second through fourth grade.  Then he asked to go back to public school for fifth grade.  I thought well, it is the last year of elementary school & if he is going to go back, now would be a good time so he could adjust before going off to middle school.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Skateboard

We purchased a skateboard for my son this past Christmas along with a helmet.  He had outgrown a smaller one that he had as a little boy when he was just learning how to ride in the driveway.   He had been borrowing our neighbors & has learned how to ride really well.  We have a steep hill in front of our house & he goes down that at a quick speed & it takes him quite a distance down the street. 

The skateboard we got for him is a Tony Hawk Huckjam Series & it is really cool...nice green color on the bottom.  Besides looking good it is big & the surface of the board is really rough (almost
 like sandpaper), so it grips the shoes really well.

As you can tell this post is not really about skateboards (all my vast knowledge showing through...LOL).  It is about what happens when they fall off.  As a mom that is what is more important to me.   

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Georgia Snowstorm 2011

We live in Georgia & have been stuck in the snowstorm that has swept the Southeast.  Since we homeschool we have the option of doing school, however we have chosen to take the time off along with the public school system.  My son has a lot of schooled friends & his friends in the neighborhood are out playing in the snow, sledding, etc.  My husband is also home, his work has been cancelled until Thursday, so it only made sense to put away the books & enjoy some time off.

We bought our son a skateboard for Christmas.  If I had known we were going to be inundated with snow we would have opted for a  Pelican Space Scooter Snowboard...LOL!

The good thing about homeschooling is that you can be flexible with your schedule & roll with the punches so to speak.  If you need help setting up a schedule check out How To Develop Homeschool SchedulesI have friends who homeschool that are moving forward with their studies.  That is the great thing about homeschooling, you can adjust it to your own personal situation. 

Here are some photos I thought you might enjoy!
Not frozen enough for ice skating...good thing since we don't have any skates!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Study of the Digestive System: Stomach & Small Intestine

For anatomy today we did a couple of quick activities to go along with our study of the digestive system.  We have been studying about the stomach & how it turns food into chyme in our Apologia course Exploring Creation Human Anatomy.   Now it takes the stomach 3 to 4 hours to turn food into chyme & this activity gives your kids a visual idea of how it works.

Put a piece of bread inside a Ziploc baggie & fill it with water (enough to cover the bread).  Then place that baggie inside another one to help prevent leakage.  Have your child squish & squeeze the bag like their stomach would do.  Let them see what happens to the bread & explain that this is how the stomach churns the food that they eat.

After the food leaves the stomach it goes into the small intestine & is processed another 3 hours.  That is really quick because the small intestine measures 20 feet!  So the food moves pretty quickly during this process.  

For an activity get a measuring tape & have your child measure out 20 feet.  This gives them a great visual of how long the small intestine is & they will be amazed that something that long is inside their bodies!

Another great tool in teaching digestion is Bill Nye The Science Guy: Digestion Classroom Edition.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stomach Flu

My son is battling with the stomach flu fever just mostly vomiting.  So of course I had to research to see if I could find some home remedies to ease his discomfort.   He has no aches or pains thankfully, otherwise he would be taking some Tylenol.  I saw where it was not a good idea to take aspirin...I would think because of stomach upset.

I always thought he should be drinking a lot of liquids in between "episodes" to keep from getting dehydrated.  From my research I found out you should only take sips or suck on ice cubes if the vomiting is still going on.  I guess after it is all over is when you should start re-hydrating. 

I am having him drink ginger ale...something about carbonation that always helped my stomach when I was a kid  (maybe I just wanted soda).  Anyway, the ginger in ginger ale does actually help nausea & vomiting.  After the vomiting subsides I will be giving him drinks with electrolytes (Pedialite, Gatorade, etc.). All of these type of drinks will replace potassium & other nutrients lost in vomiting that cause dehydration. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Robert Toombs & Civil War Recipe

A couple of years ago we went on a business trip with my husband to Washington, Georgia.  While we were there we took a day to visit the Robert Toombs house & made it part of our history study.  His home has been turned into a museum for the public to view. 

Robert Toombs was an attorney & was instrumental in helping the South secede from the Union during the Civil War.  He became Secretary of State for the Confederacy, however, he really wanted to become president.  When Jefferson Davis was chosen for that position Toombs was not happy.  He eventually resigned & lived out the remainder of the war at his home in Washington.

While we were there I picked up a recipe that was made by Mrs. Toombs.  If you are doing a Civil War study this might be a neat project to do with your kids. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Staying Home Alone

My son is now 12 years old & has just recently asked if he could stay home while I went grocery shopping & doing errands close to our neighborhood.   I felt like he was ready to try it...but was I?  Also, I didn't know the laws & what the legalities were for leaving children home alone in my area.
So I researched & came up with this information:   According to the National Child Care Information Center, only Maryland and Illinois have specific laws stipulating the age at which a child can be left home alone.

However, the National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left home alone.  I have to agree with this...I never felt comfortable leaving him home when he was 11.  Also, I didn't feel he was ready emotionally to handle being alone.  

Hear are some guidelines to follow in helping you to determine if your child is ready: