Tag Archives: homeschool

Bridges

For my regular reader you can see that I have finally updated the website. The main goal was to make it friendly to mobile devices. Yes it was old enough that it was very hard to read on anything but a computer.

bridge-1

Ian did more on his investigation of structures. This week we had him build a bridge out of Keva blocks. To provide a sufficient gap I took a leaf out of our table. His first structure ingeniously used the existing structure of the table. I of course had make the challenge more difficult. It took a while and demonstrating balance but he succeeded.

bridge-2

We wanted one good experiment for Margaret to do a write up on. It didn’t work out that way but it was still a cool experiment. The idea is to heat magnesium to a high temperature and thus oxidize it. The result would be Magnesium Oxide. Since we are adding oxygen we end up with more material and that can be measured. The problem was that my scale only does grams so I would need a whole gram of magnesium and I was scraping it off a firestarter. We did get the scale to show a difference. Eg burnt was now 1g but the scale is not accurate enough to do it right. Margaret quickly came up with the answer to what happened and we discussed it.

I had a number of questions about the Raspberry Pi last week. We bought ours from Robotshop.ca. There is also a US (it is a US company) site: Robotshop.com.

We did a fieldtrip on Tuesday to our local museum. The homeschool group had organized a session on how our first nations people lived before we arrived. The got to hear some of the oral histories on the local people, handle some artifacts. They also talked about the arrival of the first settlers and the stories the first nations had of their arrival. The also did an archeological dig and found arrow heads.

On the weekend we had Canadian Thanksgiving and went to Grandparents for dinner. I was responsible for the pies. Margaret made a traditional pumpkin pie and I made a pumpkin chiffon pie with pecan and gingersnap crust.

kids-in-a-tree

We also went for a walk with more grandparents. There is a nice park near our house that is a protected wetland and as such has lots of ducks and other wildlife. We found fresh scat that was most likely from a coyote.

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Fall is Here

We are almost at the end of our first six week block. We have one more week and then we switch out science for social studies and novel writing for grammar and novel study.

Fall Trees
Fall Trees

Our Raspberry Pi arrived and Margaret got it setup on her own including installing the operating system. Raspberry Pis are credit card sized computers which run a version of linux. The pins on the left hand side allow you to wire the computer into other electronic projects. Our goal is twofold, first is to wire a number of hidden switches to their bed to provide TARDIS sound effects. Second is to allow them to access Spotify in their bedroom so they can have music at bedtime.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi

Ian continued his exploration of structures, testing his ability to build towers that withstood a windstorm. He built them in Keva blocks, Lego and K’Nex. It was interesting to see his thought processes and the different results. He managed to build a structure out of Keva blocks that he blew a hole in and it stayed standing. Of course he immediately blew another hole in it and that caused it to collapse denying me a photo. Oh well. The wind is provided by a Shop Vac with the hose on the exhaust.

Lego Windstorm Test
Lego Windstorm Test

Margaret made some crystals using Magnesium Sulfate after researching experiments that looked interesting and had components that we could actually buy. We had bought and great book that has all sorts of experiments in all fields and where to obtain the material. Unfortunately the rules are different between the US and Canada. What I could order through Amazon in the US is restricted in Canada. It was frustrating for her but she was determined and in the end she found one that worked.

Cupcakes
Cupcakes

Margaret made cupcakes for our church’s fall bazaar, cakewalk. I made cakes but it was being run differently than last year so my cakes ended up on the bake sale table.

We also spent a fair amount of time catching up on math. Both Philip and Margaret had fallen behind. While both are behind they are gaining ground.

Ranger Philip Rope Bridge
Ranger Philip Rope Bridge

Philip, Margaret and my wife went to a scout camp last weekend. There is a group from our region going to the Canadian Scout Jamboree next year in Elderbank, Nova Scotia. This camp was to let the all the kids and leader get to know each other as they are from multiple groups.

Margaret Rope Bridge
Margaret Rope Bridge

I am continuing my walks and it is the time of the year when I can get beautiful sunrises.

Sunrise
Sunrise

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Back to School

We we are back at school. We have actually been for three weeks now. We have divided the school year into six, six week blocks and alternated science with social studies. I am realizing just how fast those six week blocks are going to pass. I need to make sure that we have stuff to show for each block.

Earthquake Table Tower
Earthquake Table Tower

Ian is studying structures this block he had a number of questions.

How do buildings survive earthquakes? Volcanoes? Hurricanes? Tsunamis?

How long does it take to build a building? We discussed that size would have an effect on that answer. He then named off a number of buildings. Most he has seen built in Minecraft.

We have watched a number of documentaries on buildings including on the advances that allowed us to build higher, building the Burj Khalifa, Building to survive an earthquake and one on building hurricane proof houses.

Earthquake Table Fallen
Earthquake Table Fallen

The fun part is we build an earthquake table where he has been testing to destruction structures he has built out of lego and Keva blocks. It is interesting that you can somewhat replicate the different types of earthquakes. If you push down you get an up/down motion, if you pull it to the side you get horizontal movement. He found that some structure survived one but not the other.

Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset

Last weekend we went to our local Catholic Family Camp. It was good community building and I had a number of good talks. We were also treated to a beautiful sunset. On Sunday our local Filipino community roasted up two whole pigs. It was absolutely delicious.

Pig Roast
Pig Roast

We have new learning outcomes this year which is driving the teachers in the public system a little crazy but for me they are closer to what I do anyways. It is meant to be more student led learning and demonstrations of learning rather than exams.

One new course we have although we have always done it is Applied Skills. So far Margaret has made a Raspberry Pie and Rice Crispie squares. We also have a Raspberry Pi on order. She will do some programming on it.

Raspberry Pie
Raspberry Pie

We also finally got around to celebrating Everyone’s birthdays. I got surprised when friends came over with an yummy Ice Cream cake. It was a wonderful surprise but it did make me feel a tad guilty about how overdue we were in celebrating the kids birthdays. Philip went with a friend to the IPE (local fair with rides) The rest of us and some friends went to the movies and for ice cream. The movie was Kubo and the Two Strings and it was excellent. I highly recommend it.

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