Thursday, May 29, 2008

It'll be a pain...

-- getting these cats from Ohio to California. They have to fly, because we are taking 2.5 weeks to drive and see sights. Brian's parents said they'd drop the cats off at the air port. I called yesterday to see about flights. The cats can't go the normal way- from Ohio to Dallas to Santa Barbara, because they won't fly pets if the temp is above 85. So they will go from Dayton to Chicago to LA to Santa BarbaraI called the airlines to confirm about the cats and get their tickets.

turns out you can't buy tickets ahead of time. It's a First Come-room available thing.
So who ever is taking the cats just goes to the airport, goes up to the ticket counter, sees if they have space for the cats and then pays to have them on the plane. Sounds like a lot of hassle for Brian's parents.

My dad is taking the cats to the vet, because they need a health check before they fly, but not more than 10 days from thier flight date. We'll be in the Grand Canyon at that time, so My dad will have to take them to the vets.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We now have our hotel reservations for in California. Once we get to CA, after our 2.5 week vacation to the Grand Canyon, we will stay in a hotel until we find house to rent. The hotel allows pets, so the cats will be flown out to stay with us. Hopefully it won't take long to find a place, because I think 2 weeks in a hoel with 3 boys and 2 cats might be my limit.

We have most the furniture out of the backroom. The TV, bookshelves, couch, coffee table..... and Brian and I will finish tonight. The carpet guys come tomorrow to lay the new carpet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Airplanes, Germs and Mechs

Today was the last day of our ALEKS math account. We will use it again when we start school up. Gavin wants to learn PHYSICS so he'll do the trig lessons on ALEKS and they also have some Physics Math lessons.

Gavin completed about 98% of his ALEKS lessons. Ki finished about 91%. Connor completed all of his level. So, if we did grades, i;d have given them all an A.

I put a few drops of Germ Killer (that antibacterial gell for hands) onto our fuzzy petri dish. It'll be initeresting to see what happens to the bacteria in a day.

Yesterday we went to the hobby store and swabbed their cash register keyboard and their Bucket-O-Dice on the counter. (everyone plays with those dice!) and we swabbed Bob's old icky card deck. He keeps saying how gross and full of germs it must be. I'm not sure how long germs live on cards. I acually swabbed the kitchen sink before I cleaned it and added it to Bob's card swab dish. for the fun of it.

Ki bought a new game yesterday. It's really an add-on for a game he already has. Memoir-44. It's a game about D-Day. He loves history. and it is 2 player game. With hi sensory disorder games with more than 2 players is just too much for him.This add on included little airplanes. he has been reading throughthe rules and the new cards. They have little info cards for the airplanes and he has been reading those.

One of the airplanes is a ME109. he thought the 9 was a 'g'. they do look a lot alike. So he said "I think this one is called Meg."I told tomorrow he can teach me to play and I want to read his airplane cards that describe the panes. So I have a game date tomorrow with Ki.

Gavin has been reading his new Battletech Techinal Manual. He did some trig today onhis last day of Aleks. I had to help him. He must have missed he explanation of using the calculator functions.

Connor is playing Memoir 44 with Ki today. He also played MechWarrior on the Computer. And he read somestuff online from the Ant Show we watched yesterday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


On Tuesdays my boys and husband watch NOVA together. The boys can;t wait for their dad to get home and eat dinner so they can watch NOVA.
Ed Wilson IS AntMan! A naturalist that focused his studies on ants. an accident blinded one eye as a child and he has hearing problems- so that kinds eliminated certain animals. His expertise is The Ant.When he was 13 he discovered a new iinvasive species of ants in Alabama (a type of fire ant).He credits his love for knowledge and the knowledge itself to his parents giving him free reign of the woods behind his house as a child and letting his study what he loved.He discovered over 300 different ant's a cool show. The boys (esp Connor) are asking LOTS of questions. he asks a question every 3 seconds- and no one can hear anything and he if he'd be quiet and listen he'd hear a lot of answers..LOL

connor is confused by the classifications of animals. here is part of what I found... check it out. Play the ant game. read about Ed Wilson, the Ant Man On This Page is a chart in rainbow colors that shows the categories of classifying animals don't worry about the other stuff.
here is an example of how one animal is classified
KINGDOM: Animalia (Animals)
PHYLUM:Chordata (they have a spinal chord/backbone)
CLASS:Mammalia (mammals)
ORDER:Rodentia (rodents-Mammals with chisel-like incisors)
FAMILY:Cricetidae (Hamsters, deer mice, lemmings,gerbils, voles)
GENUS:Microtus (Typical voles with open-rooted teeth)S
PECIES:Microtus arvalis (Common vole)

Now these are the basic classes, sometimes they use things that are little more detailed.see here:

Species:P. tigris
Subspecies:P. t. amoyensis

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ki and his math

to be a robotic engineer, the boys know they need to learn math. Ki wants to learn and tries hard, but it's slow going for him and often hard to find a way that works well for him to learn math. There have been times he's decided to switch from maybe multiplication to graphs when he gets stuck. He does better when he makes the decision and the plans. I found an online math program. My husband really liked it and made the exectutive decision we'd try it for awhile with the boys.
Ki kas good days and bad days. He wants to be able to do it, but it is clear he needs something more. He needs more hands on.

My husband really likes this program so we will continue it with Ki (and the others) But Ki wants to go back to using his Froggy Math workbook. So we will. He wants to finish working on fractions (which is what his froggy book is about) and I think he'd do better if we added some hands on stuff. So I am looking into Math U See for fractions, to go along with his froggy Fraction workbook.

I was a bit upset about Ki and his math last week, but am over it now.


it is kinda what we do... unschool. we just aren't Radical Unschoolers. I guess maybe it's Quasi-Unschool.

I was asking my boys some questions about school (unschool type things). Like if they wanted to just do whatever they wanted next year and decide on their own even if they want to read or do math etc.... (radical unschooling). They all said no, that's not good. They like that they tell us what they want to be when they grow up (what they want to learn) and ask us to help them learn what they need to know in that area. They said they don't totally know what they do and don't need to know, that's our job to tell them what they need to know. And then we let them choose in what order to learn things or how to go about learning the needed things, etc. (they all 3 want to go into robotic engineering - both design and building)

We talked about how some homeschoolers use curriculum and lists that tell them what to teach, when and how. They said that sounds like public school. They are happy with how we choose what we learn, when and how and don't go by 'grade levels' or expectations of other teachers.

(I wonder if they realize that by them choosing to not radically unschool, they are still unschooling. I have offered this to them before- to do whatever they want in regards to school and they all said they wanted me to make sure they learn what they need to know. They know that careers they want will require a good deal of education and they don't want to miss out on needed knowledge)

And we talked about how it's OK to use curriculum or expert advice if that's what works. (b/c I don't want them to think 'our way' is better or anything like that. Our way is just.... our way and everyone has their own way)

Friday, May 16, 2008


We don't test the boys. I did once witht he older2. It was a cognitive test, not a placememt/grade level test. Brian insisted in the boys being tested after our 1st yr of homeschooling.

We have been doing portfolios/assesments very since. Brian has been ok with that. Just barely I think.

When we move to CA, there will be no testing/assesments required at all. I wonder what Brian will do. I mentioned it to him and his reply was that he wants the boys tested. But that could have different meanings I guess. I think any ol test will do if he decided he really wants them tested while we are there.

He doesn;t really have the whole grade level mindset anymore, but he wants to make sure they are kearning/progressing. which I think he should be able to tell just being a parent, if they are learning and progressing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


He was doinghis Online Aleks math. He had a problem he didn't quite understand (even though we have done them before plenty of times in the winter this school year)the problems were a feaction times a whole number.....
6 X 42 = _____

Connnor said. "That's easy Ki. Just divide 42 by 6 them times it by 2"... all those numbers being spoken confused him. Connor hadhim do it on a calculator....42 divby 6 time 2.. which gave him the correct answer.
then he did another on his own and got it the second try. I think it was 3/4 X 12.

So I got out the beans, empy egg carton, pen and paper. I wrote a 36 at the top of the paper and numbered the sections in the egg carton (1-12). I told him to count out 36 beans (into the lid).then I told him we were going to seperate the beans into groups. I wanted him to seperate the beans into 6 groups (egg carton sections). He did.
6 beans in each.

So I wrote the fractions 6/6. I asked him how many of the 36 beans do we have if we count all 6 of the 6 groups? he said 36. so we wrote 6/6 x 36=36 and said 6 of the 6 groups of 36 beans equals 36 beans (we taught early on that the times symbol is like saying OF- it helps that way). I reminded him that the bottom number of the fraction is the number of groups we are using.

So then I wrote the fraction 1/6 X 36. (remember the 'X' is 'of') so I said "1 of the 6 groups of 36 beans = how many beans?"

He knew. 6.

so I wrote the fraction 3/6 X 36= and asked him how many beans in 3 of the 6 groups of 36.he got it. Then I had him redistribute the 36 beans into 9 groups. and we did the same thing with the fraction 2/3 ( 2/3 X 36 =?)Then he used 24 beans. and I wrote a couple problems for him for his 24 beans.
2/6 X 24= ___
1/8 X 24=___
2/3 X2 4=___
he used the beans and put them into the correct number of groups and figured out each of them. He said he knows how to do but doesn't think he can explain it. Tonight I will have him 'teach' it to his dad.

The sad thing is I have done this same activity with him previously. Ki seems to lose information that isn't used weekly. I can't have him review all his school every week. The memory issue seems to be part of Sensory Integration Disorder (I didn't know my times table by memory till high school and even then still had to count out a lot in my head for multiplication). I read somewhere that a 'normal child' may need to repeat/review something 10 times but a child with SID can take over 50 times of review before they remember it... something like that. I wish I could find the website that has that information

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Aplogia Science

I sit here browsing through the Apologia Physical Science CD Rom. We did the fun experiment with atoms and molecules. So I checked the next experiment in the chapter. Hmmm. Measurement. Make a cubit string the length of your arm. Make a finger length. How many fingers in your cubit? 5.5? Measure the table with your cubit string. 3 cubits? Then how many fingers?
Goodness, we did that kind of stuff in 3rd grade.
Experiment 3 in that chapter…Concentrations. Nothing fancy with math formulas, just the basics. If you add double the salt to one cup of water then the other cup of water, which one has the higher concentration of salt?
We can skip that one. It’s probably from 3rd grade as well. The question at the end:

Question: Muratic acid is sold in hardware stores for use in cleaning. Pool owners, for example, use it to clean hard water stains and algae stains from their pools. Its active ingredient is hydrochloric acid. The Works is a toilet bowl cleaner whose active ingredient is also hydrochloric acid. There are approximately 350 grams of hydrochloric acid in a liter of muratic acid, and there are approximately 30 grams of hydrochloric acid in a liter of The Works. Why is muratic acid a more powerful cleaner than The Works?

Seriously? For 6-8th grade? Again. A 3rd or 4th grade thing. Maybe I’m just too much of science geek and expect too much from a science text.

Let’s just skip ahead to chapter 2.
Measuring air temperature. We did this one a few yrs ago, too. I’d actually do it again for practice writing an Experiment Log, but I think our bulb thermometers are packed away.
Ch2Ex2- Another concept they know, but I think I will do this one. It uses matches and hydrogen peroxide! That could be fun! Hmmmm. It is looking like a lot of work for something they already know. But….. I can think of a twist to it that’d be fun. I’ll have to see if we have 3 votive candles and 3 mason jars that can go over them. And there is a cool mega-version video of the experiment. Very dangerous. And at the end the guy says ”Even if you can get your hands on liquid oxygen. I warn you to never do this. It’d very dangerous.”…..LOL! Yeah right! I wonder how many husbands were looking over their kids shoulder at this video and went out to see where they could get their hands on some liquid oxygen.

Next it talks about the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming. I need to read through that carefully. I’m not sure how much I buy into the full global warming theory.

maybe the lessons get more in-depth in a few chapters. I'm feeling a little overly-opinionated today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Splitting Molecules

Today the boys and I stripped.

We were stripping insulation off of copper wires. Then we taped the exposed wired ends to battery terminals. The other exposed wire ends they submerged into water that had baking soda.

The wires bubbled. One wire turned green. The water became blue-green. They wrote in their Science Log what they did, what they say and their Hypothesis. The figured the flow of electricity caused the bubbling and that only one wire turned green because it was on the positive and the other one was on the negative Terminal.

Then we talked about what was really going on in the water. Copper is an atom. We can see the copper wire, even though we can’t see individual atoms, because it is billions of atoms all together. The water is a molecule. 2 different atom types stuck together (H2O) . The electricity traveled though the copper into the water and separated the Hydrogen and Oxygen- which are both gases . So that was the bubbling we observed. The copper combined with the hydrogen, oxygen and carbon (from the baking soda molecule) to form a new molecule. Copper Hydroxycarbonate. The they changed molecules into atoms and atoms into new molecules.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

the 10:30 Report

here I am to tell what has been accomplished by 10:30 by my kids in regards to school. Connor (13) has finished his 45 mins reading and his 20 minutes math review. Gavin (14) has finished his 45 minutes math and his 20 minutes writing. Ki (11) has finshed his 10 minutes writing and his 30 minutes reading and printedhis math worksheet from his online program. They've eaten breakfast. They are taking a break right now. Connor and Ki are making up a 'Game Story' (a daily event here, it's like a LARP - live action role playing). Gavin is pacing the house and outside- so he is doing his own game in his head that means.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What are their common traits?

I bought a Geography Brain Teasers type book. I plan on using it as a Daily Question.
I opened it and asked Connor a Randon Question:
Name 2 ways deserts and polar regions are alike.

Connor's answer:
They are both on the planet earth.
and they both don't get a lot of rain.

At least he didn't use his normal answer:
In the Milkyway

buying stuff

This will be the first school year we are buying some actual curriclum. not a whole curriclum, but a few things. This will be our 8th yr homeschooling.
$45 for Apologia Physics for Gavin (we got the complete text &tests on CD Rom)

$12 for two reading books for Ki (history of famous people stories)
"When the Were Boys" -childhood stories of famous men like T.Edsison, Wright Brothers. Alex G. Bell, Roosevelt, Taft, And many more.
And a book on Martin Luther. Ki's hero (not M.L.K. )

$20 for animal exploration activity workbooks (Ki)
-- --

$10 for Ki's Froggy Mathbooks he likes (Ki likes workbooks)

$3 for a geography activities idea book (for me to get ideas-not a workbook for them)

$158 for A.C.E. elective workbooks for all 3 boys

$240 for the online math program we tried and Brian said he wants to continue for the next school year.

I forgot about that onlinemath expense. it's a big one.
We've not bought this much for the school year before. The boys wanted to try something alittle more structured nd plannedout and Brian and I wanted something a little easier to document/grade for Gavin's High School Transcript.
hopefully no more spending except for paper, pens. notebooks, etc

ALL OTHER CLASSES/LESSONS will be independant studies, projects, unit studies, and games.


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