Friday, August 24, 2012

Earthquake and Volcano Week

Our second week of school has been just as hectic as the first week.  We never intend for it to go this way, things just seem to happen.  I've spent this week analyzing our schedule to see how I can make it fit our life a little better.

Short of dropping a lot of subjects and racing through the curriculum, there isn't a lot we can do with the schedule anymore.  I did minorly adjust the schedule, however it appears our life needs the adjustment and not the school schedule.  I don't mean that in a bad way.  We seem to agree to do too many "fun" things each week lately.  Many people know that Fridays are our elective subject and catch up day and so expect us to have availability all day Friday. I'm just going to need to put my foot down.

Goofy girl - hiding from the camera during
our Tom Sawyer discussion.  She finished it too!
The week started with us rushing through subjects on Monday so that we could finish before leaving for Amber's first chimes choir practice of the school year.  She could barely contain herself all day and kept asking how much longer until chimes.  It turns out we had no need to rush and would have made it just fine. We felt pressured by the time constraint and I'm not sure why since we dealt with the same schedule all last semester and it was never a problem.

Our best day of the week was definitely Tuesday.  I actually thought ahead to document the day so that I can use it for a "day in the life" post.  We made it through all the subjects, in the scheduled order, and never ran too far behind timewise.  We are not so rigid that we must finish at the appointed times. Our schedule times are more of a guideline so that we know if the schedule is viable. Our main problem right now is that we simply can't get moving in the morning at a reasonable time yet. 

This week in science we have been studying earthquakes and volcanoes and Tuesday was the first non-demonstration science lab / activity of the year.  Amber was given fettuccine noodles, marshmallows and a foam board to use in simulating a building.  The idea was to design a building that could withstand an earthquake of predetermined type and magnitude.   Not only did her design remain standing when the "earthquake" occurred, but it suffered only minor tilt damage to one side.   Amber loved this activity so much that she created a second structure with a different design, after seeing the results from her first test.  I didn't make any design suggestions either time, Amber knew just what she wanted to do.  The second structure didn't even sway.  That's my girl!
The final structure, building the first structure, and the first structure before
earthquake test.
At the end of the activity, she declared her goal was to become an engineer / architect.   Actually, she declared it was to be a "teacher, historian, archeologist, writer, engineer / architect type person".  The list changes weekly.  But the best moment of the day, for me, was when she added "I love being able to learn about all these things I can become".   Ok, goofy schedule is worth it all now.

This week also included our first official field trip of the school year.  Wednesday we picked up my Mom and took her with us to the Missouri History Museum to tour the Civil War in Missouri exhibit.   It was utterly fascinating. There was an array of real uniforms, guns, swords, flags, the random amputation kit - with graphical instructions, and preserved bone pieces with identification of their original owner.   Other than the gruesome portions, we all really enjoyed ourselves. The interactive displays were especially entertaining as we guessed the verdict for many Missourians, Loyal or Disloyal to the Union, and their punishment.  We had about a 40% accuracy.
Latin homework in the car.  MO History Museum. Missouri Guard
banner made by women's auxillary.  Amber in front of Museum.
I usually let Amber get a little souvenir from each field trip, and this time she selected a small toy cannon that doesn't fire a thing.  After we returned home on Wednesday, I found her playing with her Strawberry Shortcake dolls and the cannon.  She was playing "Border Skirmishes in Missouri" with the dolls and they were Union loyalists who needed to defend their home.  There was quite a bit of detail to her backstory, but it all sounded fairly accurate.  At least she learned something about the Civil War the past couple of weeks.

We did have an almost normal day on Thursday, but I had a couple of absolutely necessary errands which had been continually postponed and created a delay in our Thursday school schedule.  Eventually, all subjects were finished and I even thought of a movie for Amber to watch about volcanoes.

Now, don't laugh. I mean it, do. not. laugh.  We had an hour long science discussion about volcanoes where Amber had a ton of questions about every little detail.  At one point I was trying to describe a pyroclastic cloud and started to say "like in Dante's Peak".  Then it hit me. She hasn't seen Dante's Peak. Gasp!  I have a strange obsession with that movie.  Not enough to buy the DVD, and considering our rather large and random collection, that is strange in itself.  Still, anytime I see it listed on a TV guide, I just have to watch. I know, it's a crappy movie but it sucks me in everytime.

This sent me on a hunt for the movie, which is harder to find than you'd think.  Short of ordering it from Amazon or another online site, it is impossible to get older movies around here. All of our Blockbusters and other video stores closed.  We are dependent on the powers that be at RedBox.   Again, here is another duhh moment for me.  I could actually sign up for Netflix as we have a PS3 and all kinds of cool devices that can stream video.  Yeah, my mental power is astounding, isn't it? 

I successfully signed up for Netflix and made all of our cool devices access the various Netflix apps.  After dinner on Thursday we sat down and watched Dante's Peak stream through the PS3.  It wasn't as good as watching an HD bluray, but it works for an immediate need.  I also found a ton of Civil War and volcano documentaries that are now in our queue to watch.  

In case you are wondering, Amber wasn't fond of Dante's Peak.  Yes, she liked the science-y bits and the pyroclastic cloud was cool.  She found the rest of the movie stressful, yet boring and definitely does not want to be a volcanologist.  

Obviously, my favorite resource of the week is Netflix.  Seriously, why did someone not hit me over the head with it before now?

They just love each other.  He is never far from her.
Our first art appreciation and creative writing lessons are scheduled for this week too, but since I'm writing this on Thursday night I have no idea how they will turn out.  I may just chicken out and postpone them. Friday looks pretty hectic from where I am sitting right now.

I hope everyone else had a productive and relaxing week.  Thanks for reading my long mindless post this week :-)

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  1. I absolutely love Netflix, too!

    And, your daughter playing with her souvenir and Strawberry Shortcake is priceless. It was like the time my daughter was in the bathtub singing, "I'm swimming in the Euphrates!" -- too cute.

    These are precious days, aren't they? I'm glad you had a great week! Thanks for linking with Collage Friday!

    1. Thanks for the tips on your blog for making the collages. I used PicMonkey and it was so easy. I'm used to using GIMP to edit my graphics, so the whole online editing is sooo easy.

  2. Phew! Busy, busy, huh? It's hard to juggle everything. I had to start setting "rules" about outside-the-house activities (unless they are a ONE TIME ONLY, NEW activity): Nothing before 1:00, Nothing after 8:00.

    1. Our activities mostly fit that time frame. Except sensory therapy is Friday morning. Chimes is early-mid afternoon, making our schedule fairly tight. Dance (which starts in 2 weeks) will make it hard to run behind on another couple of days. Then there is one set of grandparents that want to see Amber weekly for some "play time". My mom could use whatever time we have available right now because of Dad's passing.

      It becomes impossible when we actually *need* to do something else, like shop for groceries or go to the orthodontist.

  3. Your daughter is definitely excited about learning, so that's terrific. I love the cannon with the Strawberry Shortcake doll, too. My five year old son biked around our neighborhood last summer shouting "The British are coming!" :)

  4. I love the earthquake activity! May I have permission to pin it onto a collaborative "hands-on science" Pinterest board? I think that a lot of people would love it.

    1. Sure, go ahead and post it. I'm glad you liked it. We had a lot of fun with it ourselves.

  5. Strawberry Shortcake in a war, that is funny, he he he. I'll have to tell my daughter about that. I like the models that were built My children would like trying that..

    1. My daughter tends to include her various dolls in all her imaginative stories. Last year her doll house was home to her collection of Star Wars toys and their struggle against the Empire ;-)

  6. I remember when we were learning about Ancient Greece and Rome and Keilee put on a 'play' with her Webkinz. I love when they incorporate what they have learned into their play! Very creative Amber. I could NOT homeschool without Netflix. I use it all the time. I think it is so wonderful to actually have a visual presentation of what we have learned. Love the Earthquake structures too! Great week Christy. I always love reading about your and Amber's days/weeks. :)

    1. Thanks, Karen. We did have a good week. I just wish our schedule would settle down. No hope of that this coming week either.

      I really enjoy your blog too. You two have so much fun!

  7. LOL. Love the Strawberry Shortcake picture! It reminded me of when my oldest, then in third grade, lined up her army men and aliens (Toy Story party favors) and created her own Civil War story. Sherman ran around stomping on everything and McClellan was taking a nap.