Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Earth's Layers and Spheres

This year, we are shifting our focus in science to earth and space science. This is exciting for us because the girls haven't spent much time in this area. To make it even better, we have a few families that are working with us to complete lab activities. So far, they have been a hit with all of the girls.

 First on our stop was the study of the earth's layers and its spheres. We watched some great videos found on YouTube.  The girls favorite was the Layers of the Earth Rap! That song has really stuck with them!

Resources we used:

During our group lab session, we discussed the layers of the earth and built scale models of the earth.  We also viewed real core samples from the that were brought in by another parent!



  • Large Styrofoam ball (cut in half)
  • Acrylic paint (4 different colors)
  • Velcro dots
  • Heavy card stock
  • 1 1/2 inch hinge (found in hardware store near door hinges)
  • Super glue
  • Index cards
After coloring in each layer, we created index cards listing the facts about each layer on one side and the name of the layer on the other.  With the heavy card stock, we cut out  small squares and labeled the layers.  After the paint dried, we applied the Velcro dots to the model and applied the correct label to its part.  The hinge joint was then used to attach the two halves.  Be sure to use the super glue on the screws to hold them in place.  Our completed model were all finished and looked great!  We have more to add to them when we reach our lesson on plate tectonics so check back with us then.

If you're looking for a simpler model, I found one made by Canon that can be printed and assembled here.

Book list:
  •  Earth's Crust by: Conrad Storad
  • Earth's Core and Mantle by: Gregory Vogt
  • The Lithosphere by: Gregory Vogt
  • The Biosphere by: Gregory Vogt
  • The Hydrosphere by: Gregory Vogt
Well that wraps up our study of the earth's layers.  We enjoyed it and are looking forward to learning more about our precious planet.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 4

We have just completed our fourth week back in school.  The girls have been busy, busy, busy learning all sorts of new things while big brother wrapped up his finals.  We also managed to complete our first "official" portfolio reviews and student evaluations.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to have all of that done and behind us now!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App 

This week we studied the types of rocks.  T was able to identify all of the rocks during lab correctly.  All of the girls did!
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

This week in history we studied the Myceneans.  For geography, we decided to make a geography notebook.  The girls have really enjoyed doing this.

We've been working hard in math and doing more math notebooking.  We completed our study on nouns which was the first part of speech introduced in Grammarland

After all that work, we had to get out and have some fun!

 Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

A trip to the bowling alley with friends always does the trick!  We are making good use of our free bowling tickets from Kidsbowlfree.com. ( Our Favorite Resource this week!)

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

We finished off the week with a little jewelry making. My girls have have always enjoyed stringing beads.  This week, I surprised them with more supplies.  They upgraded to beading wire and learned to use the various crimps and claps.  This set was designed by Miss B.  After they finished, they asked if I could design them a website so they could sell them!  This brought up lots of learning opportunities.  We talked about the things they needed to think about and work on as they prepare to launch a jewelry business.  They realized they had more work to do, but weren't discouraged by it.  We'll see how they grow their idea over the next few months!

We really enjoyed our week and we hope you guys did the same!

Linking up this week with:
Homegrown Learners
Weekly Wrap-up

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Enrollment

Well it's that time again! Time to enroll in the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program.  This program has been one of the motivating factors for my children.  They love to read, but are not very fond of keeping a reading log.  A trip to pizza hut each month for those who have reached the required reading motivates them to keep track!  So if you're interested in taking advantage of this great program, head over to Pizza Hut BOOK IT for more details!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Minerals and Crystals

We just wrapped up our two week study on minerals.  It was loads of fun for the girls so we wanted to share some of the fabulous resources we found to use along the way.

We love You Tube, with its endless source of visual resources, so we created a playlist to use with our study.  Another great video on minerals can be found here.

Our spelling/vocabulary words for the week were uploaded to Spelling City and can be found here. If you don't have a membership, you can access these and your child can play the free activities to help them learn.  The spelling test is also free.  They can type in their name and print a certificate of their grade for record keeping.

There were several sites picked out for the girls.  They are different ages and vary in reading ability, so I provided them with the following options to choose from.  They used these sites to gather information about crystals and minerals during the study:
Science in our house is always hands on so there was no shortage in scientific investigations during our study. The girls conducted a mineral dig, cracked open geodes, grew crystals, and identified the various types of minerals in each, and we also had a lab with friends to practice identifying various types of minerals.  The lab was wonderful and the girls worked methodically through their investigations. I set out eight different minerals on grid paper.  The girls picked one number at a time to test and identify.  We provided them with mineral guides to help them.  When they finished, they returned their mineral to its correct place for the next person. They observed the minerals' color, shape, and luster. They performed hardness tests, streak tests, acid tests.  They also checked for the specific gravity as well as magnetic properties of each mineral.


IMAG1201, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App


IMAG1229 IMAG1231
We used several kits in this study. You can find most of these in various places like Hobby Lobby.  They often run them on sale and you can print a 40% off coupon on their website, anytime. Kits we used for our activities:
Lastly, we needed to find resources to document our learning.  There was no shortage there.  We used some notebooking pages, worksheets, and lapbook pieces to make our interactive notebooks.

Free printables:

We have a few more activities planned coming up.  They include visiting our local gem and mineral society and convention coming to our area.  If you would like to do the same, here in the U.S. you can find information at AFMS. Simply find your region on the list.

Well, that's it for our study of minerals and crystals.  Next stop...Rocks!

(Disclosure: I am affiliated with several of the companies linked within this post.  I receive a monetary compensation for purchases of the mentioned products, however I only recommend products we use personally and that I believe in.  Any monetary compensation received is used to provide for our homeschooling.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Beginnings

It's been two months since we moved and equally as long since our last blog post.  So much has changed in our world. We've moved into a new house and it was on thing after another getting settled.  In the mist of the move, my father, while riding his motorcycle to work one morning, barely avoided a serious crash.  While swerving out of the way his was able to lay his bike down without a scratch. However, in doing so he tore all of the thigh muscles away from the knee in his left leg and was unable to walk.  After having reconstructive surgery, he is faring well.  We are so thankful for this blessing.

With everything that was going on, we decided to go ahead and end the past school year.  We were all ready for a little breather and a fresh start.  We took a little time to get acclimated in the new house and to take care of dad.  Doing so gave us time to reflect upon the year we had and to discuss what we wanted to accomplish in the future.  This led to lots and lots of changes for us.  Some exciting and others bitter sweet.

My son has decided that he would like to try public schooling this upcoming year.  He feels that he would enjoy public school more now that he is older and in a new state.  We are currently exploring his schooling options for the fall and I must say, I don't know how to feel about it all right now.  I'll let you know how this transition goes.  This will be our first experience transitioning from homeschool to public school.

The girls and I decided to change our schooling to a year round learning experience.  We put together a schedule that included frequent week long breaks.  The kids were always saying, they never got a break!  It's funny listening to them.  Although I know we have taken tons of breaks, it's their perception that counts.  So, we worked out a schedule of five weeks on and one week off.  They were so excited to have these regular breaks on paper to look forward to.  It made planning a breeze for me too!

We got started a few weeks ago and things have gone okay.  It was difficult getting back in the saddle, but things are moving right along now.  Some old curriculum and new curriculum in the mix.  We even have a few friends who agreed to accompany us in weekly bowling trips and science labs.  It's become our favorite day of the week!

IMAG1229 IMAG1141 IMAG1160 

The kids have been busy and we have so much more to share.  New notebooking pages and projects.  But that will have to wait for another post.  

Peace and blessings,


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