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Entries in homeschooling (63)


Heating things up with science

From Brownian Motion to boiling points. After discussing Brownian Motion we explored the link between the measurement of temperature and the rate of atomic motion on the invisible scale. Today we demonstrated the nature of the second law of Thermodynamics, and charted the rate of temperature increase over time in water. We heated crushed ice over the stove, measuring its temperature every minute until well past the boiling point. It was fun for Calvin, but a true letdown for the dog, who was hoping we were cooking something delicious and would drop a morsel or two.


An air and a roast

He's playing Danny Boy right now, and an old Welsh air, and we're studying the late middle ages, so that at any given moment the house feels like it's beckoning to our British forebears. I made a roast the other day just to complete the circle, although if you ask the Renaissance Fair people they might have suggested a turkey leg with a wizard as companion instead.

When we first started homeschooling, our focus was on thematic units, usually launched by a deep interest in a book. I fell back on Five in a Row a lot, and, with enough tweaking to fit our unique needs, we both really loved the program. It's a holistic curriculum that spends a full week with one book, exploring the story and connecting it to a full array of subjects. It was our earliest foray into math, history, geography, art...everything. We immersed ourselves in the culture of whatever was the book of the week, consuming it for meals, dressing in it for clothes, celebrating its holidays, its customs, its beliefs.

A part of me misses the all-encompassing nature of those early studies—they certainly made it easy to plan the week's meals—but clearly our later methods were informed by those early days. Even though we don't often plan a week of well rounded, holistic learning, we often find connections between the subjects we're studying. So when we're studying the crusades and reading Robin Hood and suddenly Calvin is playing a Welsh air, we find that connection, and then we make a roast and eat it while watching the best movie of all time—Disney's animated Robin Hood.


Brownian motion



I hadn't realized how much I missed it.


Viking bread

Our week was all about Vikings, and since our homeschool gathering was cancelled for the afternoon, we had some free time on our hands to spend in the kitchen baking like Vikings. Or maybe not exactly like Vikings; we didn't have to grind our own flour, and there was no raping or pillaging. But our Story of the World book suggested a recipe that looked suspiciously like any old bread recipe sans yeast, and while I'm not sure how that really brings us closer to the Vikings (again, no raping or pillaging, and where's my dragon boat? I want to speak to Thor!), it was a fun afternoon in the kitchen. Our very modern kitchen.

Oh, and did I mention that Calvin did this one all by himself? Truly all by himself. Of course it helped my sanity that the bread went into a cold oven. There's a first time for everything.

Oddly I have no after pictures, but without yeast the after looked a whole lot like the before.