That’s no moon…….

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It’s a space station!

We are doing energy this week in science and were watching a show on HuluPlus called Powering he Planet. This was about  technological concerns limited the adoption of clean, sustainable energy solutions. Today, economic and political issues often represent the biggest obstacles. What does the future of sustainable energy hold on a world-wide scale?

Now remember, my son…… he thinks outside the box.

This got us into a discussion on what it would take to power the death star. Yep, we went to Star Wars. This then turned into how would you power a light saber, speeder, Luke’s house, and Darth Vader himself.

As for the Death Star, we decided it had to be be a clean source of energy that could re-power itself. We found our answer on the Wookieepedia. At the heart of each Death Star was a gigantic hypermatter reactor, which possessed an output equal to that of several main-sequence stars. Within this chamber burned a reaction of prodigious proportions, fed by stellar fuel bottles lining its periphery. Facilitating the Death Star’s realspace propulsion were a network of powerful ion engines that transformed reactor power into needed thrust. In order for the Death Star to be a deadly threat, it needed to be mobile. Using linked banks of 123 hyperdrivefield generators tied into a single navigational matrix, the Death Star could travel across the Galaxy at superluminal velocities. The incredible energies harnessed by the station combined with its great mass gave the Death Star magnetic and artificial gravitational fields equal to those found on orbital bodies many times greater in size.

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This turned into how much energy would the vessel require to pulverize the Earth? We found that answer here.  Just in case you ever wanted to know……The Death Star’s superlaser derived power directly from the hypermatter reactor. Its faceted amplification crystal combined the destructive power of eight separate tributary beams into one single blast with the intensity of a stellar core. After firing a blast, though, the Imperial engineers had to recharge the reactor, which took at least 24 standard hours. Though the energy output of this blast could be scaled to fire at smaller targets such as capital ships, as was the case during the Rebel assault on the second Death Star, the two major instances in which the superlaser was fired were at full power at planetary bodies.

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Lightsabers we learned is also referred to as the “laser sword“. The weapon consists of a blade of pure plasma emitted from the hilt and suspended in a force containment field. This field contained the immense heat of the plasma, protecting the wielder, and allowing the blade to keep its shape. “Every lightsaber has a standard power source.  One of the other crucial pieces is a focusing crystal. The most powerful and sought-after gems are rare Kaiburr crystals. “

We have had quite the day talking about the power sources and how each thing was powered. We even found some Star Wars activities.

Snowflakes Snowflakes and Snowflakes

Rainbow Loom Lightsabers

Star Wars Lego Science

Star Wars Crafts

X-Wing Fighter from toilet paper rolls

Milk jug Stormtrooper

Star Wars Yoga

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We even found this parody about Star Wars that we have been singing all day now. You have to get past the outfits! *One bad word in the song!

Just remember that even young padawans need to learn…….

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Shannon

 

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Making wands part one

Halloween is at the end of the week. This week we are studying the origins of Halloween and the myths that go with Halloween. Today we are learning about the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft.

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Now Harry Potter has made being a witch not such a bad thing. When I was growing up you had a good witch in a huge fluffy gown or you had a bad witch with fabulous tights and great shoes, who was very misunderstood.

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Anyways, my son loves Harry Potter and has read the books three times. That is dedication!

My dad made when a wooden wand years ago and it still sits in his room and gets used. But I thought why not make our own wand? Where did I go to find help? Only place to go! Pinterest!

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After extensive searching I for this little gem.

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Not so hard! I am crafty, he is crafty, but do we have chopsticks?

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Chopsticks found!

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Gathered my supplies!

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Laid out craft paper so we didn’t ruin my kitchen table.

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You create the texture with hot glue. The glorious part to this is if you mess up, you can take it off and go again.

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Here is monster child’s wand!

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Here are a few of the ones I made.  I made the mistake of posting online that I was doing this and my two best friends from high school decided I should make them each one and bring them to our upcoming girl’ weekend.  I couldn’t believe I was asking two of my best friends what color they want their wands to be!

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After this I put a brown base coat on them and I have let them dry for a day. Today I will finish them and post when we are finished.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Art Museum

We planned on going to the Art Museum when we studied Renaissance. It just so happened that this happened to fall on a weekend that the art museum and my mom’s company had a partner weekend and we got to do lot of cool stuff.

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I live just outside St. Louis and we have a lot of free attractions available, we are blessed. One of them happens to be the St. Louis Art Museum. Admission to the Museum is free every day. Admission to featured exhibitions is free on Friday.  They even have Family Sundays. Drop in every Sunday afternoon anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 pm for hands-on art activities and a lively 30-minute family tour through the galleries. Each month’s activities focus on a different, family-friendly theme. Family Tour leaves at 2:30 pm.

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This a great museum and it fun to go to. The do not allow photographs in exhibitions and non-flash photographs for non-commercial purposes in the collection galleries. We opted to just enjoy ourselves.

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Monster child had a Scavenger Hunt to go on.

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On the back he had to draw what the clues were leading him too. This was a challenge for him but a good challenge.

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We went on a tour and learned more about Mummys and Knights. That was exciting to learn about.

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After some lunch we headed upstairs and checked out the featured exhibit, Atua: Sacred Gods from Polynesia.

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This exhibit was a bit too much visual for Monster Child to handle. He doesn’t do nudity well and had a hard time with some of the pieces of art work.

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After this we headed to the make it and take it craft area. We got to make and learn about stained glass. This went perfect with our Renaissance study.

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Here is Monster Child’s hanging in his window.

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Mine has not made it up yet and hangs on the fridge.

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All in all we had a great day! He even made it away with 6 Feng Shui mini cats.

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BTW ~ This is Art Hill that is basically the front lawn of the Art Museum. The art museum sits inside Forest Park, which was the site for the 1904 World’s Fair.

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Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

 

 

The Giver

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Last week we finished up The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you have never read this book, you should think about it. Here is Lois Lowry’s website for more information.

A novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

 

Sounds like a parents dream! But it is not as sparkly with rainbows and unicorns as it sounds.

My older two children had read the book and loved it. My youngest son loved it He would talk to me each day about what he read and what he thought about the book so far. He was a little concerned with certain parts of the book and I kept having to remind him it was a book set in a different type of society.

We noticed that apple played a large part of the book. We now know that Lois Lowry used part of her life and the memories of apples and incorporated it into the book.

We decided that we would make a Giver Apple Pie!

Here is the pie crust recipes, you need two a mealy and a flaky. Mealy will do better with the juices on the bottom and the flaky is nice for the top.

Flaky Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 7 oz butter
  • 3 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Mealy Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 6.5 oz butter
  • 2.5 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Use hands and mix flour, salt, sugar

Butter needs to be cut into cubes, toss butter into flour mix. Make butter into flakes by pinching butter between thumb and finger. Make pea size for Flaky and hazelnut size for Mealy.

Add water and mix well.

It has to rest in fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped tightly in plastic.

Roll out to fit pie plate.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2# apples
  • 1 oz butter
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 2 oz cold water
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3.5 oz sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz butter

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We use green apples when baking and the are a great baking apple.

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We cored, peeled, and sliced the apples. We than put them in the lemon juice to help with browning.

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We grated our cinnamon and nutmeg with a micro-planer.  We like doing it this way but you don’ have to.

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This is out nutmeg half way through grading. Kind of cool looking!

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We brought the fruit, first sugar, and water to a boil. We dissolve the starch in cold water and stir into the fruit. Return to a boil and cook until clear and thickened. Stir while cooking.

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Add second sugar, salt, and spices. Stir until dissolved. Cool.

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Have your pie crust ready!

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Add your filling and the last dabs of butter.

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Put the top on and pinch the side seams together.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remove and eat or let cool!

Peace, Love, and Pie

Shannon

Our way of learning

Recently on a Facebook homeschooling support group for my state this question was asked:

I decided to piece together my curriculum because that is what I believed would be best for us as we are on a tight budget and the kids are at different levels than they maybe in public schools.

This is only a part of the post but this was me this last July! I second guessed myself, I didn’t know what I should be teaching him, and worried about what if he went back to public school and would he be left behind.

First thing, if he goes back to public school they will test him and put him where he needs to be. Plus, he is working one on one with me and we are moving at a much faster pace then the public schools. He is not being left behind.

This is how we put together our curriculum.

I bought the books What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know and What your sixth Grader Needs to Know.

I bought teacher planner and I went through and marked the days we would not have school. We don’t go to school on Fridays and we are taking Thanksgiving week off and two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break is two weeks, and what not. I write everything in pencil in case things change

I then opened up the What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know book and I started with one subject and started filling in the days.

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This is last week’s lessons. I highlight when we did something, that way if we didn’t get to something I can figure it out easier.

I use Khan Academy for math and some science.

I subscribed to Brain Pop to help with other things. Math, Science, History, Health, and Art.

We also found matching Magic School Bus episodes to help with subjects.

I found free spelling lists here.

I bought one of the grade level Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks and use it for math, lang. arts, reading comp, and a bit of science.

I use a site Schoology to make computer tests and as a digital planner.

We use Duolingo for our Spanish, Flashcard Stash for our flashcards, and Timemaps for social studies.

Please let me know if you have questions!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Rock Candy

The joys of homeschooling is that you can be learning about one thing and all of the sudden is spirals into another subject all together.

We were learning about Erosion and the Rock Cycle a few weeks ago. This sparked a conversation about crystals which lead to us making Rock Candy.

We used the Science Bob method for making our Rock Candy.

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I let him do most of the work, but I was always close by.

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Having the candy thermometer can in very useful. It helps when mom went to culinary school.

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We even flavored our rock candy! This one was bubble gum!

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We watched as the crystals formed. It was very cool, I mean hot!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

The MesoAmericans

We recently learned about the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. IMG_20140923_103751

We watched a Magic School Bus episode on it and several programs from the History Channel about them.

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We learned about the Mayans calendar and how it was not the end of the world, but the end of the calendar for them.

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We learned that each of them had very fierce religions that usually involved someone dying. He thought the whole ripping the beating heart out was cool and a bit disturbing. Remember he is 11 years old.

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We learned that Mexico’s flag is from the Aztecs.

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We also learned that the Mesoamericans gave us CHOCOLATE. The fruit of the Gods, as he would say repeatedly. So, let’s bake us some cupcakes!

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I got the recipe out and he made them all by himself. I stood back and supervised. I was very impressed with his math and culinary skills. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk with 1 tsp of vinegar in it

Preheat oven to 350 and get your muffin pan with liners ready.

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Sift together dry ingredients.

In a mixer beat the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.

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Add in the egg and vanilla until combined.

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Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the water and milk until just combined.

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Mix until smooth.

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We use a large scoop to divide our batter evenly into the liners.

Bake  for 18-20 minute, let cool completely on wire rack when finished.

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Lick the spatula and enjoy being a kid again!

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Last decide that they are far to horrible to have the rest of the family taste them and eat them all! Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

We have to have order…….

I see all the time of homeschoolers that have a very free schedule and do homeschool whenever.

We tried this! It didn’t work with us. We learned back when Monster Child was 3 years old that he need structure and rules to function. Without this we are in the fetal position in the corner, rocking back and forth, and banging our head against the wall.

We do our differently notebook first thing, usually in the 8am hour. This includes our writing prompt, weather journal, current event, and reading log.

Next we move onto math, now math can take us up to 2 or more hours. We are playing a huge game of relearning and catch up. We move onto Language Arts and spelling followed by Science, Social Studies, Art and finally Reading.  We got in this order everyday, it makes for a peaceful day. If we go out of order he just can’t handle it.

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I finally got my act together and made a control command center on my fridge for my very visual children. The left side of the fridge is for my public school high school daughter and the right side is for my home schooled son.

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A few years ago I found this weekday sticker. I didn’t really use it until a few weeks ago. Now I write everything down that we are covering that week. This way he can see our week and doesn’t get freaked out over  things. We have our flashcards of weekly concepts on the fridge, his chores, and chicken info.

I know a couple of people posted asking how you keep the house clean and homeschool. Here is our system, we break it up into manageable chunks. I give each kid a list too. These sheets are laminated, so we use them again and again. I also learned that if I waxed my bathroom sink every other week with car wax, the sink stays cleaner longer.

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This is his chore chart, I found it at Hello, Cuteness. They have tons of great things there.

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Mine is from Happy Money Saver. I do one area a day, I have tried all sorts of things and this works the best for me. I had to learn to let the kids do things and know that they would not be mom perfect. I let them clean their rooms and only go into mom clean if people are coming over.

He does his chores after schoolwork and before he is allowed on the Xbox. I do my chores here and there during the day.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Trip to the Zoo

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We live just outside St. Louis. The St. Louis Zoo is an amazing zoo and it is FREE! The zoo has  more than 19,800 wild animals.  Located on 90 acres in beautiful Forest Park, the Zoo is home to more than 600 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. It is one of the few free zoos in the nation.

Since its inception in 1910, the Zoo has been renowned for its beautiful naturalistic exhibits and for its diverse collection of animals from the major continents and biomes of the world. It is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education.

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We get there when it opens so we can go to the Children’s Zoo and Stingray Cove, free. After the first hour it cost to get in there.

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Inside the Children’s Zoo they have a petting zoo and you can pet goats and chickens. Chickens are not really petable, we own them and know.

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This goat looked like he was smiling, little creepy! Not going to lie!

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We went through the zoo deciding and listing where the different animals where from we were also deciding if they lived in a Rain forest or Desert biome since we just learned about that in Science.

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We visited the Hippos and reaffirmed our want to have a Hippopotamus for Christmas. Yep, we need one.

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We went and visited the Pumas and this girl decided to get up close and personal with us. Yes, she is really THAT close and yes I did almost pee myself when she jumped up.

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We spent hours reading about each animal and watching videos using the app the St. Louis Zoo has to go with your visit. He even tried to convince me we needed a ball-Python for the house. He doesn’t realize that will eat our beloved chickens whole!

He took lots more pictures and will be working to put them into a video slide show or scrapbook shortly. We will post when it is finished.

All in all it was a good day and the crowds did start to get to him later in the day when the foot traffic increased. But at the end of the day he found his happy place, getting a bag of rocks.

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Love. Peace, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Wind Walking

A few weeks back I had to be with my high school daughter while she was in the hospital being treated for MRSA.

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I give my dad one job, watch the boy. Understand my dad is a pilot and flies for a living, he also has a small private plane. This is the photo I received while in the hospital with my daughter.

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Now he is training to be a wind walker. How do I fit this into my homeschooling?

Science – aerodynamics, wind speed, how to properly fall from 10,000 feet up

Health – first aid, how to properly bandage broken limbs

no more ER visits 101

Psychology – how to drive your mom crazy and into a home in 1 easy step.

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I guess we look at this as a unique learning experience for two days!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon