Friday, February 9, 2018

Geography - The Poles - Week 1

The first continent we are looking at is Antarctica.  In order to get a good grasp of Antarctica, though, we decided to combine the two poles into one study, with more emphasis on Antarctica.  We spent six weeks on this study!

Week 1
The first week was spent comparing and contrasting the two areas, in general terms.  We spent everyday reviewing the continents and oceans.  We then would look at the day's activities.  We discussed how Antarctica is a large piece of land at the south pole, whereas the north pole is water with parts of land from different continents.  We also discussed the cold temperatures due to being so far from the equator and therefore the heat of the sun.  The globe came in handy for this!!!  We read a few books, including The Top and Bottom of the World, Ice is Nice!, On the Same Day in March, Polar Bears and Penguins, and The Best Book of Polar Animals.  We completed three experiments, including how long it takes things to freeze, melting ice experiment, and a blubber experiment.

For the "How Long Does It Take" experiment, we compared the freezing time of water, an egg, and milk.  Each of the three littles gave their hypothesis.  None of them thought the egg would freeze.  Two thought the water would freeze first, and one thought the milk would freeze first.  I explained to the children that in order to be a fair experiment, we needed to try to keep everything the same, other than the liquid used.  This meant using 1/4 cup of milk and water (one large egg is equivalent to that much) and the same type of bowls need to be used for each.  The one thing I did not do, however, was scramble the egg, which I should have done!  Ironically, the kids didn't care if they were right or wrong - they were just amazed that an egg freezes!

For the "Melting Ice" experiment, we compared how long it took ice to melt.  The children again stated their hypothesis.  All the kids thought the ice cube with water would melt first.  We put ice cubes in four different containers.  On the first ice cube we put 1/4 cup of water.  On the second one we put 1/4 C sugar, the third 1/4 C salt, and on the fourth, nothing.  I told the children that this last one was our "control" and what we would be comparing everything.  Every fifteen to thirty minutes we checked on our ice cubes...

For the blubber experiment, we were seeing how it was that blubber helped insulate the animals living in that region.  We used vegetable shortening, tallow, and pork lard, as well as nothing as our control.  The children put on a rubber glove and put their hands in a large bowl of ice water.  They quickly took it out.  I then had them put on an additional plastic glove that had one of the fats and tried that in the freezing water.  They then put on a new clean glove and the next fat filled glove and tried that one in the freezing water, and then repeated for the final fat.  They felt the pork lard kept their hands the warmest.  We then talked about how God created the animals in the pole regions with lots of blubber (fat) to keep them warm.

Overall, it was a fun week of introduction to the poles!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Life Giving home - Covering January and Introducing February

A dear friend has started a monthly blog link-up to go with the book The Life Giving Home, by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.  I had bought these books over a year ago and decided to jump in with both feet.  My desire is to make our house and homestead into a Home... a safe haven filled with love and laughter.  A place where each of us feels safe and secure physically and emotionally, while growing Spiritually.  I haven't read the book through yet, but am looking forward to working may through it and implementing the things that I feel would be beneficial for us. 

After the first section of the book, it is broken into months.  Perfect!  I also bought the 12 month guided journey.  While it is already February, I haven't posted my thoughts on January, so I'm going to take a step back and start there :)  My HOPE is to post the last Wednesday of the month a recap of how my month has gone implementing what I took away from the book, and saying what I plan to do for the upcoming month...  But with being behind, I'm doing all of January in one month and introducing February ;) 

In the book, January is centered on the rhythms, routines, and rituals of the home.  With being the planner that I am, this is a perfect place for me to start this journey as well as 2018!  I am not a schedule person!  I just cannot do it!!!  And maybe that is one reason I enjoy homeschooling so much - I don't have to look at the clock and say "oh it is 11 - time for Science."  I am, however, a routine person.  For example, in the morning, we all get up o spend some time with my hubby before he leaves for work.  He is fixed breakfast, lunch, and sent out for the day with lots of hugs, kisses, and love.  After he leaves, the boys and I tackle our homesteading morning chores like feeding the animals, getting them fresh water, and milking the goats.  Then it is time for our breakfast and starting our school day.  Our subjects vary day by day, but we have our morning time, which consists of singing the doxology, saying the pledge, praying, Bible time and then our family subject for the day, be it geography, history, or civics.  After that we tackle the rest of the subjects. 

My biggest take away from the January chapter was making time for people.  I am an introvert by nature.  Large gatherings exhaust me, leaving me needing some down time.  Even having eight children I am home with all day exhausts me, hence why I LOVE quiet time during the afternoon.  With that being said, I still need and crave adult interaction!  But more often than not, I lean more towards letting it happen by chance.  My goal for January was to actually set up time to have people visit our home; to grow friendships.  Sadly, this did not happen.  Instead, life has happened, and our family vehicle was broken, we fought the chicken pox, and I'm still fighting an infection.  But it is still a goal for the rest of the year ;) 

My other takeaway from January is the idea of decluttering and reorganizing.  This will take me ALL. YEAR. LONG if not longer!  But with that said, I have started!  I still have a long way to go, but I have started!  I have a seriously long way to go which is mind boggling as we decluttered prior to moving... but obviously not enough!

February is all about love <3 a="" about="" all="" and="" as="" because="" busyness.="" but="" cannot="" chapter="" children="" decided="" did="" first="" from="" good="" have="" he="" help="" her="" him="" hubby="" i="" ideas="" in="" included="" inside="" instead.="" it="" just="" later="" love="" me="" missed="" my="" nbsp="" neat="" normal="" of="" off="" one="" others.="" our="" out="" p="" possible="" put="" really="" shared="" sharing="" she="" show="" showing="" some="" something="" sons.="" stood="" story="" sunset.="" sunsets="" take="" takes="" that="" the="" then="" there="" thing="" think="" this="" thought="" thoughts="" time="" to="" tremble="" until="" wanted="" was="" were="" when="" wife.="" with="">
The thing that hit me right between the eyes, however was her proclamation that "keeping house - picking up those messes one more time - is a service of worship to God as we craft a place of beauty and comfort for all who enter our sanctuary of His very presence" (63).  Y'all I am not a good housewife.  Our house is lived in, and looks it!  When you visit me, especially "unannounced," you see what our lives entail, complete with school, toys, dishes, and laundry.  I despise constantly picking up the spilled dog food off the floor.  And yet this small, and may I add monotonous, act is a service of worship!  How dare I complain or grumble - audibly or within!

Sally spoke of how she made Valentines Day special for her children...  I have never really cared all that much for this holiday, as it has never been that big of a deal growing up or even as an adult.  I do try to have a special meal (usually chicken parmesan with pepperoni hearts on top) for dinner, as cooking seems to be how I show love... but I need to do more.  She also spoke of making birthdays extra special.

So here are my cumulative goals:
  • Further refine our routine
  • Continue to organize and declutter
  •  Make time for people
  •  Make my busyness wait instead of my children
  •  Worship God in ALL things, even the monotonous chores
  • Make holidays extra special
  • Make birthdays a holiday!
I'll let you know in a few weeks how it goes!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks... Oh My!

Ahhh Spring is in the air. Okay. Not really!  Instead we are still covered under a foot thick white winter blanket of snow.  But that's okay.  We are nestled inside with our wood stove keeping the house toasty, making plans for the Spring.  Our lives start to get really busy in just a month here on our homestead!

One of the first things we looked into were which animals we wanted to add.  Right now we have ten goats, with at least three of our females bred.  The first doe is due to deliver the end of March.  We also have around 40 laying hens.  In March we will be adding two red wattle feeder pigs.  Also in March we are getting fifty Americauna chicks and five Polish chicks (one of five different breeds).  The Polish chicks, along with a couple other chickens we already have are "pets" and will be put to work in our garden.

The beginning of April we will be getting our first batch of broilers, as well as a Tufted Roman Gosling, a Black Swedish Duckling, and eight Buff Ducklings.  The goose will be a pet for one of the children, whose job will be to help protect our main flock.  The Black Swedish Duckling will also be a pet, and will be kept with the rest of our ducklings.  We are hoping for eggs and meat from them.  Our plan is to keep at least two females and a male at the end of the season, to possibly grow the flock for following years, depending on how it goes.

The end of April our second doe is due.  We will also be receiving fifteen Standard Bronze Turkeys.  We are super excited to try growing our own holiday birds! In addition, we will be getting our second batch of broilers.

I'll be trying my hand at gardening again this year as well.  Last year was semi-productive, but I am hoping for so much more!!!  I sat down this weekend and ordered what seeds I'll need from Bakers Creek.  We need to get our indoor greenhouses up, as I want to start a tray of celery and cabbages the end of THIS month!  Hard to believe it is about time already!  I also ordered strawberry plants, which will be going in the front of the area that will eventually become our orchard.  Looking forward to our first fruits in a couple years!

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Morning in the Life...

Today is one of those days that I just cannot help but smile while doing morning homestead chores!  For right now our homestead consists of ten goats and over 40 chickens.  Oh, and a dog, five cats, and 8 children ;)  For the last few weeks we have had bone chilling weather (we've seen real feel temps in the negative thirties!) and around six inches of snow on the ground.  This has led to the goats staying in their barns and the chickens in their coop for the most part.  But today, even first thing this morning, we were above freezing!!!  My window is open and today we will be doing some "Spring cleaning." 

After milking our three does in milk, they went out and joined the five doelings in their field.  Waiting for the garden to be prepared are two large piles of old bedding that is decomposing.  The goats decided they are perfect for playing "queen of the hill."  Then they started running and frolicking through the field, kicking up their heels and "maaa-ing" at me, as I watched.  Here soon I will be drying up one of our does in milk in order for her to nourish the little one(s) she is carrying.  Our three milkers are all bred and at least one of our older doelings.  Looking forward to the sweet babies in the not-so-distant future.  Our first is due the end of March!  In a nearby pen, the boys (a buck and buckling) tried to entice the girls.  They too seem excited to be able to run without the worry of the wind cutting right through them.

With the goats milked, their feeders filled, and fresh water in their buckets, the boys and I headed over to the chicken coop.  During the warmer months, the chickens free range in chicken tractors, but in the winter they go in the static coop.  With all the snow and bitter cold, the chickens have stayed inside rather than venturing out into their run.  Not today!  Today they were strutting their stuff out in the run, scratching for any seed they may find (and I'm sure searching for the rare bug) with our two roosters informing the world what a gorgeous day we have been blessed with, by God!  We gathered the few eggs they left us (we do not use any artificial lighting), filled their feeders and waterers, and then put a couple more bags of shavings down.  To help keep the chickens warm and healthy, we are using the deep bedding method this year.  We will see how it goes! 

Once the animals were done, it was time to head inside and take care of all the children's schooling.  Fridays are lighter days for school (unless the children get behind), as it is also a cleaning day for us!  On the way, I stopped by the area for my garden.  Much of it is still covered in snow, but areas closer to the foundation have begun to melt.  We still have a handful of carrots growing (how in the world they are surviving I don't know!) and there is also garlic.  We planted four pounds of garlic cloves this past Fall in hopes of a decent crop.  It is our first time trying that here, and our first attempt with hardneck garlic varieties.

And this is my life <3 -="" a="" all="" and="" are="" at="" being="" beyond="" br="" but="" fun="" giggles="" golly="" grand="" home="" homesteading="" is="" it="" kicks="" like="" measure="" mom...="" monotonous...="" much="" nbsp="" no="" of="" oh="" rewards="" stay="" the="" yes="">

2017-2018 5th Grade Curriculum Choices

2017-2018 5th Grade Curriculum Choices

My second oldest son is starting 5th grade this year... He is still figuring out  where his interests lie, and what he wants to pursue.  He is most definitely still interested in birds, however, so is SUPER excited about science this year!!!

5th Grade Curriculum Choices:
BibleApologia What We Believe Series - This year we are starting with Volume 2, Who am I?
LiteraturePrairie Primer, with lots of other stuff added
WritingShurley English, Level 4
SpellingAll About Spelling, Level 3 and 4
ScienceApologia - Zoology I
MathMath U See: Delta
Geography: Finishing up Asia and then starting Europe, hopefully in January
HistoryMystery of History Volume 4 and Time Travelers for more in depth on the wars
Civics: Amanda Bennett's American Government Unit Study with more added :)
Other: Still hoping to add Violin and Woodworking
Extracurricular Activities: Homeschool group, 4-H, and Birding

We are still looking into the various groups for birding, as well as where he can learn more about woodworking.  Right now he leans some towards being an architect, and at other times being a general contractor.  (There are other days he wants to be a farmer.)  With his interest in wood, however, we will be putting him to work with the multiple projects we have coming up for the homestead.  Everything is a work in progress ;)