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!

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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!