Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tree Hugging

We started a five-week study on Stewardship, focusing on ecology & conservation this first week and nutrition, exercise, rest & fun the last four weeks (which will be just one blog at the end, most likely).  I can hear you asking already...What does a unit study on ecology & conservation look like?  Enjoy!

To conserve gas, we spent time at a park near the 
big kids' Drop-&-Pay classes instead of driving 
back home, then up to pick them up again, 
then back home...I guess you could also 
look at it as a sneak peek 
into the next four weeks!  :)

COS working the monkey bars...a first for her!
The kids enjoyed trying to beat their
personal records for jumping out
of their swings.
COS drew a target on the ground in order 
to help her land exactly where she wanted.
More target practice for COS.
Recycling our clothing!
COS collected 4 bags to donate!
JSS collected 2 bags of his own 
clothing to donate!
The kids made a trip up to our church's
donation box for the clothes closet.  What a
blessing to find it already full from other people
who wanted to recycle their OWN clothing!
A field trip with other home schoolers mid-week
to a fisheries center an hour and a half away.
This was a huge highlight of the week as we enjoyed
learning about the wetlands there, saw a dive show...

...went on a tram tour of the fisheries...

(come on now...those are EXCELLENT Smith 
genes, are they not?!?)
(still the tram both kids in this photo)
On our wetlands hike
(It was in the 40's.)
"First Fish" awards went to MOM...
(I still cannot believe I actually caught a fish!)

...and COS!
This is her first catch, which big bro
helped her release.
Her second catch found her
brave enough to hold it up
long enough for this photo.
Then JSS got it, unhooked it and
released the thing to go back to it's Mama.

We gals were SOOO THANKFUL
to have our man with us to do all
of the yucky stuff...which he loved!
JSS finally reeled one in himself just before
it was time for us to head home...
an hour later than planned!  
What a fun day!
(NOT his first catch like it was ours,
but still rather exciting to our outdoorsman.)

Getting the neighbors involved in 
our personal recycling efforts.

They, of course, already recycle.

But were gracious and kind enough
to let us help them... picking up theirs...

...and transporting it to the recycling center.

The kids had a BLAST recycling and
were diligent workers...

...even helping a lady who'd come to
recycle her papers.  She was so
blessed by their help that she
gave JSS crayons and COS 
a collection of dolls she'd made
as a thank-you to them!  
She was en route to donate them,
but recycled them to US instead!

Who says recycling doesn't pay?

COS sang, "Recycling is FUN" while
I took this picture of her hanging off 
the recycling bin...literally!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flying High!

Our first week of 2009 took us to new heights as we studied aviation!  We had a stupendous first week back after the holidays with this unit, which included a LOT of reading about the science behind flight accompanied by TONS of experiments (the fun stuff!), historical figures in the history of flight, numerous model-making opportunities, a trip to the airport (and a flight museum), and so much more!  Our favorite, perhaps, was FLIGHT NIGHT, held on Friday night of the week as our family date.  We began the night with nachos and NetFlix, watching the history of the Wright Brothers while we ate a la dinner theater.  After, we divided into teams of two Flight Crews and had 30 minutes to design, test fly, modify, etc. a plane to enter into our Air Show.  There were three divisions for winners:  longest flight (timed), farthest flight (measured) and highest flight (eyeballed).  After these divisions, awards were given to JSS and COS for their diligence and enthusiasm in learning this week.  Then, we made smores in the fireplace for dessert while we tested our piloting skills with an XBox 360 game until 11 PM!  It was a great way to end a superb week of study!  

JSS test-flying his first glider, a wooden store-bought model.  
It lasted the whole week before splintering apart, 
well worth the $1 we paid for it at Michaels.
(see it mid-flight just below the yellow planter hanging on the porch rail?)

COS test-flying her very first paper airplane.  
I LOVE the enthusiasm on her face!  
It was an entire week of that kind of excitement!
What a blessed gift to a home school mom!
The next three consecutive photos are an experiment
revolving around how hot air rises, which is
how gliders are able to stay aloft (as well as
hot air balloons).  Watch the balloon
rise as the air trapped inside the bottle
is heated by the hot water around the outside.

A wind experiment, which left both kids 
a wee bit dizzy!  :)
Reading about the Hindenburg early one morning.
We do a LOT of reading each week, fetching our books from
the public library every Sunday afternoon.   It literally
takes all 6 of us to carry them all back to the car!
An experiment weighting one of the helicopter
models we made this week (next two photos).

Another helicopter model, this time
experimenting with the angles of the rotors.
(It is the white blur around her knee 
that looks like it could be sunlight.)
Test flying the handmade gliders made of 
cardstock, tape and a straw.  These did
not compare well with the $1 ones from Michaels,
but look at the fun being had in testing them!
Hot air balloon experiment, which was very
successful and a lot of fun!


JSS's & my aircraft, called a "hovercraft"
in the book we used.  We built it 
out of tissue paper and it made a
big difference!  We were going for longest
flight time...and WON BY A LONG SHOT!
(It wasn't much good for the other contests, but
we did not care.  It served it's purpose well for us.)
JDS's Flight Crew:  JDS designed it himself
from materials that AMS collected and their 
ingenuity paid off; they won highest and farthest
flights during our air show!

COS & Dad's flight crew produced a winning
design...decorated beautifully by COS, of course!
(see photo at top of blog)

The guys measuring for distance.
Excitement at a surprise addition to the flight show...
store bought foam gliders with launchers!
(available at the dollar store, 2 for $1)
One of the heats of the foam launchers, which 
Dad's & COS's flight crew won!  (You can see
JDS's already in the air in this photo.  I loved
that the big kids got into this night, too!)
Awards ceremony for the KONOS learners; they
each got a LARGE cardboard jet to put together,
sticker up and launch with a rubber band/stick
concoction.  What fun!
JSS's enthusiam when it was announced that
we'd bought a flight simulating XBox 360 game
to round out the evening.  :)
Dad enjoyed taking JSS and COS to an airport
to watch planes landing/taking off, as well
as visited a flight museum where they 
got to see a lot of vintage planes and helicopters
up close and personal.  FABULOUS time with Dad!