Black Holes and Gardening and whatever

Today we started off our homeschooling day by looking up black holes.  This site was sent to us by clickschooling.

This is the write up sent to us by diane flynn keith
Age Range: 9 and up (approximately, with parental supervision; non-readers will need assistance)
The Space Telescope Science Institute offers this terrific website that allows you to engage in a multi-media, in-depth inquiry into the astronomy and physics of black holes through animations and interactive experiments. Explore light, gravity, and the scale of our universe.

When you get to the site, watch a brief, narrated animation that provides information on how black holes are formed. Then, begin your virtual journey to a black hole through three interactive modules that include:

*Finding the Invisible — Loc ate and identify various objects in the universe such as a binary star, the Cygnus galaxy, the Andromeda spiral galaxy, the sun, the moon, the Milky Way, a quasar, a red giant, Saturn, the crab nebula and more. As each object comes into view, read more about it on the sidebar and by clicking on the "Learn More" button.   

*The Voyage — Learn about scales and distances by taking a virtual trip to a black hole. Find out about the objects you pass on your trip through space. Measure your speed and distance traveled. Get explanations of the concepts of lightspeed and lightyear. When you reach your destination, mouse over the black hole to learn about its features.
*Up Close and Personal — Orbit a black hole and learn all about it. Try some interactive experiments and answer related questions. Get the latest scoop from notable scientists.

You can also explore the "Black Hole Encyclopedia" and "Glossary" to learn even more.
We found it be quite interesting.  I can't say my six year old understood everything, but he was able to pull information out of this site to go with other things he's learned about black holes.  It was quite interesting and answered some of his questions.   We did not read through the whole site but I imagine it will be one that we come back to.

We then went out to finish the gardening that we started yesterday.
The lad wants to have his own garden this year so He's going to share daddy's "pepper" garden.  Daddy likes hot peppers and I like bell peppers and having them in their own "bed" means they don't get crowded out by other plants so it should work well for the lad to have his carrots, lettuce and corn in the same bed (at least we hope so).  :)

Water Clock

Doesn't this sound like something fun to try?  
I need a stop watch first though....


The ancient Babylonians were some of the first people to keep time. Sundials and water clocks were frequently used to keep up with the time of day. We know this from information that archaeologists have learned from clay tablets found in the area. The water clock allowed people to know how much time had passed even in the middle of the night. You can make your own water clock to get an understanding of how ancient people knew what the time was.

Items Needed:

  • Medium to large glass jar
  • Paper or plastic cup
  • Embroidery needle or stick pen
  • Permanent black marker
  • Stopwatch


First, use the stick pen to poke a small hole in the bottom of the cup. After this, fill the cup with water, and make sure that the water drips out at a steady rate. With the marker, make a fill line inside the cup so that you have a measured amount of water each time.

Next, place the cup into the mouth of the jar. Fill the cup with water to the fill line and immediately start your stopwatch. Make lines with the marker on the jar at predetermined intervals. Note that the water will drip more quickly at first due to water pressure; therefore, your lines should get closer together as more time passes. Remember not to let the water in the cup run out.

By looking at the jar of water and seeing how much water has dripped into it, you can tell how much time has passed. Enjoy this old way of telling time!

Practical homeshooling and it's results

We learned about gardening....from a very practical standpoint.

We learned that maple tree saplings need to be removed from gardens.
We learned how to trim a bush so it doesn't go over the doorstep.
We learned about killing ant hills that are too close to the house.

We learned about watering plants when you transplant them.
We learned about using maple branches as a fan and that giving them to bunnies is perhaps NOT a good idea (said bunnies will say LUNCH!).
We had fun going to the store and finding presents for daddy when he goes away next week.
We had fun handling chickies and baby ducks at the feed store.

I was very proud of my helpful boy child and his ability to prune a bush by himself, and pleased to honour his request to not throw out those particular branches until he was ALL done with them.
I was pleased with his willingness to help and to learn.
I was filled with joy at his ability to chat with complete strangers even as I wish he was chatting about something OTHER THAN mommy's thing for chickens. :)

My lad was pleased at his own efforts.
He was disappointed we couldn't find any black bugs.
He was angry at bunnies making lunch of his maple leaf fan.
He was happy he was able to do good work with mommy.
He was uncertain about using poison to keep ants out of our house...but happy he was able to help daddy find where the ant hills were.

It was a good day.  :)

variety in homeschooling

dominoes and physics. this led of course to our own experiments, and learning about energy. :)

The lad worked on math reflex while I got the dishes all caught up.

then we laughed at some pandas

then since the lad was having a difficult day (tonsils are swollen and sore again) we decided to pursue a passion.

we studied spiders by playing around on the web.

we learned that they have three sub-orders

Then we looked a whole ton of pictures and selected a few to find out where they come from giving us a chance to use our mapping skills.  

 We watched some you tube videos.

this is one with a bunch of pictures of mygalomorphs.


and then we headed off to do some reading.  :)   Always good to read.  

"Mommy!   Can we learn about a snake today?" was the plea.

"Sure" I replied.. so we learned about the ring-necked snake. 

 See here for the source.

We started off our story reading from 50 magical stories.  The story today was called The half-chick.   It was a funny story and "explains" why chickens are used as weather vanes.  It just made us laugh.

From there we moved on to Classical animal stories"   The Death of Gellert was a very sad story that immediately had my son thinking up a different ending to it.

From our world history book we have started to learn about the different types of weapons people have used throughout history.   Today we learned about how weapons can be made from stone.. especially from Flint which is a hard stone that is easily chipped away at to make a pointed stone.  



Cats are not easy homeschoolers :)

 while doing our "imagine a place"
 Everyone involved had a different interpretation
 and some well....imagined while ON someone else's work
and caused grins and distractions

impromptu learning

one of the reasons I choose to homeschool is I simply enjoy having my boy around.  :)   I like sharing his excitement in what he learns.

Yesterday while I was out doing some gardening I kept being interrupted by "mommy, come see this!"   So I'd trundle over to see what the lad had learned, done, accomplished, discovered and such forth.  Mind, I'd interrupt his play with "lad, can you come help me with...." and he'd come and help.  So turn about is fair play.

He was busy with a tub he's put together that is half water, and part sand and dirt.   He worked quite hard at dividing it up so that water stayed on one side, and the dirt on another.

First he discovered what a water table is. 
he dug down into various parts of his dirt section and learned that in most areas the dirt was damp but there was no water, but the closer he got to the water the more water there would be in the bottom of his hole.

Second he learned that doodle bugs (pill bugs) can float on a boat!     This made for marvellous story telling and laughter as we guessed what the pill bug thought of it all.

Then came the experiments with the pill bugs themselves.  
If he made an island would they stay on it?
Can they swim?
What happens if you roll them into a ball and drop them in?
What happens if they land on their backs?

We discovered they can swim for short sections of time.
They float really well.
They can not climb when they are in the water.
The big ones are smarter than the little ones, and the middle sized ones just bolt without looking and land up in the water ALL THE TIME (the little ones moved more slowly and the big ones tested things out first).   It was actually quite interesting watching the big ones.  They'd move to various parts of the island and lean WAY down and take a good look at the water, and then come back up and trundle to a different section and test it out to.   BUT once they fell in, they would do it all the time so I"m not sure what was up with that.
The small ones and big ones stayed on the island the longest, and only the small ones would stay on the boat for any length of time.

 this picture came from this site.

no pill bugs were harmed in these experiments.  :)

Learning by reading and games.

We started off our day playing bucking buckaroo a game we picked up at the yard sales on Saturday.

Then we read from a chapter out of black beauty.   The lad asked a TON of questions about what was going on and it was good to talk about standards of care, and how God wants us to take care of the animals around us.

We learned about the common loon in   the ultimate guide to wildlife of North America.    we've seen loons before so it was good to learn more about them.  One of the things we learned was there aren't as many as there used to be since people are destroying their habitats.

we started off with 50 magical stories.  The story today is called The Frog.   It was a story about a mom who wanted her son's to get the best wife.

in response to the story the lad said "I liked it!"   When asked why he liked it I got the response of "I liked it, mommy, I liked that the good witches were good and they helped the frog".   And yes, for those concerned .. he knows that we don't believe in witches, that witches don't love God and therefore are something we need to be wary of.

Then we finished off  pirates in our world history book.

He finished off both of the  Pirates sticker books.

When I asked if he was pleased with how we did the pirate work and how the books turned out he said yes.  When we talked about the pirates today we learned that there are still pirates today, but the pirates in the past were beaten because the navy built better ships.  Only the young ones (those up to 16 years old) weren't executed for being bad pirates.

we did another page in the "imagine a place" book

This has been such a fun book to use as a art book.  We read the poem and then draw a picture.  When we are all done with it, then we look at what the artist came up with and discuss it.   Today we needed to imagine  place were music sings where one dances all night on a summer night in a breeze (that wasn't how the poem went but something like it).   This sparked good conversation about what it means that music can sing, and what it means to dance, and I even needed to demonstrate what a waltz was. :)

We learned about bugs today.  We played another game, this one also purchased while yard saling.. called Go, Bugs.  You play it similarly to Go, Fish.  the object of the game is to build a four piece bug.  We didn't follow the rules since some games are difficult to play with just two people.  But we had fun and we learned about different types of bugs.  

The Gummy Experiment Part Two

Today we had time to pull out our gummi experiment

It was interesting.
your average gummy bear is 1 x 2 cm.

  • in milk 2 x3 felt solid
  • in plain water and sugar water  2.5 x 4 
  • in lemon juice 2 x 3 felt mushy AND the colour was faded
  • in splenda water x x 3 but much bigger (bulkier)
  • in salt water he was 16 mm x 8 mm
  • olive oil and corn syrup didn't change the size but change the texture and shape.  the lad said "mom, they are HARD" and the olive oil one had a misshaped head.
  • Vinegar was fascinating.  we didn't try to measure it because he was all mushy.. "feels like Pee!"   It was "GROSS"     Much and many exclamations about it.  "disgusting!"   and the colour was a very pale yellow.
  • Jam - feels like a gummy, was very sticky so difficult to measure .. we think he was 2.5 x 2 cm
  • cranberry juice - "he got darker"  measured 2.5 x 3 and was bigger.
when we cut them it was intriguing

We could not (without effort) cut the oil and corn syrup ones.
the vinegar one fell apart on us
everything else sliced and stood evenly.

Then we put our tongues on them.
Jam and cranberry and lemon juice tasted like what they were put into.
The splenda, sugar and plain water just tasted more gummy... with more sugar in it (for the sweet water ones)
the salt one... EW.. BLECH MOMMY!!!!
The lemonade one tasted like a sweet gummy that was odd... this one had the lad confused until I gave him three options of what it could be...and then he said "OH>> lemonade!!!"
We did not try the corn syrup, olive oil, vinegar or milk ones.  

This is a GOOD experiment to do with a budding scientist. :)

London Tree Trunk Tour

I'd like to see these in person.

London Tree Trunk Tour.

Science, math, and more...

Tonight we looked up, but didn't find, our monarch numbered NAW 325

looked him up in the database but didn't locate  him on there.  

Had a decent day today. 

the lad worked on reflex math this morning.   We did an experiment using gummi bears and various liquidy things, and also made ice cream cookies.  :)

 doing tests with gummi bears.   We immersed them in splenda water, plain water, milk, lemonade, sugar water, salt water, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, cranberry juice, jam and corn syrup.   We watched them throughout the day.  The lad was quite intrigued by the vinegar washing out the colour, the corn syrup one seeming to slow disappear, the salt one getting smaller, most of the others grew but with various side affects.   We will pull them out tomorrow and see what changes we observe.

On to the ice cream sandwiches.  First we made chocolate chip cookies.  No, we didn't make them from scratch...cookie dough was on sale!  :)
 These are good mommy!
 Don't they look good?
Mmmm... they ARE Good.  :)

Part of the afternoon was spent in catching two moths and one spider.  The spider was a teeny tiny one we found in the rhubarb patch.

OOH OOH.. and before I forget.  Our robin who is nesting outside the upstairs bathroom window has TWO eggs in her nest now!  :)

End of HOPE days and glow jars

A while ago on Pinterest I ran across this glow jar

So,.. tonight we made two of them.   The lad was ecstatic!  :)

 The jars before lights out
 The jars after lights out
I got some spilled on my shirt, made the lad laugh at the dancing lights every time I moved.

Over the last six weeks we've been having spring HOPE days.  This is a time when we get together as a HOPE group and teach our children collectively.  Some of the classes are rigourous, others are more laid back.   The lad took classes in Phys Ed, Bugs, and African animals.  he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
I taught a class of looking at the news from a christian perspective.


Seeing as the project fair is coming up this Friday night I thought ACK!!!   We need to get our spider study done!!!!!!!!

So today I set out to find spider crafts that the lad and I could do.
that and some cut and paste pictures we could put on file folders and what not. :)

I found this dot to dot.    

A poem we can use for copywork

By Janet Bruno

Spiderlings hatch from eggs.
Each one has eight tiny legs.
A spider has more eyes than you.
Most have eight, you have two.
A spider has two body parts.
Across its web it quickly darts.
From a spiders spinnerets
Sticky spider silky jets.
Spiders feel the frantic tugs,
Of their favorite food: its bugs!

 we used a copywork generator to make the sheet for the lad to trace.

Since there are all kinds of spider webs we decided it would be fun to see if we could replicate some.

Ergo we found the following crafts.

For a sheet/triangle web we found this one.

For an orb web this one or this one and this one.

Couldn't find a craft to do a tangled web, but I'm thinking of using spaghetti and then letting the lad dangle it around a balloon and just seeing how that works.  or maybe yarn as it's already in the house. :)  I got the idea from this page.
we hit upon the idea of making a funnel web using lego.   We looked up images of a funnel web and made one.  The lad is not too sure about the results of our work though so it might not come along to the project fair.   Since that was in issue, we used our brains and came up with this rather cool depiction.

when we finished making these things we did some cutting and pasting with lap book materials to make some spider pages.  We need to do some fine tuning on them yet though.


we are hoping over the course of the week to make more webs and to show different ways that spiders can live.   We also hope to catch a few spiders.