Our Lungs: Day 1

This week, we are looking at our lungs.

Sid the Science Kid, helped us navigate the workings of our respiratory system in this fun video.

My kids LOVE Sid the Science Kid, so any time I can use him in Science class, I’m on it!

We looked at a simple diagram that I had colored, (trying to make it as interesting as possible for the little ones), and briefly talked about the function of our lungs. As I began to lose all of them, (because lecturing, though sometimes necessary, never fails to create bored and antsy monsters,) we quickly switched gears to our experiment of the day! Daddy was around today so he helped us with this, which was very exciting for everyone!

Overview: The students will learn more about the structure of the lungs and experiment to measure the amount of air their lungs can hold.

Materials:

bubble solution (or dish soap)

drinking straw for each child

ruler for each child

large soft sponge

large clear container of water

tray or sheet of waxed paper for each child.

Activity:

Talk about the rib cage (protects the lungs), lungs, diaphragm (the muscle that the lungs use to take air in and push it out again) and the parts of the airway (mouth, nose, trachea).

Show the students the sponge and explain that lungs look a lot like a sponge. A sponge has a lot of little holes in it that hold water when it gets wet, like little water sacs. Our lungs also have little sacs, not holes, that hold air. Pass the sponge around to feel how light it is. Place the sponge in the water and watch how it floats until the water gets into the tiny water sacs and then it begins to sink as it fills up. When you lift the sponge from the water, it is heavy. When you  squeeze it, all of the water drains out of the water sacs and the sponge is light again. Our lungs work the same way, when we take a deep breath, our ribs spread out and our chest gets big so that our lungs can fill up with air. When we breathe out, our ribs come back together and our diaphragm squeezes all of the air from our lungs.

Our lungs grow as we grow. So babies have teeny lungs and their lungs can not hold much air. Adults have big lungs that can hold lots of air. Let’s see how much air our lungs can hold!

1. Pour about a tablespoon of bubble solution onto a tray and spread it all around so the whole surface of the tray is covered.

2. Dip one end of the straw into the solution, take a deep breath and blow a bubble through it. Measure your bubble and write down the number. Repeat this three times for each child.

3. Take the biggest measurement for each child and create a graph. This will allow everyone to see how much air their lungs can hold. (The biggest bubble should belong to the biggest person and the smallest to the smallest person). The bigger we grow, the larger our lungs become!

Our Bodies: Week 1

We are slowly but surely working our way through the Human Body. I decided to start from the inside and work our way out since we found a cool idea to make life size models! The kids each took turns laying face up on large sheets of butcher paper. They traced each other’s outlines and then we cut them out. After drawing their faces on their “shadows”, we hung them on the wall in our Science Center.

We began our study with our ORGANS. We made a life size cut out of each organ and taped them to our bodies in the correct spots;

Heart, Lungs, Stomach, Liver, Pancreas, Small Intestine, Large Intestine and we added the Trachea as it is part of our digestive process.

Japan

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In Geography, we are parked on the continent of Asia as we continue to explore several of its countries. We spent the last two weeks learning about Japan. The kids responded well to our study of Japan, and they enjoyed all of the neat crafts, food and cultural practices we studied. There is no shortage of fun ideas out there to implement into a Japan study, so we took some extra time in this country and we had a lot of fun.

Some of our favorite activities in this unit were our Carp Kites.We made these as we learned about the Children’s Day Festival.

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I found the Carp Pattern at Activity Village.com.

We painted them and then let them dry over night. The next day we tore up some tissue and glued it on top of the paint for decoration. After rolling it up and taping it, we glued long pieces of tissue to the tail. After punching a couple of holes that we laced yarn through, they were ready to be hung up!

We put them outside for a while (as is the Children’s Day custom) but they quickly began to get torn up in the Colorado wind. Now they have found a safe home in the school room, totem pole style!

We also had fun creating our very own TOKONAMA (because homes in Japan are often very small, one corner of the home is set aside for displaying art such as decorative scrolls, fans, dolls etc.)

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We spent one day making decorative family fans. Everyone got three pieces of 12 x 12 card stock to paint. As soon as it was dry we logged on to Google Translate and found our Japanese names. We painted these on one of our pieces of f 12 x 12 card stock with a black paint pen.Image

After folding each piece into an accordion, we glued them together, end to end, making sure the piece with our Japanese name was in the middle. Next, I punched holes all around the outside of the fan and we laced through the holes with some decorative ribbon. Finally, we gathered the bottom and secured it with masking tape to create the fan shape. They actually turned out really well.

Our tokonama also showcased our Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees. This was probably our very favorite craft for this unit. The first day we made the vases. Using toilet paper rolls, we cut a piece of white paper to fit and glued it all around. Next we painted the vases (rolls). As soon as the pain was dry, we tore little pieces of tissue to glue on them for decoration. We also glued some “jewels” that I found in bulk at a craft store all around.

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While the glue dried, we took a walk outside and found several small tree branches, one for each of us. We made sure to pick branches that had many smaller twigs growing off of them.

We then took tiny pieces of pink tissue paper and balled them up into little flowers and hot glued each flower onto the tree branches we had gathered. The end result was a very realistic Cherry Blossom Branch.

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We quickly found that our branches were too heavy for our vases. So we measured and cut cardboard circles and hot glued them to the base of our vases. (I created a tight seal with the hot glue). We then filled the vases about 2/3 full with sand bought from a craft store. I coated the bottom of the Cherry Blossom Tree with hot glue before putting it into the vase and let the glue set into the sand. I then put a layer of hot glue all around the top layer of sand and packed all of the extra large pieces of tissue in the vase all the way to the top to seal off the sand. This worked surprisingly well.

The girls finished all of their work early one day and were each able to paint a  paper Kokeshi doll that we added to our Tokonama as well.

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To conclude our study of Japan, we took the kids to our local Hibachi restaurant for a fun family dinner.

If I have the belief that I can do it…

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

My very own blog.

If you know me, you know why this situation is slightly comical. I do love my laptop and my hand-me-down ipad and iphone, don’t get me wrong! But even these beloved gadgets often provoke a fair share of anxiety in my life when the task at hand becomes any more involved than placing a phone call, typing a word document, surfing the internet or playing Angry Birds!

I have recently joined the ranks of homeschool mom’s, however, and the question, “What has the Homeschool endeavor been like for you?” has become a frequently asked question in my life. My husband and I spent the first few years of our marriage moving around a lot, and as a result, we have a good deal of friends and family scattered across the land who are always asking how things are going and wanting pictures and updates. I am beginning to realize that sending out mass email updates and flooding my facebook page with pictures is becoming a bit overwhelming. Thus, I have decided to join the exciting and very much new and unknown (to me)  world of blogging! I am sure this will be an evolutionary experience.

I have wracked my brain about how and where to begin and have decided that the best place to start is with me, a favorite subject of mine! (HA!) Just kidding… sort of. :) Anyway, so here is the Cliff’s Notes version of how I became a card carrying member of the homeschool mom’s club!

I began homeschooling as soon as my oldest was ready for Preschool. I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. I went out and bought one of those complete curriculum kits and had at it. What could go wrong?… HA! Apparently a lot. I failed miserably! I fumbled my way through the kit and spent most of my time being confused and frustrated. After about a month of spinning my wheels to no avail and watching my daughter become grumpy and combative whenever it was time for “school”, I went out and got another kit and tried again. This cycle continued until we had an entire bookshelf dedicated to entombing all of my failed attempts and soon it was time to start Kindergarden. Luckily, God pointed us to a wonderful Charter School that was just starting up in our neighborhood. We promptly enrolled our daughter in their Kindergarden program.

Whew! I began dropping her off at school in the mornings with a sigh of relief. The ball was no longer in my court! I had a toddler and a baby at home that needed my attention and this whole homeschool thing was reserved for the Super Mom’s of the world, and I was resigned to the fact that I did not own a cape nor had I been endowed with any superpowers! The Charter School ended up being a huge blessing for our family that year and the next. As our daughter’s First grade year began to come to an end, I began to feel a nagging in my heart that would not leave me alone. Our circumstances had changed our two younger children were getting bigger and more independent, financially, we were being blessed and our beloved Charter School was beginning to implement some changes of its own. A few of these changes my husband and I could not get fully on board with. I began to feel the call to homeschool… agin. WHAT? “um… tried that, God! Were you not paying attention during my last attempt? This has to be some kind of mistake!” I ignored the small voice in my head. Soon it became a large voice, but I put forth a Herculean effort and continued to push it aside. When it finally came time to enroll our daughter in Second grade, we filed the paper work and scheduled her entrance interview, but when the day arrived to meet her new teacher, I couldn’t do it. I knew we were heading down the wrong road for what ever reason and we called the school and had her pulled from the class.

Of course at this point, I had spent the entire summer running from the idea of homeschooling, so I got to spend the next month sleeplessly wading through the vast and daunting waters of becoming a homeschool mom. I very adamantly encourage anyone leaning towards homeschool, don’t wait until the last minute! It could very well become the death of your soul! (Well, that might be a tad dramatic… but really, start early and do lots of research ahead of time!)

That was two years ago, and I am happy to say that we are now functioning as a successful homeschool family! On the surface we have all of our ducks in a row, our paperwork is filed with the district, we have met state requirements, and I am a record keeping maniac… just don’t look to deep beneath the surface. I am still a hot mess most days and I still spend many nights at my computer planning lessons and organizing, watching the hours tick away into oblivion, knowing that is more sleep I will never get back. This whole experience can certainly become overwhelming at times. But the blessings we have reaped through the process have made this experience worth every last hour of lost sleep!

I have been asked a few times recently for my advice from moms on the fence about taking the homeschool plunge. My advice is this: “If you feel the call to become a homeschool mom, or dad, and your circumstances allow for it, do it! Expect to spend a lot of time on your knees seeking wisdom and patience, expect some sleepless nights, commit to organizing your life as much as humanly possible, and expect to have days that can only be chalked up to a learning experience, but do it all the same.” This process has been so amazing for our family. I have come to know my kids so much in ways that I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise. I love being in control of what they are learning and how they are learning it (let there be no confusion that I am well aware of my control- freakishness). I love spending so much structured one on one time with each of my kids in the school environment. It has been amazingly empowering and uplifting for me as I have learned my own strengths and grown into them, and I have had to learn to recognize my weaknesses and not judge myself for them, but find ways around them.This has been interesting as I am a perfectionist and tend to be heavily critical of myself, but I am learning! One of my favorite things is waking up to three precious kids who are genuinely excited for school time and always wanting to know what we will learn about next! This has been such a precious journey, one which we plan to continue on until God calls us to do otherwise. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Now for brief introductions:

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Our oldest, who has just begun THIRD GRADE (I am still trying to wrap my head around that!) She is the sweetest little girl that ever lived! She has always been quite the girlie girl. When she was tiny, I deemed her “Miss Prissy” as she was not often seen without her princess crowns and tutus. The nickname stuck and has been slightly adapted to a now more mature, “Missy”.

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Our Kindergardener! Much can be said about this little man! He is full of impossible amounts of energy and personality. He is impossible to exhaust, and he has been the instrument through which God has taught me the necessity of patience and adaptability in parenthood! He has also been the source of massive amounts of joy and sunshine in our lives. Our little “Cricket” who never stops chirping! Image

And the baby (though we don’t dare call her that!) She is our little independent child. She has aptly been deemed, “Monkey”, a nickname she received as an infant. If someone is going to be found climbing on, over, or under something it will be her! And we are pretty sure her bones are made of rubber!

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Me and the kiddos.

Let me just say in conclusion to this, my very first blog post, if I can do this… well, ANYONE can!!

And so, with that said…. I thank you for stopping by and I bid you luck on your own journey and ask for your prayers as I stumble through mine!