Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chemistry Revisited

I surprise most people who know me when they find out that my undergraduate major was biochemistry. I would say degree but that would be an overstatement of just 3 more classes. Most people assume that I majored in some sort of music category. Not true! I love the sciences. I always wanted to be a doctor. I worked in the medical field for many years and loved the challenge of the schooling associated with medicine. I obviously ended up choosing a different path in my life. But I still love the sciences!

Today, I was perusing this chemistry course and signed up for a free trial. I wanted to see what I remembered and I wanted to stretch my mind in that scientific/math stretching kind of way. It has been a fun, fun day. I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten but within the hour most of it had come back to me and I was zooming through problem after problem. Maybe I need to go finish up those last 3 classes? It's a thought!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Game

While perusing one of my favorite blogs, I read about this Colorku game. It's a sudoku game that instead of using numbers, you use colors. I thought it looked like a lot of fun but my $ was all gone. So, my girls and I sat down one day and made our own version. It cost us less than $2 and has been a huge hit. I used clear flat marbles, a circle punch and cardstock. We glued the circles on the bottom of the marbles. They dried in just a few minutes. I then went online and generated sudoku puzzles in very easy, easy and medium. I made up my own sudoku grid and instead of putting in numbers put in a color. I printed out the puzzles-1 per page and placed them in page protectors in a binder. I have 30 puzzles that I made if anyone wants a copy. We have made 3 game boards for us. I had a box that a scrapbook came in. It had a natural grid as you can see. I simply drew the lines with a sharpie.
We sometimes all work on different puzzles or race each other using one puzzle. It's been so much fun. It seems like someone is playing the game at all times. I'm making a magnetic version as well (placing magnets on the back of the marbles and then making a grid on a sheet of metal-it will be good for traveling, bedtime etc.)
Thanks for great ideas!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bedtime Stories

My family is on a very late night schedule. Kylie is the only one that puts herself to bed early on in the evening. She has to get up very early-the rest of the children don't. There isn't enough of me to go around in the evenings and normally it makes for a very loud, hard to calm evening. That is until this past week.

A few months ago I picked up some mp3 players for $5.00 a piece. I bought 4 of them. This week I discovered that my local library system has a Digital Media Center. I can check out audio books and music and download them right to my computer for three weeks at a time. The kids and I went through the list of available books and they all chose books they felt they would like to hear. Each night, I load 1-2 hours worth of reading onto each of their mp3 players. They head to bed at 9:00, listen till done, go to sleep and can't wait for the next evenings chapters. Even the two year old has her own player. She loves it.
With all of these books, we are still in the middle of reading three different chapter books during the day.
This weeks listenings: Land of Elyon Book 1, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Keeper of the Grail bk 1, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Dr. Seuss Collection, The Diamond of Darkhold bk 4 Ember Series and Anne of Green Gables.

I'm enjoying the quieter evenings, Kylie is loving the quieter atmosphere and I'm getting a little more time with hubby. It's been a good, good thing!

For Kylie

My daughter Kylie would like me to post that she is amazing! Kylie you are amazing! There, I've now posted about you at least 4 times! Love you...

Is it really January?

Okay Okay! I'm now getting private emails from friends to please update my I'm going to get back on the blogging bandwagon as of NOW! My laptop is still dead and I realize I'm awfully dependant on it for blogging.
My first updates are about learning. A couple of months ago 'Lapaz Home Learning' had some posts that really inspired me. I copied her idea for idea for a few days and have since branched out on my own. Three days a week I put out trays filled with different activities. They explore concepts in art, math, science and literature. I let the kids decide if they would like to explore the trays. They seem to always want to. Sometimes the same tray is out for several days because the kids keep coming back to it or have asked it to stay out so they can get to it. It's been really fun for me to think of ways to help their natural curiosity.
Again, I stole several of these ideas directly from Lapaz Home Learning-you can find her under my learning links.
For this tray I printed out different photos and labels of clouds. On the back side were facts about that type of cloud. I placed cardstock squares, cottonballs, glue and a pen. This was the result...
On the backside of these are the type of cloud plus one or two facts. The kids have been naming clouds nonstop since this activity.

Another tray:
I put out a couple of different Dr. Seuss books. We read them aloud-each taking turns. Then the kids made their own characters for a Dr. Seuss book. This was a really fun day and everyone got involved. Some of the kids even made up their own 'scenes' for their new characters to act out. The result:

The building tray...
has lots of architectural stuff on it. Clays, tools, sugar cubes, glue, books-all to inspire dimensional thinking. A result: This tray we spent days playing with. It started out with dimensional wood shapes-spheres, cubes, pyramids etc. toothpicks, marshmallows and dots. Dots were much more stable than marshmallows.

This hexagon was so stable we actually could roll it across the table.

This was our DOTS/MARSHMALLOW CARNIVAL. We had a very stable bridge, buildings, ferris wheels etc. So much fun!

Some more trays:

This is Sams artwork using the watercolor crayons.

Bingo-this is to help Sam with his larger numbers. It's been a great way to practice those numbers without him knowing it.

We had so much fun building the dimensional shapes that we started a study on crystals. This is the beginning of a Ruby Geode.

This was another art day focusing on butterflies.

Math with tangrams and geoboards. I made a set of tangrams for each of the kids out of foam. They constantly play with this.
Okay! It feels good to post again. My purpose in posting is to keep a record of our family happenings. I just needed to remind myself of that. See y'all tomorrow. You're going to LOVE the game I made. We are addicted to it. See ya tomorrow.