Monday, October 26, 2009

awesome autumn

So it seems I am becoming a once a month blogger. Gone are the days when I could post three a month and have time to spare. Oh precious time, where have you gone? Just kidding. I'm pretty much a lazy slacker and I spend to much time on Facebook. So, down with Facebook and today I blog. TLC is not in session today due to colds. Please pray for Hannah, her asthma is intense to say the least.

This week was supposed to be "catch-up" week at TLC so it's a good week to fill with sick days, not to mention that homeschool kids don't really "miss" school unless they are really too sick to do anything. A sick day for us just means we cough and sniff all over our school books and do it anyway. Amazingly, we didn't have to catch-up on much anyway, we have stayed right on track since September. Here are some of the super fun things we have done this month.

For science we took a look at the basic parts of a plant and animal cell. Below is our animal cell made of gelatin, grapes, beans and raisins.
This is our plant cell. It's hard to tell but it is in a clear plastic container in addition to the cell membrane baggie so it has a cell wall and you can also see all of the green grape chloroplasts that we added. Certainly not a model to save but it was really cool to make and we all enjoyed the tactile experience of smooshing the cytoplasm around.
Cells were a catalyst into our study of plants and their parts. In this lesson we were studying flowers. We found lots of specimens to examine, fortunately we got to this lesson before the frost came!
The kids have been doing some lessons on their own too. The fascination with rocks continues. While digging holes in the yard the kids found some "chalk rocks" They write on the driveway and are very easy to break. They decided to pulverize them, add some water and make chalk sticks. I was very impressed with their little experiment. In the end their chalk never hardened all the way but it was a great experiment none the less.
We have tried to get out and enjoy as much beautiful fall weather as possible. We took a lovely hike down an Audubon Society trail one afternoon.
I am always amazed at what the kids spot on a hike. They are so observant. We spied this fuzzy creature on a stem. It is the caterpillar of a giant leopard moth. I don't think I have ever seen one of these moths but I am not usually one to stick around and examine a moth.
We took in some breathtaking views.
We found (and scared to death with 8 pairs of eager hands) a little toad.

All in all it was a very educational hike as hikes almost always are. There is just so much to see and explore on a simple walk through the woods!
Of course we went apple picking too! We didn't actually do this as a group. Jason and I took our kids on lovely afternoon. I need my own apple trees. We picked 40 pounds and I would have picked double that if it didn't cost so much. We eat a lot of apples and I didn't even get to make apple sauce.

We did get to make apple cider though! My friend Amy hosted her annual apple day. She opens her home to homeschoolers in our area and we come and enjoy lots of apple activities and snacks. She has a cider press too so we can bring our apples and make cider!

This is Amy's very helpful son washing my apples for me.
The kids all worked hard crushing the apples and then pressing them to squeeze out all the juice. We had 20 lbs of apples and we got 1 gallon of cider!
To continue the fall fun back at TLC we did some leaf rubbing. I thought for sure they would be bored with this by now but for some weird reason the kids still forget this activity from year to year and it's like new every time. They made some beautiful pictures.

I am coming to realize that we have a lot of "fall traditions." Apple picking, pumpkin picking, jumping in leaves, leaf rubbing and of course, the fall foliage train ride! I dressed the kids in fall colors for this autumn family photo.

Bella, is very grown up this year, she didn't sit with us on the train, she hung out with her friends instead. It was kind of weird for me but natural at the same time. I guess that is how it is when your babies grow up, weird but natural at the same profound.

Back at school the kids have been doing some beading. It is one of their choice time activities. They worked out some beautiful and complex patterns (a requirement) and have made some nice pieces. I expect more of this as the holidays approach.
Ian and Mika had their own set of foam beads that they worked with for a long time. They also made some beautiful (although bulky) jewelry.
Isaac and Nova were actually doing math while everyone else beaded but they certainly weren't missing out on the fun factor. They love working with the "math bank" and figuring out equations with units, tens, hundreds and thousands.
Oh yeah, and we made some caramel apples too. It was the long and arduous cooking task for Bella, Hannah and Lexie. They were very very gooey and delicious.
My last thing to report for now, but certainly not the least, is that my niece, Annika Marie Mason, was born on October 15th! This beautiful little bundle entered the world at 2:57 am weighing in at 7.08lbs and was 19 inches long. She came 12 days after her due date but when she finally decided to make her arrival she did it fast to say the least. Mommy and baby are doing amazing.
My kids, and her big sister Madi were soooo excited.
Annika is a very lucky little girl to have such a loving big sister...
and a loving big cousin.
She is just soooooooo cute!

So, once everyone is better we are going to finish up our study of South America and move on to Australia. We'll also be celebrating all of the blessings of Thanksgiving! We have so much to be Thankful for!