Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little more of our week

We tried our hand at Chinese calligraphy.  We used this neat kit with clear instructions (gotta love that!). 

I thought it was fun too that the next time we read the book, one of the boys noticed that there was an ink stick and stone like ours in the book!  We then tried our hand at writing some of the symbols in the book, Grass Sandals.  The boys loved doing this and did a really nice job with it too!  I was thankful to remember that we had this kit now while we were doing the lesson instead of stumbling on it several months later.  LOL

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend who was telling me about making pasta from scratch.  I've never been all that interested because honestly, it sounded too hard.  Well, hearing her talk about it sounded more doable than I had thought - and she offered to show me how.  We picked a date and opened it up to our homeschool group.  There were 6 of us there for a fun, informative (and ultimately delicious) time together.

The ingredients were few - semolina flour, water, oil, salt and eggs.  She told us we could substitute other oils for olive oil (for example could use pesto) or substitute other wet ingredients for the water (like pumpkin). 

She made the flour, then flattened it in rollers.  (Could also do this by hand).  Next came cutting the pasta after it had dried out a little bit.

Then putting it into boiling water. 

A few minutes later and we were enjoying the noodles.  An added benefit for my family is that we were given the leftovers which we all happily enjoyed for dinner!!!  YUM!  Thank you Laura!

Even though I've seen how to do it, I'm not convinced that I actually will do it.  I don't even find time to bake bread most weeks and I already know how to do that!  Like all of us, I battle with the hours in my day and trying to fit in all that I want and need to do.  I'm not sure what I'd have to give up to add this in, kwim?  I do appreciate knowing how and knowing that I can do it, if I want to. 

Our FIAR group field trip this week was to visit the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  The children were split into 4 groups based on age.  Eliana actually went into the preK group with a friend (they had a story time and another activity) and I went with Daniel and Isaiah into the next age group.  Daniel wasn't willing to go without me and I really wanted him to experience something that was more age appropriate for him.

They had two classes.  The first was on wild and domestic animals.  They discussed using their five senses to identify animals.  They were given large bags with items inside (antlers, a shell, snakeskin, etc.) that they tried to identify using only their sense of touch. 

The also looked at pictures of animals and talked about whether they were wild or domesticated as well as neat features of each animal.  Lastly, the played charades - acting out different animals.

The second class was called Tox in a Box.

The children learned about chemicals - what they are and where they are found.  They learned that some are good and some not good.  They also learned that some things can be good in small amounts and make you feel bad in larger amounts.  (Dosage)  One example given was candy and another orange juice.  I couldnt help but think of Joshua and how him having diabetes has forever colored the way that I view things.  A glass of juice just isn't the easy, "good" option it was just a year ago - now it's a means of correcting a low and even then in a small amount.  I digress.

They saw a hands-on demo about dosage using food coloring in a large, medium and small container of water.  Putting the same amount of coloring in each glass did not have the same results.  This is the same as a grown person ingesting the same amount as a child and it not having the same effect. 

I'm going to be fuzzier on the other classes since I was not there.  The next group  first learned about measuring energy and actually used a machine to measure various gadgets.  The second half was talking about the food chain. 

The oldest group first did a particle matching - looking at pictures from a microscope and matching them to what they believed them to be.  They worked in pairs.  Then they had a tour of the EPA building. 

It was in interesting and fun day.  Due to the weather, we did not go to a park for lunch, but instead came home.  I missed the time hanging out with friends, but given our long day yesterday (more on that tomorrow, it was good to relax a little bit too.

I hope you are having a fun week - learning new things, enjoying your family and friends and laughing often.