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Archive for September, 2009

Technically, today is the last day of summer, but look what we got today! We woke up to snow! And proceeded to get a few inches today.


I should’ve taken a snow photo actually outside, but I was busy all day and just so happened to have my camera up in our Learning Loft (photos coming next), and I loved how blue the outside looked compared to the warm interior.

To emphasize our science topic this week of “Air”, we were thrilled to have a windy day, perfect for kite flying! You gotta love it when you can combine science with physical activity and fun!


We certainly got a lot of running in today, as it wasn’t consistent windy, rather gusts of occasional winds, so often we had to provide our own power by running. Of course our family had to have a flying pteradactyl!


David trying to fly the other kite.


Air is fun!


Earlier today, at home, we performed science experiments that show the two points I wanted to demonstrate:

  1. Air takes up space.
  2. Air has weight.

Dr. Nebel’s book shows you how to setup these easy experiments that successfully drive the point home, and even my husband and I learned some things today!

Air takes up space

Air takes up space

Here mom is blowing in the water, pushing the air into the water, which bubbles back up to the surface. Kashi the cat had fun observing the air. 🙂


I love experiments!

– I overheard Satori saying this to herself today…

Here’s our balloon experiment which showed us that air does indeed weigh something.

Air has weight

Air has weight

Saturday we spent the day in Breckenridge for their Oktoberfest. The drive was beautiful, the trees were all turning their colors and the weather was perfect! Here’s some photos of our day.

Dog waiting patiently for his owner to return, ski slopes in the background. His eyes never wavered from the spot he saw his owner last. His brother is in the cab of the truck, doing the same…


Upside-down laughing girl on her way to the party.


We soon found the stream running through the town, with children playing in it. It wasn’t long before Satori made her way across.


Trying to get back to Daddy on the other side, sipping from his Breck beer bug.


Mom trying to warm her back up!


Satori smiles…


Got two geocaches during the day, one was just a few yards away from where we got our third and last shared beer. The second was on our way home. Geocaching brings you to beautiful vistas like this! This was just a few miles south and my eyes would’ve never set upon this sunset-lit scene if it hadn’t been for the cache. We didn’t see any mountain goats as it suggested we might, but it was a memorable moment nonetheless.


Does anyone know what the heck these eggs are? We were walking around Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park today and I promised I’d try to find salamanders for Satori (she’s fascinated with them)… I turned over a rock and found these dotted eggs! (Click for larger detail.)


Anyway, we had a wonderful day spent with my Aunt Marge! We drove all around the flatlands, foothills and finally mountain area.




It was a beautiful day, with many yellow Aspens, and gorgeous scenery. Can’t wait to drive further west in Colorado this weekend!


Sep 16

The next few weeks are busy ones for us. We have a guest at our house for a few days, and then we’re heading to Breckenridge over the weekend for my birthday. Next weekend we’re heading to Wisconsin to see my parents, that could be 7-10 days or so…

But a quick update on how homeschooling is going! We are now starting our third week in kindergarten with a slightly increased number of lessons/time, but it is going great! Satori’s handwriting, reading, and spelling improve drastically it seems everyday. She can read and spell words at a mid-1st grade/2nd grade level. We’ve finished learning ALL lower-case letters. She got the 1-10 numbers down pat on the AL Abacus, tally sticks and fingers for RightStart Math, we’re ready to see where it takes us next. We are finally finishing up  our prehistory studies, and the next stuff  we cover will be actual human history. In fact, we’ve hit a few important milestones and will be spending a month or two reviewing/practicing everything before moving on in some subjects! This post is about our new subject we’ve started – Science.

Science is Satori’s current favorite subject. I’m pretty psyched about it too, and have dedicated a space in our house for a science corner, I’m dubbing it the “Science Station”. I just added a very inexpensive desk and bookshelf to the space. Here’s a peek at the preliminary area:


I got some black posterboard, border and letters and put a “Science Station” poster above her desk. I still have to put up the cork/white board up on the wall. Finally, I might want to paint it to give it some color. What would go good with black floor? The other end of this room is our fitness gym, so it should be a lively color.


Later today we’ll be doing a BFSU science lesson on Air. We’ll learn that it does indeed take up space and weighs something (see above book – AIR is heavier than nothing”), by doing a few experiments and then reading a few go-along books. You can see above I have our play sink all setup for some of the experiments.

Here’s our go-along books for Air:


The I Face the Wind book by Vicki Cobb is great, very colorful and presents the concepts very nicely for a 4-5 year old. I just see it won an award – the Sibert Honor for the Most Distinguished Informational book in 2004! Also for science, there’s all the Let’s Read and Find Out series, this one we already had at home, but first time reading it – Air Is All Around You.

To be honest, I think with these two books, we covered Air pretty nicely, I am not all the other books I got from the library are necessary, we’ll see how it goes…

to a little girl who never sees fall leaves… Sorry if we always take pictures of outgoing cards before the receiver gets them, but I love to document them. 🙂

Up here at 9000 feet in the mountains, we do not get to see rich reds and oranges in the trees, only vivid gold aspen leaves. And of course we see the greens of the evergreens. But it only takes 30 minutes to get low enough to find some of the colorful leaves!


Here’s sending some of that color to a little girl who doesn’t get to see the autumn color near her home… This is the same leaf we took a picture of a few days ago down in Lyons, Colorado, pressed and hopefully will be enjoyed a bit longer. The color faded a bit before we pressed it, but it’s still very pretty.


Satori wanted to write this letter, I had nothing to do with the sentences except to help her spell them. (And I didn’t help too much, I seem to have forgotten a word, hehe.) She’s come so far from the time we first started sending out pen pal letters. In the spring, I will probably not have to help her do anything to write her letters!


Digging more into our Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding book (BFSU), we truly hit one of the basic foundations of science by examining the States of Matter – Solid, Liquid, and Gas. We  used our new Science Station corner area, which has a floor we can use as a chalkboard!


Of course, as I setup the station, Satori grabbed some chalk and explored the novelty of writing on the floor. 🙂


I gathered examples of each state of matter… and set them on a tray…

It’s all set! Satori is sitting at the Science Station, go-along books ready, and her blank science journal for the lesson.


We went over the lesson, and afterwards separated all of our items into their corresponding current states of matter. We had fun exploring some items who had different states of matter depending on the temperature, or how to tell a solid like sugar from a liquid, and smelling various odors emanating from the items (gases).


David helped out with the lesson, and we saw how water can be different states of matter, and watched a solid form into a liquid before our eyes with an icecube, chocolate kisses, and butter. David made hot chocolate and we saw all 3 states of matter in the process (powder solid, chocolate liquid, and steam gas).

Finally, Satori made her first Science journal, just two pages folded in half made into a book.


Did I tell you she has a bit of a sense of humor?


I’m so happy we covered this important lesson, I’ve been noticing how this comes in handy all throughout the week as we learn about different things, science and non-science!

Both Dr. Nebel’s book, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, and his Yahoo support group will help present this lesson, as well as assist you in covering the difficult questions that may arise.