We have been busy little bees recently, squeezing in lot of things before the end of the term, which is one week away. We’ve also been to bookclub, the park a couple of times, the trampolining centre, the movies, and the theatre.
At the theatre, we saw a production of “1984”. It was intense but very well orchestrated. Definitely worth the visit for mature students.
With all of this driving around, between three different cities (yep, we get around), we have had a lot of time to listen to audio stories. At present we are wrapping up, “Echo” by Pam Munoz Ryan. You should listen to this audio (the book couldn’t be as good as the audio because of the musical element to the story). It is amazing! The story structure is rather quirky. It has three stories within one story, all tied together with a harmonica. And each of the stories is brilliantly crafted and very touching. The stories deal with difficult topics but in such a way that lots of ages, from young to old, could appreciate this book. We’ll definitely be checking out more of this author’s writing. She’s very talented.
We’ve been reading a stack of stuff, as always. Recently, we’ve polished off “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk” about the lost boys fleeing Southern Sudan, “Child Soldier” about a boy in Northern Uganda, and “The Hero Schliemann” (cause there’s only so many bad news African stories you can cope with in a week) about the man who’s renown for uncovering the city of Troy. We’re also a third of the way through, “John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell and the Land of Promise” and part way through several others.
We’ve watched a stack of documentaries on all manner of topics:
* “The Road to Freedom Peak” about returned child soldiers in Northern Uganda (very hard hitting)
* “On Our Watch: Genocide in Dafur” about the current genocide and people displacement in Sudan (no, the atrocities haven’t ended in Sudan)
* “Namibia: Genocide and the Second Reich” about the genocide that Germany was responsible for well BEFORE Hitler came to power
* “The Good Life” (which is actually a movie) about several Lost Boys of Sudan who immigrate to the US
* “The Human Experiment” about the chemicals used in our everyday world that are linked to all manner of illnesses
* “Print the Legend” about the businesses who designed 3D printers for private use
* “The Last Man on the Moon” about astronaut Gene Cernan
and, last but not least by any means,
* “A Plastic Ocean” about how plastic is affecting our world and its occupants (it was really horrifying to watch the amount of plastic that was being pulled out of the stomachs of animals)
We’ve also been researching information about problems in Africa. Every time we receive a catalogue from Christian bookstores, there are always a number of pamphlets requesting help for all manner of problems. So, recently, we took the time to have a closer look at the issues. The issue that stirred us the most was River Blindness. Have you heard of River Blindness? “Dark Forest Black Fly” was an excellent documentary on the topic.
We’ve also been picking up our pens and doing plenty of Math and Writing. Both boys have finished their persuasive essays on whether man walked on the moon and we have been working hard to finish our current Math chapter before the holidays.
The boys have also been building various things, like this force gauge.
We tested it with our purchased force gauge and the Newtons on the device are actually pretty accurate.
The boys also built an all-terrain vehicle and investigated speed.
We’ve also been exploring the physics involved in sailing. Are you like I was and think that sail boats move because air fills the sail and pushes it? Rest assured, we’re not alone. Most people think this.
Sails actually use the principle of lift to move the boat. Seriously. Check out this video..
Recently, the boys also had a bit of centre of gravity fun. Have you ever tried to balance a coin on the edge of a note (or piece of paper)? It’s easier than you might think. Just fold your piece of paper or paper money and form a bit of a V and balance your coin there. Then slowly and smoothly open out your paper. (We found it helpful to lift it slightly off the surface of the bench).
Voila. A coin balancing on seemingly an impossibly difficult edge. Give it a go.
We also balanced a soda can on a weird angle. Pour about 100mls of water in the bottom of your can and give it a go. It’s really easy.
You can even gently nudge it so that it circles around. Impressed? We were!
The boys also pulled out their Jenga blocks and built towers that seem to defy gravity. It doesn’t take much to amuse homeschooled children. 🙂
I’m sure there is plenty of other stuff we have done recently. In fact, I know there was. We’ve watched economic videos, we’ve done Logic lessons, we’re read about engineering concepts, we’ve done Latin lessons and plenty of other good stuff.
When I haven’t been working on school with the boys, I’ve been reading…of course. My latest find is “Fablehaven“. It’s a series but I’ve only read the first book as I’m waiting for the box set to arrive. And it’s good. If you liked “Harry Potter”, you will probably like “Fablehaven”. Fablehaven is a secret magical creature refuge. When Kendra and Seth, the caretaker’s grandchildren, arrive at Fablehaven, the refuge just looks like an idyllic garden surrounded by woods as their grandfather is doing his best to keep Fablehaven a secret. Of course, no secret is ever kept long from children and all sorts of adventures happen of which you’ll have to read the series to find out. Now, the fact that I’m recommending this book is kind of epic. You see, I generally don’t like fantasy books (I’ll let you in on a little secret – I only read four of the seven Harry Potter books as I got bored of them.) But Fablehaven, despite being fantasy, grabbed me and held me and even caused me to buy the whole series. Yes, I enjoyed it that much.
Currently, I’m reading a big person book. Yes, I occasionally do that. I’m reading Brian Kilmeade’s “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates“. This author writes really well. It’s a rare treat to find a non-fiction title that is so well written that you can’t put it down, but this book is one of them. It helps that I’m partial to all things Jefferson. Plus I’m fascinated by the topic. Do you know anything about the Barbary Coast and the Tripoli Pirates? It’s well worth a little read or research. Here’s a quick summary.
So that’s what we’ve been up to this past week or so. Hope everyone else is having a lovely time.