Thursday, September 30, 2010


This is beyond awesome!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watermelon Math

This terrific idea comes from MathWise! Over 100 Hands-On Activities that Promote Real Math Understanding, by James L. Overholt and Laurie Kincheloe. This is one of my favorite resources for great math activities.

First, we gathered our supplies:

Then we talked about different ways to measure our watermelon. First, we put it on a sheet of paper, and used a straight edge to make a mark at each end. This gave us the measurement of the straight line from the stem to the end. do you measure something that curves? Well, both kids suggested using the tape measure from the sewing kit, but I wanted it to be a bit more challenging! We tried using the metal tape measure, but of course, it didn't conform exactly to the watermelon's shape. It did give us a pretty good estimate.

Then we wrapped a piece of yarn over the melon, cut it at the stem, and measured the yarn. Ta-da! An exact measurement! We did the same thing for the circumference of the watermelon.

We compared the pieces of yarn, and noted the difference in the lengths.

Then we took turns holding the watermelon and estimating its weight. We also picked up a five-pound bag of sugar and a one-pound package of butter for comparison.

Once we had estimated the weight, we wanted an accurate measurement. But our little kitchen scale can't handle something as heavy as a watermelon. And if we put the melon on the bathroom scale, we can't see the dial. What to do?

First, we weighed Super on the bathroom scale. Then, we weighed Super holding the watermelon. Then we solved for the unknown. If Super's weight is known, and Super plus the watermelon is known, then how can we find the unknown? Subtraction!

Once we cut the watermelon, we were able to find the radius and diameter. (We put a bit of plastic wrap over it first.)

Have you ever wondered how much edible watermelon there is compared to rind? We did. How could we figure it out?

Well, we each ate some watermelon and saved the rind. We found the weight of this bowl.

And then we put our rinds in the bowl. We found the weight of the rind with the bowl and then subtracted the weight of the bowl. As it happens, we ate exactly one-fourth of the watermelon. So, we were able to multiply the weight of this rind to get the total estimated weight of the entire rind.

The book also suggests doing activities with the watermelon seeds, but I could not find a seeded watermelon anywhere! That's OK, we'll be doing some pumpkin math soon, and I'm sure we'll find plenty of seeds then!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aaw, shucks!

Thanks to Denise at Light, Liberty, and Learning for giving me a Beautiful Blogger award! I'm honored! Denise has been homeschooling her nature-loving kids for many years, and she posts helpful reviews on her blog. I'll be watching carefully for advice and ideas, because she has a daughter just a little older than Super.

And thanks to Heather at This Adventure Life for the One Lovely Blog award! Like Super and Dude, Heather's kids attended school before making the switch to homeschooling. I always enjoy reading her thought-provoking posts, and it's fun to check out her latest activities since her family lives in my old stompin' grounds.

So, seven facts about myself, huh? I'm not sure I'm interesting enough to think of seven things, but I'll give it a go:

I spend the first hour of my day with a cup of coffee, my computer, and at least one dog in my lap (frequently more.) Other than the dogs snoring, this is the only quiet moment of my day.

I admire and envy people organized people. It just doesn't come naturally to me. I'm constantly working towards an organized life, and I've read all the books and tried lots of systems. I do manage to keep our homeschooling records in good order, but the other household paperwork is my downfall. How does it pile up so fast?

When I was a kid, I played the flute in band and the cello in orchestra.

I can sing. My kids can sing, too. We get it from my father, who was a wonderful singer. He could play the guitar, too. It makes me so happy that my kids are learning to play the guitar. I'd like to take lessons, too, but I would have to get the guitar strung for a lefty. I've tried holding the guitar like a righty and it feels strange, even though I played the cello as a righty. Go figure.

I kind of want a guinea pig, but Dad would freak out if I brought another animal into this house. He's right, of course. We have enough animals. He's totally correct. Guinea pigs are SO cute. I have a friend who has a surplus of guinea pigs and they are SO cute. We really don't have room for another pet, though. Did I mention that guinea pigs are SO cute?

Occasionally we take the pugs to Sonic for fries. Why? Because the pugs don't like tots! :)

Spoiled? Who, us?

A true child of the eighties, I still sigh when I think of Steve Perry, lead singer of Journey. Oh, that voice! And the long hair and tight jeans! Sigh.

MySpace Graphics
I just knew he was singing straight to ME.

OK, now for the hard part. I'm supposed to pay the award forward to some recently-discovered bloggers. The only problem is, I haven't cruised the blogosphere in a quite while, so this is a mix of new (to me) blogs and some old favorites.

Liese at The Colorado Adventure is living the ideal homeschool lifestyle, in my opinion. Her kids get plenty of "book learning" but they also do TONS of great activities in their community. I'm sure I couldn't keep up with her if I tried! But it's always fun to read about what her family is up to.

Alicia at Magic and Mayhem gave me the courage to homeschool when I was still on the fence, trying to balance my fears with my son's educational needs. When I saw all the awesome stuff she was doing with her family, I realized that's exactly what I wanted for my own family.

Sara at The Curriculum of Love was homeschooled and is now a religious education director at a UU church. She does a great job of balancing a demanding job with bringing up two adorable kiddos. Somehow, she finds time to read and I always enjoy her book recommendations. She has found a fantastic school for her kids to attend, but has homeschooled them in the past, and afterschools currently.

The Adventurer is a "home-edder" who blogs about homeschooling and traveling at Life's Adventures. Her super-cute kids are getting an amazing education while exploring Germany and Great Britain. I'm jealous!

If you love nature, especially birds, you need to take a look at Classical Charlotte. I love how Kat incorporates the love of nature into her family's lifestyle. She posts lots of great animal photos, too--my favorite has got to be the leaping sheep!

I also really enjoy the nature studies at Handbook of Nature Study. Barb is an artist and photographer extraordinaire. We don't always link up with her blog carnivals (because I'm usually running late on posting) but we do a lot of her suggested activities, and we like using her notebooking pages.

Those are my "quick picks" to pass along these awards. Thanks again to Denise and Heather! You guys rock! Almost as much as Steve Perry! Sigh.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where ya been?

Hanging out with these girls...

...and this dude.

More later--the suitcases are still in the hall, the laundry pile is a foot high, and I haven't had a chance to download all the pictures yet!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Biome Map Project

Political boundaries

Sprinkling "sand" across the Sahara desert

Taiga forest blends with coniferous and deciduous forests.


Tundra: White Rice

Boreal (Taiga) Forest: Green Lentils

Desert: Cheerios

Deciduous Forest: Thyme

Coniferous Forest: Rosemary

Rainforest: Blue Cubes

Savannah: Brown Rice

Temperate Grasslands: Red Beans

Ocean: Shells