Monday, September 22, 2008

Airplanes and things that fly...catching a SPARK!

So yesterday night Scott, Megan, Jarom and I returned from the ultimate homeschooling field trip to Washington DC! It was awesome, and now I have a big job in front of me to go through the pictures and journal about our amazing experiences we had with the two older kids. Maybe tonight I'll have the energy to do that.

The reason I start with that was that I totally assumed that today would be a 'homeschool day off.' I have loads of laundry to do, a house to make heads or tails of, and kids (oh and me too) that have been out of the habit of our daily routine for a week. I just figured I wouldn't stress about inspiring today and just worry about working through the mess of coming back from a trip. However, to my delight and surprise today ended up being a fairly good homeschooling day. The only reason it isn't amazing is because I still have yet to do devotional with them, but we'll do that tonight at FHE so I guess that will count.

Today started out slow and late. I was exhausted from all the traveling and crazy time changes. I woke up about 7:40 and remembered that Jarom and Megan had riding lessons at 8:30...not much time to get everyone dressed, fed, and loaded in the car. We made it only a few minutes late (which was miraculous) and the kids had a blast! They love their lessons.

I dropped them off and rushed home to tend to the other kids and try to get a start on putting my house back together. I was able to unpack all the bags, start the first few loads of laundry, and pick up breakfast before it was time to pick them up. That was HUGE!

The boys getting ready to launch their paper helicopters. They totally worked and were so fun to watch spin down, down, down!

Once we got back home I fed Becca again and pulled out some of the souvenirs we picked up in DC. I put a paper airplane making book we picked up at the Air and Space Museum and then made Becca a bottle and started feeding her on the couch. Within minutes the kids spotted the airplane book much to my surprise and started making airplanes for the next 2 hours. They made all sorts of styles and had all kinds of contests with them. I was happy that they were busy playing and finished some of the household chores that had to be done. Once I was done and again sitting on the couch feeding Bec I started to read to them A Wrinkle in Time. That lasted for about 40 minutes before I felt like no one was listening anymore due to their complete excitement with the new airplane contest they had invented.

Then I remembered the How Airplanes and Flying Things Work book that I had purchased as well. I had planned to try and do some other things during 'school' time with the kids today, but realized that the kids had a SPARK and I had an Opportunity to capture that SPARK if I acted on it. So I did, and it WORKED!!!!

Becca fell asleep and so I put her in the swing and walked over to the table and sat next to Jarom. I started reading to him all about airplanes and how the invention of the airplane timeline. People are always saying and I totally believe it that all the subjects (ie math, science, history, English, etc...) are actually one HUGE interconnected subject. Today I had a real experience with that when Jarom and I were discussing the history of the airplane.

His first question was, "So mom if Nana is 53 today what did the airplane look like when she was born?" What an awesome question. So I asked him how he thought we could figure it out. We talked about it and did the math problem 2008 - 53 = 1955 we then looked at the timeline and talked about what airplanes were looking like back then. Then he asked, "So mom what did airplanes look like when Nana's mom was born?" Good question and so we made some deductive reasoning and again created another math problem to figure out about when Grandma Aleen was born. It was awesome!!!

Then we began reading about the Hot Air Balloon. He was so interested and even though he was still making paper airplanes would often stop and follow along as I read. We learned all about our air and what it was made of, the differences between hot air versus cold air, how hot air balloons work, where we get helium from (not the air), and at the end of the chapter it showed us a little experiment we could do.

I was so glad we had all the needed items for the experiment because Jarom was anxious to do it, and I wanted to capture his curiosity before it moved on to another subject. We did a little experiment showing how hot air expands becoming less dense and cool air condenses becoming more dense. The kids had a ball and after we were done with the experiment Jarom said it was the best homeschooling day ever! What a reward hearing that was!

So today in our homeschool we covered science, reading, spelling, history, math, arts & crafts, and writing. Sounds like a success! I just love homeschooling!!!

Here Jarom with the balloon as the air is starting to get heated from the steam in the boiling water below. It was starting to really expand and we were excited.

Jarom kept a little log of how many inches the balloon expanded while heating up. Here he is measuring the balloon.

Once Jarom was done heating it up he cooled down the air by putting the water bottle in ice water. Boy oh boy did the air cool down and pretty soon the balloon was limp and deflated.

Here Cooper is with the totally deflated balloon. Wow what a great experiment!


darbs said...

sweet. i want to make one

Dan and Alli Ralphs said...

You are awesome!! Love ya and miss ya. (ps Nana is 54...remember she is 50 years older than Cooper)