Thursday, July 21, 2016

Curricula 2016-2017 - 8th Grade - Aedan

 I am finally getting around to putting up our Aedan's 8th grade plans for next year. There are a lot of books this year which made for an unintended workout session hauling them up and down the stairs - not that I couldn't use a little extra exercise! Our main program we will use is Heart of Dakota Missions to Modern Marvels. This will probably look like an overwhelming amount of books, but don't worry. We won't read all of these at once. Last year we took a break from HOD, but came back around halfway through the year. It just has always been a great fit for Aedan and for me. I have loved learning alongside him so much of what I never got to learn as a kid. I never loved history until I became a homeschooler. I have loved the biographical and living book approach to learning that we have been able to enjoy over the past 5 years together as a family. I am really looking forward to seeing how Aedan responds to our choices this coming year. I have a feeling that this will be our favorite guide yet!

 This is the teacher's guide for Missions to Modern Marvels (HOD MtMM.) I shared how I set up and organized this guide HERE.

This is the Ecomomy package for MtMM which includes plans for Bible and hymn study, history, geography, economics, art and poetry, and president study. We will stick mostly to the plans as is, but I have made some adjustments. I will note the changes I made under each photo.

 These are our main spines for history for the whole year. We will study from the Irish Potato famine in 1845 all the way to the War in Iraq in December 2011. So much has happened even since then, so hopefully we can make a quick sweep of the last few years as well.

Last year in HOD Revival to Revolution we started having a new study called Worthy Words. Each week we studied either a famous speech or a source text from the period. MtMM also has the Worthy Words study where we will do the same kind of study in this modern American and world historical context. I absolutely loved this part of the study. It is so neat hearing actual voices from the time and place history happened. Hearing the emotion behind the words from real people can't truly be captured in a text book.

We will also study economics once a week with these resources.

 This is our third year in Map Trek for geography. These mapping assignments have the students mapping places and events that happened so they can see where these events took place. I enjoy this program, but I am starting to see Aedan needs a little more geography help. I may add SCM Visits one day a week to get him a little more help. We head into HOD World Geography next year as well which I think will really cement more of those places in his mind and heart. Our bible study uses the book Windows on the World and has mapping, so that will help as well.

This year art will include Nature Drawing & Journaling & Draw and Write Through History. One of the things I sorely missed about HOD (especially for Aedan) was all the included art and drawing opportunities. Aedan adores drawing, so having it built into school adds a nice mental break and time for him to develop his gift. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does with the nature journal!

The art study coincides with poetry this year. He will incorporated the works of Longfellow, Wordsworth and Whitman into his nature journaling.

The devotional study this year uses the book Who Am I?. I may drop this as we will be subbing out the scheduled bible study and doing something else. If our day is too long we will stick with our other plans. We will definitely not skip the hymn study however. We used Hymns for a Kid's Heart Vol I all the way back in Aedan's first year home for homeschool in HOD Bigger. I have such sweet memories of that year. We loved learning the stories behind the hymns, so it will be great to do that again in another volume at an older age.

I decided to skip the Romans study that was included in the plans. Instead we will be using Hewitt Homeschooling's I Dare You! Bible Study. As Aedan is getting older I wanted him to really start thinking about what he was reading, about the world and how all of this applies to his real life. This is a fantastic study! A friend and I joined forces and made some notebook pages to go along with it. I hope to have a lot of great conversations with Aedan about the topics covered.

HOD always has a storytime package of books. I have heard time and time again that the MtMM read-aloud books are wonderful! I really enjoy slowing down and sitting with the boys as we read the stories together. I for a time had Aedan read these on his own. Last year I took back the responsibility. There are only so many more years I will be able to do this. It's such a sweet time of the day.

 This is the MtMM Extension package. Aedan has always read the extensions, but the plans are fuller than any other guide we have done before. If our day is too long, we will drop these. However, they have always been Aedan's favorite part of the day. Because he isn't officially in the extension range I have just allowed him to read and enjoy the books. He loves this part of the day where he can just relax with a book without there being much expected. These books are fabulous! I haven't read all of them, but I have read many. They really do add a depth of understanding to the period. I learned so much myself!

An optional part of the plans is State History from a Christian Perspective. One day of the week we will study our home state. The plans for this study could be expanded for someone if they really wanted to dig in deep to the history of their state. We will likely keep it simple, but I do love that if we have the energy there are great suggestions.

 Another option portion of the plans is a president study. This will be done 3 days a week through reading, watching the DVD and notebooking.

Our science study will be an introduction to chemistry and a study of evolution vs. creation. I made a few changes to the plans. There is a book called Atoms in the Family that many had found difficult to read. At first I was thinking of making this study high school credit worthy, but I changed my mind. Instead of adding to it I subbed out Atoms and subbed in The Mystery of the Periodic Table and The Elements. The Elements book is fantastic! It has big, beautiful pictures of the elements and things made from them. This picture is missing the DNA kit that has been out of stock. It will come eventually when it's back. I have read all of these books. This summer I just carried books around and tried to read ahead as much as I can. I learned SO much through reading these books and biographies. It's going to be such a fun study!

 We are sticking with Math U See. This year we will be in Pre-Algebra. I think I have shared many times that it took us forever to find our footing with Aedan and math after bringing him home from public school. We are finally on track to where he will earn all HS math credits he will need. Hallelujah. He came home with math anxiety and lacked confidence, but he is doing so much better! I always thought MUS wasn't a very strong math, but a friend convinced me to give it a try. I so wish I had found it sooner. I have been able to sweep through and cover the gaps that he had. He also doesn't dread math anymore, and we for that reason still like each other after a math lesson. I'll take that any day over a math that might be considered more challenging. I have no plans to every switch Aedan from MUS. I am so thankful for it.

We will be sticking with Rod and Staff this year. Aedan shocked me when I showed him another grammar program, and he said he didn't want to switch. Really?? So, here we go with year 5 of R&S. If you don't know grammar after this then you never will. I know there are folks that forgo formal grammar. Not this geeky family. I love knowing the why behind the what and how. We also use dictation and copywork as another way to approach visualizing good grammar and spelling. My kids chuckle at the archaic sentences in R&S, but it has become an old standby. It's nice to have things that you are familiar with each year as so many things are new.

I've shared before about how I didn't immediately love IEW. It has helped both boys so much in a short time that I wanted to give at least one year to it. Aedan will be using the Following Narnia: The Lion's Song guide this year. He read the books last year, so he won't read them as assigned. This guide also includes some modern history sources which will go perfectly with what we are learning this year. I chose not to do history themed because our coursework is already heavily history based.

 Last year we did much of Lightning Literature 7. I didn't discover it until halfway through the year (boo hoo.) Aedan and I both loved it! The only book I am subbing out is The Hobbit. Aedan read that book in 6th grade. Instead I will have him read The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm working on reading through all of the books. I especially loved A Day of Pleasure. Such a fascinating book! I have a few more to read to get through them all. HOD WG covers a few of these books next year for high school. We won't be using WG's literature plans anyway, so I didn't mind skipping them later.

And as if we don't already have enough books - I originally planned to make much of MtMM high school credit worthy. Aedan is on the older age range for his grade and I wanted to give him the opportunity to graduate early if he wanted. There are some credits we will be able to count anyway, but I decided I didn't really need to make that decision now. I didn't really want my kid leaving earlier than he needed to. 

I had bought some extension options for science and economics. Both of these are absolutely fantastic programs. We may watch both DVDs just to enjoy them but not require the additional work. I watched much of the Chemistry 101 videos, and they are very well done. Economics for Everybody is also very interesting. It may be something we do on Fridays. We shall see. 

That about wraps it up! I am always a little nervous heading into each new year. I am so thankful for the opportunity I get to spend time with my boys during these slower days and also in the learning days to come. I pray you all are wrapping up your plans and enjoying the last bits of summer. You will be hearing more from us soon. For now I'll just be hanging out with my boys and making as many memories as we can until the new season comes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Curricula 2016-2017 - 5th Grade - Silas

It's that time of year when it's time to start putting the final touches on our plans for next year. I'm so excited to be back in Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ, but this time I will get to enjoy it with Silas. He hasn't been in an HOD guide for 2 years, so I'm looking forward to him diving into all these wonderful books with him! We will be using HOD Creation to Christ with some changes, but we will keep much of it as is. There are inevitably things we will drop or add, but these are our choices as of right now. 

I did much of my planning back in the winter. Over the summer I like to get familiar with any new programs or to read independent books if I have the time. I'm fortunately very familiar with most of these books and programs because Aedan used them a few years back when he was in 5th grade. I can tell you it was lovely having most of this on the shelf already. This is the first year we get to start re-using a guide that I have done before. It was such a wonderful thing that we were only buying one program rather than two this year.

 Our main program is Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ. It includes Bible, History, Science, Geography, Storytime Read Alouds, Language Arts, Math and Art lessons. This guide starts at the creation of the world and ends at the time of Christ. Silas hasn't studied this period since way back in K when we used Story of the World Ancients. I look forward to learning alongside him about God's people and the ancient civilizations of the world. There are SO many wonderful things to discover in this guide. I have his notebook all set up which includes HOD's beautiful notebook pages.

This is the Creation to Christ Economy package. These are the main spines for our history reading, geography and drawing portion of the guide. I had thought that I would completely drop the Beechick Genesis book, but I think I will just use it more casually this time. I feel it's a little old for this age at times, but there is still a lot of great information in this book.

 We chose to do the History Interest Set read alouds last time. We really enjoyed how these books brought to life the period of history we were studying. The only one we are subbing out this time is The Accidental Voyage. Instead I have subbed in The Bronze Bow. I love anything by Elizabeth George Speare! This book goes perfectly with the period of the time of Christ. I can't wait to read these books with Silas!

My boys are on the oldest age range for these guides. I've always bought the Extension Set of books. Many of Aedan's favorite HOD books were found in the extensions. I feel like they have always added a depth to what we are learning. This isn't necessary if you have a child within the age range. I don't have them do the extension assignments. If our day is too long this will be one of the first things to go.

 This year Silas will read many books from the Bible from Genesis all the way through the New Testament. He will also memorize a chapter from Philippians. This CD will be familiar to him as he always sat in with us back when he was a little guy and Aedan was in this guide. Some people don't like these CDs, but we love them. We always just get silly and have fun. I wish they were used through all the guides. Aedan had a harder time memorizing the passages last year without it.

We will continue with Singapore 5a & 5b for math. We have used Life of Fred since kindergarten. Silas adores Fred and would be sad if he ever had to stop doing this program. We started Singapore in K, and took a little break from it before returning. I'm so glad I did come back to it. Recently I had the opportunity to have Silas tested in math. He blew away the teacher who administered the test. It was fun for me as a homeschooler to have a public school teacher see that homeschool really does work. I always thought he was doing well, but I really had no idea until the results came in. It definitely made me want to stick with what we were already doing.

We will also stick with our old tried and true Rod and Staff grammar. He will do level 5 over the next 2 years. I'm looking forward to having this scheduled only 2 days as opposed to 4. We have always used the worksheets and tests. The tests do seem to give me an idea of if they are actually absorbing it or not or if we need to go back and review.

Last spring I scored a great deal on the Institute for Excellence in Writing Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVDs. Honestly, I really hated IEW the first time I used it, but I didn't have the DVDs. Once I watched them a light bulb totally went off. We used IEW SWI-B for the last half of the year and it made a huge difference for both boys. I'm definitely a believer now. We will used the Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales themed guide this year. I'm looking forward to seeing him develop his writing skills this year. I wish I had given IEW a chance for Aedan earlier. It would have made our written narrations so much easier.

Phonetic Zoo is new to our lineup. We have used All About Spelling since K. We used level 4 last year, and I was starting to feel that Silas was past level 5. I heard about Phonetic Zoo from a former AAS mom who said she loved using Phonetic Zoo after around level 3-4 of AAS. It's independent (which sounds lovely because I'm juggling 2 guides.) He placed in level B, so we will see how it goes. We will also continue HOD studied dictation. I may drop formal spelling next year depending on how this year goes. Silas is an excellent speller, but I thought one more formal year may be worth a shot.

One thing we started last year was use Reading Roadmaps which employ the method of Teaching the Classics. This year I'm going to be less scheduled with literature. We will use Reading Roadmaps as a starting place for the books we choose to read this year. The Reading Roadmaps book has a wonderful list books to choose from as well as a starting point for how to approach each book. I have some of the 5th grade books on my shelf, but we will employ the library this year instead of buying a bunch of extra books. Last year I had a harder time selling off random items. It will be nice to enjoy books we already have and save a few bucks as well. Watching Teaching the Classics gave me confidence to be able to branch out and teach lit on my own. We will also veer of the RR lists to other favorites that Silas has yet to read. Sometimes you need a subject to just enjoy without the pressure of having an exact plan for the day. I want my kids to be lovers of books. Leaving a little room in this area will feel like a welcome break in the school day.

This is the one major tweak I am making to the Creation to Christ guide. When Aedan did HOD CtC he absolutely loved the science. It was his favorite year. Silas, however, has done life science until it is coming out of his ears. We did botany in 3rd as well as life and animal science multiple years. Instead of doing Apologia Land Animals and the other CtC resources we will be using the science from HOD Resurrection to Reformation. Silas requested to learn about Astronomy this year, and we already had these resources on our shelf. I don't know if I'll have him read Our Weather and Water just yet. It is the 2nd option of HOD RtR science. I had Aedan just read that book additionally to what he was already doing, but he was one year older at the time. I'll see what the workload is like before deciding in that. 

I don't recommend switching out science if you can help it. It was a chore to come up with an additional schedule for this, but I'm happy he will by studying something he is interested in. Next year we will do Apologia Anatomy and Nutrition 101. Silas has always wanted to do that particular Apologia book. I like the CtC anatomy and History of Medicine book, but I think it will be nice to go more in depth with the human body and nutrition. It's the only area that isn't covered extensively in these middle guides.

I am especially looking forward to the Robert Frost poetry study and watercolor art in this guide. This year I plan to work alongside Silas as we paint together. So fun!

HOD CtC does have a wonderful geography book, but I absolutely love the Simply Charlotte Mason Visits series. This year we will do Visits to the Middle East. Last year we did Visits to Europe. Silas learned all of the countries of Europe. He actually beat his dad in a geography game, and my husband grew up in Europe. Needless to say, I'm a fan. We will still read A Child's Geography, but we will do this once a week. The map exercises really cement where in the world we are studying, and the extra books are wonderful. I will check out many of them from the library, and we will use Hungry Planet and Material World which are already on our shelf. He will add the Middle East to his understanding of world geography. These books have been excellent review after doing My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.

 One of the things I have enjoyed learning about this summer is about the Biblical feasts and holidays. I want to celebrate many of these feasts this year as a family. It is the perfect school year to do this as it will add to our understanding of the history of the Bible and of our spiritual heritage. It will be a learning curve for me to try to incorporate them, but I'm really looking forward to this!

Like every homeschooler I have tons of wonderful resources already on my shelf. We will use many of these books along the way as we travel through ancient history together. Here's to a great new year!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

End of the Year Musings

It's a beautiful spring day here in the Midwest. The windows are open, and the coffee is hot. The newly installed bird feeders are full of life and color. Life free from thinking (as much) about school for a few weeks has done my heart a lot of good. Last year was a year of a lot of lessons learned the hard way, so I thought I'd share some of my experience.

This summer my goal is to slow down. A friend recently sent me a blog post about wanting to have a summer from the 50's. I grew up in the 80's, and I'm pretty sure it was just as good. I remember being outside with friends until the streetlights went on, and my dad would whistle for us to come back home. There were long days swimming in the lake. There were mud pies and baseball games. I want to slow down like that. I want enough room to breathe. I want to remember why we homeschool. I want to be true to our family's mission to nurture relationships with God and one another. I want long and lazy days filled with warmth. I want fresh food from the farmer's market and to share my table and couch with good friends.

Last summer I was in a flurry of re-planning. It was honestly a royal waste of time. I went into this past year harried, worn out, and that was the furthest thing from my goal.  I've thought about last year a lot over the past few weeks. If any of you want to know what not to do, ditch all your plans and start over. I think I may have lost my mind temporarily. I had planned all of our school year, and then I completely ditched all of my plans for both boys. I mean...Can someone say midlife crisis? I finally re-found my way about halfway through the year, but please don't be me. Just don't.

Sometimes we homeschoolers are guilty of doing too much research (I am probably more guilty than most.) We check out all the options - There are far too many these days. While having options is a wonderful thing it can often lead to becoming easily discontented. If we have a bad day we blame the curriculum when sometimes it's as simple as the hormones having had their way, too little sleep, or even low blood sugar. Last year I stepped away from something familiar to try my hand at planning everything. At first it was a lot of fun, but as the year rolled on I realized I had worn myself out with all the decisions and that we weren't having as much fun as in years' past.

None of how I was feeling had anything to do with the curriculum I chose or the one I didn't choose. It had all to do with my heart. I listened to too many voices. If you are looking for critics you will find them. If you look for the positive voices, you will find those too. I made the mistake of listening to the critics instead of listening to my own family's personal experience. Often times we are reading reviews from families we will never meet, who have children that are not anything like ours, and they are nothing like us as moms. Listening to too many voices is confusing. They cause you to question everything and you then forget the reason you are doing this whole homeschool gig to begin with. 

By the way, you don't have to live exactly according to the homeschool philosophy you love. You may not look like the perfect Charlotte Mason homeschooler. I know, I know. They take beautiful pictures of nature romps through mashes and forest. Who doesn't want all those beautiful experiences for their kids? I know I do. I'll tell you a secret though: The pictures we bloggers take are just snapshots of events that may have taken 30 seconds. You have the same snapshots written on your heart even if you don't have the digital file. You may not look like the perfect classical homeschooler either. You might never fit in every Shakespeare tragedy and comedy (though I absolutely adore Shakespeare.) That's ok. Live according to your season and your family. To thine own self be true. None of us have to look the same, and no way is the "right" way.

And guess what? God cares. He knows that you won't settle for less than the best for the kids you love so dearly. He knows you and them better than you can even know yourselves. I was truly feeling myself going into the same crazy mode for the coming year. I took a different approach and really prayed. He was gracious. He listened, and He guided me. Take a deep breath sister. There is someone on your side, and He will walk you through all of this if you ask.

So for the record, I know you are doing the best you can. I know it because most homeschoolers I meet are all-in kind of gals (and guys.) You didn't get into this thinking "Oh let me just be mediocre and do a half apple job." No. I know you love your kids as much as I do. So here's a pat on the back. Job well done. Can I just give you permission to take it easy for a while? Take some time to rest. Really. Pray for guidance. Stop searching for the perfect fit. There isn't one by the way. Make everything your own. Adjust where necessary. Let go of perfection. There really is no such thing (just in case you didn't already know.)

Love and peace to you from my corner of the woods <3

Friday, April 29, 2016

Last Day of School - First Day of Summer

 Welcome to Summer! Ok, well....maybe it's really just mid-spring, but it's our summer! We just crossed the last day of school finish line. We live in the midwest, so I love being done by May 1st if possible. One of my besties and I usually start and end at the same, so we try to do something fun with the kids at the end of the year to mark a job well done.

 This banner actually makes me giggle. I'm sure the people at the park were thinking "What in the world kind of summer party is this?" It was a dreary day, and our toes were cold. Aedan forgot his jacket. We were a motley crew, but it was our party and we were going to celebrate rain or shine. It's hard to be sad when you know there is rest coming! I found this printable banner HERE. You can edit the letters to say anything you like.

Aedan has gotten SO tall this year! He looks like a giant next to these little guys. He was a good sport to take this picture with the little kids. You can find these signs HERE.

 We made gift bags with all kinds of summer preparedness supplies like sunglasses, beach balls, leis, water guns and a little candy of course. I found these tags HERE.

The boys filled out their end of the year interviews.

My big kid! None of his older friends were done with school yet. He still willingly had light saber fights with our friends because he's pretty sweet even though he's a teenager.

 Their favorite foods have never changed - Always chicken noodle soup for Aedan, and fried chicken for Silas. You can find these interview sheets HERE.

 The boys with some of their summer loot.

I decided we needed an official finish line to cross for the summer. It all looked like it was going go go well.

Aaaaannnnd then this happened! Silas was showing promise until he tripped. We watched this video a dozen times and laughed and laughed! Here's to a great summer!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning with Laura - Prairie Primer - Week 33-35

This week we wrapped our final chapters of Little House on the Prairie and also our 4th grade year. Prairie Primer has been such a sweet end of the year. I wish I had thought to do it sooner in the year to do maybe just one more book. We have really enjoyed snuggling on the couch and getting to know the Ingalls and the part of the country that we live in now that was quite different than the one we know now.

As I said in Aedan's final post this year was a lot of trial and error. I'm thankful I had the freedom to enjoy a few learning tangents this year, but I am looking forward to next year's steady plans too. Silas is becoming a very wise little man. It's fun to see him growing into his personality and watch him as he grows in so many ways. I can't wait to enjoy long and warm afternoons with these two.

There was just so much goodness wrapped into Prairie that it was hard to fit it all in. I let Silas choose a few things each week rather than over-burdening us with activities. I think Prairie Primer makes a wonderful and full program. I wish I had found it sooner. This late in the year I chose to take a more relaxed approach to it.

One of the things Silas wanted to do was make these little heart cakes. One of the stories in the book takes place on Christmas. The children are awaiting a visit from Santa, but Santa happens to be Mr. Edwards coming from Independence. The river was too difficult to cross, so Ma feared that there would be no presents in the stockings for the girls. Laura heard her mom whisper "There's still the white sugar." Thinking that Mr. Edwards wouldn't come Ma made these little heart cakes and wrapped them in tissue paper.

The boys just started flag football. They each have a practice on a different night, so one boy stays home with me. When I asked Silas what he wanted to do it was to make the little heart cakes from the book. We have the Little House Cookbook, and the recipe was in there! We subbed butter for shortening.

It was neat making the recipe together. I love that this is what he chose to do when we had some time together just the two of us. 

These were quite delish! They are sort of a cross between a biscuit and a scone. It was neat experiencing something that was so special to Laura so long ago.

Mr. Edwards did in fact make it across the river. He didn't want to let the girls down. He brought sweet potatoes which were a special treat for their Christmas dinner. They had turkey, but I ended up making a roast chicken and sweet potatoes instead. We pretended it was a prairie hen. We also got to go to a really neat farmstead in town where there were many things that were relevant to the book. I left my phone in the car that day. It was nice to not think about pictures.

Ok, so I adore Center for Lit products. I got the Ready Readers picture book guide just to get a feel for how they apply the Socratic questions in Teaching the Classics. I love that they schedule picture books all the way up through even the older grades to teach different literary devices. These were all absolutely wonderful books! I need to write a whole post on Center for Lit products. Soon and very soon.

Of all of the books this was my very favorite. I could write a whole post on this book alone. Absolutely beautiful and deep. Silas thought the book was kind of sad until I explained why it was so beautiful. Maybe someday he'll understand.

Silas has been reading 13 Clocks. He absolutely loved this book. It was one of the books on the Reading Roadmaps 4th grade list.

We completed our final visit for SCM Visits to Europe. We finished our final book Children of the Northlights. This one is going in my D'Aulaire collection to never be sold. We spent some time in Finland, and this book captured that part of the world so well. Silas got every single country correct on his final map test! I highly recommend this program!

Next year we will be using HOD Creation to Christ. Aedan adored the science from that guide. Silas has covered animals multiple times and asked if he could learn astronomy this year instead. He said he would like to still read some of the CtC science books, so he read through this one over the past few weeks. Instead we will use the science from HOD Resurrection to Reformation next year.

We wrapped up the rest of our science experiments. We made it through the whole thing! That was no easy task. REAL Science Chemistry had a ton of experiments! I can't bear to skip them for my hands on kid. A few weeks ago we did an acids and bases experiment with cabbage indicator. We had leftover cabbage water for yet another stinky experiment. P-U!

We dipped coffee filters into cabbage indicator to make PH strips.

Next we tested water, baking soda water and vinegar to see which was most acidic. The paper turned pink for acid and blue for alkaline.

Silas painted with the various mixtures.

We made a PH scale.

Next we did an activity where we built teeth. First we took chalk (calcium carbonate) and ground it into a fine powder.

Silas had fun smashing it to bits!

Next we poured vinegar into the jar to dissolve the calcium carbonate.

It was fun seeing something bubble that wasn't vinegar and baking soda.

After a while the mixture separated.

Silas thought the bubbles were weird.

We left the calcium carbonate mixture over night. We also mixed baking soda and water.

Mixing these two liquids together formed a solid. I didn't get a picture, but we poured off the liquid and saw our solid. Awesome!

The last few experiments we played with fire. Always a hit with boys! Sooo.....Our next experiment was to light a dollar on fire without actually burning it. Umm...

We were supposed to soak the dollar in 90% alcohol, water and salt, buuuuuttttt we only had 70%. Sounds like a good sub right?

Silas took the dollar out and let the liquid drip off. You know that inner voice that says, "This isn't a bright idea." I had a bad feeling about that substitution.

 Next we lit our dollar on fire that wasn't supposed to burn, and well, it burned anyway. Ha! Can't win em' all right?

 Sorry George.

We also learned how oxygen and fire are a team.

After lighting the candles we put a small, medium and large jar on top of the candles.

We had to get them on the same time to see which candle would burn the longest.

Of course it was the large jar with the most oxygen present.

Here is where we say goodbye to the memories of last year. I'm so thankful for this sweet boy. He sure lights up our days. I'm sure I will check in with you all between now and next year. For now I am thankful you have come to walk alongside us on our journey. Best of days to you!