Busy Day Learning At Home

Every now and then we like to have a more traditional day of homeschooling at home.  We had a few errands to run and dentist appointment today but that did not stop us from enjoying a full and busy day filled with learning.

Ian started his day with some Lego multiplication shown here while  Alec played Words With Friends and math bingo on my Kindle.  Ian also built some projects with his K'nex then they all ate breakfast and got ready for our day.

I had printed out a math drill for each boy-- Ian on his times 3's (which he was insulted because he left off on times 4's in school but I explained this was a review) and Alec on his +3's.  I timed them each one minute to see how many they could get done and told them we'd try to do this at least once a week and all I'd like is for them to keep beating their old score.  Ian laughed to realize he only answered 4! " I guess I do need to practice those!" he said.   Alec answered 10.  This was a super simple math segment today focusing on speed and accuracy of facts.  While his older brothers did their math sheets Evan asked to do another dot to dot/ maze page.  He ended up doing two- one dot to dot on numbers 1-10 and another sheet on the alphabet both with a maze on the back. 
I was at a restaurant Saturday night with a bunch of other moms and we had a lot  of straws left on the table at the end our meal that we hadn't opened or used.  They all agreed someone should take them home and finally I jokingly said "I'll take them and I'll come up with some homeschooling project to do with them on Monday."  

I was completely kidding. 

Looking through the boys science book this morning I found a section on hurricanes and making vortexes... using (yep! you guessed it!)  straws!  

We first read the two pages on hurricanes and learned that: 

1. hurricanes form over warm water or else they don't form.  
2. The water has to be at least 80 degrees or higher.  
3. Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same thing. 
 4.The vortex makes an eye in the middle of the hurricane.  

The experiment was super easy.  

Using a drinking glass filled with water, you take a straw and make a horizontal slit in the middle of the straw (being careful not to cut all the way through) and then blow water into the glass.  

They had a lot of fun with this, and yes we got water all over the table, it also was a bit hard to see the vortex around all the bubbles but they said they saw it.  

They also saw the book had a hurricane in a jar experiment on the next page so we had to do that one too!  We took a jar with a lid and filled it 2/3 full with water (Alec demanded warm water since that's what Hurricanes use), added a drop of food coloring, 1 tsp of dish soap, 1 tsp of vinegar then put the lid on tight and shook it up while spinning the jar.  

As we put it back down on the table you see a mini hurricane real quick and then watch the water swirl around and around.  We ended up taking the lid off and adding a bit of glitter and trying it a few more times.  

The experiment said glass jar but we only had plastic-- it seemed to work good enough but maybe the vortex would've been more pronounced in a glass jar; I'm really not sure.  

I do know the boys had fun and thought back to the hurricane we had last year at this time. 

We went to the dentist's office and stopped by the library too. 
On the way home from the library we listened to Duck for President.  Right away the boys recognized the voice of the reader from the Click, Clack Moo, Cows that Type book we listened to last week.  I said it might be the same author... then as they opened it to the first page, saw the farm and heard the words farmer Brown they shouted excitedly "it's the same farm!"

I love that they were making these connections between the two books.

We got home and they each packed their own lunch to bring outside.  We listened to two more books on Cd while we ate- Bear Snores On and I Stink; which are some of the kids favorite, well- read, books.

Once I was done eating I offered to read a few more books and the kids picked Dinosaurs Love Tacos, and two chapters of our newest Magic Tree House Book; Knights at Dawn.  We're going to be starting a unit on Medieval times and I thought these were great fiction books to go along with that time period.

The boys were complaining that the picnic was a bit chilly in the shade with all the wind but then asked to go swimming-- go figure right?!

I did let them though and figured we were done school for the day.

But I was wrong.

Evan noticed the packet of seeds he had planted at the beginning of the summer had a small flower bud on it and the boys asked me to look it up and see what kind it was.  I was able to find it here. It's called a plains Coreopsis.  Evan was so excited to see that he finally had a flower.

After swimming for just a little bit Alec decided it was too cold and asked if he could play math bingo on my kindle.  Next thing I knew I heard him shouting 39!  I walked over to discover that he had chosen the hard level and was adding two digit numbers... in his head,....when they were written horizontally (which I always think is much harder than vertically)!  I was floored!  The only times he ran into trouble was when he had to regroup; and honestly he's only 6 so I wouldn't even expect him to know the ones he was doing.
The boys all decided it was too cold to swim and so they started playing in the sand.  Ian found a few toads and Evan caught them.  We put them into one of Alec's Backyard Safari Land and Water Habitats he had gotten for Christmas and watched them hop around.

We had a nice discussion about toads and compared them to frogs.  The boys told me the colors of their skin help them camouflage themselves in the leaves and dirt.  They also told me toads don't have webbed feet like a frog.  They noticed the eyes are different on a toad than a frog, "a frogs eyes are on top of his head and a toads eyes are more on the side." They watched the two toads become "friends."

It was a great totally impromptu science lesson that kept my younger two engaged for over 30 minutes. 

Such a fun day of learning at home.    


  1. How awesome that you had the straws and the experiment to go together! :)

    I think Duck for Pres is one of the books my kids got at Chik Fil A. Looks very familiar.

    1. I figured it must have been meant to be! My girlfriends laughed when I told them those straws came in handy.


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