2016-2017 Home School Curriculum

Every August I write a post about our plans for the coming school year here at home. I plan out what curriculum we will use for the coming school year. I do have some help from our fabulous consortium. Here are my 2015-2016 home school curriculum2014-2015 home school curriculum, 2013-2014 home school curriculum2012-2013 school curriculum and 2011-2012 school curriculum posts. WOW! I can't believe I am heading into my 7th year of home educating! 

2016-2017 Home School Curriculum

Usually in the past, we would still school a bit over the summer. However, this past summer, we were off on a 2½ week vacation as soon as soon was over. When we returned, I was playing catch-up to everything I had dropped and left hanging. Then July arrived and I realized I was really, really tired and just wanted to relax. Here is it August already and all my kids did all summer is their required reading, which I will never be lax about. 

My youngest daughter finished up 4th grade last school year ad will be heading into 5th grade this school year. She is super excited and slightly nervous. My oldest daughter finished up 6th grade and will be heading into 7th grade this school year.

She will be moving up a level in the consortium this year from Grammar Level to Logic Level. The workload will greatly increase as will her responsibilities regarding her work. I wasn't even sure if "this" program, which is such a great fit for my family, would work for her any longer. She has some difficulties with reading and the Logic level reading is about double that of her last Grammar level.

2016-2017 Home School Curriculum

She really wanted to return and promised me she would work hard, which I know she will do. Even though reading is so very difficult for her, she always works very hard for me. Math is still an issue with her, but we will muster through like we always have.

We didn't work on math at all this summer, which is going to put us behind before we even begin, but I know my girls will catch up quickly. I really wanted to begin them both on Saxon ½ Algebra this school year, but we haven't finished the curriculum from last year. So, that is where we will begin with Math.

My girls will be attending the consortium again this year and they fully know what is expected of them. This will be our 6th year at this consortium and we still love it ad it is such a great fit for our family.

2016-2017 Home School Curriculum

2016-2017 Home School Curriculum

Math: Saxon Math (Level 7/6{6th grader} and 6/5 {4th grader}) & Saxon ½ Algebra
Does it work? Yes & No
Will I continue to use it for 2015-2016? Yes.

Saxon Math is my friend! I have been using this curriculum for a long time. It works great for my youngest daughter. My oldest daughter, not so much. I may search out something new for her this year. Will have to see about math for the school year.

Grammar: Grade 5: Shurley Grammar (Level 6)
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use? YES

This will be my SIXTH year using Shurley Grammar. My kids are so over Shurley Grammar. But, our consortium uses it, so we sort of have to as well. It does help with grammar and teaches the foundation correctly. But, it tends to be repetitive and boring after so many years. However, it really, really does help kids with composition!

Spelling: The Grammar of Spelling
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it?  No

I let Spelling go last school year and we didn't miss it at all. I will do the same again this year, unless I see some problems arising with Spelling. thankfully, I don't have issues with spelling.

Handwriting/Penmanship: Classically Cursive
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it?  No

I honestly don't have time to do penmanship and I honestly don't think my girls need to work on this task. They both have lovely hand writing, they just don't know how to write in cursive.

Literature/Composition: Grade 5: Classical Composition I: Fable, Classical Composition II: Narrative, Classical Composition III: Cheria/Maxim Grade 7: same as grade 5 PLUS: Classical Composition IV: Refutation-Confirmation, The Grammar of Poetry & The Elegant Essay
Does it work? YES
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

Grade 5: Thunderstorm in the Church, The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day, Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Young Sam Collier, Voyage to Freedom, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Blackthorn Winter, The Shakespeare Stealer, Cecile: Gates of Gold, Dangerous Journey, I, Juan de Pareja

READ ALOUD: Tales from Shakespeare, Adventures of Don Quixote

I (and my daughters) don't necessarily enjoy all the books that are selected for Literature, but we read them any way. They round out reading otherwise. My oldest daughter will have the same literature teacher as last year, so she is not looking forward to the class at all. My daughter is full of exciting ideas and loves to think outside the box and her instructor is all about staying completely inside the box and doing exactly as you are told. She has her favorite students and my daughter is not one of them. This will be one class that will sort of be a blow off for her as she does not meld with the teacher's teaching style.

Omnibus: Grade 5: Mystery of History: Volume III The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations Grade 7: Omnibus II: Student Text
Does it work? YES
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

I love and adore MOH - my kids have LOVED history because of MOH and SOTW! We are so excited to use this again this year. I have already used this curriculum with my son and my daughters when he was in 5th grade and they were in 1st & 3rd grades, so it is very familiar to me and I will have a great year teaching it again. My oldest daughter will begin Omnibus II in the Logic level. My son really liked this class, but it is heavy on the reading. I have downloaded all the books for audio for my daughter and we are hopeful.

Omnibus II Required Reading Grade 7: Sir Gawan and the Green Knight, The Song of Roland, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Dante, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Bondage of Will, Saint Augustine, On the Incarnation Saint Athanasius, Bede, Beowulf, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nine Tailors, Merry Adventures of Robin Hood & Eusebius

English/Vocabulary/Language: I feel this is covered well with Shurley Grammar and Lit/Comp work
Does it work? yes
Will I continue to use it?  yes

Logic: Grade 7: Introductory Logic Student
Does it work? yes
Will I continue to use it?  yes

I used this in the past when my so was in 7th grade. It is a great book and really helps a student develop logical thinking skills. Hopefully my daughter will like this class as well.

English/Vocabulary/Language: Grade 5: Apologia: Exploring Creation Through Anatomy and Physiology & Anatomy Notebooking Journal Grade 7: Exploring Creation with General Science & General Science Notebooking Journal
Does it work? yes
Will I continue to use it?  Yes, we love Apologia!

We are a Science family! I love Science now - when I was a kid - I WISH I had been taught with Apologia textbooks! I would have loved science instead of detesting it. My children adore Science and I'm happy to fill their brains up with whatever they want.  We all adore Science and I will continue to be Science heavy in this house. This will be another exciting year with Apologia as we get through two textbooks. Anatomy will be another repeat year for me as I used this when my kids were in 1st, 3rd and 5th grades. General Science will also be a repeat for me as my son had this when he was in 7th grade as well. We are super familiar with the text and will be using it a refresh our memories basically.

Biblical Studies/Religion/Memory: Grade 5: God's Great Covenant, NT 1: A Bible Course for Children Church History/Hermeneutics: Grade 7: Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity & Journey Into God's Word: Your Guide to Understanding & Applying the Bible
Does It Work? GGC - YES! Grade 7 curriculum is completely new to us this year
Will I continue to use?  YES!

My youngest daughter will be using GGC again this year. This is another repeat for me as I used this for my son when he was in 5th grade and my daughters were in grade 1 and 3. My daughter loves this curriculum, I do as well and it really works in explaining the Bible to children. Grade 7 curriculum will be a challenge I already know. It is new and will be heavy on reading and listening in class.

Foreign Language: Logos Latin III (Grade 5), Visual Latin 1 (Grade 7)
Does It Work? Yes
Will I continue to use?  YES!

I do not like or enjoy Latin. Therefore, my daughters do not like or enjoy Latin. I struggle greatly with this language! I try really hard, but language is just NOT my thing. Latin is always a struggle and I know we will have many hours of studying this year! But, we shall persevere! Logos Latin is very well laid out and it will be fine for my youngest daughter. This is our first year using Visual Latina and I really hope it helps us!

Art & Music:  Violin, Private Lessons and Youth Orchestra for my 5th grader & 7th grader. Art classes at academy for my youngest daughter.
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use? Yes 

Field Trips/Extra Activities:

We have many field trips since we live in a great city with numerous museums that we are members. Field Trip day will always and forever be a favorite. Field trips will be easier this year as I do not have to pick up my son from school everyday.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

We have been studying the life cycle of the butterfly during Science this past month utilizing The Butterfly Nursery that I received from Lakeshore Learning.

The Butterfly Nursery is such a delightful kit your children won't even realize they are learning. The kit enables your family watch the lifecycle of a butterfly. Literally, miracles happen before your eyes.  The live butterfly kits come with caterpillars so you and your children can see theamazing transformation!

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

These live butterfly kits are amazing for our science project and simply for the children to learn all about the ever-changing caterpillar and the butterfly life cycle in general.  One of the greatest things about these live butterfly kits is the fact that after the butterflies hatch out of their pupas, we get to observe them for a little while and then let them go! 

When the kit arrives, there will be a card to send off to let them know when you want to receive your caterpillars. In the kit will be the Butterfly Nursery which you can set up or wait until later.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

When our kit arrived, it was a very cold spring day here in Chicago. My daughter got the mail that day and I could see her shaking the box all the way to the door. I would advise against this! ☺ Thankfully, all the tiny caterpillars were asleep?? We had six little caterpillars in our container filled with food.

The caterpillars were so tiny! However, they literally doubled in size by the next day! Each day they continued to eat and grow right in the container they arrived in. All six caterpillars grew and grew and grew! You won't believe how fast they grow!

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

After a week plus a couple of days, one caterpillar started to form into a chrysalis. This happened on a day we attend school. my daughters were so sad as they thought they would miss the entire process. However, when we arrived home that afternoon, we were able to see the caterpillar finish his chrysalis making process. The next morning, there were a few more. That evening we had five chrysalises and the last one was up on the top of the container ready to get to work.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

This is when tragedy struck our container. My daughter accidentally knocked it off the counter. All the chrysalises that were formed were barely hanging on the paper circle. One had popped open and the last caterpillar had burst. Oh the tears!

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle
The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle
The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

I carefully removed the paper circle and placed it in the butterfly house. I took the two chrysalis that had completely become dislodged and placed them on the bottom. We said a prayer and were hopeful! included in the butterfly house will be a chrysalis hanger. I taped our paper circle to this and watched everyday to see how the chrysalis fared.

About a week later, we came home from violin lessons and I saw a flutter. One butterfly had emerged while we were out! We could see another butterfly on the bottom of the butterfly house, but he was missing a wing as it had not dried properly and he was unable to move very well. The next morning we woke up and we had the same issue.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

We have one healthy butterfly out of the six caterpillars. We did learn a very valuable lesson thought. DON'T shake the box! DON'T drop the cup! My girls are sad--but we were able to watch the Butterfly Life Cycle.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

We have one beautiful Painted Lady Butterfly and are feeding her sugar water and plan to let her go tomorrow. 

Letting our butterfly go is going to be a satisfying experience, but it is also a wonderful teaching lesson.  My children are learning that animals do not need to be locked up and while it is okay to observe them for awhile, it is always best to let nature take its course.

The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecycle

We have our Butterfly House and I think we are going to order another cup in order to do this again!

This The Butterfly Nursery | The Butterfly Lifecyclepost has been sponsored by Lakeshore Learning. All opinions are mine alone.

Garden in a Glove | A Science Project #CampSci

In this age of constant digital contact, connecting my kids to nature seems more difficult than ever here in Chicago. Fortunately, the amazing thinkers at Camp Science, have envisioned innovative ways to bring children closer to nature. Fortunately for me and my children, Monsanto has developed Homeschool Camp Science AND a K-12 Educational Outreach that fuses STEM with home school education.

Our next Camp Science experiment was Garden in a Glove. We are currently waiting for warmer weather to transplant all our seedling in the ground. I seriously had to turn my heat on last night as we dipped to 40 degrees! We are days away from May 1st and I am sitting her bundled up in my home. Our seedlings are warm in my dining room!

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Botony and Camp Science

This semester the girls are studying Botony and Camp Science Garden in a Glove ties in perfectly!

Every little seed is a tiny living thing. But it is fast asleep. Once a seed begins to grow, it becomes a seedling. But a seed is essentially dormant. A see really only needs three things to wake up: warmth, water and air. We planted some seeds in a rubber glove to prove just that. You might think that a seed needs soil, but it really does not.

During the middle of winter, my girls conducted an experiment where they place wet paper towels in three separate plastic baggies and placed seeds in each bags. They then placed the bags in three different locations to find the ideal location for the seed to wake up. A dark closet, taped to the window and in the refrigerator. Where do you think the seeds turned into seedlings?

The closet!! Do you want to know why? The seeds turned into seedlings rapidly because and grew because they were searching for light! The seeds used all the stored food in the cotyledon find its way out of the darkness and into the light.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Disclosure: This Garden in a Glove | A Science Project #CampSci is sponsored by Monsanto. I have not been compensated for this post, I received the Science kit for my children. All opinions are my own. #CampSci #Monsanto

Garden in a Glove

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Recently we conducted the experiment by placing seeds in the fingers of a plastic glove. Remember, seeds only need warmth, water and air to turn into seedlings.

Question: Does temperature effect seed germination?

HYPOTHESIS: More bean seeds will germinate when temperatures are cold than when it is hot.

Question: Does light influence seed germination?

HYPOTHESIS: Germination rates will be greatly influenced by light.

Question: Do plants grow toward the light?

HYPOTHESIS: Plants will turn toward the light as they grow.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

SUPPLIES:

  • • 1 Clear Plastic Food Grade Glove
  • • 10 Cotton Balls
  • • 5 types of seeds (3-4 of each). Choose
  • a variety of plants you want to grow
  • (and eventually eat).
  • • 1 Permanent Marker
  • • 1 Twist Tie or Pipe Cleaner
  • • Soil
  • • Planting cups (optional)
  • • Scissors
  • • A glass of water

PROCEDURE

With Garden in a Glove, you will be able to see the life cycle of plants and discover what seeds need to germinate and produce fruit or vegetables.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 1: On each finger and thumb of the glove, write the type of seed that you plan to put into each.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 2: Wet five cotton balls in the glass of water and squeeze the excess water out of the cotton balls.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 3: Place one cotton ball in each finger and thumb of the glove.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 4: Place 3-4 seeds in each one of the fingers and thumb of the glove. Make sure you match the seeds to the labels you have put on the glove.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 5: Wet five cotton balls in your glass of water and squeeze the excess water out of the cotton balls. Place one cotton ball into each finger/thumb of the glove on top of the cotton balls that were placed in step 3. Cover the seeds as best as you can.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 6: Blow air into the plastic glove and tie it closed with a twist tie or pipe cleaner. Tape the glove to a window, chalkboard or wall. You can also pin them to a clothes line. Make sure the area you choose is warm and has a source of light.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 7: Check your plants each day. In 3-5 days, you should see them beginning to germinate, and you will know this happens when you see that the husk of the seed is open and roots start to emerge. The cotton balls should be moist through the germination process. If any of them seem dry, add a small amount of water to the cotton ball(s). Use care as seeds are most vulnerable as they start emerging.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Step 8: When 9-14 days have passed after the start of the experiment, transplant the seedlings into soil. If the outdoor conditions are too cold or wet to transplant the seedlings into the ground or an outdoor pot, consider planting them in the biodegradable planting cups provided in your science kit until outdoor conditions improve. This is a great way to start your garden.

Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci
Garden in a Glove Science Project #CampSci

Garden in a Glove

{lesson plan for home educators}

Once water surrounds the seed, the testa of the seed loosens. Water gets inside the seed and the embryo wakes up. This starts the germination process! My girls were able to observe all of this right in the fingers of the plastic gloves.

Next a tiny arm called the radicle will push its way out of the seed and begin to grow downward. This will develop into a root of the seed. Next the hypocotyl and the epicotyl will begin to form. The hypocotyl will eventually turn into the stem of the plant. The hypocotyl will push its way upward, and the testa will fall off of the seed. if the seed is planted in dirt -- this is the first part you will see poking its way up through the surface).

The hypocotyl becomes the stem and the epicotyl will begin to poke out of the seed. The epicotyl is the formation of the first true leaves--the plumule. In between the epicotyl and the plumule will be the cotyledons. These are often called the seed leaves. The cotyledons supply food to the developing plant. The cotyledons have all the nutrition the baby plant needs for several days.

Guess what the "food" is? SUGAR! Plants love sugar. Plants really can't live without sugar, it is their food. They make it right inside their leaves. Plants produce their own food, so they really are their own producers.

Do you know why plants grow leaves? They grow their leaves to feed themselves. Each leaf on a plant has a stomata, sort of like a mouth. They don't actually eat, but they help the leaf make food for the plant. Without stomata in its leaves, a plant would ton be able to survive. The stomata are tiny holes in the leaf surrounded by guard cells.

The guard cells swell up once the sun comes out each morning and the stomata open. This allows carbon dioxide into the leaf. The leaf then used the carbon dioxide to make food for the plant.  When the sun sets, the guard cells shrink and go to sleep for the night.

The leaves of plants are super important. If you pick all the leaves off, the plant will likely not survive. We need the plants because they not only provide food for us to eat -- but they also release oxygen into the air for us to breathe! (If you are thinking how do tress survive in winter without their leaves -- that is a totally different lesson ☺)

The stomata allow oxygen to leave the leaves so that we can breathe it. Without all the leaves on our planet, we would have less oxygen to breathe. But here is another good reason to not pick all the leaves off plants-- plats also clean the air by taking in carbon dioxide and replacing it with fresh oxygen. They absorb harmful chemicals that are dangerous for us to inhale.

Photosynthesis

via National Arbor Day Foundation

To review, sugar is made in the leaves--the leaf takes water from the roots and combines it with light from the sun and the carbon dioxide from the air to make the sugar for the plant and oxygen for us. It then sends the sugar down form the leaves and the sugar runs throughout the entire plant to feed itself. In order to combine the carbon dioxide and water, the leaf needs energy. Where do you think the energy comes from? The sun! This is photosynthesis!

Photosynthesis means putting together with light. This is exactly what leaves do.

Do you know why leaves are green?? Leave need to be green in order to perform their duties. Leaves are filled with a substance called chlorophyll. This absorbs the light from the sun, uses the energy and gives it its color. Chlorophyll literally fills the leaves with green color! So, if the leaf is not green, it can no longer do Photosynthesis. (HINT: grass works the same way)

Quotes of the Day:

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! -Sitting Bull

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.
― Thomas Jefferson

VOCABULARY:

Germination: The process by which a plant grows from a seed.

Transplant: To transplant or replant is to move a plant from one location to another.

Botony: The study of plants.

Radicle: The embryo's root.

Hypocotyl: The stem of a germinating seedling.

Epicotyl: The top parts of the embryo.

Plumule: Feather like leaves on the embryo.

Stomata: Pores in leaves.

Photosynthesis: The process plants use to change carbon dioxide and water into sugar using sunlight.

STEM

Introducing kids to the concepts of STEM early encourages their natural curiosity about the world around them. Getting kids excited about STEM activities can help them make their own connections and their own discoveries about how things work.

  • Science is a way of thinking and looking at the world
  • Technology is a way of doing and making things work
  • Engineering is a way of designing and building things that work
  • Math is a way of measuring, calculating and predicting results

What do you do to get your kids natural curiosity excited about STEM? Try out the Garden in the Glove Science Experiment at home!

Ecosystem in a Bottle | Science Project #CampSci

It is hard to believe that I am in our sixth year of home educating my children. From the beginning our our journey to educate at home, my children have shown a keen interest in Science. Which baffled me in the beginning because when I was in elementary school and in high school I literally despised Science.

images credit: http://www.mycutegraphics.com/graphics/science/science-notebook.html

images credit: http://www.mycutegraphics.com/graphics/science/science-notebook.html

What I have come to discover as I have been teaching the Sciences to my children is that I actually love Science, I just had very bad teachers. And maybe, not necessarily bad teachers; but very uninterested and boring teachers. To teach Science, you have to be excited about it. You have to let your own love of the Science show to your students, that being my children.

In the lower grade levels of teaching when I had all three children home with me, they were very much into experiments. One year I ordered kits for the entire school year. My kiddos were happy to perform all these experiments. Sadly, we did not have good luck with these kits as all the pre-packaged kits were very old and they rarely worked.

The next school year, I ordered more Science kits from another vendor and we had better luck. What I realized was if I had the list of equipment we would need and purchased our own NEW, that the experiments worked out perfectly. Needless to say, I have been wary of Science kits from this experience.

image credit: http://www.hometrainingtools.com/bob-jones-science-5-science-kit

image credit: http://www.hometrainingtools.com/bob-jones-science-5-science-kit

We have been a STEM family for a six years now. I am happy to say we are heavy on the Sciences in my house. My son gobbled up Science when he was home with me. I remember doing dual Science each year and it almost was not enough for his Science hungry mind. We just received an acceptance letter last week letting us know that my son has been accepted to the Science, Math and Technology Academy for High School. He was so happy and we are so proud. I like to think that I fostered his love of Science in our home educating years together. I cant wait to see what he does in the next four years in high school.

This past fall we attended the Family Forward conference and had the pleasure of conducting a Science experiment whilst there. My kids were in experiment heaven. After the conference, I was asked if I would like to continue to participate with Camp Science at home. Of course, we were happy and excited to participate!

Disclosure: This Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci is sponsored by Monsanto. I have not been compensated for this post, I received the Science kit for my children. All opinions are my own. #CampSci #Monsanto

Ecosystem in a Bottle | Science Project #CampSci

We received our first kit a bit before the holidays and didn't have the opportunity to complete the experiment until recently. My son was just finishing up his Science Fair project, Worm Composting - What do Worms Eat? We needed to clear out the worm bins (we had 500 healthy worms in my dining room) before we began growing some herbs. 

Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci

Ecosystem in a Bottle

aka: Miniature Greenhouse
{lesson plan for home educators}

Quotes of the Day:

What most people know but don't realize they know is that the world is almost entirely solar-powered already. If the sun wasn't there, we'd be a frozen ice ball at three degrees Kelvin, and the sun powers the entire system of precipitation. The whole ecosystem is solar-powered.

I love all of the ecosystems - mountains, deserts, rain forests. They're beautiful, and nature has so many different flavors to it.

Our challenge for the future is that we realize we are very much a part of the earth's ecosystem, and we must learn to respect and live according to the basic biological laws of nature.

ECOSYSTEM:

An ecosystem is all the things that interact in a specific area, whether they are living or non-living. Some examples of non-living things that support life in an ecosystem are light, air, soil and water. Living things, like plants, called organisms, use those resources. Each of the specific ecosystems in the world has its own conditions created by the non-living things. These conditions determine what kinds of living things will be able to thrive there.

Organisms can only thrive where their needs are being met. Everything in an organism’s environment has an effect on it. One ecosystem that allows many different kinds of organisms to thrive is a temperate zone. It is an area where the conditions never become too hot or too cold.

All the living things in an ecosystem are called a community. All of one specific kind of organism living in a community is called a population. They take in nutrients like air, sunlight, water, and food. They use energy from those nutrients to grow and develop. They release energy by doing work and moving. They release waste products. They react to things in their environment.

VOCABULARY:

Ecosytem: A complex group of connected elements such as plants, animals and microbes that function as a unit in an environment.

Ecology: The science of the relationships of organisms to one another and their physical surroundings.

Terraqua Column: A bottle system that is composed of elements that live or relate to the earth and aquatic habitats.

Organism: An individual animal, plant or single-celled life form

SUPPLIES:

Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci
  • • Scissors
  • • Marker
  • • Seeds
  • • Caps*
  • • Two 2-liter bottles
  • • Water
  • • Soil
  • • Wicks
  • • Ruler
  • • Drill
  • • Safety glasses
  • • Vice grips

HYPOTHESIS

A self-sustained ecosystem is dependent on relating to living organisms and nonliving physical and chemical interactions.

PROCEDURE

This video is very helpful visually for children. I have found that with my kiddos, they have an easier time seeing the experiment than listening to me trying to explain it to them.

With Ecosystem in a Bottle you will be building a terraqua column which will allow you discover the relationships between living organisms, and their environment.

Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci
Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci
Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci
Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci
Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci

Discovering Ecosystems:

What observations did you have when you looked at your ecosystem today? Has anything changed? How are the seeds or plants?

How do you expect the plants to grow?

What is one example of a non-living thing in an ecosystem?

What are three of the life processes that living organisms do?

What does population mean in a community?

When does an organism thrive?

Why does a temperate zone support many varieties of organisms?

How much water will be absorbed from the reservoir?

What will the plants look like or taste like?

If they included many elements in their ecosystem, what do they expect to happen?

How do they feel when there are lots of people in a crowded room?

Can anyone name an example of an environment?

What happens when we have too many organisms in one environment?

If you were able to design an environment, what would it look like? Which plants would you have in it? How would you decide how many plants you would put in your environment? Would you also live in your environment?

How would you get the right amounts of air, water and food for each of your plants?

Can you think of some of the steps an engineer may need to complete when designing something?

Where to Put the Ecosystem

Light is an essential part of ecosystems. Without it, photosynthesis would not take place and plants would die. Put the ecosystem in an area that gets direct sunlight for a few hours every day, that won't be knocked over or disturbed by people or pets and a location that can be observed easily.

Ecosystem in a Bottle | A Science Project #CampSci

Once the ecosystem is assembled,  watch it grow and see how the elements mature. Have your kiddos check their ecosystems every couple of days to observe and record the progress. We can't wait for the fresh herbs we will have in a a month or so.

image credit: gpstem.vcsu.edu

image credit: gpstem.vcsu.edu

 

STEM

Introducing your kids to the concepts of STEM encourages their natural curiosity about the world around them. Getting kids excited about STEM activities can help them make their own connections and their own discoveries about how things work. I am so happy I fostered my son's love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math because NOW, he will be attending an Academy for high school that will fostering his growth in STEM. I can't wait to see what he will be doing in the next four years!

  • Science is a way of thinking and looking at the world
  • Technology is a way of doing and making things work
  • Engineering is a way of designing and building things that work
  • Math is a way of measuring, calculating and predicting results

What do you do to get your kids natural curiosity excited about STEM? Try out the Ecosystem in a Bottle Science Experiment at home!

Ecosystem in a Bottle | Science Project #CampSci

2015-2016 Home School Curriculum

Each August I write a post on what curriculum we will use for the coming school year. Here are my 2014-2015 home school curriculum, 2013-2014 home school curriculm2012-2013 school curriculum and2011-2012 school curriculum posts. WOW! FIVE FULL years of home educating my kiddos! I can't believe it!

2015-2016 Home School Curriculum

This past summer I really was laid back and didn't have full time or even part time schooling planned. I would say were were part-time part-time schoolers over the summer. We had such a fantastic 2014-2015 school year . . . the girls and I, that I was not as strict as I normally would be.

We worked on Math three mornings a week, but that was simply to finish up our Saxon Math books. I wanted to be able to jump right in to the next level once the school year started. The girls worked on cursive writing skills and they also worked on spelling since we don't touch too much on this subject during the school year. The one aspect I was very strict on was reading. I made the kiddos read every single day.

This school year began four weeks ago and I am just now getting my yearly post up! I'm so behind on everything this year! My girls will be attending the consortium again this year and they fully know what is expected of them. My son will attend his last year at the private christian school this year. Not sure what we are doing with him next year (eck!)

2015-2016 Home School Curriculum

Math: Saxon Math (Level 7/6{6th grader} and 6/5 {4th grader})
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it for 2015-2016? Yes.

Saxon Math is my friend! I have been using this curriculum for a long time. it works for us - I love - my kids know what is expected of them and we will keep using it this year as well. Plus, I already have all the books, so that sort of settles it.

Grammar: Shurley Grammar (Level 4 & 7)
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use? YES

This will be our FIFTH year using Shurley Grammar. USE IT! IT IS THE BEST! It will help your kids with grammar . . . it will help your kids with literature . . . it will help your kids with composition . . . it will help your kid with foreign language . . . JUST GET IT! I have to say it is one of the best Grammar curriculum out there, for us.

Spelling: The Grammar of Spelling
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it?  Yes and No

This is new to us curriculum as we just started suing it over the summer. Does it work - YES. Do my girls like it - NO. BUT - they don't like any spelling curriculum I have ever purchased. They simply do not like spelling, that is all there is to it. I have been using this curriculum o and off for a couple of years. My little one is a great speller and my oldest daughter is a not so great speller. She could care less and there is nothing that is going to change that. She does not care how a word is spelled or why it is spelled a certain way or the way she thinks it should be spelled. Here's where grammar comes into play. (I didn't use Shurley Grammar with her UNTIL 3rd grade, so I totally failed her in that aspect! BUT - I also didn't get her at home to school until half way through first grade - AND, by then, she had already developed the horrible habit of not caring. Her kindergarten teacher was the worst at teaching spelling and grammar. Just horrid!) SO, I will be working with my eldest once again on getting these key spelling facts down!

Handwriting/Penmanship: Classically Cursive
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

My daughters are both left handed and they do not have the neatest handwriting. My older daughter is really fine tuning her writing and it becoming so much neater these days. But adding in cursive is throwing her into a loop. My youngest child had poor writing skills. She has loads of open ended letters in her printing and I am really hoping Classically Cursive will help this sloppy habit of hers.

Literature/Composition: Classical Composition I: Fable, Classical Composition II: Narrative, Classical Composition III: Cheria/Maxim
Does it work? YES
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

Grade 4:  Twice Freed, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Cathedral, Castle, Augustine, The Farmer's boy, Beorn the Proud, Door in the Wall, Ink on His Fingers, The Kite Fighters, Son of Charlemagne

READ ALOUD: Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold, The Story of Joan of Arc, Favorite Medieval Tales, The Hobbit, Shakespeare's Macbeth

Grade 6: Twice Freed, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Cathedral, Morning Star of the Reformation, Augustine, The Farmer's Boy, Beorn the Proud, Door in the Wall, Ink on His Fingers, The Kite Fighters, Son of Charlemagne

READ ALOUD: Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold, The Story of Joan of Arc, Favorite Medieval Tales, The Hobbit, Shakespeare's Macbeth

Omnibus: Mystery of History, Volume 2 Early Christian Church and Middle Ages
Does it work? YES
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

I love and adore MOH - my kids LOVE history because of MOH! We are so excited to use this again this year. This is GOOD stuff!! I highly recommend it! I have already used this curriculum with my son when he was in 4th grade, so it is very familiar to me and I will have a great year teaching it again.

English/Vocabulary/Language: I feel this is covered well with Shurley Grammar and Lit/Comp work
Does it work? yes
Will I continue to use it?  yes

Science:  Exploring Creation with Astronomy AND Exploring Creation with Botony
Does it work?  YES
Will I continue to use it? Yes, We love Apologia!

We are a Science family! I love Science now - when I was a kid - I WISH I had been taught with Apologia textbooks! I would have loved science instead of abhorring it. My children adore Science and I'm happy to fill their brains up with whatever they want.  We all adore Science and I will continue to be Science heavy in this house. This will be another exciting year with Apologia as we get through two textbooks. Astronomy will be another repeat year for me as I used this when my son was in 4th grade, daughter in 2nd grade and little one in Kinder. We are super familiar with the text and will be using it a refresh our memories basically. Then head right in and dive deep with Botony!

Biblical Studies/Religion/Memory: God's Great Covenant, OT 2: A Bible Course for Children
Does It Work? GGC - YES!
Will I continue to use?  YES!

Both girls will be using GGC again this year. This is another repeat for me as I used this for my son when he was in 4th grade. My daughters love this curriculum, I do as well and it really works in explaining the Bible to children.

Foreign Language: Logos Latin I (Grade 4), Via Latina III (Grade 6)
Does It Work? YES!
Will I continue to use?  YES!

Doing Hard Things this year with Latin! I struggle with this language! I try really hard, but language is just NOT my thing. Latin is always a struggle and I know we will have many hours of studying this year! But, we shall persevere! We like the Logos Latin books MUCH better than the Via Latina - that is for sure.

Art & Music:  Violin, Private Lessons and Chamber Orchestra for my 4th grader & 6th grader. Art classes at academy, Study of Art Through the Masters - Drawing
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use? Yes 

Field Trips/Extra Activities:

We have many field trips since we live in a great city with numerous museums that we are members. Field Trip day will always and forever be a favorite. Field trips will be easier this year as I do not have to pick up my son from school everyday.

About Tiaras & Tantrums: Rese is a Chicago mom of three. She enjoys home educating her kiddos, taking photos, and traveling the globe. Rese is a family photographer and home educator. Connect with Rese on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.