Thursday, December 31, 2009

Homeschooling Update

Some of what wwe've been up to lately...


Introduction to fractions; plane, point and line symmetry; estimation; measurement (the measuring monkey game he got for Christmas was a hit); and/or statements and truth tables: introducing mathematical logic concepts; simple addition and subtraction; introducing exponents and large numbers. We are talking about the concepts and laying a framework, rather than concentrating on memorization of math facts.


World Water Monitoring Day; Project FeederWatch; evolution; animal classification; animal anatomy (he likes Raw Anatomy-- the animal autopsy show); water cycle; seasons, solstices, equinoxes; lots of Bill Nye and other science videos on You Tube.



Lots of Henry & Mudge, Dr. Seuss, etc., Tumblebooks on the computer, and this beloved read aloud:


Kandinsky at the Guggenheim; National Museum of the American Indian: Beauty Surrounds Us, Identity By Design, Song for the Horse Nation; lots of seasonal crafts, drawing, playdough, creating and building with Legos and K'nex (sculpture, sorta?) and some water color painting.



The Magna Carta at Fraunces Tavern, the Declaration of Independence, feudalism, Divine Right of Kings, the American Revolution; colonialism and the American Indians; the Iroquois esp. the Mohawks; family tree construction (and watching mom curse at, having reached a big fat dead end at my great great great grandfather, who I suspect is where the Mohawk ancestry comes in, and thus the glaring lack of documentation. Census forms that ask for all the people living at an address "except Indians" seriously irk me...)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

World Water Monitoring Day

Today, Mikro and I braved the cold to finally get our water sample for World Water Monitoring Day. The collection period runs from September to Dec. 31st, so we just squeaked into being able to participate this year. I found out about it late, and didn't get the test kit till late October, and between field trips, the flu, the weather, and the holidays, we just never got to it. Then I realized we were about to procrastinate our way out of taking part, so today was the day. Mikro was suited up in rain boots to be able to wade in for the sample, but when we got there, he took one look at the ice along the shoreline and bailed on me, so I had to do it. Knowing how cold my hand was, I'm glad it fell to me. It took almost 20 minutes for it to stop hurting... Anyway, I managed to avoid falling into the river, or having to fish the boy out, thankfully, and we stood on the beach running our tests on the sample.

First, we determined the water temperature via thermometer strips on the collection jar, and then tested turbidity, using a Secchi disk in the bottom of our jar (all supplies were included in the kit we purchased from the project's web site, and there are ample supplies to test multiple times on multiple water sources. We'll use this again next year.), which we compared to the handy scale provided. (The photo below was taken hours later, indoors, after we warmed up. It was too cold out to do much photography at the test site.)

Next, we measured the amount of dissolved oxygen in the sample:

Finally, we tested the pH of the sample:

At home, we entered our results on the web site, which required us to describe the site, input the data, convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and figure out how to find latitude and longitude coordinates using Google Maps. It was a fun project, and we both learned something. Next year, however, we will collect our samples in September, rather than December! I had intended to also test at the Croton River further upstream, along the Hudson, and with tap water (our village has well water), but it was just too cold to do anything more.

Site: Croton Canoe Launch
Water Body Name Croton River
Water Body Type Wetland
Site Description near where the Croton River meets the Hudson River
Site Country United States
Site State New York
Site City Croton on Hudson
Latitude 41.185
Longitude -73.879

Number of Participants 2
Date of Monitoring 12/30/2009
Time of Monitoring 14:40
Recent Precipitation CLEAR
Surrounding Land Use INDUSTRIAL
Turbidity 40.000 JTU
Water Temperature (C) 0.220
Dissolved Oxygen 8.000 ppm
pH 7.500
Air Temperature (C) -0.830
QA Protocols Followed NO
Benthic Data NO

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Fun

Mikro had a fun Christmas. He opened gifts, and was thrilled that we got him lots of games (shhh, don't tell him most of them are educational!), books and DVDs, and he's especially thrilled that Santa brought him his much pined for Roboraptor. He also loves the Hess racing car set that he got from Grandma C. And he and Kev both enjoyed the Nerf dart guns that I got them. Legos and K'Nex dinosaurs are also a hit.

Mama got a Kindle, and promptly filled it with free downloads of classics from Amazon. This will be a nifty addition to our homeschooling.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Mikro is positively bouncing off the walls. I have no idea how he will ever fall asleep tonight. He's insanely excited.

I'm hoping I can distract him with a little project-- painting or coloring these paper Santas and snowmen that I drew for him...

We'll see. I'm expecting he'll be awake till all hours, up at the crack of dawn, and crashing shortly after lunch...

Happy holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Here Comes the Sun!", at least in a video from You Tube.

Come on, spring!

Holidays at Van Cortlandt Manor

Van Cortlandt Manor puts on holiday programs, with the manor house decorated for the season. We went on a weekend when there were demos of gingerbread making, open hearth cooking, textile making and blacksmithing.

Mikro enjoyed pressing dough into a cookie press (though he had to wash his hands right after to avoid ingesting wheat), trying loom weaving, watching wool being spun, and acting as the blacksmith's "apprentice" by operating the huge bellows.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Critters & Cousins

We went to Central Park Zoo over the Thanksgiving holidays and saw the (relatively) new snow leopards. Mikro loved it, but cheerfully announced that "Even better than the zoo was getting to see my cousins!" with whom we had dinner after the zoo trip.