Final Friday’s Factoid 33 (by Titus and Joel)

This week we learned more about technology in space and we did more experiments. My favorites were the ones with balloons. We tried to blow balloons up in a bottle but you can’t because of the air pressure. Then we put a balloon on a bottle in ice and the balloon sank in but when we put it in hot water it got bigger. Then we let all the balloons go from the balcony and they flew just like rockets (Joel, 7 1/2).

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I had to do a science project. It was about why the sky is blue. It isn’t really blue it just looks that way because the white light from the sun gets scattered by particles in our atmosphere and you mostly see the blue rays of color. The sky is different colors on different planets. I did an experiment with clear water and with water that had drops of milk in it. The clear water just looked blackish clear when I shined a flashlight on it but the other water looked blue just like our sky.

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Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
Whew! I can’t believe we’re done for the year! I’m super proud of the boys for completing all 33 Factoids. This is the only time they have ever worked with a computer and I think they did a great job. Here is a little progress report on each of them.
Titus: 3 huge accomplishments stick out to me from this year. The first is your diligence in reading through the Bible. I can’t believe you only started in December and you are already half way through Psalms! Thank you for finding those great verses about birds along the way for our memory work next year. The second thing is the bravery you showed last month when you had to go to a “real” school for a whole week to do standardized testing. I know you didn’t like it but we are so proud of how well you did! Finally, I really admire how you committed to playing tennis with the “old guys” 3 days a week and how you stuck with it even when you didn’t feel like it. You are proving to be extremely reliable and I suspect Al might live to see his hundredth birthday in a few months partly because of spending time on the courts with you. God has gifted you in so many special ways and I am daily in awe of the things you can do.
Joel: You have come so far in your reading and writing skills this year. I love to hear you reading to your little brothers and I know they appreciate it, too. You are a great story teller/writer but it is your letter writing that has blessed me the most. Your little notes are treasures to me and you always know exactly the right words to encourage. I have also been super blessed by your ability to make friends and your heart’s desire that they all know Jesus. I pray that the Lord will continue to use you in mighty ways for His kingdom.
Nathan: Some poor school teacher out there is missing out on the sweetest, most eager little student! But I’m keeping you all to myself! Congratulations on finishing not just one, but 2 whole math books and for learning to read whole sentences! Your compassionate spirit continues to bless me and others. Thank you so much for always taking such good care of Mommy when she has been so sick. You are my little ministering angel.
Samuel: You learned to swim and to snorkel before you even turned 4! You are amazing! And your big brothers did a great job teaching you your ABC’s and to count. You are also developing some great artistic talent. I especially like it when your pictures end up on paper and not on you or the furniture. Those are real masterpieces! The “plays” you perform for us keep us all laughing and unlike some of Daddy’s drama students, we never have to tell you to “pro-ject.” I can’t wait to see what you will be accomplishing next year!

To Blog or Not To Blog…

As our school year draws to a close, I’m thinking more and more about whether or not to continue blogging about it next year. Because we were studying astronomy and had internet for the first time ever, it seemed a perfect complement to our studies. But next year our focus is on birds and other creatures that hatch from eggs and all the high tech accoutrements don’t seem as fitting to the subject. So here are the pros and cons of blogging our school year. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

Pros
1. The state of Hawaii requires me to keep a record of what we’re doing anyway so why not do it on-line?
2. We live really far away from family so this has been a great way for the grandparents and other family members to keep tabs on what we’re doing with our days.
3. Since we don’t allow video/computer games, assigning our older boys the “Friday’s Factoid” was a great way to get them comfortable using a keyboard/computer.
4. It was super encouraging connecting with other believers and homeschoolers in the blogging community. 3 other blogs I discovered through this process that I highly recommend to others are parablesofthesky, ihavenogreaterjoy, and hiseternalworld.
5. I loved sending our weekly memory verses and hymns out into cyber space with the prayer that they might be used to encourage others. According to our stats God was Made Known in this small way in 57 countries around the world. How cool is that!

Cons
1. Internet is expensive here!
2. It creates a strange sense of vulnerability giving strangers such a close look at our daily lives.
3. Blogging takes up precious minutes of my day that will probably be pretty full with Baby Boy #5 due in August!

So what do you all think? Is it worth the time and expense? Is it time to call it quits?

Friday’s Factoid 32 (by Titus and Joel)

We are studying about astronauts. There are astronauts in space right now on the International Space Station. We have seen it flying over Hawaii. You can see it fly over your house too if you look it up on the internet (Joel 7 1/2).

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The astronauts in space are mostly doing science experiments. We did more science experiments this week too. We learned about a law called inertia and how fire needs oxygen and how heated up air particles can make things move (Titus, 9).

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)

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To kick off our space travel and technology unit, we took a little field trip to see our neighbors, Dick and Linda. Dick is a retired helicopter pilot and therefore, the closest thing to an astronaut in our neighborhood. And according to my boys, helicopters are almost as cool as rockets and definitely worth learning a thing or two about. So armed with a page full of questions and empty tummies (gotta have room for Linda’s yummy homemade cookies), we headed next door for a lesson in “lift.” This is the second time we have done an interview/lesson with one of our elderly neighbors and it is a practice we will definitely be continuing. Not only do our boys gain valuable information, the older folks seem to genuinely enjoy being put in the spot light for a while and having their wealth of knowledge and wisdom tapped. Next time you are tempted to just Google a subject for answers, think first if there isn’t some older person in your life who might be an “expert” in that field. I guarantee you’ll walk away richer and wiser for the experience and you’ll leave someone else feeling a little more valued. That’s way more than an hour spent surfing the web could ever offer.
(For more on building relationships with seniors click here).

Friday’s Factoid 31 (by Titus, Joel, and Nate)

We started learning about space travel. We learned about rockets and the Space Race with Russia. Russia sent a little dog named Laika into space in a rocket and everyone loved Laika but Laika died because the Russians didn’t know very much about staying alive in space (Joel, 7 1/2).

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We did lots of science experiments this week. We turned water upside down and it didn’t spill and we tried to drink water through straws with one straw in the cup and one straw not in the cup. That doesn’t work at all. We hung balls from a string and blew in between them and they banged together instead of blowing apart (Nate, 6).

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Yesterday was a Solar Eclipse. We used special glasses to watch it and we made a special viewing box that made a picture of the sun on a screen so it wouldn’t hurt our eyes (by Titus, 9).

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Friday’s Factoid 30 (by Titus, Joel, and Mom)


Dark Matter isn’t like anything else. It can pass through us. It is invisible and it is everywhere. Scientists are trying to capture it in a bottle (by Titus, 9).

The galaxies are all spinning too fast and should all fall apart but Dark Matter holds them together and Dark Energy makes them get farther and farther apart (Joel, 7 1/2).

We have spent almost the entire school year studying the visible universe. This week we turned our attention to the other 96%, the part of the universe we can’t see and the most mysterious substances of all: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter acts as an invisible framework that holds the visible properties of the universe in place. Dark Energy seems to be working against gravity to stretch the universe out at a faster and faster rate. We’re posting the first part in a series put out by the History Channel on these amazing new discoveries. I highly recommend looking up the rest of this series. As you watch keep in mind 2 of our memory verses from this year: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:12) and “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17).

And Z is for…

Our last Weekly Memory Verse: Z is for…
“Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgements, O Lord. For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” -Psalm 97:8

Hymn of the Week: “Children of the Heavenly Father” (Carolina Sandell Berg)

Children of the heavenly Father safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’re was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish; In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil evil things He spares them; In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever from the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth, and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy.

Friday’s Factoid 29

Here is the last installment of our Zodiac rhyme. Once again it’s just me, the teacher, as the boys were far too busy SOCIALIZING this morning to get any school-work done (Hmmm, that might be worthy of it’s own post). To see the previous 2 installments click here and here.

Next comes charging the TAURUS bull,
Breathing wrath and powerful,
Vengeful gaze from horned head,
He comes to judge the quick and dead.
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Two twins united in starry form,
GEMINI breeds the perfect storm,
Of Princely Judge come to rule,
And suffering servant with warrior’s tool.
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CANCER represents a fold,
A circling-in, a safe stronghold,
When all God’s people shall be gathered in,
To rest securely in our shepherds pen.
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As written in the Good Book’s end,
The Lion of Judah returns again.
LEO destroys the dreaded snake,
Then ascends on high His throne to take.
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Snorkel Under the Stars

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Just past the condo complex we live in is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the Big Island. On any given day the beach there will be packed with hundreds of people getting there first glimpses of sea turtles, eels, crabs and a hundred kinds of brightly colored tropical fish. All our boys have learned to snorkel there and every time they go they see something different. Lately though, they’ve figured out that the dark hours of the night are not just for sleeping and stargazing, they are for snorkeling, too. But for these starlit snorkel outings they head the opposite direction to another spot where the manta rays are known to congregate. These giant creatures have a “wing” span of 6-20 feet and feed on the plankton attracted by the spotlights of the snorkelers. For a small fortune you can pay to be taken out on a boat equipped with spotlights and snorkel gear right out to where the mantas are. Or if you are super adventurous, you can swim from shore through the dark (and Mom’s quite certain, shark infested) waters which is of course, the method my dear husband and our two oldest boys prefer. Last week, Joel came back from his first manta swim all excited because not only was there a big one circling all around him but the “water was full of twinkling lights,” too. No, the stars hadn’t fallen into the sea. He had just encountered a host of tiny, bioluminescent creatures. How awesome that our God chooses even the darkness of night to reveal his splendor, not just through the vastness of space but even to the depths of the sea. As this week’s memory verse beautifully states, “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them.” -Nehemiah 9:6

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