Review of the Biology 101 DVD Series, part of the 101 Series for high school science. I share our experience with the Biology 101 curriculum for homeschool
— Read on www.ridgehavenhomestead.com/the-101-series-biology-101-review/
Review of the Biology 101 DVD Series, part of the 101 Series for high school science. I share our experience with the Biology 101 curriculum for homeschool
— Read on www.ridgehavenhomestead.com/the-101-series-biology-101-review/
It’s time for the Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids to bloom, and they are out in abundance on our property!
We took a Nature Walk yesterday, and I bribed my boys with one cookie per flower they found. I never dreamed how many cookies I’d have to bake!
To access the printable, click on the link below, and you’ll be taken to the page where the link is.
Read about our fun walk by clicking the below.
Hunting for Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids on our property in East Tennessee. A homeschool Nature hike, or walk in the woods
— Read on www.lessonsandlessons.com/ladys-slipper-lane/
Molding and shaping clay into something useful is similar to shaping our characters. We are like the clay, and God is the Potter.
Our boys are learning pottery in their Pathfinder club. As I’ve observed and participated in the process of making, shaping, and turning out a vessel from clay, I was struck at how many lessons we can apply to our Christian walk, and our character development.
The post is over at my self-hosted site.
Hope you can come on over!
Timeline of a Lovely Pink Lady
Day 1: Saturday, April 14: My son and I spotted the first sprouts of what we hoped would turn out to be the Pink Lady’s Slipper flower like we had seen in that area last year.
Day 4: Monday, April 17: The bud has appeared, and we are sure this will be the Lady’s Slipper! We hope! How long will we have to wait? I sneak out the woods every day, but nothing seems to be happening quickly! It is hard to wait!
Day 5: April 18, Wednesday: No change! Why am I disappointed? Just a few hours have passed, and I still would like to see a major change! My boys laugh at me as I rush out to take a quick look before heading out for the day!
Day 7: Friday, April 20: The bud is beginning to open! I have sent my boys out to check, and they keep saying, “No change” but I have to go see for myself! I can definitely see a change! I have hope that maybe for the Sabbath, we will have a bloom!
Day 10: Monday, April 23: My son’s birthday! We are so close! It’s teasing me! I can see the shape, and the beauty emerging, but it’s still going to take some more waiting! It will be worth it!
Day 11: Tuesday, April 24: I headed outside first thing in the morning, just like I did yesterday! I hardly hoped, but there it was! What a jewel! I do still think it may open a bit more! It’s much paler than I thought it would be! But I am super excited at how it looks! I took pictures in the early morning light, and after it had rained in the afternoon. I really like it after the rain! Tomorrow, I will go check it out too!
Day 12: Wednesday, April 25: OK. I couldn’t let the day go by without seeing how the orchid had changed! Today is the best day by far! The color has deepened to a nicer pink shade, and now you can see inside the flower! I think it is beautiful–obviously! My son told me that I geek wildflowers! He’s right on!
As we walked down the driveway, I got to thinking that if we have these orchids on our property, I’d bet that the neighbors have the same type of environment. So, I started gazing over towards their side of the driveway. You know, the grass always promises to be greener on the other side of the fence, and all. Well…suddenly I did see a bloom on their side! It’s not opened as far as ours yet, but time will bring that beauty out! And now I have another flower to watch! We actually have about 9-11 more growing on our property in the woods, but they are just leaves so far. I read that not all plants make a flower every year, but I hope they all make one here! But I might get more done if they don’t bloom!
Here is the flower on the neighbor’s side!
I know that some of my shots are a tad fuzzy. I am basically just shooting with a poor old IPhone 5! My good camera keeps fuzzing out on me, and so I’m just doing this for my pleasure and memories! But I am happy with every shot that I have of this exquisite specimen of God’s handiwork! The wait has sure been rewarded, even if my family thinks that I have gone off the deep end!
Get outside and enjoy God’s world!
My third-born son and I are becoming Nature Nerds. I wear that title with pride, and I think he kind of just gets roped into these outdoor adventures. But he does take it with a nice attitude, and is learning all the way, even if he doesn’t quite gush enthusiasm for flowers, if you know what I mean! After all, he’s eleven! That might not be cool to be too interested in flowers. But, remember Luther Burbank and George Washington Carver, Elliot Coleman, and other fine men who appreciate wild things, and you will see that flowers and plants are for everyone!
Well, we took an excursion yesterday to see the wildflowers. We hooked up with two dear old friends (old friends, not OLD friends, as in old ladies) who happened to know bunches about all things wild! You never know what you will stumble across out on the trail–I just figure you have to get out there and start looking, because the flowers are there, whether anyone sees them or not. When you do come across little patches of beauty, it is such a treat for the eyes and for the soul! If I miss these beauties, it’s kind of my own fault, because there they are, just blooming for all they are worth!
We came across some neat finds! Some stumped us, which led us to scour the field guides and good old Google when we came back to the cars, but, as the Good Teacher said, “Seek, and ye shall find.”
We discovered that what we initially thought was the Little Brown Jug plant was actually another in its family, the Southern Heartleaf plant. I looked up pictures on the internet when I got home, but the photos I saw still look like they are mottled a bit differently. Naturally, I think that the ones we saw are prettier, but that’s because they are ours. Much like your baby always looks nicer to you than other people’s, and I think that’s just fine! I think they are just neat-looking flowers.
We were hiking around Hot Springs, NC, and explored three trails with our friends. The Jack’s Branch Trail, which a friend had heard about for its wildflowers, we found overgrown, and a definite rugged walk! Over logs, under logs, across the creek, through fallen trees and over mossy logs. We didn’t quite find the official trail’s end, but knew we found the correct beginning point, at least an old point of entry. Later on, we did find a new connection into this trail, which was plainly marked. So, that will be an adventure for another day!
Along the rugged trail we spotted some lovely Silver Bells, which grow on a tree. I had never seen this type of tree before. We almost stepped onto a patch of Dwarf Crested Irises, in both light and dark purple! They are quite lovely! We found Yellow Bellwort flowers growing along the way, although I’m not sure what variety they were, as my pictures turned out fuzzy. We saw many other Spring wildflowers that were so nice–the Fire Pinks bloomed abundantly, Blue Phlox, Star Chickweed, Wood Anemone, and lots of violets! I learned more new names–The Purple and White Phacelia, and Bishop’s cap were among them.
All in all, we had a good experience–great company and and lovely day!
My son and I decided to take the scenic short-cut back home, and are we ever glad that we did! We didn’t know that The Lord had surprises waiting for us! As we drove the back road back along the French Broad River, we kind of started to relax. We put an audio story on to listen to, and just sort of drove along slowly, enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, a striped cat leaped across our path! Wait, no–he was a Bobcat! He sprang across the road, looking just like our tabby house cat without the tail. Yes, he was a bit larger, but not considerably! We stayed there in the road until he disappeared into the woods, but we felt excited to see one of God’s creatures that prefer to remain hidden.
The next surprise greeted us as we entered into the Paint Creek Corridor. A banquet of white trillium flowers spread out before us, lining the road! I was amazed! I’d been hoping to see trilliums all week, and now, without really looking for them at all, there they were! I couldn’t resist the urge to take pictures of them, and after snapping a few, I realized there were at least two varieties, although they do look similar. We saw the Bent Trillium, I believe, and the Sweet White Trillium, which has the burgundy/dark center. I thought we found another variety, the pink streaked one, but I think that is what they start to look like when they get older. Honestly, I could be wrong about that, but I could not find any other trilliums that look similar to these streaked ones. I personally think they are very beautiful flowers with the colored streaks! I took a picture of the buds of some, and almost thought they were the Bent Trillium. I believe they are all the Sweet Whites in the group that I saw.
We had just one more trail to check out, since a nature-savvy friend of mine had told me about a certain trail that often had Trailing Arbutus growing on it at very specific times of the year. We were literally driving by the trail, so I thought we’d better try to see those! If I hadn’t known what to look for, we’d have overlooked them for sure, because you have to lift leaves–dry and live to try to see the little pink flowers. Imagine our disappointment to see that they had just bloomed and lost their flowers! I said a little prayer for our hike, and whispered that maybe we could be permitted to see some of these flowers that we’d heard about.
Later along the path, we did find a patch, and with some poking around, found blossoms that were still fresh! I made sure to bend down to take a sniff, and had my son do the same, for the fragrance was like nothing else! Reminded me of a nice perfume! Thanks to our Kind Father for allowing us to experience these little jewels.
Just after leaving the flower patch, we began to head down the trail. As we hiked along, we both stopped short at a rather loud rustling sound just to our right, and down the ravine. “A bear, my son gasped! Yikes, I thought, and tried to follow the dark form with my eyes. It scrambled up the other side of the ravine, across from us. I felt tense as it didn’t move away, and blended into the shadows.
I whispered a prayer that God would help this crazy mama and her boy, seeings that we were hiking all alone in the park, no cell service, and no one knowing where we were! I wondered how far to the end of the trail (I knew it wasn’t a long trail, but long can be relative, depending on whether you are being chased by a bear or not)!
We couldn’t exactly see how big the bear was, which made me nervous. I knew it didn’t look huge, but all the trees made it difficult to see if it was a cub or grown-up. If it was a cub, I knew Mama Bear was somewhere, and I did not want to meet her! The bear ended up moving along and away, and we decided that we would be wise to do the same!
Our day in the Wilds ended, we came home refreshed! We stopped along the driveway to take a shot of the Pink Lady’s Slipper bud that we’ve been watching. I am trying to be patient for the flower to open, but it is taking its own sweet time about it! It will be worth the wait, I am sure!
“I bet that butterfly will come out today,” I said to my husband as I jostled the little jar that held our chrysalis. The dark form jerked around as the I bumped the jar on the windowsill.
I turned around to clear the table, giving directions to the boys. When I came back to the sink, “oh, a bug has gotten into the butterfly jar! I’d better get it out,” I exclaimed, as I saw the black insect flapping around at the bottom. “Oh, the chrysalis is empty–it’s the butterfly!”
Just like that, transformation can happen. Turn your head away, turn back, and things have changed. Isn’t life like that? What you think is predictable, maybe isn’t.
There is a lesson for us. One for you and another for me. Here’s mine for today: Pay attention to little things that look ordinary. Take little snapshots in your mind. Life won’t always be like it is today. It might be better, but never the same.
Like the case of the caterpillar, change brought beauty and freedom. Let your change, however uncomfortable, bring joy and not bitterness.
Enjoy the journey.
We needed a change in our homeschool. Interest and attention seemed to be waning, which, I realize is kind of normal; after all, how many boys would admit that they LOVE school? Not mine, anyway. They look at it as something to be endured, until they get to go ride bikes and play around outside. Still…I do have a desire that they enjoy themselves while learning, and I knew this was possible.
I made the somewhat radical decision to totally change up our curriculum, mid-year! It may be a crazy experiment, but I believe that whatever happens, we will learn from our time along this new trail.
Speaking of trails, that’s really what our new curriculum is all about–blazing trails, wilderness survival, and practical approaches to everyday life that will help us to meet whatever challenges the future holds. The best preparation, as Christians, is to have our hiding place in Jesus, who is the only one who can protect us ultimately. Yet there are prudent measures families can take to deal with emergencies and unexpected life events. Taking a first-aid kit along while hiking, anticipating tornadoes and making some basic preparations, learning how to care for illnesses from what grows around us–all of these things are really common sense skills, but we don’t always give them much attention.
So, the name of the curriculum is Pray and Prepare. You can get it here: Prepare and Pray. It’s not very well-know, I’m finding, and so as I’ve tried to do some research on the curriculum, I haven’t found too many users of it. That’s why I decided to share what we end up doing with it. Because it is a unit study approach, many subjects overlap, and every home using it will have its own unique way of carrying out the projects. It’s very much pick and choose, and since we are just getting started, I am having to figure it out as we go.
This is our third week into it, with one whole week housing a sick boy. So, there have been some bumps in the road. I think the biggest bump so far is figuring out how much to try to tackle each day. Those first days, although they had fun activities, stretched out way too long into the afternoon, which was wearying. I’d been told to not try to tackle every project listed, but I tend to want to, and that leads to fatigue and mental overload. So, a couple projects per week is all we can really tackle, and concentrate on the basics the other times.
Our first week projects included making a bear bag, which is what you’d do while camping to store your food away from bears. I read the description of how to make it to the boys, and was content with that information. That’s my tendency. But I felt a prick of conscience telling me that I got this guide so that we could learn hands-on, not just read it & regurgitate it. So, we toon the mesh onion bag, and packed it with food, got the tape measure, and had to go outside to hunt up the right size tree, then measure and hang the thing. I can tell you which method the boys and I will remember–the one we did, not read!! Lesson for me, who would often rather sit on the sofa than get up and go out! Maybe this curriculum is more for me!!!
In our wild edible portion (you get to pick your own plants research), we studied the pine tree and mullein. We ended up learning so much about the pine tree and all it has to offer in a survival situation, that we needed the whole week instead of one day. We actually harvested the inner bark if the pine tree and cooked it–we kind of liked it! I don’t think we will be frying pine bark in coconut oil in a survival situation, unless we happen to be stranded on a tropical island, but it was good learning.
Also from the pine tree, we made pine needle tea, which we all agreed tasted more like medicine than Celestial Seasonings. And the tea left our mouths feelin dry, like when you eat an unripe persimmon. Not really a big hit here. But, it does contain five times more vitamin C than an orange, so don’t cross it off your survival list!!
Pine sap is useful in many ways, one of which is making a torch!! As soon as my youngest two heard that, they shot off outside to cut a big stick and harvest some pine pitch!! I think their eagerness probably led to some skipped steps in their torch-making process, because I never did see a very long time-burning flame, but I believe that understood the process. Do remember pine pitch for any wounds or cuts while hiking, because it has soothing and healing , as well as antimicrobial properties, and makes a pretty good glue for your cut!
Mullein, we learned, had many useful properties too. The boys remember the “Cowboy Toilet Paper”! We finally found some right out back today, so I harvested some for tea. While the tea is fairly pleasant, those tiny hairs from the leaves do not feel good, so I would think long and hard before I’d use the mullein for TP. I need to mention that to the boys. Not everything has to be experienced!
Not directly from the P&P, we have been studying camping skills also. So, yesterday, youngest camper showed how he could build and start a fire with just one (almost) match. The windy day did not help his one match, but it did ignite with just one! Also, he needed to bake bread on a stick! He gave a valiant attempt, but since the biscuit dough was gluten-free, it just would not stick to that stick!! So…we got biscuits the ordinary way!!
Middle Man Bro build us a nice fork thing for hanging pots on over the fire. We haven’t made any soup on that fire yet, but one day we will try.
For writing projects so far, the boys have had to create posters detailing the nine survival priorities, which is very practical. Don’t worry about food if you don’t have shelter or water available, etc. The next week was a small research project on ducks. Is week we chose our own writing project out of our Bible lesson on Naaman. We are focusing on Little Maid and the preparation her parents obviously gave her before she was carried away into captivity. That was a sobering thought for me–we are preparing our children for an unknown future. That’s where the Pray really comes in.
I’m leaving out lots, but for now will just hit on some of the hands-on projects, because that’s what we are trying to fit more of into our learning.
Today we took another side trip because the boys are working in a Seed honor for Pathfinders. They had to collect thirty different kinds of seeds! That would be much easier during a different part of the year, but even on this dreary and cold day, we traipsed around and found enough. No, we don’t have black beans growing in our back yard; they were allowed to choose ten from household and seed packets. I was surprised but not surprised to see which of our boys really don’t into this project–my Middle Man! He loved it! Sometimes I am at a loss as to what will motivate him–turns out it’s Nature! The Little Man seemed to enjoy it too–they worked together! Big Bro–my most motivated usually, did his part, but it was not really his cup of tea.
Here are a few shots from these first weeks (Unit one). So far so good. The major lesson is to not over-do the projects.
When our curriculum suggested that the students write a play about the siblings who discovered Uranus, I initially planned to skip that assignment. Maybe it was because of shying away from any more drama than normal, or maybe it was just because I feared the burden would somehow end up in my lap! If it hadn’t been for some friends of ours who used this same curriculum last year, who had also done this assignment, that I’d probably have gone with my initial impression. We aren’t into plays and shows, and don’t even have a tv! And I’m not a fan of silly skits that only leave you with the silliness!
Yet, the story was worth telling, and I did want the boys to begin to take more ownership of their education. So, I decided to give it a try! When I broke the news to the crew, I can’t say they jumped for joy! They would have preferred to just do a spelling and grammar lesson and be done with it! I explained that they could work together to come up with a way to present the scenes, and their scripts had to coordinate with each other’s! That proved to cause the most frustration! Speedy zipped along writing out the first two scenes from his perspective. Good lines. Only problem was that the brothers hadn’t even figured out what to do! So, this took much patience being exercised as three different boys, with three very different speeds were forced to work together. 😏
It took quite awhile for all three to figure out this project! After two short scenes were written that first day, we had to drop it for awhile. It was a steep learning curve. But, by the next school day, all three had gotten more of the hang of coordinating their work, and the next three scenes didn’t take nearly so long to write. I thought about bailing them out and helping them write it all out while they dictated to me, but my curious side won out, and I let them see what they could come up with on their own!
I’ll have to to admit that they pulled it together very well, with only minimal input from me.
Then came the practicing! Which turned out to be another lesson in working together and following directions. I can’t say that this was the favorite part–it took quite a long time to get it into the boys’ heads that this wasn’t a stand-up comedy act! And they’ve never seen a stand-up comedy act–it seems to just come naturally! I really think that they all felt a little self-conscious, and hence–silliness! And I can’t say I can blame them for a few laughs-after all, 8 year-old BamBam volunteered for the position of Caroline, and a few chuckles ensued. It’s just hard to get three boys serious about anything!!!
The boys finally got their lines down. Mean Old Mom made them!
Hand made invitations were designed and delivered to each occupant of this RV park, and every person promised to come! The set time was to be announced, but definitely at dusk, and definitely around the campfire!
Finally, the appointed time arrived! Eager and curious faces gathered around the fire, and nervous boys took their spots. A general twitter of laughter occurred when precious little BamBam, dressed up as Caroline Hershell, made his appearance, complete with skirt, shawl, and head covering! I’m afraid Daddy about fell on the floor! But, after the initial scene, where they forgot to stop playing their music on and on, they did their parts really well!
With paper towel and wrapping paper tubes for telescopes, and other improvised props, the general theme of the story was told. Everyone loves children who are willing to try, and all in all, the play came off pretty well! For all the preparation and practice, it only lasted 5-10 minutes. Since I was narrating, I couldn’t video it, but Daddy caught a little bit of it. I wouldn’t dare post a picture of the boys, for fear of embarrassing them, but we did get a good shot of BamBam, aka Caroline, for Grandma. 😉
We were so glad that everyone came to see what we’ve been learning and working on! I don’t think that our boys will forget (at least for a good long while) how and when Uranus was discovered!
Good job, Boys!
“See, Mommy? This hose connects to the air tank, and this is the solar panel. ”
“This aluminum reflects the sun back to heat up the ecosystem.”
“Here’s the kitchen–it has to be big to store all of their food.”
“Here’s where they live, and here’s the air tank for the living area.”
“These are the big water tanks, and this is the huge oxygen tank”
“These circles are the game where you throw magnets and try to hit it. These loops hook up to the wall for the people to climb.”
“Now you’ll see how to make a door where they can still keep the air inside…”
“Hey, don’t cut a hole to make a door in the garden area–that’s my area!”
“See how the oven spins so they can just throw stuff in?”
this and more could be heard today outside Of the RV as the Little A’s worked diligently on their science project. The mission: construct a somewhat realistic ecosystem/biodome ( out of materials that we have available) that would function on the planet Mars. What may look like a collection of recycled bottles and spare boxes actually represents systems that would be necessary in order to sustain life on our planetary neighbor, that boasts a rather inhospitable environment. I might add that in order to take pictures, we had to leave off the plastic covering that would make the whole thing like a livable greenhouse.
Personally, the whole idea of living on Mars doesn’t hold much appeal. Never has. We’ve read accounts about what people would have to go through just to get to the red planet, and that sounds daunting in itself. Then your have to live there, in a land with no liquid water, subzero temperatures, and minimal atmosphere. It’s not like you could just change your mind and come home if you didn’t like it.
But, no matter what my thoughts are on the matter, I was impressed with the creativity that the boys came up with to deal with some of the challenges of living on such a planet. I wondered if they’d grouse at the idea of this project, but once I presented it to them, they shot off like lightening to carry out their ideas!
We split up the project into areas of responsibility. Big A had the job of figuring out how to breathe and the cooking arrangements. I should have guessed that he’d tackle it by making a Lego model of his kitchen concept. 😊 And he figured out that they would transport a huge oxygen tank to supply the needed air for breathing. We’d read about the failure of Biosphere 2 in Arizona because of decreasing levels of oxygen. So, at this point, the boys didn’t opt to try to create a similar system, although ultimately, I’m sure you would need a self-sustaining method of oxygen production, not just big tanks. 😉 But, for these boys, big tanks sounded pretty cool!
Middle A had the task of covering the garden area and living area. He planned to grow tomatoes, oranges, and persimmons. Sounds like wishing for a very warm garden/greenhouse area. He focused a lot of his time on making roads for the Mars rover that, wouldn’t you know, was built of Legos.
I think that Littlest A really got into the project the most. He had a great time! His areas were water and recreation. You can see the monster water tanks he plans to transport to Mars. And the recreation area consisted of a tube shaped room with a climbing wall, space to exercise, and various games. I think personally that a person would go bonkers in a completely artificial environment, where you don’t have birds singing and blue sky! But I guess that’s why I’m not signing up for the trip!
Like I said before, I was surprise at the enthusiasm shown with this learning project. We may not have solved the dilemma of life on Mars, but I have a feeling that these boys will remember for a long time some of the challenge to making a livable environment on Mars!
It may surprise you to learn that we are still doing a bit of learning, even though our school year is officially over. ???
I just believe that learning never ends!
We are trying some different ways of learning, but still squeeze in a regular lesson here and there, like this lesson from our science book, on Venus. We learned that Venus has such a thick atmosphere that the space probes sent to explore the planet could not “see” the planet at all, but had to rely on radar images to construct an image of the planet.
This chapter suggested an experiment, which we tried, and it was fun! We first made a plaster of paris model in a shoe box, to simulate the surface of the planet. Then we covered the box with a numbered grid-lined paper towel. The boys had to mark lines on a stick, or paint brush, in our case, to show how deep the stick poked in the box. They then had to mark their findings from their probing on a chart.
Surprisingly, after all of the squares were filled in, they could predict fairly accurately where they would choose to land their space ships if they were landing on this planet. One boy found the largest flat spot, another chose the highest point, reasoning that he wanted to land on top of a mountain, and the other chose the lowest point, thinking that in a valley would be an optimal spot. I really didn’t care where they chose, as long as they understood what they were choosing, based on their findings, and could explain why they chose that spot.
So, in a small way, we now have a better understanding of how radar works. And we have a planet in a box for sale. 🙂
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