Monday, December 6, 2010

Gorman's Mill

What an absolutely fantastic field trip this was!  One of the things that Samuel has been studying is BC Resources, so together with some other 5th and 6th graders from our co-op, we headed off to Gorman's Mill.  We learned so much the production of wood and the way the entire mill functions.  This was really a great trip.


An entire load of logs right off the back of a huge logging truck.  Incidentally, it was about -15 this day!  Our guide said it was definitely the coldest trip he'd ever done.


The technology in the mill is amazing.  The computer does a scan of each log that comes through and, in a second or two, decides what width boards to cut the entire log into with the least amount of waste.


Papa came on the trip with us.  He's standing by the huge saw blades to give us an idea of their size.


Our guide was great.  Here he is showing and explaining to one of the groups the different things that get caught in wood and that have damaged the saw blades.  Any metal is usually detected, but some things, like rocks can grow within a tree and cause damage.  The blades must be changed immediately.


The work ethic and expectations at the mill were very impressive.  The production expected is 100%.  What they are doing every minute is posted across from them where they can see.  They don't let the employees stay at any job for more than two hours so that they don't get tired, unproductive or dangerous.


Some of our motley crew in full safety gear with their sample boards.


Nature Explorations and a few other tid bits

Throughout the fall, we have enjoyed some fantastic hikes and explorations with a wonderful naturalist. We have seen many different animals, and learned so much from him.






This is a game that we made up with verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.  It's straight grammar and the kids really enjoy it!  They have to match the name (V, N, Adj or Adv in green) with the description (in red), together with a word that fits.  They do it together or separately and try to beat each others times!


This was at AWANA.  They had to come dressed as a Bible character.  Take a guess who everyone is and I'll tell you at the bottom of the picture.


Liam is Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones!  Teigan is Queen Esther (in a real salwar kameez) and Samuel is King David ready for battle.  We joked about going as King David when he danced before the Lord - he didn't think that was funny!  (We sure did.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Favourite Photo Cards

This is the second year in a row that I will be using Shutterfly to make my Christmas Photo Cards and not just because they are giving me 50 free cards for doing a post!  I already had my 2010 card designed and ready to go before I found out about this promo.  I loved my cards from last year, and this year's are going to be even better!  I want to show you - but I'll have to wait until later... besides that might ruin the surprise if you get one in the mail.  They have hundreds of fantastic layouts, not just for Christmas cards, but you can make EASY photo calendars, birthday cards, stationary and SO MUCH MORE.  The great thing is because it is so easy, that I actually made a few different mock ups to see which one I liked the best.  When I got my cards last year I was really pleased with the quality.  This year I'm doing something a little different and getting the card stock ones instead of photo paper.  I'm excited to see how they'll turn out.  I know I'll be thrilled.

If you are a blogger, give Shutterfly a try - 50 free cards!  Trust me, you'll be thrilled! I only wish that I had my cards done about a month ago. :) They may end up being New Year's cards...



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Science and anatomy... pint size

We have been having an amazing time learning about anatomy.  This day we looked at our hair, our blood, spit, and skin under the microscopes!  SO VERY COOL.  It was funny, today Liam had a pretty good fall on his bike; skinned his knees and gashed the palms of his hands.  Through his tears he says, "can you get a slide so we can look at some of my blood under the microscope?"


While we do need to invest in a serious microscope, these little pocket explorer microscopes have been fantastic.  The boys bring them on hikes and pull them out to get a closer look at anything from pond water to fungi.



See why we call it the "wonder room"?  It's so much fun to watch them get all excited when something comes into focus.  "MOM!  You gotta see this!" 


This day with the microscopes, we actually did science for three hours!  Complete with illustrations of what they saw and write ups.  Overheard more than once were comments like, "this is SO cool!"  "Hey, come and see mine", "what are you looking at?"

Another very wonderful addition to our wonder room has been our little dissect"able" friend here.  Complete with "organ-izer".  You can see in the second picture, Teigan has the intestines out and and is just thinking about the stomach and the liver.



There are so many times and reasons that I am thankful for the opportunity to school and learn the way that we do.  These kids LOVE to learn, and have such a fantastic sense of wonder and curiosity. How amazing for me to guide and learn along side them, exploring the incredible wonders of science (and everything else).  I am truly blessed.

A little bit of math...

What?! Poker chips in the classroom?!  Ah yes... whatever I can get my hands on that the kids will enjoy "playing" with math, I will use.  Poker chips have been a fantastic manipulative for place value, games, scoring... lots of great math.  Teigan and Liam are building addition and subtraction (with regrouping) problems for each other to solve.  They check to make sure that the other one solves it properly.  Straight math, but the difference is they're "playing a game".  And I love hearing things like, "make a really hard one for me!"  or "this one looks like fun", or "Mom can you make a board into the millions?"  Math - only more fun.



Oh wait... more math!  Engineering this time.



I almost didn't get this this summer, and yet it has turned out to be one of the best purchases from my "planning weekend"!  Made by Keva, Contraptions is basically what you see... 200 little blocks of wood and two little ping-pongish balls.  Plus some great instructions and ideas to get the kids started.  And all they needed was to start.  Samuel and Liam built an incredible contraption that the ball stepped down one side to the other, back and forth all the way to the bottom.  Fantastic engineering, lots of trial and error, but in the end they had built an amazing tower and step shaft.  (The puppy came running through and ruined it before I thought to get the camera - they were not happy about that!)

We do math in a book sometimes too.  Just in case you're wondering.  :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beaching in October

I love when God gives us unexpected gifts... like one last day of summer when we're already into October.  So of course, what else do you do around here on a fabulous "summer" afternoon but call up some friends and head to the beach?!  While the water was certainly chilly, the smiles and laughter, and warmth of the sun kept us all nice and toasty.  The joy of kids.  The simple joys of friendship. 







We'll be skiing in a couple of months... but for now we're still relishing in the beautiful weather, and all of the outdoor joys and activities that we love about this time of year.  And as always, enjoying our friends.

Samuel's new blog - Journey to Destiny

Samuel decided that he wanted to start a blog.  He doesn't love to write, so anything I can do to support any form of writing that he will enjoy... I AM IN!  He came up with the name himself;  Journey to Destiny.  Which I absolutely love.  When I asked him about the name he said that he thought about the top of my blog - Enjoy the Journey.  From there he was thinking about his own "journey" and where he was going.  He said that even though he doesn't know where life will take him yet,  he knows that God has a plan for his life.  His destiny.  So he is on the journey to destiny.  LOVE IT!   Go ahead and check it out.  It thrills him to have people look at it and leave feedback.  It makes him want to write more on it.  Which of course - I completely support!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

After reading an especially descriptive section of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the kids decided that they wanted to draw the scene that Jules Verne had described in his book.  I love when literature and art collides.  Actually I just love that THEY love to learn.  From here they went on to write some pretty fabulous short pieces; with an emphasis on description.  It's pretty hard not be descriptive after you've read great literature! 




Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barkerville and the Gold Rush

Barkerville was such a fantastic part of our Gold Rush study.  We're almost finished this study; and this was such a great way to have the whole study come to life.  It was SO much fun, and we learned an incredible amount of history.  


Everyone in the entire town was in full costume and character.  The Theatre Royal show was so much fun and we were greatly entertained!  They even got Jason up on stage which was hilarious.  The kids were laughing so hard that the elderly couple a little to the front left, kept peeking back and them and laughing at the kids.


What gold rush, 1860s experience would be complete without a stage coach ride?!  Of course all the kids wanted to ride outside while the adults were in the coach.


This guy was showing the kids about hard rock mining and trying to sign them up for the job.  He told them he'd pay them a dollar a day for a 10 hour day.  They weren't willing. 


Judge Begby, "the Hanging Judge", confiscating all of Samuel's "weapons" before heading into court. 


The merchants would each fly the flag of their country over their store or establishment.  The school house had a British flag and a few others, but when Barkerville was first built up around Billy Barker's claim, it didn't really "belong" to anyone but the natives.  Governor James Douglas quickly declared himself governor over the entire region and saved British Columbia from being annexed to the United States!



Oh yes... the school house.  We spent an hour in the school house where we were all between the ages of 6 and 16.  It was long enough to really get an idea of what it would have been like in that time.  We were instructed before entering how to sit, address the teacher and respond... standing when called upon and answering in full sentences, ending in "mam".  We all agreed that we would not have wanted to be in school there.  And Teigan and I had to wear bonnets as not to distract the boys with our "lovely tresses".  My Dad used to dip the girls braids in the type of ink wells that you see in front of Teigan!  He went through a one room school in rural Ontario similar to this one.


This amazing piece of machinery, while we all agreed looked like a medieval trebuchet or catupult, was really used to pulverize rock.


The Cornish Waterwheel was really something to see in full swing.  It was used to bring water from the creek, while another part took miners 52 feet down under ground and brought up buckets of rock and dirt to put through the large sluice box.  Of which Liam is about to open the gate on. 



We spent the later afternoon every day exploring the river for neat rock specimens, and of course panning for gold.








We did find flakes of gold in the river, but the big treasure for the kids were these big old fashioned jaw breakers from Mason and Daly.  It felt very Little House on the Prairie.  I half expected to have Mrs Olson come out and scold us for loitering on the front porch. 


This was such a fantistic experience.  I would recommend it to anyone, whether studying the gold rush or not.  It was so much fun and such a great way to learn about history.  The kids wanted to do another day on top of the two full days that we had already spent there.  And we easily could have.