It's Friday.. That means yet another week of school completed and in the history books. It's always a sense of accomplishment when we get through another week.
Or original plans were to start our new year the first week of October but between illnesses for both myself and Garrett that didn't happen as planned. This meant that we got a late start on 4th grade but are now a few weeks into our schooling. Thankfully, we homeschool year round, so we will have plenty of time to play catch up for the two weeks that we missed. We did take a week off from our foreign language lessons this week but will resume those next week.
The kids are doing review on their multiplication and division this week, using sheets from our 3rd grade book, as well as with lessons from CTC Math. I just want to make sure the kids know this information and are able to recall their multiplication and division facts without difficulty before we move on to using our 4th grade book.
Ashleigh is actually doing well enough with the material that she tends to finish before Garrett. So her worksheets tend to be quite decorative ;)
For grammar, the kids are working on proper sentence structure and creating their own sentences from giving words. I'm really happy with how much improvement Garrett has made with his writing, as it is looking much more legible.
If you recall, I recently did a review of Lets Go Geography. I couldn't say enough good about this program in my review, we loved using it. We did take a few weeks off so that we could add it as a full-time geography curriculum for our school year. Last week we picked up learning about Haiti. This week, we learned about Nicaragua.
The kids absolutely loved making these cute little Sea Turtle puppets, which was the craft for this week.
While we did this project last week, I figured I would include it here.. This was the artwork the kids did last week in regards to Haiti.
In addition to the Lets Go Geography curriculum. the kids have also been learning about various wonders of the world as we read through the book Richard Halliburton's Book of Marvels - The Occident. Garrett is absolutely LOVING this book. We read the chapters together and then we view videos from Expedia on Youtube to see the places we're reading about in living color.
This week, we read about The Panama Canal, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janerio and The Rock of Gibraltar. Garrett really enjoyed the section about the Panama Canal and ended up watching a few documentaries that showed how the locks work. Ashleigh has declared that between Lets Go Geography and the Book of Marvels, she wants to travel the world like Mr Halliburton and see all of these wonderful places in person.
In our history lessons, this week we learned about St. Patrick and his life, Attila the Hun and the Hun invasion of the Roman Empire, and the ultimate fall of the Western Roman Empire. We will probably do a more in-depth study of St Patrick's life when March rolls around, but the kids did get a really good overview of what a testament his life was. Today's lesson about the fall of the Western Roman Empire led to a really great discussion about taxes and inflation and how we see similar examples of this in today's society. We also discussed how Rome's moral compass led to their ultimate fall and whether or not we're doomed to repeat their mistakes today.
The kids had tons of fun with Science this week. We have been discussing the digestive system in our anatomy and physiology course. This week, we learned about how digestion begins in the mouth with the teeth and how amylase in our saliva begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in our foods. Next, we discussed the stomach. We learned about the sphincter valves at the top of the bottom of the stomach that keep the acids within the stomach inside. We discussed how the cells of the stomach create a mucus that keeps the acids of the stomach, which are designed to digest the proteins in muscle, from trying to digest our own body. We also discussed the small intestine, the pancreas and the liver and the rules that they play in digestion.
Science always means experimentation and this week wasn't any different. Our first experiment is one that will take a bit of time. Currently, we have one of the kids baby teeth that they have lost in the past and it is soaking in a glass of Sprite. This is so we can observe while it is important to take good care of our teeth and the impact that sugar can have on the enamel of the tooth. We will continue to allow the tooth to soak in the solution til next Friday and will make observations then.
A second experiment we did was to take a bit of cracker and place it on their tongues and just hold it there. The kids observed that originally the cracker tasted salty but over a few moments, as it began to get mushy from the saliva in their mouth, it began to taste sweet, due to the enzyme amylase breaking down the carbohydrates in the cracker. We followed this by following the same procedure with a piece of cheddar cheese. The kids noted that the cheese did not become sweet and we discussed that this is because cheese is a protein, not a carbohydrate.
A third experiment was to imitate how the stomach works to break down food into chyme, the liquidy broth made as the body breaks down foods into smaller particles. To show this, we simply placed a cracker and a piece of bread into a ziplock along with a bit of water and the kids got to squish the bag, just as the stomach does with food
Our final experiment this week was much like the one above, but this time we wanted to show how Bile helps to break down fats. To show this, we simply poured a bit of olive oil into a ziplock bag with water. The kids were able to observe that the oil ad water separated and would not mix together. The oil, which is a fat, remained in large blobs floating on the water.
We then added a bit of dish detergent to the mixture. This allowed for the oil to separate and begin to break down. Much like the dish detergent, Bile breaks down the fats and allows them to be dissolved within the blood to go to the places they are needed within the cells.
Not a bad week, I must say..