Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anatomy AGAIN?!?!

Our Friday mornings you'll find us studying Art, Music, Science and Spanish with our friendly neighborhood Truthtracker Co-op.
And of course we break for Teatime.  

This year we are tackling Apologia's Anatomy text with the help of one nurse, an EMT and other parents in the medical field.
Two years ago we introduced our kids to the human body with another co-op.
But I was the primary teacher then and my level of knowledge was perfect for my 2nd-Preschooler.
I'm excited to build upon the mental posts we set up then.
And the kids seem to agree.
So far we've studied our Skeletal System and Muscles.
 The week they introduced the Skeletal System these babies made an appearance.
Whose feet are these?
We used pliers to pull on the tendons that stuck out from the chicken feet.
It was awesomely, gross to watch the pastey white toes bend and twitch.
When we brought a couple feet home to show Jarrod, all Natalia wanted to do was paint their toenails! Double ew! 
But anything to get this group of 9-11 year olds to engage :)
We had take home paper bones with a marrow reveal foldout for the littler kids.
It was enlightening to me to start thinking of our bones as both blood producers AND fat store houses.
Marrow is a fantastic part of creation! 
To demonstrate the inside of a bone our teacher brought in a HUGE cow femur, which the butcher was nice enough to saw in half so we could see the cross-section.
Mmmm, nothing like raw meat in the morning: 
Did you see the difference in the spongy bone and the compact bone?
Our littlest class did.
Here's to another fantastic year learning about 
'the crown of His creation.'
(That's YOU!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Delta Discovery Voyage

This homeschool thing takes a village I tell ya ;)
And one of my favorite partners-in-crime is a fantastic field trip coordinator.  
Case in point, today's terrific FREE trip on the Delta.
Put on by the Marine Science Institute and sponsored by local agencies like the 
Contra Costa Water District,  Contra Costa Sanitation District, Delta Diablo Sanitation District, 
 Chemical Corporation. 
Which may sound a bit scary, but it's all about keeping the junk out of our drinking water right?
So we gathered with another school at the local dock in town.
And did I mention how HOT it was today?  
It was scorching outside...
and even hotter inside with ALL those kids! 
....ugh and the life jackets!
It's like wearing a set of pillows in a sauna!
Luckily we weren't INSIDE the boat the whole time, and I promise we didn't 
complain in FRONT of the kids ;) 
We had four groups of 20 kids each and we rotated through stations on our 4 hour journey. 
Which, at 12 knots doesn't take you very far down the river....
But the action was all on board.
They caught fish by pulling in a HUGE fishing net.
It's all about Ichthyology, ya know?
And to study a fish you need to touch a fish.
Thank goodness chaperons didn't have to take part!
Next, we dredged a bit for Benthic creatures.
which took a little more muscle. 
But inside that great big claw.... 
...was a bunch of muck. 
 Which the kids smooshed around in...  
gave themselves facials with... 
(ewww) and too cute! 
And generally had fun in with their friends.
But once we rinsed off the mud, little treasures awaited.
 Though nothing crawly was found, the kids totally 'dug' the clams and learned about how most of them came from ports around the world when they dump their ballast water in local ports.   
Foreign clams, who knew?
Now back to your habitat clammies!
At the third station we collected vials of water and looked for phytoplankton
or zooplankton.
It's amazing what you'll find in one.tiny.drop of water. 
Under magnification, we could actually see this microscopic snail,
 and witness his insides moving around. 
Crazy, cool. 
Our final station was Hydrology and I have to say it was super eye opening even for me!
For instance, I know I've rinsed a paint brush in the gutter instead of a sink before.
And how many batteries have I thrown away instead of taking them in for recycling. 
Needless to say, I think Ian and I will be starting a Household Hazardous Waste bin.  
Oh, and did you know that the Household Hazardous Waste facility in C.C. County has a Paint Can Giveaway program?
YAY!  Totally worth checking out!
So for all we learned today I am TRULY grateful!
Another wonderful day checked off.
I truly recommend the Delta Discovery Voyage!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Gualala, a-camping we will go

Last year we found this beach across the street from our redwood river hideaway.
This year we couldn't wait to go back and stay for the entire day.
And it was a GORGEOUS day!
We packed the day with all things beachy...
Sand sculptures...she's a mermaid ;) 
and I snapped this one as she was checking out her 'figure'
....this face is classic: 
The beach is littered with driftwood and quite a few of these were already constructed onsite.
The girls used them as playhouses.
And the boys used the wood to make us a table.
Well, by boys I mean Abe. 
He is quite the engineer.  And he had big plans for that table later on.
Des showed her mad weaving skills and hooked us all up with seagrass bracelets.

They were awesome :)
The weather was perfect and we basically had the beach ALL to ourselves!
People would walk onto the beach and leave almost as quickly.
We kinda had a monopoly going.
The guys lugged shovels out onto the beach and dug hole after hole.
Some were reinforced as huts.
And others were used for our meals.
In fact we ate twice down at the beach.
But dinner was EPIC.
Abe had smoked pulled pork and Des chopped up sweet potatoes, squash and mushrooms.
Then it was placed into a sandy pit.
For two hours:
Meanwhile, we just hung out.
Climbing cliffs:
Exploring tidal caves...
 And lots and lots of time in the water:
And oooomigoodness....did I mention how much our dog LOVES the ocean??
He was completely in his element.  
He chased wave after wave and followed the kids everywhere they went. 
We capped off the evening with classic smores. 
I've loved reminiscing about this day.
It's been such a happy thought as I shake the sand from all our clothes.
The laundry has been a nightmare but the 
memories are priceless. 
We're already plotting our beach meals for next year.  
Though the BBQ pulled pork will be hard to beat!
Gah isn't camping always about the food? ;)
What a gift to share it with amazing friends!