Sunday, 21 August 2016

Water Filters, Skittles and starting our Geodesic Dome

Rose has tons of random experiments she wants to do so we said as its summer she can do as many as she likes - hence why this week we had to build her water filter, then improve it so it would actually clean muddy water, start a geodesic dome (you may see more of that next week if she can get it to work) and play with the rainbow.

Her first water filter was large pebbles, small gravel, sponge and filter paper - it only filtered some of the mud out so she set off to find out how to make it better.

Trial and error (best way to learn) ended up with the first layer being the pebbles and gravel, the second layer was sand, third was sponge again but she used a lot more and the final layer was 4 layers of filter paper - it was much slower to filter but the water was sparkling :)

They also played rainbows with skittles in water.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

You gotta smile when....

....your daughter decides writing her new joke out counts as her creative writing for the day and when you agree she tries to push for it counting as maths too :)

The joke in question;
Why is a dog so long?
He has 4 feet.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Bat Camp

Our last home ed camp of the summer was Bat Camp.

We learnt about nocturnal creatures,

made moth lure from molasses, sugar, mashed banana and coke which the kids placed on strategic tree stumps and fence posts (you use a red light to view them which is just a torch covered in red plastic),

set up a moth trap (and spent the next morning identifying the types caught - there were 18 in the trap across 8 species - before releasing them back into the wild),

discussed how bat boxes differ from bird boxes,

played 'hunting' games where you had to use just your sense of sound to try and catch your prey and another focussed on your sense of smell,

and stayed up very late to watch for bats - Rose was super excited because she spotted six.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree - TOS Reveiw

We loved reviewing Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster so when we were offered the chance to review their new product, an interactive app called Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree I had some very excited girls.

This new game is designed for elementary children so I signed up Tulip and Rose (9 & 7). Both have really loved this but I am getting ahead of myself.

The Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is an app designed to look like a book that teaches as you read, during the story you are introduced to various concepts (usually highlighted words or phrases) that link to explanations, new pages of examples or video lessons.

The story focuses on Abba and Hatta's rescue and subsequent care of the baby Orphs, all the while trying to help those effected by a flood and solve a few mysteries. The plot is engaging and really sparked the girls imagination.

As you read and learn from the interactive story, you are offered jobs / tasks in town, these jobs earn you stars which provide you with supplies you use to feed and clothe the Orph babies you have rescued from the flood. 

The set up is really easy as is the navigation - there are four icons at the bottom of the screen; the compass takes you to a map, the book takes your current place in the story, the tree shows you what you need to buy to provide a safe haven for the Orphs 
and the star takes you to town where you earn your stars. Pages in the book are turned using the green arrows on the page and you can move forward or backwards.

When you visit Stumptown, all the shops have a little number above that indicate the numbers of jobs available. 

Clicking on the building takes you to the jobs they have available and also offers some job training (it's just a repeat of the things they learnt in the story and the videos but the repetition really helped cement the facts). There were loads of topics covered which included vocabulary, zoology, morals, character, grammar, science and more.

I have loved this app, I enjoyed it so much that I sat alongside them as they were reading it however this is a product they could easily have used unsupervised, they even have a section where you can view their progress and work so you can keep track of what they are doing.

I'm also impressed by how much it has taught them, they have even started identifying and using similes in their normal conversations (and taking great pride in telling people what a simile is) and that they were willing to give up other game privileges to play this.

The girls have really taken to the story and Rose was so impressed by Abba that she spent 3 days dressed as a flying squirrel (although she wasn't happy that she didn't have a green cape).

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is available for $1.99.

You can see what my crewmates thought over at the TOS Blog.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Bugs and Camping

Camping season continues and we just got back from a homeschool camp that was full of learning activities (paper making, stomp planes, metal mobile making, bathbombs, weaving, knitting, wild walks etc) but the activity that appealed most to my girls was of their own creation - bug hunting.

They spent days with their group catching moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles and even tadpoles (I know they aren't a bug but they still were super excited to catch them). Their favourite was a grasshopper who only had one of his big legs (called sir hop a lot) who they observed for hours before releasing him - we even had to look up grasshopper diets so they could feed him before his release. I love when they teach themselves :)

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