Lego “Women of NASA”

I was so excited when Lego Ideas announced that they were going to be making the proposed “Women of NASA” set. We’ve always been huge space nerds, and have a whole corner of our schoolroom dedicated to Lego space sets, so I knew this was going to fit in perfectly. Normally, I would let all five children in on the build, but since there were exactly three vignettes, one for each of my three daughters, I decided it was going to be a girls-only build!

Each part of the set is fairly small, and the builds aren’t too complicated (although they are ingenious…I love the use of a trash can on the telescope!), so it didn’t take too long to put together, and Chickadee could build her part with little help.

The completed sets include computer scientist Margaret Hamilton (and an impressive stack of books!), astronomer Nancy Grace Roman with a Hubble telescope, and astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison with an amazingly detailed for its size space shuttle.

I love that Lego Ideas doesn’t just want you to build something…they want you to learn something, too! There was a page in the instruction book for each of the four women in the set, highlighting their lives and careers. It’s so inspiring to read about these real, brilliant, talented women…and even I learned quite a bit!

It’s a great looking set!

And I told you it would fit right in with our Lego space shuttle and Saturn V rocket!

This is a fantastic little set…as always, I’m looking forward to finding out what else Lego Ideas will put into production in the future!

2017-18 School Year–Week Twelve+

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that we had a busy week ahead, and I wasn’t sure how much school we were going to get done. We did have school, but only for a few days, so I’m going to combine that with this week’s wrap-up.

In addition to a couple of days of regular school work last week, we did a few fun things, as well. We celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and three of the children even got to participate in a mass children’s choir at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. It was very exciting to be part of that historic event!

We started on one of my favorite November traditions last week…we’re assembling our yearly “Thankful Tree!” As far as I can remember, the first year we did this was 2009, and that tree had handprints for leaves. We’ve also done some other variations on it over the years, including a Thankful Wreath, and maybe a Thankful Turkey, as well. Since at least 2011, though, we’ve used the current format. Laminating all those leaves was a pain at the time, but they sure have served us well!

We also went to the St. Louis Public Library Central Library to see the “We Are Shakespeare” exhibit. I almost ran out of time on that one, because it closed last weekend. It was a really cool exhibit, and I’m glad we made it!

We also took advantage of the nice weather on one of Moose’s days off last week to take a nature walk around Creve Coeur Lake. We saw snakes and birds, lots of cool leaves and fruits/nuts, and tons of other people out on bikes and boats enjoying the beautiful day.

This week was a little more standard. We got back to our regular religion lessons, after taking a break for the Reformation. Turkey and Bunny wrapped up another unit in their books, but not before they learned about the Tabernacle, and the positions of all the different tribes when the set up camp around it. Ladybug read a story that was not too familiar to her…the tale of Gideon. Chickadee learned about Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

Ladybug is working on long division in math. She does not enjoy it. She is good at it, though, which is important. Turkey and Bunny worked with regular polygons. They found out how to find the measures of the interior and exterior angles of various shapes. Chickadee is still working on counting larger numbers, and she’s getting pretty good at it!

We had a lot of fun in science this week. Turkey and Bunny have been learning about diffusion and osmosis, and they got to do a few cool experiments to see how they work. Their favorite experiment involved an egg. First, they soaked it in vinegar to remove the shell (which they’ve done in the past). Then they soaked it in syrup, to see which way the liquid moved (out of the egg into the syrup). After that, they soaked it in water, again to see which way the liquid moved (from the water into the egg). They took measurements along the way, and were very impressed with the differences they recorded! Ladybug watched every step of their experiment and was fascinated by it, even as she was learning about Old World apes in her science class.

History has also been interesting. Even though they’re using different texts, Turkey and Bunny’s and Ladybug’s lessons have overlapped again. They’ve all been learning about Babylon and Assyria. We’ve talked about rulers such as Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmaneser V. We’ve also made some connections to Bible history, even though our religion lessons haven’t gotten there yet.

The girls had a fun little activity this week. We’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of the Lego Ideas “Women of NASA” set, and we finally received our copy. I decided since there are exactly three vignettes in the set that the girls should be the ones to build it. Turkey still enjoyed reading about the women depicted in the set (I love that Lego included that information in the instruction book) even though he didn’t get to help build it. It’s a great little set, and looks right at home next to our Saturn V rocket!

Next week, we’ll be starting on our annual Thanksgiving study…I can’t believe how quickly that holiday is approaching!

2017-18 School Year–Week One

The first week of the 2017-18 school year is already behind us! This year, I have two ninth graders, a fifth grader, and a Kindergartener!

We started on Tuesday, so it was a short, four-day week. And the first day of school is always mostly fun…finding out what’s in this year’s schultüte, handing out books and organizing desks, taking lots of pictures, and building a Lego set. The latter took several hours, as it is the largest Lego set (the Lego Ideas Saturn V), that we’ve ever built in school. It was a fun project that everyone got to help with (we intentionally started before Moose’s first day of school so he could participate), and was educational, thanks to the fantastic extra details in the instruction book.

On Wednesday, we had a pretty full day of school, beginning most of our subjects for the year, from high school geometry and biology to fifth grade math, spelling, and vocabulary, all the way down to reading Ramona the Pest out loud and Kindergarten handwriting. But then we took a break from our work on Thursday to go on our first field trip of the school year, to see The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. It was a fantastic exhibit, full of extremely well done replicas from Tut’s tomb, and was also a great way to kick off our history studies for the year, as everyone is going to be studying ancient history in one way or another.

Today we finished off with another regular school day. The only subject we haven’t started yet is our various literature studies (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to start for Turkey and Bunny, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Ladybug), which we will add to our schedule next week. I’ll close with something new for this year…I chose a Bible verse to be our theme for the year for the first time ever, and I think our chosen verse of Philippians 4:8 is an especially good reminder with all the chaos in the world right now:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Chickadee Thursday

Today we had our first field trip of the 2017-18 school year! We went to explore The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. Chickadee was especially interested in the replica of Tut’s mummified remains, but that doesn’t make for a very good picture, so here she is in front of the replica Rosetta Stone:

We also visited the Missouri Botanical Garden:

And a bonus picture from our first day of school…the Lego Ideas Saturn V we built is almost as tall as Chickadee!

First Day of School 2017

Today was the first day of the 2017-18 school year!

We started with everyone’s favorite first day of school tradition…opening the schultüte:

Of course I took a lot of pictures:

After everyone looked through their new workbooks for the year (and put them away), we had a short Matins service. And then we started on our other favorite first day of school tradition…building our new Lego set for the year. This time, it was the Lego Ideas Saturn V rocket, the biggest school set we’ve built so far (it took about four hours!!!)! Since we started school before Moose this year, he got to join in the fun, too!

That’s about it. We didn’t do any real work today…that can wait for tomorrow. We’re looking forward to all the new and interesting things we’re going to be learning this year!

First Day of School 2015

Today was our eighth first day of home school!

Before I let everyone into the school room, I stacked a bunch of our books (and a few special surprises) that we’ll be using on the table. Books that we’ll be using this week, anyway…the rest are in our library. The giant stack in the back is my teacher’s manuals!

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My three main students…Chickadee is still just tagging along (and wandering around) at this point:

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As I’ve doing for the last few years, the children had schultüte waiting on top of their stack of workbooks for the year:

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Everyone loves opening them to see what’s inside!

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We also had a new Lego set to build. Since Ladybug’s science curriculum this year focuses on birds, I bought the Lego Ideas Birds set for them. Conveniently, there were exactly three builds, so everyone had their own!

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I don’t think I’ve had Ryan take a picture of me with my students since our very first year of homeschooling…I thought it was time to change that!

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We did get a little work done, too. We started our religion lessons for the year, including reading from The Christian Year of Grace, as well as the mostly-for-fun Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers. We also dove right into math, which is only slightly terrifying given that Turkey and Bunny are learning pre-alegebra this year. The only other subjects we did today were a bit of Language Arts, and the start of one of our literature studies. We’ll add more subjects as the week goes on…the first day is mostly for getting organized for the year, and having fun!