First Friday at the St. Louis Science Center

Last night, for the first time, we went to a First Friday event at the St. Louis Science Center. What is First Friday, you might wonder? It’s an opportunity to learn about the science behind science fiction. And why did we finally go last night, when we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years? Because they were focusing on Arthurian Legends, which was the perfect final field trip for this year’s medieval-themed summer school!

It was a really fun event. We got to learn the science behind defending a castle (the focus was on simple machines, and Chickadee even got to help!), see a sword-fighting demonstration, hear a harp, make shields, participate in a scavenger hunt, write with an actual quill, hold medieval weapons, and see lots of people in really cool costumes. There were other events that we didn’t make it to, including tractor jousting, a lecture about medieval noblewomen at war, and the highlight of the evening, a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the Omnimax theater. And of course there was a fun photo opportunity!

I really enjoyed this event. It was fun to see so many people with interests similar to ours there and having a good time. Next month, the theme is Harry Potter, and we’re already looking forward to going back!

Kantorei Kamp Week

For the fourth summer in a row, “The Bigs” have participated in a Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It’s a busy, fun week for everybody, because while they’re at camp, Chickadee and I go adventuring…sometimes, I think she has more fun than her siblings do!

On Monday, while the Kamp had a full day of music theory, handbell practice, and choral rehearsals, Chickadee and I went to the playground in Forest Park and to the Missouri History Museum, where we visited the History Clubhouse and the new “Muny Memories” exhibit:

On Tuesday, Chickadee and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden in the morning, and then joined the Kantorei Kamp for some swimming at the YMCA:

Wednesday was a little bit cooler, so Chickadee and I walked around the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum:

We only had a little bit of free time on Thursday morning, so Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Public Library and read some books before joining the Kantorei Kamp for a backstage tour of Powell Hall, a picnic lunch, concretes at Ted Drewes, and a concert by a quartet from the Greenleaf Singers for Make Music St. Louis Day:

And today we went with the Kantorei Kamp to the LC-MS International Center to hear them sing for chapel. After that, Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Science Center before picking up “The Bigs” from their last day of Kamp:

And a bonus handbell piece from church on Sunday, which I managed to record while they rehearsing before the service:

Chickadee Thursday

Today we went to the St. Louis Science Center to see the Destination Moon exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian. Chickadee loved all of the hands-on activities that let her feel like she was really part of the  Apollo 11 mission!

2017-18 School Year–Week Nine

In an unusual twist for us, our school week started on Sunday. Since we were already in the city, we decided to stop at the St. Louis Science Center to see the Omnimax Theater Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs film. It was an excellent movie, and went perfectly with the King Tut exhibit we saw earlier in the school year, as well as what we’ve been studying in history. Of course, while we were there, we also checked out some of the other exhibits, too!

The fun continued on Monday, when we went to our first “Homeschool Day” of the year at the Missouri History Museum, and since Moose had the day off school, he got to come with us! We learned all about cameras, photography, and the importance of photography in modern history, and we got to tour the new Panoramas exhibit while we were there. When we were done at the History Museum, we went back to the Science Center to see the new star show we saw on the schedule when we were there on Sunday: Mission Mars. It was excellent, and we got to try out the new and very comfortable chairs in the planetarium!

After all that, the rest of the week seemed rather boring, I suppose, but we got a lot done. Turkey and Bunny have been reviewing perimeter in math, in preparation for discussing area next week. They also worked on figuring out the measure of multiple angles in a shape with different bisectors given a few beginning figures. Ladybug has entered into the exciting world of exponents. Chickadee is still working on counting by tens.

Ladybug learned about kangaroos and koalas in her study of marsupials…next week, she’ll be learning about animals like sugar gliders and possums. Turkey and Bunny had to create another biological key in science…this time, one focused on Kingdom Fungi. So far they’ve learned about the most recognizable members of that kingdom…mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi.

Even though they’re reading different books, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all learned about the Shang dynasty in history. Ladybug also learned about rice farming and Chinese pictograms. In addition to the Shang dynasty, Turkey and Bunny also read about Hatshepsut, and Thutmosis I-III, which was great since we learned all about the Valley of the Kings at the Science Center on Sunday!

Turkey and Bunny finally finished the third fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked ahead to see how it ends. Don’t worry, I won’t let them know! We have reached the part in Ladybug’s study of Heidi where I really start hating the book (when Heidi is taken away from Grandfather), so I’m dreading next week’s lessons, but I guess we’ll survive. We’re also already almost done with Ramona and Her Father, and Chickadee is already looking forward to the next book.

I can’t believe we’ve finished nine weeks of the school year, and I haven’t schedule a fall break yet. This year is going really well, though, so we’ll keep at it for a while yet!

The Discovery of King Tut

Way back during the first week of school in August, we went to the St. Louis Science Center to tour a special exhibit currently on display: The Discovery of King Tut. The timing was perfect, as we’ve started back up with the ancients in history this year. Turkey, in particular, is really interested in ancient Egypt, and we were all really excited to go through it.

Even before the main section of the exhibit begins, there is a lot to look at, including a replica of the Rosetta Stone, and a model of Tut’s Tomb.

After that first room, there’s a short and very informational movie (Downton Abbey fans will want to keep an eye out for the appearance of Highclere Castle!), followed by the main bulk of the exhibit. You begin by viewing an accurate replica of the antechamber as it appeared upon its discovery:

The next part of the exhibit focuses on Tut’s burial chamber:

There’s also a look at the riches found in the treasury:

Followed by the many parts of the shrine:

After the individual vignettes, there are replicas of pretty much everything, including Tut’s childhood throne, canopic jars, games, makeup, jewelry…even a chariot! This allows you to really see what things looked like up close:

This exhibit may contain “only” replicas (over 1,000 in all!), but they are extraordinarily detailed, and really make you feel like you are touring Tut’s tomb. It’s a great opportunity to see a bit of history up close, and it’s in town through early January, so you have time left to walk in the footsteps of Howard Carter and see Tut’s tomb as it was when it was first discovered in 1922!

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!