Monday, July 30, 2018

Elisabeth is 10!

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This awesome young lady turned 10 last week amongst a lot of other milestones. Elisabeth actually enjoys track club and has no qualms about wearing a towel on her head in a Chick-fi-la. I continue to be in awe of her spunk, creativity, self-assurance and determination. What a young lady you are becoming!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry

Entrance to the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument 
Dinosaur National Monument is a 200,000 acre park that straddles the Utah/Colorado border. Visitors to the park can raft the Green or Yampa Rivers, see petroglyphs, take a hike, camp or explore the Dinosaur Bone Quarry located on the Utah side. 
The Building that Houses the Bone Quarry
Dinosaur bones were discovered here in 1909 by Earl Douglass, a paleontologist representing the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. This quarry is often described as a "wall of bones" as fossils from several species of Jurassic era dinosaurs are embedded in an steeply tilted rock layer that was once a river bed. 
Inside the Bone Quarry
The Wall of Bones in the newly renovated Quarry Exhibit Hall is impressive in size, but it is only a small portion of the whole excavation area originally worked by Earl Douglass who shipped more than 700,000 tons of material to the Carnegie Museum.
The "Wall of Bones" at Diniosaur National Monument
Visitors are invited to touch real fossils in the Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry
Diplodocus leg bone @Dinosaur National Monument
Camarasaurus skull and spine at Dinosaur National Monument Fossil Bone Quarry
The Quarry Exhibit Hall and tram stop overlooks the Green River
Getting ready to hike down the Fossil Discovery Trail from the Quarry Bldg to the Utah side Visitor Ctr
Fossils can be seen at various spots along the Fossil Discovery Trail
Dinosaur National Monument Visitor Center
Sometimes I have to cajole my children into participating in the National Park Junior Ranger Program. Each park has an educational brochure/questionnaire specific to each site. Given the educational focus of this park, no cajoling was needed. My son jumped at the opportunity and really liked the unique, star-shaped paleontology badge.

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

Grand Teton National Park in Pictures

The Grand Tetons
T. A. Moulton Barn said to be the most photographed barn
Mountain Reflection, Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Lake Jackson, Grand Teton National Park
Log Cabin on Mormon Row, near Grand Teton National Park
Mount Moran and Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Grand Tetons from roadway overlook

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Resources that Make History Fun and Easy

Inca Wall replica and Soapstone Llama from Peru (2003)
Learning about history when I was a kid was so disjointed and hard. It was all about memorizing random names of people, places and dates, or so it seemed to me at the time. Thanks to modern day resources like The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, my children are learning a much more cohesive world history than I did and are quite entertained in the process.

We are currently working our way through Volume 2 of The Story of the World on The Middle Ages. Most recently, we learned about early American peoples - the Maya, Aztecs and Inca in particular. The biggest reasons I love “teaching” history is all the additional resources that are out there both in book and video form. In this instance, I had the added joy of sharing photos and trinkets from a pre-motherhood trip to Macchu Picchu.

Here are some great history resources that I have found invaluable:
  • The kids and I started watching the Horrible Histories series a couple of years ago browsing through online streaming options. We have watched all of the episodes available to us and still go back to it just for fun (some of the music is really great!). I recently discovered a wiki page for the series where I can search specific subjects to find out what episodes contain relevant material. For instance, Episodes 1, 4, 5, 9 & 12 from Series 2 and 1, 6, 9, 10 & 12 from Series 3 all have references to the Inca and Aztecs, respectively.  So we viewed those specific episodes as an accompaniment to our curriculum.

Thanks to all these resources as well as some good quality books, I have found, as an adult, a love and appreciation for history that I never knew as a child.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching history to my kids primarily because I am learning so much right along with them.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother’s Day 2018

For Mother's Day, Jonah (11) gave me the most beautiful little vase. How well I like it demonstrates the degree to which he knows me - kind of amazing. Elisabeth (9) made me a bouquet of paper flowers and a homemade card complete with a 3-D, steaming cup of coffee. The sentiment within is worth more than gold to this mom:
Dear Mommy, thank you for being the best Mother in the entire world. For making me lunch and getting ice cream for me and for convincing me into doing school (even though I don't really like it) because then I wouldn't have learned how to read which I really love. [She switched to cursive here; I presume for emphasis] thank you for being my mother. Love Elisabeth

Monday, March 26, 2018

Prairie Life Day with the Giles Frontier

We recently attended Prairie Life Day put on by the folks at The Giles Frontier. 

We took part in butter and book making, calf-roping, faux gold panning (gold-painted rocks) and tin-can lantern making.

We learned a bit about pioneer life in general and in Florida. We were served a tasty venison stew for lunch as well as some homemade sweets and the kids participated in a good old-fashioned three-legged race and a tug-o-war.

The kids were skeptical when we left the house that morning, but when we got in the car to leave they both said, "That was fun." I am still recovering from the shock of them actually eating deer meat!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park, February 2018
February and March is a great time of year to get outside in Central Florida before the long, hot, heavy months arrive. We recently took advantage of a sunny yet cool Friday morning to visit the Orlando Wetlands Park with a couple of homeschool friends. We couldn't have asked for a more pleasant day. The parking area was full this particular day given the superb weather and the free shuttle service that is provided on Friday and Saturdays. Given the long lines and smallish shuttles (which turned out to be oversized golf-carts) we decided to stick to our feet. We hiked about a mile to the Oyler Overlook and then back. We saw an abundance of native wetland birds, plants and, of course, several alligators along the way. The highlight was watching a larger specimen cross the trail ahead of us but at a sufficiently safe distance. 
Alligator warning signage, Orlando Wetlands Park
Alligator crossing the trail at Orlando Wetlands Park, Photo by Cynthia Ramirez
Limpkin posing on tree stump, Orlando Wetlands Park

Blue Flag Iris, Orlando Wetlands Park
Alligator sunning on the bank, Orlando Wetlands Park

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Learning Latin AND Mathematics

Weights & Measures (Hyland album)
Weights & Measures (Hyland album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In studying how to convert units of measurement during his math lesson, my son gained more than math knowledge. While he much prefers the simplicity of the metric system, it turns out that the non-metric units of measurement are surprisingly providing additional learning opportunities in... language.

As we were going over the process of converting pounds to ounces and vice versa, he asked what should have been an obvious question, "Why do we use the abbreviation lb to represent pounds?" I had to confess that I did not know. So I did what any 21st century mom does, I looked it up on the internet.

It turns our that we get the abbreviation lb as well as the English word "pound" from the Latin phrase libra pondo which translates to pound weight. Once again, I find myself learning something new as a result of my child's curiosity and learning process.