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Homemade Ice Cream

Last night was a new moon, which marks a new Biblical month, so we did some fun "life skills" to celebrate - we made ice cream! For the ice cream, we used 8 cups of milk, 1 pint of whipping cream, 2 cups of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. The kids put the mixture into a large ice cream maker and a small ball shaped maker. They loaded the containers with layers of ice and rock salt sprinkled in between. The large maker was plugged in, and can you guess what they did with the ball shaped ice cream maker?


 We had some great homeschool moments assembling the ingredients for the ice cream. . .like how many pints is 8 cups, how many quarts, etc. And what action the salt has on the ice. And well, what's ice cream without hot fudge sauce?


 2 cups sugar 
1 cup brown sugar (or Sucanat)
 1 cup baker's cocoa
 4 tbsp. flour 
1/4 cup butter 
1 1/2 cup water 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp vanilla 

 Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add butter and water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes (I do not wait this long--about six minutes, and I say it's good). Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir. Serve over your other goodies. 

This recipe came from my friend, Tara, and I love it! She eats it with homemade chocolate cake and organic vanilla ice cream. I also think it makes a good chocolate milk once it cools. And I bet it would make a good hot chocolate!

We had organic sprinkles to top it off and even though it was chilly outside, it was a good ice cream day!

Hebrew Lesson 4

Shalom and Chodesh Tov! We had a new moon last night, so today is a brand new month on the Hebrew calender.
We started our lesson today by singing the alephbet. We continued with our alephbet practice, added two new vowel points (/u/ as in blue and /o/ as in yellow) and practiced reading by combining letters and vowels to make our own made up words. I had the kids write with invisible ink (lemon juice) and then had them trade papers to transliterate. To make the invisible ink visible, we put them in front of a heat source; however, the lemon juice did not turn brown like it was supposed to. They thought it was fun, but it would have been cooler if it had worked. Then we played Around the World with Hebrew flash cards. I think this game will help motivate the boys to diligently practice their letters, vowel points and vocabulary words!
Some "Greetings and Farewells" vocabulary words we learned today:
Chodesh tov - good month (renewal)
Shavu'a tov - good week
Shana tova - good year
Laila tov - good night
Boker tov - good morning
Barucha ha'ba'a - welcome (to a female)
Baruch haba - welcome (to a male)
Bruchim ha'ba'im - welcome (plural)

Tiny Talk


Little ones say the cutest things . . . especially if you pay attention! I heard about Tiny Talk Tuesday, and decided to give it a try! I kept my ears alert for tiny talk this week and here is what I heard from my 3 (almost 4) year old:

While clipping Mali's toenails one evening last week, he said, "Look mommy (pointing to his little toe), it's so cuuute! Ahhh, (pointing to his other foot) I have another one!"

I asked him if he knew where my paper cutter was and he replied, "It's hiding - it's a stinker."

(I just got why he said that - he didn't answer when I called him once this week and when I found him hiding, I said, "You stinker - I was calling you!".)

While I was putting on a pair of earrings, he asked, "Are you going to be my grandma now? That's exactly what grandma's do!"


Be sure to check out Tiny Talk Tuesday for more Tiny Talk!

Swimming Creatures Lesson 2 - Whales

We learned all about cetaceans in this lesson. Whales are cetaceans because they are in Kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Mammalia and order Cetacea. Cetaceans are divided into two kinds: baleen whales and toothed whales. We learned that whales have big brains and are considered the most intelligent marine animal. The end of a whale's tail is called a fluke and it uses its fluke to steer and for power when it swims. They also move their tail up and down to swim, unlike a fish that moves its tail side to side to swim. We learned that the whale has a nose on the top of its head (its blowhole) and we studied the breathing system of the whale. We read about whale moves and did a notebooking page describing and illustrating breaching, spyhopping, lobtailing and logging. We read about whalers, why they hunted whales, and what they were used for (blubber for oil for lamps). We read about the conservation laws that now protect whales from extinction. We read and did a notebooking page on whale migration. We learned that a baby whale is called a calf and calves are born tail first and that the mother guides them to the surface for their first breath of air. We saw a killer whale calf being born in the movie Free Willy 3. So cool! An interesting thing we learned is that killer whales are friendly to humans and they get their name from being a vicious predator at sea. We learned about and did a notebooking page on toothed whales - dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, beluga whales, narwhals, and sperm whales. We studied the differences between a dolphin and a porpoise. Try This! We did an activity to learn how a dolphin uses echolocation using their melon (a structure used for echolocation). We rolled two pieces of cardstock into two megaphones. We had one person talk through the megaphone towards a wall. . . at the same time, another person stood at an angle to the wall listening with the megaphone next to their ear. What we learned is that some objects reflect sounds better than others. This is how a toothed whale uses sound to determine what kind of object is near. Try This! We did an activity to understand how beluga whales can live in waters that are below freezing, yet the waters are not frozen. To find out how this can be, we took 2 cups and filled them both with water. To one of the cups we added salt and stirred then placed them both in the freezer. We checked them after a couple hours and the plain water was frozen solid but the salt water was not. We learned that salt lowers the freezing temperature of water. We read about and did a notebooking page on baleen whales - blue, humpback, gray and right whales. It was fun to learn that the blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on earth and is still alive today! After we did our reading, I asked the boys the "What Do You Remember" questions and I am always amazed at how much they remember! We researched the news on the Internet to find a recent report on a beached whale. We found a recent story of whole pod of whales that were beached off the coast of Australia last Thursday. It was sad to see so many whales beached. From our text, we understood that scientists are unsure why a whale will beach itself and sometimes when rescued, they will beach themselves again and often the whole pod will beach themselves. Not Much Chance for Lone Beached Whale Raw video footage of the beached whales: Whales are able to communicate with one another because sound travels better through water than air. So, we did a sound experiment to explore how sound travels. The boys hypothesized whether sound will travel better through air or yarn. They experimented with the yarn loose and tight. We discovered that sound travels better through the string when it is stretched tight. It really works! We realized that ocean waves can carry sound waves a long way, much like the tight string. Some links we visted: World of Whales Photos of Whale Flukes Whale Video and Sound Files Kayaking with Killer Whales Blue Whale Photos and Video Whale Songs Echolocation in Dolphins Discovering the Dolphins Secret

Why I Homeschool

I loved hearing what my boys love about homeschooling. What I loved most about it, though, is that I gave them this assignment during a tough week - one where school was not so fun. I appreciate that they were able to pick out the good even when faced with the bad. While I was pulling up their writing on the computer, I came across a list (that I got from somewhere, but cannot remember where) that I liked enough to save. WHY I HOMESCHOOL : 1. So I don't have to get everyone up in the morning. (that's not a good one but we're not morning people) *2. So my kids' education can be efficient and all-encompassing (life is homeschool) and enjoy their childhood in play, awe, and wonder. 3. So my kids learn not to be guided by the masses. *4. So that I will KNOW my kids, and my kids will KNOW me. 5. So my kids will not come home reciting the latest dirty limerick. 6. So my kids will not HAVE to have the latest expensive, inappropriate fashions. 7. So my kids will not have to deal with a bully every single day. *8. So my kids will not be left behind if they do not grasp a concept as quickly as everyone around them. *9. So my kids can move on to the next concept if they've learned it before everyone around them. *10. Because my kids can stop everything and research a subject that has caught their interest before they forget about it or lose interest. *11. Because we can go on vacation (or to the store) when everyone else is at work and school. *12. Because we get to go on more field trips, do more science experiments, and watch more movies to help reinforce what we are learning in school. 13. Because my kids hear their friends (and cousins) talk about how much they hate school. 14. Because it takes a lot less time to do school at home and that gives us more time for other things. 15. Because I don't have to go down to the school to deal with the principal, the teacher, the guidance counselor, or the PTA. *16. So my kids don't spend all day in school, then several hours on homework, then straight to bed because they have to start all over again the next day. *17. So that my kids will be closer sibs and learn to forgive each other frequently. *18. Because I love spending time with my kids and time passes so quickly! *19. Because I want my kids to love to learn! *20. Because it is rewarding! I want to be there when my child first "reads" and first makes that connection! 21. Because it just feels natural to me! Sending my kids to school at the age of 5 on to spend the entire day under the influence of total strangers didn't feel natural to me! *22. Just because I love to learn with them! *23. Because WHAT they are learning matters. I love getting to read about the Pilgrims without trying to be politically correct or worrying about the separation of church and state. *24. Because I want my children to be innovators, creators and producers, not consumers and passive learners. 25. Because when my oldest was in school and Little League there was no time to pass on our family's values. 26. Because they are more enjoyable to be around when they are not immersed in a peer-centered world. 27. Because the DELUGE of influence of being with 30 other peers most of the day took too much energy on my part to counter-act. *28. We are meeting families and building family relationships with more like-minded people, it's a community I want us to be a part of. *29. Because I can show them I love them. *30. Because they love to learn. *31. Because they love God. *32. Because we are a close family. *33. Because I can teach them to think for themselves. *34. Because God has called my family to homeschool. *35. Because they are getting an excellent education. *36. Because I want to be the Holy Spirit to be the main influence in their lives. *37. Because I don't want strangers to be able to influence my dc (dear children)and teach them lies. *38. Because they love our home. *39. Because they are happy and secure. *40. Because they love life. *41. Because children need to play and be kids. 42. So they can have more time to pursue their interests and God-given talents to one day use for His glory. *43. So they will learn to take responsibility for themselves and figure things out themselves. *44. So they can recover from failure with grace, learn from their mistakes, and discover their own way in life. *45. There's time to garden, play piano, paint and read while teaching my children about what is beautiful. *46. Even on the days when I want to quit, give up, throw in the towel, chuck it all, send them anywhere, just take a nap, take the easy way like so many around me, I still want to homeschool! It's just right for us. (Emphasis mine) I did not write that list, but many of them I could have! *These are my favorite ones!

Why I Love Homeschooling - From A Child's Perspective

Why do you love being homeschooled? From Heart of the Matter {Online}, "Have your child write, or narrate for the youngest set, their thoughts. Not only will it be an interesting record of this period in their lives, but it can serve as a great encouragement to both teacher and student on the inevitable tough days that come up throughout the year."

Why I Love Being Homeschooled: 

 by Nathan age 10 “I love homeschool because I can bust on schoolwork and be done before lunch unlike other schools that get done at 3:00. In homeschool we get to do hands-on activities where in subjects like science we have a speculation sheet, where we tell where we guess what is going to happen and why. We also have a checklist of subjects we have to accomplish and I receive a star if I get done with school by the end of the day. If I get five stars then I get a prize. When I need help my mom is right there to help me. My favorite three subjects are my memory verse for the day, my italic handwriting, and science.”

by Dylan age 8 “I love homeschool because it’s a lot funner than public school. We get to do fun crafts and experiments. It’s cool because we are able to get ahead and get done fast. We are not stuck with a bunch of homework. We can get done in whatever time we want and it depends on how hard we work. The fun part is that we can get stars from them. If we get 5 stars we get a prize. We also can get 10 stars and get a bigger prize. For science and geography, we get to do fun experiments and crafts, like we made an ocean box for science. My mom makes fun sheets for us. We get to color and write down everything we remember. My favorite subject is science."

by Jordan age 12 "My favorite thing about homeschool is that we can work hard and get done early. And you can learn a lot in a short amount of time. And we can include our faith in school. And most of all, we can get ahead and take a break.

 I knew why I loved it so much, but it was good to hear what they like about it! I think it would be fun to do this again in a year to see how they change.

Hebrew Lesson 3

For our Hebrew lesson this week, we worked on the letters aleph (no sound), bet/vet (b/v), gimmel (g), dalet (d), hey (h), vav (v), zayin (z), chet (ch as in bach) and tet (t) and the sounds they make.
We also learned two new vowel points /ay/ and /e/ as in bed and reviewed the vowel points we have learned so far (ah and ee). And we practiced reading combinations of the letter and vowels. We learned some new vocabulary: tinok - baby ani - I rotzeh/rotzah - to want ani rotzah - I want yeled -boy yal'dah-girl And the kids played a fun game that my friend, Jaci, made. There was a stack of cards face down. A card was pulled up on their turn and if they got the Hebrew word or letter right, they got to roll the dice and move that number of spaces. They used the Littlest Pet Shop animals for the game pieces. The board had spaces that said "Move back to losing player's space," "Move back 3 spaces," "Yippee Skippy go ahead 2 spaces," and one that said, "What a blessing, go again!"

Tot School ~ Edible Play Dough

~Eliana is currently 24 months old~
"Picture me!" she says. "You want me to take a picture of you?" "Yes! Do school." She is so funny! She is coloring in Malachi's Get Ready for the Code book in the top pictures and you can tell she is waiting for me to take her picture. Then she is saying, "See picture!" She is purposely not looking because I always tell the boys, "No posing!" (I like natural shots best. :-) Her brother, Dylan, has been wanting to do some kitchen concoctions so I asked him if he would make peanut butter with Eliana for Tot School. They made it by putting peanuts in the blender and adding a little olive oil and blending it until smooth and creamy. Then they made edible play dough with it! They used 1 cup of brown sugar (the recipe called for 2 cups, but I thought that was a bit much) 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ (we added a bit more to make it a workable consistency). She loved it! She had as much fun playing with it as she did eating it! (By the way, this could be tried with other nuts to make a nut butter edible play dough!)
We have already found a new edible dough recipe that we want to try for this week. :-) Malachi has been studying the letter M for preschool, so we are helping him make music from homemade musical instruments. If you are interested in how we made our instruments, you can check out my Tot Tools post to see how we made them. You can tell she liked the red drum the best!
We also played a simplified version of musical chairs. My little ones are not familiar with this game, so we learned how to sit when the music stops. We were not ready to really play (removing a chair was not an option at this point!). Eliana had just as much fun hopping into the chair when the music stopped! Be sure to check out some more Tot School posts for more ideas!

Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

G'day mate, we have been down in Oz having an onkey-dory time! Here is what we have been doing the last three weeks for geography.

  • Learned Geography Songs for Australia, New Zealand & Oceania
  • Labeled Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Labeled the following territories and states: Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
  • Located and labeled the North Island and South Island of New Zealand, the Solomon Islands of Melanesia and the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Located and labeled the island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia
  • Marked the Tropic of Capricorn and labeled it
  • Used an atlas to match latitudes and longitudes of islands with their names
  • Labeled the bodies of water surrounding Australia and Oceania
  • Read and learned about physical features of Australia and Oceania.
  • Made salt dough physical relief maps of Australia.

We used the Salty Map Dough recipe from Kid Concoctions.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 1/3 cup water
We made a second batch using equal parts of corn starch, flour and salt with water to experiment with the consistency. When they are dry, they can be painted.

  • Used clues to locate and label rivers, bays and harbors
  • Shaded the desert, grasslands and forests and then wrote one fact about the vegetation that grows in these areas
  • Completed a table with mountain names, location and height and made a vertical bar graph to compare the five tallest mountains
  • Went diving in The Great Barrier Reef ~ a virtual field trip
  • Studied the climate and analyzed graphs on average temperature and precipitation
  • Completed a chart on products and resources and then used the chart to answer questions
  • Identified unusual animals and plants in Australia and New Zealand, like the koala and platypus
  • Sang the Kookaburra song and listened to its laugh
  • Read It's Designed to Do What it Does Do, by Ken Ham and Buddy Davis - A fun book about animals in Australia
  • Listened to a fun song about the platypus by Buddy Davis:

  • Read and learned about human geography of Australia and Oceania
  • Completed a graph on population growth over the last 50 years
  • Used clue to locate major cities on a map
  • Identified the official languages
  • Read a graph of religions of Australia and Oceania and use the information and a map to answer questions
  • Found photographs of traditional clothing
  • Read about the people of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji in Window on the World
  • Read about daily life in Australia and New Zealand in Children Just Like Me 
  • Demonstrated the traditional Maori (aboriginal) greeting: Two people clasp hands and press their noses and foreheads together
  • Colored the Flag of Australia
  • Learned some everyday expressions for language activities, like g'day and tried to use as many as we could in a sentence.

Here are a few of the fun, distinctly Australian words and expressions we learned:
  • g'day - good day
  • mate - friend
  • ta - goodbye
  • Oz - Australia
  • onkey-dorey - good
  • fair dinkim - genuine, the honest truth
  • dinky do - the real thing
  • boomer - a big kangaroo
  • up a gum tree - in trouble
  • humpty do - all mixed up
  • take a squiz - look over
  • get all wet - get angry
  • jumpbuck - sheep (there are 10 jumpbucks for every Australian)

Here are a couple of the boys' sentences using the expressions:

Jordan: "G'day mate. Would you like to come over for a barbie? If you come, bring your cozy because we are going swimming in the billabong." (Translation: Good day friend. Would you like to come over for a BBQ? If you come, bring your swim trunks because we are going swimming in the pond.)

Nathan: "G'day mate. I saw a boomer today. When I looked at him he got all humpty-do. Hey look! A boomer is coming. We're up in a gum tree! Look, he's getting all wet!" (Translation: Good day friend. I saw a kangaroo today. When I looked at him he got all mixed up. Hey look! A kangaroo is coming. We're in trouble! He's getting angry!)

Listened to a popular Australian song called the Waltzing Matilda. (We enjoyed the song and the pictures too!)

"Waltzing Matilda" is the story of a hike taken by a swagman (wanderer) and his matilda (bedroll). He goes camping by a billabong (pond) and waits for his billy (pail used for heating water) to boil underneath the coolibah (type of gum tree). The swagman captures a jumpbuck (sheep) in his tuckerbag (traveling bag).

  • Learned about Australian foods - what is vegemite, anyways?
  • Made an Australian Meat Pie for our ethnic cooking night.

  • Investigated how to make a boomerang, and a didgeridoo (another link)
  • Smelled a sample of Eucalyptus (we had one from a leaf exchange we did while doing Botany!)
To tell you the fair-dinkim, it was a lot of work, but we learned a lot! So ta for now . . .we are stamping our passports and moving on to Africa!

M is for Malachi

ABC Book:

This is the first time Malachi has attempted to write his name! I can see that we need to work on this! He circled some of the letters instead of tracing them!

Memory Verse: 

From Sing the Word A-Z Marvel not that I said, Marvel not that I said, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John three verse seven.

  Story Time:
  Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey The Mitten by Jan Brett

  Poems: From A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson Marching Song

  Fun Songs: 

The Magnet Song (Sung To:" I'm A Little Teapot") I'm a little magnet can't you see Anything metal comes right to me. If it is not metal you will see. It just will not stick to me.

Make Milkshake Mustaches

We made homemade milkshakes - vanilla works the best!
Make Musical Instruments 
We made our own musical instruments! Check out my Tot Tools 1 post to see what we did.
  Make Music!

We used these for praise and worship one Sabbath and the kids loved it! They love making joyful music and it made them feel a part of it!

  Musical Chairs (Sort of)

My little ones are not familiar with this game, so we learned how to sit when the music stops. We were not ready to really play (removing a chair was not an option at this point!). Malachi and his sister had just as much fun hopping into the chair when the music stopped. We will have to play this a few more times before we bring the older kids in and teach them what happens when you don't sit on a chair when the music stops.

  Memory Mittens

I cut die cut mitten shapes out of different colored scrapbook paper, glued them to a piece of card stock to make a mitten memory game.

  Get Ready for the Code Activities:

There were more pages this lesson because each lesson builds on previous lessons. We took a week to review letters without picking up the book. Then Malachi took two weeks to complete the lessons. So far we have learned the letters f, b, and m. The first part of the lesson introduces the letter m followed by review where he has to name the picture, circle the letter that makes the sound at the beginning of the word, and then write the letter on the line. Each review requires more independence. I am teaching, but not emphasizing correct form at this point. I don't even make him do all the writing, unless he chooses to do so. I will focus on correct form more in Kindergarten, but for right now I want him to have fun, recognize letters and learn their sounds. While working on the page pictured in the bottom right hand corner above, Malachi had to circle the letters that matched the letter at the beginning of the row. If you look at it closely, you will see that he was making every letter a b so that he could circle them all! Ha ha, that cracked me up! He did that in a couple other rows, including the bottom one where he made the N into an M. I thought that was pretty cute. . . however, now he makes it a point to be silly when completing the pages and I have to ask him to work nicely!

  Science: Magnetic Attraction

We collected some different objects made of different materials to find out which ones a magnet attracts. We sang the Magnet Song and explained that a magnet will stick to anything that is metal.

  Magnetic Fishing

Catch fish using a magnet. We started by making our own fishing rod and paper fish. Slid a paperclip onto each fish. Attached a magnet to the string on the end of a homemade fishing pole. The magnet picked up the fish when Malachi went fishing! I explained that the metal in the paper clip sticks to the magnet just like in our experiment above.
Mucky Muck

This mysterious concoction, from The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions, turns a liquid into a solid and back again! We mixed 3/4 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup water, and 5-7 drops food coloring. We mixed water and food coloring in a small bowl and slowly added cornstarch to mixture, but did not stir! We let the mixture stand for 2-3 minutes. Then picked up a handful and squeezed the muck until it formed a hard ball. When we opened our hands, the muck will turn from a solid ball back into a liquid!

  Art: Magnetic Painting 

We used magnets, nuts and bolts and other metal objects from our Magnetic Attraction Experiment to paint with! We took a piece of paper and taped the paper to a dish. We dipped the metal objects into paint and placed them on Malachi's paper. I had him hold the magnet under the dish and move the objects around to paint with it (our table is too thick for the magnet to work so we used the dish to make this project to work).

  Math: Measure Me 

I measured Malachi on our measuring board! I showed him feet and inches and explained how to use the feet and the inches to measure his height. He is 3 feet 3 and 3/4 inches!

  Mitten Match

I cut out mitten shapes from patterned scrapbooking paper then cut them in two pieces. I scrambled them let Malachi find the correct matches. Check out the Preschool Corner for more Preschool ideas!

Homemade Musical Instruments

Here is my first Tot Tool - homemade musical instruments.

I will share what I did, but for more detailed instructions see DK's 101 Great Science Experiments, A step by step guide.

Build a Banjo!

I attached a length of wood (that I let Malachi paint) to a plastic container by cutting two "I" shapes under the rim of the tub opposite each other. I bent the flaps of the "I" shapes out and pushed the end of the wood through the holes. I then used colored tape to decorate the tub and make the lines on the wood. Originally, I stretched a balloon over the tub and taped it to the sides, but the balloon broke. So I took the lid to the tub and cut it to fit inside and taped it to the wood. Then I took eyelet screws and partly screwed them into the wood - four at each end. Then I made two triangular bridges of card stock. I made four strings from fishing line and tied them to the two sets of eyelet screws. I inserted the bridges under the strings and turned the eyelet screws to tighten the strings. I added colorful ribbon and stars to decorate it. I taught the little ones how to hold a string down to change its note and that the lines are where you press the strings.

Strike a Tune!

For the xylophone, I cut out 2 zig zag patterns out of cardboard 8.5 inches long, and 2 flat ends, one 6 inches long and one 4.5 inches long and fitted the pieces together. I had Malachi paint it and then glued felt to the top once it was dry. Finally, we glued colored pencils, sharpened to size, to the frame. (They made a prettier sound when they were just rested on the frame, but I knew we would lose them.) I made beaters from wooden skewers and beads.

Blow a Horn!

For the horn, I pushed a funnel into 30 inches of plastic tubing. I put tape around the end for a mouthpiece, and looped the hose and added strips of tape to hold and decorate it. I added a cord with tassels for decoration.

Beat Some Drums!

For the drum, I decorated a cookie tin with colored tape, stretched a giant balloon (I used a punch ball) over the tin and taped it. I taped a thick cord with tassels on the opposite sides of the tin for decoration.

More Drums!

For the tom-tom, I took two plastic containers (I used bowls because I could not find plastic flowerpots) and using one, I drew two circles on a piece of muslin. Then I drew two larger circles around each one. I taped the pots together with colored tape. Then I cut out the circles of muslin and cut slits in each edge, as far as the second circle. I folded in and glued the flaps of both circles. Then with a hole punch, I made evenly spaced holes around the edges. I then thread thin cord through the holes and placed a circle over each pot. I then pulled the cord tight and tied it. I zigzagged more cord through the cords at the edges of the circles, pulled it tight and tied it. Then, I was supposed to spread glue over each circle, but I forgot this part! When the glue is dry, the tom-tom is ready! Tightening the cord stretches the muslin and gives the tom-tom a higher note.

These were fun to build and the kids love them! I am hoping to make a song notebook like the one that Carisa has here. Check out her Tools for Tots posts for more Tot Tool ideas!

Hebrew Lesson 2

We have been working on writing and recognizing the letters of the Hebrew alephbet. This week we started working on the Alphabet Practice Pages from Hebrew for Christians. They are a great tool! And today, we played Alephbet Bingo! It was great to see the kids getting some of the letters! Others they had to look up. I think it was great practice! We also sang the alephbet and I think they are getting it. Next week, I will try to include a clip of them singing. Then they practiced reading the letters and sounds they have learned and played a game to see who could remember the vocabulary words we learned last week. I wrote the directional vocabulary words on 3x5 cards and taped them on the wall where they should go (North on the North wall, etc). I think this helped them alot!
This week, we will continue working on the Alphabet Practice Pages and work on the Alephbet flashcards I made.

Swimming Creatures Lesson 1 - Aquatic Animals

In our first lesson, we read that swimming animals are called aquatic animals because aqua comes from the Latin word meaning "water." We learned about aqua mobility, what nekton means (animal that swims), and what benthos means (animals that don't swim, but scurry, crawl, hop, scoot, burrow or slither across the bottom of the ocean. We found out that some benthic animals are also sessile (they just sit there!). The boys were surprised to learn what plankton are - creatures that wander or drift. They learned there are two kinds - phytoplankton (which make their own food using the sun) and zooplankton (which need to eat to get their food). It was fun to learn that plankton can be microscopic or as giant as a blue whale! The section on filter feeders was interesting to me. Filter feeders are creatures that God created to clean up the oceans and rivers of the world. They are the "cleaning crew" of the waters. Filter feeders take in contaminated water and spurt out clean water. I found this interesting because we as a family eat only foods that God calls "clean." And filter feeders are not clean! God created these special cleaners to clean up the ocean to provide a clean environment for food we can eat - whatever has fins and scales. This lesson also focused on the environment that the creatures we will be studying live in, like ocean currents. We read that surface currents are formed by winds and form circular patterns called gyres. We did a fun "Try This!" demonstration to create a miniature gyre!
We filled a dish with confetti and blew air on opposite sides of the dish in opposite directions. The air blowing on the surface of the water in opposite directions is just how winds on the earth produce gyres. For fun, we got out our geography notebooks to read what we wrote on ocean currents last year. Nathan read his first, and he said, "I wrote that?" (He did a good job explaining how currents affect weather). We learned that deep ocean currents are called thermohaline currents because they are formed by heat (thermo) and salt (haline). We learned about tides and what causes them (the moon). We got a laugh over the section titled "Planet Water." Author Jeanie Fulbright states, "If you look down at the earth from space, you can see that the earth should have been named "ocean" instead of "earth" for the whole earth is mostly ocean!" Then we did some more geography review and named the four oceans and looked at a globe to see which hemisphere is covered with the most ocean and which is covered with the most land. We read some fresh water facts and vocabulary like, brackish (salty) and estuary (where a river meets with an ocean or sea) and what the head and mouth of a river are (all but brackish were review for us). Speaking of brackish, did you know that the amount of salt in the oceans indicates that the earth's oceans (and the earth itself) are very young? If the earth were really billions of years old, there would be much, much more salt in the ocean because rivers and volcanoes dump salt into the ocean and there is no where for it to go! We learned what the 4 zones of the ocean floor are: continental shelf, slope, rise and abyssal plain; and what the 3 zones in which aquatic creatures live: the sunlit zone, the twilight zone, and the midnight zone. We read about the abyss and animals that live there and why we cannot go there! (Because of water pressure) We did a "Try This" activity to understand why. We blew up a balloon inside of a bottle, tied it and pushed it in the bottle. Keeping the balloon at one end, we had Jordan step on and off the bottle while we observed the balloon.
When he stepped on the bottle, the balloon got smaller! (It took us a couple minutes to figure this out). When he stepped off, the balloon got bigger. This happened because of air pressure. Stepping on the bottle stimulates what happens to your lungs when you dive deep down in the ocean. They get smaller. When Jordan lifted his foot off the bottle, the balloon got bigger because the pressure was relieved! The boys then worked on their notebooking, writing and illustrating all that they remembered.(I am "notebooking" as I type this post -it is good for me to remember too!) Dylan's:

Nathan's: Jordan's: (Sorry for the poor quality, I have not figured out how to work my new scanner yet! If you click on the picture, you may be able to see them better.) Well, we finally got to make our ocean boxes! First we made a box out of a heavyweight poster board to make our ocean box. Then we decorated them with foam aquatic animals.

The finished boxes. Then we did an experiment to see which is heavier, cold water or hot water. Using our Scientific Speculation Sheets, we first made our hypothesis. Then, we put hot water in the big bowl with blue food coloring, put cold water in a plastic cup with yellow food coloring, cut a small hole in the bottom, placed the cup in the bowl and let the water run out the bottom. You can see the the colder (yellow) water sank to the bottom!

Then we tried it again, with the cold (blue) water in the big bowl and the hot (yellow) water in the cup. The yellow water did not sink this time. Instead the yellow water mixed with the blue water making green water! We learned that cold water is heavier than warm water!