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"The Salt Evaporating School"

Mali and I participated in the Winter Series Salt Study at Handbook of Nature Study. We attempted to grow our own salt crystals to observe. We used the four kinds of salt that I had on hand: Real Salt (course), Real Salt (fine), table salt, and Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate).

Mali explored the different textures and shapes.

Then he added salt to water to make a solution. We talked about things like saturation and evaporation.

He then poured each salt water solution into a lid and placed it under a heat lamp next to a sunny window so the water would evaporate quicker.

I made a little notebooking page for Mali. He named the experiment and narrated the procedure while I typed. Then I printed it and had him draw a sketch.

We had crystals within 24 hours (a little too quick!). The water in the Epsom salt solution took several days to evaporate and was still not quite evaporated when we explored the crystals.

The crystals were small because the the water evaporated so quick. I did find it interesting that the minerals in the Real Salt sunk to the bottom and the salt formed crystals on top.

Mali and I made a second notebooking page for the results.

He drew himself looking at the crystals and the shape he saw. *Ü*

Delightful Links:

Handbook of Nature Study

Science Sunday

You Need a Little {Salt}

Delight Directed Tot School

Tot School
~Eliana is 37 months~

Mema (Luke's mom) made Elli an I Spy Blanket for Tot School. She sewed little trinkets all over a small quilt and then color copied the trinkets to make a set of I Spy cards.

I was not sure if it would be challenging for her, but it was! She was quite stumped at times and I helped her a little by giving her clues. The first time she played, she selected the cards that she wanted to look for. It was so cute to watch her expressions and to see how pleased she was with herself when she found one.

I was not planning to do Tot School this day, but she came down stairs in her "Tot School dress" that I sewed for her last summer and asked to do Tot School. I had been saving the blanket and also a puzzle for her, so I surprised her with these first.

The following puzzle was a gift that Mema brought back from The Creation Museum at Answers in Genesis. I have mostly avoided puzzles because we just lose all the pieces anyways. . . but I was happy to have it and Elli seems to have taken a liking to puzzles lately.

I talked to her about each day of creation and had her try to figure out what happened each day by looking at the picture on the puzzle piece. If she doesn't know an answer when I ask, she says, "tell me." (She says it so cute.)

She also did a Melissa and Doug floor puzzle and then she did the Brown Bear puzzle again.

Elli pretty much decided when she wanted to do tot school this week (and what she wanted to do). Another day she came down in another "tot school dress" (her sign that she wants to do tot school). She wore this dress all the time last summer and is wearing it in one of my favorite Tot School posts. Now, she has to wear it with a pair of pink cotton pants underneath.

This day she told me she wanted to pour water. So, we gathered up various jars and cups and one large bottle filled with water. Which she filled up again herself.

She wanted to fill the sifter with water on the tray and I asked her to fill it in the glass measuring cup and see what happens. It did not hold water much to her surprise!

Mali also set up a tray and played next to her. He ran out of water first and she was so sweet to share her water - a tablespoon at a time!

Then I asked her if she would help me pour water in the kitchen (after she changed out of what must have been a wet dress). She disappeared while I was cleaning up the water on the table and came back downstairs with a different shirt on (same pants).

I asked her to help me fill the spaghetti pot with water from the Berkey. She was only filling it a 1/2 cup at a time so I let her put the pan under the spout so that I could get dinner going.

I love that she loves to help me in the kitchen. Although, it makes me nervous that she and Mali climb on the heater right next to the stove. I have taught them to always treat the stove top as hot. . . unless I set her on it, of course. I don't normally let her sit on the stove, but Mali was on the counter to the right of the stove and they both wanted to help. . .

Because I was making fudge (again).

Can you see why they both wanted to be right there helping? The best part is that I only had to turn the burner on for a brief moment to just warm the pan to melt the coconut oil and it was already off when she came to help.

Elli's First Faces

Elli drew this picture of our family this week. I thought it was so sweet! I wrote her little narrations as she told me about her family portrait.

Swimming Lessons

I think the highlight of Elli's week was swimming lessons. We have one more week of our second session. I love to sit and watch all the kids swim, but I stay closest to the side of the pool where Elli is. And she always watches to make sure I am there.

I was so surprised to see the following shot!

She went all the way underwater on her own! So far, this has been her least favorite part about swimming lessons and I was so delighted with her progress. *Ü*

I honestly do not have any plans for tot school this week. My fabulous plan for blogging a week behind real time worked for the first couple of weeks only. I was not even sure I would be able to post this tonight. Mali started Kindergarten this last week and I have been putting much of my focus on the boys' school. I am thinking that I will keep Tot School real relaxed until summer time and then I hope to devote more time to planned activities. So, from here until the rest of this "school year," tot school may just be delight directed!

Delightful Links:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1

Delight Directed "Science" Play

Mali is always in the kitchen doing "science" experiments. I love that he loves to experiment. . . until he uses up costly ingredients or wants me to taste his experiment. One time he used 3/4 of a $10 bottle of ground cardamom and a whole bottle of real vanilla extract, among some other interesting ingredients. The house had a lovely chai smell to it, but yikes! I am laughing as I recall my husband coming home and remarking on how good it smelled and how I showed him the lovely mess Mali made. I'd really love to guide his natural curiosity to explore and experiment . . . but, in an unplanned, planned sort of way.

One day, he asked me if he could make a pie and told me what he would like to use. My answer was, "Not with those ingredients" and I explained that you need to follow a recipe to make a pie. So he made up a recipe.

His ingredients:

  • apples
  • banannas
  • raisins
  • peanut butter
  • agave nectar
  • clementines
  • toothpicks

He was very pleased with his pie.

It was actually quite good.

This week we had an impromptu, delight directed "science" time. I told him he could do an experiment of his choosing and that he needed to make a list of the supplies he would need. I was willing to have him narrate it to me, but he wanted to write his list from the items he chose.

The last one is supposed to be Synergy. It is the name brand of the kombucha I was drinking that day. I cringed that it was on his list (I love that stuff and did not want to see it "wasted.") I did give him a little and then told him that I did not have much left so I asked him if he would mind using raw apple cider vinegar since it is sour, fermented and raw like kombucha. And he agreed. (smile) I also talked him into using the craft salt instead of the Real Salt.

It was hard not to make suggestions. At this point I was thinking that he could make something useful out of it like play dough, but I am glad I did not say anything because this was his experiment.

I asked Mali later to tell me what he was making and he said, "I was making a big river. That river is called the Water Atlantic."

"The other one was Gigantic Water." He told me that the mound was a volcano.

A big bowl of warm soapy water made play more fun (for Elli for sure).

It was not important that he make anything. It is the process, not the end result that matters.

This project was inspired by Mali's love to create and make messes and also the book Tumbling Over the Edge: A Rant For Children’s Play. In this book, children are encouraged to be children and be given the chance to explore, create, make messes and learn through play. I have been reading and using this book for a couple years now and pulling it off the shelf always helps me to put things back into their proper perspective. They are little. They will learn. And now is the best time to remember this. I don't ever want to stifle his creative learning process just because it is not the way I would do it. And I want learning to be delight directed!

Mali turns five tomorrow. I want to treasure this time and remember little details like this. It is such a part of his little personality and I am excited to see how he will grow, when given the room to grow. . . and make messes . . . with my help!

Delightful Links:

Science Sunday

More Tot Texture Painting

Tot School

~Eliana is 37 months~

Can I tell you how much I love this girl?

She is already tucked in bed as I write this and it makes me miss her.

Have I mentioned that she loves to paint?

She does.

And if that is all we did this week. . .

I'd be okay with that.

And I think she would too.

This project was inspired from a book I love: Tumbling Over the Edge: A Rant For Children's Play. I took nylon knee-highs and filled them with rice and lentils/split peas, etc. for texture, tied them in a knot and gave them to her with her choice of paint colors.

I was surprised that she chose yellow. She used to not like yellow - only pink and purple. She likes red now, because it is close to pink. She is also starting to like blue because it is close to purple. But this is the first time she has requested yellow. I remember last summer trying to get her to do some dandelion painting with yellow paint and all she wanted was purple. It is fun to see how her preferences are changing.

This week, I read two chapters from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne, to Elli and Mali. It is such a charming story and I adore it. The chapters are printed in a series of individual books with lots of illustrations to keep little one's attention.

Elli and Mali were sick this week. I think they had a mild case of 5th's Disease. Mali had the classic slapped cheek look, rash, and flu-like symptoms. Elli just had a sore throat and slightly pink cheeks. I kept them home from swimming this week and they are feeling better now. The little ones are the only one that got it as the older boys have already had it at one time or another.

I did do an impromptu "science" project with Mali that I hope to write about soon. It is another activity inspired from Tumbling Over the Edge. (I love that book!)

Delightful Links:

1+1+1=1 Tot School

Ancient Egypt Unit Study

This has been a fun unit. We had some independent reading time, some hands on projects, and watched some great DVD's on Ancient Egypt. But, most of our enjoyment came from the two historical fiction books that I read aloud to the kids: Mara, Daughter of the Nile and Henty's book, The Cat of Bubastes. The later was the boys' favorite. Our study of Ancient Egypt will now flow very smoothly into our study of Ancient Israel.

  • Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History: "The Egyptian Experience" (52-62)
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile
  • The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt
  • Great Ancient Egypt Projects (I loved this book for all of the hands on activities!)
  • Eyewitness Books: Ancient Egypt
  • The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World
  • Usborne's Book of World History
  • Adam to Messiah
  • Ancient Civilizations and the Bible
  • "What in the World": Ancient Egypt (15:29) (Ancient Civilizations and the Bible)

  • Label the Nile River.
  • Color the flood plain of the Nile (the fertile area). (green)
  • Color the desert of Egypt. (yellow)
  • Color the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. (blue)
  • Draw the boundaries of Egypt, including Upper and Lower Egypt
  • Label the cities of Memphis, Thebes and the Valley of the Kings
  • Label the area of Goshen in the Nile Delta
  • Label the land of Midian
The boy's maps were all similar, here is Dylan's Map, age 9.
Malachi's map came from the Elementary Activity book. I loved that it was simple enough for him to color and understand.
Activities: (From the Ancient Egypt Activity Book.) Make Your Own Papyrus Papyrus grew along the banks of the Nile and was utilized by the Egyptians to make mats, baskets, boats, ropes and sandals. But, the most notable way was used was for making paper. The Dead Sea scrolls (ancient Hebrew scrolls discovered in the caves by the Dead Sea) were written on papyrus. We used:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • several sheets of unlined paper (we used ivory to make a golden color like real papyrus
We mixed flour and water to make a paste.
We cut the paper into one inch-wide strips then soaked the strips in the flour water mixture. We used parchment paper so it would look more authentic. =) While they were soaking, we spread out a piece of foil over our work surface.
Then the boys laid the strips on the foil horizontally, and then add a vertical layer on top.
Then covered it with a piece of foil and rolled with a rolling pin to flatten the layers together.
Then peeled the layer of foil off.
I had them make their papyrus on the dehydrator trays so that we would have an easy place to store them while they dried. We thought it gave it an interesting texture that seemed real.
Berry Ink
I had wonderful plans to make Berry Ink with the boys for writing on the papyrus with. I gathered all of the ingredients, while the boys were watching "Ancient Egypt: Unearthed."
Mali wanted to help, so we let him smash the berries.
But something tells me that we had more berries than this. The blue stains on his lips gave me a hint.
Well, I asked him not to eat anymore and still thought we would have enough berry juice to make the ink. I left it on the stove to continue dripping and planned to finish it after lunch. Well, my efficient husband thought that someone had berries and didn't clean up their mess, so he took care of it. Sweet guy, isn't he? =)
I was going to have the boys write their name in hieroglyphs on the papyrus with berry ink and then place it in the My Name envelope on the page seen below.
I just had them use regular ink. =) In fact, we learned later that ink was also made from charcoal, so black ink worked just fine. (The minit books are from Homeschool Share).
Next we did some Mummy Science. This is a project that we did with Sonlight Core 1, our first year of homeschooling. But, that was four years ago, and the boys wanted to do it again.
Did you know that Joseph in the Bible was embalmed using the Egyptian mummification process?
While we were waiting for our apples to mummify, we explored Tapestry of Grace's Go to Egypt sample. I was inspired by a question on one of their evaluation quizzes and made this notebooking page.
It says: Egypt has been called "The Gift of the Nile." Draw and describe how the Nile shaped Egyptian farming, trade and leisure.

Just as I was ready to wrap this unit up, I downloaded the Olde World Style Maps and Notebooking pages from Homeschool in the Woods (for review) and I printed a map for the boys to include in their notebook and also a notebooking page on daily life. The topics of daily life that they wrote about include: houses, food, clothing, work, education, leisure, faith and holidays.
Our next study will be on Ancient Israel and this will be a long one. We will continue with our reading and Stick Figuring through the Bible and our study of Ancient Israel will take us all the way though the rest of the Old Testament. We are currently on the book of Exodus. My plan is to study Ancient Israel concurrently with other ancient civilizations, in the following order:
  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome