Tag Archives: homeschooling

Calibrating a Thermometer

Apologia Chemistry  – What’s happening at my co-op.

Did you know that most thermometers are not accurate?  I had no idea.

In Module 2 we learned the boiling point of water measured in Fahrenheit is 212 degrees.  In Celsius it is 100 degrees.  The freezing point of water measured in Fahrenheit is 32 degrees, while in Celsius it is zero degrees.

This may not be a surprise to any of you and it certainly isn’t a surprise to me.  However; I have always had to ask someone what is the boiling point of water in Fahrenheit or Celsius, because I forget…until now.  It clicked.  I remember it.  I’m like Dorie in Finding Nemo.

Fahrenheit 212 boiling.  Fahrenheit 32 freezing.
Celsius 100 boiling.  Celsius 0 freezing.
Hey, I remembered.  Want me to say it again?  Ok…..

Please tell me that is something to be proud of.

Back to class!

Each student is given a thermometer (Celsius) they will be working with throughout the year.  To accurately calibrate the thermometers we have to find where the measurement stops at freezing.

We used crushed ice and cold water.  After a set amount of time, they take the temp.  If it is below zero, they are to add whatever to get to zero.  If it was above zero they are to subtract whatever to get to zero.  Any time the students use their thermometer they have to make adjustments on every measurement.


You know, I don’t think the kids can get more excited.

Once the thermometer is calibrated, we set the beaker on a hot burner to start warming up the water.  They were to take the temp. every minute and hopefully get to boiling.


Four students heated their waters, while one recorded their mesurement.  Since I could do this experiment at home, my daughter was the one to do the recording.


Keep on stirring.  We never made it to boiling.  Hot plates and alcohol burners are not chemistry experiment friendly.  ug…..


The students made a graph of the temperature to time.  What it should show, and it does here, is that the freezing point remains the same for a short time and then rises.  What it should also show, but doesn’t because we couldn’t get it to boil, is once it hits boiling at 100 C, the temp remains the same as long as it is a rolling boil.


Once home, the daughter and I performed the same experiment.  We put the beaker right on the burner.  Oh, you noticed I have a beaker in my home.  Are you asking if I have Chemistry equipment in my home?  Why yes.  Yes, I do. I’ll post about all the Chemistry goodies I have later.


When it is at a rolling boil, can’t be stirred down, the temp should read 100 degrees C.   My daughter’s thermometer calibrated at -1.  That means she has to add 1 to all of her measurements with this thermometer.

As you can see here, the temp stopped at 99 degrees.  Adding 1 makes it 100, where it should be.


That, people, is calibrating a thermometer. 🙂

Our 2012/2013 Homeschool Curriculum

The Violinist has now officially entered High School.  I just hope that I have this all figured out, now that Matthew has graduated.  It isn’t easy getting all the correct credits,  “i”s dotted and the “t”s crossed,  the transcripts, and the volunteers hours done to get them out the High School door.

Sometimes it was a revolving door.  I push him out the door thinking he is done, but that revolving door just shoots him back in for something else that needs to be done.  Ug.  We are still working on the Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship.  Thankfully he is no longer recognized as a felon and we are now waiting on Bright Futures to find his SAT scores.

I told him the reason he was a felon was because of his hair.

Turns out that he agreed he was a felon on his application.  It is worded as “I am a convicted felon….” instead of “I am not a convicted felon…” .  Matthew just skimmed over the statement and agreed.

Ok, back to our curriculum.

The Violinist – ninth grade

  • Government/Economics – by Notgrass
  • Saxon Algebra I
  • Apologia Biology – she is NOT looking forward to this class.  I’ll have at least three girls in my class who will be like “I ain’t touching that”.
  • English I – American literature
  • Total Health
  • Violin/Youth Orchestra
  • Drivers Ed
  • Latin (LOL, I say this every year, but we don’t do it)

Pea Number 1 – seventh grade

  • America the Beautiful by Notgrass
  • Saxon Alegbra 1/2
  • Apologia General Science
  • English Literature mostly writing
  • Spelling and grammar of some kind
  • Art
  • Latin (see above)

The Pea Number Two – sixth grade

  • American the Beautiful by Notgrass
  • Saxon 7/6 Math
  • Apologia General Science
  • Abeka English, includes literature, spelling, and grammar
  • Spanish, if we get the Rosetta Stone working on the computer
  • Latin (see above)

As you can see, The Peas have a couple of classes together.  I am beyond excited about this.  Two of their toughest classes are together, which means I can sit them down TOGETHER, and teach them TOGETHER.  Last year my biggest problem was bouncing between the two peas.  Each needing my constant attention.  So happy about our TOGETHERNESS!

What’s on your curriculum list?



Kingdom: Fungi, Phylum: Basidiomycota

We just finished Module 4 in Exploring Creation with Biology.   For this module the students were to take a long walk and collect various mushrooms.  Since it rained heavily the night before class time, we ended up with very little specimens.

I like to participate in the labs, so I went out walking in the rain with my daughter.  We found a bunch of beautiful specimens and one of them was a huge cluster of orange mushrooms.  I carefully placed the specimens on a tray and left them in the garage.  The next morning, I found the big beautiful cluster of mushrooms in a nasty gooey mess, covered in worms.  It was gross!  I did not take a picture.  Things covered in little white worms will not be photographed at the Applie’s home.  I have my limits, you know.

The photo below is a collection of mushrooms I got on a different walk.  You can see that the shrooms are not fully opened.  The button is what comes up through the ground just before it fills with water and opens into the caps you see above the ground.


Here is what it looks like while still in the ground.

Just before the cap opens.

This mushrooms is part of a Fairy Ring.  It shows up in my neighbor’s yard a couple times a year, since 2007, and each time it does get bigger.  The rings are formed with the mycelium in the center has used all the food source in the soil and dies out.  The new hyphae spread out to obtain more nutirents.

We had trouble finding Basidiospores, which on the mushroom’s spores in the basidia. Click here to see some photos on-line.

You can also see photos of the ones I took during last year’s Biology class.

Now let’s get to a fun activity.  Make a mushroom print.

Find a large specimen, with the cap fully open.  Cut off the stipe and place the cap with the gills down on a colored construction paper.

Cover the cap with a bowl and let it sit for 24 hours.

The next day carefully take off the bowl.

A print of the gills.  Pretty cool!  This would a be great time to scrape some of this off and look at it under a microscope.  I would have done that, but I didn’t have my microscopes with me at the time.  😦    It’s too bad you can’t keep these.



The Peas are going for their end-of-year evaluations.

Done with school

I finished adding the last of the items to the books, late last night.   I always wonder at this time, do I have enough in there, have I shown enough work throughout the year, is their reading list long enough…       So far it has always been enough.  

This year, I am wondering a little more than usual.  This year, we have lost two composition books, one for Math and one for English, and two Explode the Code books.    Not for one child, but for BOTH

I am sure they will turn up after the evaluations are done. 

I’ll let The Peas look over their portfolios, so they’ll know what they have done this year. I don’t want them to get in there and say, “We didn’t do that this year” or “Oh Mom, must have done that herself” or “uh?”. These are my biggest fears when it comes to evaluations. This year, I bribed them.

I bribed them with something every young girl cannot resist. If they do this evaluations with a good attitude and answer all questions even if it is “I don’t know”, we are all going to Starbucks! Lord knows I need one.

This has been a good year.  Here are some of the highlights.

How to build a working barometer.

Last year during our 8th grade Physical Science class , the students build a sort-of fancy Barometer.  It didn’t work.  In fact, it just fell apart.

Here we are a year later and my two youngest daughters have been given a task to build a barometer.  Their teacher gave them the instructions to build it at home.   This is what they did.


  • A jug.  We used one that looks like moonshine came in it.
  • Balloon: free from our grocery store.
  • Rubber band:  All homeschooling moms have rubber bands.
  • Rubber Cement:  Leftover from last year’s experiment.
  • A straw
  • A small poster board
  • red marker

Step One:  Cut the neck off of the balloon.


Step two: Attach the balloon to the mouth of the jar and secure it with the rubber band.


Step three: Cut the tip of the straw at an angle, so that there is a sharp point.  To make this work, you must be able to do the facial expression as well.


Step four: Color the tip red. We don’t know why this is done, so just do it, ok?  Oh, the red on my daughter’s face is strawberries, not the marker.


Step five: Use the rubber cement to glue the straw to the balloon, with the point facing the wall.  Do not sniff the glue.


Step six: As the air pressure in the jug changes, the balloon will rise or fall, making the straw change its position. Mark a poster board with the days of the week and place a mark where the straw is pointing to on each day. The girls are marking each day twice, once in the morning and once in the evening, for two weeks.


Here is the result after just a few days.


If you need a barometer built, just ask a 2nd or 3rd grader to build one for you. You’ll have a greater success of it working. 😀



School is done. I am so glad! Last Saturday, I took the two youngest girls and their portfolios (above) to the evaluator. They did well and can move on to the next grade. 🙂 All of their work is now in a box, ready to be put in the attic.

My youngest daughter went to my MIL’s every Monday for school. She was too young to go to our co-op. So, while at the grandparent’s house, she made her own notebook. See it below.


On the front cover is a large picture of my daugther. Inside are map questions and worksheets, along with a section for gardening. Yep, she had her own little garden. 😀 You can see her gloves and the seed packets on the left side. There are some seeds still left in the packets, but we are not allowed to use them. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you.

A conversation with the grandmother.

Daughter, “Gammer, you can’t use these seeds.”

Grandmother, “ok. Are you going to plant them at home?”

Daugther, “No. Mama can’t use them either.”

Grandmother, “Why can’t you plant them?”

Daughter, “Because I don’t want anything yucky to grow.”


Now you know why these seed will forever stay in the notebook. 😆

The Battle Plan

For the FPEA Convention.

I refuse to go to venor workshops at the convention, just because they sound good.  When I go into a venor workshop (lecture), I’ll come out with the fact that  I HAVE TO BUY THAT and buy it.  Then after a few days, I come back to earth and realize that I didn’t want that.  I sniff a few pencils and get back to life.  This is what happens when you lack oxygen to the brain; therefore, you need a battle plan. 

I have picked just a few out of the many lectures to go to.


  • The Power of a Focused Mother  ( I so need this )
  • Evolution Doesn’t Work for Sea Creatures (this is a maybe)


  • Making that High School Plan
  • Building Character and Work Ethic in your Children (this is a maybe)

My shopping will be done between the lectures.  On my list I have:

  • Items to purchase (in vendor order, with their vendor location).
  • Items to price and possibly buy.
  • Items to browse and not buy (just for extra ideas for unitstudies).
  • Vendors, just to see what they have.  There is a “Drivers Ed in a Box” vendor and I just don’t get that, so I have to have a look-see.  😆

I will be taking my lunch both days, since the food there is expensive and not good.  

So now I have a plan and I won’t be going in there blind to buy everything I see.  🙂

Homeschool Conventions

This weekend Sir Husband and I will be going to the annual Homeschool Convention in Orlando.  There are two in our state, but we only attend the one in Orlando. 

There will be lots of wonderful lectures and lots and lots of wonderful books to look at and sniff.  Homeschoolers understand sniffing.  🙂    The amount of information and resources available at conventions may cause many homeschoolers to have hives and itch all over.  The lack of oxygen going to the brain, after you see the miles of vendors, may cause major stress.  To fight against these unwanted attacks, I suggest a few quiet evenings with chocolate and a plan before the convention.  Chocolate during and after the convention helps also.

To help you plan, Donna Young has come up with (Surviving) The Curriculum Fair.  She has forms for the Battle Plan and for Goals.  These forms will help you control those hives and ease your breathing so that your brain can absorb the much needed oxygen.  Unfortunately, there is no help with the sniffing.  It is just an uncontrollable reaction we homeschoolers have. 

I hope this bit of information will help you.  Next stop, my Battle Plan. 😀



End-of-Year Picnic

This is it, the last day of 2007/2008 school year. I am happy and sad at the same time. 😆

On the last Monday of the school year, our homeschool co-op throws a big picnic party.

There was lots of food.


Lots of little people.


Lots of fun and water.




Teen Lit Review – Book Give Away

Teen Lit Review is giving away a wonderful book titled, The House at the End of the Tracks, by Marc Elliott.  The winner will be announced sometime on May 12th.  Now go forth and enter the contest.  Click on the link above in this post or click on the cool button to the right.  Just remember you won’t win, because I am.  :mrgreen:

This is a good time to start making a summer reading list for your little people.  What’s on your list?

Here’s mine:

  • The House at the End of the Tracks (because I am going to win this book).
  • Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
  • Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff

WOW that’s a big list. That should last my daughter, oh-um, maybe 4 hours.  LOL   I need more ideas for a young man age 14, young girls 8 to 12. 😀  So send in your reading lists or better yet, write them on your blog and link to them in the comment sections.  Also go check out Teen Lit Review, they have lots of good ideas.  🙂

Below were suggested by Tressa. 🙂
Emily of New Moon Series by L.A. Montgomery
Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall