Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jean 3:16

Jean 3:16 Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu'il a donné son Fils unique, afin que ceux qui croient toujours en lui ne périsse pas mais ait la vie éternelle.



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nature Journaling

In October we took the online Bravewriter "Nature Journaling" class and spent the month outside with our sketch pads and pencils.  We recently moved to a forest so our outside time was easily everyone's favourite part of our school day. 

Here is a sampling of some of the pages from Matt's Journal:

Don't you love the descriptive language?!!!
One day we went on a "Colour Walk" and Matt's colour was red.  This is the descriptive paragraphs that came out of the walk:
Apples are one of the things I know are red but trees and leaves take on the colour when they’re getting ready for fall.  Once in the fall, when we were going to the mall to shop, we saw bright red trees.  The red was a pink-red like strawberries and the leaves looked like they were on fire. I used to have a small maple in my backyard but I moved to a forest and now I have millions.  I liked my old maple tree because my dad planted it for me when I was a baby.  
Maple trees can be red but cedar trees can also be red under the bark.  I know this because I’ve peeled off some of the bark from a cedar tree before.  When you peel back the dark brown (like a brownie) bark you see another really thin layer of bark that is the colour of red clay. Once I was running through my forest in a game of chase when I tripped over a cedar root and fell down with a crash.  In the split second before I got up and ran again, I saw the thick line of red on the exposed root.  
Cedar trees feel rough like sandpaper or sand on the seashore but maple trees are smooth like silk fabric.  Also, cedar trees have needles instead of leaves.  I like all trees but you can probably tell that maples are my favourite!  I feel happy when I see maple trees outside my window because I have different kinds of maples – one is a red one and one is a green one in the fall. 
Here is a sampling of pages from Bekah's Journal (she loves words!):

Bekah wrote this after examining the similarities and differences between leaves from the same species:
Hello, I’m here to talk to you about a fascinating recent discovery - even if two things are from the same species (plant, animal, or even human), they don’t necessarily have to look the same. For instance, when I picked up two maple leaves in my backyard, upon first inspection, they were basically the same: both were from a maple tree and both had three main sections. Upon further inspection, however, they were different sizes  - one  the size of a dinner plate and the other  a dessert plate. They were also different colors - one a lime-green with a bit of something else and the other a Dijon-mustardy color with spots like wet cedar bark. Furthermore, one leaf had unusual markings -  little poppy seed-like dots left by some crawling critter and two holes made by a hungry herbivore. The stems were both a purple-red with a bit of yellow and  dotted with swollen nodes.  Although looking closer, they were also different - one stem was shorter than the other, with more yellow and even  a bit of white!
So you see, even if something is from the same species, it will not necessarily look the same as another in that species.


Our kids (along with the Giesbrecht family) performed at Sunridge Gardens today and did a fabulous job.  The residents were thrilled with their performance and enjoyed chatting with the kids afterwards.
What a confident and talented young man!  Sarah is pretty cute too.
 Bekah is the one on the left during the duet.


This fall we're back skating at the Surrey Sports and Leisure Center.  Bekah is our figure skater and is now in the highest level!
Sarah is now learning to skate "upright" (instead of bent over holding onto a chair!) and we're thrilled that Matthew (level 3) has learned how to stop so he doesn't need to wear a face mask anymore!


We started talking about the circulatory system and created edible models of the heart ("blue" icing depicts deoxygenated blood and "red" icing depicts oxygenated blood).  The crackers each represent one of the four chambers (top are the atria and bottom are the ventricles) and the marshmallows represent (crudely!) the blood vessels.  Up next?  Dissecting a cow's heart!
Of course we also played with our models and then ate them!

Lest We Forget - The War of 1812

The Defenders

During the month of November we've been doing a unit study on the War of 1812.  I'm embarrased to admit that previously I had no idea what this war was about or why it might be important.  We've been reading a number of books (including the ones shown here) and have been fascinated by the many Canadian heros (General Brock, Tecumseh, Laura Secord to name just a few) who played significant roles in the battles spanning the three years during which the war between the Americans and Canada (Britian) took place. While there was no clear winner after the war was over it is clear that it was the first significant time during which British, French and First Nations united together as "Canadians" to battle someone other than themselves.

Acts of Courage                           What Caused the War of 1812?

The kids are still working on their written reports but they've also been busy recreating the battles (this battle scene directed and photographed by Matthew) and creating a floor map to depict the numerous battles ("red" sticks denote British/Canadian victory sites & "blue" sticks denote American victory sites).

Monday, 12 November 2012


Here we are making edible cells as part of our unit study on the human body.  We got a bit carried away with the candy, however, and ended up with a bit of a mess.  We are thankful God does a better job with our cells than we do!
Here Bekah and Dane are having fun "teaching" everyone about the different components of a human cell.

Salmon Forest

The past couple of weeks we've had the incredible privilege of watching the salmon in the stream on our property.  Today while we were out there wasn't much action compared to the past few days so the salmon must be getting close to finishing their journey upstream.
Before heading out today we read the beautiful book "Salmon Forest" by David Suzuki.  It is the story of the food chain that salmon play a role in.  The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and the book is worth reading just for the paintings!  This picture of the bear also hits close to home right now as we went out today to find our garbage strewn all over the forest floor.  As our littlest, Sarah, remarked, "The bear is coming to the stream for the salmon and got interested in our garbage!"

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Digestive System

Yesterday we had fun finding objects around the house to create a model of our digestive system.  Starting at the top of the picture we have the mouth (The bandanna that is supposed to be in the shape of a mouth.  We tried to find Levi's fake teeth but they were missing in action!  Thankfully his real teeth were intact and in place.) and saliva (spray bottle).  Connected to the mouth is the esophagus (wind tube) that leads to the stomach (striped bag) which then attaches to the small intestine (extension cord expertly twisted up by Dane!) and then finally the large intestine (black belt).  Matt didn't want to include the "unmentionable" at the end of the large intestine.  Not exactly the most orthodox model but the kids can all explain where food goes after you swallow it. 
After exploring what the digestive system looks like we did an experiment to see how vinegar (hydrochloric acid) speeds up the digestive process.  Dane set everyone up with eye protection and then we were off (the blurry parts of the picture are when the container was being violently shaken).

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Fun Moments

Today, in the midst of the usual flurry of activity, we had some fun. Matt made an art project out of his otherwise boring spelling review and Bekah played a fraction game (the person with the most tiles at the end won).

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

From Sea to Sea

Last week we were finishing up our discussion on the War of 1812 during SS co-op and Levi challenged the group to see if anyone knew what Canada's motto was.  No one did and so this led to an intense, impromptu game of Hangman.  Fortunately, the man was saved but it was a close call (Dane suggested that we really should have been using all 206 bones in the body so that we would have been "totally" covered!).


Using simple ingredients (onion, dish soap, salt and rubbing alcohol) we were able to see an onion's DNA (the white, stringy stuff in the picture).  Cool!


Our challenge: to open and shut our fists as many times as possible in one minute.  We got pretty tired!
Did you know it takes 34 muscles to frown (really frown)
but only 13 muscles to smile?!!!
Some easy visual cues to remember the three types of muscle: cardiac (heart), skeletal (bone) and smooth (like the paper).


As part of our science unit on the human body we played with some chicken bones (trying to break one in half).
Then we spent some time creating "Mr Bony Bones".  He didn't have 206 bones like we do but he looked pretty good by the end.
We also split into teams and labelled our "models" with the names of most of the major bones in our body.  They were very patient with all of the stickiness!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Romeo & Juliet

Matthew is enjoying reading Usborne's "Romeo & Juliet".  The dialogue provides ample opportunities for him to practice reading with expression (I usually hear the dialogue twice - first in a normal tone and then a second time with exaggerated expression!).


Matt was inspired to make me a new egg beater when our old one bit the dust the other day!
Bekah had some special time sewing with her Nana recently (Sarah was great with the pins).
She ended up with a fabulous cape - a terrific costume for imaginative adventures & journeys
(and also a warm, cozy friend on a cold day).

All About Me

We've been working on an "All About Me" project where the kids brainstormed a bunch of words to describe their physical appearances, personalities, abilities, aspirations and hobbies.  They then choose how to "print" out their favourite words and glue them onto a cut-out tracing of themselves.
Matt decided to place his words on the part of his body that was most applicable (i.e. playing soccer with his legs).  I love the pose!
Sarah loves bacon so she decided to print it right by her belly button
(where she figures her stomach is).
I love Bekah's choice to use the word "sparkly" -
fits her to a "T".

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things we were thankful for this past weekend:
Good food, our cozy little cabin and family :-)
New, special friends.
Sunny weather and our tree fort.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First Day Back to School

We had a delightful start to our school year today.  I handed out index cards to the kids and asked them to write a word on each one (it could be any word they wanted).  We then combined all of our words (making only a few additions) to create silly, short ditties.  These ones are:

Maple tree
Amazing pop of silver
No lack of sophisticated sap

Deer appear anonymously
Whacking the sack on the little bee's back
While on the awesome apple automobile

Bekah was amazed that she can remember the 8 times tables during multiplication memory!

Apple tree flowers
Leaf leaves purple pile
Jumping higher than the
for fun
at school

Matt & Sarah enjoying a game of "Go Fish".

Matt was amazing today at helping Sarah with her work (here he is helping her print out her words on the index cards). 
We also took some time this morning to start reading aloud some exciting new books (along with 1 Samuel in the bible).

Taking a break to play with our new kitties.

Ending our day with Poetry Teatime
(complete with poetry books, lemonade, and a stack of cinnamon toast).