Sunday, April 16, 2017

Brains, Cyclones, Communism and Easter!

Wowzah! lots has happened since I wrote last! The main reason I didn't write last week was because our power was out because of a CYCLONE!!!

Life school at it's most intense folks.

We learned all about hot air rising and creating a vacuum for cold air, and the 1-5 scale of magnitude of cyclones, and how they name cyclones (in the Australian tropical zone, it's called a cyclone, not a hurricane----same thing though.) What cyclones were the worst in recorded history and on and on.


It turned out that ours was named "Cook" and didn't go directly over us, and was only a 2 when it went by. The only thing that happened was a small palm tree falling over in our back yard.


Maxwell said he was scared but mostly excited, and Daniel was disappointed it wasn't worse, but I was just glad it was mild. The hail storm in Cardston was way worse than this!

HOLY CAMOLY!!! I JUST *NOW* FELT AN EARTHQUAKE!!!! I'm dead serious!!!  I started feeling my couch rock and I thought "Everyone's in bed. Why is my couch rocking?" and then my blood ran cold as I imagined that some animal must be inside my house rocking my couch.

And then I looked up and realized my WHOLE WORLD was rocking! And then I thought "should I go for cover, should I wake up my family?" and I then heard debris falling on/off my roof.

But then it stopped, and me being in an ocean-front property inwardly screamed:

TSUNAMI!

But then rationalized that it was a very gentle rocking and went on the Vanuatu Tsunami warning site that took so long to load that I would have drowned by the time they said anything.

So I'm guessing all's clear. First earthquake of my life!


WOW! nothing's boring around here!

Umm yeah, more happens then just natural disasters though. I put together this!:


Everyone was late, but some people DID come! I'm quite shocked that more people don't homeschool here though. There's quite a big population of "expats" here, but they send their kids to private school instead.

I've realized that I'm very fortunate to have next door neighbors that homeschool.

I've decided to make this picnic thing a monthly thing and hopefully get together with the families I did meet individually now that Easter's over.


Anyway, it's awesome that I have homeschool neighbors, because they do science with us and their dad brought us a BRAIN!!!!



(and you thought I just made up a weird post title....)

We learned about the nervous system. We checked our reflexes and tested our learning abilities, and we DISSECTED A PIG"S BRAIN!




My nephew (8 yrs old) had at one time wanted to be a doctor like his dad, but is now reconsidering if he has to dissect stuff....uh....homeschool fail? 

It was awesome for most of us, but I did have a brain lapse (get it?) when I cut open the brain because I couldn't remember all the parts and functions.  Whatever, I did remember a bit, I just wish someone could have taught ME that lesson! I'm too hard on myself. I was able to teach them a lot.

And yet again, the dog creepily loved eating the end result.

One of the VERY FEW books I was able to bring here was about the brain, and Maxwell's been reading it to Abraham (2) as a bedtime story! CUTE



By the way, Daniel has been asking and commenting such scientific thoughts lately! He's always taking things we've learned this year and applying it to real life "I was looking at all the green grass so long, my green color cones in my eyes turned off, and when I looked up, everything was red!"

Or asking further questions "How does electricity get to your brain?

Anyway, he's pretty cute.


As for history, we are continuing on our Cold War unit.

We learned about the infamous Mao. My stomach turns when I learn about what he did. We made mandalas in honour of the Dalai Lama and his exile by Mao and communism.






They were all quite proud. They were also all proud of the submarines that they made while we were learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis.







We talked about Che Guevara as part of it. His influence is even felt here. Good intentions. Bad results.

We also watched "Night Crossing" about East Germans who flew over to freedom in a hot air balloon they made.



We talked about the Korean war and how it's on the news TODAY that North Korea has never left the Cold War.

But then we talked about fear and what that can do to people, and talked about Mccarthyism.

We played a game where one person got the red card, but only black cards would get candy, and I accused someone, and told them they would get candy if they would accuse someone else and then I accused that person unless they blamed someone else etc  until I told them they were all in cahoots and NO one got candy! Until I said, just kidding, here's to Freedom of speech! and passed out the candy!



Our Cold war unit is not done. Too much to talk about.

We also have been having awesome cultural experiences. We have been having palm leaf weaving lessons from Matilda. We've learned balls, and purses and mats! (I can only make balls without her help, but I'm determined to learn how to make fans when she gets back from Easter vacation.)





Also cool living things all around us!





 See the chicken? A gift from a village that we visited. They meant us to eat him, but our boys LOVE him. They put him on a leash and take him EVERYWHERE they go and feed him and pet him and talk and console with him...yeah....we can't eat him.


See Maxwell reading with the chicken? He's towards the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He tells me all the differences between the books and the movies, and how it relates to the gospel. So amazing!

But there are still dyslexic moments:  Me "Oh, yeah, I remember that happening to Lucy." Maxwell "but her name's not Lucy in the books. It's 'Lucky.'" ---facepalm----you gotta laugh or cry, right? Hahahaha

Also, in his math, he has been learning "Pick's Theorem" which was created by Pick who was sent to the gas chambers by Hitler.

That's how he found out the estimated square km of Efate island (where we live) by doing this:


He was pretty close. The actual area is 899 km2.

The other boys have been doing math and English too. Hyrum and Daniel have been reading Aesop's Fables to me. Their tutor, Josh, got a little burnt out last week because of an ear infection and how difficult it is to teach a ADHD processing delayed and dyslexic boy.

We'll see what happens. I've felt burnt out since Friday when I got some news that has sent me into a spiral of depression. (News that is not about me, and is not mine to share.)

I thought it was fitting that it was Good Friday. for even though we have our fridays, we also have our Sunday mornings of Easters in our lives if we look to Him. Right?

So HAPPY EASTER!!!!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How Tall is a Banyan Tree?

We had a magical math moment here in Vanuatu. Yep. you heard that right.

Rightstart had Maxwell measure a structure to figure out how tall it is.  He used cross multiplication on similar triangles, using a mirror to make the two triangles.

Like this:

If you know two sides of triangle 2 and one side of triangle 1, you can find out the height.

We wanted to know how tall the "treehouse" (net and hammocks) was in our cousin's banyan tree. 

It's really high, here's a photo Dustin took from it:


My boys have yet to climb it all the way-and I'm happy about that!

We measured and got about 52 ft.



I asked Teyvin (my nephew) to go up and actually measure how far up it is. He got so excited that THIS was math, that he figured out his OWN mathematical equations to find out how tall it was. 

I think he found the angle, the distance from the tree, and figured out how much distance was covered while going up the hypotenuse at that angle. Something like that. Anyway, he got about 54 ft.

And the real answer was around 53 ft! (I can't remember it perfectly, but yeah, we were close) and the boys were excited!

We had another amazing experience with a tree on our land. We started our Cold War unit, and as part of that, we celebrated the Candy Bomber!!! 

One of my all time favourite stories from history (and that's before I realized he was Mormon) is the pilot who rained chocolate down on the kids in West Berlin during the airlift. 

We reenacted that this week when Dustin climbed a tree and sent down candy on all the children. There were a lot of kids on our land that day because we had hired a village to come work on our house, and they brought their kids with them.


It was a lot more magical than this shaky video I did.

We also began getting our 72 hour kit together in honour of the cold war.

And before the cold war we learned about Israel becoming a jewish nation.

I never learned about that in school that I can remember, but it is SOOO important in politics!!!  We made flags:


And William made his Star of David have a rocket ship, 'cause, you know, all flags need rocket ships.


And we started our started our science class!!!

Wait for it.....EYES!!


We dissected COW EYES!!!! It was sooooo cool! This isn't my photo. We were so entranced in eyes we forgot to take a photo.  I got ELEVEN eyes from the butchers, and they were all fresh and awesome. Lenses, cornea, Iris, all there. But we didn't have sharp enough anything for dissection. Eyes are tougher than you think.

Our neighbors came. They homeschool too!! They're from Australia, and you can tell homeschooling is a bit daunting for the mom but they felt like it was the best/only choice for their Vanuatu adventure.

The only creepy thing about the eyes was how excited the dog was to eat the eyes afterward. Eeeewww. It made me think of that movie "Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." where the evil people eat everyone's eyes. I saw half of that on the plane. Creepy!!!

As far as English goes, my Nephew Josh has started tutoring Hyrum and Daniel (who also read to me.) and that seems to be going well. I sure love Josh, and he loves my kids.


And for Maxwell, he's started reading NARNIA BOOKS!!! I have purposefully never read Narnia or Harry Potter to my kids, because I wanted them to discover those two series on their own. There's something magical and intimate about just you and a book.

An audio book doesn't count. 

But I was so worried for so long that dyslexia would get in the way of them reading series of books on their own. But NOPE! Maxwell is ready. He's been gobbling up any book he can, and our neighbors (the ones who homeschool) have the series and offered to lend them to us. He's already 1/2 way done with Lion Witch and Wardrobe after one day.


At first Maxwell said he wanted to start with Silver Chair because he's seen the first three books in movies, but I told him there's more in the book, so he started with the Wardrobe, and when I asked him today which he liked better: the movie or the book, he said "Oh the book for sure."

Dyslexia WIN!!!!

And of course we've had some awesome island adventures. My nephews found this awesome creature. WILD. How cool is that?


And we have a house girl, Matilda (who is AWESOME) and her husband (who is working on building our house next door) climbed our tree, got a coconut, got a sharp stick, and got all the coconut flesh out and then Matilda showed Maxwell how to "milk" it and then made that into a yummy topping to go on a yam type thing for us. 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

VANUATU

I'll be honest: Not a huge amount of purposeful homeschool has happened this month. But REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE? Oh you bet baby!!!

We learned all about:

Airport travel (my kids did awesome!)


Oceanography:

Flower Botany:

Fresh water springs:


Poisonous creatures, and how to treat them. Abraham and Daniel stepped on sea urchins, and we swam with a venomous sea snake (a docile breed) and we've seen venomous centipedes and stonefish.

What "rainy season" truly means.

Snorkeling lessons:

and Entomology. Lots and lots of Entomology.

We have also found out how to start BUILDING A HOUSE!

This house will not be our primary residence, but it will be our beach house.

Also, we have had a lot of cultural experiences! (Obviously) We are in the minority ethnic race here, and even if you are white, you are most likely an Australian or french.

We go to church, and it's all in Bislama. Our boys have learned a few words, and are so proud, but the cutest is when Abraham says "tanku tumas" which is "thank you too much."

We've hired a house girl, and she assures us that she will teach my kids bislama. Haha.


Even with all these awesome social studies hands-on fantasticness, we did get a chance to finally end our WWII unit by talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We made lanterns and set them into calm ocean waters to remember those who had died and suffered from those two explosions.


As for Math? Well yes, we did do some:

Daniel can now do long subtraction


And the book had him take his "midyear test" even though we are more than 2/3s of the way through the book.



Hyrum can now do long multiplication by double digits, but it was not easy. He dragged his feet, but he gets it.


And this was pretty awesome of him: we play this game of "guess my rule" and he nailed really tricky rules fast and easily:


Also, I'm not sure I've said this, but he understands how to square a number and what "square root" means.

Maxwell's math has finally moved beyond tessellations. THANK GOODNESS! That was a long unit. He liked it, though. Now he's studying exponents and things.


And English? Well, not as much has been done.

Maxwell was on a reading frenzy before we left, but I couldn't take very many books with me (whimper whimper sniff sniff) but he did read "Babe" and a couple of other books.

I'm really going to start focusing on his writing.

Hyrum and Daniel have been reading to me from a Barton "chapter books." My nephew will start tutoring them tomorrow. (Did I mention how it became to much of a source of anxiety to teach my lovely boys so I've been delegating?)

So yeah, we are in VANUATU! And we will be for the rest of the school year. Crazy ride.