Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 11: Last Week of South America

We wrapped up our study of South America this week and here are some of the highlights:

Egg Experiment

We spent some time learning about all some of the amazing birds that live in South America. Then we took a look at eggs with this fun experiment. We cracked the small end of 4 eggs and evened up the remaining eggshells to make them the same height. Then we placed them on the table spread out in a rectangle and slowly added books on top of them one at a time to see how much weight they could hold.

Our eggshells held 13 pounds of books before collapsing under the weight of one more book. Then Lindsey examined the crushed eggshells that remained. They were smashed. Question: how could something as fragile as eggshells hold so much weight? Answer: their arched dome shape provides strength. An arch is one of the strongest shapes in architecture.


We examined some real feathers and pulled the barbs apart and zipped them back together again. Then we traced one of our feathers onto two colors of construction paper and cut them out. We used orange and blue. We coated the orange feather with olive oil and left the blue one uncoated. We put both paper feathers on a plate and Lindsey sprinkled water on them.

The blue feather absorbed the water, but the water beaded up on the orange feather and didn't soak through. We let them sit for a few minutes and checked them again. The water had soaked in spreading on the blue feather. On the orange feather the water was still beaded up. This was a good demonstration of how oil protects a bird's feathers making them waterproof.

Nate Saint

I must admit that our book got misplaced so we didn't end up reading it. Naughty teacher mommy! We did still learn about Nate Saint. We read the reading found in the teacher's manual and discussed it. Then we assembled the MAF plane from the student sheets. It turned out pretty good and we flew it across the living room a few times to test it out.

Lindsey also read Bruchko, not an easy book.

Oil Pastel Toucans

For our final South American art project, we used oil pastels to draw toucans. We researched toucans online and looked at several photos of them. I didn't realize there are so many different types of toucans!

Next we lightly sketched our toucans with pencil. We selected our colors and filled in the main areas of the bird. We added a simple background. Then we added details and outlines. Last but not least we completed the composition by adding a few rain forest plants. What do you think of our finished artwork?


We made these yummy soft chocolate treats as our recipe for Brazil. They were a bit messy, but worth it. Make sure to keep your hands buttered when rolling them into balls.

Traditionally they are rolled in chocolate sprinkles. When we ran out of sprinkles, we improvised and used confectioner sugar for the rest. Both tasted good!

Hope you enjoyed our South American adventures! We'd love to hear your comments below. Stop back next week as we begin studying Europe starting with Norway.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flat Lindsey Visits Honduras

Flat Lindsey was mailed to Lindsey's former kindergarten teacher and her family in Honduras. They are missionaries to El Progreso, Honduras and Hope Children's Home Honduras/Esperanza de Honduras. You can follow their blog at

Flat Lindsey arrived in the number one most dangerous city in all of the world to visit Mrs. Coats, her family, and Esperanza de Honduras. Mrs. Coats writes, "We are in need of prayer for protection everyday as we try to protect children as well as share the gospel with the people of Honduras." Please pray for them. 

Flat Lindsey was able to see many crops that grow in Honduras....such as bananas, coconuts, papaya, mango, leche fruit, African palms, plantains, and oranges, and almonds. They also produce a ton of cashews as well.

Flat Lindsey found a banana tree and wanted a snack :)

Flat Lindsey spent her time in the children's home which houses 13 Honduran children 2 of which are twin boys aged 15 months old.

Please pray that God will send supporters and donors as they try and care for these children and receive no government aids or assistance. They are 100% funded by individuals and churches.

If anyone would like to sponsor a child or learn more they can email 

Flat Lindsey brought home some candy and a mango drink mix that is a favorite of her new friends in Honduras for Lindsey to try.

They also sent a Lempira (their money) back with Flat Lindsey. It takes almost 20 Lempira to make $1.

Flat Lindsey enjoyed her visit to Honduras. Thank you Mrs. Coats and family for hosting her!

Please pray for their family and the Hope Children's Home Honduras / Esperanza de Honduras. You can follow them on Facebook here:  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Week 10: Brazil & Rain Forests

We are continuing to learn about Brazil, South America, and tropical rain forests. Lindsey loves learning about all the unique animals who call the rain forest home.



We finished our study of feliforms in zoology with the cougar eats the deer experiment. We quickly ran out of paper deer! I wish more were included in the notebook. We cut squares of white paper to represent the extra deer we needed. Lindsey had fun throwing the cougar into the square we had marked off on our kitchen floor and seeing how many deer he would eat. By the end of the experiment though she was glad it was finally over - twenty generations took a long time. She did learn how the population of the deer must increase for the population of the cougars to increase. Then as the cougar population grew the deer started to decrease and then the cougars decreased too. I think she understands how they keep each other balanced. With twenty generations she was able to see the whole cycle.

To learn more about rain forests and the animals that live there we looked some up at San Diego Zoo and National Geographic Kids  At National Geographic Kids you can also search for info by country and there are some great games on their site. My daughter loves to play Animal Jam, she learned about birds of paradise while playing it this week. We also looked up the difference between anteaters and aardvarks.


After the first week of studying South America, Lindsey had memorized all the countries and the geography game became easy for her. In order to make the game more challenging I found some flag cards to add to the game. They only cost a dollar. They also included capitols for each country. I purchased the ones for North America too, and we'll add North America back to the game next week.

The cards are in a PDF file with several options. I used the ones that fold in half and used a glue stick to glue them after folding. The front of the card has the flag of the country. The back of the card has a small flag image next to the name of the country and lists the capitol. I used a colored pencil to color in the flag to match the continent color of the original game cards.

To start I showed her the flag card and gave her the name of the country and the capitol so she could get familiar with them. Next I showed her the flag and if she needed a hint I told her what letter the country (or capitol) started with. She is doing well learning the flags and capitols, and she loves to play the game.

Adding Flags to the Geography Game - these are the flag cards I bought -

Continent Box

I found a nice box on clearance at Michael's and decided to use it for a continent box. I added some animal and plant flashcards I found plus a few other things we had for South America. I plan to change the contents and use the same box for each continent.

South America Flash Cards for Animals & Plants -

Art Projects

We continued using "Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild About Rainforests" by Kathy Ross for our art projects this week. We love this book! Lindsey chose to make the Macaw and the Anteater this week.

We made the Macaw first. I helped her trace her hands on different colors of construction paper for the Macaw's wings and tail. She traced her shoe for the body. Then she glued them together with a glue stick and added feet, a beak, and eyes. When it was finished I ran some fishing line through some of the feathers on the back and hung it in our window.

For the Anteater, we used a paper grocery bag for his body. Lindsey drew him, then cut through two layers so the front and back would line up. We stapled him together then added the tongue complete with a velcro sticky dot for picking up felt ants. She drew the face and claws. The straw allows you to control his tongue and pick up the ants - very cute!


As I've mentioned before I love Jan Brett, this week we read The Umbrella. The illustrations are wonderful. I also printed bookmarks from her website to use during our study, and one for Lindsey to give our librarian who has been so helpful. You can find them here:  There are several other nice printables on her site too.

Lindsey is also reading Bruchko. She reads two chapters a night then narrates them to me. It's not her favorite book, but she likes it okay. Parts of it are pretty gross, but she is learning what some missionaries go through and how different some other cultures are. After she reads her two required chapters she gets to read for fun, this week she is reading Hunger Games.

We are suppose to be reading Nate Saint as well, but I can't find where our book disappeared to... At least next week I can read her the story from the teacher's manual. That will have to be enough for now.


We are using some worksheets on percents from Math Mammoth this week and Lindsey likes them a lot. She needed a break from Khan Academy. I'll see how she does with them, I may purchase more and add them to our curriculum for some more variety.

We have one more week studying South America... We'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment below and let us know about your homeschool adventures.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Week 9: South America

We arrived in South America this week in our studies. We are especially enjoying studying the rain forests. We also took a field trip to the North Carolina State Fair on Thursday. It's been an exciting week!


As part of our rain forest study, we made a terrarium. We used a plastic aquarium type box that we had previously used to study a baby turtle. I bought stones and moss from the dollar tree and we went in search of plants. Our Lowes didn't have much selection, but we did manage to find an African Violet & another unknown tropical plant on the distressed plants rack. Then we dug some two types of moss and a small fern from our back yard. It was the best we could do & turned out better than I expected.

While in the yard working on the terrarium, Lindsey spotted a green anole and made up her mind to catch it and add it to the terrarium :) It was neat observing him, especially when he would change colors. Lindsey went to check on her lizard friend before bed and couldn't find him. I thought "Oh, no! A lizard loose in the house?" I grabbed a flashlight and searched the box carefully. Whew... He was still there. He had dug under the moss and was all tucked in like it was a blanket. All we could see was his eye, he was very well camouflaged.

Our cat also liked to observe the lizard sunning himself on the plants during the day. On day three we heard a CRASH! The cat had knocked the terrarium off the table and it landed upside down on the floor. We took the terrarium outside to re-build it. At this point I was able to convince Lindsey that the green anole would be safer and happier living back outside in our yard, so we let him go free :) We re-created the terrarium without the lizard, and so far the cat is leaving it alone.

Beta Fish

It was a week for pets - Lindsey used some of her birthday money to buy a Beta Fish. She got a starter set with a small tank, water conditioner, an artificial plant, and fish food. She found a background image online and printed it out then taped it to the back of the tank.

Fruit Bat

Our librarian found us a great book called "Crafts for Kids Who Are Wild About Rainforests" by Kathy Ross. Lindsey selected the fruit bat for our first project and it seemed seasonally appropriate. 

The framework for the wings calls for a wire coat hanger and chenille stems. I was out of chenille stems, so we used black yarn to form the wing segments instead. 

After the frame is prepared, we stretched a leg of pantyhose over it and knotted both ends. We used the foot of a brown sock for the body and stuffed it with fiberfill. The eyes, nose, and ears are made using brown construction paper. We glued the eyes and nose in place and sewed the ears on so they would be at the top. Then Lindsey pinned the body to the wings using safety pins, and hung him from the kitchen light.

We also watched Wild Kratts: A Bat in the Brownies to learn more about bats. Wild Kratts have several episodes featuring other animals available. We watch them on Netflix and Hulu.

State Fair

On Thursday we took a field trip (not south america related, but still educational) to the NC State Fair. We enjoyed watching several craftsmen in the Village of Yesteryear. Lindsey painted a cat necklace. We visited the garden displays, the farm animals, the prize winning vegetables including giant pumpkins, and the art displays. There was a STEM bus where Lindsey spent some time learning about molecules, acids, & bases. We watched a blacksmith at work and toured a working mill (with hush-puppy samples of coarse). Lindsey rode a pony and learned how to milk a cow. We learned about agricultural products of North Carolina. We had some delicious pumpkin spice ice cream and bought some fudge to take home. After our adventures at the fair we had the chance to visit with some friends too. It was a fun day!  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Our Schedule for Apologia Zoology 3 and My Father's World ECC

By request I have created a document with the schedule we are using for Apologia Zoology 3 in conjunction with MFW ECC and you can find it on the sidebar or by clicking here: Zoology 3 / MFW ECC Schedule