I just love a new year. There is something so hopeful and motivating about a new beginning with new possibilities. This week we dove into our first week of term two of our school year. It was a good week. Actually, it was a great week! I want to be honest about that because I know at some point this term I will have a really bad week and need to be reminded of what a great week in our homeschool can be like.
The kids seemed to share my excitement in having new songs to learn, new memory work to dig into, a new Shakespeare story to start, a new nature study topic. Our five day schedule seems to be working pretty well. I feel like it took all of term one just to get a feel for what topics to cover on which days. There was a lot of trial and error last fall. But now we’ve settled into a predictable enough routine that I am not being met with resistance on a daily basis. The girls know what’s coming when and apply themselves without complaining…so far, anyway.
Group time is something we’ve always done, but this term I am trying to make sure we start our mornings with our “together” subjects. It’s a difficult thing to do because there are always morning stragglers who dilly dally their way through their morning routine and chores. The others, who are ready and eager to jump into their independent checklists, don’t like to be called back from their independent work when it’s time to start Group Time. For these reasons, our mornings have started a little later, but I find the rest of the day goes so much better when we do our group stuff first.
With a new term comes a new nature study topic. We are following the AO rotation for nature study so that means we are covering “Brook, River, Ocean.” We started our new nature study topic this week by talking about why the oceans don’t freeze over. The girls were tickled with an experiment I had them do. We put half a cup of water in one bowl. We put half a cup of water and one teaspoon of salt in a second bowl. After putting both bowls in the freezer, we checked on them every ten minutes for about an hour, recording our results each time in our nature journals. It was such a simple experiment, but it really was amazing to see how much more slowly the salt water solution froze. It just sort of got slushy. The plain water bowl froze much more quickly. The second time we checked on them, it was already forming a thin layer of ice on top. But salt only lowers the freezing point of water by a couple of degrees, so here are the four reasons we learned why the oceans don’t freeze:
- It’s salty, and the salt “gets in the way” of the water molecules tightly packing together to form a solid (ie. freezing).
- It moves! The tides and currents keep the water of the oceans in constant motion.
- It’s big! What is going to freeze first – a big bucket of water or a teaspoon of water?
- The earth’s internal heat.
I’m not too sure how many trips to a brook or river there will be this winter, but we should be able to visit the ocean a few times. We took a trip to the beach today, in fact. It was cold. It was beautiful. It was loud. Boo thought the waves seemed so angry. The girls ran and ran. They picked up pieces of charred driftwood, sand stones with holes all the way through them, and jagged white shells that looked a milky green on the inside. We followed bird tracks in the sand and had fun making our own tracks in spots where ripples of white snow and brown sand had beautifully woven together. We only stayed a few minutes but promised to come back later in the winter to see how much more ice there will be.
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