2016 Aquarium Science Classes

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This is our fourth year attending science classes at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg. It’s a bit shocking for me to write that, but it’s true. Four years already? At first, it was only my son and I going there. My mom was living with us at the time and she kept my daughter, age three at the time.

Boy and girl at Ripley's Aquarium

Before the class, they look at the fish.

The following year, they each attended their own class, but soon the Preschool class was canceled and my daughter joined my son in the K-2 class. Last year, they were perfectly matched to the K-2 class, as my son was in second grade and my daughter in Kindergarten. Continue reading »

This year, we had to make a decision: do we put them in K-2 or 3-5? The curriculum is different from last year. They change teachers and curriculum every year at Ripley’s, so that was not the issue. The issue was, should we challenge the little one or bore the older one?

Boy and girl touch jelly fish at Ripley's Aquarium

Touching the jelly fish

We decided to challenge our daughter, who is in first grade this year, and allow our son to study on his grade level. So they are both in the class for Grades 3-5.

They have already had one class (September). The new teacher did a great job and the kids had no problem following the presentation, answering questions, participating in class, and performing the experiment.

Children performing an experiement

Experiment after the lecture

They learned about different science disciplines and the scientific method. It’s a great beginning and we look forward to the rest of the year. My son has been scoring very high in science in his nationally standardized test every year so we must be doing something right in our homeschool. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.


Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 35

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Chapter 35 dealt with the Renaissance – another dear topic to my heart. I liked how Ms. Bauer explained the new way of thinking and the scientific method. Observation is at the heart of this new way of thinking and one of my children in particular, who loves science, really tuned in for these concepts.

Paper Maker Coloring Page

The printing press is the most influential innovation in the history of humanity.

Narration went well and so did the questions. Sharing the markers for coloring – not so much. Sibling rivalry takes on new heights in the afternoon, when they are tired and have had a full day. This week they attend Soccer Camp in the morning. Then, today, it just so happened they had their weekly violin lesson via Skype.  Continue reading »

Even though I allowed them plenty of free time between these two activities, they still came to the history lesson with an attitude lacking gratitude. I have learned to just bow my head and hold my tongue when they start arguing. Sometimes I pray, other times I just desperately hold my tongue and think of better times, when they declare their love and devotion for each other. I visualize them getting along.

Today I told them, with a kind and earnest tone, that Jesus still loves them and that He would not behave like this. It did not change anything. After another round of the same, I felt inspired to tell them that the angels Jesus sent to our house to guard us and to keep us from harm are weeping. The angels know these two kids love each other, but right now it looks like they hate each other. So the angels are sad and they are crying.

One of the children did not want to show emotions, but another one actually bowed the head and you could tell they were visibly touched by the picture of the crying angels. This child ended up standing up from the table and walking away. I asked what they were doing. They replied, “I’m going to my room.”

They needed some time to think things over. I allowed it and paused the reading until they came back. I did not hear another bickering tone after that from this child. The other one kept on and on, but this time there was no fighting back from the other one, so it died down. I’m sharing this so you know it’s not always easy to go through these history lessons and I am teaching real kids, who get in each other’s face at times.

The printing press is one of my favorite subjects in the development of human civilization and Gutenberg gets a special mention here, in this chapter.