Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

High School Astronomy for Homeschoolers

Monday, October 7th, 2019

high-school-astronomy-homeschool

I have been researching high school astronomy for homeschoolers for quite a few years, and it wasn’t until this year that I found a curriculum that looked beautiful, was beefy but not too mathematical, and that was understandable. I finally found it! I ordered the majority of these from Master Books, but my dad already had several of the books and DVD’s. The large Hubble coffee table book we got from Costco.

Here is a list of books that we got:

  • The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky (includes planisphere inside back cover)
  • Survey of Astronomy: 9th -12th Grade Teacher Guide
  • Our Created Moon
  • Taking Back Astronomy

The four books listed above are all you need for a full year of high school astronomy. Besides the huge Hubble book, I’ve also added:

  • The New Astronomy Book
  • The Privileged Planet (DVD)
  • Our Created Moon (DVD)
  • The Heavens Declare (set of 3 DVD’s)
  • Binoculars, and hopefully a used telescope at some point

Unboxing High School Astronomy

To see the books up closer, take a look at this unboxing video, where I show you the beautiful photos and describe what I am doing for astronomy this year:

High School Field Trips for Astronomy

Just during the month of September, we have already gone on 5 astronomy field trips! The first one was an astronomy workshop at a local library, where the speaker presented many different astronomy activities that would be taking place in my area. I asked him where the nearest observatory was located, where the best place to see the Milky Way was, and when the next star party was scheduled.

nasa-space-suit

On a different day we went to a planetarium, where we leaned back and observed outer space from a domed ceiling. I’ve always love planetariums because it makes me feel like I’m an astronaut in outer space, just floating and looking at the nebulae and planets.

solar-flares

We looked through telescopes at the sun during the daytime, to try to find solar flares and sun spots. On the day that we were looking, there were no sun spots or solar flares, but it was still cool to look through the expensive equipment to see the sun without hurting our eyes. The Spokane Astronomical Society had a booth at a local festival, and they were getting the public interested in astronomy by having their telescopes set up.

sun-spots

At night we attended a star party, which was also hosted by the Spokane Astronomical Society. We were able to find basic constellations, the north star, and some planets. We actually got to see four of the moons of Jupiter, and a red stripe going across it! (I’ve never been able to see that in real life before, so it was definitely cool.) And we also saw the rings on Saturn!

nasa-space-stuff

Our family also attended another workshop at a different library, presented by a NASA representative. The workshop was entitled “Space Frontiers.” We saw a space suit, Shuttle EVA suit glove, small rocket steering thruster, Martian meteorite, and other artifacts. Joe Bruce was the speaker, and he had witnessed four space shuttle launches and the launch of Space X Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center. He described what it was like, from the perspective of someone who was there!

star-party

We have learned so much high school astronomy so far and have experienced it! I’m always astounded at how much fun I have homeschooling my kids, and this year is no exception. Hands-on is the best way to learn about a subject, and we plan to go star gazing many more times this year.

Top 10 Healthy Food Tips

Monday, May 13th, 2019

top-10-healthy-food-tips

My daughter Rachel and I have been learning a lot about food and how it affects our bodies. Rachel created another fun video about hands-on health called “Top 10 Healthy Food Tips.” These tips come directly from her high school health book by Apologia (link is at the bottom of this post):

Healthy Food Tip #1: Eat a variety of foods. Meat, dairy foods, beans, vegetables, and whole grains all have their parts to play.

Each type of food provides different nutrients that are needed by the body. If you don’t eat enough protein, for example, your muscles will feel weak and start hurting because your body will start taking protein away from your muscles to keep your other body systems alive. Without fruits and vegetables, you will not get essential vitamins and nutrients for your body, and you will suffer with poor digestion and other problems.

Healthy Food Tip #2: Choose unprocessed food, closest to its natural state. Choose fruit over fruit juice.

The less processed food is, the better it is for your body. This means that raw fruits and vegetables, for example, are better for you than packaged foods that contain preservatives. Even with fruit, the bulk in the fruit (like the pulp of the orange) has nutrients that are absent in the orange juice that has been pasteurized, a process by which it is heated to high temperatures which strips the orange juice from most of its nutrients. Preservatives are then placed into the juice. So it’s way better to eat an orange, or to squeeze it right before drinking it. The same is true for any other juice.

Healthy Food Tip #3: Limit white carbohydrate foods. These include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes.

When we studied biology in our homeschool, we did an experiment where we placed white bread and wheat bread with some water drops in a plastic bag. The wheat bread spoiled a lot faster than the white bread, which had less for the mold to feed on, indicating that mold didn’t even want to eat the white bread because it didn’t recognize the bread as actual food.

The darker rice has the bran and germ still in it, giving it more nutrients, whereas the white rice has the nutrients stripped from it. So try to stay away from white carbohydrates and instead, eat whole grains.

white-grains-not-good-for-you

Healthy Food Tip #4: Enjoy the delicious nutrition of eggs; just average one a day.

Growing up, I heard that two eggs a day is about all you want to eat because of the cholesterol. (This health book recommends eating only one egg for that reason; I’ve also researched online to find that eating a lot of eggs causes heart disease.) But the eggs also contain Omega 3, protein, and other vitamins, so they are good to eat. I’ve heard people argue that the cholesterol in eggs is the good kind, and that the nutrients in the eggs are hard to find elsewhere. So enjoy your eggs; just don’t go overboard–one or two a day is plenty.

Healthy Food Tip #5: Grain and beans together give you all the essential amino acids.

When I grew up in Guatemala, everybody ate black beans and rice. I never knew that together, they provide a complete protein with all the amino acids. Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, so sometimes you have to combine a grain (like rice or corn) with a bean to get everything you need.

Healthy Food Tip #6: If you have a choice, start with unsalted food and then add a sprinkle of salt at the table if needed.

If you eat too much salt, your blood pressure goes up because of extra water stored in your body. I know so many people who are on high blood pressure medication. I wonder if they cut out salt (as much as possible), if their bodies would not need the medication. For example, if you put cheddar cheese and ham into your scrambled eggs, there is no reason to add salt because the eggs are already flavored. Oregano and other herbs are good for you, unlike salt, so use those instead.

Healthy Food Tip #7: Three 8-ounce servings of milk or yogurt each day cover many mineral needs.

Milk is a rich source of calcium, which is needed for your bones. You can get that calcium from milk products like yogurt, cheese, and even ice cream. Milk products also contain phosphorus and magnesium. If you are lactose intolerant, you can get the same nutrients from vegetables, nuts, eggs, and whole grains.

Healthy Food Tip #8: Eat lots of vegetables, both cooked and raw. Minerals are more easily absorbed from cooked vegetables. Vitamins, on the other hand, are more plentiful in raw vegetables because vitamins are destroyed by the heat used for cooking.

I found it interesting that minerals are more absorbed from cooked vegetables. But raw is better in almost every other way because most of the vitamins are cooked out of the vegetables if you don’t eat them raw. If you grow your own vegetables, eating the vegetables right after picking them will give you the most flavor, too!

fresh-vs-canned

Healthy Food Tip #9: If you have options, choose fresh or frozen food over canned or dry food.

The high temperatures needed for canning remove a lot of the vitamins from the food, so it’s way better to eat fresh or frozen foods. Even dehydrated foods have to be processed, losing some of the vitamins of the food. So fresh food is best, then frozen, then dried, and last… canned.

Healthy Food Tip #10: Limit your intake of table sugar to between 6 and 9 teaspoons each day.

My dad recently died of cancer. Cancer thrives on sugar. And eating too much sugar leads to atherosclerosis, which clogs your arteries. Sugar is empty calories, so you end up gaining weight. Also, sugar makes you feel sluggish. Yes, you can eat sugar in moderation, especially a small piece of dessert with a meal, because when you have other food in your stomach, all of the contents of your stomach are digested together and you won’t feel the sluggishness you would feel if you ate a sugary snack on an empty stomach.

If you enjoyed reading about what we are learning in our health class, you would probably love the book that we are using: (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s video where she dramatized each of these food tips, to help you remember to eat well to have more energy!

Health & Nutrition for Teens

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

health-nutrition-teens

“This is going to be my favorite subject!” declared my teen daughter excitedly, smiling when the health books arrived. I hadn’t told her that I tried to find another high school science course that she would like, and that I finally found one. As a blogger, I get paid to review honestly the very books that I would have ordered for our homeschool anyway. So when I these books arrived in the mail free of charge, she was literally jumping up and down, which is highly appropriate for this subject.

apologia-health

This post contains affiliate links.

Flipping through the book, we could see this health course–Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition–is more than just a high school science course. It’s also about the mind and emotions, and how to cope with life in a healthier way. It’s about food and exercise. It’s about not being bogged down by stress.

It’s going to be fun for me to learn along with my daughter because we both want to be healthier. Part of the reason Americans feel a lack of energy is the food we eat and our lack of exercise. We focus too much on survival or getting the needed things done. We need to get back to a place where we are thriving and not just surviving.

Health & Nutrition for High School: Chapter 1

We’ve started the course with chapter 1: “Who am I and Why Does Health Matter?” This chapter includes the concepts of nature and nurture—that we are a compilation not only of the genetics passed down by our parents but also by our environment. Physical advantages can be passed down through family lines, causing the person to innately be good at a certain activity—like basketball or piano.

apologia-party-girl

The chapter also discussed temperaments, which are predispositions to certain behaviors, emotions, or thoughts. Learning about the personality types helps teens to understand who they are, in order to accept themselves the way God made them, and to learn to accept others who have a different personality than they do.

For example, if we are extroverts and rejuvenate around other people, that doesn’t mean that introverts will be refreshed at the same social gathering. We need to build time alone into our schedules if we gain more energy from solitude. (Many moms of small kids suffer from over-exhaustion because they can never find time alone. Understanding who we are can help us to thrive.)

Dramatizing the Four Temperaments from Chapter 1

My daughter dramatized the four temperaments. Her three brothers represented a crowd of people for the two extroverted temperaments (choleric and sanguine), while my daughter was alone for the two introverted temperaments (melancholic and phlegmatic). Take a look at what we learned about each temperament:

The fun student notebook includes pages to take notes, activities and quizzes, a review for each section in the book, and multiple-choice tests. The answers for the tests, along with chapter extras, are found on the website with a code given in the book. Here is one of the pages from the student notebook that helps the student to internalize the information from the four temperaments:

health-notebook

Sexual Purity Emphasized in Reproduction Chapter

I love the fact that this is a Christian course, tying key points to Scripture (especially wisdom relating to the emotions and the mind) and encouraging teens to remain pure until marriage, which is rare in a health book. Here is a quote about sexual purity from the chapter on reproduction:

“As a human being, you can set up boundaries to control your sexual urges. You are not a dog or a horse that must act on the urges whenever the mood strikes in a parking lot or pasture. You must guard your sexuality and preserve it for marriage.”

apologia-health-book

Developing Healthy Habits

Developing healthy habits while young will help teens to have life-long better health. Of all the sciences, I think this one is the most practical for everyday life and can improve our quality of life if we apply its principles. I’m looking forward to going through this year-long course with my daughter, and I might be blogging more about it in the coming months.

To get a free Health & Nutrition Activity e-book and samples of the text and student notebook, click here.

If you would like to purchase this health course, you can get it here.

You can also follow Apologia on social media:

Two copies of the book set Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition are being given away! Enter the giveaway below:

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Ocean Shadow Box

Monday, September 18th, 2017

ocean-shadow-box

If your kids are learning about underwater sea creatures, why not make an ocean shadow box? It is super easy and will re-enforce the children’s learning about ocean creatures.

The first thing you will want to do is paint the box blue. It helps if a shoe box is a plain white color on the inside. We taped black construction paper around the outside of the box, but you could paint that black if you want.

In other shadow boxes we’ve made, we have spray painted the entire shoe box black, both inside and out. This is a great backdrop for any scene. If you are creating sea creatures from the deep, it is appropriate for your water to be black, especially if you make a flashlight fish out of clay, and place an LED light inside!

painting-shadow-box

Let the paint dry overnight, and then you will want to attach a plastic aquarium plant to the bottom of the box. Use clay to attach the plant to the box. (Make sure your shoe box is on its side when you decide where the ocean floor will be!)

Pour white school glue on the bottom of the scene, gluing around the plastic plant as well as the rest of the ocean floor. Pour sand on top of the glue and shake it off.

play-doh-manta-ray

If you have some small plastic ocean creatures, you can hang them with white thread to the top of the box. I used strong packing tape, but you could also use duct tape.

We added a rock and some walruses to the top of the box, along with some dolphins splashing out of the water. (See the picture at the top of this post.)

play-doh-hammerhead-shark

You can also create ocean creatures out of clay. We make a manta ray, a hammerhead shark, a starfish, a whale, and an anemone. If you study and shape one sea creature per day, you can add to your collection. You can display your creatures on built-in cardboard shelves that you have painted blue or black to match your shadow box, hot gluing the shelf into place.

simple-ocean-shadow-box

You can also make a simple ocean shadow box by spray painting a box black, adding a goldfish in a small fishbowl, and throwing seashells or any other ocean toys into the display.

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