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Weekly Wrap Up: Science Joy

In my life this week… We learned.  We went out.  We stayed home.  And we lived.

We walked in the snow and that’s a tiring thing to do. One day I actually had visions of being carried back home on Mr. 17’s shoulders!  Instead the kids broke the trail for me.  We took the time to enjoy the worried expression of one of our dogs who was trying to figure out a way to cross a narrow brook, thawed by recent warm weather.  The children and the other dog encouraged him in all sorts of ways, but nothing worked until Miss 10 actually showed him a safe way to cross.  As we tramped the paths through among the trees Mr. 17, ever the woodsman, propped up some saplings that were bent over after last month’s heavy snow fall.

We were privileged to participate in a celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism.  This warm, comforting catechism has spread throughout the world and is still loved after all these years.  In the past, I’ve discussed its history and shared its amazing introduction.

In our homeschool this week … The last few days have been unexpectedly full of science.

One morning Miss 15 came to me hoping to be excused from a complicated chemistry experiment which would show her how to measure the mass of a molecule.  Instead, I enthusiastically pointed out that I had done research on some of the concepts used and eagerly explained way more than she had bargained for.  She did the experiment and even rather enjoyed it.

Miss 12 finished a biography of Michael Faraday, a truly great scientist who spent his life researching and teaching about science at the Royal Institute…and before long we were watching a cool movie on the Royal Institute’s blog.

Our children must work on a craft or skill each week for their schoolwork.  Miss 12 is not interested in fabric arts, food, building things, or anything like that.  Often she makes a new code.  Last week she shared an interesting arithmetic series she had discovered, and this week she played in the sunlight with a protractor, examining the sunlight’s reflection, transmission, and refraction.  She does not want to write down anything about these experiments because that makes them seem like work, but I realized that’s OK.  My crocheter, woodsman, and chocolate makers don’t have to write about their projects either.

And there I was, all excited by the joy of science in our home, when Mr. 17 called me.  He had been using his Microsoft Surface (a fancy computer) and was enjoying the sunlight’s reflection on the ceiling when he noticed that he could block it by putting his hand in two different places:  in the path of the incoming light from the sun and in the path of the reflected light from the Surface.  Obvious?  Maybe.  But a revelation none-the-less.

Miss 20 dropped by with a beautiful 1000 piece puzzle of the Periodic Table.  Because it’s so organized, it was one of the most satisfying puzzles I’ve ever worked on.  I also loved the fact that Miss 12 recognized Davy, discoverer of some of the elements, from her study of Michael Faraday.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Sometimes God just gives us a treat, like our two days full of science joy.  I work hard at teaching my kids literature, Bible, languages, and writing, but there’s so much joy in science and I’d almost forgotten that.

Some of my favorite things this week were

  • All our science activities
  • The Heidelberg Catechism conference
  • That gorgeous puzzle
  • Walking in the woods and enjoying the dog’s search for a good way to cross the stream
  • Good food
  • Sharing a valuable opportunity with a friend who’s coming to grips with the realities of approaching retirement

Questions/thoughts I have… Michael Faraday was too busy and his health was destroyed.  Note to self:  take time to rest and rejuvenate.  Listen to my husband’s constant exhortation, “Do what you enjoy.”

Things I’ve been working on

  • Homeschooling, marking, Omnibus’s complicated marking formula.
  • Trying to keep up with the home  and eating through our freezer.
  • Studying with and for my teens:  relearning pre-calculus and advanced French and learning logic.
  • Remembering to walk, eat well, and relax adequately.
  • Trying to collect the best pictures of 2012 in order to make a movie of them.

We’re watching…We have a French Asterix DVD from the library and may try it out tonight.  Hopefully the violence will be funny, not realistic, but it can’t be as shattering as reading about the Mongols in 7 Tipping Points.  Mr. 17 decided to study Hamlet so he could watch the movie again (the one with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart).

I’m reading… 1 Samuel, 7 Tipping Points that Changed the World, and 10 Christians Everyone Should Know as well as little bits of many different books and textbooks.

Reading Aloud… With the kids, we’re reading Joshua. We’re enjoying Papa’s Wife, with significant amounts of editing.  I had forgotten how funny it was.  It’s a bit too old for some of my children, but it’s hard to find a read aloud book that will work well for all of them.  The next read aloud, about the Pony Express, should be more suitable for the younger crowd and will still appeal to Mr. 17.

When my husband is home for meals we’re reading Daniel.  It ties in well with the Greek and Mesopotamian history my girls are studying, too.

I’m grateful for … Warm fires.  A chance to rest. Being able to write, one of the most rejuvenating activities of all.

Quote or link to share… Stephanie of Keeper of the Home is setting off on a trip around the world with her family of 6.  Our family will be following their trip as a geography project.

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up and HomeSchool High.


  1. Sarah says:

    I like the idea of getting the children to work on a craft or skill each week. At what age do you start this? Do you give guidelines about what they can do?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      We only started this a few years ago, but it could work from a very young age. I remember the very first skill for one of my children was to touch the bottom of the pool. I wondered about allowing that, but then realized it was a big challenge for her and a useful skill, so why not?

      The only guidance I give is that it has to be something that’s a challenge for them and that has intrinsic worth of some sort. Our children have done so many things: computer work, cooking, baking, chocolate making, yarn crafts, animal skills, outdoor skills, javelin throwing, skiing, knot-tying….

      My goal is to have the children stretch themselves a little bit every week and develop their interests.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like a good week. 🙂

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