Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Science Stories - Marie Curie's Search for Radium

 J-10 just read a wonderful biography called Marie Curie's Search for Radium by Beverly Birch that I had picked up at a used book sale. He really enjoyed it.  Every page has a beautiful painting by Christian Birmingham. The text is interesting and the paintings are lovely. I picked up Pastuer's Fight against Microbes at the same sale.  It is also illustrated by Christian Birmingham.  I noticed in the back of the book that there are two other titles by Beverly Birch in this series.  These two are illustrated by Robin Bell Corefield.  So if you're looking for easy science biographies that are interesting and beautiful I recommend these, published in the U.S. by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.  Here is a link to Dealoz books by Beverly Birch.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Learning Science Along With My Children

One of the things I love about a Charlotte Mason education is that I get to keep learning right along with my children.  There is so very much to discover and understand about God's wonderful world, so many things to explore and learn!

I feel blessed to have a microscope now.  My husband bought one a few years back with money his Mom gave him for his birthday. Years ago we didn't have this privilege.  Today J-10 was looking for insect eggs on the backs of dead leaves as we are studying life-cycles in insects using Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  I recommend this book.  Anna (who is grown up and a mama herself now) says that Apologia's elementary science, with all their hands on projects, was her favorite science.  As an adult I am still learning with them and enjoying the text and their narrations for their science notebooks.  We've used three or four others in this series and I can recommend every one.

 S-17 and M-14 are in Apologia Biology this  year.  We are only on the third chapter, but we've learned a lot and were again using the microscope today  to look at a mushroom.  We're studying Kingdom Fungi. I didn't realize it would turn out to be helpful but this Fall we focused on mushrooms gathering them on our weekly nature walks for a month or so studying the many different kinds we could find (and there were lots!) and recording them in our nature journals.

 So it's fun now to be learning about how they reproduce and the more intricate hidden details as well as the nomenclature. With it being winter we had to use a store-bought mushroom for our study.  M-14 wondered if it would have spores since it was from the store rather than out in nature.  She said she thought they might irradiate it or something that would kill the living parts.  The mushrooms we used weren't very open, but we could see what certainly looked like spores - tiny perfectly round shapes that looked like minature brownish sesame seeds spread all along the gills.  I'm not sure I'll ever need my new knowledge that mushrooms are in Kingdom Fungi-Phylum Basidiomycota, or if I'll even remember that long name next year, but I'm pretty sure I'll remember how they grow and reproduce!

Cry the Beloved Country

M-14 is reading Cry the Beloved Country this year.  I haven't read it since I was in high school, so I've been reading it again, so we can discuss it.  She got ahead of me, but I finally caught up today....  There is a lot of pain, along with a lot of beauty in this book and terrific insight into the problems in South Africa.  It's a moving and beautifully written story.  M isn't so sure she likes it - it's challenging reading.  I re-read aloud for her one passage from today's reading that I really liked.  She hasn't been very enthusiastic about  narrating this particular book - perhaps because it is a challenging read, but even if she just takes away a sense of the struggles and challenges in South Africa it will have been worth her efforts.  I think though, that she can't help but be influenced by passages like this:  "Therefore I shall devote myself, my time, my energy, my talents, to the service of South Africa.  I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right.  I shall do this, not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away, and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie.  I shall do this, not because I cannot find it in me to do anything else.  I am lost when I balance this against that, I am lost when I ask if this is safe, I am lost when I ask if men, white men or  black men, Englishmen or Afrikaners, Gentiles or Jews, will approve.  Therefore I shall try to do what is right, and to speak what is true."