Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

I went shopping for Zumdahl's Introductory Chemistry Tuesday night and ended up with his World of Chemistry. The difference? IC is apparently more of an Honours high school book while WoC is regular chemistry. Also, many tens of dollars. I've seen syllibi online for Honours Chemistry courses that use WoC so I'm not too concerned that I've chosen something with less rigor so the money became the deciding factor.

Besides, the cover is prettier, don't you agree?

Also...*sigh*...Robert Bruce Thompson is no longer selling his most excellent lab kits to those of us in the Great White North. It is an understandable considering shipping costs and cross-border paperwork but Istill want to cry.  I will now have to put together my supplies all by my lonesome and the prospect is NOT thrilling.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Housework With Lauchie

Today's discovery: when stocking toilet paper with a toddler there is no such thing as moderation.

Monday, May 13, 2013

And So I Find Myself Planning For Grade 10

Here it is, high school. Here in Nova Scotia, high school officially starts in grade 10. Universities don't generally look at anything earlier then that so next year is the big one for me. Thankfully, it doesn't seem that difficult and much of what we've done this year is leading nicely into our selections for next year.

Geometry by Harold Jacobs.
This is the second edition rather then the current third. I choose the older book because the third gave up some of the work with proofs in favour of some discovery activities. Discovery math is not Catherine's great joy in life. Logical proofs, that's Catherine to a tee. I had some worries about finding an answer key but Alibris came to the rescue and I got the text and answer key for under $60. Score!

Lingua Latina
Why yes, that is Catherine's Latin text from this year. Thing is, as wonderful as it is to have a text that's focused on fluency rather then translation, LL really demands a knowledgeable tutor or a student willing to read, review and review again in order to really get to know the grammar otherwise a person could finish the text with only a superficial understanding. Catherine is that disciplined, review obsessed student but as a result it is going rather slow. It's a text that often gets broken up over two year anyway but I think Catherine might go three. That means Latin costs me nothing this year. Fine with me!

Catherine will be reading Medieval and Early Modern literature. She may continue with vocabulary as well but that will be because of her interest in it, not my insistence. Formal grammar and writing instruction are both finished. I'll buy her a good grammar guide and she'll be writing papers on her reading, history and science but other then that it's now all spit and polish. My one hope is that I can find a mentor who can critque her writing as she needs someone with a lot more knowledge then me.

 I am thinking we'll do Chemistry next year. Catherine's eyes lit up when she was telling me about a chapter from Natalie Angier's Canon on molecular biology but I think Chemistry is the foundation we'll build the other sciences on. CK12's Chemistry Flexbook was the top runner. It is free and, I've been told, of good quality. But then I saw this site where a homeschool mom has planned out a whole year of Chemistry using Zumdahl's Introductory Chemistry. Jeepers! How can I pass up on the opportunity to have everything planned out for me? Especially when she's even using the lab book,IIllustrated Guide to Home chemistry Experiments, that I'd been intending to use? And I'd been intending to use that lab book because the author sells affordable lab kits to go with his books! How much better can it get? This will be the expensive course. Just the kit will cost me over $200 and I haven't even started researching the price of the textbook.

Catherine has enjoyed Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World so we will likely continue with History of the Medieval World. We'll also add in some primary sources and Stanford's Reading Like A Historian lessons. I either have the stuff or it's free. Easy.

Theory of Knowledge
Aha! A new course! When a retired educator heard I was homeschooling a girl that wanted to be a writer he recommended some epistemology and pointed me towards texts for the IB Theory of Knowledge course. After some poking around I think I've decided on the Cambridge University Press text (it was that or Oxford. Who knew I'd ever have to decide between the two?). It's cheaper then the Oxford book, has some recommendations from a few fellow homeschoolers, and there are resources available for free online. 

I think that's pretty much the meat of her year. She'll continue with programming Python on her own time as well as violin lessons. She also wants to learn how to sew and I intend to teach her more cooking skills but I think I've got the core figured out. 

Now I just have to go spend all that money.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's Tadpole Season

Several weeks ago I finally got my hands on a QX3 digital microscope. It's a hard thing to buy in Canada but thankfully, someone local had one listed on Kijiji and after years of lust, I picked it up.

So what to do? Get a good look at the brine shrimp for one.

Now that the tadpoles are out we had to examine them as well. We scooped a bunch of eggs out of the ditch in front of our property and deposited them in an aquarium. Then we took out a couple and examined them before returning them to the water.
Now there are two local amphibians that are laying eggs right now, Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders. Since frog tadpoles don't have external gills, we're guessing we have the salamander tadpoles. Both kids did some drawings and took notes on their observations. We later looked up egg identification, went back to the ditch and realized that most, if not all, the eggs were salamander eggs.

This was an especially nifty discovery because just a week before, while doing some spring cleaning in the yard, we found a Spotted Salamander under a bit of debris. I previously mentioned the find here.
In a month or two we should have Leopard Frog and Green Frog eggs from our pond but in the meantime we'll enjoy watching the salamanders develop.

Activities: Observation, drawing, setting up aquarium.

Resources: How to Hatch Frog Eggs at eHow
                 Egg Mass ID at Field Herp Forum