Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Harvest calls for pumpkins! Why?
'Cause harvest calls for pumpkin pie!
Whipped cream on a pumpkin pie
Creates a satisfying sigh...
Salty pumpkin seeds in oven roast,
Golden brown like crispy toast!
Little kids dressed as hungry ghosts,
Let's see who can eat the most!

{Artwork & Poem by Serena}

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Summer flowers cease to grow
Autumn leaves begin to blow
Orange pumpkin lanterns glow
Taking wing the midnight crow

{Artwork & Poem by Serena)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rolling with Rick Hansen

The little white blocks showed all the countries Rick Hansen wheeled through on his Man In Motion World Tour, and that's only Europe!

"Roll On: Rick Hansen Wheels Around the World" by Ainslie Manson is an inspiring book about Rick's amazing feat when he wheeled through 34 countries from 1985 to 1987 to raise awareness for people with disabilities.

We thought it'd be interesting to highlight all the countries Rick Hansen wheeled through on our world map where we recently tracked the journey of Phileas Fogg. It is astounding to see where he's gone with nothing but the power of his muscles and sheer determination.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Timberline Ranch

Thanks to Ms. Gould from HCOS who organized this field trip, Serena spent a glorious day at Timberline Ranch, learning all about horse riding and care. Students were rotated through four 1-hour sessions with lots of hands-on learning opportunities.

There's riding lesson in the Barn:

Ground lesson in the Tack Room (learning about horse and tack):

Trail ride through the beautiful ranch:

And last but not least, "Horse Care" session which included the all essential stall cleaning duty:

Serena loves "Buttons", the horse on which she learned to ride, so she didn't mind one bit the chore of cleaning out Buttons' stall.

You'd think if she could shovel a horse's stall, she could surely handle her cats' litter box at home...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ideas Peddler

Orphan Jack is an ideas peddler. He has a dictionary that's missing the A and B words. "The words were always there, ready to be taken out and used or just examined. A sunrise was better when you knew the word sublime. Oatmeal for dinner was somehow not so sad when you knew the word mingy. A bashing from Edwin was not so horrible when you could secretly call him a vandal." (p.22)

"The Several Lives of Orphan Jack" by Sarah Ellis was this month's book club reading. A book that has words like gobbledygook, Gee whillikers, Fnibble, Aberbog, and mugwort is sure to draw Serena in. Jack peddles "thoughts, concepts, plans, opinions, impressions, notions and fancies" (p.64) for food. At the discussion, Mrs. Cowley got the students to play Jack and come up with something to peddle.

Peddler Serena: "I have a thought to sell, for a good book: A peach on a tree is good for a man, but a peach on the ground is better for a worm."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

War of Miscommunication

What we learned at the War of 1812 School Program at Canada Place:

  • the reasons behind the war
  • the countries/people groups involved
  • the importance of trade
  • some of the key historical figures
  • how British Privateers profited from raiding American ships (Dalhousie University was founded with privateer money!)
  • the miscommunication that started the war (Only if they had cell phones then!)
  • when & how the war ended with the Treaty of Ghent
  • that the U.S. national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" came from a poem written by Francis Scott Key during the war

While our guide (who has a history degree) pressed the point that no one actually "won" the war, some of the homeschoolers have a different perspective. Check out the War of 1812 videos on Canadian Geographic to find out who really won the war. While we couldn't agree on the winner, we had no trouble agreeing that the First Nations were by far the worst off and lost the most.

Historica Canada has some great resources and "Heritage Minutes" videos as we continue to study the subject, and Serena really enjoyed the animated motion comic "The Loxelys and the War of 1812".

Just before our field trip, Serena & I stopped to get a hot chocolate to warm up on a frosty morning. Lo and behold, there's this commemorative quarter in our change!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Taekwondo Kickathon

Serena participated in a fundraiser for the "Water Well in Africa" project organized by her taekwondo school. Students have one hour to do as many waist kicks as possible. Serena managed a whopping 3,012 kicks and raised $170 for her hard work. Thank you to all her generous sponsors for supporting this project - 100% of your donations will go directly to building a water well in Africa!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trekking With Phileas Fogg

We love audiobooks. With the volumes of audiobooks we've gone through over the years, it goes to show how much time we spend in the car...

We just finished "Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne, narrated by the talented Jim Dale. So as we rode in our car, we accompanied Phileas Fogg on his travels by steamer, rail, sled, and elephant. We enjoyed the story more than we expected and adored the character of Passepartout.
Naturally we got so wrapped up in his adventures that we needed to map his route and all his detours so we could see where we've gone with Mr. Fogg. It was a very satisfying journey through the world (map).

Could Phileas Fogg have in reality circumnavigated the world in merely 80 days? We may have a better idea once we finish watching the BBC travel series, Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days!

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving Branch"
by Serena

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book In A Bag

I still remember a very soft spoken Serena presenting for the first time few years ago at "Book In A Bag", our annual kickoff meeting to Wednesday Club. It's such a joy to see her mature and grow in confidence over the years. She picked "Queen of the Falls" by Chris Van Allsburg in 2011 and "Cyrano" by Geraldine McCaughrean in 2012 - still my favourite presentation of hers thus far, so full of panache!

This year's choice was the Regarding series by Kate Klise. Serena really enjoyed the 43 Old Cemetery Road series by the same author this summer, and so she moved onto Klise's 5-book Regarding series.

Friday, October 4, 2013


This is a water cycle terrarium with two yet-to-be-named pet moss that Serena made at the Science World workshop "Water Savers". The workshop today tied in nicely with our unit study of weather this term. We did a few fun experiments last week to kick off this earth science unit.

We were introduced to the water cycle last year at the Salmon in the Valley field trip at Trinity Western. As a review, we did a little experiment using the evaporation/condensation/precipitation cycle to make rain on the kitchen stove.

We were ready to learn a new important concept: air pressure. This topic is of particular interest to our family because both Serena and Daddy are susceptible to migraines caused by a change in air pressure. The "egg in a bottle" experiment was a fun one to illustrate the effects of changing air pressure and its relationship with temperature. See if you can get the egg to slide into an upside down bottle!

Now we're set to learn all about the weather. We created our homemade barometer and rain gauge last week, just in time to catch the start of our rainy fall season - excellent data collection time with all that rain and changes in air pressure! We shall report our findings once sufficient data is collected.