Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Student Vote 2015

On October 13th, a few fellow homeschoolers & I participated in a Student Vote event. This vote was different than the normal election because to legally vote you have to be 18 or over.

Before the vote, we reviewed the four main parties: Liberal, Conservative, NDP, and Green (there was no Bloc Quebecois candidate in Delta).  We also talked about the responsibilities of the three levels of government: Federal, Provincial, and Municipal. After that, we got to "vote" for real Delta candidates.

This year's election was an interesting one, the longest in modern Canadian history. With Stephen Harper running for a fourth term, everyone was ready for somebody else! It was quite exciting to watch the election broadcast last night and see the Liberals winning a majority.

We vote because we are part of a democracy which allows us to vote for MPs (Members of Parliament) to express our support to his or her party. I had a lot of fun doing the practice vote. For our Student Vote, I found out that 40.5% of us voted for the Green party!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My First Turkey

 My family and I served a free Thanksgiving dinner with our church to the people in need from our community. Some volunteers would make turkeys, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, etc. Other volunteers would serve the people, set the tables, and slice the pies and meat. Everyone worked together helping people who needed it, I loved it! I hope I can do it again next year!

My dad and I consulted the tested-and-approved recipe of chef Gordon Ramsey.  (Our turkey recipe from last year was the same one as this.)  We stuffed the turkey cavity with lemons and onions.  The best part was slathering the turkey with herb butter, under the skin, on the outside and even a little in the cavity.

We drizzle the turkey with a little olive oil to keep the butter from burning then popped it in the oven.  The glorious smell that drifted through the house was enough to drift me out the window.

We took the turkey out from the oven and covered it with a few thick slices of bacon. Because the recipe said so, and, (obviously) everything is better with bacon.

With our first turkey made just by me and dad beautifully browned, it took extreme effort from us not to ask my mom for two forks and just start eating...

At last, with the turkey carved and on the platter, we headed out the door. Serving the food was an incredible experience. I served cranberry sauce and rolls in the first round.  Then at seconds I was elevated to mashed potatoes, discovering that I had a knack with the "ice-cream" scooper.  All in all, this Thanksgiving was a rewarding experience and incredibly fun! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bikes & Gears

Serena has caught the bike fever. It started when she rode a high-end speedy racing bike at the triathlon this summer. Now she & Daddy go on long bike rides on nice weekends. Curiously their excursions always end up at a place that sells ice-cream or milkshakes or hot chocolate...

While they're out spinning around, I sit and contemplate how to weave this new interest into our homeschool days.

Gears! Physical science unit, checked.

We watched a few intro videos like Gear Basics and How Do Bike Gears Work. We love the Smarter Every Day video called The Backwards Brain Bicycle - so cool how our brains get hardwired! Some excellent books on the subject include Pedal It! and Go Fly A Bike!.

The best part about science though is always the hands on stuff. There's no shortage of bikes in this home for show & tell! Serena gets to tinker with bike mechanic Daddy.

We borrowed a set of K'Nex with instructions to build a cool little stationary bike. It showed us a simplified version of a sprocket gear system, but it didn't really illustrate the power of gear ratio as the front & back gears are of the same size.

This crank fan, however, did the trick marvellously. We started with 2 identical gears in the fan's spur gear system, then switched to using one big and one small gears. The speed of the fan is significantly different depending on whether we use the big gear to drive the small one or vice versa.

Next K'Nex model to build is a blender that uses a crown gear system. Fun!

"Life is like riding a bicycle: you don't fall off unless you stop pedaling." Claude Pepper

"Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use." Charles Schultz

Better keep pedaling and use those gears!