Blogging about music, family life, the outdoors, unschooling and everything else

for more than a quarter century

Category: Science

  • First school term

    Fiona has reached the end of the first term of the first semester of her first year fully enrolled in school. She has a part-time course load, with just three out of four time-slots filled. She is taking Art 11, Chemistry 11 and Honours Physics 11. By age she in an eighth-grader, by enrolment she’s […]

  • Physics is hard

    Fiona has now been in high school for two weeks. It feels like a month! In both a bad way and a good way. Her life has been so crazy full that it feels like a month must have passed for all of that to have been packed in! But also … it has quickly started feeling normal […]

  • The data-driven runner

      Look, data! Running data! I admit I readily get too obsessed over this stuff, to the point where I forget why I run. (Note to self: I run for the happiness it brings, to clear my head, to learn how to be in the moment, to stay strong and fit, to be out in […]

  • A time and place

    Fiona started coding club this week. It was held at the Nelson Tech Club’s hackerspace. Three kids, all about 12, two of them on the autism spectrum and with their workers along for support, the others being boys. There may be a few other kids who come out of the woodwork as the program goes on. A homeschooling mom […]

  • Hello, trees

    Fiona and I have been visiting the trees in the forest that surrounds our home recently, appreciating them anew as they emerge from the snow and prepare for a new season of growth. Yesterday we checked out the red cedar bark, which we will use for basket weaving. Years ago the kids did a workshop […]

  • TOPScience

    Just over a month ago Fiona received her favourite Festivus gift. I bought her a set of four TOPS Chemistry units, complete with the equipment and supplies kits that made them completely self-contained and drop-dead simple to implement in the kitchen. While I’m by nature a scrounger and a make-do-er, I’ve recognized that the little […]

  • Soap and teenagers

    The soap has cured! We’ve wrapped it up in salvaged tissue paper and ribbon, to keep it protected until use by us or others. While the lavender buds turned a less-than-fetching brown in the alkaline environment, the basic marbled green of the soap is nice to look at, and the mixture of lavender and rosemary […]

  • Chemistry around here

    Lye + water + oil = soap Fiona would like to be a chemist, or so she thinks. Until we get to the chemistry section in her science course, we’re having fun little forays into the world of household chemistry. We had fun making soap a couple of weeks ago. We used a combination of […]

  • Mobile

    Last winter Fiona and I had a lot of fun making styrofoam and paper maché replicas of the planets. We had thought we would hang them up on display, but before we got around to doing so we put them on the mantel where they began to collect dust and disappear from our awareness. Finally […]

  • Milky swirls

    Fiona is enjoying learning how to use iMovie and iStopMotion. We made this one together. A couple of her other projects are on her blog.

  • Building a gaming machine

    Noah has always been the heaviest computer user amongst or kids. He’s a self-made geek who has become a whiz at tinkering with software. Recently he’s been straying into the realm of hardware, trouble-shooting connections and adding secondary drives. But all the tweaking and upgrading of a five-year-old heavily-used computer hasn’t been quite enough. The […]

  • Pear production

    We’re into day three of pear processing here. All six trays of the dehydrator have been loaded up yet again. We pulled out our copy of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee to figure out how to handle the ripening. Ninety-five per cent of our pears are […]

  • It’s physics

    Really. It is not four children, a tree fort, a couple of climbing harnesses, some ropes and a lot of only-marginally safe crazed swinging, leaping and ‘flying’. It is not an accident waiting to happen. It is not inadequate parental limit-setting. No, it’s pulleys, pendulums, mass, density, period, acceleration, distance, speed and moment of inertia. […]

  • Creating explosives

    Noah has been creating explosive compounds during readaloud time. Not real ones — just the models. We’re reading from “Napoleon’s Buttons: 17 Molecules that Changed History” and are into the chapter on nitro compounds. Schonbein’s wife’s exploding apron (‘guncotton’) was a great segué into this chapter. There are lots of chemical structures drawn in the […]

  • Biology 101

    Normally a post I write entitled Biology 101 would be about chasing frogs, or watching the garden grow, or planting trees or growing a sourdough culture. But this time it really is about a college-level introductory biology course. Actually it’s about the texbook designed for such a course. Sophie first expressed an interest in biology […]