Category Archives: science

Out of Phase Tuesday

Having worked Monday [and then nagged daddybean to blog about his day at home :) ] i had a phased day off today. feels nice! part time work if and when financial woes to public servants decreases a bit and therefore makes it safer is def something i would much like to do :) 3 day week would be perfect :) .

And so to today, the girls started off the day with making more christmas cards, they are really beautiful, if not necessarily christmas themed ;) SB has done a fab tree and present one that she spent some time on. BB spent a long time on one with a lizard on the outside, and you open up to a laptop inside. daddybean and i are hoping this isn’t another version of the capri sun ds trick :) . Lots of humming, singing and chatting as these got done in a very ‘isn’t this lovely’ kind of way.

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We did some story of the world 1 - middle egypt this time, and nubia. We do try and do the questions and narrations as per the activity book, but BB often gets carried away by her story telling… BB looked at the realscience for kids chemistry chapter 1, we did the pre-K and then I read the level one but simplified it a bit for her. SB and I just had time for a really good piano practice before she went out to her last bikeability session. A lovely sunny afternoon for it anyway :)

BB and I read a book and fed and played with rabbits and then watched some starwars prequel 3 before going off to swimming, where i took charge of SB and watched both their lessons before getting home. Here SB looked at her level 2 chemistry whislt sitting snuggled up close to me, and we did the questions at the end together. I think we have got moles and atomic weight and numbers sorted, tho at 9, doesn’t really matter if not. I do like the text book bit of it tho, as nice and straightforward, and being for a ‘classical’ education, has 3 levels of ability to choose from. The ‘lab’ experiment for this first chapter is a bit dull-as-ditchwater, so think can be done at home with own families, and instead we are going to do an element treasure hunt [i think] and make an element window ‘decal’ [concentrating on the first 20] which unfortunately has left me cutting out loads of blobs this eve, and therefore late to blog! I do wish the most common isotope of them had the same number of neutrons as protons, would make life much easier! Have made a list to make the decals easier to do.

we finished with watching a sarah jane on iplayer with the girls and roman mystery for SB. And all evening spent prepping for tomorrow!

An Early Blog!

Mostly due to nipping out this eve, better to get it done and dusted!!

This am SB struggled to get up again, she has had a cough for over a month now, and apart from making her tired and not sleeping well, she seems ok otherwise. thinking, on and off, about going to docs tho, as it has gone on for soooo long! She did – in a very quick whizzy way – some grammar, galore park science and dk project book. can’t have taken more than 5 mins each ?? [btw, tick sheet last week <20, and anticipate same this week as loads of other things to do] . BB entertained herself with a rabbit game.

I [and here we need a drumroll!!] got out little Nanny’s sewing machine, with the purpose of making SB a pinny to wear tomorrow. i have never made any items of clothing before, nor used Little Nanny’s sewing machine [a singer 401 of some vintage] so slightly nervous! I was going to make more of a tabard look with frill – which does seem more of the era, but a combination of bits and pieces, and actual worry, has turned it into more of a maids pinny. oh well! I am just jolly glad with myself for actually making it. it ended uptoo big as well, so have had to nip up various bits, so it doesn’t look as good as it did… The sewing machine is a dream tho! i love Nanny, she even had in her kit prewound singer bobbins <3 <3 as one of the things i dread is all that bobbining. tho they needed diff tension. Tension on a sewing machine is one of my bete noirs, but that fab singer instruction book – yep, little nanny kept it, made it so easy, i sorted it!! It is a rather fab sewing machine. i might even sew more things :)

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SB, BB and I went to Djembe Drumming, arranged by CHEF and old home ed friend T was there, so had a hug and a chat. Miss seeing her now her daughter has gone to school. We all enjoyed the session greatly, as we had before. Learnt some new rhythms and both girls v happy.

returned home and the girls have gone off to swimming. I have added buttonholes [badly] to ribbon, and tempted to glue the fraying bits! I don’t think i will try making the mob cap!! Did a good piano prac with SB tho, gradually getting there! She also started her galore park history, and i silently chortled listening to her explaining the rosetta stone to BB. That is good home ed :)

relight my fire

today was latinetc, and i had got a fun science all lined up! we were going to make oxygen – woohoo! and test for it. This completes a creating and testing for 3 gases – CO2, O2, H2 – series [yes, should really go for nitrogen, but it is trickier...] We’ll do it again no doubt in the future, but i emphasised the 3 and their tests today, and talked a fair bit about catalysts, being things that can make reactions go faster. We had hydrogen peroxide – which you can buy from a chemist cheaper than ebay [thankyou for t-bird for this nugget, only after i had purchased from ebay!] which will over time produce oxygen all by itself, faster if heated. But a catalyst will speed things up and make v much more ‘interesting’ . We had as our catalyst manganese dioxide – definitely going to be a winner, liver and kiwi fruit. [could use iron oxide but this doesn't do a lot, and lead oxide does do a lot, but i don't have any]. we put 15 mls of h202 with a bit of the catalyst [less than 1/4 tsp of the manganese dioxide] and a squirt of washing up liquid and some food colouring. it foams! we rated our catalysts in order of manganese oxide > liver > kiwi

The reaction is :
2H2O2(aq) -> 2H2O(l) + O2(g)
This is catalysed by a variety of transititional metal compounds and peroxidase enzymes found in many living things.


i also did an adapted genie in a bottle [as had less h202!] that i had practiced at home, so knew to be way safer!! still pretty dramatic, and we got to test for oxygen with glowing spills v successfully. [ps i had also given them my usual scary safety prep talk, we had safety specs, lab coats and gloves, and the foaming controls this a bit. I think we all enjoyed it :lol: [mind you, i did have to remind a most of the older group that safety specs are not so good if on the forehead rather than over the eyes :roll: ]


K did latin and french, Z did crafts – halloween and firework pics using oil pastels with a watercolour wash, and Merry did pasta and mastered K’s ecokettle! We are going to do the real science for kids next time, with all the children reading or having read to, chapter 1 of whichever level their parent thinks is ok, and then i am going to work out how we can model atoms in the interim, so we can each make one, and do some discussion around the periodic table and atomic weights as we do it.

SO after a bit of planning of groups, which K will tinker with and show and tinker with G, who wasn’t here today so needs to have an input, Merry went home, K did french and then we grown ups chatted as the children did a bit more craft. then we went geocaching for the elusive ones! and this time – fanfare – Z found it! still not quite where we thought it was going to be. SB led a group of children out of view, and BB got hurt, so was a bit cross with her for breaking cardinal rule of going somewhere that i didn’t know about out of eyesight and nearly earshot as well. :( . We then persuaded kfish to come to the next cache too, which i think she may have regretted… i had the coords only on iphone, which with classic timing ran out of charge when we most needed it :( [actually :lol: ] so Z rang chris and got coords, i had the gps which i don’t know how to use, and in the end kept marking waypoints and deleting them until they were more or less the coords. it was getting dark and looking a bit hopeless, so we gave up, but K and I spotted an interesting log arrangement, J investigated it, and tada!! a geotat cache! BB way too tired so i had a less than nice moment when little A – bless her – passed on what she had chosen :roll: mind you, we had had A in our car as she had had a moment too that she never got to go in other peoples cars. SHe and BB had a fab conversation which didn’t make 100% sense from the front… Though that was better than BB and L when i had those 2, who were on the cheeky end of the spectrum [not dreadfully, more mock outrage rather than actual required!!]


got home to find chris had tidied the front room and wrestled with putting the curtains up. oh i DO like a room with curtains!! we had chips, falling asleep half way through, and the rest of us watching a fab programme about optical illusions. now i plan to watch the apprentice on iplayer.

And yes, it is 2 months since my sister died, and have thought about her on and off all day.

a setback

TBH, although i had nightmares about it for the last few nights, i had hoped to be back at work and getting going again, however difficult. i had an occ health appointment, and i did a few of the objective tests, and she recommended not. slightly too anxious to be reliable on good decisions, and as she said, as soon as i start, the job takes no prisoners. :( i imagine the managers are going to be ecstatic :( so have 2 more weeks then a short phased return. hmmm. so, with that, and then the visit to gp for sicknote and then the emailing and phoning ppl that i had said last week i would be returning… we were nearly at lunchtime

SB, bless her, spent the morning in bed with a hurty head and tummy [reading avidly, so head can't be THAT hurty!] . she is so imprecise that it is difficult to work out why things hurt, but they seemed to get better when i got home… SHe finished reading the magicians nephew and is most of the way thro the lion, the witch and the wardrobe anyway. She snuggled up to me and did grammar before going to her bikeability session with chris. She really enjoyed this, and told me all the accidents other people had had, what they did, in that breathless it was great fun speech, and she has new boots :)
I love having snuggles anyway :) After her bikeability, she snuggled up with her galore park science too :)

Whilst SB off for her bikeability in the afternoon, BB and i did some bunny care – the little bunnies do look all cute and little :) and it is amazing how much less food is eaten, and correspondingly how much less poop there is :) . BB is such a cutie pie, and so adoring of the rabbits. We then did piano practice. BB has a current like of getting the metronome going and then making a funky rhythm with her 3 note repertoire. i love it :) must surreptitiously iphone vid it sometime [she usually stops!] and then she will sometimes do a bit of jibbedy f, but its up to her. She has a fairly natural musician flow, so i am working on just encouraging her to play, whatever, with the option of looking at new notes etc if she wants. it is really lovely to do together :) we then snuggled in the conservatory :) to read a fact book - i wonder why the sea is salty – together, and then we did some fimo. BB was making a fimo rabbit for her secret santa, but liked it so much, she is keeping it… this is not a surprise, she has kept the last 2 birthday presents she has made too :)


SB coming back and snuggling with me persuaded BB to do something on her own, and so she played falconer to her peregrin falcon cuddly, and that was v cute to watch. i do love watching the imaginative games :) . we finished the day with tea in front of horrible histories, each girl choosing a box book for getting the required number of ticks – bb v happy with a dinosaur maze book, and SB with the georgian horrible histories – the box set seems partic cheap currently :)

And i have watched a grand designs in falmouth – fab house! and then looked at videos of sis. But it was also a day of all those weird home ed conversations where lots of things flow on, and yet when you come to blog, you just can’t remember any of them!

tuesday is my hump day!

well, we got up earlier today, after an exceptionally late night. SB just didn’t settle at all, and so was a very tired bean when she got up. awww . anyway, bit more of a discussion on 5 a days and what counted, how big etc over brekkie, then a look at part of the first chapter of real science for kids level 2. SHe did understand it, and we talked around it, but then got a bit worried that if she didn’t she would have to change science group, as she loves her science group. ((SB)) so i reassured her that currently the groups weren’t changing, but that if she found the level 2 difficult, then we would read the level 1 version. And i think though the group BB is in will be doing the level 1 version for labwork, that i will be reading the pre-k explanation to her beforehand, and think the various families may want to bob between the different levels, as more important to get understanding than be pushed ahead. [such an advantage to have a flip book!]

We then got down to a sturdy morning of home ed in my lovely conservatory. Hmm, i think i have forgotten to mention how much i love my conservatory :) .

SB did some galore park science, history and english, and then some clarinet prac. BB did some maths – with some serious argument over whether nothing/zero existed, whether you were allowed to put it in sums etc, and she remains unconvinced over its validity. giggle! She read a 1a magic key story – again with a grumble over the word the [obv that shouldn't exist either!] and i read to her the next story in the chaucers canterbury tales, the one with the bottoms, so she particularly loved that ;) we also finished painting her spider puppet, and later strung it together, tho as we had lost instructions, don’t know that it is quite right… Both did a bit of colouring as well.

we played with rabbits again – making sure we get enough rabbit love in before the bigger babies leave for their new homes. :)

after a nice lunch in our LOVELY conservatory we did some baking. SB wanted to use up left over rice crispies and marshmallows, so we went to do that, but we didn’t have enough marshmallows… and BB then wanted to make choc rice crispie cakes, but we didn’t have enough rice crispies or any choc… so we went to the shops and then made the cakes, and now have more marshmallows and rice crispies than wen we started 1 :roll: we also made some fruity snow from the galore park science book. SB really is quite an accomplished baker and cook, really good at following instructions and tweaking things so they work. it was a fun bake :)

SB and i also got in a piano prac before she went out for swimming. trudging is getting sort of a glimmer of hope about it, and the other 2 pieces are ok and should pass already, but time will make them better. so we started with arpeggios. she isn’t certain she will ever play them :( but we will see. we all did some ds-ing together with animal crossing and also mario bros games. we ate a chippery tea [totally ruining the 5 a day thing!] watching the primates episode of life.

now i must try and get things a bit organised for historyetc tomorrow.

Changing science at latinetc

i have loved doing the science bit of latinetc. doing crazy fun experiments and seeing happiness and laughter on the faces of the children there, as well as talking, discussing and enjoying science really has given me a buzz.
Latinetc orig started in oct 2007 had had a freeform starting point. The families were slightly different, we didn’t do science each time, and children way way smaller! We did taste testing then!

the families changed slightly, and as the children got older, we grouped them, and made it a bit more formal, but we have covered such a lot! I am grouping the flickr set here, mostly for my benefit!


acids and alkali 2007,1
acids and alkali – 2007, 2
starch and spies – 2009
atoms and molecules – 2009
volcano experiments – 2009
polymers 1 – 2009
separating – 2009
more polymers – 2009
acid base 2 – 2009
working out the substance – 2009
making invisible inks – 2009
reduction reactions with copper sulphate – 2009
chemical flames – 2009
chromatography – 2009
crystal structure – 2009
microscope crystals – 2009
co2 – 2010
acids plus alkali – metal salts 2010
density – sugar rainbow solutions 2010
cornstarch gloop polymers 2010
acids and metals and testing for hydrogen – redox 2010


senses – taste 2007
heart – measuring and dissection 20082008
heart – anatomy and circulation 2008
lungs – physiology 2009
lungs – anatomy 2009
CPR and bones – 2009
fossils – 2009
anatomy craft – 2009
DNA – 2009
microbiology 1 – 2010
microbiology 2 2010
fish dissection – 2010
microbiology 3 – 2010
roots and shoots microscope – 2010
microbiology 4 – 2010
chlorophyll – 2010
choice chambers – 2010
pond dipping – 2010


floating and sinking 2008
cartesian divers 2008
magnets 2008
electricity – circuits etc 2008
energy – 2008
forces – 2008
forces 2 – 2008
forces 3 – 2008
forces 4 – 2008
optics – 2009 fieldtrip
heat/fire – 2009
waves 1 – 2010
waves 2 – 2010
optics – 2010 [no photos!]

yeah, i think that is a good list to be proud of! i have a few more ideas planned, but talking to group and then firming up, it is felt that perhaps having a going away and thinking about it, and perhaps formailising experiment write up may be helpful for some. SO having chatted a lot and discussed with other friends, we are going to do it slightly differently. i think i have used up lots of my top-of-head ideas, so we are going to be trying out real science 4 kids. level 2 chemistry for older group, and level 1 for younger. this has the advantage of being internet accessible, for a trying and not buying option unless sure is working for us. and also the interesting ‘cog’ add ons. not sure whether the levels quite right, as we are a bit age diverse, but can see… I am hoping they will have had the reading bit done at home, i can check with the questions, and then we do the lab work, and if i can find other speriments to fit i will, to keep the sessions fun and practical. If it doesn’t work for the group, we can think again.

duvet day!

predominantly for my big girl, who finally managed to completely get up at lunch time, having been happily wrapped in her duvet reading a book since 10am, when i had woken her up – giggle, i can’t imagine who she takes after! :lol: It was supposed to be a mega catch up home ed day for all our lazy days this week! ah well, we have enjoyed each others company a lot this week, even if we have neither been ‘productive’ or gone out much! i am going to declare it a companionship week :)

BB, obviously, had been up, and was watching dvd’s on lizards and amphibians. she really loves them, and has asked for a bracelet like mine, but with lizard and frog charms for xmas [they are having something small from us, as getting 1/4 each of trampoline for birthday and xmas]. I don’t know of many small children who have remained as determinedly fixated on lizards/dinosaurs/amphibians for so long. pretty much since she could speak. she then went off to play a complicated game with her lizards and frogs. SB also fancies a charms bracelet, but wants quite an individualised one, so have handed over some likes from other bracelets, and we will see what happens [fingers crossed!]

We did do some home ed today – since this is a home ed blog, this is something of a relief. SB did some maths, science workbook, galore park english and non verbal reasoning – ooh that sounds like quite a lot! SHe still didn’t write the english in sentences tho, will have to remind her again next time! BB and i did some reading practice together, and a tinsy bit of maths. we all did story of the world 1 chapter 6, just need to do chapter 7 before wed :) . no piano got done, as we had made the mistake of lighting the fire in the front room, and that was sooooo nice and warm…

I spent a while on the phone today as uncle D has got a v bad knee infection where he had a knee replacement, so had a surgical debridement today, and has 2 weeks in hospital wth iv ants before they decide, presumably, whether to take out his replacement :( he is feeling rottenly unwell with it. I have got a pavlovian response to the phone ringing of my heart dropping to my feet, and it just isn’t pleasant.

i also painted a tiny square of glass to more or less match with the others to go in our window. very proud of it, as tho not identical, pretty much fits, and if i am lucky, will stay in the house even if we end up moving on. :) I played stork’s nest with BB and SB [i lost!] and a complicated game of blokus crossed with ludo frogs with BB [i lost!]. :lol:

chris bodged a temporary extension onto the rabbit hutch, as the 4 big babies quite big and need a teenager pad :) he has also put all the panes of glass back into window, so i guess paintng next :) .

the rabbits are adorable, and it is hard to part with the older babies, but glad to know what good homes they are going to. flopsy is def most the amenable rabs of them all. will be perfect for aprillia to cuddle :) . fudge just soooo fluffy, so t-bird can have a good cuddle too ;) . lupin has a bit of character, and is happy to be cuddled and also happy to pootle about doing her own thing. Biscuit is a bit shyer than the others, but does sit beautifully for a cuddle once persuaded to not hide. they all v much adore dandelion leaves, and have been handled and loved on a more than once daily basis, and have no bad habits! even more or less litter trained… awww. the baby rabs are quite a mixed bunch. they are now findng their way around the hutch, tho i have made it so they can’t get into the run yet. the white stripe baby [currently called Gerd due to her statuesque build] is 2ce as big as the other babies, and the fawn one is quite a bit smaller [attracting some of my worry, tho she seems quite healthy]

we finished the day with a snuggle watching jem do some explosions, and searched on ebay, and found all the ingredients required to do at home – hmmm!!! well, only the earlier explosives. it was quite clear watching the prog that the later explosives not such a good idea…

a game of 2 halves

chris and i stayed up a bit too late with playing online agricola with the babs last night [i won - yay!] SB also had a late bedtime, having read a book she then got scared by, so had to have time to read a more comforting book, so was v tired today!

whe we got up, it was snowing – again! and quite hard, but a quick check suggested no snow at merry’s, so the science stuff was gathered and we set off. we were also the firsterers there!! actually, due to a number of circs we were 2 families down and one family up, and that worked pretty well! Did science in dribs and drabs, as it was basically setting it up and then watching what happens.

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as we are on a ‘biology’ term, and roughly looking at microbiology, today we looked at yeasts. We have done a fair bit of discussion on and off about bodies, energy sources and then lungs, oxygen and carbon dioxide, so we did a bit of a recap. there was surprise that yeast might be ‘alive’ so this wasn’t a simple chemical reaction. that actually what was happening was the yeast would be using sugar to fuel the division into 2 [actually this is a bit of a simplification, as yeasts actually bud off rather than divide like bacteria] that they are single celled organisisms of funghi. we knew what it was used for, and i briefly touched on the krebbs cycle without naming and shaming it, saying effectively to make the energy, a gas was given off as a waste product. we had quite a talk about the various gas possibilities, but mostly settled on CO2, partly because this is something we breathe out as a waste, and partly because i had brought along some lime water to test for co2!! so we used my beautiful new erlenmeyer beakers and placed 5 spoons sugar, one heaped yeast and 250mls warm water and topped off with a balloon. soon enough this began to fill with ‘the gas’ and then each got a chance to mix ‘the gas’ with lime water – which rather fabulously went cloudy! and also to put a lit match into it – which v satisfactorily immed went out. so we learnt a bit about micro orgs, their needs, and waste products, and how to test for them. fab! this book suits this experiment pretty well, and we read it again earlier this week


I also did some of the sampler sewing – not as well as Merry! Kty did french, the children voluntarily did some music, and Zoe was pasta and tea maker – thanks! there was no snow at merry’s, tho it did snow on and off. we got back well in time for brownies – still snow here!

BB had her face painted and then decided she was tired [she fell asleep in the car on the way home whilst SB and I sang along to serge - above] and watched star wars whilst i snoozed.

SB was at brownies making valentines biscuits and then judo. this is the game of 2 halves, as this owl has a very brusque and brisk nature, and is just one of those busy women who perhaps SB isn’t so used to. so she asked to get changed in her toilet [it was at the big house for cooking] and j agreed, but whilst she was doing it, she was called for, and couldn’t hear so then got told off. then found someone else had taken her biscuits as they looked nicer, which she had made for me. SO loads of tears. Arrgh. I know she was prob stressed, but this isn’t the first time SB has cried. And yes Sb wears her heart on her sleeve and has no thickness of skin to speak of, but i do think that this being so a bit of compassion over the taken biscuits and actually, since sb had asked to change in the loo… oh well. we had a long discussion about different folks, and that j would prob be surprised that that exchange had made sb cry… btw Merry and katy, SB says she just isn’t used to shouty ppl as we and you don’t shout! Anyway, lots and lots of hugs on return, watching magic school bus inside ralphie episode, and to bed as a happy girl again.


today was for the girls a mostly sylvanianing day. they adore playing sylvanians! they tend to only start when SB has read her book for the day – she starts the day with a book and ends the day with the book. we are getting through loads!

i did want to do some science, as over a year ago won a very ancient kit on ebay about osmosis, and have been v keen to try it out!! today was the day! unlike newr kits, it has LOADS of actual science talk in it, explaining what you are doing, why, the scientific concepts etc – great! Anyway we had a thought about permeable and impermeable, and each selected a container of each and poured water into it. we saw we were right, but that some things were more permeable than others, and infact waxing a permeable thing [ie muffin cases] greatly reduced their initial permeability. We then looked at diffusion, to prove that the molecules moved around in the water [perpetual motion/ kinetic theory ] and that we don’t need to shake to mix up a solution we dropped a copper sulphate crystal into warm water and watched the water all gradually turn blue. Unfortunately we didn’t actually get to any of the osmosis experiments, as the girls were sylvanian needy again!!


other things done were some playdoughing, BB did more of her ‘secret’ , SB and I did a long recorder practice and some aurals [aargh!], SB wrote into her journal. I sorted out the science shelves abit, and chris turned the room of doom into a place where you might nearly be persuaded to go. Oh, and we spent a long time doing the RSPB gardenwatch – better late than never!


We finished watching tales from the green valley – the Jacobean farm series.

A snippet of Matisse

Since we went to the tate modern in jan, and admired some of matisse, SB and I had thought we could have a thought about looking at making art ‘in the style of…’ starting with Matisse this year. Art is not my strongest point [ :lol: ] but I do enjoy it. SO we planned that for today. before we began, however, some tidying was in order. We all hate tidying, it is true, so it was well past midday before the room was enough tidy to move on! then as the kitchen wasn’t, we had to do other things first!

SB and I did a great recorder practice, the scales [though not arpeggios] and the 3 exam pieces. gradually coming together. mostly notes and rhythms right, so now to work on phrasing and dynamics! BB and I also did a recorder practice together, and SB did some french.

BB started with her own craft project, which she tells me daddy musn’t know anything about, and SB and I looked at a few matisse pictures and she said she knew what she had in mind and didn’t need to see any more, thankyou very much! BB also had a clear plan, so they got on with that whilst i read

The Pasteur book fits nicely with the science i plan to do later in the week as well. SB and BB both liked these books, and periodically stopped cutting/glueing/sticking to peer at the pictures and have a snuggle. The we moved onto story of the world and queen elizabeth 1. i corrected the succession order from henry VIII story, and then we enjoyed reading it, and then a bit about francis drake and sir walter raleigh from these books

BB’s has gone up on the wall, but SB’s has rather a lot of glue on it, so should be placed on the wall tomorrow! Having covered the kitchen table in Matisse style art, we ate our stirfry watching Dr Who in the living room before off to bed!!