Learning This Week – Anatomy and Math Resources, Poison Oak Remedies, Nature Studies

January has been extremely germy for our family. I don’t quite get why, with the mild climate here on the central CA coast, we still get the extremely immune compromised winter months.  On one hand, its convenient for our human body study, as its been driving home lots of specific immune system questions. When J, my four year old was throwing up with the stomach bug, he repeatedly asked me, “What exact virus is in me? When will my white blood cells kill the virus?” It was kind of heart breaking and amazing at the same time.

Some of our Anatomy study books

Because of the aforementioned bout of stomach flu (which ripped through the whole family), we had to put off celebrating my oldest’s birthday with her buddies, and then I had bronchitis for another week. More fodder for immunity study (or lack thereof!). Finally we had the party – an enchanted forest party at my daughter’s favorite fairy grove. Everyone got Poison Oak. They do know what it looks like, but after years of drought, the sticks of it look kind of weird and were covered in new grass – well, long story short, the girls were pretty pathetic. But I have a new tool in my arsenal, thanks a tip from my dentist’s office manager, who saw my daughter when we came in and told us to go get this stuff post haste. Its stupid expensive ($40 at my local pharmacy, but about half that on Amazon – I’m definitely planning on keeping some on hand – it worked great and saved my day/week).

Its gotten them back outside in trees where they belong!
We also did this DVD, which I love with the heat of a thousand suns:
…because *suddenly* both my 8 and 10 year olds know their multiplication and division facts.I would not say “in an hour,”
 that’s a bit extreme, but after watching the DVD a few times and reviewing their flash cards a few times – DONE.  Which is a very different experience than we had with our visual learner and the dreaded addition/subtraction facts (or that time I accidentally gave my kid math PTSD).  I have both an extreme visual spacial learner and a more audio sequential learner and it was amusing to me to watch the reactions to this. I really got it in an effort to effectively help the visual learner, who has always struggled with memorizing math facts. She actually has amazing memory – she retains ridiculous amounts of information about things she attaches meaning to, but just not random numbers. So this method worked beautifully.  
She immediately caught onto what was going on and loved it. My audio sequential learner was less enthused – she initially was saying, “This is SO WEIRD!!” and “This makes NO SENSE!” but eventually caught on and has gotten all of them memorized easily as well. Even my younger kids have memorized the stories (since its in DVD format, and being media deprived, they will watch anything on a screen). So while I wasn’t intending it for them, hopefully it will make it easier for them later on. 
We were also excited to get a new app from Dragonbox this weekend – Dragonbox Elements.  The kids started playing the original algebra based Dragonbox 5+ and then 12+ last summer and loved them, so they were super excited to try out a Geometry based game from them. While it didn’t give my oldest two as much play time as I had hoped, it was still worth it for all of them to play through I think. I liked that there were multiple levels from easy to hard – my 4 year old has started it and been engaged. I do wish that maybe the levels might have been more significantly different, the way that the Dragonbox games seemed to be. 
I was not just cracking the math whip this week. Although Physics prof husband would love that.  
I try to balance that compulsion.
A few nature studies I enjoyed this week:

C – 6 years old – He likes to get up early and observe the birds at our feeders. 
He old me this picture shows the progression of the bird looking for food

MG’s (8) Dark Eyed Junco (lots of these at our feeders right now)
This cracked me up – I looked over to find this on C’s math book and his narrating, 
“hahah, I have ENSLAVED YOU ALL!”  
Not long after, my oldest ran in, exasperated with her writing assignment, saying that she couldn’t think of anything to complete them that didn’t involve death.
I think I read once that one of the benefits of homeschooling is 
“really knowing your children’s hearts.”
Erm, yes.

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