Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7

Bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." -Wikipedia

I have been experimenting with this, particularly as it applies to our bright, clear light in the West. I am not interested in photographing night-lights (one of the main uses of bokeh), but rather capturing the colors and light of nature. When you remove the detail of the picture, you are left with nothing but color and light, which gives you but a mere impression of what was there. Like impressionism, it is more concerned with the impression of a something then the actual true-to-life representation.

Most people use bokeh to set off the main subject of the picture, but blurring the background. Sometimes, it can be used to really add to the atmosphere and 'place' the subject in its surroundings, without distracting from it.

Like this-

I am experimenting with using bokeh as the main subject matter, portrayed as color, light and shapes, rather then detail and precision.


Early spring leaves...

And this one is my favorite

I really like this one. It is more traditional; bokeh is not the subject, but rather the background. But I just had to include it anyway. :D

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wiggly, squiggly, brown and squishy...... worms!!!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7

Cj has been BEGGING to learn about worms. With the advents of spring and gardening both bringing to mind the wiggly critters, we decided to make the time. Wow! What amazing creatures! We all learned a lot, got dirty, and had a great time.

We started with the Worm Lapbook from Homeschool Share. And a tub of nightcrawlers from the Sporting Goods section at Walmart. :D

Since pictures are worth 1000 words...

Putting dirt in our worm jars....

(We had an extra kid)

Adding water....

He seems happy in his new home..... (can worms feel emotions?)

They are wrapped in black paper and covered, to keep out all the light....

Now we move on to the worm dissection....

Just kidding, CJ was horrified at the idea of killing his beloved "squirmy wormys". But we did examine them, and it was really fascinating, even for Mom!


This is a worm portrait. Yes, worms do have heads. And brains! Who knew??

(in case you ever want to have meaningful conversation with a worm, talk to the pointy end. You will get better results. They hate it when people mix up their ends. )

After all that fun, we just had to do one more thing.....

You can't leave out the gummy worms in a worm unit!!

Some amazing, little-know worm facts:

Worms do have 5 hearts, but they are all together in the same place, so they don't become two worms when you chop them in half.

Worms do have the ability to grow new parts, even a head if the conditions are all right.

Worms are not native to North America, but were brought here on pilgrim ships, when they brought plants from Europe.

Worms can be used to tell you how good your soil is... the more the better.

Commercial worm farms feed their livestock a mixture of cornmeal and coffee grounds.

The largest worm ever recorded was 22 feet long, and discovered in Africa.

There are now worms on every continent in the world. There are thousands of worm species, and over 2,000 earthworm species alone.

Some worms live in the ocean.

Worms have no eyes or lungs, but they breathe air and sense light.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When I grow up, I wanna be... a Firefighter!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7

What do YOU want to be when you grow up? Well, if you are 4 or 5, probably everything. Bop is going to be a cowgirl- princess-doctor, and CJ is definitely going to be a policeman that also fights fires. So last week's study was perfect for him.

When I grow up, I want to be... A Firefighter!

We were using the Firefighter study in The Old Schoolhouse's "Wanna Be" series. This series includes several different career choices that are exciting for children to consider. The books in this series are $8.95 each, and include studies on farmers, doctors, artists, and police officers, along with several more. They are also available as a set, including all ten of the units.

The study starts out with an introduction, and then jumps right into the material for the student. We first read about the history of firefighting, and it was brief yet thorough. I found several things there I didn't know! We went on to learn about firefighting equipment and building codes. Other sections included more about the life of firefighters, including salary and training.

One large section that surprised me was about robotics. It was a great fit for a firefighting unit, and it included examples, pictures, and directions for building your own model robotic arm.

There are enough literature and math activities to make this a truly complete unit study, with no extra planning needed. However, there are lists of additional resources, Internet links and suggested books, if you want to dig deeper. I was impressed by the long list of vocabulary words, and the copy-work and crossword puzzle added a fun touch. All answers are included in the back of the e-book, so there is no extra work for mom.

As we started using the unit, I noticed right off that this study, while aimed for ages 4-10, was a little too old for Bop and CJ. The math and literature was much too complicated, so unfortunately we had to skip it completely. I was impressed by the scope of the copy-work, however, which included phrases and single words, in both manuscript and cursive. Bop enjoys copying words, so that was fun for her.

The other activities, such as the crossword puzzle and the word search were also geared for older children, but they looked perfect for memorizing terms and spellings. We enjoyed coloring the special pictures of a Dalmatian and a fire 'apparatus' (They aren't called fire trucks- one of the things I learned) . But the best part was hiding at the end of the study- party time! Everything you need for your very own firefighting party, including tons of fun games and great snack ideas! Exactly what is called for to celebrate the end of a unit study.

It ended up being a subject we all enjoyed learning about (even the cowgirl princess) and it was a very complete and broad-scoped unit. I was disappointed that there was so much we couldn't do, but if you have older children I would highly recommend this series. And you can be sure that your younger ones can be included in a lot of it, too.

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