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Saturday, June 29, 2013

End of School Get Together and Math Final

Whew DJ got an 81 on his FLVS Math final. You had to pass the final to pass the course. Passing was much lower than 81, but I am very happy after almost three hours, he got a good grade. The Math has been tough for us, but we start segment 2 on Monday. In celebration of the end of school, except for Math, we headed to Fanning Springs on Thursday with some friends from our homeschool group. This spring is about ten min from our home, and it was thundering! We went anyways and thank goodness after about 30 min of storming it cleared out. The kids had a ball. DJ loved swimming with all the fish and the water was so nice and clear. The water is 72 degrees all year, and quite shockingly freezing when you first get in. I mean it was freezing! At any rate after about two hours the next storm moved in and we had to leave. But, still lots of fun! If you would like to learn more about Florida's natural springs, check out the book below. If you ever get to Florida, the springs are an amazing place to visit.
All the pictures we took are on the other computer, so I can't share them at this very minute.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Horseshoe Crabs, and A Baby Turtle Egg

Today, we headed off to Cedar Key, with our Earth Kids group, to hunt for seashells. We got there just as high tide was beginning so finding seashells was a bit tricky. However, we did get to dig for some and found some. Cedar Key is not one of my favorite places to swim on the Gulf, the water is not clear and I can not see what is in there. Caitlin didn't mind though. The Horseshoe Crabs were mating and nesting. This means while they are mating the male is fertilizing the eggs that the the female was dropping into the sand below her. What I did not realize is that they do this right along the shoreline. They lay up to 120,00 eggs at a time, really! Unfortunately birds eat most of the eggs before they mature. Well duh why don't they bury them in further? I don't know either. Anyway according to the sign posted, they do this until July 1st so they don't all do it at the same time like Sea Turtles do. We saw like 15 Horseshoe Crabs, but they were not all mating. When I got home I just had to look up when the eggs will hatch, so hopefully we can catch it. Of course it has to do with moon and tide cycles, but in about two weeks they will be ready. Of course that doesn't mean anything, they can actually wait months to hatch. Ugh how am I supposed to witness a miraculous event on such a weird schedule? Then we found what appears to be a turtle egg that someone stepped on or something stepped on it. It was open and obviously not viable anymore. At first we thought it was a baby bird, but when I cleaned it off in the water it actually appeared to be a baby turtle. I brought it home so we can look at it under the microscope. Neat huh? Anyway back to the Horseshoe Crabs, which btw are not really crabs. Their eggs are so tiny that one picture I looked at showed like 15 eggs on the end of someone's finger. They are teeny tiny. I hope to get to witness the event of them hatching, but I am not optimistic. Cedar Key is about an hour from my house and well you know what that means.  Oh and that barb thing they have it is not dangerous.  We didn't know that either.  It looks dangerous.  The kids had a ball and we ended up learning about stuff we didn't even mean to. Love it! To learn more about Horseshoe Crabs and see their eggs visit the two links shown.  Oh and speaking of moons this weekend, with Sunday the optimal day, is the Super Moon.  I hope it stays clear so I can get some awesome shots.  Don't miss it if you are geek like me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Did You Know Nature Facts

Did you know that giant Water Lilies in the Amazon can grow to over 6 feet in diameter?  To see images of the Giant Water Lily go here.  To watch a video and learn more about Giant Water Lilies, visit Science Kids.  To learn about how to figure out the diameter of something, visit this page.  I plan on using these Did You Know posts throughout the next school year, and over Summer Vacation to keep schooling interesting and fun.  You can use them too!  I will try to post a new one each day with some fun lessons to go with each one. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Last Day of School

Today was our official last day of school, for this school year. Now I have to get their portfolios together. I will probably work on that on a rainy day. I love the sun, and sitting by the pool. I do not like the heat and humidity though. So, by one I am in the house hibernating until about eight. We are doing only Math now, and DJ does have a couple more History chapters to finish up. Nothing that takes long. I started doing flash cards with Caitlin, for addition and subtraction, this past week. She uses a number line and fingers, but I figured she should start memorizing them instead. She cried and whined liked she was going to die. It is going to be too hard, blah blah blah. She knew almost all of them. Granted she could be faster, and that will come with practice. Why does she do that? She did the same thing with Reading. Told me forever she couldn't do it, and then I caught her reading one night a chapter book to her doll. Little stinker! But, I still don't understand why she wants me to think she doesn't know stuff. Even though she is doing Math over the Summer, I am going to try to sneak in some spelling. Her spelling actually too is better than she leads me to believe. I think she is just a lazy student. That sounds awful, but the truth hurts sometimes. We just had our first Tropical Storm, and my plants were in Heaven. I think I don't water them enough, even though I water every day. With the exception of the roses, the veggies will have to just be soaked I guess. I have friends that planted the same time as me and have veggies already. I have had tomatoes, but that plant is two years old, and produced tomatoes all Winter. So, unless I am certain it is going to rain I will be dousing them with water every day. The bunny poo helps alot too. I am also doing 30 Days of Creativity for the month of June. If you would like to see what I have been creating, please visit my blog Melissas Jewelry and Gems. DJ has let his blog slide a bit, but not because he has not been writing. He did an online Language Arts course, and it was a lot of reading and writing. He got an A in that class. Now he has decided to write a book over the Summer. He writes about a chapter each night. He really is very good. I am going to see if he will publish it. Of course it will have to be proofread and edited before all that. I also am preparing for my sister to come for a week on the 12th, and getting ready for the next school year. I will be doing posts over the Summer about interesting facts you may not know. Some of them are like, Wow! Happy Summer!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Yay Tadpoles!

I got some tadpoles, yes! These are for our Earth Kids Group, and the kids will get to watch them change into a frog. They are in a large recycled pickle jar. We added some rocks and decorations for them to hide. A friend had them in her pool and she brought them to me today. I hope this will be a success. I have read all the info on how to keep them and raise them, and it isn't hard. Keep your finger crossed. We have four of them. I would say they are about ten days old and they will stay tadpoles for about four to six weeks. Ooh how exciting! I know I am a nerd.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Greathouse Butterfly Farm

On Thursday we took a field trip to the Greathouse Butterfly Farm, in Melrose, FL. This is a small butterfly farm and all organic. They have grown immensely over the years. They did a nice little presentation and we learned a lot of stuff we didn't already know. Like, did you know that butterflies actually lick the nectar with their tongue like feature, by pulling the nectar towards their mouth. They then took us on a tour. The kids got to feed the butterflies, something we were not allowed to do at the other butterfly facility we visited. They had tons of host plants, and yes of course I bought one. I bought a Cassia tree, and I will post more about that later. Another thing I didn't know, is that the Luna Moth only lives three days and that when butterflies lay their eggs, they don't necessarily lay them on the host plant, but rather somewhere near the host plant. This is to confuse predators that will eat the eggs right off the plant, before they are able to hatch. Each child got to plant a Milkweed plant, a host plant for Monarch Butterflies, and bring it home with them. We will be planting all our new plants tomorrow. We got pictures of lots of chrysalis' and we even got to see several butterflies hatching from their chrysalis. An experience that is always fun to see. DJ took a lot of pictures of the beautiful flowers, while I took tons of the butterflies and other interesting things. The other images are stored on the other computer, so they are on my FB page. You can order dormant butterflies, that when defrosted you can release into the wild. I think this is so beautiful for a wedding or graduation, or just as a learning experience for kids. If you would like to visit the Greathouse Butterfly Farm, just click the link to visit their website. They do not yet have an online store, but you can call and order from them, and what awesome wedding pictures could you get there!

As DJ gets older, and school gets harder, field trips can no longer be squeezed into a school day.  That is why I am so glad I started the Earth Kids Group, we can do fun stuff outside of school hours with a group of friends.  

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