Relaxed homeschooling, lungs, and blood...What Fun!

Somehow this year, we seem to have found our homeschooling groove. I don't know if it's that A and I have both become much more relaxed in our approach, the fact that she is 6 and a half now, or what, but we seem to be getting more amazing things done this year than ever before in a much more laid back way.

While the OCD me still needs structure, I am seeing some truth in this unschooling thing, and am incorporating so many of the ideas behind it.
Our schedule has become very loose. We study what we feel called to. We've stopped calling the time that we focus on structure 'School' and have started calling it our 'Study Time'.
I am seeing A learn, create, and thrive in the time we spend just living. She is writing more, building more, and exploring more.

A has been spending an incredible amount of time on her I-pad with an app call Monster Physics. The amount of learning she is experiencing through play is mind boggling. She is teaching me physics concepts that I never even knew existed.

The legos have also made a resurgence this week. Currently there is a massive dessert lego scene that has taken over my coffee table, complete with straw gathered from outside to serve as bedding for the horses and camels. 

Comic writing is still going strong. A has been working for the past week on a comic about 2 friends out camping when zombies attacked. It's almost complete, so I'll have to post a pic of that soon.
Then this afternoon, A pulled out her comic templates and created this gem.
A story of a red blood cells life- "fictional, just based loosely on a few facts mom" she informed me.

A is still extremely interested in all things relating to Anatomy, so last week we decided to focus on the respiratory system. We of course read a lot of books, watched a few BrainPop videos, and dove head first into some fun demonstrations like this one that was in one of the books we read.

Then A and I figured out how to make a model lung. I have seen these online before, but all only had one balloon to represent a lung. A wanted it to be realistic, so we figured out this model.
We cut the bottom off a 2 liter coke bottle. We took 2 straws and on the bendy end attached a balloon to each one with a rubber band. We placed that in the bottle, bending the balloons away from each other. These are the lungs.
Pull the top of the 2 straws through the lip of the bottle.  Use a glob of playdough to surround the top of the lip and the straws in order to keep the only air coming in through the straws. 
Cut a piece of a plastic produce bag to place over the bottom of the bottle. Attach to bottle with a rubber band. Then we added a tab made from painters tape to the plastic to use as a handle to pull the plastic (diaphragm)
Pull down and watch the lungs inflate... tada!
A set of working lungs!

This week we are focusing on blood. YAY! And so we started out by making a model of our blood.
Here's how...
Start out with a 1 liter bottle filled about half way with water and colored with yellow food coloring. This will give you the Plasma.
For the red blood cells you will need to get some red Cheerios. How exactly you might ask? Well, place a bunch of Cheerios in a plastic baggie with red food coloring and squish it around. Perfection... Oh but use gloves. I didn't and my hands are still stained! LOL
What better thing to use for the white blood cells than marshmallows. Perfect as they are bigger than the Cheerios, just as white blood cells are larger than red blood cells. 
You can see A sneaking some to eat in the picture below. LOL
We made some platelets out of little pieces of different colored pipe cleaners.
 Add a large amount of Cheerios to the Plasma. Your blood will begin to turn red. Just like red blood cells are what give blood it's red color. Next add a few marshmallows. Remember there are way less of these than red blood cells in our blood. Next add your platelets. Screw the lid firmly in place and shake to mix. Lay bottle of it's side and observe your 'blood'
 A super cool project to help learn the different components of blood and a good way to gross out dad when he comes home LOL.
Have fun experimenting!


Tammy said…
I love these ideas!

We're not ready for this yet with Drake, but I will def keep this in mind when we do.

Keep the great posts about H'schooling and Island life coming!
Joyful Learner said…
I love A's Cell story. That is something K loves to do. I love all the science projects!