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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 1M ago

We recently started covering 2nd Grade Curriculum and the first book we began reading was The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

It was the first Literature assignment for Level 2 of the Build your Own Library curriculum.

We are lucky to live so close to a place where so many Swans are together.

The Swans at Lake Morton are not exactly Trumpeter Swans, like in the book, but we didn’t let that hamper our outing.

We read the last chapter on this beautiful afternoon and bought some swan food at the dispensers to feed them.

We also got to see other shore creatures, or the remains of them, up close.

Then we all headed back to Grandma’s house to watch the movie.

Over all, we all had a wonderful day!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Field Trip: The Trumpet of the Swan appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 1M ago

Our son loves computers.  He loves to play with all the parts and components and asking questions about everything from resistors to LEDs.   So for our latest project for our Ender 3, I decided to make a Prototyping Board for him to play with all the components while keeping them and him safe, while still giving him the flexibility to learn and experiment with it.

Thingiverse came to the rescue.  It has lots of great designs to choose from and I finally settled on this one.

Once, we got it put together, we took it for a test drive.  To start off we picked an easy project: turning an LED on and off with the Raspberry Pi.

Supplies Setting It Up

Once we got all our supplies, we recreated this diagram:

Turning on the LEDs

We ran the following Python Code:

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)
GPIO.setwarnings(False)
GPIO.setup(18,GPIO.OUT)
print “LED on”
GPIO.output(18,GPIO.HIGH)
time.sleep(1)
print “LED off”
GPIO.output(18,GPIO.LOW)

Then we switched to an RGB LED which can change colors from Red to Green to Blue and started playing with the code to use additional GPIO 23 and 24 for the additional Colors.

It worked so well we printed an Arduino Prototyping board and repeated the experiment.

It was a lot easier than I could have ever imagined.

I think the hardest part was getting over the mental block that this wasn’t rocket science.  Thankfully, our son doesn’t have these mental blocks and took to it very quickly.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Powering LEDs with Arduino and Raspberry Pi appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 1M ago

When we started, our Son was just finishing up K12 Kindergarten doing Single digit addition and Subtraction.   We had supplemented on our own and had gotten past the basic rules of math, including the Zero Properties Law of addition (any number plus 0 equals the same number),  Zero Properties Law of multiplication (multiplying anything by 0 is 0), multiplying by 1s always equaling the same number.  He also knew about variables since we had been playing with programming in Python for over a year.  So when our son started showing an interest in learning Algebra, I started to do a little research and found  How I Taught a 6-Year-Old Algebra in Four Months.

After reading the article, I knew was something we could totally accomplish.

Practicing Multiplication Tables

So why did you want to do this?

First of all, our son wanted to.

Second of all, when I went to school, Math was not my strongest subject.  I always felt like I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out or understand it.  This culminated in College when I had to take the basic required Algebra Class THREE TIMES.  But things are very different now.  I now know that there is no subject that can’t be learned given the right time and effort and the multitude of resources online.  In school, it wasn’t that I wasn’t smart enough, it was just that I hadn’t found the right way that worked for me to learn it.

Third of all,  I believe that learning math at an early age can help build confidence in his abilities.

The Goal

To be fair, the definition of Algebra is very broad.  So I wanted to set a specific and measurable goal just to be fair with ourselves.

I choose some sample worksheets from Math-Antics, a site we love, to set the standard.

My goal ended up being closer to passing a pre-alegbra placement test than anything else.

How It Went

We started by practicing our basic math and making sure we felt 100% comfortable with basic addition and subtraction.  Then we jumped into learning the tricks for multiplying by 10, adding a 0 to that number and then 100 and so on.

Once we had Step 1 solidly under his belt, we moved on to Step 2 and I broke it down into mini goals:

  • Learn Multiplication Tables up to 20 (or up to where he was comfortable as needed but at least to 12)
  • Learn skip counting for 2’s, than 3’s and so on.

I had a set of flash cards up to 12 times tables and we worked together to write a multiplication python game.  We also watched lots of YouTube videos on skip counting songs using his innate abilities for memorization.

Through the process we continued to develop his confidence in his addition and subtraction.  Building to adding and subtracting 2 and 3 digit numbers.

From there we moved on to Step 3 and Step 4, getting past base 10 multiplication and finding patterns.  It also helped that he was reading the 13 Story Tree-house Series,  which totally helped him nail the 13 times tables.

Step 5 was more practice, practice, practice to build more confidence.

We did have some hiccups with double digit subtraction around this time.  He kept wanting to take each number as a single digit and subtract it to a negative number, but we worked through explaining why that didn’t work, plus a little more practice helped.

Getting to the Hard Stuff

Then we moved on to Step 6, Exponents and Roots.  We did this along with Step 9, as he heard “order of operations” in a video and wanted to know what it was.

Another video showed how the ^ is used for exponents and different ways to write multiplication and division.

We backtracked to Step 7 and focused on Division.  This got a little tricky until we explained the relationship between multiplication and division and then it clicked.

During this time we also learned about Rational and Irrational Numbers,  Subtraction of fractions with the same denominator, and so much more.

Finally, Step 8, once these principles were clear we worked on long form addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.  We had already introduced long form through out the process where it made sense but at this point we focused on it implicitly.

The Outcome

Can our son solve College Level algebra problems? No.

Is he more confident in Math than I ever was in the whole of my academic career! YES!

Was it hard?  Sometimes.  I had to get creative with my explanations.  Sometimes it wouldn’t click with the initial explanation so we turned to another option or video or approach and tried again.

Through this process we also learned some geometry, including polygons, parallelograms and quadrilaterals. We also learned about Negative Numbers and Fractions too.

We still have a lot more to cover but, so far we didn’t invest more than a couple hours a weeks but I feel that our gains are priceless!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post How We Taught Our 6-Year-Old Pre-Algebra appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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Last year, we did our homeschooling using K12 Curriculum. The curriculum was good but it wasn’t quite the right fit for us.

So this year we decided we would take matters into our own hands.

The first thing we decided was that we would Homeschool year round.  This would give us more flexibility to take time off or deep dive on other interests and not feel guilty about keeping up with a schedule.

Next came the decisions on what we would use for our Curriculum.

Starting at the Core

First, I started with the basics.  Math, Language Arts, History and Science.  I had been stalking a member of some Facebook groups and had read many mentions and recommendations for Build Your Own Library.  I liked the idea of a reading based curriculum and already had a few of the books on the Level 1 list since we had been following the Mensa Excellence in Reading K-3 Challenge.    Build Your Own Library covers History, Mythology, Literature/Language Arts, Copywork, Poetry, Art and Science.

Build Your Own Library does not include a Math component but I had also heard many good things about Beast Academy so I started off by taking their 2A assessment.   I was prepared for our son not to pass as it begins with 2nd Grade Math and was planing to supplement any areas where he had any weakness  but to our surprise he did very well.

So that took care of the core subjects.

Supplements

With the core covered, we have also supplemented some of the areas where our son shows the most interest. Specifically Science with The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye videos.  Also, lots of  extra hands on experiments from the shows which has been a lot of fun.

We are also supplementing Math and learning Algebra. (More on that soon!)

We are also slowly adding in a more formal language arts program called Grammar Galaxy which is a lot of fun.

Lots of nature time! Dad is teaching our son about the animals and about growing and grafting plants.

Lots of Play!  Every try to fit in a s many Lego Dioramas and RPG style re-enactments for Historical Events as possible. (More on that soon!)

Electives

From there we went on to our electives. This year we are doing Spanish, Chess, Computers/Programming and Intro to Robotics.

Spanish is lots of practice speaking and even watching some TV Shows and Movies in Spanish and discussing the words and what they mean.

Chess has been predominately split between using Chess Kid and playing chess games as a family.

Computers and Programming has been teaching our son about Linux, playing with Raspberry Pis as well as Scratch and Pyton programming.

We recently added, Intro to Robotics which I have been putting together with YouTube videos, Snap Circuits and Breadboards to teach our son the basics.

We also do a Life Skill lesson at least once a week and cover Health, Physical Fitness, Cooking and other basics.

After making all our decisions and taking the assessment to gauge our son’s level we have also decided to complete 1st and 2nd Grade this year as most of his assessments place him at those levels.  Thankfully, the freedom of Homeschooling allows us to meet our son’s needs and challenge him to keep him engaged.

What subjects will you be doing for Homeschool this school year?

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Homeschooling: First and Second Grade [Our Curriculum 2018-2019] appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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Last year, we did our Homeschooling with the assistance of K12.com.

Listening to his teachers on K12

We were excited for the opportunity for our first official year of  homeschooling to use a complete curriculum which we didn’t have to question or give much thought to.  The lessons were all planed out and scheduled, hence we could keep track each day using their Online Dashboard.

We got all the items we needed in the box except for a headset which we ordered online.

Classes started in August and we were told there would be some testing to asses the sons levels.  Once complete groups would be assigned to suit each students needs.  I was looking forward to getting some feedback and to see where he placed among his peers.  Unfortunately, our son tested out of all the groups and there was no “Advanced” group for him to be in.  This meant less sessions for him to take part in but it also meant he was bored to tears in the regular class sessions.

We asked what we should do since he finished his assignments very quickly because he already knew the material.  Their response was that we should give him extra assignments.  (Certainly, if I was going to go searching for extra assignments, I could search for a full curriculum that fit his needs!)

Because of this, the year became an endless battle.  Our son hated the exercise of doing the worksheets because nothing was new or challenging to him.

Pros and Cons of K12
PROS CONS
We didn’t have to think about the curriculum. The curriculum wasn’t a specific fit for our son.
We couldn’t move at our own pace.
We had to attend “Class Connect” classes at specific times of the day.

I was also not thrilled with the teachers skipping lessons, moving ahead or changing their minds.

What it boils down to is that K12 just is regular brick and mortar school at home.

It may be the right fit for some, but it is definitely not the right fit for us.

Ready for K12 Graduation

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Why We Will Not Be Using K12 in Our Homeschool appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 7M ago

Making and keeping a Science Nature journal is a fun way for kids of all ages to study nature.  I did one in College as part of my Ecology of South Florida class and I always promised myself I would make sure to create one with my kids.

The Purpose Science Nature Journal

A nature journal is a place to jot down thoughts, ideas, observations, and experiences with nature. It is an opportunity to reinforce and expand on learning.  It can also be handy to keep a record of outdoor learning lessons we complete each week as part of our homeschooling requirements.

Our focus is to learn about the weeds and edible plants that grow on our homestead, the animals that come to visit/call this area home and the environment and ecosystems around us.

A Good Start

This week we started keeping one as a way to keep notes on all the opportunities to study the natural world around us and we are on a roll.

Yesterday, we learned about Dragonflies and their purpose, Spanish Needles and how to identify American Nightshade.  We also talked about how the berries are toxic and being careful about what we eat when we are in nature.

Today we went to visit a friend and while we played outside, we found an unusual caterpillar.  We talked about how some are dangerous and can sting as a form of protecting themselves.

Learned about Moss and pet a friendly chicken.

We also found another plant to learn more about.  These look like, Spanish Needles (Bidens Alba) but we found that these are actually a type of Daisy, and learned that their scientific name is Erigeron annuus.

We also ran into a Monarch Butterfly that was probably just hatching and drying its wings to get ready to fly.  This gave us the opportunity to learn about their life cycles and how they grow.

When we got home, we jotted it all down in our K-2 Primary Journal with extra large lines and space for drawings.  Not only are we learning about Science and Nature but also practicing penmanship, vocabulary and grammar.

For now we are just keeping track of Names, Scientific Names and Descriptions (in our own words).  We posted the picture of the Daisy’s to a plant identification group, and searched the rest on Wikipedia and Youtube.  I am also using Google Images for Coloring book type illustrations and gluing them into our notebook.  Then our son color’s them in and writes his descriptions.

So far we are off to a good start and our son is enjoying it.

Stay tuned as the journey continues!

RESOURCES:
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Creating a Science Nature Journal with Kids appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 7M ago

This weekend, we found that the Mulberries started turning their delicious shade of purple-ly black.  As I happily picked the berries, I mentioned to the Hubby that we should definitely continue to propagate the Mulberries as they were  doing fantastically.  His response was that we should start Air Layering.

What is Air Layering?

I had to ask him, because I didn’t know.

Air layering is a propagation technique used to root plants quickly and effectively, he explained.  The stem is stripped of it’s bark while keeping it attached to the parent plant.  Then it wrapped with soil or damp moss encouraging roots to form.

We grabbed a few thicker than average bags and some electrical tape and got to working.

We found some good candidates and stripped off the top layer of bark.  He got all fancy using the actual name of the layer but I just called it bark.

He wrapped it up and applied some moist soil before wrapping the other side.

We did several sets and of Mulberries and plan to do a few more plants.

The Air Layers need to set for about 60 days before unwrapping and checking our handy work.

Stay tuned as the adventures continue!

RESOURCES:

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture, Second Edition
American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Plant Propagation A to Z: Growing Plants for Free

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Air Layering Plants appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 10M ago

Last year, we visited a friends house who let us U-pick Blueberries and Mulberries. This year, we were finally able to harvest enough Mulberries from our own trees to match a batch of jelly.

Making Mulberry Jelly

It took me about 3 days to pick the two pounds of Mulberries, in short leisurely bursts as we gardened.


At the same time, I started a big pot of boiling water to sanitize the jars, tops and lids.

Once it reached a boil, I used a Food Mill to get out the rest of the juice and a fine mesh strainer.  This produces a silky thick juice to which I add the sugar and pectin.

The Recipe

Making Mulberry Jelly
 
A smooth Mulberry Jelly
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and Rinse Mulberries
  2. Put water to a non-reactive pot and add berries
  3. With a potato masher, mash the berries as they heat up to a boil
  4. Separate ¼ cup of sugar and combine with 1 pkg of Sure-Jell.
  5. Stir into fruit.
  6. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Stir in remaining sugar.
  8. Return to a rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon (Do not discard as it goes great on ice cream)
  11. Ladle into jars and can as desired.
3.5.3226

 

8 plus one in the fridge and enough leftovers for Ice Cream Taste tests

It is starting to become a tradition that any time we make jams or jellies, our first taste test is always on Vanilla Ice Cream.

Warm Mulberry Jam on Vanilla Ice Cream

Bacon Egg Cheese Mulberry Jelly Sandwich, a Breakfast take on the Elena Ruth

This morning, I made our son his favorite PBJ sandwich with Mulberry Jelly and Dad even added some to his Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich for an extra Yum!

Have you ever tried Mulberry Jam? Bough or Made it? Drop us a comment!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Making Mulberry Jelly appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 10M ago

This weekend, we found that the Mulberries started turning their delicious shade of purple-ly black.  As I happily picked the berries, I mentioned to the Hubby that we should definitely continue to propagate the Mulberries as they were  doing fantastically.  His response was that we should start Air Layering.

What is Air Layering?

I had to ask him, because I didn’t know.

Air layering is a propagation technique used to root plants quickly and effectively, he explained.  The stem is stripped of it’s bark while keeping it attached to the parent plant.  Then it wrapped with soil or damp moss encouraging roots to form.

We grabbed a few thicker than average bags and some electrical tape and got to working.

We found some good candidates and stripped off the top layer of bark.  He got all fancy using the actual name of the layer but I just called it bark.

He wrapped it up and applied some moist soil before wrapping the other side.

We did several sets and of Mulberries and plan to do a few more plants.

The Air Layers need to set for about 60 days before unwrapping and checking our handy work.

Stay tuned as the adventures continue!

RESOURCES:

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture, Second Edition
American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Plant Propagation A to Z: Growing Plants for Free

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Air Layering Plants appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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