Saturday, February 09, 2013

Week 17...History, Geography and Dissections, Oh My!

Since October 25, my life has been overwhelmed by a lifestyle decision--that in order to be healthy, I was going to have to break down and finally get some exercise. The first three months of this choice have been wonderful, difficult, exhilarating, and overwhelming! Figuring out how to balance three days of going to the box (it's a box, it's not a "gym") and still get school done has been a bit of a trick, but we've been doing okay. I have taken every opportunity to get the kids involved in the process of changing our health and fitness. They continue to love attending CrossFit Kids, and Matt is going to participate in his first CF competition in a couple of weeks! Along with the fitness emphasis, I have also enjoyed spending time with my girl in the kitchen. It is wonderful to see both kids interested in making healthier choices in our diet, as well.

Making bone broth in the pressure cooker
Don't worry, I corrected her right after I snapped the photo!

This week, however, I made the serendipitous mistake of sleeping past my WOD time. The kids were not at all eager to have me rushing out the door to make it to class, so I went to the 3:30 p.m. class instead. What a difference that made in our day! I decided to see if it was just a fluke and went at the same time on Wednesday, and again, it was a great school day! Regular exercise and diet change has also blessed me with sustained energy throughout the day, and so I am able to stay focused, clear-headed and in control of the tasks, allowing us to get far more done. The result was that in this week my CrossFit life and homeschool life came into balance, and actually complemented, rather than competed with each other. I realize in light of this that it's been a while since I did a thorough weekly report, and so today I will bring everything up to date.

Math and language lessons are going well. Matt has begun working through the Art of Problem Solving's Pre-Algebra book, and Molly is doing multi-digit subtraction. Matt is wrapping up week 8 of Writing with Skill (we take two weeks per lesson) and continued his work in Analytical Grammar.
In history the kids have been learning about the beginning of WWI, and I continue to be impressed at the level of reading Matt is willing to do on the subject. He asked me to get a copy of Mein Kampf so he could try to read it. I obliged, of course. He is reading a biography of Roosevelt, and various other selections. One of his favorite books this year has been the very well-written and illustrated World Wars book, published by Usborne. We also colored maps that showed the extent of Germany's domination in Europe, and compared that to modern-day maps. We are also reading the story of Corrie Ten Boom together aloud.

In literature Molly listened to Mr. Popper's Penguins and Matt is reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Together we are listening to the unabridged Fellowship of the Ring.

In science, we are continuing our studies of Anatomy and Physiology, and both absolutely love the lessons, the notebook pages, and the labs. This week we dissected a sheep heart and a frog. I was amazed at how the kids were not grossed out by the experience at all, but rather wanted to see, feel and identify everything. The smell of the specimens was far more difficult for them to tolerate than any other aspect of the experience (as evidenced by many of my daughter's facial expressions!) Both of them thoroughly enjoyed the lab, despite the nauseated looks. It was great that Dad got to be part of the experience, too, as he happened to have the day off.

Excited to get started!
Dad this smells gross!

We found the aorta!
Using the probe to pass through the aorta into the left ventricle.
The kids really enjoyed identifying the muscles, digestive organs, liver, kidneys and heart of the frog, which they have learned in previous chapters.

Proud of their work!


  1. I'd love to know how you make bone broth in your pressure cooker!

    1. It's super-easy. I just googled how to do it, then followed the directions! I will say, however, that I was using beef bones only, and I doubled the time that the recipe that I read called for. I put in onions, garlic, carrots, celery, herbs and apple cider vinegar and pressure cooked it for two hours. Done! Yum! It turned out nice and dark with plenty of fat on the surface, but not a lot of gelatin. I think if you want more gelatin you may want to combine chicken bones in it or cook it even longer.

  2. I love how you are not afraid to introduce dissection so early on! I am currently back in College and taking Anatomy & Physiology myself (I have dissected a few things: Eye balls, brain, and a heart too!). My kids love looking through my text and learning as I am learning. Recently, we dissected a eyeball and an oyster together.
    Anyways, this is a wonderful blog and I will defiantly continue to read it. If you want please stop by mine if you want ~>

    1. Thanks for the comment, Keri! I'll stop by your blog and take a look!

  3. Exercise! Why must that form part of any get-healthy regime! I need some inspiration myself at the moment.... - Victoria

    1. Aw, Victoria, I have been there...for years. But now that I am out of the hole of needing inspiration to exercise to actually doing it, I cannot tell you what a difference it has made. I literally feel like a new woman. Find a place that you like and really want to go back to. I highly recommend a CrossFit community if there is one in your area. It's the people that keep me going back--the exercise itself is not enough motivation for me--there is so much accountability and the exercise is the absolute best! No boring treadmills, no aerobics classes.

  4. I love this! You're way more brave than me to do this dissection (only did that in high school and that was enough for me!) I also love all the good teaching tips and info you give on your blog. I have a blog to share free teaching resources I make, so I can really appreciate all your hard work! Best wishes to you and your family!!



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