Thursday, December 7, 2017

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Yes, I love snow, but I also pray for a "Isaiah 1:18" white Christmas for each of my students.  "Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow..."  Christ Has Radically Invaded Satan's Territory Making Available Salvation.

In World History,  we have been studying the Reformation.  This past October 31, we celebrated 500 years of freedom from the darkness of the Roman Catholic Church of medieval Europe.  Martin Luther and his life were a huge impact in this event as well as Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and even Felix Manz (the first anabaptist martyr).  Ask Marvin how he is related to Felix? 

In M.S. Science, we have been doing a Unit on meteorology. No, it is not the study of meteors, but rather the study of weather!  To spice things up a little, the entire class is currently working and brainstorming (no pun intended) on a project that we hope to upload on Youtube.  This is still in the works, but they are learning some good lessons on group work as well. 

In Health, which is just one semester, we have been studying diseases.  What is the most common infectious disease to mankind?  Ask your health student...and if you don't have one, the answer is dental caries (fancy way to say cavity)  Next week, we will begin our final unit on drugs and alcohol.  Finally, the week before Christmas, there will be a semester exam so encourage your child to study up!

In Biology, we finished up macro (living things you can see without a microscope) and began the wonderful world of microorganisms. Bacteria are the "simplest" organisms on earth, yet even they display extreme complexity in structure and even in the way they move about.  

In Physics, we are studying astronomical equations and how gravity and mass affects the physical situations of life.  Levi and Dennis were able to use different equations to calculate the difference of situations on the moon compared to the earth and even how the distance between them affects the outcome as well.

In Physiology, we have been studying the Nervous System.  This is the most difficult part of curriculum and the girls are doing a great job of learning the anatomy and physiology of the CNS and PNS.  They have been brainstorming (no pun intended) ways to incorporate these lessons in future education as 2 of the 3 girls are planning on getting into a medical profession.  Katelyn found it interesting that you don't have pain sensors in your brain so at one time, doctors could do a brain surgery while patients were still awake!

Friday, November 10, 2017

3 Months. That's about how long we've been in school already, and time is not slowing down. Don't blink, or you'll miss the rest of the school year!

I just finished grading a math test in which the student was more accurate than the answer key. Not only that, the student didn't miss a problem on the test! Impressive? Absolutely, and that's what we strive for. In the meantime, we can't forget that these students are also emotional beings with souls that need to be encouraged in the ways of God. What an amazing opportunity to help the next generation!

So what are these students doing? A lot of trigonometry. Sine, Cosine, and Tangent are being studied in multiple classes. Elsewhere, the integral (anti-derivative) was introduced today. In the lower levels, fractions, decimals, percents, and order of operations are what we are focusing on, among other topics. The amount of material we can cover is endless.

On another front, we are also continually trying to challenge our students to become better students. Hopefully, this challenge will also reach into their lives spiritually as well. So much of education is helping grow character in the learner (but try telling kids this). Also, if we teachers are honest with ourselves, we find that we are learning a lot from the students.

So what would God desire in all of this? To fear Him, and keep His commandments. That's the whole duty of humanity. So let's do our part in that endeavor. Until next time, enjoy getting to know God better by looking into His perfect Word!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

     It's been a beautiful start to November, on the "heels" of the excitement from spirit week and the KA auction. We have so much to be thankful for in regards to this school, all of you who keep it going, and God's mercy and blessings. We love all the students and being able to guide their learning! 
     First up is to welcome Des! She is settling into the eighth grade/middle school, and has made a good start. 
     The middle school grammar students are now called the "Grammar Scientists." They realize it takes a scientific approach to solving the mysteries of grammar, and we use this as we dissect sentences daily! We drilled in the verb tenses, then the pronouns, and are now digesting adjectives in all their various forms. We even get in a little "art" by diagramming sentences. If all this isn't enough fun, they wrote short autobiographies, which helped them learn a little more about each other.
     The American Literature class of Juniors completed their study of authors of literature of revolution. The drift into the 18th century use of "reason" was clearly seen in Paine, Bartram, and  Freneau's writings. Phillis Wheatley, though, was deeply convicted of God's love and providence in her life, and reflected this in her writing. She recited a poem to a class of astronomy students at Harvard College and, in it, reminded them their greatest foe was sin, and their search for knowledge must be coupled with a desire for Godly wisdom. Her conviction shines through her poetry, in the midst of an age where authors were turning away from God. Writings from Irving and Cooper entertained us as they did their first readers in the 19th century period of literary romanticism. Bryant also wrote during this period, but had a much different focus-great writing, but not so uplifting!
     The 9/10 English class will take the test on Unit III Friday.  We have read many works containing allusions and symbols.  We have experienced how the use of allusions and symbols makes the meaning of the writing much deeper and richer. You might ask a 9th or 10th grader who their favorite aurthor was in this unit...maybe Kipling, maybe Poe, maybe Chesterton???
     The 7/8 English class finished the loooong Unit 2 today with a test. The focus was on characters who made significant choices, and the results of those choices.  King Midas eventually realized the Golden Touch was not as great as he thought it would be.  He decided it was far better to have a real daughter than just a golden statue of her! We hunted for implicit themes, and were thankful for explicit themes! We appreciate it now when we see repetition in writing, and even learned the fancy term "anaphora" so we can more easily talk about it, along with other literary terms.
     Along with all the reading and analyzing of others' writing, the literature students did a great job of creating their own haiku, diamante poems, and narrative poems. You may have seen these at the auction (or have one decorating your house! ), as they painted the poems onto pumpkins in various styles of "word art." 
     Thanks for all of you parents who came to conferences.  I really appreciate all the support you give your students, this school and the teachers. I am happy to hear from you anytime! 

Pray ye therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
Welcome to November, the month of Thanksgiving.  I personally have MUCH to be thankful for including my students this year and our auction last weekend.

In World History,  we have been studying the Dark Ages.  It is a rather depressing and discouraging Unit to study.  However, it is interesting to note that October marked 500 years since the Reformation.  So that is something to celebrate and that is what we are studying next.  I guess you don't see it as good news until you understand the bad news first! 

In M.S. Science, things have been falling apart.  The ground has been shaking with great and exciting lessons on earthquakes, volcanoes, and many other geological lessons.  My favorite demonstration was the boiled egg and egg shell analogy.  Once boiled, you break up the shell, but do not remove it from the egg.  That is very much how our earth's crust "floats" atop the mantle with plate tectonics.

In Health, which is just one semester, we have been working on a Unit involving Safety and First Aid.  Everything from snake bites to poison help to the Heimlich maneuver has been covered lately.  Next week, we will have a guest speaker, Jennifer Meadows, of the Wells County EMS to show us hands on how to handle different emergency situations.

In Biology, we finished up botany and began reptiles, mammals and birds.  What is the fast animal in the world?  It's not a cheetah and you'll just have to ask some Bio students if you want to know....or google it ;-)  Next week, we have a guest (my neighbor) coming in to explain and show to us numerous pet reptiles and how to care for them!

In Physics, we are studying tension and the forces that are calculated when ropes and strings are involved.  Feel free to ask Dennis and Levi about some of their recent labs and demonstrations.  Congrats to Dennis as he got the highest Physics Test grade yet this year.  Levi has also challenged me with some thinking outside the box.  Way to go boys!

In Physiology, we have been studying muscles and their anatomy and function.  Of the 640 muscles in the body, which one is the longest?  Ask one the Junior girls and they would love to share this and other interesting muscle concepts.  Muscles act as levers and can be classified as first, second or third class.  What about the buccinator and the zygomaticus?  They are important muscles that have important functions.  Ask the girls and they will share where and how!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Well, the 9-11 grade took PSAT's today. Hopefully everything went well, but they were mentally tired when it was all said and done. What's going on elsewhere in the KA middle and high school, though?

For starters, we are preparing to send out our second newsletter. Many of the students who write in the newsletter are also in pre-calculus. This means that they are studying things like zeroes and factors of polynomials. They are also identifying what kind of polynomial would create the best fit equation for a given set of data or scatter plot. It's pretty neat to watch them in action.

The remainder of the publications class, the sophomore class and most of the freshmen class, have been working on factoring, abstract fractions, parts of similar triangles, and much more. The rest of the freshmen class is working on linear functions, limits, slopes of lines, and the fun never stops!

The middle school math classes are working on conversions, greatest common factors, and least common multiples to name a few. They are also honing their typing skills in keyboarding class.

All of the students are working on a foreign language of some sort. And this wraps a lot of what's going on in many of the high school/middle school classes.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Welcome to October (one of my favorite months of the year!)

In World History,  we have been studying the  Greek and Roman Empire's.  We took a look into Daniel's prophecy that explained Alexander the Great as a "one-horned goat" taking things down in his path.  As we ventured into the Roman world, we set the stage for the most important event in history: the life, death and resurrection of Christ.  We have also been studying the severe persecution of Christians in the first 300 years after Christ. 

In M.S. Science, we are up to our neck in hot water...and cold water...and solid water...and vapor water.  Anything and everything about water has been discussed, demonstrated and dissected about the most incredible substance on the planet!  Next week, we will be practicing our science fair projects which shall be presented the younger part of the school the week before fall break. 

In Health, which is just one semester, we are continuing to study the human body.  To supplement the curriculum, we have also been using a YouTube channel called Crash Course which adds very many interesting and educational facts concerning each of our body's systems.  We also started the next Unit on safety.  It has been entertaining to break out some retro safety videos from the good ol' days!

In Biology, we studied fish/amphibians and got some hands on action by dissecting a big and smelly Rainbow trout.  Then we moved onto the world of botany and have learned about such things as to why leaves change color and how.

In Physics, we are studying 2-dimensional motion including parabolic motion.  Levi and Dennis are realizing that math equations can come to life as they calculate all kinds of physical situations.

In Physiology, we studied bones and more bones.  Not only did they memorize quite a few of them, but they also learned how and why bones grow.  Ask the Junior girls to explain how braces use your jaw bone to realign your teeth!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The English Corner

     Greetings from the English Corner!  As the leaves begin changing into brilliant colors, English students at KA are changing and growing, too.  The month of September was full as we all settled into the learning routines here.
     The 7/8 grade Grammar Class progressed from nouns and verbs to verb tenses and voices. They became "field observers" and kept a notebook of observations of a particular place/thing over an entire week. They then had fun donning a "field vest, hat and binoculars" and presenting their observations to the class. These observations will be "published" and displayed in our room in time for Parent-Teacher Conferences.
     The Junior English Class has carefully waded through the writings of early America and is now reading literature of the Revolutionary era.  Writers such as Ben Franklin Thomas Paine will be good examples of how much literature changed as the lives of people in early America changed, and yet Phyllis Wheatley's writings are a reminder that some early Americans kept a strong Biblical faith. The students experienced the difficulty Puritan ministers faced when they rewrote Psalms from the KJV Bible to make them singable., and published them in the Bay Psalm Book. Other students chose to write poetry somewhat reflective of Anne Bradstreet's style-using a subject from their own experience that has a universal theme. They are doing a great job with this challenging literature.
     The Freshman English Class is reading poetry and prose-with a focus on the author's use of sound and word order. I always am amazed how authors use words and literary techniques to create like an artist uses brushes and paint to create. Since poetry is meant to be heard, it has been great to listen to
 the students each take a turn at reading the poetry selections "live" in class! It carries so much more meaning. They are all working extra hard this week preparing for the test over Unit 2.
     The Middle School English Class is beginning Unit 2, called Choices. We will see how intriguing characters in intriguing stories never stand still (cited in Excursions in Literature). They, like us, make choices daily that move us forward or backward.  This focus in all the stories will remind us how important choices are and to consider the choice carefully! Besides reading, this group wrote Diamante Poems as they wrapped up Unit One on "Friends." You will be able to see their "published" copy at the Parent-Teacher Conferences on October 17.  Hope to see you there!
     Thanks again for all your support!! It is such a blessing to be working with your sons and daughters.
"...let us love not in word, but in deed and in truth." John 3:18