We are studying ancient history, so, of course, we have learned about ancient Egypt and the Egyptians. As part of this study, I decided to do an experiment about mummifying apples that I found on the internet. Last week, we put apple pieces into cups with salt, Epsom salts, baking soda, or some combination (or a control with nothing in it). Today, we took the apple pieces out and compared weights and how they looked. The weights were hard to evaluate because our scale only measures to the nearest 25 grams. A few of the pieces (the control and the ones in baking soda) were growing large amounts of mold - yuck! But, the pieces with regular salt and Epsom salts had the largest decrease in weight (by 50%) and seemed to be the most dry. So, we got to talk about dehydrating agents and the fact that natron (used by the Egyptians) is some combination of these salts. We also talked about synergy since using the salts in combination was more effective than using them by themselves. I'm really sorry I didn't take pictures of the apple pieces - the changes are dramatic. Don't worry, though, we won't be mummifying anything else (although L keeps talking about making insect mummies - EEK!).
We've also been watching a documentary about birds hosted by David Attenborough. There is tons of great information. The only problem is that there is a strong predisposition toward naturalistic evolution. The kids are pretty used to our discussions about Creation, etc., but it does get a little old sometimes. The kids still aren't old enough for detailed discussion about the science of origins, paleontology, etc., but it is coming in the next couple of years.
I signed C up for a summer school nature class but L said she didn't want to go to summer school. She saw some stuff in the newspaper today and has decided that she wants to go to summer school now. I'll sign her up tomorrow when I pick her up from school. It will be good to have a couple hours all to myself every day for a week. I told the kids that we will keep doing math, reading, and writing during the summer. They are a little bummed about that, but they're glad that we're taking a break from history and geography. We will probably continue science since summer time is prime bird-watching time. Most of our summer will be spent doing stuff around the house and doing 4H projects.
L and I went to a 4H foods meeting tonight. It was very helpful for us to learn about how the food projects work. Basically, she can make up to 6 items. Some of them have to be made from a 4H recipe, but others can be made from her own recipes. The foods judging is the week before the rest of the fair which is nice. Some of the foods need to still be warm, while others should be cold (like the frozen berries). We also ordered some patterns for her sewing project. McCalls and Butterick have some patterns for $0.95 that we can get if we order through 4H.
I just finished reading Infidel, a biography about John Newton, the former slave trader who became a preacher, and abolitionist, and who wrote "Amazing Grace". I can highly recommend it for anyone over the age of 15. It isn't appropriate for younger kids because there is discussion about his abhorrent activities during his youth. There is no offensive language, though. What an amazing story about how God can completely transform someone's life. Even those of us without the steamy pasts, though, can be incredibly grateful to God for our salvation, but also for the way He changes our lives. While I was never a slave trader, I have had my fair share of envy, laziness, quarrelsomeness, jealousy, etc. I can't imagine how miserable I would be without God's forgiveness (for which I must pray on a more than daily basis). I haven't seen the movie "Amazing Grace", although I hear that it is more about Wilberforce than Newton. I am very interested in seeing that soon. The hand of God over the abolition movement in England and in the US is a truly awesome thing.