History: Civil War


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Weeks twelve and thirteen of school we did unit 7. Our history topic was the Civil War.

We watched a YouTube video by Alternate History Hub outlining what might have happened it the south won the Civil War.

We added to the timeline.

We made an Underground Railroad diorama.

We did mapwork of what the US looked like in 1861.

We learned about the tenth amendment.

We watched a short biography on Abraham Lincoln.

We learned about animal mascots of the Civil War.

We learned about the Battle of Gettysburg…

…And the Gettysburg Address.

We watched two Crash Course videos on the Civil War.

We did mapwork on the major battles of the Civil War.

We learned about reconstruction and some terms related to it.

The best calling in the church

It seems that every calling I have is, to me, the best. Right now I am a Sunday School teacher. I team teach with my mom so that makes it extra fun. I love our class members (we have two Sunday School classes in our ward and people are free to go to whichever they want). I love how the lessons go including when they go in a way I didn’t expected they would. Come, Follow Me is the most fabulous program ever. I just really love being a Sunday School teacher.

How do you not get attached?


A few weeks ago a friend asked me how can we not get attached to the foster babies since we have to give them back. I understand why she would ask. It seems crazy to love a child you will only have for a little while. But it’s pretty much the point of foster care.


We are very attached to these two little guys. They are adorable and sweet and pretty much perfect. We love them very much. We also know without a doubt that they belong with their mother. She loves them, too. She’s working hard to get them back. That’s not an easy thing to do.


We went into this fostering thing knowing we will get our hearts broken every time our foster kids leave us. Knowing that these kids are only staying for now. Knowing that it would be the hardest and best thing we ever did, loving these children.


So how do we not get attached? We are attached. We are attached to these two babies and we’ll be attached to our future placements, too. Foster kids need foster parents willing to open their hearts completely to them. In a few weeks these guys should be going home. We’ll miss them. We’ll grieve the loss of having them with us every day and watching them grow. But we all will be better for the time we got to spend with them and the attachment we’ve had to them.


Science: Earth Structure


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week eleven of school we did unit 6. Our science topic was earth structure.

We learned about the layers of the earth.


We demonstrated how waves travel through air vs. something solid and how that helps us know which layers of the earth are solid and which are liquid.

We used heat (from friction) to cause a top to “bounce” on a very cold bottle.

We used a hard-boiled egg to demonstrate the layers of the earth.

We used a hard-boiled egg and a raw egg to show how the earth wobbles as it spins like the raw egg does because of the liquid inside.

Egg Spin and Wobble

We played with magnets and iron filings to demonstrate magnetic fields.

Magnet and Iron Filings

Stronger Magnet and Iron Filings

We melted some grocery bags to show how plastic can melts.

We used boiling oil to show convection currents.

Geography: Southwest States


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week eleven of school we did unit 6. Our geography topic was the southwest states.

We did mapwork of Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico.

We looked at my father’s bolo tie and made bolo ties of our own.

We watched a YouTube video of landscapes around Arizona and one about the Grand Canyon.

We watched a video of drone footage from New Mexico.

We learned about the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

We learned about Carlsbad Caverns.

We compared The Road Runner with road runners (when we moved to Texas we felt somewhat betrayed that road runners weren’t three feet tall or blue in reality).

We talked about industries, agriculture, and people of the southwest.

We learned about the regions of Texas including our own, the south Texas plains.

We learned about Oklahoma! and scenes around the state of Oklahoma.

We made flip pages about things around the southwest states.

We colored in the four southwest states on our big folder maps.

We added Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma to our passports.

History: The West


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week eleven of school we did unit 6. Our history topic was the west.

We added to our timeline.

We did mapwork of westward expansion.

We learned about Geronimo and looked at pictures of the quadrangle at Fort Sam where he was held.

We learned about the gold rush and how to pan for gold.

And then we put what we learned into practice by panning for “gold.”


Picky Eating

Adrian is a picky eater. We even have a series of YouTube videos all about him trying things and (almost always) hating them. He was picky before he went on Adderall, but he was picker when he went off. It’s been over a year since he stopped taking it, but the number of foods he’d eat was getting smaller and smaller. So we decided to do something about it.


We went with an idea usually used for toddlers. We got him a tray with six spaces in it. Every dinner, we fill up those spaces with a variety of foods. At this point we’re only putting in things he likes. If there is something on the table that he’ll eat, that goes in one of the spaces. As time goes on, we will gradually add things he doesn’t currently like in the hopes that over time he will begin to accept more foods and flavors (so far it appears to be working).

The Arts: Impressionism 1


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Weeks nine and ten of school we did unit 5. Our arts topic was Impressionism.

We compared a Vermeer to a Monet to introduce how impressionists painted. (We all preferred the Vermeer.)

We discussed the painting that gave rise to the name Impressionism.

We went outside and did some painting ein plein air.

We learned how to paint in the impressionist style (clearly Fritz did not feel the need to paint his orc that way).


We played with different brush strokes and mixing colors.

We learned about pointillism.

Science: Energy Conversion


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Weeks nine and ten of school we did unit 5. Our science topic was energy conversion.

We learned about what energy types there are along the way from sun to food.

We traced the path of solar energy to television power.

We learned how a Newton’s Cradle works and played with one.

Newton’s Cradle

More Newton’s Cradle

We dropped two balls, a small one on top of a big one, to demonstrate how the energy in the big ball (that hit the ground first) magnifies the energy in the small ball.

Ball Drop

Ball Drop in Slow Motion

We made a quick energy drink and talked about how it changes type of energy in your body.

We played a quiz game about energy conversion.

We caused various collisions with little cars.

Car Collisions 1

Car Collisions 2

We watched a YouTube video of a car accident in slow motion.

We learned about what collisions mean scientifically.

We watched a clip from Sesame Street about a kinetic artist. The boys were a little freaked out by the monsters. I always forget they didn’t watch Sesame Street when they were little.

We watched a couple OK Go videos including one with a Rube Goldberg machine.