Sunday, July 15, 2018

Homeschool Chemistry Lab - Acids and Bases

We have continued our homeschool study of math and chemistry into the summer.  The boys are doing algebra, multivariate linear sets, and quadratic expressions while Savannah is working on multiplication, division, and speed (timed) additional and subtraction.

The more advanced math has made some of our chemistry work possible.  We've been studying the Periodic Table, atoms, reactions, and electron orbital structures.

This week, we used the Periodic Table to calculate the molecular weight of NaOH, then setup the equation to determine how many grams would be required to create 200ml of 1.0M solution of NaOH.

We reviewed the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the chemicals we would be using and discussed proper safety and emergency techniques.

Then the children each weighed the NaOH and made the solution we would use in the experiment.  We had previously acquired 2.0M HCl acid from Amazon.

We had two 50ml burets setup to add to a 250ml Erlenmeyer flask.  We added some distilled water and phenolphthalein to the flask, then added some acid, then base and observed how much acid or base was required to change the solution from acidic to basic, then back again. 

It was a fun and educational introduction to laboratory technique for the kids.

Tucker's Birthday

Tucker has been anxiously anticipating his birthday and it has finally arrived!  This year, each of the kids is allowed to pick an experience or event, plus select a restaurant for their birthday dinner.  So Tucker chose horseback riding at the Rocking S Ranch in Winchester Virginia as his experience (a couple of weeks ago).  He chose kabobs for his birthday dinner at a nearby Persian restaurant.  It was delicious.  Then we opened up presents and had some homemade Lemon Jello cake.

One of Tucker's presents was to share with the entire family -- a 3d printer.  The kids have had fun creating.

Neighborhood 4th of July Fireworks

Our neighbors invited us to light some fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July.

Fairfax Independence Day Celebration Parade

To celebrate Independence Day, we decided to watch the Fairfax Independence Day Celebration Parade.  While Carson was fighting torrential rain at Scout camp, we had heat and humidity -- lots of it.

The Fairfax Motorcycle Police started of the parade showing off their riding skills, followed by bands, scouts, community groups, and politicians.  Despite planning on leaving early, we stayed for the entire 2 hour parade.

The city provided free buses service to the parade from various parts of town.

The local high school band looked very sharp!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Horseback Riding at Rocking S Ranch, Winchester, VA

We drove about an hour and a half northwest to get to Winchester, VA to visit the Rocking S Ranch. 

Bill owns the Rocking S Ranch and was our trail guide (and he took most of these pictures). 
He was very friendly and made us feel welcome.

He adjusted each saddle and helped each of us onto our horses. 

Our horses names: Keith - Ranger, Angela - Apache, 
Carson - Leroy, Tucker - Timber, Savannah - Brooks

Once we rode to the beginning of the trail, we stopped for an equipment check. Bill was telling horse jokes the whole time. (What's a horse with no legs? Ground beef. What's a horse with two legs? Lean beef)

The trail was really rocky in places, and there were a few semi-steep grades we had to go up and down. The horses have gone many times on this trail, so we trusted them to make their way. Bill would instruct us to lean back or forward; back when going down, forward when going up. 

This was a fun part - going over the stream. The horses wanted to stop and drink, but Bill told us not to let them! He mentioned something about horses getting colic. We also had to try to keep our horses from taking bites of foliage along the trail.

Savannah is trying to pull her horse's head away from the water. 

Coming up a steep grade.

There were lots of open sunshine areas on the first half of the trail, followed by shady wooded trails the last half, for which I was very grateful!

ahhhh, shade

I had to constantly remind myself to hold the reigns correctly, not too tightly in some situations, and loose in others. I'm sure the horses knew what they were doing, despite our efforts to control them. 

we're crossing a low bridge over a stream

up one more trail close to the ranch. Bill pointed out some hills you could see through the trees, it was where we had just traveled. Seemed like a long way to go!

on our way back to the ranch

And we're finished! It was a great ride and a great experience. We rode over gravel, cement, asphalt, dirt, rocks, uphill, downhill, through streams, mud and tall grasses. We ducked under fallen trees and pushed branches out of our way. We can definitely say we know a lot more about horses and riding them on trails after this ride. 

Bill told us we should go to the White Hall Grocery, so we went afterwards for some cold drinks - it was so hot outside (91 degrees all afternoon).