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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home : Juicing

Lately, we have been falling sick a lot. I suspect it is due to our constant exposure to sick people in crowded trains and buses. The transport conditions are not within my control. As such, I have been thinking of ways to boost the immunity of everyone at home so we can be more resistant to getting infected.

That's when I was introduced to raw foods and juicing. Here are two interesting articles on raw foods:
1. Why switch to living foods diet?
2. Raw Foods and enzymes
I don't fully agree with their arguements but I thought most of them are valid.

I don't really fancy raw meat so I thought increasing our intake on raw fruits and vegetable will be a good start. That started me out researching on a suitable juicer. I talked to friends who were juicing regularly already and found that low speed masticating juicers are better than high speed centrifugal juicers. This article Juicers, Blenders and Dehydraters explains why.

However, the good low speed juicers were way out of my budget. Fortunately, I chanced on a very affordable hand crank juicer. I immediately know that was what I needed.

Now I juice about 4 times a week. (I wish I had the time and energy to do it everyday.)

Here is my effort in juicing 4 apples, 2 carrots, half a beetroot, 3 sticks of celery and 1 clove of garlic. This gives about 800 ml of pure juice. Each of us, thus have about 200 ml of juice for breakfast. This is on top of what we normally consume; not replacing anything that was in our regular diet.

Other items I sometimes add into my juices are cucumber, bean spouts, wheatgrass (only masticating juicers can juice this), mint leaves etc. Just about anything healthy sounding can be added in. I love concocting different juices every time.

You may say, why not eat them, instead of juicing them. Well, try chewing on some beetroot, carrot or celery and let just see if you find them particularly palatable or see how long your jaws can last before they ache. I think your tummies would also be so full you'll not be able to stomach anything else! We want the nutrition, without our stomachs having to process through all that fibre. Don't get me wrong. We definitely need a healthy dose of fibre in our diets. But there is a limit to how much fibre we can have in our diets. Afterall, we are not cows.

I have been juicing for about a month now and I feel our immunity DID improve. So far so good!

Monday, August 25, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Gooney Bird Green

From Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry...

Gooney Bird carefully tucked all of the Monolopy money under the edge of the board so that it wouldn't blow away. There was a slight breeze. She had problems with money blowing away in the past. She kept her own money collection, which she carried with her at all times, safely contained in a Ziploc bag.

Then Gonney Bird set out to look for clues that might reveal the whereabouts of Napoleon. Napoleon was not the emperor of France. He was a large black poodle.

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Science : Observing the Partial Lunar Eclipse

Last night we stayed up through the night (well... almost - from 2 am to 6.30am) to view the partial lunar eclipse.

We laid our picnic mats on the open field in front of our block, laid on our comfortable cushions, viewed the moon through our binoculars, snacked and chit chat through the night. We also sketched the moon periodically to take note of its changes. It was a precious time with my boys.

We were at first spooked out by passersby as the quiet of the night makes the slightest sounds unusually loud. But as we settled down, we had so much fun that I forgot to take a picture of us in our comfortable poses!

A friend who heard about what we did asked us why didn't we just google and find video clips of the eclipse on the internet instead of going through all that "hassle". But I think sitting through the eclipse was a completely different and unforgettable experience that we will treasure for a long time. No regrets really... in fact I plan to do it again...

Visit Rumphius Science Webpage to learn more about how we approach Science in our homeschool.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Art : Cimabue and the Value of Copying

In art education, I believe that there is value in copying great works of art. In the process, one can pick up on the artistic styles and perhaps understand the thoughts of the artist as he/she painted that painting. This thought process is a good model when one ultimately produces one's own original creation. Here's what I mean.

We were studying the Gothic artist Cimabue this couple of weeks. I chose this artist because he is the father of Gothic Art. Here is where we are going to start our chronological study of art history.

One of Cimabue's work is an alter piece called "Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels".
I can hear your thoughts. You must be thinking I must be crazy choosing such a serious piece. However, here's how I bring the subject down to the level of a seven-year old. These are some questions (found in our Artistic Pursuit book) that my boys were asked :
How many angels are in the picture?
How many saints are in the picture? - Here we talk about symmetry in a painting.
Can you guess who those saints are? - Here we side tracked into a discussion about Michealangelo's David. We discussed how we know that the statue was David. This led to an interesting discussion about how each of us would like to be remembered and represented in drawings.
Has Cimbanue chosen a natural setting for Jesus and his mother?
From what you know about their lives, did they ever sit on a throne?
- Here we discussed a little about the emphasis on Mary in the Roman catholic religion.
In the Gothic period, everything in a painting has meaning. What could the throne suggest? - Here we talk about how an artist have to use images to suggest ideas.

We read that it was common during those time to paint REAL GOLD on backgrounds. So my boys had fun painting the glittery gold background as they completed their reproduction.

Here is the master's piece and my boy's careful reproduction:

It took them 3 sittings to complete this painting. The first sitting was to draw. The second sitting to paint the foreground, and third sitting the background. It was a true display of perseverance!

The next artist we will study is Giotto. He is the student of Cimabue. Interestingly, he too copied his masters work with slight variations; adding his own style in the process.

Visit Rumphius Webpage Art to learn more about how we approach Art in our homeschool.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Gooney Bird Green

From Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry...

"Mrs. Pidgeon," Gooney Bird said politely," let me take care of this."

"Children," she said in a firm voice, "I cannot tell a story if I am constantly interrupted. There will be a time for questions and comments. It's very distracting for me if you call out."

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Ancient Greek Olympics

From Story of the World Vol 1 by Susan Wise Bauer...

The Olympics were held every four years for almost a thousand years! People came from all over Greece to compete in the games and to watch the other athletes. They all camped out at the Games and spent their evenings feasting and listening to music. Poets would recite poems and stories out loud to entertain the crowds. These poems and stories were like movies to the ancient Greeks.

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Monday, August 4, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Gooney Bird Greene

From Gooney Bird Green by Lois Lowry...

Gooney Bird adjusted the pink ballet tutu she was wearing over a pair of green stretch pants. Her T-shirt was decorated with polka dots. Her red hair was pulled into two pigtails and held there with blue scrunchies. She pulled carefully on one of her pigtail, rearranging it neatly, because the scrunchies was coming loose. She felt her earlobes, which were small and pink and empty.

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.
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