Thursday, May 31, 2012

Festung Hohensalzburg

The size of this castle is absolutely unbelievable. Festung Hohensalzburg dominates the city of Salzburg. It was built during the 11th century and expanded in size during several hundred of the following years.

Today it is the largest completely preserved medieval castle in Europe.

Inside the intricate wood carved and painted ceilings were fascinating. There is also a room used for storage of equipment used for torture.

A chapel completes this castle complex.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tie-Dye Summer Clothes

My friend invited us over for an afternoon of tie-dying and I must say that I had forgotten how much fun it is. This was an excellent activity for the children. They were able to tie on the rubber bands, dye the shirts and remove the rubber bands without much help. They loved seeing the completed shirts. I would highly recommend this activity for a great afternoon of summer fun!

To see more of our crafty activities please visit our Craft Page.

Laugh, Love, & Craft One Artsy Mama abc button

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Speed! Giveaway - What DID We Do All Day?

Good news! It's time for another Speed! giveaaway!

Visit the What DID we do all day? blog this week for a chance to win box Speed! The fun new card game “Speed!” is a great way to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster.
I really like the What DID we do all day? blog because it is all about Montessori. Actually I found it through a Montessori on-line group, and then I found an unsolicited review she did of Speed! As you can imagine I was super excited. Here is a link to her original post about Speed! Check it out.

If you are familiar with Speed! you may have noticed the game has a lot in common with Montessori, yet it is not Montessori. Why is this?

Well, my daughter attended a Montessori school for two years, and my brother attended a Montessori pre-school. I attended a school called open-classroom during my elementary years. It had a lot in common with Montessori in that there were no text books, the kids sat at tables, we called our teachers by their first names, the kids worked on items at their own level that they were interested in, and the teachers did not stand in front of the class very often. Yet this was not a Montessori school. My life experiences have brought me very close to Montessori, but I have always been a bit of an outsider. So I guess it's the same with Speed! It looks a lot like Montessori, but it's a bit of an outsider.

Visit What DID we do all day? for rules and to enter. Don't wait. You can enter once per day between today and next Tuesday. The winner will be announced next Wednesday at What DID we do all day.

-giveaway open to US and APO addresses only

Monday, May 28, 2012


I really enjoyed visiting the Franziskanerkirche in Salzburg, Austria.

The number of altars in old European churches is amazing. It is not uncommon to count up to 15.

It's hard to imagine the amount of work that went into the intricate carvings and paintings within each altar.

The city of Salzburg translates to salt mountain and was built on the salt mining industry. Much of the money in Salzburg came from the Hallein Salt Mine, so I guess it was appropriate that we found this mural on one of the columns inside the Franziskanerkirche. It shows salt miners at work.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hallein Saltmine

We have been on several bad mine tours over the past few years as homeschoolers. One was too crowded to hear or see anything, and the other had a tour guide which was nearly impossible to understand. This salt mine tour we went on in Hallein, Austria did not fit into that category. It was excellent.

Right from the start we had a feeling it would be good when they had us put on protective clothing.

Then we loaded on these trolly cars to start our journey into the mine. After walking a bit inside the mine we took a plunge on a rail slide (photo right). The view is looking down the slide with two people wearing white traveling down it. The slides were steep and fast. The kids loved them. There were also steps next to the slide for those who didn't want to try them out.

Underground, we saw some of the original wooden piping used to extract salt from the mine. Water was pumped into the mine and left for weeks to sit and absorb salt. It was then pumped out and boiled away leaving salt. (We have done this for science.) - cool! Just like the Austrians did 500 years ago.

The salt was stored and sold in large cone shapes.

The mining history in the area dates back to around the 8th century BC when Celtic people mined salt in the region. In fact, two perfectly preserved Celtic miners have been found in the Hallein salt mine.

In more recent history, there have been many small wars fought over salt rights between the Austrians and the Bavarians. A large portion of the mine is located under Germany. To end the wars an agreement on land rights was reached.
Hip Homeschool Hop Button Science Sunday

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rotting Apples

We were inspired by the rotting apples post on the Science Sparks blog and decided to try our own experiment. Our results came out slightly different.

The experiment was to take four slices of apple, place them in four different conditions and then observe the decomposition. We placed our apples in salt water, vinegar, lemon juice and open air just as was done by Science Sparks.

The apple that was left in open air was covered in mold and definitely showed the most decomposition. We live in Germany and it is usually very humid here. Perhaps that is the reason our results were different.

Then we repeated the experiment a second week, but used different liquids as preservatives. The apples were placed in corn syrup, apple juice, oil and plain water. The apple in the apple juice was the only one to develop mold. The kids also noted the smell of fermentation. Although they thought it smelled like beer.

Linked To
Show and Tell Saturday Link-Up 

This post was featured on STEM Mom.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Saw it on Vacation - Week 15 - May 25

What have you seen on Vacation? "I Saw it on Vacation" is a weekly link-up for kids and adults to learn about geography. Many of us have been to exciting places and seen unique things. Let us dream about future vacations while we learn more about our world!

Corn fields in Iowa, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, grizzly bears in Alaska…….monuments, landmarks, national parks, geographical features of any type are fair game. It doesn’t even really need to be a vacation. Your post could be about your local climate, or the traditions of your region. If the post shows photos of mountains and big horn sheep in Colorado, or explains hurricanes in the south it’s applicable. Just make sure it is kid-friendly and geography related.

Feel free to link-up a post you've already written and comment on the posts of others! Please link your post on the weekly I Saw it on Vacation blog-hop post and on the I Saw it on Vacation page. I’m excited to see what you have seen!
  • Link-up in two places;
    - Weekly I Saw it on Vacation blog-hop post below so we can see what’s new
    - I Saw it on Vacation Page – If you don’t see your territory send me a email so I can add it. jmommymom @ gmail . com
  • Follow me and I will follow back. Leave me a comment to let me know.
  • Link-up to your post or your main URL if your entire blog is dedicated to one place
  • Include a link back to this page in your post – You can grab the button below
  • Optional: Include the “I Saw it on Vacation” button on your side bar so others can join
  • Include the location and a short description of what you saw in your link up.
  • Check out what others have seen

If you would like to see what we have seen, check out German Living Topics, European Countries and European Living Topics on the side bar.
Rome is an amazing city. There is so much to look at; so many fountains, statues, Roman Ruins and unique buildings. Walking through the forum and colosseum gives a picture of what it was like to live during Roman times. It must have been gorgeous.

What have you seen?

Highhill Homeschool

Thursday, May 24, 2012

China History Co-op. - Week 6 - Qin Dynasty

Week 6 - We built The Great Wall of China.

The Qin Emperor united the warring states of China through warfare. He established many standards including money, weights and measures and many more such as standard axle width. We discussed the meaning of united and then did an activity to demonstrate how not having standard money works.

The kids split up into groups of two. Each group received a quantity of something to trade - silks, spices, rice, wheat, beads, etc... Some measuring tools were available - a scale, measuring spoons and measuring cups. At first each group was only allowed to trade with one other group, but then we opened it up. The kids loved trading their items in the market.

Then we read the book The Great Wall of China by Leonard Everett Fisher and began our great walls.

The walls were made from cardboard, sugar cubes and icing glue.

Icing Glue Recipe
6 egg whites
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar

The kids started with the raised walkways. They drew their walkways on cardboard, cut them out and then transferred the path onto the base. On the base they dribbled icing along the path and then added sugar cubes.

Once their walls were high enough they glued the walkway in place and added a few more cubes along the edges of the walkway.

It took a lot of people to build The Great Wall of China. Each child built a section and together we had a great wall.

To see our other history activities please visit our history page.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drawing Pictures

Since my children were very young I have made crayons and paper readily available to them. It is stored so they can help themselves in the room where we spend the majority of our time. It's amazing how the activity of coloring never gets old.

In addition, I believe coloring is an essential pre-writing skill. Children tell stories through their writing and strengthen those fine motor muscles. As you can see, my five year old is obsessed with dancing. These are drawings of actual people from our dance club. You can see photos of many of the real people by looking at Fasching located under German Living Topics on the right-hand side of this blog.

Because her written language skills are not yet developed, drawings are her method of writing. Each picture tells a story which includes many details. Learing to write includes learning to transfer the details in the pictures to written language.

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