Friday, June 12, 2009

Cardboard Boat Races!

Ages: 2 groups - Homeschoolers Ages 0-11 and Ages 12 & up
** All participants MUST be able to swim the length of an in ground pool free style and a parent/guardian must stay on site if they want their child/children to participate.**

Teams: A team can be made up of however many kids (all ages) for the building of the boat but only 2 kids maximum from the team (1 at a time) can race the boat in the pool.

When: Friday, June 12th; 10:30 – 2:00

Where: Local Homeschooling family's pool!

Cost: Free (whatever you spend on materials)

What to bring: Your boat and oars, swim suits, towels & your lunch.

The challenge: Design and build a human-powered boat made of corrugated cardboard, duct tape & plastic wrap that is capable of at least 2 trips up and back in a pool.

Boat Materials – Cardboard, Plastic Wrap, and Duct Tape. (You may use permanent marker to mark a name on your boat.)

Boats are to be propelled by oars or paddles that must be made of the same materials as the boat.

Two Boat and Oar Building Rules you MUST follow in order to participate!!

Please note if your boat has paint or if it is not fully covered with duct tape you will NOT be able to race.
1) Boats and Oars MUST be fully covered in duct tape on the outside.
2) NO Paint of any kind.

Some things to think about:

A flat bottom is recommended.

The lowest center of gravity is the most stable; kneeling or standing will cause you to tip over.

Longer boats go faster, but they are harder to turn.

For height, allow about 18 inches for you to sit and paddle effectively without the edge of your boat blocking your arms.

For width, figure about 18 inches for a kayak, about 23-24 inches for a canoe. Figure about 30 inches maximum for 1 person.

Maybe you will choose to calculate the displacement of your design idea so that you will have some certainty about the buoyancy of your design. Here's the basic number: a cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds. That means that a 180-pound man will float in a boat that is 1 foot by 1 foot by 3 ft. That may be uncomfortable but at least you will know just how much boat you will need.

What an absolute BLAST! The kids constructed the boats last Friday and we raced them today! Last week everyone kept making fun of Sophia's boat telling her it looked like a shoe, but guess whose boat was the ONLY one from our family to float the whole length of the pool?

Grant and Chris were in the first heat, Grant didn't even manage to leave the edge of the pool without the boat going down! Hannah and Emily were in the next heat, Emily managed to go maybe 20 % of the way down the pool before she flipped their boat! Jacob and Cade never even got their boat going! Sophia, on the other hand, in her little red "shoe" boat, made it the whole length of the pool!

What we learned? That we MUST reinforce the boats next time, either by triple or quadruple layering the floor or by using some kind of "support" beams/boxes to help stabilize the boats so the boats don't fold in half. We need to create the lowest sides possible, but they have to be high enough to not take on water! We also need STRONGER oars! We thought 4 layers of cardboard wrapped in duct tape would be plenty strong enough, but we were COMPLETELY WRONG, our oars bent in half almost immediately! It is also a good idea to cover the inside of the boat with SOMETHING (either plastic wrap or duct tape). We already have plans to collect materials for next year as we come across them (like wrapping paper rolls and the rolls out of boxes of aluminum foil.

Here is a slideshow from today's races and last week's boat building...I have only included the pictures of my kids and Chris...unless you couldn't see the other child's face...I know it freaks some people out to have their kids pictures on the internet!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

HILARIOUS book about homeschooling

The book is called "Okay Kids, Time for Bedlam" and you can download it FREE at the following web page just click on the download book free link in the toolbar. It is a short book, just 69 pages, but it is so funny and I think just about ANY homeschoolers can relate to Debbie's tales from the trenches.

Someday, maybe, I will sit and write something....I can guarantee you that it would be equally hilarious, but probably not as "G" rated!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top 10 Reasons They Homeschool
post at
Posted by Tim Drake
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 4:41 PM

Delving into the Department of Education’s 2007 and 2003 reports on homeschooling, one can find interesting information. We’ve already reported the news that homeschooling has nearly doubled over the last 8 years, resulting in 1.5 million homeschooled students.

According to the 2007 report, here are the Top 10 Reasons Parents Homeschool:
1. Provide Religious or Moral Instruction

2. Concern about the Environment of other Schools
3. Dissatisfaction with the Academic Instruction Available Elsewhere
4. Child has a Physical or Mental Health Problem
5. Child has other Special Needs
6. Interest in nontraditional approach to education
7. More family time
8. Family finances
9. Ability to travel
10. Distance to school

One statistic is of note. Between 2003 to 2007, the percentage of students whose parents reported homeschooling to provide religious or moral instruction increased from 72 percent to 83 percent. In 2003, that reason came in second, behind Concern about the Environment in other Schools.

Hmmmm....after reading the list, I pondered a bit if my reason for homeschooling even made the list. I suppose I could say that I have an " Interest in nontraditional approach to education", since we are unschoolers which is definitely a nontraditional approach, but it wasn't the reason that we homeschool.

We brought our children home because we discovered that they were merely a NUMBER and that NO ONE in the school truly cared about their safety and well being. They almost killed Brett by allowing him to go on the playground AGAINST DOCTOR'S ORDERS after he had spend over a month at home recovering from a concussion. Some kid knocked him flat on his back that day, fortunately he didn't hit his head and guess what? we would have NEVER known it had happened if one of his friends didn't mention it to Jay. Another child BIT Emily and broke the skin on her arm, and despite the fact that she was taken to the nurses office to have the wound cleaned, no one bothered to call us or even send a note home. I wish I knew then that I could have pulled them out of school that MINUTE, but I was stupid...eeerrrr....I mean....uninformed....and I left them there to complete the school year, my heart pouding loudly in my chest each day as they left and the lump in my throat only disappearing once they returned safely home.

We homeschool because we believe that the best place for our children to learn is WITHIN the family because NO ONE cares more about the outcome of their education than their father and I do. They won't be FORCE FED information for the sake of any test or herded through the learning process as if they were cattle. We embrace their strengths and work around their weaknesses. Using life as a curriculum, it is impossible for them to fail. We only fail when we don't learn from our mistakes.

So if you homeschool, does the list accurately reflect the reason you either brought your children home or never sent them to school in the first place?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

America's Pastime: A short slideshow of 2009 Riesenberg baseball pictures: