Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin’!

PROOF! They do make ’em like they used to!  Last night we read a page in  “Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space”  and learned about “Opportunity”, the NASA exploration rover sent to Mars in 2004.  It was supposed to function (take photos/collect mineral samples) for 90 days.  Well! Just in case you don’t keep abreast of all news interplanetary, “Opportunity” is STILL working! Cheers to the beyond brilliant JPL team that constructed this mighty mite!  Of course, we have already ordered a poster of this little engine that could.


What else we have learned from “Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space”:

  • the differences between the rocket that took the men to the moon in 1969 and the space shuttle of recent years
  • science experiments aboard the International Space Station
  • advancements in space attire

We do not want this book to end.

Concept Check-up – To study planets, it is essential to understand the difference between a solid, liquid, and gas.  All of a sudden, it occurred to me that I had no idea if my son understood the terms.  After illustrating the differences for a few nights, last night my son was presented with a list of 20 items, of which he sorted into solid, liquid, or gas categories.  Yay! Concept mastered!

Reading – We are back reading “Under the Egg”.  Now that it isn’t competing with an equally complex story plot (“The Absolute Value of Mike”) (we were overwhelmed, so we had to take a short break from both books), this novel is most intriguing. The story centers upon one particular painting of the Renaissance artist, Raphael. The plot thickened last night, when we read about the painting’s possible connection with the Monuments Men of WWII (immediately over to the iPad to look up info on the real monuments men. WHOA).  Great reading!

New Vocab – words, concepts, and locations we came across during STORIES AND STUDIES:

axis   –   cadaver   –   dissect   –   eclipse   –   patron   –   pendulum   –   probe   –   rover

symmetry   –   the Baltic Sea   –   the Mariana Trench   –   Croatia   –   Willem deKooning

Our Farmer Brown Story Problem: Farmer Brown is sponsoring a horseshoes tournament at his ranch to raise money for a local animal shelter. Farmer Brown will charge a $15 participant’s fee, so we calculated the number of horseshoe enthusiasts needed if Farmer Brown’s goal is to raise $1,000.

Last night’s music theme wasThe Overture”: of course we first discussed what was meant by the term, “overture”.

  • Overture to “H.M.S. Pinafore”, by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Just under 4 minutes of jolly jauntiness. A definitive taste of the style of Gilbert and Sullivan.  I would have liked to have youtube-linked this piece because you cannot listen to it without grinning, but alas, there is not a super good video of this yet.
  • Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, by Felix Mendelssohn. Over 12 minutes long, but oh so clever – worth the listening time. Get this: written when Mendelssohn was 17.
  • Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”, by Mozart. Just over 4 minutes in length. From the sixth most performed opera in the world!  Enchanting from the first measure.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH


  1. Jane, each time I read one of these entries I so hope your son has some understanding of what a lucky person he is to have YOU for his mother! Bravo to the nth degree!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bravo to you and Ben for doing “word problems” each week; my least favorite math endeavor. They not only help in learning math concepts, the main goal, but understanding the words and teach patience needed to solve the problem. The music picks for this week are superb.

    Liked by 1 person

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