End of the School Year

Well, it’s almost the end of the school year! My co-op has already finished, and I can honestly say I’ll really miss seeing my friends every week. We have this B.A.S.I.C. (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) Board that’s run by a team of high schoolers and plans and organizes events for all the high schoolers. I am very excited to say that I was accepted for this coming year as the secretary! So on our last day we had a lunch announcement for the new Board, but the guy who is now president wasn’t there. My friend and I searched the whole church over twice, but we didn’t find him. Therefore, we had our announcement without the new president. Then . . . he finally arrived after lunch! It was actually kind of funny. 🙂

Anyway, at the End of Year Picnic, we had our first BASIC meeting! Well, it wasn’t an official meeting. It was really just last year’s Board, transferring their responsibilities onto the new Board. It was still a lot of fun, though, and I have my own binder that says “Secretary” on it.

Out of my three classes there (Photography, Academic Writing, & Yearbook), I’d have to say Academic Writing was my favorite. Yes, it was A LOT of work, but I also learned a lot from writing essays all year. This next year I’m taking:

High School Chemistry

Creative Writing for Publication

Intro to English Literature

Sounds exciting! Besides homework for these classes, I’ll only have World History and Algebra 2 at home. Plus Latin and Bible Study of course. Chemistry is first period, so I can get a lot of that homework done during my two study hall hours. I’ve got to say–I’m REALLY looking forward to next school year! Of course, I have to finish this year’s schoolwork first. I’m doing a week’s worth of history every day for the next few weeks. And I’m doing two or three days of science a day. But, really, I want to finish and have at least a month and a half of break.

Also, another thing I’m really looking forward to: DRIVING!

My friend and I are taking driver’s ed together in a couple of weeks! I’ll be driving my mom everywhere while my bro clings desperately to his seat in the back. 🙂

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High School Formal

A couple weeks ago, my homeschool co-op hosted a formal for us high schoolers. Now, it’s with a Christian program so there were no dates or dancing or anything of the like, but I was totally okay with that. It was my first formal, and I didn’t really know what to expect. But I’ve got to say . . . I had a BLAST!!! 🙂

I wore a black, ankle-length dress that had one shoulder. I found it at Ross for $15!!! Total steal. Then I found some cute sandals at Payless, which were on sale for $8. Overall, my ensemble (excluding the jewelry that my mom lent me) was under $30!

During the first part of the evening, we had dinner and just talked and hung out. Before we ate, the seniors came up and shared their favorite co-op memories, and that was really sweet . . . and funny. 🙂 After dinner, a magician performed a show for us. His name is Joe Black and he’s really entertaining; he had us laughing nearly the whole time.

For dessert we had cheesecake, which was sooo good, but really rich and I could barely finish my slice. The rest of the evening was just spent talking and laughing. At some point one of the boys made a paper airplane out of the dinner menu and pretty soon, we all had little airplanes whooshing over our heads. Great memories! 🙂

The formal was a TON of fun!!  I can’t wait for next year.

Swing Dance and Social

My co-op hosted a swing dance and social for the high schoolers a little while back. And boy, did I have a GREAT time!! I’d never learned how to swing, so they had instructors teaching us for the first half hour. We all were in a big circle with the teachers in the middle. Swing dancing is a lot of stepping, and it takes a few tries to get the rhythm at first, but once I got it, I was on a roll!! Then, of course, they add the twirling and it gets a whole lot more complicated. But I pulled through. And had a great time.

I danced with several guys while we were learning because every few minutes, we’d switch partners and learn a new dance move. It was a bit awkward dancing with a guy that’s two heads taller than I am. But it was okay because I knew him. After we all had the hang of the steps and twirls, they let us free swing. I was . . . very flattered when people asked me to dance. At least it’s not like waltzing when you’re really close. It’s just swing, where we’re at friend distance. Still, my dad wasn’t particularly pleased that I was dancing with boys, but come on. You have to expect it when your daughter goes to a dance. Though, I didn’t dance with any guys at my 8th grade dance. But then again, I knew absolutely NO ONE there. I knew many more people at this swing dance.

After we finished dancing, we played “minute to win it” games. We didn’t actually “win” anything, but I was the only person in my team of ten to win an event! After that, they turned the lights out and gave us glow bracelets. Then we did the Macarena and Electric Slide until it was time to go. I was pumped with adrenaline when I left! I probably burned a few hundred calories. My dad was laughing at me because I was so hyper on the way home.

But really, I had a FANTASTIC time at the swing-social. I had lots of friends there, I got some exercise, and I learned how to swing! Don’t really know when I’ll use that skill, but I’m sure a time will come when I’ll have to swing for my life and I’ll live because I knew how!

Also a note for those girls out there who want to swing: DON’T where flats when swing dancing. I did and I tripped over my shoes a couple times when my feet slipped out.

Christmas Party

Last Saturday, the high school activities group at my co-op hosted a Christmas party. And boy, it was fun!! It was only the second event I’ve ever done with the high schoolers group, but I had a lot of fun at both of them. Had most of my co-op friends there. I had just a couple friends at the other co-op last year. Not that they weren’t good friends, they were actually really great friends, but this year, at this co-op, I seem to have made a lot more friends. There are more families at this one and it’s been around longer than the other one.

Anyway, back to the party.

First of all, let me just say. Outside was FREEZING cold!!! It got down to about 13 degrees at one point. Of course, this year is full of record breaking temps both hot and cold. Thankfully, it was nice and warm in the church. The first thing we did was the Limbo. Me, being the shorty that I am, did pretty well, I’d say. Surprisingly, the really, really tall guys got pretty far.

After that, we made groups of three or four and picked a random Christmas movie out of a hat. My group got White Christmas and I’m ashamed to say that I’d never seen it before. Luckily, one of the girls in my group had seen it and I just did what she told me to do. Basically, the game was that one at a time, each group would act out a scene from the movie they got and the rest of us had to guess which movie. All my group had to do was say, “Snow, snow, snow, snow!” And everybody got it. To say the least, I was curious about this movie. When I got home, I made my family sit down and watch it with me. Bing Crosby is awesome!! That movie is really funny and witty.

Then we exchanged White Elephant gifts. That was a LOT of fun.  After we each picked a wrapped gift from under the tree, we sat in a big circle. One of my friends sat in the middle and read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. Each time she said the word “the” everyone passed his or her gift to the person on the right. I bet you’re all really curious to know what I got, aren’t ya? It’s pretty awesome! A cast iron skillet with fixin’s to make a big cinnamon roll! Another person got a Chia pet in the shape of Willie Robertson’s head. You know, Willie from Duck Dynasty. So funny!!

White Elephant gift 2013

I haven’t used it yet, but I fully intend to. 🙂 Those are really just the activities we did. We ate cookies, drank apple cider and hot chocolate. And it was a warm and Godly environment for all of us teens to get together and celebrate each other and God’s Gift to us. I’m really blessed to be able to hang out with kids my age that share my faith. I’m so looking forward to the next high school event!!

Tide Pool Field Trip

The Saturday before our Marine Science Afloat trip, we went on another field trip to a tide pool park. It’s basically just a small strip of part rock-part sand beach. It was so much fun because we really just looked under rocks and saw tons of intertidal life. My teacher, Mrs. H, was there, too, and helped jog our memories on what phylum and class each animal belongs in. It’s so nice going to the beach and actually knowing what the animals are called. Only half of my class showed up (basically three kids including me), but Mrs. H’s daughter and her friend, along with some of Mrs. H’s other friends made the group a little larger.

Sea Hurst Park

Clear blue sky

It’s a miracle we actually got some sun! And it was actually warm! I call that a wonderful day out here. I was SO afraid it would rain, but the sun came out and made everyone happier . . . you know, as much happier as we can get going tide pooling at the beach with friends.

Moon Snail

Moon snail

It was a minus tide so we saw lots of marine life. One boy in my class waded out in the water the whole entire time. He brought lots of animals back for us to see. He even got pinched by a Dungeness crab! It was hilarious! Especially when it grabbed on to his shoe and he took a really long time getting back to us. Here’s a moon snail that he brought back to us. Moon snails can grow quite big. They bore little holes in clam shells and suck out the inside. If you see a clam shell on the beach with a little hole in it, it was eaten by a moon snail. It’s kind of interesting that this huge snail can bore a tiny little hole. You won’t find a snail looking like this out of the water, though. When one is out of the water, it stuffs itself into its shell to shield itself from the sun and air. I don’t know how that thing can fit its fat body into the shell.

Monk fish

Monk fish

Under a large rock we found a monk fish. I don’t really get why it’s called that, but it was really cool to find a fish.

We also saw lots of crabs. TONS of crabs! Dungeness, red rock crabs, etc. . . . My favorite part was probably either the starfish or the sand dollars. I also really like the giant barnacles. One even had it’s feathery appendages out. Not something you see everyday.

I had a really fun time with my friends. Of course, you can never take something home that’s alive or has something living on it or in it. And, if you turn over a rock, always, ALWAYS turn the rock back over. There are organisms living on the top and bottom of the rock. The organisms living on top need the sun to live and the organisms on the bottom need the moisture to live. If you turn it over, their environments are drastically changed and they will most-likely die.

I encourage everyone to visit a tide pool every once in a while!

Giant Barnacle

Giant Barnacle

Live sand dollar

Live sand dollar

Starfish that ate a crab

Starfish that ate a crab

Marine Science Afloat

I’m taking Marine Biology at my homeschool co-op this year. My teacher, Mrs. H, took us on a field trip on a boating program called Marine Science Afloat. Basically, we went on a boat, and we learned about the plants and animals living in the specific area. They also taught us about pollution and how to help lower it. My Marine Bio class is very small; there are only six of us. But Mrs. H also chaperoned some other kids she taught. There were about ten of us total, including Mrs. H, in our group. Another couple of classes were there, mostly fifth graders, so the boat was full, but not overwhelmingly so.

First, they taught us what phytoplankton, planktonic plants, need to grow healthily. Then, they told us how they get it and what times of the year are best for primary production. After that, we split into large groups (about ten or fifteen in each) and spent maybe fifteen minutes at each station around the ship. The first station my class went to was learning how to take samples from the sea. There are two main models of water sampling tubes: Nansen and Niskin. They were both named after the guys who invented them. It’s kind of funny that they sound so similar. Niskin is the newer, more efficient model made of . . . can you guess? . . . Plastic! I’m sorry, I didn’t get any pictures of the bottles, there were quite a few fifth graders in front of me. Nansen is heavy and made of iron, so it’s really expensive.

Plankton-filled water

Plankton water

Next, we learned how to catch plankton. It was a lot of fun because we all got to participate. My friend, R, and I teamed up and chose to catch phytoplankton with the finer mesh net. Some of our other classmates chose the wider mesh and caught copepods, small bug-like plankton that eat phytoplankton, and jellyfish. I threw the net into the water and then we worked together to pull it back slowly. We had to do it slowly because not a lot of water can get through the holes and the water would be pushed out if we pulled it quickly. With the wider mesh, the others didn’t have that problem. Here is a picture of the water we pulled up. It’s pretty nasty-looking.

Jellyfish on a slide

Jellyfish

We also got to look at this plankton under the microscope at the next station. I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture of the organisms close-up. It’s kind of hard to take a picture with my phone through an eyepiece. But, I do have this one. It’s a jellyfish on a slide. The jellyfish is clear, but we could see it’s brown tentacles.

Then, they taught us about SCUBA diving. SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Ha! I remembered that without looking it up! That’s called progress. We learned about wet suits and dry suits. I’ve never actually been snorkeling or diving, but I think it would be fun.

Some divers actually did go down, though, and they had a video camera. We were all able to watch the live feed during lunch. It was SO cool to watch the sea animals in their natural habitat. The divers transferred starfish closer to a sea cucumber to see what it would do. It was funny because while the sea cucumber was getting away, they played Stayin’ Alive for us to listen to. They also put a starfish next to a cockle and that was REALLY neat. The cockle let out its foot, which had to have been close to a foot long, and it used it as leverage and literally bounded away! It was awesome! The divers even brought up some of the animals for us to look at.

Star fish

Star fish

Monday was actually a pretty hard day weather-wise. Storms on and off all day with tons of wind. It looked like mini tornados crashed the place. Unfortunately, the first time I go boating was also the first day of lightning storms out here. Yeah, out there on the boat we went through a storm. The boat was lurching and wind and rain were pounding the vinyl windows. It was really fun! Except one kid, of course, did the obvious and said that we were going to sink. That made another little kid start crying. At least his mother was on board so it turned out all right. Plus, on the bright side, we didn’t go Titanic. Also, the time the storm hit us just so happened to be when every group on the boat was standing up, holding live sea animals. Oh, joy! One girl dropped a sea cucumber on the table, but it was okay.

The one in the middle there is a rose star. I think it’s really pretty. The spindly-looking one is called a blood star and one of the boys in my class said something about its color looking like blood, but the lady who was showing us the star fish thought he had said something about it drinking blood and being a vampire. That got a few good laughs out of all of us.

Storm

Storm

After the storm and the ooohhing and aahhing of the marine animals, we learned about pollution in the sea and what causes it. Tons of stuff is being dumped down storm drains, and it ALL leads there. Gross! There’s more we all could do to save the oceans.

When we left the boat, I was grinning so much that my dad bought me a t-shirt. How sweet! I had a GREAT time on that trip and Mrs. H will have to invite me to it again if she does it next year. 🙂 It was especially fun because I was with friends and my teacher is one of the sweetest and funniest women I know. They even let her take home some of the plankton water to look at under her new microscopes. It was a lot of fun and I totally recommend boating . . . you know, when it isn’t storming. 😛

DSCN3693

My new T-shirt (the color is called OCEAN :))

Lightning in Seattle