Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

The Atmosphere, Physical Science Topic for Middle and High School and Our 22nd Year of Homeschooling, January 2018


Atmosphere exerts pressure on everything that is in it. You can easily demonstrate this by putting a thin layer of water in a small bowl. Take a glass and invert it over the bowl. You should have no more water than is necessary to cover the lip on the inverted glass. Now you can take the glass away and add a few drops of food coloring to the water, so you can more easily see the water. put a candle in the center of the water in the bowl. Light the candle. Invert the glass over the candle and into the water as before. As you already know, the candle will eventually go out, but this time observe what happens to the water level within the jar. Because the candle used up all the oxygen (so there are less molecules), the air in the glass could not exert as much pressure as it did before. There becomes more pressure on the water outside the glass than on the water inside the glass. As a result, the greater outside pressure begins pushing water up inside the glass. Eventually, however, the water level goes back down because the extra water added to the force from the air pressure, and at some point this weight makes up for the lost air pressure. This is really the principle that makes barometers work.

Previous Knowledge

Topic Questions for Research

  • What are the layers of the earth's atmosphere, and what makes each layer unique?
  • What are the layers within the homosphere and what are the differences between these layers?
  • What are the layers and unique characteristics of the heterosphere?
  • Discuss atmosphere, atmospheric pressure and the barometer.
  • What ate jet streams and where do they exist?
  • Discuss the difference in temperature and air pressure in the layers of atmosphere. 

Sources and Resources

Our 22nd Year of Homeschooling, January 2018

In January we struggled to get back on our feet from the Christmas holiday. We had a few days (during the coldest of temperatures) when our furnace needed work and we were confined to the upstairs of the house, which had heat. We also had a bout or two of illness, which kept us from completing consistent school work.
Quentin continued with Voice lessons but he did not pick Fencing up this month.


In Physical Science, we studied the properties of air and humidity. In Biology, we studied the basics of organic chemistry, starting with carbohydrates.
In Math, he is still working on fractions.
He is plugging away with his Latin workbook, working on 
Second declension (-us and -ius) nouns.
In History, he is notebooking on American History in World Context, which means that his work focuses about half the time on American History and half the time on what is happening around the world during the time of the various events we are studying in American History.

I am finding, now that I have a curriculum that James can easily do, that he already knows most of the material that we are going through. We are advancing him now to 10th grade and giving him a whole new set of material to work with. He will be keeping his science, Integrated Physics and Chemistry and Basic Math Skills.
For English, we are concentrating on Composition Skills, beginning this minth with the Key topics: word tone, denotation, connotation; how to alphabetize, use a dictionary, synonyms and antonyms, analogies with homonyms; how to use a thesaurus; idioms, nouns—singular, plural, possessive; pronouns—antecedents, gender, person, number, case, exceptions, personal, indefinite, demonstrative, relative, declination, interrogative and reflexive and for Social Studies, we will be using People, Places, and Principles of America II.
We picked up World Geography, beginning with North America Canada, United States, Mexico, Greenland, Caribbean islands, Cuba, Canadian Archipelago, Rocky Mountains, Yucatan Peninsula, Appalachian Mountains, Brooks Range, Yukon River, Kuskokwim Mountains, Mt. McKinley, Aleutian Islands, Mackenzie Mountains, Arctic Cordillera Mountains.
We began the second year of Integrated Physics and Chemistry with these key topics: exploring the Periodic Table, elements, fingerprints, noble gases, argon, chemical bonds, atom, electron, chemical bonding, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, astatine, halogens, acids, bases, salts, covalent compounds, water, ice, solutions, aquifers.

A picture Katie took on one of their trips over the Bay Bridge, coming home from their day at college.

The Graduates


One day we received this in the mail, which was a nice little treat. Sam seems to be enjoying this semester's classes and is getting good grades on his work so far. For his International Politics class, he will have to work one day calling people for a political poll.


Katie is the happiest I have ever seen her. She absolutely loves her Ceramics II class and bubbles over every evening talking about the various technicalities of various slips and methods of ceramics making. She is so happy that she has found her calling.
She also likes her Sculpting class, but as she is doing a bust of one of her classmates, I cannot show it to you until she gets permission from the student. I can only tell you that it is amazingly wonderful. She is enjoying the fact that some of the things she is learning in Sculpture can carry over to ceramics. She is even enjoying her Small Business Marketing class as it relates to starting her own ceramics business. The class she is struggling with the most is Statistics, but Sam is helping her, and hopefully she will be able to complete it this semester so that she can take Genetics next semester.


Alex has been enjoying playing with the gifts he received for Christmas. He especially likes anything to do with art.

How was your January?

January 2018: Snapshot Summary

We had a lovely first day of the New Year, complete with Hoppin' John stuffed peppers.
 On Twelfth Night, we had our traditional party, which includes finding the pickle ornament...
 and receiving the "pickle prize" of the last gift of Christmas. 
It was a chess set this year, which inspired many games of chess.

I got this lovely set of soup bowls, and so I just had to make each of the soups. The recipes for the soups are on the backs of the bowls.

 The kids have been enjoying their Christmas presents.

I have been enjoying painting. I did most of these during the really cold spell. Our furnace went out for the downstairs and so we were all confined mostly to the upstairs until it was fixed, so I did a lot of painting. I decided that I didn't want to paint on canvases for the most part as I did not have the wall space for them, so I bought a painting sketchbook to paint in. Overall it has worked well, but it is much harder to paint on paper as opposed to canvas. 
(top left) Decorating the Christmas Tree, (top right) Saint Nicholas Day, (bottom left), Decorating the House, (bottom right) Shopping for Secret Santa Gifts
Another project I have been working on is making a permanent Advent Calendar to use beginning next year. My plan is to have a board with 24 spots in which to hang miniature canvases which depict the various advent traditions we have. I then can arrange them in any order each year. These are the first four paintings I have done for it. Most of them are based off of The Art Sherpa's video tutorials, but I did Saint Nicholas by myself. The canvases are about 2 inches square.

And how was your January?

December 2017: Snapshot Summary: Traditions

December 2017

December is always a happy month for us, filled with traditions.

 We begin the month celebrating Saint Nicholas day by filling shoes with some sort of goodies. My boys, of course, are older now, but they still don't mind an unexpected treat or two, or following traditions that remind them of their childhood days.
My family insists on a live Christmas tree, and the best way to insure that they will remain green throughout the 12 days of Christmas (which, by the way are not the twelve days leading up to Christmas, despite what the stores would like you to think, but begin on Christmas day) is to cut it yourself, so that is also a tradition for our family.
On another day, we decorate the tree, accompanied by Christmas music and mugs of hot chocolate, made by Sam this year. (This photo, however, was taken right before we opened the presents Christmas morning.) 

The ornaments are a collection of blown glass ornaments (some of them antique), ornaments the kids have made, the kids First Christmas ornaments and ornaments the grandparents have given the kids. Lots of tradition there.

 James and Katie went Christmas Caroling with other residents of Betterton, while Quentin, Sam and Steven went to see It's a Wonderful Life in the theater. I stayed home with Alex, but we did go out on the porch to wave to Santa and the carolers as they went by.
 Katie and James also went to a live nativity...
 and gathered mistletoe from the trees in the park.
Steven and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. We went to Crackle Barrel to celebrate and to buy Secret Santa gifts.

 We baked lots of cookies, including having our annual Cookie Bake with Hope, in which seven of us made 12 different kinds of Christmas cookies.

 Despite the fact that it wasn't actually a white Christmas on Christmas day, we did have several snow storms in December. I really liked this photo of one of the snow storms that James took in which you can actually see the snow fall.
A sampling of the paintings Alex made as gifts.
Alex and I enjoyed painting gifts for friends and family this year...
and Katie enjoyed making ceramics gifts as well.
 It was a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After Mass on Christmas Eve, we opened the Christmas Eve presents of pajamas and Steven read The Night Before Christmas...

and then we set out the Christmas stockings that we handmade by Steven's mother...
which, of course, were filled by Christmas morning.
 I am blessed that I was able to share Christmas with all of my children. I can see that soon they will be sharing Christmas Day other places so I am cherishing the ones I still have with everyone there.
We decided to have a Colonial Christmas dinner this year, with Williamsburg Ham, Peanut Soup, Southern Green Beans (similar to Green Beans Splashed With Cider Vinegar), Kings Arms Tavern Sweet Potatoes and Colonial Corn Pudding.
Steven made his traditional Steamed Pudding with hard sauce for dessert.
 Later in the week we celebrated Christmas with Hope and Eddie...
and then with Brenda.
Sam and Katie successfully finished their first semester at AACC, and Sam got straight A's! Katie also did well, getting two A's (Statistics, First Aid), and two B's (Ceramics, Drawing I).
We celebrated James' 17th birthday...

and we celebrated New Year's Eve with Hope and Eddie.

How was your December?