Friday, July 16, 2010

Muggle Studies - Field Trip


Today was too hot for thinking, so we went to Whimsic Alley. Their new location is amazing! If you are in Los Angeles, you must head over. The new place is much larger than the old, & has a banquet room! Too bad my birthday is not until February. I hope you enjoy my photos.

Prof. Kat.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Photo - Property of Warner Bros.

If you have no Quidditch pitch near your home you can still play. Muggles have come up with their own versions of our beloved sport. Here are a few you can try:

* A playground version can be found here.

*This version would be fun for teens.

* For you lucky owners of swimming pools.

* You can even play on the Muggleweb.

Whilst flying with a broomstick between your legs is perfectly safe, I would not suggest  you run about with one. Either do without, or try pool noodles. We once played Seeker try-outs by having kids take turns running on a pool noodle. An adult would toss a bean bag at the hopeful, who would try to catch it with his/her free hand.  Only a few tripped, & because the noodles are foam, no Wizardly crotches were injured.

Do not forget Quidditch Through the Ages. Use it as you would any book: reading practice, vocabulary words, book report, etc. We at HH put anything word-related into the Charms category. The HP 20Q game is not Quidditch, but it is shaped like a Snitch! I have played it, & can assure you it is great fun. A quick search on Amazon for Quidditch brought up board games, card games, & more. As always, I recommend joining dadcando. It is a pay-site, but well worth it for the low price. Once you have joined, you can make their fabulous Snitch.

Have fun!

Prof. Kat.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Term Letter

Arthur Weasley has finally managed to solve our  PDF problem! As I create them, I shall upload the files for you, post them here, then copy them to the Classroom page. That is the grand plan, at any rate. Here is the first:

summer acceptance letter

This letter was one we used two summers ago. You can use it as is (except for the dates), or use it to inspire your own letter. I have other acceptance letters from which you can choose. Hopefully I can get those to you tomorrow. The PDFs for the recent lessons too. Or should that be - too?? ;)

Prof. Kat.

Edited to add :: A version with blanks, to be filled in, has been uploaded to the classroom as well.

Send an Owl

Did you know that the HP theme park has an Owlery? Here is a blurb from their Muggle-site: The Owl Post itself is a functioning postal office. You can drop your letters and postcards into the post box, and they will be delivered with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark.

What fun! Cant get to Florida? They offer an e-owl as well. I sent one to myself, to see what it would look like. Here is what came to tell me I had an owl:

This is what appeared when I clicked on it (what Muggles come up with!):

A great way for your HH students to communicate with each other over the summer; in addition to having them write letters, of course.

Prof. Kat.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Flowing Fireworks, an Example of Potterfication

[caption id="attachment_257" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Photo :: Property of Steve Spangler Science"]

One of the questions I am most asked, is how to Potterfy lessons. I know it can be daunting, but I assure you it is as easy as pumpkin pie. In this post I shall give you an example of the most basic of Potterfications: taking an existing project, & tinkering with the wording. Let us begin.

Let us look at a wonderful project by the Wizards at Steve Spangler Science.  As you read through the first time, make note of the words you will want to replace. Some are obvious; pen/quill, others may  take some thought. It is best to keep a master list, so you do not accidentally call something by more than one name. I speak from experience; your kids will notice.

Once you have words swapped, you can add a bit of detail, to make your lesson sound as if it had been written by one of our ilk, or a specific professor. Not comfortable with creative writing? That is fine, stop at simple word-swapping.

Type your lesson into your favorite Muggle program, & choose a font you consider appropriate. The Mugglenet is teeming with HP fonts. I hope to have them here for download soon, but until then, please make sure you download fonts from a reputable site. You may now print your lesson onto parchment. Yes, as easy as that.

Arthur Weasley has not yet discovered why we can no longer create a pdf, so my Potterfication of the above lesson is here. Edited to add :: A pdf of this lesson is now in the Classrooms!
Flowing Fireworks

The Muggle art of “tie dye” has its roots in the ancient Wizard practice of transferring rings of pigment onto fabric using magic. Of course, Muggles are unable to utilize magic, so they had to come up with their own way of decorating their clothing. We believe it was in the late 1960s, possibly in San Francisco, that they began “tying”, and “dying”.

In this lesson, you shall learn to create brilliant rings on fabric the proper way, with magic.

You shall need:

* one white t-shirt, pre-washed

* permanent quills, in a variety of colors

* one plastic goblet

* one cursed ring

* dragon spit, 70%

* one pipette or dropper

Cautionary Notes:

* Dragon spit is highly flammable, so must be kept away from open flames, or heat.

* This spell must be practiced in a well-ventilated area, either out-of-doors, or with opened windows.


* Place your goblet inside the t-shirt, where you would like to create your design. Stretch your cursed ring over the cup, to secure your fabric.

* Draw 6 or so dots (in the center of the fabric), in a circle approximately the size of a Muggle quarter. You may use more than one color of permanent quill if you like. Place those between the spaces of your previous color.

*Slowly squeeze 20 drops of Dragon spit into the center of your circle of dots. It is important to go slowly, so as not to flood the area.

*Once you like what you’ve created, set your fabric aside to dry for 5 minutes. After you have, you may move your cursed ring & goblet to another area of the t-shirt.

*Let your shirt fully dry before placing it in the Muggle dryer for 15 minutes. This is an important step, as it sets your design.

*Record your observations.

Muggle Explanations

This is really a lesson in the concepts of solubility, color mixing, and the movement of molecules. The Sharpie markers contain permanent ink, which will not wash away with water. Permanent ink is hydrophobic, meaning it is not soluble in water. However, the molecules of ink are soluble in another solvent called rubbing alcohol. This solvent carries the different colors of ink with it as it spreads in a circular pattern from the center of the shirt.

What I did:

Created an introduction. This helps with the illusion that the lesson came from the Wizarding world. It is not necessary, merely more interesting.

Swapped Muggle words for proper ones.

Gave a Muggle explanation at the end. There is no need to change wording here; this is the magic as the Muggles see it. It is also what your children are learning, so unless they are very young, you'll want to include it.

I hope I have been of some help. you are welcome to e-owl me with questions.
Prof. Kat.

dragon spit/rubbing alcohol, cursed ring/rubber band, permanent quills/permanent markers

Friday, July 2, 2010

Potions - Faery Fireworks

[caption id="attachment_245" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="photo :: property of hh"][/caption]

I have decided to post weekly lessons throughout the summer!  He-who-must-not-be-named has set a curse upon me though, for I find myself thwarted at every attempt to get the lessons to you.

Here is a peek at whats to come (I am sorry this is not in pdf - once I discover the counter-curse, I shall post an update. If you want to print this onto parchment, do so using this font.)  Edited to add :: A pdf of this lesson is now in the Classrooms! Enjoy!!! :

Faery Fireworks

Thousands of years ago, the Faeries of what we now call China created fireworks. They did not share this knowledge with others in the Faerie realm, but kept it for themselves. Eventually Faeries the world over unlocked the secrets, & have been making fireworks ever since.

For the last one hundred years, Wizards have been scouring the world, collecting the essence of Faerie fireworks. We are yet unable to master the magic of the Faeries, but we can recreate the beauty. This is your lesson for today.

You shall need:

* a clear, tall drinking goblet

* a small bowl

* your wand (skewer, toothpick, fork)

* Basilisk venom

* cold Gillywater

* Faerie firework essence


* Fill your tall goblet with Gillywater, stopping an inch or so from the top.

* Into your bowl, pour 2 tablespoons of Basilisk venom.

* Add to the venom a few drops of the firework essence. You may opt for one color only, or a variety.

* Use your wand to gently stir your mixture. You need only stir a few times, to scatter the droplets.

* Slowly pour this into your Gillywater.

* Record your observations.

Muggle Explanation

Food coloring dissolves in water, but not in

oil. When you stir the food coloring in the oil, you only break up the droplets. Oil is less dense than water, so floats on the surface. As the colored droplets sink to the bottom of the oil, they mix with the water. The color diffuses outward as the heavier colored droplets sink to the bottom of the glass.

Prof. Kat.

edited to add :: Wow I must have a powerful curse upon me; I forgot to include the Muggle names for the ingredients.

Basilisk Venom = clear oil

Gillywater = tap water (have your child magic the tap with his/her wand.)

Faerie Firework Essence = food coloring.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We're Back!

Well not exactly back, but we're gearing up to reopen HH in a few months. Prof. Pia and I have been discussing all sorts of things that you'll love.

We are so sorry to have been away so long. Prof. Pia has been hard at work with the California Homeschool Network, & I have been spending all my time staring at my new tiny wizard. Neither of us expected life to take us away from you, & both are anxious to get the quidditch ball rolling.

We appreciate the lack of Howlers, thanks.

Be back soon :)

~Prof. Kat