Monday, March 28, 2011

Physics: Potato Clock

The children are doing a unit in Elemental Science Physics on magnets and electricity. And, the potato clock worked today, somehow. So, the rest of the week we get to research WHY it worked. Here is one idea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Art Study

Kandinsky, O'Keeffe, Picasso
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Is this too much to ask from a 5th grader?

4x / week Saxon 6/5 (independent)
2 chapters / month Latina Christiana finish I and start II (group)
2 chapters / month finish First French from Memoria Press (group)
2x / week MANGO exercises (independent)
2x / week Elemental Science Logic Stage Biology (some independent/some group work)
3x / week Rod and Staff Grammar finish 5 begin 6 (independent)
1 chapter/ week Spelling Work out F (independent)
2x / week typing practice (independent)
household tasks
maybe some logic exercises
3 hours / week Piano practice and 2 lesson / month (independent)
1 chapter/ week Community Bible Study Genesis Study (group)
1x / week AWANA (group)
1 country a week study of Asian country flags/ culture and outline map (independent)
1x / week write a paragraph to discuss Forest Habitats from HOAC (independent)
3x/ week read, outline, narrate, timeline Ancient History/Art/Science/Play from SOTW, Encyclopedias, other reference and fiction. CHOLL Logic Stage Ancients for reference. (independent)
(the red print indicates items he will not be used to, but the rest are tasks he is familiar with from 4th grade)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Muppet Show Season 3 (Flashback to 1978-79)

While we play "catch-up" from our visit to Utah for family visit and skiing, as well as from our visit with the Obie's, we're watching the Muppet Show from the late 1970s. Many of these folks are completely unfamiliar to my kids. One of my Gs mentioned that she didn't really like Alice Cooper from his appearance.  Gilda Radner, Roy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge didn't make much of a impact on my kids. Jean Stapleton was fun because she picked a strange Muppet monster as her favorite for one show tune. My favorite parts of each episode the Swedish Chef and the Science Lab set. I approved of the appearance done by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and my dad would be proud of me for teaching the kids even more about the wild west and western folklore. Some of these people from the shows are still alive, but we learned how to look up people and see what other things they were famous for in their lives, including Pearl Bailey (that was a fun one). I appreciated a break to watch a Muppet show intermittently while we did laundry and GRAMMAR as much as was necessary. We also got several walks around the neighborhood park district which was brilliant because of the weather, it was almost like getting over jet lag without the time change and loss of sleep. Enjoy the entertainment from your library's DVD collection. You may find some fun things that are a pleasant break from the news of war, famine and destruction on network TV.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New and Amazing Discoveries


Bobo Tea

Coconut Powdered Mix
(Sri Lankan coconuts)

"Open Season" cartoon videos

"Silk" milk

An "almost" four year old's sheer, all-encompassing delight in riding the commuter train to and from downtown Chicago

Picking a mango that's not going to go to waste - lessons

IKEA thru a virgin- meatball eater's eyes

I-290 traffic from downtown Chi-town at rush hour with a farm girl behind the wheel (the Kansas license plates don't hurt either)

"How deep is the coal mine at Museum of Science and Industry, Mom?"

Home made yogurt lessons

Fannie May Mint Melt-aways.... truly amazing

All this and more from a 3 day visit with the Obie's!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Red Pen

This is our fourth year of home educating three children who arrived into this world in a matter of sixteen months.  They are each quite different from the other, as one should expect.  I have always moaned about their arrival in a compacted time period, but if I'd had it to do over again, I may not have changed anything. And what right do I have of complaining over healthy children born with little trouble, after all! 

So, this is our fourth year as a homeschooling family and I've always been in a hurry while teaching them. "All my ducks were never in a row" as it were, and I've thus always been frustrated (except on those very special days when I used a secret weapon that I don't use all the time - prayer).  Why don't I always pray? Well, that is a mystery. Conundrum... 

And, through these four years I, as a geography teacher at heart and by training, have included flag studies by Continent as well as a biome study.  These subjects are separate in their planners, but have related until now. For example, when we studied Canada, I started an arctic biome study. We did a state bird and migration study that was somewhat related to the states of the Union study.  Europe overlapped into the arctic biome study and African flags overlapped into the desert biome study. We are studying the Latin and South American flags this year and the ocean biome.

As a basis for these biome studies, I have used some Hands of a Child materials and some Apologia materials.  The flag studies have always used Homeschooling with Index Cards materials and some Dover materials.  I have read aloud the Burgess book about the seashore, listened to Moby Dick from audio book, each child read a page a day of Holings' books called Seabird and the other called Pagoo. We've used the Dover coloring book to examine creatures along the seashore. But, now we've progressed past the Dover and HOAC materials for the oceans biome study into the Apologia book called Swimming Things of the Fifth Day.  I am using open ended short answer questions from the Yahoo Elementary Apologia group for each chapter.

Finally, I'm getting to the part where these three children are writing a paragraph independently and I'm using a red pen to convey a critique of their work.  And I thought that maybe they were ready to do a paragraph to answer the question of what differentiates sea grass from algae. Their requirements were simple: handwriting that I can read; topic sentence that states intent to differentiate between the two items; several sentences about how the items are different; and a final sentence about the importance of both items.  I was pleased to find handwriting I can read and I did have to coach a bit, but spelling mistakes aside, there was very little red ink on the pages.  I wonder if we're getting to writing and not just blowing it off as I've done in the past. Maybe the discussion of narrating and summations is sinking in to their brains. Maybe...

Physics: Spin chapter Stool

Elemental Science Spin Chapter Stool Project done independently and written about in complete sentences in their own notebook pages. 
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

G#2 and her aluminium foil dog

You know, I'm incredibly lenient when it comes to art. And as long as the critter has four legs, it's all good.