African Adventures

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African Elephant Chalk Drawing

This week we are exploring the animals of Africa as requested by my youngest.  We are reading and viewing a couple of animals a day to learn more about the animals and their behaviours and the geography of Africa.

Today the boys began their day setting up some new and old race tracks and did some video recordings of a car being chased by a boulder. They worked together for a few hours, getting new angles filmed and action scenes were reconstructed as ideas were thought of!

IMG_20150121_083116_963IMG_20150121_090339_228 This was an activity with no end! They are still at it 3 hours later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150121_084656_246After reading about Lions and Cheetahs today. We viewed some pictures of Ndebele house paintings. The people of southern Africa are famous for colorful, geometric designs painted on their houses. Traditionally they used homemade fingerpaints to decorate and believed this type of painting created a connection between the past, present and future.

Using card stock , permanent markers and pastels, the boys each designed their own painted houses! The book Amazing African projects seen here is a great resource!

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Creating Creative Thinkers

It’s been awhile since I have made an entry on our homeschooling days, mostly because I wanted my focus to be in the moment and not behind the camera and due to the fact that our computer was temperamental for a while!
Anyway, when I started this year of schooling my goal was to get some creativity going! I started to read a lot about Waldorf and was drawn to the creative side of this method. I love having a MLB- main lesson book, where the children draw out images from the main lesson being taught at the time. I directed this for a while to get the habit and thoughts rolling, and this week it finally took off and the boys asked me, yup, they asked me to draw from the story we are reading, which is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

I went out and got them each a daily journal to write in or doodle in each afternoon as we close out the “school” day, they have embraced it and I’m mostly implementing this because I want them to be free thinking, creative, and most importantly seeing and observing from their entries and illustrations what they are internalizing and taking away from each lesson personally. Fingers crossed this is our new path and it will continue to grow from here. I also love that they are naturally incorporating writing, spelling, math and fine motor development as well as critical thinking skills!
Here are some documentations they made this week:
IMG_20150108_095717_354In chapter 3 and 4 Milo, the main character visits Dictionopolis and ends up in a word marketplace, where one can buy words or letters that are for sale.

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My oldest loves Tock, the dog and created a drawing of the character from the cover of the book.

IMG_20150113_142511We are also studying Ancient Greece this week and did a Waldorf inspired watercolor painting, First we drew pencil lines for a guide in creating the depth and then worked counter clock wise adding in the rainbow of colors only using primary colors and let/used the water “mingle” and blend and create the secondary and tertiary colors.

Journal entries after watching a Minecraft video set in an Ancient Greece mod on Youtube. They each wrote the three minecraft tools they like the most and why.

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Map of Ancient Greece and an animal drawn using detail by my youngest 😉

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The life cycle of the plant- illustrated using lemniscate symbol

symbolGeometry and the Life Cycle of the Plant all came together for one big main lesson block this morning! We are now into day three of our Botany block and today’s focus was following the plant from The Seed, Root and Shoot to The Stem.

I read to the boys about each plant part in depth and read a book from the library as an introduction this morning. We also recalled info. from yesterday and the process of Photosynthesis. IMG_20141001_113419Once we headed to the table to do some more work I handed Liam the page I had printed out of the Geometry book that I had come across that I thought gave the perfect image to represent the life cycle of the plant. The lemniscate! He said “oh sure, I can see that!” Me, really? you are familiar with this? He proceeded to tell me all about it and how it was used to tell time between day and night! I had no idea he knew this! Nice!! So, we talked about how in the diagram on the print out it showed the time differences between the seasons. I explained that we could use this to show the growth in a plant above and below the ground during the seasons! ex.: Winter- empty on land, mostly underground- big circle on the bottom, smaller loop on top!

He did a fantastic job! I love how it came out!                 symbol

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Fall and Winter

Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

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While Liam worked on drawing the diagrams, Luke and I worked on his letters. He practiced writing the letter B and reciting the rhyme Little Boy Blue with me. He did a couple of workbook pages and then we acted out the phonetic sound of B, by pretending to hold a Bat and shouting b b b b b and we swung to hit the ball.

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He then described to me how to create and draw out the new letter B card for him. I loved his idea of the letter B coming out of the horn, and he wanted the pattern of big B then little b!

We then made salt dough and made impressions using leaves from outside. Since they take a long time to bake, we’ll paint them tomorrow!

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Monday Meandering

With yet another drizzly morning , we decided to do some indoor exercises to start our day instead of our morning walk. I suggested a dance party, they asked to do Yoga instead. So we did about 5 minutes and they declared they’d rather do the dance party 😉

Robotic Moves! Floor Spins!

Robotic Moves! Floor Spins!

We then sat together and read some Fables together for a half an hour, snacked then did some weaving with colored elastics and my knitting looms.

Luke's Design

Luke’s Design

 

Liam's Design

Liam’s Design

Luke took a break and headed to do some self guided play with his TMNT playhouse.

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We then continued our study on mushroom with the Handbook of Nature Study. They each sketched the different types of mushrooms.

Luke's Sketches!

Luke’s Sketches!

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Then Luke decided he wanted to take a nap!… and he wasn’t kidding 2 hours later he’s still out!

Liam and I went to relax on my bed while we read some more of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Next up was some math workbook pages- practicing roman numerals, fractions, graphing and perimeter review.

We then went into some art! Today was the start of our Form Drawing lesson block. We watched this video on Highlight Rendering and then had a mini session trying it out! He was very reluctant but I kept encouraging him and he was very pleased with the final look of it.

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Hola! Tom Sawyer and Charlotte Mason

We are jumping right in and trying our hardest to incorporate Living Books/ CM method for most subjects following along with Living Books Curriculum-( I didn’t buy the teaching guide, the lesson plans are mine) We are following the Overview and booklist though for the Foundation year and 5th grade.  So far all the books I have found at the library! We started last week and it’s working!

We started our day with our daily morning walk, which led us to the library. The boys went a bit crazy and we checked out over 20 books! I now have a basket full for us to read together each morning after our walks.

When we returned the boys were excited to read, Liam went off and read his book while I read a few to Luke, then we all joined  on my bed and read one more together.

We jumped into a Science experiment next. Liam had found an experiment book last week and wanted to try one called, Disappearing Coffee Cups!

Next up was Language Arts. I gave an Intro to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We will be reading this as part of our American History studies- 19th century America. Today I read an excerpt from the novel and then we did our first real narration together. Liam recalled the entire excerpt almost word for word! I was surprised, especially with all the interruptions!

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Next was Luke’s lesson- we read a story about the letter S, then the boys made a body image of the letter together 🙂 He’s doing great with phonics!

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For math, Liam practiced his multiplication tables and Luke practiced counting to 20 with numbered sticks and play dough. Liam is trying out the “Line Method- link” I came across on Facebook thru YouTube.

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Luke also tried his hand at weaving!

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After all this he decided to take a nap! 🙂

Liam and I continued on and took a look at Norman Rockwell as he is an American Artist and did a collection on Tom Sawyer! We viewed quite a few pieces and then picked one to really study over the next month.

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Then we had our first day of Spanish! We started some last year, but it didn’t last all that long- so we’re back at it! Through Pinterest I found this site called BBC Languages

It is a series of interactive videos. We started our trip going to Madrid in a cab and finding our Flat! Liam then sent our friend Teresa a Thank You text for letting us stay in her apartment as part of the vocabulary game. It was fun!

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Grow with the Flow

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This week has been a rather rough one with a few unexpected bumps,  and incidentally not much in the way of quality school work had gone on. I sat down early this morning to plan out a new rhythm/ schedule to follow to get us back on track. We still have some issues to get through to get fully back on track but, just implementing this new routine did wonders for us all today! I could see the boys growing “edgy” without a good routine going,  falling into the “I’m bored” routine. I heard both say today-“this is fun like this!” – yeah!

Our new flow looks like this:

8-8:30 Breakfast/Get Dressed

8:45-9 Clean Up rooms and toys

9-10 Outside or Morning Walk (Nature Walk on Wed.)

10-10:30 Read Together/Liam 15 min on own

10:45-11:15 History/Geography

11:15-12:00 Language Arts

12-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1 Math

1-1:30 Science/Nature Study

1:30-2 Art or Music

2-3:00 Board Games/Outside/Snacks/blocks etc

3-5:00 Free Time – Screens/Video Games allowed

Look at how much we got done following this schedule today (and the time frames seemed just about right!)

Chart of the Seasons

Chart of the Seasons diagram was finished!

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Read together at the Park

Read together at the Park

Boys read one together

Boys read a book together

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary of Landforms

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

We all read Captain Cook together

We all read Captain Cook together

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction "Unicorn at Six Flags"

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction
“Unicorn at Six Flags”

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water!

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water! After we read Splash! by Nadia Higgins

We finished up a bit early, but we accomplished some good stuff! 🙂

Colors of the Seasons

Today was more on Thirteen Moons on a Turtle’s Back, continued from yesterday’s Social Studies block. If you missed it, click here! We explored the Native American’s first calendar and natural rhythms yesterday.

This morning I read a poem from one moon in each season to the boys. We discussed the colors and the animals in the illustrations.

13moonsThe boys then each did a seasonal project. My youngest drew a tree on his watercolor print from yesterday. He used frozen iced cubes on wet watercolor paper. He decided the colors looked like Spring to him! He used his arm to begin the basic shape of the tree! Great job!! My oldest made a seasonal lantern, melting crayons between wax paper and (using an iron for the first time) with popsicle sticks and tape/glue. It came out beautiful too.

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Today for math was a writing prompt for my oldest. I’m trying a new routine out to make the lessons a bit more engaging. (See the page in the menu on the home page). Anyway, I read him a story from a book I found at the library called Animal Math by Rourke Publishing. We read a short story about temperatures in both gorilla and penguin habitats and talked of negative numbers. This fit in great with another book we are currently reading- Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Once done with the  short story I asked him to write his own penguin story using negative numbers in it. Here is his story: (He loved this btw!)

There were 15 penguins, they all like to play around. They next day they discovered there was -5 penguins! They didn’t care, they wanted to eat fish and the next day came and again, -5 penguins! So, they were happy cause they got more fish to eat!

My youngest took a break with legos and then later worked at his light table with tangrams, making animal shapes!

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Up next, we all sat as I read my youngest his story of the week; The Little House! He loves the story and first told his older brother about the plot before I read it. They both enjoyed it and it tied in nicely with our lesson block on the moon phases and the seasons.

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We finished the formal part of our day with beginning the first chapter in The Birchbark House! This will be our main book as we go along with our Native American lesson block. We are really enjoying this topic and I’m finding really easy to teach it at different levels for both boys!

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