Adventures that-ROCK!

Today we packed up the backpack with a bunch of supplies and headed out to a local state park.  We went to Hurd State Park, also know as “split rock”  In the granite ledges of the split rock are veins of feldspar which was once mined extensively in Connecticut.

Liam has been studying the industrial revolution and reading a book about mining the past few weeks, so I had the idea to go explore rocks!rocksin the backpack: safety goggles, hammers,cloth,magnets,notebook, paints and brushes, paperbags and insect repelant.

What did we learn: rocks and minerals,  some of CT.’s history, navigation, seasonal changes, geography, navigation,  reading and math skills and team work!

As we entered the park, Liam was in charge of reading the park map as I drove. Of course, Luke chimed in too. We found our parking space at the head of the trail and I had both boys take another look at the trail map and tell me which direction we needed to head to be near the Connecticut River.

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We headed down and found  a beautiful spot to set up our materials. After grabbing their brown bags they headed over to collect rocks at the rivers edge.

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Once they had collected all the rocks they wanted, they came back to the picnic table to investigate! They broke them open using a hammer and had a blast looking at the texture and colors on the insides. We also checked to see if any had any magnetism to them…they did not.  Luke proceeded to paint a few of his and then measured all of his rocks.

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Luke spent time exploring in a variety of ways, while Liam really enjoyed breaking open all his rocks and said he found some  crystals and lots of pieces of mica in his!

We had a quick picnic after they were through exploring and headed back to the car and  over to the Split Rock trail.

Luke was our leaded and pointed out the yellow trail mark to us. Along the way they both spotted a woodpecker, frog and granite and more mica, plus a few other goodies!

Great fun and lots of learning! And…I love how they looked with their safety goggles! 🙂

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First Week back was a home run!

We officially started back with daily lessons this week! I think we’re all feeling rejuvenated and productive and in better spirits with some routine back in our days!

Luke had several 5-10 minute lessons this week in which he really got into! His lessons were based on the letter A. He  listened and watched the alphabet song and played a few letter A games, both on the computer and at the table.  He even made up his own song ” This A is on Fi-re!”  He did a craft of a Superhero A for “Apple guy”.

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He practiced counting 1-10,watched a 1-10 fire truck video and used his new wikki sticks for some tactile counting practice. I asked him to show me the number 1 and 3 out of order and he was able to identify them- doing very well!

For extra fun yesterday, we all went to visit a new homeshool group at the lake and the boys played in the sand, swam and played field games, while I got to chat with my sister who also homeschools her children. When we returned home the boys were invited by their grandfather to go to a baseball game. Liam declined he’s not much into sports and had to attend his karate class last night anyway. However, Luke was thrilled at the thought and had his first “men’s night out” with grandad! He came in around 10pm last night all excited with baseball in hand, and lots of stories, and covered in a significant layer of dirt! 🙂 First thing this morning he woke up and said the baseball game was so fun (he’s still holding the ball!)IMG_20130816_065012_679Liam’s lessons this week were based on Zoology and Animal Classification. He did several online games and watched some videos as well as some library books on all the criteria in classifying the animals. IMG_20130816_064914_198In his History lessons he is starting the year “working on the Transcontinental Railroad.” As part of the introduction to this time period he played a game where he had to choose which side of the railroad he wanted to join,  he chose to “work” on the Central Pacific team and had to make choices and read facts, and answer questions along the way in order to make his rail line complete. He also watched an informative cartoon on Alexander Graham Bell.

He reviewed Nouns- proper and common and did a scavenger hunt around the house finding and labeling nouns.  He began Intro. to Spanish and loved it! He listened to the Spanish alphabet several times and played several games matching the phonetic sound to the correct letter and then listened to a word and had to choose the correct first letter. He also listened to common phrases and copied them onto his clipboard in Espanol and in English.   He did great!

Liam also reviewed some math from last year: multiplication facts, dividing groups and Angles-Obtuse, Acute and Right as well as Lines and Planes. He drew and labeled them all in his math journal. Along with several online math games: Time Math, Garage Sale and Making number through 9,000.

Now we are going to listen to Dad as he DJ’s on the radio from the local College!

Landmarks, Art & Architecture Unit-Week 1

For our last Unit of this year, my oldest requested to study Famous Buildings, Landmarks and Architecture. I loved the idea and got busy right away requesting a bunch of Library books!

Book List:

Architecture A Visual History by James Neal

Joan Steiner Look-A-likes:  Discover a Land where things are not as they appear… and Around the World ; An Album of Amazing Postcards

Monumental Versus by J. Patrick Lewis (poetry)

13 Buildings Children Should Know by Anette Roeder

Buildings in Disguise by Joan Marie Arbogast

Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting

Using both these books and worksheets found on Education.com in a “Let’s Travel” series we set out to visit the Landmarks!

                                                   First Stop: England!

We viewed and became familiar with Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Big Ben.

History/Social Studies: Landmarks of England. Where is England? Using the World Atlas to locate England.

Language Arts: Copy work and discussed the following words:

England, London, Europe, Queen, British Monarchy, Gables

Math: My youngest built with blocks that had two landmarks on them : Stonehenge and the London Eye. Liam used the geo-boards to create the London Eye as well as some multiplication problems.

england 001blockengland 004 luke build

england 005 eye geoboard

 

 

 

 

Art: Re-created the look of Stonehenge with rocks from around the yard and constructed Tower Bridge with Clay and Pipe Cleaners.

england 006 stonehenge

Computer: Liam loves (to say the least) the game Minecraft, each day as we finish learning about some Landmarks he is re-creating them in “his world” within the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Stop: Greece!

Using the books -Architecture A Visual History and 13 Buildings Children Should Know and the World Atlas we took a look at The Parthenon!

History/Social Studies: Locate Greece on the Map. Using a worksheet from the same Travel set at Education.com, he matched the Landmarks to the locations on the map of Greece; The Parthenon, Meteora, Santorini, Delphi Theater and Mount Olympus, followed by a series of True and False questions.

Language Arts: Copy work of the following words: Athens, Greece, Greek Antiquity, Columns, The Parthenon, Doric, Iconic and Corinthian.

Art: After discussing the 3 types of Columns : Doric, Iconic and Corinthian- today’s art was photography! We drove around our local towns and looked for these types of columns! Here are the photos he took:

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Luke did watercolor painting on printouts of the columns and Liam also designed his own Parthenon on his game minecraft :Greece 001Greece 002

Science: Optical Illusions! We viewed a video and took a closer look at the design of the columns after reading about little tricks architects use in their designs that are not immediately apparent. The end columns are slightly thicker than the others, because they are better-illuminated than the others, it makes them appear thinner!

Math: Multiplication/Division using the pillars for math word problems. Measuring with a measuring tape to see just how tall the pillars stand.

pops bridgeNow in The United States!

We began with the story Pop’s Bridge about the Golden Gate Bridge. Followed by a closer look at The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, The Chrysler Building and The Guggenheim Museum using the book 13 Building Children Should Know.

Language Arts: Poetry: Monumental Versus book by J. Patrick Lewis -I read the poem “Empire State Building” we then reflected on it and discussed the form of  First Person Narrative.  

The following were today’s copy work vocab/spelling words: San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Modernism, Spiral.

Science: We discussed the design of the Guggenheim Museum and Frank Llyod Wright’s design which is a long spiral-shaped ramp in which visitors take an elevator to the top and simply walk down.  As a repeat from Greece we also talked about optical Illusions again as the building gets progressively wider towards the top.

Math: The term “Cross-Section” as well as some Division lapbook problems.

Art: Frank Llyod Wright as well as Joseph Strauss, designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, were both persistent against critics and branched out in a new direction. With this thought, I asked Liam to design his own “cutting edge, Modern, unlike anything seen before” structure!

He designed a Robot shaped building that would be a Museum for Electronics, Video games and Robots.robot desing

Next week Visits: France, Brazil, Thailand, Spain, New Zealand!

Week Three: India, Denmark, Portugal, China and Australia!

The Cricket in Times Square- Elephant Math

The past two weeks we have been reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon.  A cricket who finds himself transported from Connecticut to New York’s Times Square when trapped inside a picnic basket.  We follow him through many adventures and meet his new friends along with him.

square  cricket

We live in Connecticut and visited Times Square last year as a family, so after a quick reminder of our trip and watching a video on Times Square, we had a discussion of the two places and the FEEL of them. As Liam gets older I really want him to start connecting with the stories just a little bit more and so we talked quite a bit about how the cricket must feel after coming from a quiet grassy country side to the loud busy city.  I also started a new writing/spelling lesson as we go through the book chapter by chapter. He is keeping a Writing Response Journal. The purpose is to record personal experiences, explore reactions and interpretations, record and analyze. To think about the book and connect literature to his own life.

We are up to Chapter 8 and here are a couple of his entries so far:

“The best Character yet is Tucker Mouse. ”

“I think Chester and Tucker are Friends now. Chester is from Ct.”

“This Chapter is SO FUNNY! I liked Sai Fong.”

Elephant Math:

We are just finishing up our Unit on Ancient India and came upon this great Living Math idea in a handbook I have called A trip Around The World.

Tradition in ancient India called for respect of all forms of life. Asian or Indian elephants are dressed in a small house called howdahs. Many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are created for these wild animals.  With many interesting facts about elephants we answered some mathematical questions about them.

ele math The bull elepjant stands 9-10 feet tall and weighs approx. 8,00 pounds.

Weigh 5 textbooks and determine how many would equal the weight of one elephant?!

eleph math

The skin of an elephant is about 1 1/2 inch thick and weighs about 2,000 pounds.

How many sheets of paper are equal to the thickness of an elephants skin?

What fraction of the elephant’s weight is its skin?

We ended up meeting fellow homeschool friends at the zoo and seeing the elephants there.

Science:

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light game

This week Argon was added to the Elements folder. The boys watched a video on how a light bulb is made. Played a game on reflecting light VS. absorbing light and tried it out in the bedroom with a mirror.  Liam drew light bulb and added it into the pocket, then finished the week with an online quiz!argon light pocket

Another fun/busy week! We plan on heading out to meet a small group today for some outdoor games! Enjoy your day!

 

We are Growing! Ancient India&Art and…Puppies

This week’s literature was The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle- always a fan of his books!

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We all sat together and read the story and discussed the seasons and life cycle of a plant. Liam could tell  me the whole cycle and all parts of the plant, so I decided we wouldn’t spend too much time on that in particular and more on growing and planting instead.

Science: Well..I’m sure you guessed! We planted our own herb and vegetable garden!

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Liam is also continuing his study of atoms, molecules and states of matter, which went along pretty nicely with the gardening.  He added another sketch in Science Journal -H2O

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We all watched a science video on polymers and everyday science secrets that their grandfather gave them.

A bonus activity: Liam took it upon himself to grab a hammer, rocks and goggles, and cracked open some rocks to examine.  He found a few different ones and then we used them to line the flower beds.

We also did an experiment with molecule vibrations. Which makes a louder sound and why? Liam then drew in his science journal again to record his findings.sci journ

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Math: A focus on fractions and finished up figuring out Elapsed Time. He played a few online math fraction games, one being Flowering Fractions which was fitting! A worksheet on planting word problems, a timed game on double digit subtraction and more time telling.

  Living Math: hands on fractions with “pie pieces”  and counting up and dividing seeds.fractions

Language Arts: Reading a Plant Life Poem, Listening and recording adverbs and adjectives while I read this weeks literature aloud- then completed a cluster all about seeds! For some spelling fun we played Hangman too

seed burst.

A new favorite of theirs is Nate the Great stories on CD for the car. We listened to them as we drove around this week.

Both boy attended a Book Club for homeschoolers this week. Luke listened to an Eric Carle story, followed by a collaborative mural making and then some dramatic play with blocks and home-living toys with other pre-ker’s. Liam was in the older group who led their own discussion on their favorite books, he was apprehensive at first, but then he really didn’t want to leave.

Art: In studying the ancient Indus Valley we took a look at ancient art and what some of the earliest art pictured. We found many cave drawings and many contained images of animals. Liam followed a step by step website and drew the following. (he asked to do two! that never happens) He also made a flower using modeling clay from the image in The Tiny Seed book.

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ancient artHe really enjoyed it and I think he did wonderfully!

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History/Social Studies/Geography: This week began a new look at Ancient India and the Indus Valley. We took a look at the land of the Indus and mapped it out, labeled it. Liam kept an organizer and wrote down information as we came across it in our readings. We read about life, occupations, building and life in the Indus Valley.

 

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Luke spent a few days playing games,some dramatic play and math all around puppies! He found the book Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee in his brothers room and just loves to sit and read it.  He ‘s been very much into dogs and acting out their characteristics! 🙂 We talked about the letter “P” –puppy, had pancakes and pretzels.puppy please

puppypuppy ,askpuppy bingopuppy math

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Music: This week we continued on Ancient Music and some more of the first Instruments and items used to make sounds. Learning about communicating with drums and played a virtual drum log! This led us into patterns of music and we tried out virtual unifix cubes,  musical fraction bars, counting music and even some Morse Code music! This is a great site- found here.

 

Egypt, Literature and State Government

A busy, busy week around here! We kicked this week off with two new stories- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Blueberries for Sal.  We continued studying Ancient Egypt, with a field trip to the local children’s museum featuring Egypt! Then, Wednesday brought us a trip to Connecticut’s State Capitol and Connecticut’s Old State House.

Language Arts:

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel– we watched the story this week and both boys loved it and continued to sing the songs around the house! I chose this as it went along with our current science topic.

Writing: List of the different types of machines

Discussed: Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax and Denouement

Worksheet: Personification

Copywork: Cursive Writing

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Luke’s story this week was Blueberries for Sal. book

Language Arts: Focus on the Letter B, What sound the Letter B makes and watched a video on the Letter B on Starfall and a video with cookie monster featuring the letter B.

Science: Continuation with Hydrogen and a field trip to the Science Center. Liam received a science kit from his recent birthday, so we took that out and experimented with water and air pressure, trying out different scenarios. Liam also played a survival game in which he had to turn a liquid into a gas in order to clean the drinking water on an excursion!

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Music: In focusing on Ancient Egypt, we took a look at Ancient Music as well. Where did music first begin? In Nature! This website features making music with nature- animals, weather and seasonal sounds! They had a blast with this!

Math: Liam continued to work on his multiplication tables. For Living Math we worked off the literature and talked about square polygons and searched around the house to find some. He also drew up a blueprint and we all played Monster Math game. He also tried his hand in an Egyptian Math game placing the time periods in chronological order.egyptmath  Another interactive game was building a pyramid using angles and navigating a boat down the Nile River.

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Monster Math:monster math

The winning monster!

The winning monster!

Runner Ups Monster

Runner Ups Monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke counted with “blueberries” and used beans in the sensory table with measuring cups and measuring spoons. I used the words- half full, and a whole cup while he filled and emptied the cups. We also read the book One Brown Bunny this week.

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Art: Paper Mache Egyptian Tomb,  Ice Cube painting and painting with Blueberries

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History and Social Studies/Geography: Ancient Egypt and The State of Connecticut.

At the Science museum the boys got to see artifacts from Egypt and did a scavenger hunt for certain items, dug for artifacts and made a boat to sail on the Nile River. We also went in the planetarium and watched a movie about polar bears and the arctic.

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On our trip to the State Capitol building we toured with our homeschool hiker group. We were led through the building and heard about the tree branches of gvt. Saw the legislative office and House of Representatives office. We all took a turn in the “wish chair” in the Legislative office in which our tour guide said is a once in a life time opportunity, many do not get to sit in this chair, especially on a tour, since most days this room in is progress. (Luke said he wished for a turtle, Liam wished for our family to live / be together forever and I wished for our family to always be happy and healthy)

The building was beautiful, with stencils, statues and amazing architecture!

During dinner I printed out this quiz from the tour to see what Liam had learned/retained and he did excellent! All but two of the questions he knew! (even though he thought it was “a bit boring”)

We then headed over to Connecticut’s Old State House. This building was all historical highlights on Connecticut. We started in the Hands-On History center, where the kids could dress up in historical clothes, run a farmer’s market and go inside an old camp site.  The next floor featured History all around us, a few of the boys built a replica of the city following the coordinates on an over-sized floor map. We saw and engine from 1912 and tried on costumes, saw Twain’s Bike and did some interactive videos on the history of Hartford! Upstairs we toured the Senate and House rooms.

state housegstate hoouse a state house

St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning!

This week we chose to read St. Patrick’s Day in the morning and focus on St. Patrick’s Day.  I figured instead of doing two separate books this week, the boys would both share and enjoy this unit together and it’s easy enough for me to tweak the activities to each level. My youngest listened to the story and danced and viewed most of the videos we watched.

The story is set on an Irish countryside on St. Patrick’s day. A little boy struggles with being to small to walk in the parade. He sets out early in the morning to prove he is big enough and has his own parade through town where we meet neighbors and animals. “They say I’m too small- but what do they know”

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History/Social Studies:

Who is St. Patrick?

Irish Potato famine.

Irish Folk Song : Bog Down in the Valley ( the boys loved this song)

National Geographic Kids: Irish Symbols, History and Geography

Continued study of Ancient Egypt: Studied Civilization and built a 3-D Pyramid

pyramid

Language Arts: Copywork of the Irish Blessing

Repetition: Discussed what phrase is repeated throughout the story and how does this personalize the main character?

Writing -Short Story: Tell about a time you felt or were told you were too small to do something. How did you feel? What did you do?

Copywork of a Limerick:  Note the AABA pattern

Health: Green Nature Walk and journal entry

Talking about being a “Cheerful Giver” (based on the story) How does it feel to receive/give?

Science:

Phys/Chem:  Atoms and Molecules. A look at how small Atoms are (ripping up foil into tiny bits as example) began Elements of the Periodic Table, starting with Hydrogen.hydrogen
Luke enjoyed looking at the table too, and pointed out the bullet train.
States of Matter: Then both boys took a turn as the conductor on a steam train, while learning how steam is made and the different parts of an engine, while solving a mystery! Really fun game!!

-Train Site Gametrain

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List of Five Senses Used in the Story.  (younger) Ask what can you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell?

Math:

Continue on weekly math lessons

Unit Living/ Math:

Jelly Bean Graphing- (boy receives jelly beans at town sweet-shop)Give Range, Medium, Mode and Mean

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Luke categorized by color.

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Art: Colored the Irish Flag and had own parade around the house.

Field Trip: Birthday Trip to the Zoo this week!

luke zoobday zoo

Ask Mr. Bear Unit

luke bookLuke  “spent” a week at the farm!

luke barn

Daily Warm -Ups!: Pom Poms and clothes pins into matching cups. Sticks and playdough. Computer Farm Game. Colored Glass on Mirror and Farm Sticker collage!

color puffplaydough stick

Language Arts: Ask Mr. Bear. Here is the Barn finger play. Song: Old Mac Donald and an animal puppet show!

Math: Counting Farm Animals. 12 Eggs in a Carton game. Bear Bingo. Geo-Boards

luke egg

Social Studies: “Milked a Cow” Map Puzzle milk cow

 

 

 

 

Science: Where do eggs come from? Who Gives Us Milk? Weather Walk. Where do we get honey and how does it taste? Gifts from Animals: Who gives us what?

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Art: Tractor Painting and Cow spot prints

 

The Magic Peach Unit

liam books

The Magic Peach by Janet Palazzo-Craig, a folktale from Japan that teaches admirable qualities. Peach Boy has many!

Go-Along Books: A-Z Japan, How’s the Weather?, Weather and Climate, World Atlas Book

Math: This week was combined with the topic of weather and so Liam did a Mathbooking Weather Journal! Words Worth Money Game- using a list of Good Qualities Peach boy. Money game for travel.words worthlaim math a 6X table copywork.

liam math

Language Arts: Japanese Picture Cards, Tanka and Haiku Poetry, Listing good qualities of Peach Boy, and one about himself. Japanese and English Words. The Tongue-Cut Sparrow folktale story. Read-Aloud this weeks story. Writing Japanese Kanji! Awesome Alliterations after our weather walk from Nature Detectives. kanji

Crafts/Art: Cherry Blossom Prints, Clay Model Shape of  Japan, Pipe Cleaner: Action and Expression Study, Noted; the boy looked strong, the parents looked tired and hard-working.

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Health and Fitness: Yoga and a Wet Weather Walk

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We searched for things to add to our Awesome Alliteration Sheets! This is what Liam came up with:

Wet Walk-Broken Branches- Soaking Seeds-Slushy Snow- Under Umbrellas

 

Social Studies/History: Japanese Customs in the home, Religion in Japan, Animals, Buildings and Cities in Japan, Dress, Exports and Food of Japan. Government, History and Important People of Japan.

Geography: Land, Maps of Japan. Weather Maps.

Science/Nature: Weather Focus: Made a cloud Jar. Does a Peach Float? Cloud Experiment and journal sketch. Air and Air Pressure. Weather Forecasts!

liam cloudcloud typefloat peachrain cloud