# The Wheels are Turning

After a busy weekend of skiing and birthday parties, I figured we’d start this week with some fun!

I came across the book Mr. Ferris and his wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis. A beautiful picture book on the invention and construction of the Ferris wheel. Many historic notes and a successful underdog story to inspire!

After we read the story together, the boys constructed a ferris wheel of their own!

After that they separated and Luke worked on his next level in Reading Eggs online and Liam worked in his math journal. (They both used to despise these subjects, but recently each of them found a way to enjoy them) so I actually got to walk away and watch the wheels of success finally turning for them! Luke is doing great with this reading program and Liam says he really loves this creative way of doing his math. Yay!

Doodling in his Math Journal

Next, we all came back together to start a new class on Khan Academy called Pixar in a Box. The first session showed us the mathematical uses in animation simulation. They each took turns manipulating the hair on the girl from Brave, using segments and gravity.

The day was wrapped up with Liam playing his ukulele and then listening to a science fiction podcast- a story about a zombie apocalypse. Luke played a math app adding and subtracting with double digits, then continued working on his Minecraft project.

We all agreed, it was a good school day! Phew!

# Search and you shall Find- free resources!

As I searched around for some new materials on Math, Science and History (The Industrial Revolution) and Sign Language.  I came across some great sites and free downloads!

I was most excited about this science find! We started using them yesterday and will continue using them until we finished along with our nature studies.

McGraw Hill

Middle School Science Texts:

# Holt Science & Math textbooks & workbooks PDF

A great history resource find called Digital History entails history from 1942 through 2010, a digital timeline with history for each era; lesson plan ideas, film, music, events and people and virtual exhibits…a a whole lot more!

Other resources I found:

Math: We played on this site yesterday, Geometry and anglesBBC Questionaut it also has English and Science topics.

Kid- Friendly Inventions for my youngest who says he wants to be an engineer.

Illuminations– great site for math- lessons and interactives- grades: Prek- 12

Sign Language– We’ve decided to ditch Spanish and learn sign language. This is a great place to begin with videos and games. I know our library also holds many of her DVD’s. It is geared for preschool, but we used it for learning to sign the alphabet and then played the matching game.

Sign Language- Kidcourses

This is an ABC min course- each letter of the alphabet with a rhyme, video and handouts.

Just thought I’d share, enjoy browsing!

# 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!

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

Liam’s Design

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

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

Luke’s Sketches!

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.

# Unit on Dogs- week 1

This month the topic is Dogs in our house! So far our Unit has been very fun and enjoyable!

Day 1. Golden Retrievers

We kicked off the first day watching this video on Animal Planet about Golden Retrievers.

History: After watching it, we researched where this breed originated and wrote down the physical features of this particular breed of dog.

Writing: Next we added key words of this breed onto the clipboard for the week. His words were: Large, Strong, Newfoundland and Canada, working dogs.

Day 2:  German Shepherds

He enjoyed the video so much yesterday he watched this one on German Shepherds.

History/Geography: Where did this dog originate? What is the history of his dog into the United States?

Writing: What is a purebread? What is a mongrel?

Math: Fraction worksheet Feed Jack! the dog from education.com

Reading: Finish the Story of Balto

Fun: Watch the movie Rin Tin Tin

Day 3:

Review

Writing: Write 2 facts or things you have learned about the two breeds.

Activity: I created a Venn Diagram and he wrote comparisons between the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever.

G.S- good Cop/ really good noses

G.R- Soft mouths/needs to be brushed often

both-Farm dogs/easy to train

Living Math:  Adding with decimals. Pretend you are bringing home a new puppy. Make a list of all the items you will need to care for your dog. Then I asked him to use Amazon or Petco to find the prices and add them up!

His list totaled \$282.33! He said whoah! lol

Fun Activity: on Animal Planet he played Mutt Maker 🙂

Day 4:

English Springer Spaniel

Copywork: Quote- ” Dogs are not our while life, but they make our lives whole.”

Geography: Where did this breed originate and what is the language in this country?

How do dogs help in society? His answer: Working digs sniff out drugs, bugs and land mines! They aid in search and rescue missions and assist hunters. They help with livestock. Service and therapy, help the blind.

Next he watched this video on Springer Spaniels and then a video on How this breed is groomed and what tools were used.

Art: He colored in a drawing of an English Springer Spaniel

Day 5:

Eco Dogs

We picked up the book Eco Dogs by Judith Bauer at our local library this week.

I pre-read the book and left the following questions for him to research.

What is a scent trail?

How can Eco dogs find plants and animals that humans can’t?

Jamberry’s job is what?

How many scents do the Scat team learn in training? Name 3 animals they know the scents of.

Where else besides outdoors do Eco dogs work?

What scents are Eco dogs trained to know in airports in Germany?

I then left him the video “Maggie Diabetic Alert Dog in Training” It was an incredibly cute/educational video!

Baking: Next he made Doggy Treats!

Here is the recipe we used:

Items:

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup corn meal

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 medium, egg

1 cup water

Mix all ingredients and then use cookie cutter for desired shape.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

# Waldorf Inspired lessons today

I have always been one to be eclectic in our curriculum because I love so many different styles and philosophies- Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Amelia, Charlotte Mason are a few favorites.

Waldorf Education is based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Its premise is that the human being has three aspects: thinking, feeling and willing, and that education has to come from experiencing the world from all three aspects. Waldorf Education does not use textbooks. The children make their own based on their experiences.

After reading quite a bit this past weekend on Waldorf Education, I had a few ideas and was excited to try out a few things! My top favorite was the Math Multiplication  circle board- being understood that  the child thinks,feels and is willing to learn, the 3 aspects of Waldorf ed.  Here is a link to the video I watched on how this method works.

We made ours using foam board, nails and yarn. I also drew and colored in the 5 different circles as Liam used the board and went over his times tables.  He really loved it and did great! He first did each one orally then wrote down a few as well. We will continue using these as he enjoyed them- they are both visual and physical tools for success!

Luke did Waldorf watercolor art- I saturated the paper with water so he could just really focus on the colors and movement of the paints.

We then read a fairy tale- Jataka Tales- The Monkey and the Crocodile and we are going to draw an illustration to go with it tomorrow using pastels.

The next book was for Luke- called LMNO peas. Awesome visual letter story- followed by a math memory game that also had visual pictures that we stopped to view as we found each match. In Waldorf education, the letters are presented as pictures which appeal to the child’s imagination. In reality the letter is clothes in the picture…the picture is the key. All letters of the alphabet were once pictures themselves.

Here is a great reference site for Waldorf Introduction

As well as this one : Waldorfhomeschoolers

# Lessons from Nature- Strength

Even though the boys were feeling under the weather today we were very productive! Luke fell asleep while eating a snack yesterday at 4ish on the couch and slept until 4:30 this morning- glad he was able to get some much needed rest and it allowed for us to do lots of activities this morning!

We started the morning off with a Sink or Float science activity.  I gathered lots of materials and filled a plastic storage box with water. Luke had his clipboard with all the items listed and circled S or F as he put each item in the water. I also wrote down his prediction on the chart.  He guessed most correctly and searched the house for more items. He also started coming up with his own questions…. He noted the bowl was floating, then told me ” put the apple in the bowl and see if it sinks, I think it will!”   We had a great dialogue going and kept adding different scenarios- full bottle of water vs. empty bottle, etc.

Then he moved on to some art! I think the simpler the materials the more the imagination! I handed him a large piece of tissue paper, cotton balls, Q-tips and some paint.  He narrated a whole story as he created and added colors…. Art with his own personal purpose! Beautiful art! 🙂

Luke then went on the math website- math is fun and did a few games.

As he went on to play with Legos and have a snack, Liam and I did some daily lessons on Easy Peasy.

He is just finishing up the history on WW1 and coincidentally, today we read about the significance of the poppy flower and Remembrance day, as yesterday was Veterans Day and poppies were being sold here in many places.  We read the poem “Flanders Field” , viewed photos of the field itself, and then he drew his own poppy flower. I love it! He drew the flower first, then with his own artistic touch, drew muscle shaped petals to represent the strength of the poppy flower.He went on to practice some multiplication problems and some spelling work on his own, then we came back together for some Zoology on Easy Peasy.

He’s in the middle of learning about birds.  Last week he studied and drew the different parts of the feather, this week he is observing the beaks.  After viewing videos of each type of beak on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, he drew each beak and food in his notebook.

I would say, once again, we learn so much from observing nature! Today’s big lesson was STRENGTH! Keep trying, shine through, never give up.  Water: a strong element, birds possess strength to survive/adapt.  The poppies persistent, strong- pushed through amidst the tragedy!

# 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”.

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!)Liam’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. In 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!

# 1st day of school!

We kicked off the new school year today! I have to say I love having structure back in our lives!!

This year instead of a planning book, I have changed to a journal style record keeping attached to a clipboard with an attached paper holder. This way I can just record what we actually do each day and refer to my outline of the year to help keep us on track. I found last year, planning a week out ahead of time, we often finished everything by Wednesday or scratched/ added ideas all the time!

Language Arts: Luke worked on the letter A today. He watched a video and sang along to the alphabet song. Then played a letter A game on Starfall sorting Upper and Lower case A’s.  He also made up a game with all his magnetic letters by putting them on a cookie sheet and I had to “order” by “breakfast letter.”

Liam recapped his knowledge on Nouns. We talked about the different types of nouns then watched School House Rocks Grammar on Nouns. After he was done the video, he went on a Noun Scavenge hunt and filled in his worksheet!

Math: Luke played a pattern shape maze puzzle on line. When he was through he came to the table and filled in the number blocks along side the numbers 1-10 with mini marshmallows, and of course go to eat them after counting!

Liam reviewed his multiplication tables 2-5 by filling in a graph sheet of Factors,Repeated Addition, Groups, Array and Commutative Property.

Science: Liam’s first day was an introduction to Zoology and Animal Classification. Luke listened on as well as we went from one animal to another. They both wanted to do more, but since we started with Science I said we had to move on, so I think we’ll save Science for last in the future so we can continue with more next time.

History: Liam watched a 10 minute lesson on the Growth of Our Nation 1720-2000. It was a great recap of a lot of the History we went over last year, before moving forward into the  post civil war time period for this year.

Art: Luke used a roller and paint to paint a bubble wrap cut out shape of the letter A.  He then pressed paper over the A and made an image for our fridge.

He had wanted it to be red. As we viewed many images of the letter A on google images-He saw many that looked like they were on fire. He started singing ” This A is on F-ire!!” 🙂 If you know the song, then you can see how this will stick with him!

Liam’s art lesson was on Art Nouveau. An elegant decorative art style. He chose two art pieces: one by Aubrey Beardsley the other by Gustav Klimt and filled in a Venn Diagram comparing the two.

All in all it was a good first day!

# 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

Luke’s story this week was Blueberries for Sal.

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!

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.  Another interactive game was building a pyramid using angles and navigating a boat down the Nile River.

Monster Math:

The winning 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.

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

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.

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.

# 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”

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

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.
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!!

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

Luke categorized by color.

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

Field Trip: Birthday Trip to the Zoo this week!