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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What have we been up to?

We’ve been back in action for about three weeks now, and I’d have to say it’s going rather smoothly- It seems very relaxed and easy going (so far). Some days I have to make more reminders to focus than others, but I’d say overall we’re all enjoying the topics!

bros

Here’s a briefing on what we’ve done so far:

Language Arts:

Liam

Grammar: Studied/Reviewed Verbs, Writing Complete Sentences, Nouns- proper and common, and Adjectives- daily lessons with a game, such as a scavenger hunt and then reinforced by watching School House Rocks -Grammar.

Spelling: I’ve been giving 16 words a week- day 1 and 2 is copy work of the words, followed by spelling aloud and then choosing three words and writing a complete sentence.

He’s also brushing up on his cursive work- I think he’s doing fine, but he likes his penmanship perfect, so he gets easily frustrated!

Luke

Luke has been working on recognizing his letters and playing games on Starfall  learning both,  visually and hearing the phonics.

Reading: He’s starting to “read” on his own and by that I mean when young children start using random letters to “spell” things and copy “reading” books at bedtime- he’s memorized certain books and will read them to me in his own words, similar and in sequence of the actual story.

He starts story hour at the library this week too- he’s excited to meet some friends 🙂

Math: Again, much review from the end of last year for Liam. Luke is working on counting to 15 and recognizing numbers out of order.

Liam’s reviewed telling time, reading bar graphs, double digit addition, matching fractions, adding decimals and reviewing multiplication facts.  I have to say two weeks ago, he was a bit rusty on his multiplication facts, but he wanted to take a quiz on the site multiplication.com and got 38/38 correct  with facts up to 7×3 in  3 minutes! I have to say I was honestly relieved! He’s getting it! phew!

Luke is also showing progress while we watched a video counting to 20 in a Spanish lesson, he was shouting out- it’s a 5- it’s a 4 it’s an 1 and a 3!  He’s been counting everything he can, really- on a nature walk he counts the rocks or trees, as he eats snacks, or counts for the light to change as we drive around town.

History:

This is Liam only but of course Luke will watch or listen in.

We’ve so far studied the Biography of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and watched videos about these men. In studying Edison, we also did a writing lesson where I “interviewed” Liam while he was an inventor who just completed an invention.

Here it is:

” I can still remember like it was yesterday. I had been working for weeks perfecting my time machine. I found a bunch of parts around the house.”

Q: How far back did you travel?

A: to 1812

Q: What did you see?

A: The War, on the battlefield, but I was wearing an invisible cloak.

Q: What are you going to do with the machine?

A: Going to go back in time and bring back weapons from then and bring our weapons from today to help them end the war quickly.

We also just started studying the Industrial Revolution this week and learning about Coal Mining. We’ve watched a few videos on the Revolution and coal miners and books from the library.  I borrowed the story Rocket Boys for literature to go along with this topic. We’re both enjoying it so far.

rocket A memoir of a teenager growing up in the 50’s in Coalwood, West Virginia- a town built for extracting bituminous coal.

 

 

 

Science:

This year we’re focusing on Zoology.

So far we’ve looked at Classifications- through videos, books, and games. Extinction and endangered animals. Ecosystems and drawing a diagram of the rainforest. While watching a presentation on the different Biomes, Liam took notes on a chart, noting the Location, Climate, Nutrients, Layers, Flora and Fauna, Threatend? and other differences worth remembering. This week we started to take a look at food webs and chains. Producers, Decomposers and Consumers. He played a fun game making a habitat, with a food chain in order to see how it all works together.

Music: We’ve looked at/ listened to pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky,and Ravel.

Art: Natural objects, and Henri Matisse – sketching of seashells

Spanish:  listening to and recognizing Common Phrases, counting and matching games- Spanish alphabet song and phonics.

 

 

 

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!

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.”

letters

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.

aHe 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!

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

water scie

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

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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!

clay flower

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.

 

indus valley

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!

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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!

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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

 

Stones and Mirrors

In preparing for our new adventure of Unit studies based on Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row, I took a trip to the dollar store this morning to gather up some supplies! I must say I am super excited to dive into our Units next week! I just finished up our lesson plans and I am inspired and looking forward to next week!

Luke was the first to break into some of the new items and did some mirror art today! This picture says it all 😉

lukerocka He had a great time! So much creativity came out! He first wanted to line the circle and and look at himself in the middle of it. He then decided to line up the stones straight across both mirrors and declared it a bridge and used his fingers to walk across it. He asked me to do the same with my fingers because the trip became too long!

lukerockWhat did he take away from this activity?

Physical Development: Fine Motor, handling small objects

Intellectual Development: Focus, Communicating Ideas, Language skills, Dramatic Play

Social and Emotional Development: Active Imagination, pretending and independence