Friday, February 12, 2016

A Return to HOD - Rev to Rev Units 19-23

Hello friends! As you all know our family has used Heart of Dakota for the last several years. Last year I was beginning to feel a need to focus less on history and more on the basics for Aedan specifically. I had gotten everything all ready for Revival to Revolution, and just couldn't get excited about it. I don't know if I was hormonal or just needing to take a breather, but we shelved HOD for this year. It took a while to get into our new groove. I loved the books we chose, but my goal was to simplify. We did do that by limiting the amount of activities, but what I was finding was that we were still spending the same amount of time in history as before, it was just spent differently. There was more reading, and more writing (which we definitely needed work on.) The books were quality books, but for this kid in particular I began to miss the creative element of HOD. The thing I felt most confined by last year was the thing I ultimately ended up missing (those beautiful notebook pages!)

Here is where I took those wonderful HOD books right back off the shelf. We were using one of the spines HOD uses in BF. As soon as we finished that book it was right where we would need to be in HOD, so we started right there - around unit 19. I'm so glad we took our little break. I think I needed perspective. I think Aedan had a little more time to develop his math skills as well. Starting back was like a breath of fresh air. While simplifying was good, I was finding that I heard less school references outside of school hours. I saw less after school comics with history figures, and fewer inside jokes told. It wasn't that what we were doing wasn't great. I think I just needed more time to plan it. Anyway, here are what the last few HOD weeks looked like. They are sort of jumbled together, but they still represent some of what we learned over the last month.

One of the things I realized very quickly is that even though I'm a lover of art and creative things, I was doing a poor job of scheduling those things myself.

Unit 23 - As we jumped back into HOD I took a sigh of happiness as I realized how wonderfully everything fits together. Part of me was not wanting that anymore, but once I didn't have it I realized how well done it all was. This is a layered mountain scene modeled after the Bierdstadt painting below of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We had read about the California Gold Rush and how travelers came over the plains, around Cape Horn and through the Panama Canal to try their hand at gold mining. We studied California, so this painting was the perfect project to go with all that. I thought Aedan did an absolutely beautiful job! I am seeing how all those watercolors we did in Creation to Christ really developed his painting skills. This project took patient hands. Handy tip - An exacto knife works far better than scissors on this project.

Aedan's painting was modeled after Valley of the Yosemite by Albert Bierstadt.

We also missed all the fun cooking projects! In Unit 21 we learned about how the Greeks fought for Independence. We made Koulourakia cookies in honor of them.

Aedan had to have patient hands to make these.

If there's a sweet treat at the end he will do it!

We made several different shapes.

This is how they looked after we baked them.

Photo bomb! We then dipped them in powdered sugar. The boys are always happy to share one another's projects.

In Unit 21 we also learned about Samuel Morse. We read about him in our history and inventor study reading. Aedan had to make a Morse Code message.

He used his student notebook to make a message.

Sometimes even though we aren't in the same guide they kids still have fun with one another throughout the day.

The kids thought this message was a very strange one, but they feel like that about Rod and Staff Grammar sometimes too ha!

Aedan's timeline entries have always cracked me up :)

Remember the Alamo!

The Mexican and American War.

California becomes a state ha!

Unit 22 - In learning about the Gold Rush we learned about the many ways travelers got to San Francisco. Our history activity this week was to make a game where we put all the perils of travel of each route into these separate envelopes.

The boys had so much fun. We laughed and laughed! Silas's cow died at least 8 times on the Oregon Trail.

This was the Oregon-California Trail.

These were the perils of travel through the Panama Canal.

 We learned about the many new ways of travel. One of those was the stage coach. Unit 20's project was to make a stagecoach sign that would have had rules that you might typically find back then.

Draw and Write Through History was always a favorite for Aedan. Here are a few of the drawings he made over the past few month. This was a stagecoach.


The Alamo.

A gold miner.

A grizzly bear.

We had kept a few elements from Rev to Rev even though we didn't do the history portion the first half of the year. One of those was the inventor study. Aedan absolutely loves these books. I think it helps him to realize that he's not so different than many of these creative men from long ago. He especially loved learning about Henry Ford.

He has also enjoyed the 50 States Under God  state study. He has always been a kid that enjoyed learning different facts. As we learn about new states we add them to the map as it was when the last state was introduced.

I'm starting to appreciate the Map Trek maps after doing them for a few years. It always helps to see where in the world the history we are reading about happened.

These are our current storytime and extension books. Aedan has always read most of the extension books even though he falls into the guide's range. He lately has been asking me what book he "gets" to read next. I love that is a distinct difference from "has" to read. I love how the story time and extension books give a fuller picture of what was happening during the period we are studying. 

Thanks for letting me catch you up on what's been going on with us. I hope to be able to share more of what we do the rest of the year too!

Learning with Leonardo da Vinci - Week 22-23 in Review

We are rounding the final bend on our year, and I thought we would take a quick change of pace. We used Veritas Press Midde Ages and Renaissance cards as a spine for our learning this year (thanks to a sweet friend who so generously let us borrow them.) Silas wanted to learn about knights and kings. As we started hitting church history I realized that might be better saved for another year, so I decided to finish out our year with artist studies. 

Since we were about to hit the Renaissance era I thought Leonardo da Vinci would be the perfect person to learn about. We had so much fun learning about this quirky and brilliant man. Silas actually thought he was kind of creepy because he liked to dissect people. Someone had to learn about the inner workings of people or we wouldn't know a lick about medicine, but that probably made for strange table talk.

Confession - I have been pretty lame about art this year. The one thing though that I love about that whole Teaching from Rest idea is that we don't have to teach something all year long to enjoy it, so here we will be enjoying it fully for the rest of the year.

A few years ago I downloaded Confessions of a Homeschool mom's Artist study. This is what we are using as a jumping point for our studies. I checked out a bunch of books from the library to add to our learning.

The World's Greatest Artist study has a lapbook, questions for art study, and suggestions for what kinds of art projects to make. Of course one of Leo's most famous paintings is the Mona Lisa! I thought Silas did an excellent job of replicating her mysterious smile!

 One of the activities was to make a Mona Lisa puzzle.


Of course Leonardo wasn't only an artist. In fact, he might have considered himself more of an inventor. I got this awesome little kit at Hobby Lobby with a 40% coupon. We have made skewer and rubber band catapults, but I thought it would be fun to make Leo's actual design!

Silas worked really hard, and did a great job following the instructions. He loves to build!

Here's a fun little slow motion video of how it worked.

Ok, so I have to recant my feelings about IEW. Last year Aedan used Medieval Writing lessons, and it just wasn't working. It was scheduled in HOD without the use of the TWSS teacher DVDs. I was watching my sweet friend Micah work through the program, and knew in my heart I hadn't really given it a good ol' college try. I found the DVDs and SWI student DVDs for dirt cheap on Craigslist. Eureka! It all of a sudden made total sense! I am working through the SWI B lessons with both boys. I'm thankful to have found the DVDs that cheap. I don't think I would have made the investment otherwise, and now that I have them I would pay full price in a second! This is a paragraph Silas wrote after making a key word outline like IEW teaches.

We also had a fantastic field trip to the Da Vinci exhibition! I took far more pictures than this. Almost every invention you can imagine that Da Vinci made was brought to life here.

We got to see many of his sketches.

Tons of his attempts at creating a flying machine were on display.

The kids thought this underwater diving apparatus wouldn't have worked very well.

This hall of mirrors helped him with anatomy drawings.

There were also huge displays of his paintings and drawings.

The Last Supper was Silas's favorite of all the Da Vinci paintings we studied, so it was cool to see such a BIG one!

The kids are doing their best to mimic Mona Lisa's famous smile :)

Another new addition to our line up is Simply Charlotte Mason's Visits to Europe. We LOVE this. I will have to make a whole separate post about why. I had the opportunity to hear Sonya from SCM speak. Such a sweet, wise and humble lady. I love how affordable SCM programs are as well. 

Each week a few new countries are added. The one on the right is blank, and he has to add in the ones he knows before he can fold back to book to see what ones he's missed.

I'd say he's doing really well without looking!

We continue to use our Geo Maps. These are an excellent and painless way to get a feel for where countries are in the world.

This week we had more fun in science! 

We learned how some atoms or molecules play well with others, and some don't.

Silas added a drop of food coloring to two strips of paper. On one he added a stripe of oil to see if it would affect how the water traveled.

The water moved equally on both strips until...

The red side hit the oil.

These are his lab sheets for the above activity.

Next we used legos to show how atoms form different kind of matter.

2 of the same kinds of Legos represented the same kind of atoms.

Then 2 different ones represented different atoms.

Then he joined a few different atoms.

This is water or H2O.

Next we showed what a chemical reaction would look like by combining even more Legos.

Here is the lab sheet.

At the beginning of the year I gave the boys this little coupon booklet. My second born does NOT forget good promises made. He kept insisting that we needed to use the coffee shop coupon.

He also insisted that the coffee shop also have donuts and hot chocolate. I sure did have a latte. We enjoyed this outing so much. Homeschoolers have allll the fun!

Here we are working on our IEW rough drafts.

Hot chocolate sure does make work more fun! See you next time!