Heart of Dakota BHFHG - Unit 2 Week in Review

Friday, August 31, 2012

Here is a look at our second week here at the Monarch Room. This week's HOD unit focused on the end of Columbus's life and Cabot's attempt to discover Asia. Both, of course, kept bumping into the new world. My kids thought it was funny how dramatic Columbus was in carrying around the physical chains of his imprisonment even until his final days.

Many of these activities take 10 minutes or less (I just take a LOT of pictures!) We have one science activity or experiment per day. They don't all happen on one day. A friend said it looked really fun, but also said it looked a little overwhelming. Please remember that this is our whole week wrapped up into one post. My heart is to give others a glimpse of how our curricula choices play out during our school day in hopes that it may help someone. Your day won't always look like mine, and mine won't always look like yours. Life deals us seasons that give us the luxury to spend more time in one area than in another. My pre-k school days were spent flying by the seat of my pants with little knowledge of where I was going. I've spent a lot of time since then researching my options, praying and searching my heart as to why homeschool is the best choice for our family during this time. Your philosophy may be different than mine, but my guess is that you love your children and want the very best for them just as I want the same for mine.

Most of our days are completed in about 4 hours, give or take 15 or 20 minutes. The work I put in before our year began is making it all easier to complete our work more efficiently. We don't take a ton of breaks, so we get our work done pretty quickly. We start our day at 8:00, and are usually done by lunch. We do things this way so we can have the rest of our afternoon free for library programs, nature sanctuary events, and to spend time with friends.

 The boys made a little boat, and we sailed it around the earth. We learned that it is hotter nearer the equator, and colder at the poles. We sailed our little boat on both Cabot's and Columbus's routes.

 Cabot thought he landed on Japan or what they called Cipango then. He never brought spices or gold back to the King of England, and so his mission was considered a failure. It didn't stop him from thinking he was pretty awesome though. He promised to give an island to his barber. This was a great illustration of pride vs. humility. My kids do bathe, by the way :) We have a new pet turtle, so they are often trying to dig it out of its little habitat. Oh, those nails are killing me!
 This was the page from our geography activity in HOD.

 The natives helped Columbus and his crew for a while by providing them with food, but tired of helping them eventually. Columbus knew that there would be an eclipse of the moon, so he threatened the people that a god would punish them by taking away the moon's light for not providing his men with what they needed. As soon as the eclipse happened, the people brought Columbus all they had. I felt so sad for the natives. They were often mistreated or taken advantage of. This was our activity to show how a lunar eclipse happens.

 Our poem of the week was The Ship That Sails. The poem is about wanting to be someone that dares to be adventurous even if failure is sometimes inevitable rather than being someone who is too afraid to take risks in life. My boys really enjoyed this one. It's always fun to see the pictures the boys draw with each poem. You have to love a little boy's perspective :)

 The boys added Cabot and Columbus to their timelines.
 We learned about the animals that live on the shore and between the tides of the ocean.

We used pliers, clothespins, and tweezers to represent the many different ways bird's beaks are shaped.

In HOD science we learned how bird's beaks are shaped differently according to the food that they eat. They found it was easier for some birds to gather certain kinds of foods than others.

These were our science experiment sheets for the activity.

 We focused on the character trait of humility this week. Our memory verse was Proverbs 11:2

We are learning hymns this year. I was wondering how my very boyish boys would handle sitting and singing songs together. I explained in the beginning that these songs are sung to God alone, and that they help us understand who He is. The boys have been very reverent during music time. I am really proud of them.

HOD has a few physical activities mixed in with Bible Study. I thought at first that it would seem forced, but both boys jump in and do whatever is asked without complaint. They actually have enjoyed it. 

We mapped Vermont and New Hampshire in Trail Guide to US Geography. The boys both love learning about the states.

 So far math is going really well. Each boy has about 3-4 sheets of work per day, plus some fun math games here and there.

 Aedan hasn't complained so far about math. Most of it of course is review this early in the game.

 The boys ask every single day if we can do Life of Fred. We only do it 2 days a week. They really look forward to hearing about the adventures of Fred.

I wasn't sure how well I'd like Rod and Staff English. It's going great so far. I love all the daily review in the Teacher's Guide. It really helps Aedan remember what we've learned. 

 Silas is working in R&S level 2. We are doing most of it orally, but I have him do some of it on paper as well. I think R&S is really sweet. Some people don't like all the references to God. I've enjoyed the reminders about God. Aedan giggles sometimes when there is old English :)

 I switched from the vocabulary boxes to these sheets, so that all of our work can remain in the student binder without having so many components to gather each day.

This are going well in Cheerful Cursive. Silas does his work in the workbook, and Aedan does a line or two on handwriting paper.

The boys drew a sea life scene on wax paper that transferred onto the watercolor paper. We then painted over it, so that only the images remained colorless. I thought these were nice :)

 A closer look. 

Elemental Science at the Monarch Room

Experiments in air pressure.

 Does air take up space? Yes! The boys thought this simple experiment was super fun and hilarious :)

 It's fun how such simple experiments bring just happiness to a kid. 

We've been learning about the earth's composition. This activity helped us understand how the earth's contents affect its rotation. I obviously can tell the difference between spun and span. Bear with me :) 

Well that about covers it. Tell me about your week! 2 weeks down, 34 to go.


  1. Looks like lots of fun hands on stuff. I really miss having little kids to teach. Boo hoo. Enjoy while they are young!

  2. We did the same experiment this week for ES! My boys loved it too. It looks you had a fun week. :)

  3. What a great week! I love the Rod and Staff English too.

  4. Looks like a very nice week. We're using Bigger Hearts too - and really enjoying it!

  5. Glad to have other HOD moms, and those using some of the same programs I'm using. Thanks for your comments!

  6. Hi, I am wondering if you made the science pages or found them somewhere- we are using bigger too and it would be nice to have the pages ready! Thanks for any help you may offer! Love your blog!


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