Heart of Dakota BHFHG - Unit 3 Week in Review

Friday, September 7, 2012

Here is a look at week 3 here at the Monarch Room. We learned about more explorers this week. Silas asked why the guys in our stories are always sailing. This week focused on John Smith, and Henry Hudson. My boys thought John Smith's exaggerated storytelling was funny. Many of these daring men must have been pretty eccentric. We learned that Henry Hudson tried to take the northern route to Asia, but kept running into all that ice. We've checked out more books from the library about these men. Our character trait was boldness this week. These men were bold, but didn't always have enough humility to balance out that boldness.

Our history activity was to make a compass rose. This was a fun and simple activity that got the boys more acquainted with how directions work.

In science we learned how rivers and bays are formed.

Another science activity was to guess how a seashore changes over time. We blew gently on the sand (sugar), drizzled water on it, and simulated what a wave does to the sand. My boys love these simple activities. It really does help them understand these concepts so much more than just reading about them, and takes so little time.

I love HOD's approach to vocabulary. I think I enjoy seeing the kid's interpretation of the words as much as they love drawing them. It's so fun to see what they will come up with.

We're continuing our state study. This week we mapped Rhode Island, and Connecticut. We review what we've learned from previous weeks, so they don't forget.

Our library has a great program each week for homeschool kids. This week we learned about all the different biomes. We will be studying them in Elemental Science, so I was excited to see what the subject was.

 There's usually hands on activities to go with the lesson. The kids made a biome in a bag.

There is also a book club for homeschoolers. Aedan was excited that he will earn a prize book at the end of the month for finishing the selection and homework. Aedan is reading Half Upon A Time. The homework is to take two different folk tale characters and mash their stories together. He has to write a synopsis of the story he has made up.

 This was our first week to do nature study. My plan is to do this every Friday with the boys. We have a great local nature sanctuary.

 We're using The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie. This book takes the guesswork out of how to do nature study with your kiddos. There are sections for each month of the year. We are starting the book in September, and will work through throughout the year.

We spotted many things on our little adventure. Some were too fast to photograph, though we did get a picture of this daddy long legs :)

 One of the rules of our school is, "NO perfection!" I'm mostly preaching to myself. I love Clare Walker Leslie's approach to nature study. Just grab a few pens, simple watercolors, draw and paint! It doesn't have to be perfect. It's more about just being outside, and enjoying what God has made. Drawn to Nature is an inspiring little book. It takes you through Leslie's nature journals. Her sketches are simple, but beautiful. I even packed my own pack of pencils and watercolors to work along side the boys. Silas's interpretation of the same leaf is on the left, and mine is on the right. It was fun taking the time to do this. I love to see a child's perspective. So sweet :)

 This is one of the pages out of The Nature Connection. Aedan was saying the whole time he was drawing, "I LOVE doing this!" There is something about nature that truly inspires the human spirit. I think God knew what he was doing. Don't you?

Elemental Science at the Monarch Room

This week Aedan learned the properties of water. Our experiment was called "The strange story of water's size." We learned that water expands when it is heated, contracts when it's cool, expands upon freezing, and that ice is lighter than water. I love the illustrations he drew :)

Silas learned about how the earth's axis and rotation causes the seasons.

We also learned about the water cycle, and what causes rain. We made a rain gauge, and are keeping a record of the precipitation for the next month. After the drought, it is finally raining today. We finally have some rain to measure! 

Well that about covers it. How was your week?


  1. A hands-on approach always help my kids really get those concepts too. It looks like you had a fantastic week!

  2. LOVE the nature journal! It's on my wishlist now :)

  3. I love the Nature Journal - nature walks and journaling is something I have never successfully implemented in our homeschool. I love reading up on how others do it though!

  4. You should get it Vintage Mom! It's one of those books you aren't sure you should write in or not. There are printables you can take with you, but I'm opting to just let the kids write in them. I like having a record all in once place. Though after seeing my watercolor journal, the kids want one of those too :)


    I am totally with you. Last year I had every intention of somehow incorporating nature study, but it didn't happen. The Nature Connection makes it so much more doable. I bought mine on Amazon. At 10 bucks a piece, I think the books are a steal.

  5. The Nature Connection looks fabulous! I've never heard of it before and now its on my Amazon wish list. :-)

  6. I just have to tell you that our homeschool experience has benefited GREATLY by all of your WONDERFUL posts!! You are ahead of us, so before we start a unit, I always search you out. You are always right on with tweakings or suggestions of what might work a little better. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!


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