Heart of Dakota BHFHG - Week 5 in Review

Friday, September 21, 2012

Here is a look at week 5 at the Monarch Room. This week we studied the lives of the pilgrims. We learned a ton about the many trials of the passengers of the Mayflower. We read about a fiery little man named Myles Standish who had a lot to do with the success of the Plymouth Colony. It was really fun to read about the pilgrims again as an adult. The pilgrims were very brave to leave their homes and travel to a largely unknown world. It was a great opportunity to talk about our faith, and how people in the past had to make many sacrifices to follow their convictions. Silas read Squanto Friend of Pilgrims the first few weeks of school for his biography choice. It was fun for him to see Squanto and Samoset show up in our history readings this week.

The pilgrims suffered much from sickness and disease during their journey on the Mayflower, and after they settled on land. We learned about how soap and warm water would have helped to stop the spread of disease, but even these small luxuries were not readily available. I had the kids rub lotion on their hands, and then I sprinkled them with glitter to represent germs.

Cold water removed some of the glitter, but it still remained. This was a great reminder of why we wash our hands.

 Soap and warm water got their squeaky clean. I don't think my kids will have to ask me again why it's important to wash our hands.

 I love the pictures the boys draw to go along with the experiment pages. Aedan's green germ monsters made me laugh.

For art we made Indian sand paintings. We colored salt with food coloring. The kids then drew in their design, and we painted on glue. They sprinkled the salt. The kids really enjoyed this project. I'm not sure I loved the sweeping, but it was worth it.

The Planted Trees blog has a great book basket list for Bigger Hearts. There are a few missing from this picture that we also read. I love having these books available each week. They really add in detail and color to our history readings. We don't always read them. Sometimes I just have them available. Aedan gets up early each morning, and I often see him reading books out of the book basket on his own. He is also reading Almost Home for the extension readings. The books is about the persecution of the pilgrims, their journey on the Mayflower, and the trials of their settling. I pre-read this before he got a hold of it and enjoyed it. I so wish I had learned history this way. Biographies and historical fiction really add life to the people we are learning about.

 Our words for vocabulary this week were barricade, volley and pestilence. Their vocabulary pages always tickle my funny bone. Volley means "a discharge of small arms all at once." I explained what it meant, but for some reason Silas's picture has a bunch of small arms. Ha! So cute :)

 The boys finished their science notebooking pages. We finished up One Small Square Seashore. This page was about the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.

 One of our history activites was to learn the difference between needs and wants. No matter how I explained that a pet isn't a need, the boys insisted that our mini schnauzer is essential to life (lower left corner.)

 We added Myles Standish and Squanto to our notebook and wall timelines. 

Elemental Science at the Monarch Room

This week was a super fun week in Elemental Science Earth/Space. Aedan has is in his scientist book report week. He's reading Isaac Newton: Giants of Science, and has a book report to complete in a few weeks. Even though the reading he is doing about Newton is interesting, he was so excited to participate in his brother's experiments this week.

We made a 2 liter bottle tornado. I got this wrong the first few times, and couldn't get it to work because I only had packing tape instead of masking. I'm so glad I persevered because this was a total hit. We truly have done this countless amounts of times. I think even my husband thought this was pretty cool.

As you can tell Aedan loves the camera. Both my kids are total hams. Lots of shhhhhh's from me in this video :)

Last year we bought a pre-made volcano that was underwhelming. This year we got to make one. I was a little concerned that the volcano would be too tall. The bottle was supposed to be 20 inches high.

Fortunately it totally worked. This was take one. Take one was more of a slow eruption. The boys begged me to erupt it again. The next time I colored the vinegar, and it turned out way more red and dramatic. You can see on the videos. They LOVED this! I think this is the hit of the year so far.

 Next week we are moving which is wonderful, and stressful at the same time. We'll be back here in a few weeks reporting what is happening here. Well that about covers it :) Tell me about your week!

Heart of Dakota BHFHG - Week 4 in Review

Friday, September 14, 2012

This week we studied more about the life of John Smith. We learned about the settlement of Jamestown, and how John Smith was very fortunate to make the acquaintance of a young Native American girl named Pocahontas. She saved the colony from starvation, and it was even said of her that she saved John Smith's life. The latter may have been a falsehood that Smith wrote. It's hard to believe whether he was always honest in his journals. He tended to like to tell tall tales. From all accounts that we read Pocahontas was quite a lady. Over the last few weeks Aedan read Pocahontas and the Strangers. I've loved that the extension readings this week helped fill in more details about Smith and Pocohontas. I think reading biographies have been great for my guy's imagination.

One of our history activities was to learn about how the Native Americans bartered with the Englishmen. They started out with 5 pieces of candy, and were able to trade until each got what they wanted. They both felt happy with their exchanges, and said that "bartering tastes good!"

 The boys learned the words idle, wigwams and colony in vocabulary. I guess idle to my boys means eating lots of potato chips while parked in front of the TV.

For art we made Indian Blankets. We learned that blankets were sometimes used in bartering.

 Our poem was The Arrow. The boys said this was their favorite poem we have studied so far. They drew little pictures to illustrate what the poem meant to them.

 These are their timeline entries for this week. We learned that Pocahontas died of small pox.

 I'm attaching this picture with my head held in shame. We were supposed to make the 7 continents with graham crackers. This was a royal failure. All we did was make a ton of crumbs, and ended up having way too may broken graham crackers to consume. Had I been smart, I would have skipped the graham crackers and opted to have them tear pieces of paper. Maybe you can learn from my lesson :)

 We started Typing Instructor this week. I heard about it on The Well Trained Mind forum. We had tried the free BBC typing program, but it was so distracting my boys couldn't get past all the voices. This program is more subdued. It has its quirks, but I think it will work out well. There are 160 short lessons. At the end of each lesson they get to play a typing game. So far they look forward to it.

Nature Study with The Nature Connection   

We are trying to do nature study once a week. We chose the section in our book that suggested that we study local grasses. Our nature sanctuary has beautiful undisturbed prairie land full of many kinds of grasses. It was the perfect place to go to get a look at the way a prairie looked before man started building. We are in the process of moving, and my husband packed away our nature study supplies. No nature journalling today, but we had fun all the same.

There were many varieties of grass to see. We learned that corn is also a grass. I guess I never thought about it, but it is.

Of course there were many wildflowers and other little creatures to study as well.

 I love Queen Anne's Lace. I think they are my favorite wildflower. I think that if ever a flower had a fitting name, this one would be it. It is just as delicate like the lace of a queen should be.

Elemental Science at the Monarch Room

 This week we studied the properties of water in Physics.

We learned that things that normally sink in fresh water will float when salt is added.

In Elemental Science Earth/Space we learned the cause of earthquakes. We did a demonstration showing the damage of a minor vs. a major earthquake. 

Our first soccer game of the year was this week. It's been nice for my guys to connect with some of their school friends. 

Well, that about covers it! How was your week?

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?
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