Heart of Dakota - BHFHG Week 23 in Review

Friday, February 22, 2013

We wrapped up HOD Bigger Unit 23 this week! We are still having so much fun. This week we learned a little about Horace Greeley, William Bryant, and Louisa May Alcott. I love the inclusion of authors, writers, and musicians in our HOD study. It's always fun for my boys to learn about what these people's lives were like as kids. We really enjoy reading from Stories of Great Americans. It is written in a very conversational tone, and the boys always giggle to learn how wild some of these famous Americans were as children. We loved learning about how Horace Greeley was the best speller in his town even at a very young age. By age 13 he knew more than his teacher, and was told he no longer needed to attend school. Alcott was an daring young girl. I guess I always thought she would have always been a proper lady, but she was pretty adventurous little girl. She reminded me of my nieces who are always exploring, and making things.

These stories help me feel great about giving my boys a chance to learn at home where they have plenty of time to explore their interests and talents. Both my boys have very active imaginations, and as I read of these creative Americans I find myself understanding and appreciating my boys even more for all their spunk. Who knows who they will be someday? If they are anything like they are now, I bet they're going to be really something as grown men :)

 Our art project was to illustrate Louisa May Alcott's poem "A Song From the Suds." We veered away from the instructions a bit, but I thought they did such an adorable job.

We read about how Alcott was very poor, and she wanted to make something of herself one day. She was a very hard worker, and as we know her wish came true. I would love to read more about her. I love learning along side my kids. It's really so much fun. Julie Bogart, the creator of Brave Writer, wrote something the other day on her Facebook wall that was so true. Coincidentally, I am reading The Writer's Jungle, and I love it! I can't wait to implement some of her ideas in our homeschool. 

"Home educators share a little known secret. Most people assume we home educate because we distrust the school system or want to shield our children from growing up too quickly. Others think we homeschool because we are super religious types, or because we are super not-religious hippies!

Many of us start homeschooling for these reasons, and others, but here's the secret that most people *don't* know.
Homeschooling parents may start for any of those reasons—but home educators continue because *we* are getting a life-altering education at the same time!

The truth is: once you get your homeschool chugging along, it's a runaway train, downhill! The enthusiasm to discover, learn, make connections, explore takes over for everyone, but especially the home educating parent!

And that's as it should be! The best homeschools are the ones where mom or dad can't put the book down.
And then you'll branch out. You don't have to learn the same stuff as your kids—you can tackle all the Jane Austen novels on audiobook while making dinner (I did).

Embrace it. Own it. Follow personal rabbit trails. Learn. Grow. Live your excitement for the Civil War or Shakespeare or astronomy or algebra right in front of your kids, right alongside them.

The engine of your homeschool is fueled by your energy. It's the most delicious side-effect of this enormous commitment. No one gets it from the outside, but you *know* it on the inside. So relish your educational renaissance! You're earning it, one day at a time." 

Our history notebooking assignment was to copy one of William Cullen Bryant's poem about the bob-o-link. We looked up a bob-o-link bird looked like. My kids were tickled that a bob-o-link wore fancy "clothes" when trying to attract a mate, and then he wears a drab "outfit" when he finally catches one. They thought he looked like he had a cute little yellow afro.

 We learned about how Horace Greeley walked for miles and miles just to be able to borrow books. We are so fortunate to have libraries and cars (and Amazon Prime!) I can't imagine my life without easy access to books. We measured how far Greeley's home in New Hampshire was from ours by measuring with a string...

...and then using the map guide to figure out how long he would have to travel to our home from his.

Horace Greeley decided he wanted to become a printer. Our history activity was to use Scrabble tiles to show how much time it would have taken to print a newspaper before typewriters.

We added our timeline figures to our wall map.

 In science we learned how the pioneers used many different kinds of plants to dye their wool. We mixed food coloring to make different colors.

We then added some of the mixed dye to a paper towel.

 We dipped them in water, and the 2 colors began to separate.

Here is the final picture of the separation of colors.

Our science notebooking assignment was to learn what plants were used to dye different colors.

 We learned how to finger spin wool.

 I had to help the boys on this one. Their little impatient boy fingers weren't working the way they wanted them to.

The boys are showing on their science experiment page how Aedan kept pulling the cotton apart, how Silas eventually made a fat string, and I'm on the right :)

I loved Aedan's picture of the Bob-o-link :) After he caught his mate, he took off his handsome hair. So funny!

See, look! We really do math! Silas is continuing in R&S 2 and working through Miquon. I usually have him do 2 pages in R&S. I sometimes have him answer orally because there are so many questions. I write his answers for him sometimes if the page is super long. He really enjoys Miquon. Sometimes Aedan says he wishes he could do it too. Aedan is working through memorizing his facts. We've taken a break from his program until he gets more confident in division.

Science at The Monarch Room

We are continuing to enjoy Elemental Science in both Space and Physics. This week Silas learned about the earth and our moon.

 Our experiment was to demonstrate why it would have been very difficult for astronauts to land on the moon. The experiment was called "moving target."

 The moon travels through space at 2000 miles per hour (correct me if I'm wrong.) We hung a washer on a string, and set it in motion. Silas had to throw pieces of paper towels at it to see if he could hit it when it was moving. 

 He finally hit it. One out of 7 isn't too bad :) These simple little experiments are so fun. I love how excited they get.

 We are keeping a moon journal. Silas is tired of the moon being a waxing gibbous. We also measured how much snow we got in our Midwest snowmageddon. We got about 12 inches. It could have been worse :) The boys had a blast sledding for hours!

Aedan is still in his sound unit in Physics. No he isn't just ready for dinner with those utensils. We learned about sound vibrations, and as simple as it was he really enjoyed trying different things to draw the sound out.

That wraps it up! We just placed our order for next year's curricula. We will still purchase a few things at convention, but the bulk of it will be here next Tuesday. I can't wait to share our box day with you :)


  1. I am anxious to see what you pick next year! (You may have said and I missed it?) I am also curious how long you plan to combine your kids in HOD. That is something I am considering...we tried two separate guides this year and it didn't work out too well. :(

  2. As always, love your post! The poem drawings are super cute and very creative! You are doing an awesome job and it shows in your boy's faces and work.

  3. Monica,

    I'm anxious to see what I pick next year too :) Ha! I already have the Preparing guide. I ordered the rest of my Preparing stuff plus the CtC economy package (because I still am not sure if I should combine or not.) I know for sure someone will be doing HOD. I plan to combine them this year, but something in the back of my head tells me un-combining might be best (not easiest, but best.) I will probably combine in Preparing, and un-combine the next year.

    For you youngest's year or two off of HOD, I am researching how to put together a Charlotte Mason year based on SCM or AO. I don't know yet though. We have loved HOD this year. In a perfect world, I would have HS'ed my oldest from the beginning. He'd probably be in CtC now, but it was nice for his first year home for them both to be together.

    What 2 guides did you use the year you had your kids separate? What guide are you trying to combine them in this year? Thanks so much for writing :)


    Thank you for your kind words :) I think your kids are really cute too! I miss the baby stage when I see your pictures!

  4. We tried Little Hearts for my K'er and Bigger for my 2nd grader. (He did Beyond last year, in 1st.) So, because my 2nd grader has done most of Beyond and a good part of Bigger, he would be repeating one if I combined him with my K'er next year, who will be in 1st. If I had trouble running two guides this young, I worry for older grades. I don't know, I've made a royal mess out of this, it seems. :)

  5. You haven't made a royal mess of anything :) All of us are learning as we go. I am afraid of getting things done if I separate mine as well. One thing I regret is having my youngest work a year ahead. We did mostly first grade work for K last year (not HOD.) We hit roadblocks this year, so I had to readjust. He was reading really early, so I thought K would be redundant. I would have done a much lighter K if I knew then what I know now.

    I really have loved our year together, so I'll be sad to separate them when I do. Your kids are a little closer than mine in age though, so combining may work for you. The guides get so much harder after Preparing though. There really needs to be a extra guide maybe after Beyond or Bigger.


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