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 :)

Heart of Dakota BHFHG - Week 22 in Review

Friday, February 15, 2013

We're continuing to have a blast in HOD! I can't believe it's already the weekend. These weeks are flying by. This week we studied more about the life of John James Audubon. We also learned a little about the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. My boys come from a family of artists and writers, so it's always fun to study the lives of those who made a name for themselves in those areas. Both Audubon and Longfellow were very diligent in studying their crafts. We already learned about Audubon earlier in the year, but my boys were so happy to study him again.

This week's art project was to reflect the words of Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life." The directions said to use salt or sand, but we used glitter (because that's how I roll.)

Our history notebooking page was to write this stanza from "A Psalm of Life." The art project above was to represent our footprints in the sand of time.

We picked up more books on Audubon from the library. I had Aedan read a few of these on his own, and I read one aloud. I found the book on the left last summer. I knew we'd be studying Audubon.

 It was really nice referring to this book when we read the Audubon biography earlier in the year. Every time we read about a specific bird, we looked it up. 

  I really admire Audubon's determination to complete his project. At some point all his paintings were destroyed by rats, yet he still plodded on until his work was compete. His task of painting all the birds of America somewhat bordered on obsession, but you can't help but be impressed at what he accomplished.

Last week we started the non-fiction genre. So far the boys are enjoying this book, however, they are a little afraid Balto is going to die sometime soon. It always seems like stories about dogs end sadly. I guess we'll see what happens. Silas read Stone Fox earlier this year as one of his DITHOR books. The dog died suddenly in that one. Silas drew a quick breath when it happened and teared up. I wish I had known that was going to happen. Poor kid :(

 We continue on with our vocabulary study. I loved Silas's interpretation of the word portrait. It says "Mona Pisa" instead of Mona Lisa. So cute!

We studied the character trait diligence this week. Longfellow and Audubon were great examples of diligence.

 The theme of this week centered very much on creativity. I loved our poem this week. It portrayed God as the ultimate painter, artist, sculptor and playwrite.

We are still loving A Pioneer Sampler. This week we learned about how the pioneers milked cows, and how children were often responsible for bringing the cow in for her milking. Our day 5 experiment was to learn how butter is made. We poured whipping cream in a jar, and then the shaking up began!

 This was hard work! We took turns for the 10 minutes. We had to cover our jar because the buttermilk was beginning to leak as it separated.

 Can you tell we were wearing ourselves out?! Aedan made up his own song to make the time pass.

 After the fat separated from the buttermilk we poured it out into a bowl. We poured off the buttermilk, and washed the butter. Lastly, we added salt.
  The boys enjoyed the fruit of their labor :)

 We learned more about bees, and how the pioneers collected honey.

Elemental Science at The Monarch Room

 Silas continued his study of the planets. This week we learned about Mercury and Venus. This experiment showed why Venus was hotter than Mercury. Its thick atmosphere traps in the heat. 

 Aedan began his unit on sound.

This experiment showed us how to "see" sound waves.

Out and About

 We belong to a small co-op. We had a Valentine's Day party. Thank goodness for Pinterest :) I found these cute printables. It probably would have been cheaper to buy them. Ah well!

I was responsible for the snacks. This was another Pinterest idea. The boys enjoyed sharing and receiving Valentines. 

Well those were the highlights :) How was your week?

Heart of Dakota - BHFHG - Week 21 in Review

Monday, February 11, 2013

This week we studied Andrew Jackson. We learned Jackson was a quarrelsome fellow, but also brave. We studied a child's version of Jackson's life. I always try to make sure to include the real truth in our studies. Often American History is sifted of it's more gritty content when we are teaching elementary aged kids. Andrew Jackson, while a brave general, was responsible for The Trail of Tears (in my opinion one of the saddest occurrences in American History.) While many of our founding fathers were great leaders, they were often had conflicting ideas which led to many human lives being mishandled.

Our art project was to make a hat like the one Andrew Jackson wore. I couldn't find my construction paper to save my life, so we made smaller versions that could fit on our stuffed friends.

Our history notebooking page was to create a tree and write words that would describe Andrew Jackson. He was nicknamed "Old Hickory" because he was rough on the outside and tough on the inside like a hickory tree.

The kids are really enjoying our science reader A Pioneer Sampler. This week we learned how the pioneers used corn to make Johnnycake.

It's always fun when one of our projects leads to a snack. This was one happy boy :)

In addition to learning about Andrew Jackson, we also learned about how America had trouble with pirates in those days. We read a story about how pirates from Tripoli captured the American ship the Philadelphia.

We reenacted how the Americans set fire to the Philadelphia rather than allowing the ship to be taken by the pirates. We pretended that the pennies represented the cannon balls that the pirates lobbed at the ketch (the smaller ship the Americans used.) The boys thought this was really fun even though it probably doesn't look like much! 

 We learned about how the pioneers had trouble with wild animals attacking their livestock, and how to determine who the culprit was by their footprints.

In HOD science we learned how bees find flowers that have nectar. The wax paper over the top was supposed to represent how bees see the flowers.

 Our poem this week was The Lord of Counterpane. The poem was about a little boy pretending that his bed was a land, and he was the king residing over it all. I loved this one, and so did the boys. It reminded us so much of how they play with such big imaginations.

Our vocabulary words for this week. These little sheets always make me smile :)

Elemental Science at the Monarch Room

This week we learned about Mercury. Because it is so small, it can't cause a solar eclipse. This little experiment showed why.

Are you wondering why Silas always wears Mario Pajamas yet? Trust me. I'm trying to work on this :)

 These are our ES narration pages for the last 2 weeks. For the first half of the year, I wrote his narrations for him. He has begun to write his own.

Aedan read about Thomas Alva Edison, and will have a book report to complete. There are 2 biographies to read in ES Physics.

We started back with Drawn Into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) this week. I plan to write a post about how that's going. We continue to plug away in math, grammar and geography. I can't believe I'm almost 3/4 the way done with school! This year has really flown by. I really attribute our success to HOD. We've had so much fun :)
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