Monday, July 27, 2015

Ancient History Lesson Plans

It's much easier since I've done this four years ago. But I changed some things because of Classical Conversations Timeline song (the first half we will memorize,) and the Story of the World.

Creation-creation collage
Dinosaurs-casts of dino "tracks"

Dinosaurs-make fossils of dinos
Fall and Flood-aprons of real leaves

ice age-spray paint over hands and paint rocks 
cavemen-cave painting in huge box

Mesopotamia-weaving baskets
Fertile Crescent-crescent rolls


Joseph-sandpaper pyramids

Moses-parting the red sea w/ felt creations
Joshua-jericho wall w/ cups and trumpets

David-slingshots and stars of David
Hammurabi-make up silly laws

Assyria-Bas reliefs
Babylon-Ishtar Gate

Arabian Persia-make magic lamps
Capture of Jerusalem/Lehi-medieval flail 

Daniel-lion origami pincher
India/Gupta Dynasty-draw silhouettes w/ many arms and paint blue

India continued-marbling
Ancient China-make paper

Ancient China-floating lanterns
Ancient China-origami

Homer-trojan horse
Minoans-life sized maze

Olympics-obstacle course
Philosophers-paint coins

Alexander the Great-miniature lighthouse
Etruscans-Bullas (Teri Ebert pg 38)

Rome founded-murals
Caesar-catapults and togas

Augustus-aqueducts from tap to bath

John the Baptist-eat "locust"

Pentecost/persecution-tongue of fire crown
Nero/Gladiators-Gladiator paper cut out book

Constantine-mosaic cross
Fall of Rome/Visigoths-make swords

Nicene Creed-trinity craft 
Beowulf-celtic knot necklace

Pagans-holiday fun
Justinian-mosaics in clay

Camelot-castle of marshmallows 
Charlemagne-make shields

Feudalism-crowns and Princess cones
Francis of Assisi-bird feeder

Ancient Africa-african masks
Ancient Africa-oral bard toe puppets

Genghis Khan-his style helmet
Muhammad-pitas and turbans

Crusades-coat of arms

Robin Hood-hats and bow and arrows
Magna Carta-dragon craft

Ottoman Empire-medieval banner
100 yr war/Joan of Arc-suit of armour

Black Death-paper posies
Fire of London-hmmm-pyrotechnic fun?

Cathedrals-stained glass
Czar Ivan the Great-ukrainian easter eggs

Gutenberg-get alphabet stamps
Spanish Inquisition-spanish cross

Martin Luther-hammer on fake door
Calvin-play petanque (or get a better idea!)

Leonardo Da Vinci-the Da Vinci model
Michelangelo-paint on the bottom of table

Henry VIII pop corn bucket helmet
Elizabeth I-make ruffled collars

Shakespeare-puppets for puppet theatre
Shakespeare-puppet theatre continued

And of course, this is the year that we will for sure celebrate PASSOVER!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


As a homeschooler, school's never "out." We've been doing reading throughout the summer.  Although some days I'm not sure if it should be me teaching.

So I was going to post about my AMAZING BROTHER!! My brother Craig AND my nephew David both gave TEDx TALKS!!! Wholey moley I have a cool family! I waited to talk about our science trip with him until their movies came out on youtube, and here they are!:

Yes, I proudly claim both of them.

When I was in Utah, Craig showed us around his lab. (Yes, my love of science is legit, my brother is a Dr. of biochemistry.) Shauna, his wife, gave our family a tour of the university, and we were spoiled.

My brother inspires me. He's able to explain things so clearly. I want to be like him.

So Hyrum finished his math book!!!

Here is the final "test" he did.

This is more advanced than 2nd grade stuff here folks. Can I just tell you how proud I am of him? This is the kid who couldn't count to 12 at the beginning of the year....yah,  Total. Measurable. Improvement. Love It!!!

Maxwell finally moved past the "banana" rule chapter in reading, and I am DELIGHTED. With his progress he's making, I'm pretty sure we'll be done with book 4 by the end of summer.

Daniel is done with the first book of Barton. He's also filled up an entire notebook with his journaling.

Also,  we went to the last homeschool activity of the year. It was a "share fair" where we needed to bring something to represent something we learned. I brought my magnet sets, and I also brought my printouts of this blog (I make this blog into a physical book each year.)

It was fun to be part of the alternate school again. We are growing. They are going to let us use the upstairs of the building next year. We are doing the play Wizard of Oz, which I think will be a very ambitious project. 70 kids in one play? Oh boy. And Gymnastics will not officially be part of westwind school next year.

This summer we haven't been too out and about, but it's still been exciting. Mostly because Dustin's brother and his family of EIGHT have moved into our downstair apartment.

Our kids get along very well with each other, and each family has their own kitchen and laundry, so things have gone smoothly. I'm not sure how long they will stay, but it turns out that they might stay a year while they figure out where they should be. My kids won't know how to cope without them by then!

We did go down to Utah for a couple of days, but it was for a funeral, so that's not fun. We did go to the dinosaur museum there though, which I was happy about since we will be studying them this fall. It's not as big as Tyrell's but it has some pretty cool activities for the kids:

I also got to see my old best friend, Laura, which was so special to me.

And Maxwell got to see his old best friend, Morgan, which was special to him.

When we got back to Canada, Hyrum got BAPTIZED!!!

How did he get so big?!? I sure love this little boy with fierceness.

About the time of his baptism, I called Susan Barton about some questions I had on Hyrum's reading progress. She said he needed to get diagnostic testing for a complex child combination of conditions including speech language by a paediatric neuropsychologist so I could get a prioritized action plan evaluation.

Wow. did that conversation send me down a rabbit hole. I called everybody I could think of for two days straight. I've got him on the waiting list for neuropsychologists in Calgary and a paediatrician psychiatrists who specializes with language development in Lethbridge.

My family doctor had even given me a prescription for ritalin.  I decided against it. Maybe not forever, but for sure not until I know more.

All of this was a catalyst to make a new blog about Hyrum.

It only has one entry so far, but I think I will need a place to record all my thoughts and experiences with Hyrum.

I decided to make yet another blog as well. This one is for me to keep me thinking about teaching my kids how to feel the spirit, and to point out spiritual experiences. It is my most important education I can do, yet I'm too complacent about it, so I need a motivator.

It only has one post as well, but I hope to write in both of these new blogs each week with this one.

By the way, I never finished off my school year with this blog, so here it is:


Well, it's been my hardest year yet, that's for sure. I've been a basket case emotionally. Having TWO babies who constantly want my attention has been straining on school to say the least.


History? Did I actually do history? Well, we did get some accomplished. With baby craziness, I'm proud of what we actually did do. I NEEDED to cut back on something, and I don't regret it.

I do need to teach my kids about the Bill of Rights though (which should have been covered this year.) It's been nagging at me.

I've got some of my old energy back, however, and I really think I can carry out my plans for this next year coming up.


Well, I kind of condensed science a bit because we missed a few weeks here and there, but really, I think it was great. I don't know how I could have done it without Jandy and Kirsten, but with their help, I feel good about physics.


I love Rightstart. Sometimes I wonder if I should move to a math that is more video/computer based so I don't have to sit down with each kids every day for a 1/2 hour just for math, but I like the results so looks like math will continue as is. Besides, Maxwell is getting close to being done with the program.

He's going to be in FIFTH GRADE (I mean grade five eh?)!!!! Crazy.


Anxiety. Mostly for me. Half the time I think they need a different teacher. Sometimes because I think it would profit them, and half the time because I think it would profit me.

When I see homeschoolers who are reading perfectly for their age or above, I just marvel. IT WILL COME.

Now, Cursive? Writing Techniques? Typewriting?

Can I squeeze these in next year?---uhhh probably no.

We will be doing martial arts, art, gymnastics, a play, robotics, my science class, and I am going to DO history. So yah. Perhaps a wee overscheduled as is.

So there you have it, my last post for this school year.

BTW, I've been a bit of a home-body this summer, but Dustin went to AFRICA!!!

He went to help with a college his business partner set up to teach leadership skills and entrepreneurship to people in Benin (which is right next to Ghana---hey I didn't know where it was either.) It was a life changing experience, and he said he did more good in two weeks then he has done in two years.

I think I will talk more about this when I go in February!!! At least, that's the plan as of now. Let's see if I'm courageous enough! When a huge cockroach came out of Dustin's luggage and he showed me videos of foot long centipedes and showed me the bathrooms......oh boy.

But for now I will bid you adieu.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Butterflies, Bikes, and Birthdays

Well, I guess you'll get a few more posts out of me after all.

First of all, Maxwell's done with his math book!!! WHoo Hooo!  He did a few lessons in one day, he wanted to be done so much.

By the end of this week, Hyrum should be done with his math book as well. Glory be. That will be the true beginning of summer for me.

I've been doing a new chart system for the boys. It's helping everyone's calm

The boys have sure loved the summer weather. They've been on bug hunts. There's an extraordinary amount of caterpillars around. For Christmas, Hyrum got a butterfly world. I ordered the caterpillars for that, but in the mean time, the boys collected their own.

In no time flat they found about 30 and put them in our butterfly world even though they're going to be moths. There's already about 20 cocoons. So excited to see the moths.

We didn't bring our bikes with us to the coast, so now that we are back, my boys are very happy. Daniel has been learning to ride a two wheeler, and if he had a bit more confidence he would have it down, but little by little he's getting more comfortable.

Also, there were two birthdays in our house. Abraham turned one. My baby...probably my last not so much a baby any more.

And guess what!!! HE WALKED for the first time on his BIRTHDAY!!! How cool is that?

And Hyrum turned eight today, although we are having his party tomorrow. He is getting baptized soon, so the missionaries are teaching him the discussions.

Well, I think perhaps we are closer to summer than ever BUT we will do reading throughout the summer and I hope to read some history, so no real true break, but whatever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This one's for the Heathers.

At my alternate school (Homeschoolers in Canada need to go through alternate schools-thankfully mine is awesome,) my principal's name is Heather. I absolutely love her (and I'm not just brown nosing-she's excellent.) And the teacher over me is ALSO Heather. She's a friend of mine whom I have always looked to as a mentor and exemplar.

So yah, totally blessed.

But those Heathers need to have a checklist of information from me about our year. They usually get this at our end of the year in-home visit. That's not happening this year because I'm here, so this is my virtual at-home visit. (They might need something more but I hope not.)

So, First Hyrum:

I've asked that since his birthday is practically in the summer, he be counted as a first grader again.

BUT he actually was able to meet all the GRADE 2 math requirements!!! Glory be! I made a video for math--Hyrum is a crack up, and yes, this is a good representation of how my one-on-one teaching can look like.

Did you like that poop moment? Yah, poop everywhere in the middle of a math lesson....yah. Typical.

Now reading---I was going to make movies, but it created too much anxiety. If this is not sufficient, maybe we can skype.

This is grade one level:
*I'll post our books that we've been reading as a family under Maxwell's reading.
*very good at matching upper and lowercase
*patterns and symbol sound relationship is what Barton book one is all about, and he has graduated from that for sure.
*the sight word he knows the best is "the" but he is recently working on "of, said, from, what....etc" and doing really well.
*Barton has him use phonics to read nonsense words, so yah, new words that are at his level are no problem.
*He can read SHORT stories---his fluency is not the best, but Barton stresses that Accuracy is much more important, and that fluency will come with time if accuracy is stressed-so that's what I've been doing.
*he can know the main idea of what he's read
*not sure how well he knows story parts.
*Print legibly and simple sentences:

*use phonics to write new words:

*share ideas----Hyrum sure loves sharing ideas, but he does have a language processing disorder, so his brain is too fast for his mouth, and you might not always understand everything.

SOCIAL STUDIES (for Hyrum AND Maxwell)

For both of my kids we studied early Canadian history. Including ancient natives, Samuel Champlain, other explorers, Filles de Roi, Seven Years War, The American Revolution including a migration of loyalists to Canada, and we have also been studying a world history in Story of the World.

This is all documented in this blog.

Also we have memorized all the provinces and capitals.

We have also memorized a general timeline of the world from age of exploration to the dominion of Canada:

they really do know this song....bad video.


We studied physics this year, which means we studied Newton's laws, simple machines, motion, light, sound, electricity, and magnetics. A detailed documentation of this is in this blog.


Here's Maxwell's math:

So a couple of things, + to 10,000 you can see with the decimals problem. Also, I forgot to do congruency, so here's a sample of that. Also, You can see that Maxwell recorded the date. I thought he couldn't do this because of his spelling problems, but he proved me wrong.


This checklist makes me a little dizzy. We are still so so behind. We are trying. Maxwell is reading 25 page chapter books with no pictures. It is at his level. He is learning phonics to help him learn new words. He is able to write with metaphors and similes, identify key ideas, make revisions, and have ideas flow IF someone writes it for him. You can see that in his story from early in the year HERE

Cursive writing is a no, keyboarding is a no, He can find things in a dictionary and electronically, but thesaurus is a no.

He's an awesome brainstormer, and very good in groups.

So, yah, whatever.

I do read to them:

There you have it!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Crabs, Magical Islands, and Final Science Classes,

I sorta feel like it's the end of the year in a lot of ways, but it really isn't. You may or may not get more posts.

We are moving in a couple of days back to good ol' Alberta.

But we having been living it up in the mean time.

Josh and Chelsea, our good good friends took us crabbing thanks to Maxwell's insistence. That boy helps me get off my duff and do fun things. It was AMAZING! We ended up catching three crabs, and Dustin even got some video of crabs crawling into our traps under the ocean.

We also went to Tofino. It was MAGICAL! We went to a "forbidden" island that was only open two days of the year.

We went with the Schafers and Salas to this hotel ON the beach. You could get to two different islands depending on the tide, and one was like it was out of a fairy tale with forts made out of natural fallen trees and hidden places of moss covered beauty. I could not get photos to show how magical it was. But here's a magical baby instead.

We also went to "Cathedral Grove" where the oldest trees on the island are.-Hear no evil speak no evil see no evil.

The beaches there are sandy and long, and Maxwell made a shell collection.

And this weekend we went to two fairs, but the one my sister help put on was more fun that the one we paid $50 bucks for.

Holidays made it so I couldn't report about school. Last week we did our last electricity lesson. We learned about open and closed circuits, and played the game where you try and not close the circuit of wire or the light will go off. Always a hit.

And I FINALLY got a battery working!!! I fixed the kit I had.

This week was our last science of the year. It was all about magnets. How can you go wrong? I had bought a couple sets, and we had a very grand time exploring all about magnetism. Although, for some reason, (i think it was that my needles were the cheap kind) I couldn't get my homemade compass to work. I've got them working in the past...hummm.

It was really rewarding. During the lesson Hyrum piped up about how it is magnetic storms coming from the sun that get sucked into the poles of the earth that create the Aurora Borealis.  We studied that last year and he remembered! Sometimes I think Hyrum doesn't pay attention, but apparently some things sink in!

And Maxwell piped up how in order to break magnetism you needed to heat up the iron until it glows red hot or hit it hard with a hammer. We haven't talked about that for FOUR years, yet he remembered our experiments from way back then.

ANd (drum roll please....) Hyrum is DONE with Barton book 2!!!

We went on a little date to celebrate. I'm proud of my little guy (and me!) I would say we are solidly at grade one reading and spelling levels now. We have started book three, and I must say am very grateful for Dianne Craft's suggestions on how to make sight word cards or our life would be very unhappy right now.

As I teach Daniel phonemic awareness, I remember teaching Hyrum, and I then remember how far we've come.

Daniel's doing great. He brought a book to me today and showed me a couple words he could read. BUT his speech needs work. It's hard for him to say his "th"s but all my boys have had that, but he also has trouble with his "r"s "l"s and blend distinction. I think I might put him in speech next year. UUUGHGHGHG I don't want to----RED TAPE NIGHTMARE!