Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dissecting Animals, Thomas Edison, Tesla, The Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Henry Ford, and a few Christmas Parties----WHEW!

WOW!  What a WEEK!

We dissected THREE animals this week.  We started our study of invertebrates, and we looked at a real sponge, and dissected a worm, a clam, and a starfish!  Who says you have to forgo anything as a homeschool group :)  My niece whose a born animal whisperer, joined our biology group and was told by all the girls back home that she was sure to throw up, but guess what; dissection isn't actually gross, and she was just as fascinated as the boys.

We learned about Thomas Edison.  HOMESCHOOLED Thomas Edison.  Love his story.  Love all the Troll Associate books about famous people when they were young.  Found a bunch at a thrift store and they are AWESOME. Thomas Edison: GREAT business man.  Great PR skills

I had to include Tesla.  Because of my husband I know how ingenious he was. BAD business man.  No PR skills. Result: No one knows about him, no kids are taught about him, and a little home school mom pities him.

I gave my boys a plasma ball to celebrate these men, but it broke the next day.  I'm hoping Dustin can fix it.

We aslo studied the Wright brothers.  We got out a book I found at the thrift store:

Best. Plane. Book. EVER!!!  I can't rave about this book enough.  IT IS SO COOL! All the airplanes (112 of them) are awesome and can be made without even looking at instructions because they are so easy and my boys can do them by themselves and they all WORK (really well.)

Definitely getting this book again!

Then we Learned about Lindbergh (lucky LINDY) and Amelia Earhart and Maxwell got the idea of making an ocean for us to cross out of a blue blanket.

(The books are islands)

AND we learned about Henry Ford this week---because we hadn't crammed in enough as is!---a great book about him was "Eat My Dust."

We had the best activity EVER.  A cookie car assembly line---oh yah---where each boy was given a specific thing to decorate on the car-cookie.

And I thought I would add this photo of our homeschool supervisor, because he's just so cute.

PS-found some cool books about immigrants-"An Ellis Island Christmas" and "A Place to Grow."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dissolving Eggshells and Trying to catch up in History

For science this week we learned about semipermeable membranes, but I never used the word "semipermeable."  I thought it a little too advanced for my crowd.  We showed how water passed in and out of an egg (a cell) once the shell was dissolved.  We showed how some things passed through plastic, but other things didn't.

I'm quite behind in history.  It's hard to skip things.  It's hard to not spend the time I want to on things.  Oh well.  The secret to being a homeschool mom is to be flexible. 

We learned about the impressionists this week.  There were some cute books about them at the Library.  A lot actually.  "Camille and the Sunflowers" and "The magical garden of Claude Monet" were a couple of my favourites.  We painted "Starry Night." for our activity.

We also learned about immigrants.  I had wanted to spend way more time on this.  I want to read more books too.  I don't think I'm done with this subject.  We dressed up as Lady Liberty to celebrate immigrants, and I let them light candles for their torches, and Hyrum singed his hair!

We studied the invention of the camera as well.  It was hard to explain how cameras old and new work, even though I had a couple books to help me.  I went to to help me out.  Our homeschool organization has paid for brainpop and brainpop jr. this year.  BOOYAH! 

We looked up cameras and sure enough there were some movies about them.  Brainpop is a little advanced for my guys, but I think some of it clicked.  Brainpop Jr. is perfect for my little men, and when I am sick or when I'm completely frazzled (doesn't happen too often lately) I let them have full reign of Brainpop Jr. I LOVE it!  Even today Maxwell said "if you cut a starfish in half, they will both grow back and you will have two starfish"  I asked him where he learned that and he said "Brainpop of course."

I'm against having cyber learning as a curriculum for young kids, but for the odd exception, it's heaven sent.

As our activity for cameras, we played with UV paper which works like photo paper, but the chemical changes made by the light can be stopped by simply putting it in lemon water.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Queen Victoria and Finally Starting Science

This week was one of those weeks when I kept finding myself wishing there were more hours in the day. BUSY.

I finally started our science club this week.  I've actually missed it.  It does take the most work (preparation wise) but it's worth it.  This year's group has all new boys in it because my old group all moved!  I think it will be good. They are closer in age to Maxwell then the group before.

We are doing biology this year, and we have a lot to cover in a short amount of time because we started so late.  This week we learned about cells.  We got the microscope out and looked at real cells.  We made a couple of cell models.  One out of a plate and cracker (the nucleus) and another out of jello where a grape was the nucleus.

We studied Queen Victoria this week. BTW "The Young Victoria" is one of my absolute favourite movies---a must watch.  We made decoupage boxes made with pictures from the Victorian era as our activity.

The homeschool organization here had a "Person of Eminence" day, and Maxwell chose Victoria as his person.   When we got there, we realized that we were supposed to dress up as our person.---oops---not that I would have wanted Maxwell dressed as Queen Victoria anyway!  Maxwell did really well on his presentation.  I was glad that he chose her because she kind of sums up the industrial revolution in one person.  Here's our friend giving his report on Benjamin Franklin:

We also learned about Charles Dickens, but we never ended up doing our activity for him because we were too busy reading.  We read children's versions of Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, and of course A Christmas Carol.  We also read the two Tree House books about Dickens.  Can I just say again that I LOVE Mary Pope Osborne?!

And at co-op Maxwell made a candle and Hyrum keeps making cute crafts.  Every homeschool mom NEEDS a co-op!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back to Normal

We are back in Canada.  Our Idaho house is officially SOLD.  Whew!

While were still in Idaho we learned about Jane Austen.  We read a Usborne version of Pride and Prejudice.  Maxwell was not interested.  He was making duct tape wallets while listening.  Is it some genetic thing that boys don't like Jane Austen?  I LOVE Austen books. Oh well.  We made silhouettes as a memento.

Then we got back to Canada, and I was sick so not much to post.  We went to our co-op here.  Maxwell goes to a cooking class, a math class and my theatre class.  The other boys just go to a preschoolish class.  Maxwell made an apple crumble at the cooking class.

We also learned about Samuel Morse.  A great graphic novel about him is "Samuel Morse and the Telegraph" by Seidman.  I bought a Morse code kit, but it was just a glorified buzzer.  Next time around I think I'll get some walky talkies that buzz and see if my boys can send messages with Morse code.  I'ld like them to memorize it someday (my husband grew up on a boat, so we think it's still useful.)  ...---...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween, accomplishments, and Travels

This week Maxwell finished his Handwriting Without Tears book and his Dick and Jane book. FYI, I haven't been able to find any new editions of the Dick and Jane curriculum beyond the primer books, and so I've had to buy the 1950 originals off amazon.

Hyrum has finished his workbook too.  This is about all I brought with me from Cardston.  Maxwell only has a few math worksheets left.  I miss Rightstart math, which I left behind.  I bought a couple of things, but really----I need to be back in Cardston to do school effectively.

This week we have travelled and travelled.  I didn't let that stop things completely.  We still learned a bit about Florence Nightingale.  We read a ValueTales (I love that series) about Florence while on the road, and then we brought out some doctor/nurse kits to play with in the car.

Of course, it was Halloween, and we were able to celebrate it at Grandma T's house.

Aren't they cute?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Steam Boats!

For the industrial revolution, we actually made steam powered put put boats!!!  Be impressed. Be very impressed.

I've wanted to make a put put boat since last year when Maxwell wanted to make one for the science fair, but we couldn't figure out how to find the materials needed or how to do it.  Then, I found this website: which uses every-day materials, and easy to follow instructions!  Yippee!

It's an activity meant for 14 year olds, but we've never let that stop us in the past, and although it took us ALL DAY, and Hyrum and Daniel lost interest in making them, we made four WORKING pop pop boats!!!

We learned about Alexander Graham Bell this week as well. There is a well written children's chapter book called "Alexander Graham Bell" a Discovery Book by Garrard publishing.  It was so well done, that I want to get more Discovery books, although they are from the 1960s and 70s.

We made cup telephones to celebrate Bell, and it was fun to see how a simple toy could entertain them so much.  FYI everyone called the telephone a toy when Bell first showed it off.

Also, FYI: Bell taught Helen Keller a bit, and this inspired an impromptu learning about her.  We watched "miracle worker" as part of this, and Hyrum (our temper tantrum king) couldn't stand watching someone else constantly having temper tantrums. Ironic.

At co-op they learned about Mexico and Audubon again. Science was supposed to happen this week, but my boys had too much fun with cousins, and I never got to it.

Oh, and for my records, there's a cute book called "an Illustrated Timeline of Inventions and Inventors."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

School's back with the Industrial Revolution

Being surrounded by good books (I acquired a library card here in Idaho) I can now comfortably resume school regardless of location.

This week we started learning about the industrial revolution.  We learned how it was a time of factories and inventions.

I asked Maxwell to go find some junk and make an invention.  I unleashed a giant.  Maxwell is always building something, but with the little nudge from me, he was in creation heaven.  He got his cousin on board and started inventing Robots that "have never been in this world before" which is Maxwell's definition of an invention.

And Hyrum, whose interests slightly differ, created with another cousin, the costume invention of a Halloween King:

We also talked about trains and their importance in the industrial revolution, and they each got a new train toy (sometimes a new toy is enough of an activity.)

A cute informative picture book about Steam engine trains is "Jingle the Brass."

And we talked about how prevalent child labor was during that time and how bad the working conditions were. A good book that will make you cry is "Working Children" by Saller.  Our activity was to watch Newsies!  Newsies was my favorite movie as a tween----Christian Bale back when he did musicals ahhhh---Dustin mentioned batman, and they were waiting the entire movie for this New York cowboy to turn into batman.  Sorry boys.

We read a children's book, "Kid Blink Beats The World," that tells the real story of the Newsies as well.

We went to co-op again.  Maxwell goes to a Knights of Freedom class where they are learning about John Audubon, and a World class where they learned about Ireland.  All the boys go to an art class, and Hyrum and Daniel go to a nature class and animal class (story times basically.)

Not sure what playing marbles has to do with Audubon but I came in and took a picture anyway.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vacation? NO----Delay in my life? YES

UGGG!  This school year has NOT gone as planned so far!

Do you wonder where I've been?  In Idaho trying to sell our log house AGAIN!  We've sold it "rent to own" in the past.  We've rented it out an additional two times, and now we just want it GONE!  FOREVER!

We've decided that to do this, we need to stay at the log house until it is completely SOLD (for sure this time.)

I thought we would only be in Idaho a few days, now it's been a few weeks.  Thank goodness I packed a couple of things for school, but I left almost everything behind.  History is so frustrating.  Our trains, morse code kit, UV paper, Victorian decoupage kit, and plasma ball are all in Canada.  I guess I'll just jump around with my history subjects.

Also, the library in Cardston had TONS of books on hold for me that were promising to be awesome and perfect for our school and we were in the middle of a great Napoleon book from that library, and now I'll have to figure out what's up with the library here.  UGGG

Well, in the past few weeks my boys might not have learned anything about biology or modern world history, but they've learned what it takes to sell a house.

We went to a science museum before we left for Idaho and had some fun with liquid Nitrogen:

We aslo got hooked up with the homeschool co-op that my sister's family is in:

(photo coming)

 And we got to really get a taste of Idaho and go pick Potatoes!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

We studied the french revolution this week.  I think Maxwell was a little shocked that everyone we studied got their head chopped off.  Even Robespierre himself! I was toying with the idea of making a guillotine for our activity, but this seemed a bit morbid.

We ate french food instead :)

Of course we studied Marie Antoinette. I loved the Usborne books we found this week. One was about Marie Antoinette and one was "The Tale of Two Cities."  Both made excellent books for children's understanding.

We made cake from scratch to celebrate Marie Antoinette.

It was an excellent recipe, so I'm going to record it here for future use: (I got this recipe from the children's book "Elliot bakes a cake")

2 eggs
3/4 c soft butter
1 1/2c sugar
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla

mix in separate bowl
2 1/4c flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

First separate the eggs into two small bowls.  Next cream the butter.  Now add the sugar.  Stir until smooth.  Beat egg yolks, then mix them with the butter and sugar.  Add the milk and vanilla and stir.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt a little at a time.  Mix until smooth.  Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, then gently fold them into the batter.  Pour the batter into two greased 9 in pans and spread evenly. Bake in a preheated oven at 350*f for 30 min. or until the centers spring up when touched.

We also started one of our co-ops this week.  There are eight families in our group!  But spread out between three houses next door to each other, it was very manageable. I am with the babies/preschoolers for two thirds of the time and teach the Maxwell-aged kids theatre for the other third.  That works great for me!  We're doing the "Standin' Tall" series of plays.  We are starting with "Obedience" and I hope everyone has lots of fun.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Dentist

This week we went to the dentist----everyday.  Maxwell, Hyrum, and I went to the dentist two times each.  UUUGGGG!  My boys were champs.  But my homeschooling for the week didn't survive the grind of the drill.

I did manage to get Maxwell's reading writing and arithmetic done however.  On one of the days, we cleaned the house, then Maxwell went in for his drilling, he came home to watch some Magic School Bus, took a nap, and then at about 4 pm came to me and said "Okay, I want to do school now." What a blessed boy.

I had grand plans for the Enlightenment to be taught this week.  Now I'm thinking I'll just skip it this time around. I couldn't find any book or resource that any of my boys would be remotely interested in on the subject of the Enlightenment.  And the adult resources I found frustrated me.  I felt like they twisted and turned all the philosopher's lives and writings to fit their own agenda.  Very disappointed.

Having graduated in history, I have very little faith in historians as a whole.  And with that I shall end this post with Voltaire's quotes about historians:

All the ancient histories, as one of our wits say, are just fables that have been agreed upon.  ~Voltaire, Jeannot et Colin

Historians are gossips who tease the dead.  ~Voltaire, Scribbling Books

What would constitute useful history?  That which should teach us our duties and our rights, without appearing to teach them.  ~Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary

Sunday, September 9, 2012

School is ON! Pirates and Microscopes---oh yah!

The school year has started in our house!  And what better way to start off history, then PIRATES!

I love teaching my kids.  Maxwell was so excited-"Pirates are REAL?" Yes, with tons of interesting facts to learn. I've been having fun reading all our books on pirates as much as the boys. My hubby said to me "Lindy, you don't often repeat yourself, but you've told me how Blackbeard lit his beard on fire MANY times now."  Ha ha.

To celebrate, we dressed up as pirates and we've also had many treasure hunts. Maxwell wanted to be Blackbeard, and made his beard accordingly.

For science we read "Greg's Microscope" and  did whatever Greg did in the book with our own microscope.  This was a win/fail activity.  It was a win because, besides not seeing our own cells, everything worked out just like it did in the book.  We even saw a single cell live organism that we got from aquarium water!

It was a fail because I got frustrated with Hyrum when he put salt on the microscope and frustrated with Daniel when he broke some cover slides.  Even though it's a nice microscope, Hyrum and Daniel's enthusiasm matter more, and I hope I learned from the situation to "never let a problem to be solved be more important then a person to be loved" as Thomas S Monson says.

My future is up in the air right now, so I have been super hesitant to make any co-ops just yet.  We will have a science club for sure and some other co-op as well, but not yet.

Also, I want to record all the books Maxwell's been listening to recently via audio book:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

History Plans for next Semester

Like I've mentioned, this year we'll be studying Modern World History which will cover 1700-present worldwide and 1870s-present for the US (We do an entire year for US history up to post civil war).  Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with the Four Year Plan for history this year.  She hardly gave any activity ideas, and she didn't cover everything I think should be covered, so I had to come up with my own plan:

Pirates-----------------------dress up
                                       Treasure hunt
Voltair/Locke--------------game where you can't say certain words without going to "jail"
Isaac Newton--------------physic experiments
Marie Antoinette----------make cake and powder faces
French Revolution--------eat french food
Napoleon-------------------three cornered hats
Les Miserable Revolution-make barricades and "fight"

Industrial Rev/Steam engine-homemade steam boat
Trains-----------------------train obstacle course
child labor-----------------act out working in a mine
Jane Austin----------------silhouettes
Telegraph------------------morse code kit
camera----------------------UV paper
Florence Nightingale----toy doctor kits
Victoria--------------------Decoupage box using victorian pictures
Charles Dickens---------decoupage book with character descriptions in it

Impressionists------------paint with pointillism or divisionism
Alexander Bell-----------cup telephones
Edison---------------------experiments with lightbulbs
Tesla-----------------------plasma ball
Immigrants----------------statue of liberty crowns
                                     act out ellis Island
Carnegie/Rockefeller---play monopoly
Inventors------------------make inventions out of junk

Write brothers-----------paper plane book I have
Henry Ford--------------Car cookie assembly line
Teddy Roosevelt-------teddy grahams and ?
WWI----------------------ummm urg play with barbed wire? jk (ideas wanted)
Charles Lindbergh-----balsa wood planes with rubber band propellers
Amelia Earhart----------blindfold and try to find island to refuel

Ya, I need some tweeking with these ideas.  Any suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

School is coming!

EEK!  There's only a couple more days of summer!  How did that happen?  Well, we have done some school during the summer, but mostly my focus was on the newest member of our class and his arrival. Introducing baby William!:

 It was nice to have a baby in the summer because I felt no guilt in dropping the ball on everything but being BIG and pregnant, and on getting to know our sweet new family member.

As for school, it will start on Labor day (monday!---gulp) and I am more or less ready.  Well less then ready to be honest, but I figure I'll ease into this year.

This year we are studying Biology, the New Testament, and Modern World History.  Hyrum will be our kindergardener, and Maxwell will be in 2nd grade.

I'm not going to stress with Hyrum (age 5), however.  He has been diagnosed as having a "Language processing disorder" which I now believe is really not accurate.  I think he's just extremely right brained.  I just got a book called "Disconnected Kids" which is supposed to help children learn how to use their whole brain and connect synapses between the two halves of the brain. Let's hope it helps.

I was going to language therapy with Hyrum, but it seemed pointless.  It was only a half an hour twice a month, and she almost never gave me things to work with at home.  She would say "look how much he's improved because I did such and such" and I would be thinking "That was a month ago, I think he's improved because time has passed and because I do my little preschool."

I'm not sure if I even want to do it this year.  They are frustrated with me that I'm homeschooling because that throws a kink in their system (even though kindergarten is NOT required or subsidized by the homeschool organization.)  It's funny. They say things like "he'll have trouble in large groups" "he needs lots of one on one" "he needs a quiet atmosphere to focus" and in the next breath want him in public school.

I'm not worried about Hyrum in the long run.  He is incredibly creative, artistic, and has amazing dexterity.  He is writing his name very well, and I know he'll do Handwriting Without Tears excellently this year.  He knows the letters and their sounds, but I really don't know how reading will go.  We'll just take it one day at a time.  Math----I'm a bit worried about math.  (See why I think he is severely right brained?) Last year at this time he couldn't count to four.  Now, after drilling and drilling, he can count to ten, but well---let's just say Daniel (3) might be at a higher math level then Hyrum.

The good news is, he's a summer birthday. Really, if he was going to public school, I would hold him back until next year.  That way, instead of being the youngest, he would be the oldest.  I will still try to have him on a kindergarten curriculum, but I'm not going worry if he doesn't accomplish everything I'm planning on right now.

Hyrum & William

Maxwell (age 7), my homeschool guinea pig, I have many expectations for, however, and many of it will be catching up in reading and writing.

Daniel (age 3), well, I don't think I'll ever have to do any kind of preschool with Daniel.  He just picks it all up through osmosis. I have to tell him not to help Hyrum when I'm doing school with Hyrum.