Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reptiles, Prohibition (finally), women's suffrage, and depression starts

Science was interesting.  I couldn't find any ideas anywhere for educating about reptiles, so I had to come up with it myself.  These activities worked better in my mind then in reality.  We talked about cold blooded animals and took three thermometers and put one in snow, one at room temp. and one near my stove---which got so hot it burst---ummm, yah.

We smelled things (lavender, fish oil, peppermint etc) and tried to identify them with our "tongues."

We played a game where we tried taking off everyone else's lizard tail but keep our own:

And painted alligators on our hands and talked about how alligators have the strongest jaws of all animals, but any man can hold an alligator's jaws shut, much like your thumb and forefinger.  You can pinch hard but someone can easily hold your fingers closed.  I thought I was being very clever with this activity, but it didn't happen as planned.

For history, we learned about women's suffrage, and a couple good picture books about it are "The Ballot Box Battle" by McCully, and "Mama went to Jail for the Vote." by Karr.  We made picket signs to celebrate. Maxwell incorporated the suffrage colours by himself.  I thought that quite observant.


They both say "Votes for women" if you can't tell.

We also finally learned about the prohibition. Maxwell got the facts, but when I started in on the politics of things like whether or not it's okay for a federal government to try to force an entire people vs a little town's majority trying to enforce something, or how laws can guide the general bell curve of morality of the people, Maxwell's eyes glazed over.  Maybe later eh?---We made rootbeer from yeast.  It tasted like yeast. Hummm.

And we also started learning about the depression.  We read cute books like "The Dust Bowl" by Booth and "Potato" by Lied, but what I really loved was "The History of US" chapters about the depression.

We've been reading selections from this encyclopedia more and more lately, and I LOVE IT!!!  It explains things so that any child can understand it, but in such a way that it's fascinating to any adult.  I don't always agree with their view of history, but history is so relative anyway.  I do like that they include religion as a part of what made people who they are and why they did things in a good way.  Get the books.  You will love them too.

ANYWAY-We pretended to be hobos and went around the neighbourhood reading hobo signs that I had left earlier.  You know how you can plan activity after activity and they never quite turn out how you envisioned them turning out?  Well, this activity worked out just like I had hoped!!!

But---um---writing chalk symbols in front of people's houses is a bit embarrassing.  One neighbour was outside and she's all "Hey Lindy ummm what are you doing there?"  "oh nothing hehe umm just writing about your house in hobo symbols hehe."

Here's my hobos:

Here's some hobo signs we learned

Inspiration for this activity came from "Kit Kittredge" AWESOME kid movie about the depression.

And even though this post is getting way to long, I thought I would add my love for Granny Wendy.  She was among the first moms to homeschool here in Cardston. Now that her children have grown, she has been the voice and advocate for all who want to homeschool.  She works with the homeschool organization, but is retiring at the end of this year so she and her husband can go on a mission.  We will be so sad to see her go.

She takes Maxwell once a week for a short tutorial on whatever Maxwell is in need of.  I haven't taken advantage of this like I should have.  Last year I didn't have a car, this year I went to Idaho for awhile. But I sure love this woman and learn from her every time I am in contact with her.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gandhi and frogs

This week we studied Gandhi.  Sometimes I absolutely love homeschooling because of all that I learn myself.  I don't remember learning about Gandhi in school, and it's wonderful to finally learn more about him now and pass that love of learning on to my boys.

Nonviolent Noncooperation.  Wow what a man.  We have a lot to learn from his example.  Maxwell pointed out that we have more to learn from Jesus.  I love that he recognized that, and I'm glad that I got to show them of another example.

Gandhi went to the sea and collected salt illegally to show defiance of the british, so we filled the bathtub with salt water and went on a march to fill up pots with salt water and boil away the water.  It turned out to be kind of fun.  Our house got very humid from the boiling water, and once the water was gone, the salt sputtered everywhere.

Gandhi also made his own cloth and clothes to show independence and to keep money inside india.  We made our own clothes as well:

And there was a homeschool organization party.  It was a pot luck where the food you brought had to go along with what you are studying.  You also could set up a display about the subject.  We did Gandhi, and we supplied the drink for the evening----lemon juice.  Gandhi fasted many times to help causes he believed in and most of the time he just had water, but sometimes he would add a bit of lemon in the water.

We had a display that was obviously made by my boys if you know what I mean, and my boys wore the Gandhi clothes they made themselves.

My little Gandhis:

This week in science we studied amphibians.  I usually follow the four year plan's science quite closely, but she had fish, amphibians, and reptiles all in the same week!  no thank you.  I had to come up with my own experiment/activities.  I got a lot of ideas here. That is where I got this cute print out for a tadpole to turn into a frog.

And we dissected a frog.  This is our last dissection for awhile.  I got these dissection materials from Amazon, but you can get them directly from Nasco which is an amazing online store that I think I will visit (mostly for science) again.

Also, I learned how to dissect from watching these you tube videos.  I've learned so much and I think my crew of boys have as well.

And it was Maxwell's birthday!!! He's eight and very excited to be baptized soon.  How did time fly?

Observe that he insisted on wearing his Gandhi outfit to his party----love that boy :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One fish two fish and the movies

This week for science we learned about fish.  We dissected a fish, but what was really fun for the boys was to talk about the fishes' swim bladder.  We talked about how fish creat gas inside their bodies to help them go up and down in the water and then we created gas from a solid and liquid (baking soda and vinegar)  The boys were sad when it didn't pop the balloon.

For history we learned about the the invention of Movies!  We watched "Steam Boat Willy" and we've started reading "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"  very cute book!!! Also, we made our very own movie. Behold the future academy award winner's first stop animation art piece:

I had planned on teaching about the prohibition and making root beer, but it's VERY hard to get dry ice in Canada and we couldn't find any root beer extract in town for the yeast kind either.  It kind of took the wind out of my sails.

I live in a town an hour away from big stores like Walmart and Home Depot.  In fact, I get most of my school stuff through this loverly store called AMAZON.  All praise the all powerful Amazon!!!

(yes those are all our boxes--we had an Amazon Christmas as well this year) However, for some odd reason, you can't get dry ice from Amazon ;)

And last of all----I have a confession to make---I broke down and bought an online curriculum.  I've tried avoiding these, but, well, I just gave in.  Maxwell is still finding reading tricky, and I bought him the "Explode the Code" workbooks.  I was really impressed with the layout of the books, and I felt they were key in teaching phonics, but Maxwell was getting burnt out with them quite quickly.  I hardly ever let him play on the computer so I knew if I bought the online Explode the code, the "online" bit would be exciting enough that he would not get burnt out. And so :

Online it is.  And quite awesome.  It is a program that knows how fast to go according to Maxwell's personal achievement.  It lets me spy on him and see where he is at, and how he got there. I'm excited.  Here's the link.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Next semester's history

DONE!  They might look like silly activities, but it's taken a lot of brain Power and research to finally plan history for the rest of the year.  I feel much better about life knowing what I'm doing.  "Four Year Plan" didn't give me any ideas for subjects or activities this semester.  Oh well.  No curriculum is perfect I guess.


*movies------make a stop animation movie
*prohibition-------make root beer
*Gandhi---------get the salt out of salt water
*Gandhi----------make own clothes
*women's vote-------make picket signs
*great depression--------hobo signs
*new deal-------------make dam
*german currency--------act out inflation


*wwii--------gas masks
*hollocaust-------make star of david monument
*Einstein------dress up like him
*Einstein--------balls on trampoline to show bending of light
*war at home/women working----make star flags for windows
*atomic bomb-------army men
*zionist conference--------make israel flag


*penicillin-----------make fake antibiotics from sugar and gel capsules
*cold war-------evacuation backpack
*cuban missile Crisis-------play with submarines
*JFK--------------flower funeral wreath
*Plastic------------p 40 of How science works
*McDonald's-------go to McDonalds
*preservatives-------make a home made happy meal and compare
*Vaccines----------take them with me to Williams


*integration---------different colored paper hands with earth
*rosa Parks--------dove of peace with rainbow of fingerprints
*Martin Luther King-------dream cloud "I have a dream" with little clouds with plan of better world
*Vietnam---------ty dye shirts
*Space race---------make space ship toothpicks and marshmallows
*Space race----------astronaut helmet
*Chernobyl----------make 3 eyed fish etc out of clay
*women's movement-------make pendulum of women's struggles
*changes in agriculture-------make paper garden on wall and change it


*Mandela----------people chain of white and black intermingled
*berlin wall----------wall of boxes separating family in house
*Tian'anmen Square--------act out?
*gulf war-------------burn some oil (outside)
*computers---------make a computer out of boxes etc
*information age---info hunt= first going around house to finding info, then just by asking google mama. (time them)
*twin towers-----send up helium hope balloons
*pollution------mini pond pollutant and candle going out without oxygen
*green revolution----solar toy kit

Also, I am doing a bit of preschool at our co-op and all my ideas will probably come from my new favourite craft website.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Worms, WWI, and Christmas break

For science we continued to learn about invertebrates.  We dissected a crawfish, sang bug songs, and played with worms.  A Lot of worms.  One week for bugs and worms?!? well, it seems that every summer we have an impromptu bug unit, so my kids are not deprived.

For history we learned about Teddy Roosevelt.  We ate Teddy Grahams to celebrate.  We were going to make locks, but I petered out.  We did make locks at the Vancouver Science Centre when we went there, and that was sufficient in my book.

We also learned about WWI.  So sad.  Uggg war.  Two great books were "The best Christmas present in the World." by Morpurgo (which made me bawl.) and "A Poppy is to Remember." by Patterson.  It seemed like most WWI books were Christmas books as well, which was perfect timing.  We made poppies to remember:

War is so horrible.  We listened to the entire "Children of the Promise" series on our vacation.  It's about a LDS family during WWII.  So so sad.  Not too enthusiastic about teaching about war.

Anyways, it was Christmas as well, and we had fun going to the coast for TWO weddings in the same family!!! (glad I wasn't the mom!) What a beautiful experience to cherish.  Two temple weddings at the same time.  Two virtuous honourable young couples who have such a bright future before them.  Two HOMESCHOOL success stories.

And of course, it was Santa and the Wise Men time: