Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ancient History Really Can Be Fun

I've not posted for a couple weeks and wanted to share a few of the things we have been doing. I need to also share that when I discovered that we would be studying ancient history this year, I had a bad attitude. I really didn't have an interest in ancient history. I LOVE history - American History. Who wants to know about the Egyptians and Greeks anyway? I sure didn't. I spent a bit of the summer in prayer. Prayer that my attitude would change and I would have some sort of excitement for what I was going to be sharing with the girls. Can I say that I am really enjoying history this year!

We just entered the world of Ancient Egypt. We talked about ancient writing - cuneiform. One day we made cuneiform sugar cookies. Here Sissy is writing on her "tablet".

We have been learning about how important the Nile River is to the people of Egypt. Here the kids are making a page to go into their history notebook. We are using some History Pocket pages from a History Pocket book we have. They created the river and then added information the banks of the river.
Yesterday we discussed Upper and Lower Egypt (I didn't know they were ever separate!), King Menes, the different crowns that the kings wore and how he was the one to unite the two Egypts to one. Here Sissy is as King Menes and his white crown.
The other two girls made red crowns to symbolize the King of Lower Egypt (the things on the front are cobras that Sweet Baby made).
Here is Sissy after they dramatized King Menes overthrowing Lower Egypt...see how the "King" combined the crowns to demonstrate unity?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, a Busy Day Full of Fun

We had a busy day yesterday with school, but the kids enjoyed it. The girls did their first timeline piece (Adam and Eve) and we did a couple of science activities.
We spent last week learning about cells and what makes up a cell. We had a fun activity to do that the kids really enjoyed. We created our own cells using jello for the cytoplasm and various candies for the organelles. Today was the day that we built our cells!

The funny thing is, after the cells were done, the girls could have eaten them. They were all excited about doing that - but after a couple bites, they decided that it was gross tasting and didn't want to eat them. I'm certain it was because they enjoyed "just a bit" of the candy before the cells were finished and had already had to much sugar!

This week we are learning about the skeletal system and we discussed the fact that bones have many different functions, including protecting organs. The kids really enjoyed the activity today which had us put an egg into a container, close the lid and jump around with it. What happened? Well, it broke all over! Then we put a new egg in the container, filled it with water and did the same thing. The egg was protected from the liquid - just as God provides us with liquid between our brain and skull to protect it.
Finally, I just wanted to share a sweet picture of Sweet Baby. She continues to amaze me how well she is doing with reading. We are not using My Father's World 1st grade this year, we are just having her sit in on all of the history and science with the big girls. But a friend has the MFW 1st grader reader so we are borrowing that for her own Bible Reading Time. Here she is all cuddled up on the floor reading to me about Adam and Eve. I love these moments.

Our Sabbath Dinner

For history this year we are studying the Old Testament and many of the traditional Jewish feasts. I am really excited to learn about the history of our people along with my girls. Our first feast was the Sabbath feast. Our family takes part in our own sabbath of sorts each Sunday but it isn't really as meaningful as the sabbath that we SHOULD be doing each week. We title Sundays "Family Day" and we devote that time to family. We don't have neighbor kids over to play, we don't do work (mom doesn't even cook - we eat cereal!) I decided to bake the Challah bread, Sissy learned how to cross stitch and made a Challah cover, we had candles on the table (we used candle sticks that I have never taken out of the box and they have been in my house for about 3 years!).

Now, in all honesty, I cheated on the bread. I used the bread maker to whip up some bread dough and then after it went through its cycle we kneaded it a bit and then I braided it up. I know I should have done it all by hand, but I just didn't have the time. Here Sissy is kneading the bread and she told me she was praying the entire time she was kneading.

And Peanut was really enjoying herself!

Isn't this the yummiest looking loaf of bread? It was so good and can you believe we ate the entire thing! That was alot of bread!

Here is a shot of our Sabbath table. Notice the Challah cover - Sissy cross stitched the word "Sabbath" on it. Also, I'm sure you'll notice the orange juice on the table. After doing all my running around on Friday and gathering things I needed, I forgot the grape juice - so we substituted!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Timeline

I wanted to share how our family is doing our timeline for this year. I wanted each of the girls to be able to do their own timeline so they could color their own pieces and place them themselves and then I wanted one to be permanent on our school room wall. So, the kids will be doing their own timeline which I made by using simple white cardstock and scotch taping the sheets together horizontally. It folds up accordion style so it stores nicely in the pocket on their history notebook.

For our permanent timeline I opted for a section on our wall that measures about 5 feet by 4 feet. I used push pins and then strung fishing line between the push pins to create the "line". My Father's World has timeline pieces in the curriculum that are able to be colored by the student. For our permanent timeline I colored the pieces, cut them out and then laminated each one. Using mini clothespins (you can get them at any craft store) we will be hanging the timeline piece on the line so they can easily be moved around if we need to. The girls all seem to like the idea of doing our timeline in this way. No fighting about who is going to color the next piece and hang it up - this way, everyone does their own AND we have a big one that is always hanging up.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 1

Week one of our year has been completed. We had alot of fun with our new science program. We are using Apologia Anatomy and Physiology. This week we spent time discussing the history of anatomy and philosophers like Aristotle, Galen, and early European professors who discovered things like using lenses to explore the world of anatomy up close. This is our first year using Apologia. The Apologia science curriculum is one that is loved by many homeschool families each year, but this is the first year we have chosen to use it. The textbooks look very much like college level texts. Lots of writing and beautiful color pictures. However, these things are things that kept me from using it the previous 2 years. I felt there was no way an elementary age child could understand it. However, I decided to give it a try. I knew I wanted to spend this year doing anatomy and I was able to get a look at the new book at a conference this spring. So, far, I'm glad I've made the switch.

I read a section to the girls and usually there is a "Try This" section that gives them a little hands on experience with the information we just discussed. Here the girls are looking at a Try This. We discussed how lenses help magnify things. The word "Jesus" was printed very small, using a piece of plastic we put a couple drops of water on the plastic and the girls were able to see how the word was magnified when the light rays are bent.

Apologia works on a Charlotte Mason principle that says you should read, discuss and observe and then have your children "narrate" or write back what they have learned to help the learning process. Sissy struggles so much with writing. We will be doing narration with our history as well and I was a bit afraid of how daunting this year would be for her if she had to do writing for English, history AND science. A friend who is also using the same science this year happened to find wonderful mini books by Live and Learn Press, that go along with each lesson in our science program. She will still be writing, but much smaller chunks. The books are similar to what you would put in a lapbook.

For history we completed talking about the different days of creation. I promised to show you what the girls were making for each day when they were finished. Here is a sample of different days from each of the girls. Sissy chose to draw the things God created on each day, while the other girls decorated their numbers.

Here is what they placed on their numbers:

Day 1 - Half of the number is black (dark) and half is yellow (light)

Day 2 - Cotton balls for clouds and blue glitter to make waves for the sea

Day 3 - Flower eyelets from my scrapbooking stash, cardstock to make trees, grass

Day 4 - Colored Foil stars, cardstock to cut out a moon and sun

Day 5 - Stickers I found at the dollar store of birds and fish (you could use stamps as well)

Day 6 - Animal stickers and drawing of people

Day 7 - Simply said "Rest"

This coming week we will only be doing science, English and math. We have family coming in from out of state for labor day and we aren't sure how much time we will be spending with them, so I didn't schedule all of our work.

If you start school this coming week, good luck!