Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 1 of Homeschooling

Instead of beginning with Egypt, we decided to start at the very, very beginning.

We started with creation. The book that we read was really quite pretty with great illustrations. And on one of the pages (the day God created the animals) there was a great picture of a frog! So I thought it would be great to tie in our own awesome frogs, the creek filled with frogs, and lots of fun games derived from there....

Then, we read the story of Adam and Eve (also a retelling in the same book) and in Usborne's 50 things to make and do, I found a fun (and easy, and cheap) idea to make a Shadow Puppet to re-tell the story we read.

Here's K telling the story (the shadow puppet is a snake.... kind of...)

So if you know your book of Genesis, we are now at Noah's Ark.

We spent two days on this story, because my kids had so, so, so many questions on this (where did the animal poo go? was my favorite) We re-enacted the story. D was Noah (of course) and C was one of his sons, K was a wife, and I was God. Sweeeeeet! It was really quite amusing. Don't worry I have it on video.

Every day, we have to incorporate some type of "experiment" because D LOVES experiments.

This was our experiment of the day, also from the Usborne book. You take paper, fold it up and cut it like a flower. Then cut out a little animal to place inside of the flower. When you put it in water, the paper absorbs the water and expands, and like magic, the petals open up to reveal your little animal inside. My kids were **AMAZED***  D chose this one out of our book because he thought it went well with the story of Noah's Ark.

We also had fun creating a lego city in the bathtub and flooding it. Don't worry, Noah and his family survived in our popcorn bowl... er, Ark.

This picture is actually pretty adorable. After the flood waters receded, D actually took Noah out of the Ark and made an altar, and sacrificed ("Mom, what smells better to God, a sheep or a goat on the altar?") a sheep to God to thank Him.

And since my children LOVE experiments, we also did a water/oil experiment that is a little different than the normal one. We first added food coloring to plain water and made observations. Then we added food coloring to oil and made observations. THEN, we took syringes and added the food coloring + oil mixed together, into the clear water. What happens is that the oil protects the food coloring for several minutes and then you see little "fireworks" of bursting color happen.

"Look mom! It's diffusing!" (that is a direct quote from my 3 year old)

D's drawing in his journal

K's science journal
There were other fun activities that we did this week too, and I can't say enough good things about the math curriculum we are using (Math U See)  But for now, I'll sign out.  After all, I am supposed to be cleaning today!! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Semester Plans

I am SO excited to be getting ready for our first homeschooling year. It literally gets my heart beating faster when planning it out. D asked me this week "When do we get to begin our unit on Ancient Egypt because I really want to make K's Barbie into a mummy!"

This year, I am doing a hodgepodge of things, pulling together from lots of different sources, and since it's kindergarten, there is a lot of room for my own planning based on D's interests.

I really need to come up with more clever names for my children on here... that will come in the next blog :-)

This year we are using Math U See for math, which is a very visual, hands on program. I know that my kindergartener is quite ahead in this area, so it's likely that we'll move along at pretty quick pace.

We are also beginning formal "reading" lessons with a book recommended by lots of friends, 100 lessons to teach your child to read. D already knows all of his letter sounds and understands putting them together to read basic words, so this will mostly be practicing and learning a lot of the weird English rules.

We are only planning on spending 40 minutes a day, tops, on those two areas. This was SHOCKING to my husband, and a lot of other non-homeschooling families that feel like the longer the formal learning, the more that is learned. I don't personally subscribe to this, and my philosophy at this age is more "as long as he is engaged and learning, we'll learn in a formal setting", otherwise I will adapt.

We'll also have quiet reading times, and some writing thrown in there. A co-op where I am teaching a science class ("science class"= 24 experiments with creepy creatures like bugs and worms") and a kindermusik class.

But, the part I am EXCITED about, and the part HE is most excited about, is the history curriculum I've pieced together. I've taken a cue from what he loves, and what I love, and found lots of resources on various websites and blogs.

We are going to spend a few weeks studying Ancient Egypt (3000BC), then Ancient Rome (300BC-ish), the Middle Ages (1000 AD), Native Americans (1400), and then Early US History with units on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, and WWII (can you tell that D is very interested in war?!)

We'll have a huge, wall size timeline going through our learning room that we will mark time periods along, as well as pictures of people or places we study to remind us of the adventures we have went on throughout history.

We also plan on printing off a huge world map to hang on the wall. I currently have a large 18"x18" map of America on our wall, and found a great free website to print these. Then, we can also mark places we have studied.

I found an amazing website. Counterculturalschool.com, that I have gained tremendous hands on activities from. LOVE this website.

In addition to all of these awesome things that I am excited about, I also made a list of the books that I want to read with D for our Ancient Egypt unit. AND I found them *ALL* for free in our MN link library system. SCORE!

ccs public domain Han_Tomb_Mural,_Horses_and_Carts

So for those homeschooling moms who want more details, I will add them in here :-)
Book List:
Egypt, Stephen Krensky
Usborne Ancient Egypt
Mummies in the Morning (Tree House)
Ms Frizzles Adventures: Ancient Egypt
Hieroglyphs, Joyce Milton
Mummies Made in Egypt
DK Eyewitness Books- Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt- A First Look at People of the Nile
I also found a Reading Rainbow video of traveling to Egypt and visiting King Tut's tomb.

Cookie dough map of Ancient Egypt
Traditional Egyptian Feast
Costumes made with old pillowcases and sheets
Doll Mummies
Sugar Cube Pyramids
Tomb Paintings on large moving box
Hieroglyphics treasure hunt

I will obviously update this with pictures and reviews of how these go over!

What is your family doing this year that you are most excited about???