Friday, October 30, 2009

The Netherlands, Part 2

Let me first officially apologize for taking so long to post part 2. I'm finding it difficult to get everything done and still have time for blogging. I'm sure I'll find a routine that works though, so don't give up on me!

And now, back to the Netherlands, as promised!

In our Hero Tales books, we read about Menno Simons, the man who started the Mennonites - his story is very interesting and Z-Man found it more so since we have Mennonites living in our area and he has asked about them before. We also read about Corrie ten Boom and we both found her story fascinating and inspiring - especially when she and her sister thanked God for the fleas in the concentration camp because it meant they could read their bible without interference from the soldiers. Oh my! Her home is a museum now and you can look at it here.

We studied Van Gogh during our time in the Netherlands because he was born there and, well, France is already pretty full with the Impressionists. We enjoyed this book:

and spent some time just studying some of his paintings. We also attempted some Van Gogh projects. I'll tell you about the successful one first.

I went through some of my home magazines and pulled out full page pictures of rooms - preferably some with a little wall space. Then I called the boys in and, armed with these stickers:

I said, "this is a very pretty room, but I think it could really use a Van Gogh, don't you?" and I stuck one on the wall. It was very funny to me to see where they thought a Van Gogh would look nice (particularly Little Man) - there was one over a dog bed, one on some kitchen cabinets, one on a dust ruffle - but they had a good time!

On a different day, we attempted to imitate Van Gogh's Starry Night painting using oil pastels on black paper. For some reason, neither boy was into this. At all. sigh. Some days are just like that. But don't worry! I didn't let that keep me from doing my own! And at the end of the week, we did the project at our co-op and it went MUCH better.

Here are the masterpieces of Ellie, Emily and Marylyn (1st/2nd grade). Aren't they beautiful?!

Lastly, we watched some online videos of the Netherlands that we found on Jolanthe's wonderful blog, Homeschool Creations. She and her family are also studying the countries of the world but they are much further along in their journey, having started last year. There are SOOOO many great ideas - plan to spend some time if you head over there.

And now, off to Spain!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Netherlands, Part 1

What a fun week studying the Netherlands!

First off, did you know that, technically, it is incorrect to call this country Holland? True - Holland is actually just a small part of the Netherlands in the southwest. It sounds like the Dutch are pretty laid-back though and don't take too much issue with this common error.

So here's our week:

Our absolutely favorite book:

What a joyful story! A destitute little girl in post WWII Holland receives a series of gifts from a little girl in America and makes the decision to share with her whole town. Based on a true story - the American girl was actually the author's mother! So inspiring.

In relation the this book, we talked about generosity (2 Cor. 9:6-8) and thankfulness (1 Thes. 5:16-18), worked on fractions using a chocolate bar and learned how to write a friendly letter. Little Man learned the four seasons and we talked about sending our own boxes overseas via Operation Christmas Child. There is a wonderful unit on this book at Homeschool Share.

We also enjoyed Father, May I Come? by Peter Spier. It's a tale of two courageous sea rescues off the Dutch coast - 300 years apart. And this amazes me - since 1824, the Royal Netherlands Rescue Society has saved more than 30,000 lives! It is completely funded and manned by volunteers. My boys loved this book!

Of course we had to read the story of the heroic little boy who saved the town by plugging a hole in the dike with his finger. Ours was in Around the World in 80 Tales but there is also a version in The BOOK OF VIRTUES by William Bennett. We were amazed to find out how much of the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea. And there are plans underway to reclaim even more. We learned how the dikes are built and then the water is pumped out - initially by windmills. We had to make some:

Now, how cute are those? The plans are here. And can I just say that I LOVE crafts whose materials list is limited to "printer, paper, toilet paper roll?" Yeah - I can do that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Beautiful FREE Autumn unit study!

I just finished downloading this unit study from The Old Schoolhouse website and I haven't even finished looking at it yet - I just had to come here and tell people about it!! What a wonderful little unit study! There are links for lapbooking elements, links to online videos, a HUGE book list (you can read whatever you can find at your library) and all kinds of activities, work sheets, etc. It also looks like it will be very easy to include multiple ages - and you know that's big with me. WOW!!!!

Without further ado:

Friday, October 9, 2009

We want to go to Ireland!

We really, really do. In fact, we're planning our trip with the help of the lovely travel catalogues that I requested at Hey, it could happen. Opportunity favors the prepared, right?

Here is our travel poster showing our preferred destinations:

We even put a golf course on there for Mark! But we'll be skipping the seaweed baths. Yuck!

The travel literature was our favorite resource this week but we also loved:

We also read a great story about the Giant's Causeway in this book:

And we watched several segments of the Globe Trekker DVD on Ireland (those that were kid-appropriate). We found a great video of the finale of a Chieftans show (love youtube! well, most of the time) that had it all: solos on the celtic harp, fiddle, Irish whistle and bagpipes, a bodhran, a song in Gaelic and step dancers! Whew! The kids watched it multiple times and showed it to everyone who happened to drop in. It also inspired much leaping, kicking and fancy footwork. Grandma M. came over and told of her Grandpa, a rather large irishman who was the best dancer in the county. Only one woman could keep up with him when they had "dance downs." So there you go. It's in our genes.