Friday, March 25, 2011

Good Reads

We do quite a bit of reading in our homeschool. We read books all together in the morning - FIAR, science, history, biographies, books on whatever we happen to be studying. Then, in the afternoon, while Little Man takes a short quiet time, Z-Man and I read more advanced books (or "books without pictures" according to LM) from our TruthQuest History guide. Z-Man usually has something he's reading on his own as well.

In my planning notebook, I keep a list of all the books we read throughout the year. Recently, I came across, a more high-tech version that I can keep online, complete with pictures of each book. There are many other features that we haven't used yet, such as to-be-read lists and even an option to email interested friends and family each time you finish a book.

Z-Man has his own account, but I sign in and enter the books for him because they advertise books on the main page and also show what others are reading. There have been a couple of times that there were some inappropriate images there. Once you get into your own list, though, there are no ads or other images and he can scroll through all the pictures of the books he's read, rate them with one to five stars and even write a review. I think he was kind of surprised to see how much we've covered this year.

Now if I could just get to my own reading...

Summer, maybe?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Little Man is the octopus

Little Man is The Octopus. Remember Paul the oracle octopus that accurately predicted the World Cup soccer games last summer? Here is Little Man filling out his NCAA basketball tournament bracket.

The octopus worked very diligently on this for about half an hour. Since the lines were a little too small for him to write the whole team name, he wrote the first two letters of his picks. As of 8:45 Saturday evening, the octopus has picked completely accurately for three out of the four regions. The rest of us have not been so successful. I suppose more than one psychic invertebrate mollusk per family is too much to hope for.

In case you're wondering, our five year old says Duke is going all the way.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Simple Machines

As part of our Iditarod-inspired arctic study, we read the FIAR book Very Last First Time, about an Inuit girl who is finally old enough to gather mussels under the sea ice at low tide - all by herself. Little Man was nervous when she wandered too far and the tide started coming in, but it turned out alright.

There are so many great lessons in this book:
  • crisis thinking and what to do in an emergency
  • tides
  • Inuit culture
  • maturity and having to wait for things
  • handling fear
  • inuksuks
  • and simple machines.
At the end of our time with this book, we did a mini-unit on simple machines. We used the book, Experiments with Simple Machines, which had some fun and very simple activities using mostly things we had around the house.

We also watched a Bill Nye video on simple machines and found an online game here.

And finally did some experimenting with Little Man's gear set.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sub

Mark stood in as substitute teacher yesterday and today while I battled the stomach flu.

He and the boys read about the liberty bell, King Solomon's temple and did a Mark Kistler art lesson. They also learned all about March Madness and filled out their brackets for the NCAA tournament. Right now, they're getting a propane tank so we can start boiling our sap to make maple syrup. (We have two trees.)

He's such a fun sub that I'm worried they'll be disappointed that I'm feeling better!

But I am very, very grateful.