Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Salamander Room

The first week of school! There were some bumps and snags, but it went pretty well overall. Although I don't think it will always be the case, this week Z-Man joined in on Little Man's Five in a Row studies. We started with a book Little Man requested, The Salamander Room. I so love this book about a boy who wants to transform his bedroom into a forest to accommodate a little salamander.

We learned about the food web and started coloring this poster. We'll leave it out on the desk and continue to work on it.

We read a great book on animal classification (taxonomy) What is the Animal Kingdom by Bobbie Kalman

and watched a very entertaining video from Moody Video called The Name Game:

Then we tried our hand at classifying LOTS of animals. Little Man loved this!
These animal cards were FREE printables at Homeschool Creations!

Little Man was inspired to create a Salamander Room in his bedroom. Z-Man came through with the necessary "moss" for the salamander's pillow by plucking the stuffing out of a couch cushion that I've been meaning to mend. 

We'll read one more book, One Rainy Night, about a boy and his mom collecting creatures for their nature center. 

And that will wrap up our first week! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Little Man's First Grade Curriculum

Can I just tell you right now how happy I am to be able to do Five in a Row with Little Man?

This year, for the first time, I took Z-Man with me to the homeschool convention. (He loved it!) When we visited one vendor that carried a lot of the FIAR titles, they were like old friends to him. We both have such wonderful memories of learning with those great books. I'm delighted to be able to make some of those memories with Little Man this year.

Five in a Row covers art, geography, social studies, science and even a little bit of math.

Life of Fred - do you ever remember laughing while reading a math book? These are genius.
Living Math books - there's a good list here.

We'll continue to use Explode the Code and our Bob Books.

Little Man has made tremendous progress learning to read, especially given that we just found out this summer that the vision in his right eye is 20/200. Basically, that means that he can see the huge E on the top of the eye chart. He's been wearing glasses all summer and may get an eye patch on the good eye in the middle of September, which will force the right eye to work. So it's hard to know what to expect, really. We'll just keep plugging away. Say a prayer for him if you would.

The following subjects will be done together with Z-Man:

We'll be going through the TruthQuest Beginnings guide, memorizing scripture and also working on character.

Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes
Artist studies, including Frederick Remington and Winslow Homer

Composer studies, including Haydn and Aaron Copeland
We'll attempt to learn to play the recorder. WAY out of my comfort zone here!

Z-Man is going through TruthQuest American History for Young Students III, which covers the Civil War to 2000. Little Man will snuggle on the couch for picture books, so I order plenty from the library. He usually wanders off for the chapter books and says, "tell me when there's a picture." Still, it's pretty amazing what he retained from last year and he'll be going over these time periods again later.

Most of Little Man's science will come from our FIAR books, but he will be welcome to participate in Z-Man's earth science and creation science also.

So there you have it! We're looking forward to getting started next week. I wish you all a wonderful school year!

Friday, August 17, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum for sixth grade!

Wow! I don't think I've ever taken such an extended blog break since I started this blog but, thankfully, it's just because we've been busy having a great summer! I hope all of you have enjoyed this beautiful summer as much as our family has.

I'll try to post some of our summer fun pictures soon, but today I want to talk about our plans for the upcoming school year, since I'm knee-deep in planning, as I'm sure many of you are.

Z-Man will be entering sixth grade. I know I talked last year about how much we love TruthQuest History. It's simple, uses living books and points out God's hand in history. Well, listen to this: about three weeks ago, Z-Man asked me if we could start our history reading early. Start a "school" subject early. Like, in the middle of summer. Just because he likes it! Isn't that the best thing you've ever heard?!

"Yes, Honey, if you're very, very good and do all your chores without complaining, I guess we can start history early." Oh my goodness.

So we've been reading pioneer stories and will be moving on to the Wild West soon with TruthQuest American History for Young Students III, which goes from the end of the Civil War to 2000.

We will also, in our Bible time, start TruthQuest Beginnings and go through that very slowly. If we don't finish this year, no big deal.

We'll continue to work on character using a lot of resources. That might have to be a separate post.

Creation or Evolution: A Home Study Curriculum. Very excited to start this!
The Earth: Its Structure and Its Changes. We did Forces and Motion last year and I really like this series. Very hands-on.

Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes

 Draw and Write Through History: The 20th Century
Artist Study - Frederick Remington, Winslow Homer, John James Audubon and several others.

Language Arts:
Rockets, Radar and Robotics: Technology-Based Writing Lessons from IEW. Somebody gets it at IEW, that's all I can say.
Take Five Minutes: A History Fact a Day for Editing. A cool fact every single day, written by some poor soul who can't spell, punctuate or capitalize. I do believe we can help them.

Map Skills. A very simple workbook that gets the job done.

Saxon. It works for Z-Man and we're sticking with it. There were no tears over math last year. Could just be his age but I'm not taking any chances.

Composer studies, starting with Haydn so we can listen to "Creation" while we're studying creation. I love it when things go together.
In what I'm hoping was NOT a super-collosal mistake, I bought all of us soprano recorders. We'll see how that goes. I can always put my hair over my ears to hide those little squishy earplugs.

Stay tuned for Little Man's First Grade curriculum choices very soon!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our Kindergarten Graduate!

Congratulations, Little Man! We are so proud of you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Louis Comfort Tiffany

It's taken me a little longer than I anticipated to get back to that post about the Tiffany stained glass that I promised you. Sorry about that! Life got a little busy. 

But without further ado, here are our pictures of the Willard Memorial Chapel in Auburn, NY. It is the only existing chapel in the world that was completely decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany. 
He designed not only the stained glass windows, but the tile mosaic floors, the pulpit, the gold leaf stenciled ceiling and even the pews. It is stunning! Two sisters originally commissioned it in 1892 to honor their deceased father.
The chapel is now open to the public and is used for concerts and weddings as well. It was sold to a NYC antiques dealer in the 1980's and he planned to sell off all the stained glass and then turn it into a nightclub! Thankfully, a group of citizens joined together to raise enough money to buy it from him. Whew!

This is the glass tile mosaic side panel of the 
gilt bronze relief in the picture just above it.

The enormous pipe organ

Our tour guide said, "how would you boys like to see what's underneath this pipe organ?" 

She even let them preach!

This is a close-up of the front of the pulpit.

And when it was time to go, our guide let the boys find the secret panel where the light switches are hidden and turn off the lights. 

We all agreed that it was definitely worth the trip!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Underground Railroad

We had a great week studying the Underground Railroad. Among the books we read were:

Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman
Follow the Drinking Gourd (with great FIAR lessons!)
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
The Drinking Gourd

That last one isn't the kind of book I would normally choose to read to my kids. In it, the child lies and his father, a deacon in the church(!) tells him that he's done a good job. I decided to go ahead and read it to see if they could spot "the end justifies the means" thinking and I was thankful that they could and that we could discuss it, since that thinking is so prevalent in our society today.

We listened to Follow the Drinking Gourd performed and explained.
We also listened to some great negro spirituals:
Go Down Moses, sung by Louis Armstrong, and
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, belted out by Etta James

And, of course, we looked up at the night sky to find the Big Dipper (the drinking gourd) and the North Star!

At the end of our week, we made the trek to Auburn, NY. It was well worth the drive! 

We visited the Harriet Tubman home and visitor center and received a great personal tour. Our tour guide was wonderfully knowledgeable and so passionate about her subject. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

We were also able to visit the Seward House, which was fascinating. Oh my. This family saved everything. I can't begin to tell you. They even saved the blood-stained, knife-slashed sheet from the assassination attempt on William Seward on the same night that Abraham Lincoln was shot. I SO wish I had been allowed to take pictures inside. The library was amazing! And the paintings! I'm so glad we went.

We crammed a lot into our day in Auburn but this post is getting quite long so I will wait to tell you about the Chapel completely decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany but, rest assured, it was stunning!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baseball Day

We all spent a wonderful day at the Baseball Hall of Fame last week. Highlights included:
  • a video conference with the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory. Did you know major league players have their own personal specifications for their bats? One player could even tell that the grips of his new bats weren't right - although it turned out they were 5 one thousandths of an inch off.
  • Science on the Sandlot - We learned why there's a sweet spot on a bat, how energy is transferred from the bat to the ball and how the ball actually squashes when it hits a wooden bat but not an aluminum bat.
  • Baseball Art - especially the Norman Rockwells!
  • A very old film of Babe Ruth "calling the shot."
  • Old footage of Abbot and Costello performing "Who's on First?"

And these two have been playing baseball in the side yard ever since. Bring on the season!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, Friends!

I thought I'd share some of our Easter projects with you tonight. We've been doing a Grapevine Bible study on The Last Supper and found this adorable craft to go with it:

The bowls hold some of the results of a wonderful tradition of getting together with our friends to color eggs every year. We've been doing it since our oldest God-daughter, Sarah, was 4 or 5 years old. This year, her new husband joined us!

And yes, we do blow out the eggs so that we can save them. A drill and a bicycle pump make that job a little easier!

Of course, we had to look at Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper. This link will take you to a page where you can view it pre- and post-restoration. And here is a short video that discusses the painting.

Since we studied the artist Benjamin West last year, we took a look at his version of the Last Supper as well. It's very different, but you can see that he was influenced by DaVinci's painting.

This evening after dinner, we made these little empty tombs for tomorrow. The directions can be found here. They were so simple but the boys absolutely loved making them! Tomorrow, they will all have little "He is Risen!" banners. Before bed, we read a book that we just discovered and absolutely LOVE about a rooster that witnesses the crucifixion but rejoices in new life 3 days later.

Have a blessed Easter!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's Super Science Day

Today, right after basketball, we participated in a science program at a (somewhat) local university. It was supposed to be for the kids, but the whole family had a great time.

We built Lego Mindstorms robots.

And programmed them.

We built skyscrapers with spaghetti and marshmallows.

Parents got to play too!

We learned about monomers and polymers and made our own silly putty.

Mmmmm... that's some tasty DNA!

And, after a fascinating demonstration of liquid nitrogen which included shattering a frozen raquette ball (when you have boys, smashing stuff gets extra points,) we made our own liquid nitrogen ice cream!

Yeah, Lovin' that science!

It was a wonderful day... and we even managed to learn a few things. It doesn't get much better than that.