Friday, May 29

Less is More (Joss Stone)

It's absolutely necessary that our children learn about their bodies...not just from a 'common core' standpoint, but for life.  Our body are machines, and we need to know how they work.  But ugh - the textbook we began using was just so so was time to delve into some hands-on work...

The Basics : Cells
·                     Cake Cell - edible model
·                     Lapbook - Cells
·                     Games & Interactive Fun

The Basics : Anatomical Overview
·                     Human Body lapbook (pre-K)
·                     Human body lapbook (older kids)
·                     Owner's Guide to the Human Machine (curriculum - older kids)
·                     Body Bingo (grades 2-8)
·                     Inside the Human Body

Respiratory System
·                     Notebooking pages
·                     A Tour of Your Respiratory System
·                     Boss of the Plains & lapbook
·                     The Bobbin Girl & lapbook

Cardiovascular System
·                     Circulatory Game
·                     Notebooking pages
·                     Circulatory lapbook
·                     How Does My Heart Work?
·                     Magic School Bus Has a Heart

Skeletal System
·                     Skeletal lapbook
·                     Teeth lapbook
·                     Reading Comprehension & Activity
·                     X-Ray Play-do
·                     Edible Bone Model
·                     The Skeleton Inside You

Nervous System
·                     How Do You Think?
·                     How the Brain Works

Hands-On Fun!
·                     The Body Book
·                     Young Scientist's Activity Kit
·                     Skeletons In the Closet game
·                     Anatomy Coloring Book
·                     3-D Models (we LOVE these!)
·                     Schoolhouse Rock - Science Rock
·                     Bill Nye the Science Guy : Circulation
·                     Bill Nye : Brain
·                     Bill Nye : Bones & Muscles

Thursday, May 28

I Could Write a Book (Margaret Whiting)

Summer brain drain....we school year-round, so my kids don't have as much opportunity to experience this phenomenon.  (Yet, every time the math books come out, they experience temporary amnesia...)

Some of the reading programs that are local to our home area :
  • Half-Price Books Feed Your Brain reading program
    • They can earn $5 to spend on anything in the store once each during June and July.
  • Barnes & Noble Imagination Destination reading program
    • Completed reading logs may be exchanged for a free book.
  • Pizza Hut Book-It summer reading program
    • Complete the book form to win prizes.
  • Chuck-E-Cheese Rewards program
    • Completed reward charts may be exchanged for free tokens.
  • Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
    • Log reading minutes to enter sweepstakes.
  • your local library's summer program
    • varies by library system
    • online reading program with printable prizes
  • Exodus Books Reading Challenge
    • earn gift cards to Exodus Books

Some of the kids' favorite books come from :

Mom's Summer Challenges :

Friday, May 15

Homeschool Legacy Review

Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week unit studies, written by Sharon Gibson, can be adjusted for multiple level teaching, and allow for the whole family--including Mom and Dad---to participate.  Another added benefit is that several of these activities count toward Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls patches.  This is a huge time saver for anyone who has children trying to earn their merit badges!  We recently had the opportunity to review Revolutionary Ideas : The Story of the American Revolution....and it was a lot of fun! 
Each of the unit studies is cross-curricular, and includes the following topics.
  • ·         Bible ~ A weekly family devotional that relates to the topic being explored that week. As an example, the Bible section for Week Two talks about the Great Awakening and its impact on the Founding Fathers.
  • ·         Literature ~  A list of read-alouds and quiet reads is included with the unit, along with reading levels and Dewey Decimal numbers.  This makes it easy to quickly check out books, but we also used it for a mini-lesson on how to use the library.
  • ·         Writing, History, & Research ~ These are often grouped together so that historical research turns into a writing assignment.
  • ·         Science ~ Since this was a history unit study, there was less science incorporated. I'm sure that the nature studies have more science included.
  • ·         Geography ~ There is map work based on the colonies and the wars.
  • ·         Arts & Crafts ~ Hands-on activities are our favorite part of any unit.  This one includes handmade games, and we added some of our own projects.
  • ·         Art Appreciation ~ Not our favorite part, but still an important part of any historical unit.
  • ·         Music Appreciation ~ Great background on some of our well-known songs, as well as lesser-known tunes.
To give you a peek inside the Revolutionary Ideas Unit Study, here is a breakdown of each week’s theme :
  • ·         Significant Pre-Revolution World Events --the reading deals with The French & Indian War, but the research goes all the way back to the Magna Charta, Age of Exploration, The Great Awakening and more.
  • ·         The Life & Times of Colonial Americans and Their Taxing King! --Can you study the Revolution without hearing "taxation without representation"? 
  • ·         The Firebrands --Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine. One of the book choices is Johnny Tremain, but that's a lot to read in a week so we watched the Disney film instead.
  • ·         Early Battles and the "Shot heard 'round the world" -- Do most Americans even know "Don't fire ‘til you see the whites of their eyes" occurred before the Declaration of Independence was signed, or that Paul Revere shouted the "regulars" not the "British" were coming?
  • ·         America Declared Her Independence – A great study of the Declaration; older students are encouraged to compare the document to the Magna Charta and the English Declaration of Rights.  Younger students are invited to rewrite portions (like "We hold these truths to be self-evident" in their own terms.
  • ·         The Turning Point --The family devotional refers to the victory at Saratoga as the turning point, but the family read-aloud is about Valley Forge.
  • ·         March to Victory! -- There are still a few biographies--Molly Pitcher, Nathanial Greene, and Francis Marion, then we move on to Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris.  Activities are to prepare for a Revolutionary Party to wrap up the study.

Our Experience 
We love unit studies, as evidenced by the fact that I keep pulling together my own on a regular basis for the kids, so we were stoked to get to try out someone else’s unit study!  Also, the Revolutionary War is a favorite topic of the boys, and they were excited to have a reason to go over it again.  As part of our studies, we revisited many of the trips we made during our 2014 road-schooling adventures.  After all, the only thing that can enhance a unit study even more is actually living (or re-living) the history itself!
I thought that was a lot to get done in one day--and to be honest, it is.  Even the scheduling suggestions included in the PDF file show personal reading and family read-aloud every day and a second day for watching the family movie/playing games and taking a unit study related field trip.  The units are designed to be used in “Fun Friday” style, but that’s not our style, so we just stopped everything that we were doing and did all eight weeks over the course of two and a half weeks.  Hey – they’re unit studies, flexibility is what it’s about!

Some of the hands-on activities that we enjoyed doing included quoits (like ring toss), hoop rolling, water glass orchestra, and being a revolutionary orator.  We also spent many days dressed up in our Revolutionary War costumes!

Doing this unit gave us a fantastic opportunity to revisit and review many of our trips from last year, including :

I have been so pleased with this that I am planning on ordering a couple more unit studies to enhance our study of the Native Americans, We the People Getting to know the Constitution, and the Journey of Lewis and Clark.  They are all reasonably priced at a range of 15.95 to 19.95. 

Titles available so far (and their merit badge) include :
  • Birds of a Feather – AHG Our Feathered Friends/BSA Bird Study badges 
  • Horsing Around – AHG/BSA Horsemanship badges
  • Forest for the Trees – BSA Forestry merit badge
  • Weather on the Move – AHG Young Meteorologist/BSA Weather badges
  • Knights and Nobles – BSA Art merit badge 
  • Christmas Comes to America – AHG Music Appreciation/BSA Music badges 
  • Native America – AHG Native America/BSA Indian Lore badges
  • Early Settlers – AHG Book Adventurer/BSA Reading badges
  • Revolutionary Ideas: the Story of the American Revolution – AHG Dawn of Our Country/ BSA American Heritage badges
  • We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution – AHG Citizenship and Government and Our Flag badges/BSA Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge 
  • Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea ­­ – AHG Nature and Wildlife/BSA Nature badges
  • Westward Ho I & II – AHG Our Heritage/BSA Journalism badges 

Pros :
  • Counts for Boy Scouts!!  For some suggestions from the publisher for scheduling your Once-A-Week Unit Study, visit the Scheduling Tips page.  Information about how to use these studies to earn merit badges, check out the pages for Boy Scouts and for American Heritage Girls.
  • Cross-curricular and flexible.  You could take a week or two off of regular school for fun learning.

Cons :
  • A lot of work to do in just one day.
Homeschool Legacy Review
See what others are saying about Homeschool Legacy over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Crew Disclaimer 

Thursday, May 14

The Race Is On (Sawyer Brown)

The weather has just been gorgeous lately, and we've taken advantage of that to get outside and get moving!  It's also time to clean up a bit outside, so we thought we'd pull double-duty this week.  We pulled together a bunch of odds & ends around the property and created an obstacle course.....Homeschool Ninja Warrior Style!
 When the timer started, they had to climb up the old pool ladder, and back down the other side.  Then, they ran up an old log that we propped up between two trees.
They used a rope swing to get down, and then proceeded to slalom back and forth across another log.  It turned into a balance beam for the second pass as we tested their speed and agility!
After the log, they headed toward the rope bridge, where we made them hang upside down and pull themselves from one tree to another!
As if their arms weren't tired enough, we made them pick up this old truck tire and haul it across the  yard before hopping across a few pieces of leftover firewood!
From there, they had to climb through the naked bush and then climb up some of our old pallets, into and through another tree, and down those pallets. 
 After that, it was time to hurdle the firewood station...then jump across the hot lava, landing only on the safe cinder blocks!
 From there, they had to carefully walk the snake of bricks - falling off would mean starting over!  Then, they raced back to the pool ladder, up and down again, and jumped onto the log! 
 We had five participants, ranging in age from 4 to 11...and it just didn't seem fair to make them compete against each other.  Plus, the adults were enjoying some down time, and thought maybe the boys would sleep well!!  

Sooooooooo.  We had them run it twice, so that they were competing against themselves.  The person with the greatest improvement would be the winner.  Or so you'd think.  But we forgot to write down the times!  Oh...who cares!?  It's all about a fun afternoon with friends and family, right?

Your Experiences?

 Have you ever created an obstacle course like this one?  Share it with us!  We're always in the market for new, frugal ways to keep this passel of boys entertained!!

After the Races

After the race, the boys spent the afternoon doing what boys do best....wandering around through the flooded creeks, climbing on toppled limbs, and just enjoying the great outdoors!

Tuesday, May 5

Travelling without Moving (Jamiroquai)

The Renaissance is such an exciting time to encompasses several centuries of scientific, artistic, and cultural growth.  It can be overwhelming, but we have created a three-part unit study for the elementary and early middle school child.  We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

Make sure to check out the Scientific Discoveries part of our Renaissance unit.

History & Literature : Renaissance Europe

Geography :  Continental Europe  (all movies free with Prime)


History :  Renaissance Royalty

Queen Elizabeth I

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Mary, Queen of Scots

Marie Antoinette