Saturday, October 30, 2010

Show & Tell: Adventures Week 12

This week we wrapped up Week 12 of Adventures in My Father's World.  We took a little bit of a break from history to begin our state studies . . . although technically I guess it's still history because we're studying them in the order they were added to the union.  At any rate, since we're at the beginning of our nation's history and our nation started with 13 colonies, we have 13 states we need to take a look at before we move on.  This week, we looked at the first four states:  Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia.

Each day, Hannah filled out a sheet for the state we looked at that day and colored it on a U.S. map.  On her state sheet, she marked the capital on a map of the state, added a sticker of the state's flag, wrote the state's postal abbreviation, and looked at a sample of the state bird and state flower to accurately color in a drawing of it.

Here are the four state sheets Hannah completed this week.  (I just realized that, unless she used invisible ink, she never labeled the capital of Georgia!  Oops!)
Not every state has an activity to go with it, but many of them do.  This week, we had activities for Pennsylvania and Georgia.

When we studied Pennsylvania, we made a much smaller version of the Liberty Bell.

The girls used a Sharpie to draw the famous crack, and we printed out a label with the Liberty Bell verse ("Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof") and added that, as well.
We're studying Tchaikovsky this year, and for the past couple of weeks, we've been getting acquainted with The Nutcracker.  This week we listened to Chocolate, Tea, Trepak, and Toy Flutes.  This was kind of neat because we did it on the same day we studied Pennsylvania, which is the home of the Hershey Company.  If you know me at all, you know it doesn't take much for me to include food in our projects, and studying the home of Hershey while listening to Tchaikovsky's Chocolate . . . well, that was just an open invitation!  Fortunately, I had a little self-control and we limited it to a cup of hot chocolate.  ;)

On Thursday, we studied Georgia.  I was surprised that Georgia was the fourth state added to the union.  I guess I thought that since Delaware was the first to approve the U.S. Constitution, it would have just radiated out from there and finally made its way down to Georgia.  Shows you what happens when I think!  ;)
Here's Hannah completing her state sheet for Georgia.  She's coloring the state flower while she looks at a sample of it.

And here she is coloring Georgia on her United States map.
Everyone knows that Georgia is famous for its peaches, but we learned that there are actually three P's that it's known for:  peaches, pecans, and peanuts.  We stuck with the most famous and made peach cobbler Thursday night.

Hannah's BFF Rachel spent the night, so we had three little girls who had never tasted peach cobbler before.  We just knew they were in for a treat!  Turns out not one of them liked it!  Apparently the part of the brain that lets you know cobbler is delicious is the part that doesn't develop until you're 21.  ;)
Because history/social studies/state studies/whatever you want to call it was so light this week and because we didn't have an assigned read-aloud for the week, Hannah and I were able to make time to read The Sign of the Beaver together.  (If you've never read it before and don't want me to give away the end of the story, skip the rest of this paragraph and the next one, and I'll meet you at the paragraph about Millie.)  We both loved this book up until the last chapter; then only I was a fan.  Hannah was okay when Matt decided not to go with Attean and Saknis, but I think the reason she was okay was because she thought they would be reunited somehow.  When the book ended and she realized they were never going to see each other again, she was devastated!  Like laying in her bed crying at bedtime kind of devastated.  I asked her how she would have ended it if she were the author, and she said she would have made it where Matt's family was lost in the wilderness, and Attean would have found them as he left for the great hunt and brought them to the cabin, and they all would have lived there together. 

I tried to comfort her by pointing out that since God created people with the ability to make memories, Matt could always remember his time with Attean, and Attean could always remember his time with Matt.  Then she became really inconsolable and let me know that that would make it even worse because then they'd know that they were missing each other.  The only way I was able to get her to calm down was to tell her that I had rented a movie based on the book, and sometimes the movie ends differently than the book.  So we'll watch the movie at some point over the next couple of days and compare the two.  There's a chance that we could be in the same boat we were in last night, but I'm holding on to hope that either (a) the movie ends with a happily-ever-after feel, or (b) one of you wise women will leave me a comment letting me know the perfect way to handle this situation!  (Please?  Pretty-please?  With sugar on top?) 

This is the movie I rented that's based on The Sign of the Beaver.
In Pre-K news, I continue to be pleasantly surprised with Millie's progress.  She's getting the hang of blending her sounds to read CVC words, and she's even begun to spell a few!  The biggest problem I have with her is that she wants to do everything with her eyes closed because she thinks it's more impressive if she can do it without looking.  The problem is, you kinda have to look if you're gonna read and write.

Here she is working on her spelling sheet for the week.  I say a simple CVC word, and she decides which short vowel she hears in it.  Then she adds the first and last letters of the word, and finally she rewrites it using the handwriting guides next to it.

Here's her finished product for the day.  She's up to spelling three words at a time when we do this.
This is one time she's actually supposed to have her eyes closed!  The idea is for her to grab a letter out of the letter bag and illustrate a word that starts with that letter.

This time the letter was "M."

And this is after she's well into her worksheet.  She illustrated olives for "O," a man for "M," a snowman for "S," and she's in the process of writing a "U," which she ended up illustrating with an umbrella.
I'm including this last picture because it qualifies as nature study, but it leaves such a sour taste in my mouth that it's taking everything I have in me to include it.  The girls were outside playing one day, and Millie came in to tell me about a cool bug she found.  Normally it's Hannah that runs in to deliver this news; this was Millie's first time.  So of course I grabbed the camera and went outside to take a look.  This is what I found on the table by the pool:

Another praying mantis.  They're starting to be regulars around here!
So why the sour taste in my mouth?  Well, about 2 seconds after I took this picture, I noticed that one of our neighbors' dogs (which was at our house because two little girls who shall remain nameless lured it home with a treat) had come up onto the deck with us.  I told Hannah, "Let's get the dog off of the pool deck, please," and no sooner had the words left my lips than the dog lost its balance and fell into the pool.  It panicked, and instead of going to the stairs to climb out, it went to the closest place and started climbing out, scraping its hind legs all over the pool in the process.  The result:  three big, not-so-beautiful holes in the brand spankin' new pool liner. 

(Cue sarcastic voice in 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1)  Oh, joy!  Because we just happen to have 200 extra dollars laying around, and we couldn't think of one. single. way. to spend it!  What a relief!  (End sarcasm.) 

Ah-hem.  So mama may have yelled loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear because the dumb dog was at our house to begin with—let alone on the pool deck—instead of just realizing that it was an accident, and accidents happen.  Do I hear a nomination for Mom of the Year?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Sigh.

All in all, it was a good week, even if it was a little on the expensive side.

To read about other homeschool moms who may or may not have yelled at their kids this week, head on over to Kris' Weekly Wrap-up!  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Lighter Side of Life

It's been waaaay too long since I've posted about everyday moments that make me laugh.  Every week, we have several moments that make me think, "Oh, I need to put that on the blog so I don't forget about it!"  And without fail, a few days go by before I have a chance to blog, and once I finally do have time, I can't remember what in the world happened that I thought was so funny to begin with.

But not this week.  This week I have three stories that are still in my brain, so I'm recording them right now before they depart for that unknown land where thoughts go when they leave my head.

Last Tuesday, Hannah was outside "riding her bike."  She came home a few minutes later, trick-or-treat bag in hand, holding four Snickers bars.  I asked her where she got them, and she told me she got them from Mr. Taggart, an elderly man who lives across the street.  I said, "Why did Mr. Taggart give you Snickers bars?"

"Because," she explained with a grin on her face, "I knocked on the door and said 'Trick-or-Treat.'"

This took place on October 19

I tried my best to lecture her, but it was all masked by giggles.  And Greg wasn't any better when he came home from work and heard about it.  But she did have to go across the street on Monday and give Mr. Taggart a bag with eight Snickers bars in it so she could pay him back with interest.


Last week as were driving through town, we passed a park.  Here's the conversation that ensued:

Millie:  Mom, is that Rogers Park?
Me:  No, Sweetie.  That's a different park.  It's called Klein Park.
Millie:  Climb Park?
Me:  No, not Climb Park.  Klein Park.
Millie:  Yeah, Climb Park.  That's what I said.
Me:  No, you said, "Climb Park."  I'm saying, "Klein Park."
Millie:  Right.  Climb Park.
Hannah:  No, Millie.  Klein.  "N."
Millie:  What?!  We get to climb in?!


One of our neighbors is named Doris, but Hannah accidentally calls her Ms. Dorkus all. the. time.  I constantly correct her, but I don't know if the child is ever gonna get it right.

Yesterday, Hannah came in and said, "Mom, guess what Ms. Dorkus just told me?"

I immediately corrected her and said, "Ms. Doris, Hannah.  Dorkus is a mean name that someone would use if they were name-calling, like nerd or something.  Please stop calling her Ms. Dorkus and call her Ms. Doris."

Hannah got this a-ha look on her face.  Then she said, "Okay.  Well, guess what Ms. Doris just told me?"

"What?" I asked.

"She said she actually just wants me to call her Ms. D!"

I cracked up laughing!  I guess the poor lady had finally had enough of being called a dorkus and tried to find a polite way to put an end to it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Show & Tell: Adventures Week 11

Yesterday we wrapped up Week 11 of our school year.  Since our curriculum is written for a 34-week school year, we're pretty much 1/3 of the way to third grade.  (Fingers in ears) la la la la la la la la!  I refuse to believe that one of my children is old enough to be that close to third grade.  Third grade!  Where has the time gone?!

In history this week, we learned more about George Washington.  Two weeks ago, we learned about his youth and his military career as it related to the Revolutionary War.  This week we learned that he became the first president of the United States of America.  Here's the notebook page Hannah made for her U.S. Notebook:

We made Johnny Cakes for breakfast one day, which was very common in George Washington's time.

Here's Hannah spooning the batter into the skillet.

Behold . . . the finished product.  Looks like fried fish, huh?

Hannah thought they tasted good, which surprised me because she didn't like the hasty pudding last week and they have the same basic ingredients.  Go figure!

Millie, however, tasted a small bite and decided to enjoy a banana for breakfast instead.  :)
Oh, and this week we also heard Hannah's latest joke again and again and again and again and . . . well, you get the idea. 

Question:  What do you get when you cross George Washington and animal feed?
Answer:  The "fodder" of our country!

(I'm ashamed to admit that I learned a new word from this.  I had no idea what "fodder" was!)

Because it was such a light week history-wise, Hannah was able to go back and read some of the "fun" George Washington books that she just didn't have time for a couple of weeks ago.

I stumbled across these Blast to the Past books at the Library & Educational Services web site over the summer, and I'm so glad I decided to give them a try.  Several of the books I bought are just too much for a 2nd grader, but these seem to be just right.

The highlight of the week, for me, was definitely Bible.  I once heard the saying, "The New is in the Old contained, and the Old is in the New explained," and it really changed the way I read Scripture.  I now love to search for the crimson thread of Christ interwoven throughout the entire Bible.  I mean love to!  I repeatedly stand in awe of God's master plan every time I find the New Testament hidden in the Old or the Old Testament revealed in the New, and I walk away more confident than ever of the authority of Scripture. 

Well, this week we focused on Jesus as the Living Water again, and one of the passages we read was Exodus 17:1-6, when Moses struck the rock to get water for the Israelites when they were in the desert.  Maybe it was because we just finished looking at Jesus as the Rock, but I don't think I've ever fully made this connection before.  The Israelites were in the desert, ready to die if they didn't get some water.  They had to have it to live!  The only way for them to get it was to go to the rock!  Wow, wow, wow!!!  Do you see that parallel?!  We are walking through our own wilderness, ready to die if our spirits don't get some Living Water.  We have to have it to live.  The only way for us to get it is to go to the Rock!  I love God's Word!!!  It would have been fun for me to discover that anytime, anywhere, with anyone; but the fact that God chose to reveal it to me while I was studying the Bible with my child, and she saw my excitement over His Word . . . oh, what a priceless, treasured moment!

We continued studying water in science this week, focusing on evaporation and hydration and dehydration.  (Please note:  It might look like an awful lot of science for one week, but remember we didn't finish it all last week, so some of this is leftovers!)

The girls did three experiments to help them understand evaporation.  The first experiment showed that water has to be able to get into the air in order to evaporate.

We put one dishcloth in a plastic bag and one on a saucer so the air could get to it.

The next day, we checked to see what happened.  The one in the plastic bag was still wet because the water couldn't get to the air.

The one that was just placed on a saucer was nearly dry.

Here's Hannah comparing them.
The second experiment showed that only water evaporates, not the things that are mixed with it.

First we added salt to some warm water.

Hannah tasted it.

Yep, it's salty all right!

We checked it after an hour and found tiny droplets of water that had evaporated.

Hannah tasted the droplets of water and discovered—thankfully—that they didn't taste salty.  Only the water had evaporated; the salt had stayed behind.
Our third experiment basically demonstrated the same thing, only in a slightly more appetizing way.  :)

First we mixed sugar and water.  Then we poured some of the mixture onto foil-lined saucers and added a drop of food coloring to each.

After three days, the water had evaporated, but the food coloring and sugar were still there.

The result was a yummy treat of colored sugar crystals!
Then we looked at hydration and dehydration and did four experiments to help us along with our understanding.  Our first experiment was to see what would happen if we hydrated a bowl full of beans.

We filled our container to the top with beans, then we added water until it was filled completely to the rim.  We put the lid on and left it until the next day.  Supposedly the beans would soak up so much water that it would force the lid of our container to pop off.

This was three days later.  We had major bulging on the bottom . . .

. . . and major bulging on the top, but no lid explosion.  When I finally took the lid off, I saw that the beans had soaked up all of the water.  My guess is that if we put a few less beans in, we could fit more water in, and the beans could soak up all the water and make the lid pop off.  Maybe we'll declare a redo.  Maybe.  But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.  ;)
Our next experiment was to see what happens when water is added to sugar.

We built a small tower of sugar cubes on a saucer and poured water around the base.  You can see how the sugar soaked the water right up.

However, the water dissolved the sugar, so the tower ended up tumbling down.

Our next experiment showed that sugar soaks up water so well that it can actually dry foods out.

We sliced a cucumber and sprinkled a little sugar on it.

After only ten minutes, there was already a puddle of water on the cucumber because the sugar drew the water out of it.  So that's how Kimpaw makes his fruit salad so syrup-y!
Our last experiment is still in the works.  We put a dried piece of bread in one plastic bag and a damp piece of bread in another.  The damp piece should grow mold more quickly, but so far neither of them have.  Darn preservatives!  But we did put all of this information about dehydration and rehydration together to discuss that the reason explorers often take dried food with them when they go on an adventure is because it stays good for a longer time.

I finally remembered to get some Pre-K pics this week.  Every morning, Millie starts off her school time with the number of the day and her calendar activities.  Here she is demonstrating her "Months of the Year" song (to the tune of "Ten Little Indians") and her "Days of the Week" song (to the tune of "Clementine").  I hope this works.  I couldn't get it to upload through Blogger, so I'm trying You Tube for the first time.  Fingers crossed . . .

Her letter of the week was "O," so she also added a new verse to her vowel song.  I should have recorded this as a video.  Maybe another week . . .

Hannah decided to host Pout Fest 2010 when she saw that I was making a video of Millie but not her, so I told her I'd record her reciting her poem for you.  (Remember the placemat idea?  It actually worked! We didn't read it faithfully at every meal—heck, we didn't even read it faithfully every day—but apparently we did it often enough that it stuck.)  I apologize in advance for the sound issues.  When I zoomed in and out, I accidentally covered the microphone on the camera.  Oops!

Next week we take a break from history to focus on the first 13 states.  I'm definitely curious to see how the state studies go, but honestly I think I'm really gonna miss all the history!  It's been so fun to relearn a lot of it while teaching it to the girls.

Since Kris is out of town this week, Jamie is hosting the WeeklyWrap-Up.  Go check it out for loads of inspiration and great ideas!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stepping Back in Time: Millard's Crossing

I can't believe it's already been a week since we went to Millard's Crossing and I'm just now posting the pictures! This trip was filled with hands-on activities for the kids, and our guide, Roz, made it loads of fun!  There's a slight chance I may have been a little camera-happy while we were there, so prepare yourself for picture overload! :)

Our tour started off in the Free Methodist church.  The "free" part of Free Methodist has two meanings:  (1) They separated themselves from mainstream Methodists because they didn't agree with much of their doctrine, and (2) they didn't believe you should be charged a pew fee to hear the Word of God, which was actually a common practice at the time.

This is the rope you pull to ring the church bell.
The kids got to look at some of the tools that were common during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Starting at the left:  (1) This type of ax was used to chop down trees, and then another kind was used to shape them for building.  (2) This "mallet" was made from a solid piece of wood.  (3) This is a pot scrubber that was actually made of metal.  It's like the Brillo pad's great-granddaddy!  (4) This push broom was the coolest, and it had us stumped until Roz explained it to us.  It was basically a big block of wood with holes drilled in it.  Most of the holes were straight up and down, and people inserted corn husks into them.  The hole in the middle was drilled at an angle, and a broom handle was put in it.  (5) This one had us even more stumped than the push broom.  These were blinders you would put over your bull's eyes so he would go where you led him without putting up a fight.  Apparently a bull that can't see doesn't fight.
This is a pump organ.  See the pedals under Roz's feet?  A person playing this organ had to continually pump them while playing.  In addition, there are paddles that controlled things such as the volume of the organ.  (You can see them by her knees.)  So a person playing this organ had to move her knees (picture a chicken impersonation), pump with her feet, and play with her hands.  (And then go home and take a nap from the workout!)
Our next stop was the one-room schoolhouse.
Roz rang the bell for school to begin and had the students line up at the door—girls in front and boys in back.

Did you see the message here?  Clever, huh?  I didn't catch it until my mom pointed it out.
Boy, have times changed!  (You can click to enlarge.)
All the girls wore a bonnet to school, and all the boys wore a cap.  I love the look on Hannah's face.  She was ready to take it all in!
I know I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure this kid would have been on Little House on the Prairie if she had been alive back then!
First up:  Fingernail check.  Students were given a hand and face check at the beginning of school every day.  This was a poor country school and the families couldn't afford a doctor visit, so cleanliness was very important.  If their fingernails were dirty or too long, they received licks.  (Well, they would have 100 years ago, anyway.)
Next up:  Quill pen writing.  If I had known we were going to do this here, I probably would have refrained from dismantling Hannah's Indian headdress for school last week!  :) You had to write with a gentle hand. If you pushed hard enough for the teacher to hear a scratching sound . . . licks.
Grandma helped Millie with her quill pen writing.
Our next stop was the tool shed.

The kids took turns shelling the corn, which is basically flicking the dried up kernels off of the cob.  Can you imagine how much your thumbs would ache after a day of doing this?
For families who could afford it, a corn shelling machine could be purchased from the Sears & Roebuck catalog for a whopping $.79.  And after seeing how much faster and easier this made the corn shelling process, I can guarantee my family would have gone without food for a couple of weeks just to be able to afford one!
After the corn was shelled, you were left with a box of kernels and cobs.  The kernels could be planted or fed to the animals, and there were plenty of uses for the cobs!
If you were a little girl, this corncob doll might be your only toy . . .
. . . and if you were a little boy, this might have been your only toy!
I thought this was just part of the Frosty the Snowman song, but there really is such a thing as a corncob pipe!
And some people would attach feathers to them to make darts!
Here's some of our group giving the corncob darts a try!
Another use for corncobs:  toilet paper.  Needless to say, I didn't get a picture of that one.  :)

Next the kids moms got to see what doing laundry used to look like.  Lord, may I never complain about it again!

First, the water was drawn from a well.
Then it was poured into a bowl.
After the clothes were scrubbed, they were run through the wringer.
Finally, they were hung out to dry.
Roz kept referring to these as "Grandpa's underwear," and before we left Millie leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mom, are those really Grandpa's underwear?"  :)
Our next stop was the log cabin.

First, the kids plowed the garden.
Then Roz taught them how to drop the seeds in and use their feet to bury them so they wouldn't put too much strain on their backs.
Then the kids planted their corn seeds in the garden.  This picture captures the essence of my kids more than any other picture I've ever taken.  Notice how Hannah is showing this little girl how it's done and Millie is standing back observing while someone else is doing the work?  Yep, that's my girls!  ;)
But she did work hard to get the water pumping so dirty hands could be washed.
And finally, we peeked into the carriage house.

Here's a typical wagon.
And a much fancier carriage.
It was fun to see how much has changed over the past 100 years.  I love the simplicity of life back then.  I love that kids had manners.  I love that people ate what they grew.  I love that relationships within the family and within the church were the norm and not the exception.  I love that there wasn't the distraction of telephones, television, internet.  Even so, I am thankful beyond words that I live in the age of the washing machine and air conditioning!