Friday, September 9, 2011

Show & Tell: ECC Weeks 3 & 4—United States

Greetings  from the great melting pot known as the USA!  This year we're trekking the globe with Exploring Countries and Cultures, and our first stop wasn't so much a "stop" as it was just a "continue to stay right where you've been staying."  Yep, we were in the United States for two weeks.  But even after coming out of a year of U.S. history, we learned a lot and reviewed a lot, so it was two weeks well-spent.

I know I said it in my last weekly report, but we're really enjoying doing Bible in the evenings with Greg.  During the course of the past two weeks, we read about Dwight Moody's repentance, boldness, and strength and Harriet Tubman's compassion, joy, and perseverance.  We also finished the first book of Tales of the Kingdom, which was much-loved by everyone in the family, and we read about Navajo Indians and missionary kids from Window on the World.  Did you know that many missionaries have to send their kids off to special schools for missionary families?  I had no idea!  I guess I just assumed they either went to school where they lived or they homeschooled.  I can imagine the kind of dedication to the Lord it takes to pack up your family and head to a foreign country.  I cannot imagine the kind of dedication to the Lord it takes to do so knowing that your family will not be intact once you're there.  This really touched a tender spot in my heart and has been a topic of prayer in my life over the past two weeks.

Next week we begin reading through the book of Matthew, so Hannah made a bookmark for us to use as we read. 

In geography, we really focused on getting to know how our little area fits into the world.  First, we labeled a map of North America so we could see what all borders the United States.  We also labeled two major U.S. landmarks:  the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.

Next we did a map of the United States.  We labeled the "four corners" of the U.S., as well as all the states that border our home state of Texas.

Hannah's friend Rachel spent the night one night, and we had fun reading How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. together.

I had printed up little cards with pictures of the cherry pie "ingredients" on them. 

Front of the cards

Back of the cards
As we read the story, the kids looked at a U.S. map to find where we were supposed to go to get each ingredient.  When they found the right location, they would place the card for that ingredient in the correct spot on the map.

When we finished the story, we baked (of course!) cherry pie.  But this time I took Erin's suggestion and bought some frozen pie crust.  It saved me a good hour's worth of work and, if I'm really honest with myself, it tasted better, too.  Thanks, Erin!  :)

We bought a 2-pack, so we cut the second one into strips to give it that "woven" look.  Go ahead and say it:  Cheater, cheater, pumpkin-eater!  :)

Then the kids raided Millie's kitchen and found some cookie cutters to use on the leftover dough.

Very proud of their hard work!  :)
 While the pie was baking, the girls went into the school room and put together a North America GeoPuzzle.  It was a lot of fun watching them work on this.  They delegated tasks and got straight to work.  They changed strategies a couple of times, but they really worked well as a team.  And that's a good thing because someone in that group tends to be a weeeeee bit bossy.  But I won't say who.  ;)

Mission accomplished!
One of our goals in geography this year is not just to learn where the states and countries are on a map, but to try to learn about the culture in each area.  So far, our art projects have been a great way for us to accomplish that.

Because the United States was first inhabited by Native American Indians, the first art project we did was to make sandpaintings similar to those that the Navajo Indians made.
Sketching out her design

Adding the sand

Think she's tired of having her picture taken?  ;P
Some neighborhood kids that were walking the street even stopped in to join us.  That was kinda fun! 

And since Hollywood is such a major influence in the United States today, we went back to the roots of motion picture and examined the old-fashioned flipbook.  Actually, we were supposed to have the kids make their own flipbooks, but after seeing the amazing video Pauline's hubby did with their kids, we decided to skip the flipbook and go straight for the motion picture.  :)  The kids were super-excited about this one.  Rachel and Hannah came up with a storyline and gathered their props, and we got busy taking pictures.  Here's what they came up with.

Now, granted, it isn't nearly as good as the one Jason and the kids did.  But still, I thought it was pretty clever.  Greg, however, thought it was much better when I was telling him about it than when he actually watched it.  :P  But the girls did walk away understanding that motion pictures are made up of a series of still images, and that was the main idea, so I'm gonna call it a success.  :)

In science, we've been looking at deciduous and coniferous forests.  One of our assignments was to map all of the coniferous, deciduous, and mountain forests in the entire world

It doesn't look that hard, does it? Try it sometime. You'll be ready to rip your hair out by the end of it. But at least I learned from it, and was able to adjust as needed a couple of days later for another assignment.  We were supposed to draw a sketch of six different plants that were listed on our worksheet.  Instead, we googled them and printed them out. 

Something we did that was better-suited for Hannah was searching for different kinds of leaves.  We learned that leaves are used to help identify trees and plants, and if you learn to look for certain attributes of leaves, you can compare your findings with a field guide to identify your tree. 

Some leaves are broad, flat leaves with smooth edges.

Some are needles that grow in clusters of 2 or 3.

Some are broad, flat leaves that have toothed edges.

Some are broad, flat leaves that have lobed edges.

Some grow in an alternating pattern down the stem.

And some grow straight across from each other.
We also learned about several different landforms.  Over the summer, I googled images of all the different landforms she would be learning about throughout the year so she could see what they really looked like.  Each week, two landforms are introduced, and she chooses one of them to draw herself.

Here's an isthmus in real life ...

... and here's the isthmus Hannah drew.

Here's a butte in real life ...

... and here's a butte Hannah drew.  Looks like some guy is sweating trying to climb up it!
The kids know that our next stop is Mexico, and they can't wait to go!  Their bags are packed ...

... and waiting by their beds for an early pretend flight to Mexico City.

Our little Indian won't be alone much longer!

And we'll give you all the details in our next weekly report!  :)

Feel free to visit the My Father's World Weekly Highlights or Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others did this week!  :)


Gator Mommy said...

WOW! Just WOW! The work that you have done with the girls is awe inspiring! I love all of the projects you have done. I also love your nature walk pictures- beautiful. We are now on the same week ;-) I might have to find a way to slow down, ha. See you in Mexico!

Shoregirl said...

Really enjoyed your re-cap and all the fun pics/ideas! We just finished week 3 and are ready for week 4 and it's fun to see what everyone else did before I get there!

Carrie said...

Wow! You guys have done a LOT!!!

P.S. Tell Hannah I like her haircut! :)

Hilary said...

How fun! Great projects!

mittelmommy said...

Even though we are not here yet, I enjoyed reading about it! Will you be sharing your recipe cards to go with the book?!?! I'd love them! ;)

Daisy said...

You had an amazing week!

I stopped short for a few minutes at this..."Did you know that many missionaries have to send their kids off to special schools for missionary families?"

We were completely through the application process with Wycliffe and about to start our field training when we were told this very thing. We couldn't do that to our children and so the dream of the mission field had to be let go. :( It is an incredibly difficult decision.

Jennifer said...

Chantae - Email me at beaglemamma at cmaaccess dot com. :)

Kellie said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! That is too funny at all of our similarities!! I truly enjoyed coming to visit your blog today!! That little video was SO CUTE!!! :-) Looks like we have a lot of fun to look forward to in MFW in the next couple of years!

Monica said...

Ok soooo you have some SUPER ideas girl.... landform googled images, pack'in for the trip, video talent and shipping our homeschool kids off to special schools! (ok it was the missionary kids - I know I know). I can't keep up with all the talent you are raising!

Kattie said...

Wow, you have some great stuff going on! I love the guy on the butte and cherry pie sounds awesome! Great nature study pics and I like the idea of the googled geography vocabulary. Thanks for linking up and sharing your great week!

Mariah said...

ECC looks like so much fun, I can hardly wait until next year! : ) Thank you for stopping by my blog, we are have a blast with Adv! I love how your girls are all packed up and ready for Mexico! : )

Pauline said...

Y'alls motion picture was awesome! Very creative...I love that there was a story line to go along with it :)

The nature and leaves picture are beautiful.

Looks like y'all had a great week :)

erin kate said...

So incredible to see all you do ... wow. Makes me smile big to see her packed up for Mexico. Learning at it's best!

Debbie S. said...

I had no idea you had a blog!! I love it and now I'm a follower:)

Kim said...

Just checking in as I see you haven't posted in a while. I hope everything is okay!!


claudia said...

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My husband and I just launched a website that provides new resources for Christian Homeschool families. We're wondering if you would like to try it out for free in exchange for an honest review on your blog.

I won't mention the name of the site here but you can contact me at and I'll be happy to share more information with you about it.


Dana said...

Looks like you guys are busy! We are just starting ECC this year. Would you mind sharing your Geography googled images document you created? If so, I'd love a copy! goddelights at gmail dot com

Thanks and I look forward to following along on your ECC journey as we move along through this year.

Veronica said...

Thank you for this great review! We've used MFW for K, 1, and 3, and I'm looking forward to jumping into this next. I love all of these great ideas.