Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homeschool Weeks 18-24

I can't believe over seven weeks have gone by since I last gave a home school update!  This may be a long post, so you may just want to scroll down and look at the pictures.

In history we began week eighteen with the Revolutionary War.   We read how the discontent in the colonies grew until the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.  We studied the important events and places of the war including:  The Battle of Bunker Hill, the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin's trip to France to acquire their assistance, Valley Forge, and the surrender of Cornwallis.

Other people we studied in more depth included:  Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Adams (also his time in France and as ambassador to George III), Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson, Benedict Arnold, John Witherspoon, John Muhlenberg, and John Jay.  

We saw how the new country's beginning was a little rocky until the U.S. Constitution was written and agreed upon.  There were still many who were not happy until the Bill of Rights was added several years later.  We watched the Schoolhouse Rock version of the preamble of the constitution and learned what each of the phrases meant through the help of the book, We the Kids.  The kids also completed a worksheet and watched a short video to help them understand the branches of our government and how they check and balance each other.  

Of course, we studied George Washington in more depth, including his time as general and as the first President of the United States.  

Activities for the Revolutionary War unit:    We made yummy hasty pudding (Lydia really liked this and still asks me to make it), read the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Longfellow and tried to find which things were historically accurate and which were not, made paper quilts with scrapbook paper (I thought the needle and thread thing with three kids would just be too much!), and made silhouette portraits that were popular in the time of George Washington.

The kids laugh about Seth's square head.  He had such a rooster tail the morning that we did these that I just traced it right in!

After this we "left" the United States and went back to Europe to see what else was happening in the world at this time.   Captain Cook founded Botany Bay in Australia without realizing he had found another continent and the French Revolution began with the storming of the Bastille.   We studied the Reign of Terror in France and the end of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  We then traveled to Russia and learned more about Catherine the Great.  

Activities:  I made Baked Russian Manyick a popular Russian dessert that is quite tasty and we cut out paper dolls of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.  

Louis XVI complete with a removable head.  Sick, I know, but that kind of thing intrigues a 7-year old boy.

In week 24 we studied how the world was progressing in terms of science and inventions.  This included Robert Fulton and the steam engine, Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, the rise of new factories and the idea of "interchangeable parts,"  Noah Webster and his dictionary, and Dr. Jenner and the smallpox vaccination.

During this time we also began a study of the fifty states and the presidents.  This year we have just a brief overview of the states in the order they join the union and will continue to study them in more depth next year, memorizing their capitals and geographic locations.   We are filling out little booklets on interesting facts of all the presidents that we can eventually compile into a bigger book.   This year we will only complete the pages of the presidents up until 1850 and plan to continue this project next school year.  

In our botany unit we studied flowers, pollination, different types of fruit and various ways seeds are dispersed (wind, animal, water, human, mechanical), leaves and photosynthesis, and roots.  The kids also classified leaves (simple or compound, venation, shape, and margin) using Caleb's old leaf collection.  On one extremely cold snow day we went to Meijer Gardens to see some of the plant characteristics that we had been studying.  I think this was when Caleb was in Guatemala.
The kids were especially intrigued with the carnivorous plants

Because it was a snow day, Nicolas was able to join us!

Dissected flower

Our read aloud during this time was about William Carey, missionary to India.  He lived at exactly the the same time period we had been studying so it was fascinating to see how political events around the world impacted travel and missions at that time.  

Both Lydia and Seth finished their book units.  Lydia made a diorama of Misty and Phantom and Seth still has a few projects he plans to finish up with mom and dad's help.  Stay tuned for those...

Lydia was so excited big brother Caleb had a snow day and was willing to help her with the diorama.  

"Leather" covered Indian word dictionary of words used in Sign of the Beaver

Last, but not least, we are now on chapter 4 of our memorization of the book of James.  Chapters 1 & 2 go pretty well, chapter 3 is a little shaky at the end, and we are just into the first few verses of chapter 4.    I review it in my head as I fall asleep at night.  It is the only way I can keep up with the kids!

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