Friday, June 20, 2014

Homeschool Weeks 25-34

This post is quite overdue and I thought about just skipping it, but for the sake of completeness I figured I had better finish the year.  

From week 25-30 we finished up our regular history/social studies unit learning about opium in China, Emperor Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars including the famous Battle of Waterloo.  We studied more African history (specifically in South Africa--the Zulu Kingdom and the Boers and the British), the history of Mexican independence, the revolutions in South America, and the histories of Haiti and New Zealand.

Back in the United States we covered the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark's exploration of the West, The Trail of Tears and Nat Turner's Revolt, The Alamo in 1836 (I never knew that Davy Crockett died in this fight...), and the California Gold Rush.  We also discussed some of the important inventions of this time such as Samuel Morse and his Morse Code.  So much was changing in the world during this time both in industry and in ideas, so we learned about the Luddites (those against change and technology) and the work of the abolitionists.  

Activities for some of the above topics:  We read The Captain's Dog which is the story of Lewis and Clark's expedition told from the perspective of Lewis's dog, Seaman.  We also watched a DVD of a reenactment of Lewis and Clark's exploration and drew their route on a map.  After studying the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 we listened to the 1812 Overture which honored Russia's triumph over Napoleon and learned of the history of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  When studying Alabama we learned about George Washington Carver and his ingenuity regarding peanuts and sweet potatoes, so we made sweet potato pie (Anna loved it because it tastes just like pumpkin pie!).  When studying some of the history of Africa we cooked up African groundnut sauce (tasty over rice!), and did a little Morse Code activity when we studied Samuel Morse.
Putting together all the little booklets to complete their lapbook

Other notable people that we read about in more detail:  Abigail Adams, John Marshall, Charles Pinckney, William Carey, Charles Finney, John Newton, various missionaries on the Oregon Trail.

States we added to our states book:  Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, California

Presidents we added to our presidents book:  John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk, Zachary Taylor.  Russ has an old special edition Time magazine that highlights in just one page the important aspects of each president.  We usually tried to read through this to get a few more interesting tidbits about their lives before, during and after presidency. As mentioned previously, we will complete this booklet next year when we study the rest of the presidents.  

Read aloud:  Bound for Oregon, a story of the Oregon Trail.

In science we continued our study of plants.   We did the "celery in colored water" experiment to show the importance of stems in transporting water.   We tried to do a little experiment in our light box to show that plants are phototrophic or "light-seeking", but it did not work for us that well.  We did have some nice bean plants though!  The kids had fun studying the various marking on twigs to find the bud scars, etc and drew pictures of their twigs and labeled them.   When studying about the covering of trees the kids made bark rubbings and learned how these can be used for tree identification.    We finished up the year studying about gymnosperms  Our favorite activity was finding closed pine cones in the yard, putting them in the oven, and watching them open up.  They smelled awesome!  We ended our botany unit studying ferns and nonvascular plants such as liverworts.  As always, we enjoyed a trip to Blandford to see some of these nonvascular plants growing next to and on trees.

The last few weeks (31-34) we did not have any scheduled science or history.  We worked at completing our math, English, and spelling for the year and then used our science and history time to research and complete a state report.  Lydia chose Iowa, Seth chose Idaho, and Anna chose Oregon.  The completed booklets contain information in the following areas:  how the state got its name, early historical facts, journey toward statehood, physical features of the state, political features, state flag, state bird and flower, weather/climate, state resources, national parks/historical sites, famous people from the state, state government, and the economy.

The kids all completed a poster project for the homeschool fair that was held while we were in Idaho the end of April.  Thankfully, Grandpa and Grandma were able to take them that night.  They did most of the work on these posters during spring break week when we took a week off from our regular school work.

We did complete one of Seth's other projects from his Sign of the Beaver unit--making corn husk dolls.   Dad still needs to help Seth make his own bow and arrow.  We have all the supplies so now we just need the time.

Last but not least...we finished our study of and memorization of the book of James.  I think we can recite chapters 1-3 extremely well.  Chapter 4 may be a little more shaky and Chapter 5 pretty much breaks down at the last ten verses.   I wanted to continue to review during bedtime family worship this summer, but with our crazy schedule of buying and selling houses and traveling it just isn't happening.  Now that we are back in one place for a month maybe we can scrape the rust of our memory and review each night.

Oh, and the kids are doing this next week:

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