Sunday, October 5, 2014

Homeschool Weeks 1-6 and High School Update

I am going to blog through the homeschool year again this year.  Feel free to skip these posts or just scroll through the pictures.  I actually use these posts when I do my end of the year write up to remind me of all the activities, books, etc because I often forget to jot down everything extra that we did. 

So, our history theme is this year is "1850 to Modern Times".  Up to this point (week 6) we have just "caught up" the rest of the world to the 1850-1860 time period.  This included Queen Victoria's England, the British in India (Sepoy Mutiny), the Crimean War (which still impacts the world today), David Livingstone and his exploration into Central Africa, Italy's "Resurrection", and the Taiping Rebellion in China.   

The rest of the time has been spent reviewing the 50 states:  where they are located, postal abbreviations, and capitals.  We've enjoyed the States and Capitals Songs CD to help us and have played many, many games of memory to match up states and capitals.  Of course, we have found some entertaining quizzes on-line to further reinforce.  

The weeks we learned/reviewed the 50 states we also reviewed the history of the U.S. until the Civil War from the Children's Encyclopedia of American History.  We have spent quite a bit of time studying the events, compromises, culture, and politics that led to the Civil War.  During this time we also looked at the presidential terms of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

Most activities other than map work and worksheets have been in the kitchen.  We had corn chowder, ham with cherry sauce, and apple crisp for our colonial meal;  baked lemon poppyseed bread for our Victorian Tea; enjoyed Margherita pizza when we studied Italy; stenciled a Taiping Tien Kuo coin pattern on a chocolate cake; and decorated a yummy King Cake in honor of Mardi Gras when we reviewed the U.S. expansion of the Louisiana Purchase.

One non-kitchen project:  The Crystal Palace model

Other important people that lived during this time period that we read more about:  Hudson Taylor, Daniel Webster, Elijah Lovejoy, Frederick Douglas, and Sojourner Truth.  

Bible:  We begin each day again with our BSF lessons which this year is the life of Moses.  Our curriculum also has us read a portion from A Young Person's Guide to Knowing God by Patricia St. John.  She has some great stories to illustrate Biblical truths.

Science:  Seth and Lydia are studying chemistry and physics using the book 100 Experiments to reinforce what they learn in the textbook, World of Science.  So far we have learned about atoms, molecules, elements, three states of matter, melting and boiling, properties of water, chemical changes, and acids and bases. They are doing a pretty good job of writing up short summaries of the experiments that they carry out.  Anna has her own Apologia science textbook for middle school and is learning about the history of science, scientific method, and how to set up a good experiment.

They loved this experiment of the "Floating Flowers".  This just showed how paper fibers expand when they get wet.  As the paper expanded, their "flower" opened up to reveal the little bug they glued inside.  I love it when the experiments actually work!!

Writing/Reading:  The kids each started their own book unit for the semester.  Anna--Swiss Family  Robinson; Lydia--From the Mixed-up Files of Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler; Seth--Stuart Little.  The girls and I are working through IEW U.S. History based writing lessons (Volume 1).   We started this at the end of the year last year, and although we have moved on from the history in this volume the girls still enjoy writing about what they previously studied.  Seth continues to do free writing on a given topic, but could probably use a little more guidance from me...

One of Seth's reading projects:  make a bed for Stuart using clothespins for bedposts.

Music:  The life and music of Stephen Foster.  Seth loves this music and has added "Old Folks at Home" (Swanee River) to his playlist.

The older boys are doing well at Cole Valley.  They seem to have a great group of friends and are never at a loss for social activities.  Both have asked girls to Homecoming which is this Saturday night.  (And the girls both said, "Yes!").

Caleb continues to enjoy running cross-country and is working hard at increasing his foot speed and not over-striding.  He still misses soccer and will occasionally have a melancholy moment.   He joined the student worship team for the school chapel services and is leading a quartet for an upcoming concert.  Since he did not make it in the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) he is looking into other orchestra options; there is one in Eagle, ID (15 min north) that looks like fun.   He probably will pursue that when the XC season is over.   I did my senior mom duty and decorated a locker board for him.  Although it ended up being kind of fun to decorate, it really is silly busy work for moms who already have full, hectic lives.

Nicolas did make it in the BPYO and has practice downtown every Monday afternoon after school. He seems to enjoy the group and also likes his cello teacher.  He has lessons (also downtown) every other Thursday afternoon.  We have made it a family outing as it is close to a fun park--but that is another blog post.  

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