Friday, November 28, 2014

Homeschool Weeks 7-13

We started week seven by studying the Civil War in the United States.  The kids read several chapter books that dealt with the Civil War and/or Abraham Lincoln to supplement "just the facts."  We started and finished the read-aloud Across Five Aprils, and the kids will probably tell you that I cried at the end when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.  The author had just sucked me into the life and emotions of Jethro that I felt his pain:)  Anna memorized the Gettysburg Address, and we all attempted to memorize the poem "Oh Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman.  Right now I am enjoying Ken Burns PBS series on the Civil War.  

We later looked at how the United States was becoming more modern with transcontinental railroad and establishment of time zones.  In this unit we engraved our own railroad "spike").


The presidents we read about and completed a study page on were Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Arthur Chester, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison.

Other important people we read about:  Clara Barton (a personal favorite of Lydia), Robert E. Lee, Hiram Revels, Thomas Edison, and Francis Elizabeth Willard.

The rest of the time in history we were all over the world, investigating what other important events were going on at the end of the 19th century.  Here is a recap:

     Afghanistan:  How Britain and Russia fought over this territory

     South America:  Paraguay vs the triple alliance of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay (we drew our own political cartoon about the leader of Paraguay); War of the South Pacific--Peru, Bolivia, Chile (we made a model of the ship Huascar specifically to see the benefit of a rotating turret with guns)

Okay, so this is a little rough, but the 360 degree rotating turret concept was cool to demonstrate...

Canada:  How it became independent from (although not free from) Great Britain

France:  By 1871 it had been an empire two times and a republic three times

Prussia:  "Second Reich" (the kids wrote fairy tales in honor of the Brothers Grimm and Seth made his own Pikelhaube)

Japan:  Opened to the outside world and became more modern; samurai rebelled in the Satsuma Revolt

Dutch East Indies:  After years of war the Dutch take over all of the area in 1903

Egypt:  building of the Suez Canal

Australia:  The famous bushranger (bandit) Ned Kelly during the time when Australia was a British colony and how it became a Commonwealth in 1901

Africa:  The scramble to control Africa and how it was carved up into territories by Germany, Italy, Britain, Portugal, Spain, and France.  The lines they drew ended up separating friendly tribes while locking hostile tribes together within the same country borders.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster! (The kids made textured maps to show how Africa was "carved up")

South Africa:  History of the treaty between the Afrikaners and the British called the "Peace of Vereeniging" which united all the South Africa colonies under one nation.  Unfortunately, in this new Union of South Africa three groups who hated each other now lived together--white British, white Afrikaners, and black Africans.

Ireland:  Potato famine; veto of the Home Rule Bill by Great Britain's Parliament which would have allowed Ireland to have control over their domestic affairs.  This meant Great Britain chose the road of "Perpetual Coercion" which would lead to many years of unrest and violence in Ireland.

Read aloud--As mentioned before we read Across Five Aprils and are now reading the life of Hudson Taylor, missionary to China.

Science--We covered the following topics:  energy, converting energy, energy of motion, forces, gravity, heat and cold, friction, sound waves, and crystals

Energy of motion:  A balloon rocket up the stairs

Music: Listened to a CD on the life and music of John Philip Sousa

Last but not least we enjoyed an art day at the World Center for Birds of Prey.  The girls took awhile to warm up, but Seth jumped right in drawing his peregrine falcon.

Caleb and Nicolas continue to enjoy Cole Valley, both academically and socially.  Now that XC is done, Caleb has been working hard on college admission  and scholarship forms.  He and I took a trip to Iowa this past weekend for a Dordt visitation day.  He enjoyed his visit and had many of his questions answered, but no firm decisions were made.  He still would like to visit Calvin College and compare scholarships.  

An added bonus of the college trip was to meet Merrick and Roman, David and Nikki's twin blessings.  They are so sweet!  We were also able to celebrate the Bleeker Thanksgiving last Sunday and see everyone except Michael.  I just wish the other five could have been with us...

Nicolas had two orchestra "gigs".  The first was his fall concert and the second was a flash mob at a local grocery store.  They filmed the flash mob playing Christmas music for a Christmas commercial for the store.  It was hard to do the "flash mob" thing when you are carrying a cello in a grocery store that allows very few places to "hide".  It was still pretty neat, though, and they sounded great.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Grandpa and Grandma's Visit

I am not sure if there are any other events in this family that are anticipated more highly than Grandpa and Grandma's visits.  If I were not so excited myself, I would get highly irritated at the constant "What time will they be here?" questions.

 We had a wonderful time with them, and, as usual, the time went WAY to fast.  Although we took pictures to capture a few of the highlights of things we did, the things we did not capture on film were just as sweet:  showing them our house and church, introducing them to our church family, and just having a chance to visit while enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee.

Here are a few photos of the highlights:

1.  Friday afternoon we spent some time at Eagle Island State Park prior to Caleb's District XC meet which took place there later in the afternoon.

2.  The first Saturday after they arrived we went to the Snake River in Melba.  The kids had wanted to come back to the place where Caleb had his XC meet a few weeks ago to walk across the bridge and hike the hills/trails on the other side.  So, we packed some snacks and spent a few hours at the river.

Watching this spider walk on water was a great demonstration of something we talked about in science--water cohesion.

Watching the fisherman

A new friend

A cute couple

A cute family

The view from a large hill/cliff on the other side of the bridge.  This is as far as I hiked, but the rest of the family continued to climb.

What did Grandpa and Grandma do while we hiked?  Sat by the Snake River and relaxed!

A cute boy

3.  Monday night after Nicolas returned from orchestra practice around 6:45, we went to The Village and ate street tacos for supper and watched the fountain show.  It was a little chilly, but the heaters spaced around the tables and chairs were cozy.

4.  During the week sometime, Mom and I made a trip to Hancock's  to pick out fabric to recover the dining room chairs.  Dad and mom did a great job of stapling.  I just lent moral support...and washed and polished the wood on the chairs.

5.   Thursday we showed them downtown Boise and the capital building.  We also walked the paths at Kathryn Albertson Park which is part of the Boise River greenbelt.   It was a beautiful afternoon and the colors at the park were gorgeous.  Dad, Russ and the kids returned to the downtown area later that afternoon when Nicolas had cello lessons and enjoyed the trails and playground at Camel's Back Park.

6.  Friday we made the trek to Stanley, ID and Redfish Lake to show them the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains.  We thought they were even more beautiful with all the snow on them.

We looked it up later and found that this was a Stellar's Jay, common in the evergreen forests of the mountainous West

On the way home we stopped and waded in the natural hotsprings on the Payette River.

7.  Just this past Saturday and Sunday we celebrated Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma--complete with a gingerbread house and a prime rib dinner.