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.

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