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When we were choosing our next study, the boys chose The Duchess Bakes a Cake, mostly because of the castle/knight theme, so that was our focus.
We started our study by talking about where the story might be located. We placed our story disk over Europe. When we do individual countries, we place our story disk on the map inset where the countries are larger and easier to see and the disks can be spaced out more . . . but since we were just going for a general European setting we placed it on the main section of the map.
Our main focus was knights. I know they had some imaginary play going on with LEGO and with Minecraft, but no pictures to share. Aside from that, we used several booklets from the Knights and Castles Lapbook when we learned about Knights, and we put them in our notebook.
Go-Along Books & Audio
King Arthur and His Knights performed by Jim Weiss (fabulous story time for the car!)
A Year in a Castle by Rachel Coombs
I Wonder Why Castles Had Moats and Other Questions About Long Ago by Philip Steele
100 Things You Should Know About Knights and Castles by Jane Walker
Knight by Christopher Gravett
Flight of the Last Dragon by Robert Burleigh
Saint George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges (Emory LOVED this book!)
We discussed alliterations and I read some samples of other alliterations from other books. (Dr. Seuss's ABC book is a great example.) For synonyms I asked Emory to think of a word and I wrote it down in one column. Elliott then had to come up with a synonym for the other column. Simple, but engaging. Some pairs they came up with:
A great resource for teaching synonyms and improving vocabulary and writing (aside from a typical thesaurus) is A Word Write Now. There's actually a section for "Words for Movement and the Senses" so the section on hands fit well here, due to all the pushing and patting the Duchess does! I'm reviewing this and I'll have more to share later.
The Number 13
I created a simple worksheet for each boy. Elliott's had a lot of the suggestions from the manual. Emory's involved place value and drawing 13 objects. Thirteen very random objects, apparently. ;)
Nutrition, Simple Machines
We talked a little about the nutrition as it was presented in the manual. However, we also talked about the simple machines that we noticed in the book (catapults=levers) or that might have been used in that time period, such as drawbridges using pulleys. It turned out that Elliott actually made a simple catapult in his science class at co-op and they learned about projectiles, trajectory, etc. He shared this with Emory. We also played around a little with this Physics Simple Machines set.
There were several suggestions in the book for art lessons, but we kept it simple and related to the knights theme. We learned about heraldry and coats of arts, and created our own shields. (Not specifically following the "rules" of course, though my 8 year old was interested in the rule about only certain colors being allowed.)
This was a fun row! We never did bake a lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake, but we're not big cake eaters anyway. The boys enjoyed the social studies (and art) and I felt like this book offered a unique learning experience compared to many of the other modern history themes we've explored with FIAR so far.
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