Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Peek into Our Homeschool: February 2017

I can't believe the month is already over!  I guess it's not too hard to believe, considering I didn't post my January wrap-up until well into February, and February is a short month anyway.  This is going to be a short post, because we've got a lot going on with preparing to go back to the farm, but I still wanted to look back over what we did.

I am back with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, so don't be shocked when some reviews start popping up.  Long story short, I believe God has a reason for everything!

Math is math.

Language Arts - I'm trying out Writing Strands with Elliott.  I saw a local homeschooler post about it, looked into it, was intrigued, and ordered it.  (I like the idea of teaching spelling/grammar through writing.)  We've started it, but I think I ordered the wrong level, as it's too easy.  I need to order up for him, but at least I can try this one with the younger kiddos.

Since Emory's about finished with his comprehensive language arts, I'll probably have him do some inexpensive workbooks or work on ESA for awhile until I decide what program I want to use.  I'm so undecided.

Everything Else -  We rowed Paul Revere's Ride (post coming soon) and combined with The Revolutionary War portion of Beautiful Feet Books.

It was a lot of fun, but I was excited to move on to the row of Warm as Wool!  (More detailed post of this row coming soon too.)  I scheduled this one after Paul Revere's Ride/American Revolution, because the book takes place in Ohio in the early 1800's.  Since we were going to a history museum that focused on this general time period and the early settlers of the state, and one of the classes was a Conestoga wagon class (and one of the FIAR lessons was on covered wagons), it just seemed to fit well overall.  It also helped us cover a big gap in in BFB, but I'll discuss that more eventually.

Our classes were:
Archeology - We learned about anthropology and archaeology; examining arrowheads, artifacts and replicas.
Conestoga Wagon - learned the difference between the Conestoga and the standard covered wagon/prairie schooner, what went into the wagon, and what it was like to make the journey (walking, jobs the kids their age would have, food they'd eat, etc.)
Wildlife - Learned about how local wildlife changed throughout the years, extinction and then protection and reintroduction of species, examined furs and skulls of local animals, and made animal prints

After our classes we had a picnic lunch outdoors with friends.  Then we went back in for a self-guided tour.  We were able to look around a little, but Eloise was exhausted so we cut out early.  Hopefully we can get back soon to just enjoy the exhibits.

We've been enjoying the unusually warm weather too!

There's nothing like throwing on the play clothes and hitting the park!

One last thing . . . the giveaway for Word Up! is still open!  Be sure to read my review and enter for a chance to win your own!

Word Up

Homeschool Coffee Break

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beautiful Feet Books: Colonial Studies to the Revolutionary War

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Before I really flesh out what we did for this part of the study, I'll clarify the boys had requested to add FIAR back in place of our science, but wanted to keep history.  However, I had a field trip opportunity arise to a local history museum, and the primary focus would fit shortly after the Revolutionary War.  I knew if I tweaked the end of this study I could finish up in time do to a FIAR book that also fit that time period in history and with the field trip.

The Courage of Sarah Noble
by Alice Dalgliesh 
This was our first book back after the long holiday break.  We read it as scheduled.  Based on a true story, Sarah Noble is about a young girl who must keep up her courage as she travels with her father to their new homestead.  We did have to discuss the stereotypes related to Native Americans, as it is an older book, but we enjoyed it.  There are no pictures in BFB's free picture packet, but the student is encouraged to draw some pictures in their notebook, which was a nice change of pace.

The Matchlock Gun
by Walter D. Edmonds
Edward is a 10 year old boy who must be brave in a "man of the house" way, while his father is away during the French and Indian War.  The forward asserts that Trudy, Edward's sister, and her family, has passed this story down through the ages.  There are no pictures from BFB for this book either.  The student is instructed to draw a couple of entries into their notebooks.

I happened to see this Matchlock Gun mapping activity, and it went along well with the first lesson in the guide, so we included it in our notebooks.  {Yes, those are some of our FIAR story disks that we're adding back to our maps!}

In the process of drawing a matchlock gun . . .

This is another older book, and required some discussion regarding the language and description of the Native Americans.  The boys, especially Emory, liked the book, but there were moments I had to pause and talk about the language.  I was also a little taken aback by the ending.  Not really a spoiler here, but as the mother of a 10 year old boy, Edward's response to the events was very different than I imagine any real 10 year old would act and feel.  I guess it just wasn't the emotional response I would have expected.

Just Some Thoughts:  The guide included a short blurb at the beginning of the lessons about the French and Indian War, but it didn't really present any background information, such as that it was actually part of a larger war or that Natives fought on both sides.  I found myself giving a bit more commentary on this, because even this age group can understand "parent countries" as well as different Native groups becoming allies with either side.  (If we expect them to understand the Revolutionary War, this isn't a difficult concept.)  Perhaps there weren't many choices for living books when this study was written.  While I can appreciate the literary merit of using these two books as literature tie-ins alongside a history study of this period (with the appropriate discussions about stereotypes), these books do not provide the same historical context as other books that were chosen for this study.  

This is where we were at in our study when I started adjusting the schedule.  I didn't really need to tweak Benjamin Franklin, other than doubling up a few lessons.

Benjamin Franklin
by Ingrid and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
This was probably my favorite of the d'Aulaire biographies we've read so far.  The kids did the notebooking activities, and had fun choosing proverbs.  They also made a Benjamin Franklin from Famous Figures of the Revolutionary War.  I was surprised at how much they liked doing this little guy, and even more surprised that they requested more!

The American Revolution was the portion of this study that I really adapted.  Not because I didn't like the way it was presented, but this was a rather long study as written, and I knew that in order to get us to post-Revolutionary War at the same time of the field trip, I had to tweak it.  So I decided to row Paul Revere's Ride over two weeks and use the BFB books as the go-along books.  It was basically just reading the books at a faster pace and doing less notebooking activities.

George Washington
by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
I couldn't get this book from the library in time, so we just omitted it.  I did use some of the notebooking exercises, placing them into the study wherever appropriate when we read about Washington elsewhere.  We have other biographies on George Washington at home that the kids can pick up when/if they're interested, and he's also covered in future studies as well.  {It's possible this book covered a bit about the French and Indian War, since another children's biography we have does, but . . . }

Emory's notebooking page.

The 4th of July Story
by Alice Dalgliesh
This book was scheduled to be read as the last lesson for the colonial study, but I brought it to the front.  I probably should have broken it down over two readings, but I did give the kids a picture of the Liberty Bell (googled a coloring page) to color and add to their history notebooks.

This book was spread out over a couple weeks in the guide, which was part of why the original study takes so long.  I decided to follow the reading schedule, but use it as a lunchtime read-aloud.  This way we could "double up" on the overall readings by doing some of the other books during FIAR/history.  The kids enjoyed this book.  When we finished, we looked up several of his paintings online.

This was a cute little book!  It's an older book, but one of the most "outdated" things was kind of fascinating to the kids--the card catalogs and how research was different then, compared to researching now by searching online or placing holds on books electronically at the library!  I liked it for the fun, random facts about Washington that we learned, rather than being a Dates, War, Facts type book.

Winter at Valley Forge by James Knight
This book was read over two lessons in the BFB manual, and I kept that pace too.  The other book written in this diary/journal style by the same author was stretched out over more readings, but two days wasn't unreasonable.  Emory liked this book and the illustrations.

A More Perfect Union byBetsy Maestro 
This book was scheduled towards the beginning of the BFB study, but we read it on our last day.  I read it in one day, though I believe the guide suggested two days, which would have been better.  On that day, they did a picture of Thomas Jefferson penning the constitution for their FIAR notebooks, and then did the regular notebooking activity for their BFB history notebook.

During several of these read-alouds, we worked on more of the Famous Figures of the Revolutionary War.  In addition to Benjamin Franklin, they also did Paul Revere, George Washington and a soldier.

Go Along Videos
Pups of Liberty:  Boston Tea-Bone Party
Pups of Liberty:  Dog-leration of Independence
{from Izzit.org}

These are short videos (15-20 minutes) and you can now stream their videos from the website.


I used the BFB books as an in-depth history exploration for the row of Paul Revere's Ride, and I'll be sharing the rest of that row soon.  But for now, you can check out our other rows or the earlier parts of this Early American History study.

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Word Up! {Review and Giveaway!}

This post contains affiliate links.  

All of my kids developed extensive vocabulary skills rather quickly, and I credit that to one thing.  Exposure.  Exposing children to a rich vocabulary through natural conversation and living books are the two best ways, in our experience, for language acquisition skills to develop rapidly.  When I was offered the chance to review WordUp! and the boys watched the sample video with me, they were excited!  They love learning new words and meanings, so I was happy to review it with them.  Word Up! is an engaging vocabulary video from Compass Classroom.  Hosted in a news show style format, Dwane Thomas teaches Latin and Greek roots to help students expand their English vocabulary.  It's specifically designed to help students with science, literature and standardized tests.

Word Up! review

There are 10 lessons, and each lesson focuses on both the Latin and Greek root for one English word, and then those root words are shown in a new context for students.  So for the English word "water," we learned the roots Hydra and Aqua, and words like aquatic, aquanaut, aquifer, hydrant, hydrate, hydrogen, or  hydrangea--every grandma has one!

This course is great for audio and visual learners.  Auditory learners will have the obvious benefit of hearing the words and definitions, while visual learners can see the word on the screen with associated video.  Everything is completely broken down for us, too.

Word Up!

From the Latin word Multus we get many.  
Pes or Ped in Latin means foot.
Something that has many feet is a multiped.  

Dwane Thomas uses a wry humor that is generally very appealing for most kids.  The videos are aimed at students 10 years and older,  and I would say that's accurate.  I used it with both of my boys, and the ten year old caught a lot more of the subtle humor than did his seven year old brother.

Both boys enjoy the videos though, and I really do not think it is too advanced for my youngest.  Truthfully, vocabulary is only words, and difficult words are not something we avoid in our home.  Also, since this is being taught in the context of "all these words have the same root, and therefore have similar meanings . . . " it is very easy for younger, eager children to follow.  If nothing else, it is excellent exposure.

Word Up! has quizlets available for each episode, which is a great way to practice, review and quiz the vocabulary.  At this age, we're just using the lessons for fun, but for older students, I would certainly use these additional resources more thoroughly for language arts credit.

You can purchase Word Up! as a DVD, a download, or through streaming.  We have the Streaming version, and I can sign in, click on "my streamable products" and click on the product to start watching.  It's very easy to navigate.

My kids enjoy these lessons and ask for this video, and I think that says a lot!

You can try a lesson of Word Up! for FREE, but Compass Classroom is generously offering a copy of Word Up! to one of my readers!

Please Read!
This giveaway is open internationally.  U.S. residents will have a choice of DVD, streaming or download.  If the winner is out of the United States, you will have the option of streaming or download.  Must be at least 18 years of age to enter.  Void where prohibited by law.  Odds are determined by the number of entries.  The winner will be selected at random, the winning entry verified, and will have 48 hours to respond to email.  If the winner cannot be verified, or does not respond in that time frame, a new winner will be selected.  The product offered is free of charge, no purchase necessary, and will be provided by Compass Classroom.  Mom's Heart is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are not affiliated with this giveaway.

This graphic contains my FTC statement.

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Five in a Row: Lentil

I mentioned awhile ago that during the holidays, certain children requested to return to Five in a Row!  I might have been a little ecstatic about that, because my heart belongs to FIAR!  So I'm finally getting around to sharing.

This post contains affiliate links.  

We started back with Lentil by Robert McCloskey.  I felt like it would be a fun row to get us back into FIAR and back into the swing of things after the holidays.  It kind of turned into a Robert McCloskey author study, but it was really fun!  In fact, one day Emory said he never knew school could be this fun!  **be still my heart**

Lentil, published in 1940, is about a boy (Lentil) who lives in Alto, Ohio.  He can't sing or whistle, but wants to play music.  What's a boy to do?  

Social Studies
Geography - Ohio
Having moved to a small town in Ohio, we decided to learn a bit more about the state.  I just wanted to stick to basic facts for now, so we printed an Ohio page from NotebookingPages.com.  They colored Ohio while I read some fun facts, and then they picked something "new" to add to their pages.  We're going to do a comprehensive state study down the road, so that is enough for us for now.  {Don't Know Much About The 50 States.}

Human Anatomy - Taste Buds
This was more for fun than anything, but we tasted sweet, sour, bitter and salty items and talked a bout the tongue and taste buds.

As you can tell, my boys, especially Emory, love lemons!

Eleanor . . . not so much!

If you have a really young one, I think Lentil would be a great book to use for the five senses.  We're past that point, but we did discuss the acoustics lesson one evening.  Elliott went and played the harmonica in the bathtub after I discussed the lesson in the manual.  I didn't follow (so no pictures), but he talked about the differences he heard.

Language Arts
Elements of a Good Story
We discussed the elements of a story from the manual, and then I gave them Notebooking Pages to sketch out the beginning of their own stories.

Mathematics & Music
The lesson in the manual was related to fractions and music.  The boys are just being exposed to musical notes in this context, so it was interesting!

Fine Arts
Charcoal Drawings
We've never used charcoal before, but I happened to have a sketch set that had some charcoal and charcoal pencils in it, so when I saw this lesson, I pulled that set out for the boys.

Musical Talent and the Harmonica!
The local music store sells harmonicas, so the kids got a fun surprise!

Food Fun
We made lemonade, and I made the lemon bars from the cookbook.

Supplemental Books
Instead of filling the book basket with go-along books for the various social studies and science topics, which is what I would normally do, I used it as a literature expansion opportunity/author study.

Robert McCloskey (Children's Illustrators) by Jill Wheeler
Make Way for Ducklings
Burt Dow, Deep Water Man
Time of Wonder
Blueberries for Sal
One Morning in Maine
Homer Price
Homer Price was our longer read-aloud, and I definitely suggest this book for boys!  Elliott enjoyed it so much that I pulled out Beyond Five in a Row Volume 1 and we did a pseudo-row of it following Lentil.  We used the lesson plans as talking points and even did a few activities from the manual.  I'll try to share more about it soon!

We didn't really progress with the attempt at rowing Madeline.  So I revamped our history schedule and chose some FIAR books that would tie into history and some upcoming group field trips, and our next official row was Paul Revere's Ride (last week and this week) to go along with the American Revolution portion of the Beautiful Feet Book study.  Next week we're rowing Warm as Wool!

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: January 2017

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Well, I'm a little bit late getting my January summary posted, but we're not to the middle of this month yet, so it's not too late, is it?

The new year got off to a good start.  It took some time to get back into a good rhythm that worked after the relaxed December and the toddler's new nap schedule, but it went better than I expected.

Eleanor just turned four this month, and although I firmly believe in play over academics at this age, she keeps me on my toes.  She *loves* all the workbooks and learning activities, but it comes and goes in phases.  She might go through a workbook phase for two weeks, then she was all about her Kwik Stix, which she still gets out multiple times a week.  I can't recommend these enough!  Now she's really into writing "books" and "lists."  The toddler . . . well, she's two and just likes to make a mess more than anything.

Language Arts and Math
The boys are plugging along in math.  I've finally figured out the secret to Elliott's math.  I go through each lesson right before he starts, and select the problems I want him to answer.  I typically choose almost all of the problems related to new material, and just a few of the review problems.  I just rotate which types of review questions to do, to make sure he practices a little bit of everything.  He still claims he doesn't "like" math, but seeing as how he's "good" at it, this has drastically improved our math time.  It gets done faster.  He's more accurate too, despite doing less problems/review.  I've heard that cutting a lesson in half would make a difference, and I don't know why I didn't try it sooner!

Emory's finishing up his current level of LOE Foundations, and his reading skills have exploded.  I am in love with this curriculum, and it is absolutely my favorite reading/phonics program.  I'm probably going to move him into a literature-based language arts program in the coming weeks when he finishes.  Or perhaps something more independent, like Language Smarts, which is what Elliott is using now.

History and Science
We continued Beautiful Feet Books - Early American History.  We started by reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Matchlock Gun . . . and then read a biography of Benjamin Franklin, to take us into the American Revolution studies.

We decided to set our science curriculum aside for the time being.  As interesting as it was in the beginning, it was nearly impossible to get back into a good rhythm with it after the holiday break.  I can see why Apologia is popular, but I can also see what people mean when they feel they get bogged down in one topic.

So for now, we have decided to do some Five in a Row units (kids requested to add it back in) in place of the science.  We rowed Lentil first for fun, and tied in some Homer Price and Beyond Five in a Row.  I'll have a full post on that soon.  That one wasn't related to our history studies, but it helped us do some state study, which is a required subject.  However, we're at the point now in American History where I can tie in more of the FIAR books and expand our studies.

We tried to row Madeline because they wanted to do a human body study, but we mostly just learned about the human body.  I know it's one of the most popular units from FIAR, but we just cannot do a real row of that book for some reason!  However, we read most of the poems in the book The Blood Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts, and the boys LOVED that book.  It's great for any human body study through middle school probably.  The poems are humorous, but factual.

To get some other science in, we were also reviewing a science experiment book for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  It's called Oh, Ick!  114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out, and it's definitely got that gross humor factor that boys enjoy.  We just spent a lot of time just reading through the science background before evening choosing any topics to explore.

Squishy Eggs that became "Eggs from Mars" but there are much grosser activities!

January Birthdays
Both the girls had birthdays, turning two and four.  As I mentioned earlier - Eleanor is so smart and inquisitive, and I expect her to really want to dive into school more seriously soon.  She's also bubbly and sassy and loving.  She is a people person, which is a huge contrast to her personality the first year and a half.  She had such extreme stranger anxiety and separation anxiety that she would scream if someone talked to me.  Nursery workers refused to keep her.  She was that kid.  Now she's quite the social butterfly!

Eloise is feisty and fierce, just like Emory, and also like her brother, she's a goofball.  That should be fun.  She takes awhile to warm up to people, but she's also very talkative and her favorite sentences are "I need that!" and "I can't reach it!" because she's always wanting things she doesn't need.  She's quite the busybody, and is the typical toddler tornado - I can't get anything productive done or keep the house clean!

I didn't realize that you can't tell those are "Frozen" cupcakes the husband made.  The girls are all about Let it Go and princess now.  *sigh*  Eloise hasn't quite got the whole puppet show thing down, but Eleanor loves doing an Old MacDonald show with the farm puppets.  Love it!

Homeschool Coffee Break

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com