Friday, 28 August 2015

Weekly Wrap Up 8/28

Another busy week for the family!  This weekend my Husband and I attended a seminar on 'How to Homeschool High School'.  While I went to two seminars last year on this topic it was the first time my husband was able to attend so he could see what we are getting ourselves into:)  We both learned a lot and since this is the third time I have heard the information it is starting to not feel so over whelming for me.

Firedrake worked on her first lab experiment using the EO Wilson Biology book(a free secular biology book from apple apps).  This experiment will have her to document the changes in 3different types of seeds (we used zucchini, milkweed and green beans) for the next 4 weeks.  She is looking at how seeds may have traveled to islands.  Her control seeds are inside plain water jars and the variable seeds are in salt water jars.  After remaining in the jars for 4 weeks she will try to germinate them and see if there is a difference in the success rate of the germination.  For the first time she is keeping a lab book to keep her observations in since we are going to count this as a high school credit.

This year my husband is taking the reins on teaching Firedrake Biology and has done an amazing job researching and planning out her schedule.  Firedrake is learning that Dad is a much harder teacher than Mom!  She just might start appreciating me yet!  I will admit I feel a little lost not helping as much but I am concentrating on MarioFan's science that that is helping me cope, sort of.  Although my husband does remind me occasionally not to interfere in his class LOL!  I never thought it would be so hard to just let go of the control!

MarioFan has decided for science he wanted to do a unit on Electricity.  We currently have a snap circuit for him that he loves.  We decided to find a another system that is more real life like.  I have downloaded several lap books and lesson plans and am slowly putting this unit together for him.  But first I am doing a slight review of atoms and molecules to make sure he has the foundations down, they last time we studied this was three years ago.  I am pleased that he remembers quite a bit of it just needing a refresher on the correct vocabulary words.  He also did a experiment this week to review the vocabulary word diffusion and how that applies to atoms and molecules.
looking to see how molecules move in cold, hot and warm waters

another experiment looking at how molecules have space between them.  We took a mason jar and filled it with 1 cup of water and marked it with tape.  Then filled the jar with a second cup of water and marked it with tape.  Next we empty the jar and filled it again with a single cup of water.  Next we filled it with a cup of sugar  and observed that it did not reach the  mark of the 2 cups of water.   A case where 1+1 doesn't equal 2:)

This week was also home link orientation, where we find out the schedule, pay the fees, buy books and hear the rules for attending the classes.  It can be very busy and there is so much information to absorb for us all.  Only 2 more weeks until classes begin both kids are looking forward to it!

Another exciting event happening in two weeks for the kids is Andrew Pudewa from IEW is coming to our area and I have signed the kids up for a single course with him.  We have been using his program for several years and I really see great improvements with both of the children writing.  We are looking forward to having a class with Mr. Pudewa, maybe I will even get a picture of him with my children:)!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Pre Civil War Timeline Poster

I have been having the children create their own posters for certain science and history lessons for over an year now.  This summer we have done a great deal of learning about the antebellum years prior to the Civil War.  We have been exploring indepth the many reasons, events and people of the era that may have played a role in the lead up to the Civil War.  We have done this looking at videos, books, and other resources to help us understand how the war was not inevitable.  I thought I would show you how we go about our process!
the kids and I sat down and brainstorm all the people and people that we have read about over the summer and wrote them down

Next we looked up the year that the event occurred or the year of importance of the person and put them in order
 To double check our list I had the kids search the web to see what the experts said and if there was anything missing that we had not gone over!  The kids discovered that we had not learned about the Wilmot-Provisio act and we stop what we were doing and took the time to look it up and learn about it.  Everything else the kids wrote down was on the experts lists:)  The kids decided to add a few other things that they thought were important!

Next the kids spent some time deciding how they wanted to create their poster and what pictures they wanted to use to make it more interesting.  I confess I did the line work on this poster as my kids just don't have the patience to draw a straight line and I can't handle uneven lines:(  But other than that the kids did all the work!

The finished poster and it is now hanging up in our school room for us to refer to as needed as we begin our unit on the actual Civil War.
 One of the things my husband and I discussed with the children was whether the Civil War was about states rights or about this is often up for debate among people.  The kids decided that while states rights were important that in nearly every case of the debate of state rights, slavery was mentioned.  Therefore the kids decided that slavery was a very important issue and that state rights and slavery could not be separated as both issues were intertwined.

Next I had forgotten I bought some cotton plants and brought them out for the kids to explore and try to remove the cotton seeds from the fibers.

the kids were surprised to see how many seeds could be found in a single puff of cotton.  They were also surprised how hard it was to remove the fibers and this gave them a better understanding of the importance of the Eli Whitney cotton gin

We counted 32 seeds in a single cotton plant!

If you want to see some other History posters we have done in the past take a look here!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Weekly Wrap up 8/21/15

It is getting harder and harder to find time to write posts with the schedule we are keeping.  I have several in my draft folder that need to be written, hopefully I will get some time this weekend:)!

We had so much fun this weekend attending two fun local events that gave us some amazing family time!

Our local botanical Gardens had a Chinese Lantern festival and it was beautiful--full post coming soon:)

Our tiny town put on a hot air balloon glow and it was fun to see--post hopefully coming soon:)

This is the official full week of school for us and we are back to working five days a week although still maintaining a shorter days as I did promise the kids they could have a shorter schedule until Sept when coop starts.

As for school we have kept a busy schedule as usual.  Firedrake completed another drawing with her art tutor that I think is very good...yes I know I am her Mother.  This week she had her last private lesson and soon she will begin her art class in coop with the same teacher.

She drew our Beardie--Isaac 

Field trip season has started up, we belong to a field trip coop and while over 70 field trips were submitted, we signed up for about 20.  Last year I over scheduled and we often had to miss the field trips, so I am hoping we planned this better this year.  Our first field trip was to a Recycling Center.

We had a great speaker who was very enthusiastic about this topic--hopefully a full post coming:)

The kids are working on creating a history poster to cement their knowledge of the events that lead up to the Civil War!  We have been reading and learning about all of the events over the summer and getting ready to discuss the war itself.  I hope to be writing about our process on this soon!

The kids brainstorm with me on all they remembered from our readings and we wrote it down.  Next we need to organize and start planning out our poster design!  I was very please to see what they remember!

That is our crazy week in a nutshell, hopefully I will get some time this weekend to finish up those posts:) which I am sure you are dying to read, LOL!

Have a great week!  Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Lincoln's Springfield home and tomb

After seeing where Lincoln spent his young adult years at Lincoln's New Salem we went to see where Lincoln lived in Springfield before becoming President.  It was pouring with rain this day so I have very few outside pictures.
Lincoln home where he lived for about 17 years with Mary and his 4 boys.

The family Parlor many of the furniture is original to the home and to the Lincoln family 

This may have been the room where Lincoln was told he was nominated for Republican President 

The furniture is original and is made of black horse hair

It was said the Mary may have had a bit of a spending problem and it got her in a lot of trouble when they lived at the White House

There are many rumors about their marriage, while they loved each other it was a very stormy relationship 

dining room

guest bedroom

Lincoln's bedroom which was separate from his wife which was a sign of wealth in those days.

Lincoln's writing desk where it is believed he work on for his law practice and during the lame duck session prior to becoming president. 

The help's quarter...It was reported that the Lincoln's often hired young girls to assist with the running of the house and the girls were often targets of the hijinks of the Lincolon son's who were quite wild.

It was reported that Mary loved to cook and did most of the family's meals.  Lincoln's favorite dessert was Mary's white almond cake, which she made often.
While living in this house the Lincoln's had four boys, one of which died in infancy.  Lincoln was gone for long periods while working on his law practice and his wife Mary often felt he had abandoned her so it was a source of tension.  Lincoln run for political office at the local level and become famous for his debates against Stephen Douglas while living here.

Our next stop was the Lincoln museum and his tomb
outside the tomb

Inside were replicate of various statues found throughout the US of Lincoln this one is of course the  replicate of the one found at the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC

We learned that Lincoln served in the military but didn't really see any action which disappointed him

HIs tomb--he heard an interesting story from the park ranger where several years after his burial several people broke into the tomb wanting to kidnap Lincoln's body.  Luckily Pinkerton's men knew about the plot and where waiting for them inside the tomb and they were arrested

Mary Todd, his wife and two of his children are buried here

A bronze face mask where everyone seems to touch his nose!
We had a great tour of Springfield Illinois an learned a great deal about Lincoln, his life and his presidency.  We also spent time touring the Lincoln museum which I will try to write a post about later.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Weekly Wrap up

It has been a crazy, busy week!

 I have made a huge decision to significantly cut back on Facebook!  I been thinking about it for several months but finally decided that I had had enough of people ranting about things they obviously had not clearly researched.   I found the the rants angering and  depressing me.  Let me just say I wasn't entirely innocent myself when it came to discussing my opinions freely, and I found if someone posted something particularly annoying I took some pleasure in posting something to annoy them back!   I am not one to look for controversy and I dislike confrontation and yet I found myself opening up more and more to those people who seem to relish in the sport of arguing, and it was for the most part my own doing!   So for my sanity I cut the cord, I unfriended everyone, except my husband.  I decided to remain on Facebook for homeschool groups only!  The first few days was tough I will admit, but it has been a week now and I am so relieved and feeling so much lighter!     Next I plan to cull though my homeschool Facebook groups, I didn't realized I belong to over 50 groups!  I am going to start cutting out any group that can't seem to be pleasant and just be supportive of homeschooling and of each other!  The need to be so judgmental in the cyber world is so exhausting and draining!   It is such a relief to be free of all the negativity of cyberspace, I wish I had cut the cord so much sooner!  I have set the goal of being off my personal page for 60 days and then if I feel the need to return I will slowly add people back on but only those who are positive, and uplifting.  I want to keep up with friends and know how their kids are doing, what travel opportunities they are having, not listen to their political or religious rants and I am sure they feel the same about me.  So when or if I return to Facebook I will be a different poster and make sure to bring joy and light to my world and to my friends!

For history the kids are studying the Civil War and we spent the weekend learning about Abraham Lincoln.  We toured Lincoln New Salem a town where Lincoln owned a store, the Lincoln museum, and Lincoln's SpringField Home.

We had fun learning about Lincoln's early years, marriage, and his Presidency.  
On Monday I had second MRI appt and this time I was able to get through it just fine, thanks in part to some medication that made me sleepy:)  Now I await the results and hope to get to some answers to why I continue to get neck and arm pain.  It has been 5 weeks and I am more than ready to have it go away :(.

On Tuesday I took the kids to six flags which is only a few minutes away from us.  This is the last week where the park will be open during the week as Public schools open next week. We have season passes but really haven't gone as often as we usually do because of my pain.
The lines were so much shorter this week as many of the local kids have returned to public school so the kids rode many of the rides twice.  It was a bit boring for me as I didn't go on a single ride for fear of causing more neck injuries:( 

Wednesday night was night at the ballpark with my husbands workmates  MarioFan was able to get a ball from the pregame activities which he was very excited about

Somewhere in that mass of people is my Husband holding the flag during the National anthem, he won a drawing at work for the honor:)

Firedrake is not a baseball fan and spent the evening drawing  and then wondering why everyone was cheering when a run was made for the home team:)  

Thursday and Friday were school days at home as we are still just doing half days.  I was able to sign the kids up for their coop classes and looks like we will be attending full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays and each child will have a morning class and then an afternoon class, unfortunately due to the school there will be down time for each child so I will be reworking their school schedule as this year both will be expected to find a quiet space to do some of their independent work at the coop.  This should be an interesting experience for us all:)!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Lincoln's New Salem Village

In our history lesson we are learning about the Civil War and the many people who helped shape history.  A study could not be complete without taking an in depth look at Abraham Lincoln before he became president as well as his Presidency.  Since we are only about two hours away from Springfield, Illinois we took a trip out to visit a few of the sites that would give us more information about Lincoln.

First stop was New Salem which is about 20-30 miles away from Springfield and where Lincoln moved as a young man, it is here he owned and operated a store (which failed) and really worked on his education.  Lincoln only had one or two years of schooling as a child so he really was a self taught man.

New Salem is a reconstructed 1800's Frontier Town.  There is only one original building at the site, however it is the  original site of the town

The site often hold public days where more reactors are present giving tours and answering question but the day we attended there were few around.

Many of the building are fitted to show what living conditions were like

Kids inspecting the way long cabins were built


Sitting down in the one room Church/school house

This town had about 30  families that lived here during the time Lincoln lived here


Many homes had their business on one side of the house and then the family lived in the other side of the house

Loved the way this window open

Many homes have kitchen garden outside the homes that were attended by the wives.  Further out many of the men had larger fields and attend  to the animals.

Lincoln co-owned a store and it is said that his partner drank and Lincoln read so neither paid much attention to the store

There is no actual record of what Lincoln sold in his store but it would look something like this

I loved the spelling of Cigars on this jar!

We were told this broom was made from broom corn, which I had never heard of!

And we were shown the many uses of the broom corn and told every household had seeds to grow their own in their gardens

Broom corn, looks exactly like corn except much taller and no corn:)

We were also told that the hats were tall for the farmers as it allowed more air to circulate  and reduce heat on their heads

Town Tavern

Guest would often sleep 3-4 to a bed!

An early cotton machine that carded the cotton 

we were told that in order to move the machine, oxen were placed outside to walk on this wooden  wheel

Black smith house 

This house was unusual as it contained two families one family on each side.  

Throughout the property there were many animals  to see as well.

This trip gave us an idea of Lincoln's early years as a young man,  We heard of a rumor love story (historians aren't sure if the story is true)  We heard stories about his childhood.  We also heard stories of how Lincoln self taught himself law and business.  It was a good introduction to seeing how Lincoln grew up.  Our next stop was to see the Lincoln house, museum and tomb!