Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
We started at this site. We printed off their worksheets and went through all of the sections. They had great information about the Aztec gods & goddesses, their mythology, their temples, everyday life, etc. And, they have some great coloring pages! They also have a link for you to calculate dates in Aztec heiroglyphs, some neat activities about their calendar and what the different parts mean, and a part about the history of chocolate! (again, it's at http://home.freeuk.net/elloughton13/mexico.htm)
We also used this Scholastic site to print off a calendar and 2 maps (with & without labels) to work on more geography of the region with our cork boards and push pins.
Another day, we used a Core Knowledge unit to talk about Columbus, Cortez (conquerer of the Aztecs) and Pizarro (conquerer of the Incas). I loved how it tied these 3 men together - how one man's experience led to another. And, at the end, it had a review where it compared and contrasted them.
I also used this idea from CK. I pretended I was a conquistador and placed my flag in Alexandra's territory and "claimed" it as my own. Then, I went and gathered all of her riches and said they were mine. I thought it really drove home the point of how the Spaniards had no right to take the land & treasures that didn't belong to them (not to mention the people!), but they thought it was OK.
CK also had this quote from Cortez: "We suffer from a disease that only gold can cure." And, they contrasted it with this quote from the Bible: "Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has." Luke 12:15. We talked about whether Cortez was following Jesus command. (Nope!)
Before listing some other resources, I just wanted to mention some thoughts I had while doing this study.
First of all, I was disgusted with the human sacrifices - and just the sheer amount of it! How disgusting that they would believe their god wanted them to do this. And, at the same time, how dedicated they were to their gods!
Then, I started thinking how God in the Old Testament wanted blood sacrifices, though not human!!! Blood had to be shed for forgiveness. But, in the end, God did require a human sacrifice - His own Son!
- The Encylopedia of the Ancient Americas by Green, MacDonald, Stelle & Stotter - I picked this book about at Half Price Books and it has good information, photos, and projects
- The Aztecs (a History Beneath Your Feet book) by Peter Chrisp - another book with good info, photos, and projects
- The Aztecs (A True Book) by Santella - we always enjoy this series
- The Crafts & Cultures of the Aztecs by Jovinelly & Netelkos - more info, photos & projects
- Aztecs, Inca & Maya (DK Eyewitness Book)
- Hernan Cortez: Conquistador and Explorer by Molzahn - this was the main book we used for Cortez
- You Wouldn't Want to be an Aztec Sacrifice: Gruesome Things You'd Rather Not Know by MacDonald - this was Alexandra's favorite book, though I wouldn't recommend it for everyone! It does get pretty gruesome!
We learned that Picasso's father was an art teacher, who recognized his talents at a young age. His style changed many times and included:
- The Blue Period - this started after a friend of his died and was his first big break from painting like others - he mixed blue paint with his other colors and made blue people, blue walls, etc. Alexandra and I tried blue paintings of our own - they are both about something sad in our life - when her hamster Emma died about a month ago - mine shows a blue tree with a cross under it representing where she's buried and Alexandra's shows Emma with wings while Alexandra is on the ground standing next to Emma's tombstone (photo of The Old Guitarist taken at The Art Institute in Chicago, but it doesn't show how blue it is!)
- The Rose Period - Picasso fell in love and broke his "blue period" and changed into a "rose period." His colors were "happier" and he started painting happier things. He made many paintings of circus people at this time.
- Cubism - Picasso developed this style and became famous for it. Cubism changed over the years, but some of them are of people with their facial parts placed in the wrong place. Many of these paintings look like they were broken and put back together. We played a fun on-line activity for this one that we found and Toad Haven. We went to Picasso Head and created our own mixed up faces. Lots of fun! (below: Picasso's The Red Armchair seen at The Art Institute)
- Collage - "Art historians generally attribute the first use of collage in fine art to Pablo Picasso in 1912, when he glued a piece of patterned oilcloth to a cubist still life." We made our own collage art - I actually tried to kind of copy one of Picasso's works called Lady with a Hat while Alexandra made up her own creation - A Peek Into Lunch, complete with a sandwich, apple, napkin, and other lunch items.
- Guernica - We also looked at one of his most famous paintings, Guernica. Picasso painted this large painting of a town in Spain called Guernica which was by the town he'd grown up in. It had been bombed during the Spanish Civil War and thousands of innocent people had died. Picasso made this large painting to demonstrate his anger.
- Picasso (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia - a great series
- Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules by True Kelley (a Smart About Art book) - another great series by various authors
- Pable Picasso by Linda Lowery (an Own My Own Biography)
- Picasso: Art Activity Pack - this is the first one of this series that we've used, but I have 4 or 5 others waiting to be used! This has descriptions and photos of several of Picasso's art works and then an acitivity - in this pack, the activitiy was the collage Alexandra and I did, shown above
- Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail by Anholt - a book we LOVE (below - photo of Alexandra in front of one of Picasso's paintings of the Girl with the Ponytail
- When Pigasso met Mootise by Laden - this book was OK, but gives you an idea of the artwork of these 2 artists and their relationship
- Picasso and Minou by Maltbie - very cute book about Picasso and his real-life cat
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Basically, you get to have the park to yourselves! There were about 40 homeschoolers divided into 2 groups and a teenage girl's birthday party group. We got to go "behind stage" at a lot of the shows and see the animals up close. I loved how the animals actually seemed glad to see us and would swim over to say "hello!" The beluga, above, is one of my favorite sea mammals.
Here's a little killer "music" to end the post. We had visited the "grown up" first, and it was asleep floating in the water. Then, as we were leaving, we passed the "baby's" tank - she's about 2 years old. She started singing to us. We thought it was so neat!!!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
But, today, I thought I'd share what God has been showing me the past 2 days while studying Luke. I haven't been having my time alone with God lately, and it shows. Yesterday, I "drug" out my Bible and thought I'd try again. God hit me so powerfully with several verses, and he did the same today. And, I just feel the need to share! I hope these verses & thoughts help someone else. These verses are all from Luke 5.
v. 5 - "But because you say so, I will..." These words were spoken by Simon Peter after they'd been working all night and hadn't caught anything. Jesus had told him to put the nets in a certain place, and Simon replied that they hadn't caught anything all night "but because you say so, I will..." Isn't that what our response to Jesus should be? We might have tried so many things and God tells us to try something else and we think it is hopeless... "but because (He) says so..." we should try. He is God.
v. 8 - "Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man." This is again Simon speaking after he sees the great number of fish they had caught. When we truly see Jesus, we see all of our sinfulness and are ashamed of it. (But, God can forgive us and make us clean again!)
v. 11 - They "left everything and followed him." That is what God asks of us - just to leave our "things" - our problems, doubts, "baggage" - and follow Him. He will lead us down the path we should go.
v. 12 - "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." I have been repeating the same sin, over and over again lately and I feel unable to stop. But, God can make me clean! I don't have to be victim to myself. God is able to make me clean and make me into a new creature! We need to ask Him for help when we feel like this!
v. 13 - "Jesus reached out and touched him." These words were spoken about a man "unclean" with leprosy. When we feel "unclean" by the sin in our life, God is still willing to reach out & touch us!!! He doesn't look away or walk on the other side of the street. He reaches out & touches us. What an incredible thing - that the perfect God of the universe would reach out and touch me!
v. 16 - "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places & prayed." If Jesus "had to" pray - and often! - how much more do we need to pray?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
But, I couldn't resist the urge to show Alexandra the tail. And, we got out her microscope and took the above photo at 60X. Isn't it neat?
The tail continued to wiggle for several minutes and we videotaped him with our digital microscope. Even after it stopped wiggling, it would start again if we touched it. Pretty neat defense system! (By the way, it was a lot more active at the beginning. This is probably 3-5 minutes after the tail fell off.)
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Our first stop was to a nature preserve. There were dragonflies and lovebugs everywhere! I'd really never seen so many dragonflies, though there are often an abundance of lovebugs this time of year.
I also loved the lilypads. We looked for frogs, but I only found one and it was too far away to photograph.
We got pretty close to two small alligators. This is the fourth time for us to see them out in the wild (and all within the past year!) and the novelty is starting to wear off. But, it's still exciting! These two were about 2 foot long. They sat around for a long time and let us get really close.
Here's a close up after one of them had decided he was safer in the water.
Unless you're a real nature person, you might find this gross. It's alligator scat! The kids thought it was pretty gross to start with, but then thought it was pretty neat. There are a lot of berries that aren't digested at all. In fact, the sign with info about the alligators just mentioned different kinds of animals they eat - nothing about berries!
Our second stop was the beach where we ate and played in the water. It was a very hot day and the water was a wonderful temperature. There were even outdoor showers and indoor bathrooms. This is my favorite photo of the day - a wonderful sand crab. (You might click this one to enlarge it. You can see the hairs on his legs!) Some of the kids and I had fun as we blocked the front and back door to his house and he was running around. We weren't trying to be mean - we just wanted to watch him longer and not let him go in his hole. And, we did let him "go home."
Our last stop of the day was a fish hatchery/aquarium. We toured the facility and saw how they raised the fish. It was very neat to see the small eggs and "fry." It was a hot, steamy, fish-smelling tour, though. The kids favorite part was the touch tank where you could touch crabs, fish and anenomes.
At the end, the kids were allowed to feed some of the fish. We were all amazed at how quickly the fish came and splashed around trying to get their food!
And, Alexandra taped a magnet to the top of this little car and showed how she could move the car because "like poles repel." This was lots of fun!
We really enjoyed the dolphin show - though it was only 15 minutes long! It was nice that school was back in session as there were not very many people there. They said up until a few days earlier, the place had been packed!
Although many of the computer games were broken, when they worked, they were one of our favorite things! In this game, you tried to save the sea horses!
I got excited to run into a few Precissionism paintings by Demuth that I had studied just a few weeks earlier!
We saw lots of paintings by Georgia O'Keefe.
Alexandra looking at one of the miniature room displays - there were probably 50 or so and they were so small and detailed! We both love miniatures.
Alexandra in front of Mary Cassatt's The Child's Bath - one of our favorites! We stayed in front of this one quite a while.
A painting by Picasso we see in books - Mother and Child.
Another one Alexandra got very excited about since we'd studied it. This one is Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando by Renoir.
LOTS of Monet's!!!
And, a highlight was seeing Seurat's large painting, Sunday afternoon on La Grande Jatte. My mother has memories of seeing this painting when she was a little girl, and I hope Alexandra always remembers this special day when we saw so many incredible pieces of art!