Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mysteries of the Nile & Our Day

We had a wonderful day today. We started off by going to see the IMAX film of Mysteries of the Nile since we have just started studying the Nile in SOTW. It was an amazing film - Alexandra wants to go and see it again. It is about a small group who were the first ever to travel the Nile (through the Blue Nile) from source to the Mediterranean Sea. They went through Ethiopia, Sudan, and finally through Egypt. The scenery & story were amazing. We particularly enjoyed the Nile Crocodiles and the hippos. (Above is a picture of Alexandra with her "scary" croc!)

Next, we went to the medical museum. It was almost empty! We played for awhile in Nanoworld, and then went to a Nanotechnology class. We were the only 2 in it! It was a lot of fun and my favorite thing was the memory wire. You could twist it any way you wanted to, and when it was dropped in heated water, it went back to its orignial shape immediately!

Then, we saw a cow's eye dissection. Alexandra didn't seem to get grossed out at all. My favorite part was seeing the retina - it was so colorful and beautiful!

At home, we did some school work and then Alexandra went swimming and played like she was on the Nile. She even had her own kayak.

Lastly, we used something new I'd just bought called Moon Sand. We made a model of the Nile River complete with pyramids. We wanted to add some crocodiles, but couldn't figure out how. We ended up just building some pyramids. It's an interesting substance to work with - it feels a lot like sand, but it molds more like wet sand. But, it won't mix with water - it actually floats! I hope we figure out more things to make with this new medium.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reasons for Exploration

We are using "New World Explorers" by Homeschool in the Woods and our first lesson has been about WHY explorers wanted to explore. Part of the curriculum is to make a lapbook and our first item is a little booklet called "Reasons for Exploration." We had a lot of fun gluing things in our booklet to represent each of the 5 "Reasons."

Last week, we made spice cookies. Some explorers were trying to find a safer sea route to get to the spices they desired because the Silk Route had become too dangerous. Alexandra loved the cookies and I thought they were horrible. :-) But, we both had fun making them! What a fun start to our study!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Photographic Odyssey

We recently went to the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth. It is an art museum that primarily focuses on photography. We went for a homeschool class for my dd, but the parents also took a separate class. It was one of the best classes I've ever been to! Amazing!

The teacher was so enthusiastic and you could tell how passionate she was about the subject, the history of photography. We discussed photography for 2 hours and I could have sat for many more hours.
First of all, the history is just amazing. And, the teacher was showing us what was going on in other areas of the art-world at the same time. We also would just study a photo or picture and discuss the people, the scenery, etc. It's hard to explain how it was opening my eyes to studying art! There are pictures forever etched in my mind now!

After the "lecture", I thought, "I wish I had found a career I was passionate about." And then I realized something: while I wasn't that passionate about my career I learned while in college, I am passionate about homeschooling and am now doing something I love!

Alexandra enjoyed her class, too, and we both made new friends - which just happened to be a mother & her daughter! So, afterwards, we went out to eat at McDonald's and then back to the museum to let the girls show us around.

The girls learned, among other things, about truth in art. They learned that even pictures can lie. They studied a photo of a native American girl in front of a Navajo blanket. She wasn't a Navajo!

The children each brought something that was really "them." Alexandra brought her American Girl doll, Jess. The children had their friend take a picture of them, and then they took a picture of their object. They then had these 2 Polaroids matted which we can frame later. It was a great project and a great learning experience. We will definitely go back for their next homeschool class this spring!


We are using Story of the World I (SOTW) for ancient history this year. The first chapter had to do with nomads. We learned how the nomads would move on, from their cave or tent, anytime they'd depleted the food in the area. So, we played we were nomads and made our kitchen table into a tent. We left our tent to gather things like "nuts", "berries", and "lizards." Then, when their wasn't very much food left in the area, we moved on.... to the living room. It was a good way to reinforce how the nomads lived.

Our favorite two books about these early people:
  • The First Dog by Jan Brett - one of Alexandra's favorite authors - it shows how tamed wolves would be useful to these wandering people
  • Mik's Mammoth by Roy Gerrard - this is a great book that shows how the nomads might have developed into farmers - very cute, rhyming book that "stars" a boy & his pet mammoth

Mount Rushmore

Alexandra sent 2 friends along with her Nana & Papa as they went on a vacation that included visiting Mount Rushmore. The 2 friends are named "Nana Bunny" and "Papa Bunny." They loved their trip and we were happy to get a scrapbook of their trip and lots of pictures.

When Nana & Papa bunny got back to our house, they brought with them a package from the original Nana & Papa. Alexandra got a map of the Badlands & the Black Hills, a Mount Rushmore postcard & figurine (I'm really just not sure what to call it), and 2 books - Y is for Yellowstone: The Story Behind the Scenery and Who Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount Rushmore by Patrick. We really enjoyed reading this book about Mount Rushmore. I thought the best part of the book where it showed pictures of the 4 presidents "in their offices" and showed how their lifetimes were different from each other. I highly recommend it!

How We Learned the Earth is Round

As we begin our study of American History, Truthquest (our "spine") begins with the explorers. We have been studying the explorers for a few weeks and have discussed how people used to believe the earth is flat, but then they discovered it was round.

About 2,500 years ago, the Greeks discovered that the earth must be round. They based this both because of how boats look as the sail over the horizon and because of the curved shape they saw on the moon during a lunar eclipse. A great book describing this discovery is How We Learned the Earth is Round by Patricia Lauber.

The book also describes how a Greek measured the circumference of the earth. This was done over 2,000 years ago by Eratosthenes. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky is a great book which tells this this story, although the last few pages get pretty detailed.

In the late 1400's, Columbus believed the earth was round and wanted to sail west, instead of east, to reach the Indies. A good book about Columbus is A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus by David A. Adler.

Then, Magellan believed he could sail all the way around the earth. He didn't survive the 3-year trip, but some of his crew did and thus they proved that the earth is round. It's a longer book, but we are enjoying Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? by Sydelle Kramer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bed of Nails

While visiting family, we also went to a museum in nearby Ft. Worth. The girls (Alexandra & her cousin) enjoyed digging for dinosaur bones in the hot Texas sun. After this, my mom, brother & I left my sister in charge of the girls while we went to an art museum. When we came back, the girls showed us some of their favorite things, including this bed of nails. They said it didn't hurt, so I tried it. Well, maybe it doesn't hurt, but it isn't very comfortable. :-)

Rock Climbing

This past weekend, we went to visit some of our family. While there, we went to the mall to let my daughter & niece go rock climbing. I couldn't believe how high Alexandra climbed! She was a little afraid to come down, though.

After awhile, I decided to give it a try. It was harder than I thought! And, I was a little afraid to come down, too. :-) In fact, the first time down, I landed on my "seat."

Alexandra said she isn't trying this again until she's her cousin's age - 8. :-) Her cousin actually tried 6 times and finally made it to the top to ring the bell! Yeah for her!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Official M&M's History of the Calendar

Today we read a cute, informative book, called The Official M&M's History of the Calendar. I like how the more we learn, the more we come across things we've learned.

We've also been reading a book about constellations by H.A. Rey. The M&M's book mentioned Sirius, and we were able to look it up in this book.

Also, in Latin, one of our vocabulary words is luna, which means moon. In the M&M's book, it mentions the lunar calendar.

It's also just a great book for this year as we study ancient history as it mentioned several of those societies. And, in American history we've talked some about the Maya who were also mentioned.

Oh, and in math we're getting ready to study Roman numerals. Alexandra was excited to see the year 2000 is written MM - almost like M&M. :-)

Monday, August 14, 2006

1st Day of 1st Grade at Home!

Today was Alexandra's 1st day of 1st grade at our homeschool! What a fun day! My plan was to start school at 9:00 - we actually started at 9:30, but we'd already read our literature for the day (about 20 minutes - 2 chapters of The Secret Garden).

We did school until 2 pm with only a 30 minute break for lunch. So, 4 hours! That's much more than we were doing last year. And, Alexandra asked for more!

We did: Bible study, poetry recitation, math (finished RightStart Level B with the last lesson and the test!!!), Latin, Phonics, and then Story of the World. I guess that's it. And, we still didn't do all I wanted to do. :-)

It was really neat that in both Latin and Phonics, we discussed the Latin and English alphabets, vowels and consonants, and how many letters are in our alphabet.

Tonight for our American studies, we read Viking Ships at Sunrise (Magic Tree House). In it, there were Latin words! It's really neat how our new knowledge keeps showing up!

A few days ago, we bought some carnivorous plants - Venus Flytraps and some pitcher plants. Well, we got to feed one of the flytraps today. We ate our lunch outside and put some food near the plant. When a fly landed nearby, we put a big, see-through drawer upside down over the plant and fly. It took a few hours, but the flytrap finally caught the fly. We removed the "cover" and we could actually see the fly inside of the leaves when we held it near the window! And, you could HEAR the fly trying to get out! Kind of sad, I guess, but we thought it was neat - and thus is life and death!

Besides school, we even got 2 loads of laundry done, ran a few errands, and cooked breakfast and dinner! Wow! But, I didn't get any housework done. I really have trouble fitting both schoolwork and housework into a single day. I'll have to figure it out, though.

I'm excited that we've had such a great start to our year!


Last week, we went to our medical sciences museum. They have a temporary exhibit that we hadn't seen yet called "Nanoworld." It has a lot of hands on activities dealing with things that are microscopic - including blood. One of Alexandra's favorite activities was playing in a "drop of blood." It was actually a red tent full of red balls. Hidden within the red balls was a white loofah. (sp?) It was, of course, a "white blood cell" amidst all of the red blood cells. (There were actually supposed to be several, but we only found 1.) This activity was supposed to show how in a drop of blood are lots & lots of RBC's, but comparatively very few WBC's. The kids enjoyed taking turns hiding the WBC & then searching for it.

Today, we got a very cute, scientific book from the library. It's called A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers. We also read Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney, a great author.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back to School Shopping

Today we went shopping for "back to school" clothes. (Earlier in the week we shopped for school supplies.) We went to the local mall and found quite a few outfits. After eating lunch at the food court, we shopped a little more. Then, we did what we did last year so I guess it's our "tradition." We went to a ceramics painting place and each of us painted a piece. Alexandra painted 2 puppies in a basket & I painted a teddy bear. (Last year, we both painted ballerinas.) Then, we had a giant pretzle and a smoothie. It was a fun, but tiring, day.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More About Explorers

We have spent several hours the past few days (at Alexandra's request!) studying more about the explorers of North & South America. Yesterday, we read Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration by Nancy Winslow Parker. It was a good book with nice illustrations that covered a dozen explorers. As we read, Alexandra used our wall map of the world. It was also neat to see under which flag each explorer sailed under - most of them sailing for Spain. After reading, we drew pictures of ships like in the book and using Draw, Write, Now.

Today, we read So You Want to Be an Explorer? by Judith St. George. This covers a lot of other explorers - not just those of the Age of Exploration and not just "traditional" explorers.

Then, we read Leif's Sage: A Viking Tale by Jonathan Hunt. This was a nice story about Leif's discovery of "Vinland." Also, the book contains letters called runes. On the last page is the "decoder." We worked on decoding them, but will have to try again tomorrow. We did decode the 1st page, and that was neat!

Another book we read was Leif the Lucky by d'Aulaire. I really like this book because it also talks about Leif's conversion to Christianity.

Lastly, a book we haven't read, but that looks good: Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan by Jean Fritz.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mount Rushmore Presidents

Alexandra's Nana & Papa are headed to Mount Rushmore next week, so we've been reading about the presidents of that mountain. We've got more books on order, but ere are the books we've read so far:
  • Take the Lead, George Washington by Judith St. George - this is a new author to us, and we really like these books
  • You're On Your Own, Teddy Roosevelt by Judith St. George
  • So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
  • George Washington by Clara Ingram Judson - this book is OK, but not great
  • A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson by David A. Adler
  • A Picture Book of George Washington by David A. Adler
  • A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler
  • George Washington and the General's Dog by Frank Murphy - very cute historical fiction story!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Explorers & Our World Map

Today we hung up our world map that we had bought quite a few months ago. I wish we had put it up sooner as we had so much fun with it!

We started back to school "part-time" today & will start "full-time" next Monday. All we ended up doing today was about an hour of history - studying Explorers.

We read the book Explorers by Fradin - a New True Book. As each country was mentioned, we looked it up on the map. And, we traced the paths that the various explorers traveled. As I'm not very good in geography, we had to refer to the computer several times. I know this map will help us both as we learn geography alongside history!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Home Depot & Michael's

Today Alexandra spent the morning "creating." First, we went to Home Depot for their Kids Workshop. I've meant to do this for a long time, but this is the first time we made it.

Today's activity was to build a pencil box. I thought they would show us step by step how to make our wooden box, but instead they gave Alexandra an apron, a kit, a hammer and the instructions. I was very surpised and wasn't sure what to do. I've never done anything like this before, but it turned out great! We did have to take part of it apart as the lid wouldn't slide on the first time, but the dad next to us did worse. :-) He had 2 children and accidentally swapped pieces between the 2 kids & so they had to take both boxes apart.

It was a good feeling to make something I wasn't sure I/we could do! And, neither one of us got any smashed fingers from all of the hammering! We will definitely be doing these workshops again and are excited that in September they are building bird houses!

After Home Depot, we went to Michael's craft store for their Kid's Club. Alexandra made a very cute flower in a pot that is also a picture holder. We also ran into some friends we haven't seen in about a year, so that was an added treat.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eskimo Joe's

Part of our trip to Oklahoma involved a stop at Eskimo Joe's. My brother often wears Eskimo Joe's shirts, so Alexandra has wanted to go there for a long time. She finally got her wish. And, we just happened to attend during their anniversary & got to take pictures with "Joe" and the dog (people in costume). We also met the owner & the artist who draws the pictures for t-shirts, etc. Alexandra got a pink Eskimo Joe's cup that turns purple when cold & a pink t-shirt. She wore the shirt the next day - she was so excited to finally have her own Eskimo Joe's shirt!

Related Posts with Thumbnails