Saturday, July 27, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 21

We learned about Robert Fulton this week, an engineer and inventor who is credited with developing the first commercially used steamboat.  He also invented the first submarine and marine torpedoes.  We would have liked to take a trip to the Steamboat Arabia Museum, but it didn't happen this week. Maybe soon!

We usually do our spelling words verbally, but since our list this week was comprised of words that must begin with a capital letter in order to be spelled correctly, Miss M did them on the marker board!

Another exciting thing happened this week.  It was the one year anniversary of Hubby being sworn in as a U.S. Citizen!  We celebrated with red-white-and-blue streamers and cheesecake decorated with tiny American flags!

We spent a lot of time at the local library this week!  First, we attended a special showing of Pecos Bill or How the West Was Fun.  The kids had so much fun watching this cute vaudeville show.

An Elvis-inspired Paul Bunyan sang all about losing Babe, even crooning right in front of Miss M.  She gets all shy when we're in public, but she loved it just the same!

The kids have been reading all summer and keeping a log of their books/minutes, so this week they finally earned their third (and final) prize!  They each picked out a gorgeous art kit! (I confiscated the two vials of super glue…!!!)  Miss M plans to make more art for her blog.

I picked up some book basket books for the next couple of weeks.  Here's how I keep them organized before putting them into the book basket.  Some weeks, like week 23, have quite a few different topics covered in a single week, so I will probably rotate books in and out of the book basket more than once that week.

Friday arrived hot and humid! We didn't go for a nature walk (it would have been like trying to hike through a sauna), but Miss M discovered some Queen Anne's Lace growing in the yard and we had a discussion about the red petals in its very center.

Miss M can't wait until Week 23 so we can learn about our home state of Missouri!  One more week to go before then!

Our adventures from previous weeks:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 20

This week started with day 1 of a week long science project.  Although our intuition tells us that seeds won't grow without water, we are scientists and we mustn't say so until we test our theory!  Miss M put 10 unpopped popcorn seeds on a paper towel on a plate and covered it with aluminum foil.  Then she put 10 unpopped popcorn seeds on a paper towel on a plate and added enough water to fully dampen the paper; then she covered it with foil too.  Each day she opened the two foil covers to observe what was happening to the seeds.

On Tuesday, Miss M sorted and rinsed a pound of red beans.  Then she put them to soak in a large glass measuring cup.

The next morning she drained and rinsed them and put them in a pot of water to cook.  She cut up an onion, a green pepper, and some andouille sausage.

Why did she do this, you ask?  Because we were learning about the Louisiana Purchase, of course!  We ate Red Beans and Rice for supper that night.  It was very well received!!

In math this week, Miss M encountered something new, something that stumped her for a bit.  Subtraction with Carrying (or Subtraction with Renaming as it's called now).  It's hard for Miss M to not immediately grasp a concept.  We had a long talk about how fortunate she is that so many things come easily to her and how she when she encounters something difficult, she needs to work hard at it with a cheerful attitude.

We brought out some manipulatives to help illustrate the concept.  Eventually Miss M came up with a narrative that helped her understand the steps needed to complete each problem.  Before long, she was trucking right on through her homework!  (I do think we need to work a little on basic math facts though).

It was blazing hot out, so we didn't spend much time outdoors.  But a little of the outdoors came in with us one day!  The kids very much enjoyed the antics of this friendly katydid.  They would have liked to keep it around longer, but I figured it needed to be back outside looking for its supper.

Little Guy was the only one who dared brave the heat for long.  I gave him a pot of cold water and he enjoyed his sand and water table.  Quite a bit of the water ended up on him as well as on my mums growing nearby.

On day 5, Miss M was amazed to see how much her watered seeds had grown.  She concluded that seeds do indeed need water in order to grow!

In spite of some rough patches, this week was much better than last and we enjoyed ourselves immensely!

Our adventures from previous weeks:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hands-On Homeschooling: The Birds and the Bees, Part 1

My first "real" post for the Hands-On Homeschooling column at Homeschool Mosaics is up!

Come read about the Birds and the Bees!

Don't worry! It's 100% family friendly! :-)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 19

We had a short week of school this week.  Hubby was home from work Thursday and Friday, so I did a bit of rearranging of our schedule: dropped 2 days of math & reorganized our science and history to fit in three days.  I figured out that we're going to be done with math before we're done with the rest of our lessons anyway.

In Bible we reviewed the story of the Passover from last week and talked about what it meant for the Israelites to put the blood of the lamb on the frames of their doors.  I gave Miss M some strips of red construction paper to put around the frame of her bedroom door.  This activity wasn't part of our curriculum, but I think it helped her understand what happened at the first Passover a little better.

In history we learned about Johnny Appleseed and I gave the kids each a cup of tomato juice, the state drink of Ohio.  They were both pretty disgusted. Ha!

Little Guy wanted to do a little scientific investigation of his own while Miss M was doing her work, so he got out a box of possum bones (and insisted on a pair of gloves like on Bones).  He really enjoys exploring natural artifacts and, as in all things, he notices all the details and sees the similarities and differences between things.

Now for the honest bit: this was a really rough week.  Miss M did not want to do her writing or math and spent ages getting her lessons done.  Tears were shed.  Frustration levels ran high.  Tempers were on the verge of being lost.  Lots of prayers were said!  It wasn't pretty.  But in the end, she completed her lessons and hopefully learned that next time she might as well get her work done more quickly instead of stretching it out hour upon hour.  Here's hoping next week goes more smoothly!

Our adventures from previous weeks:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Old Jeans to Bohemian Maxi Skirt

Nothing is cooler -- and at the same time modest -- than a maxi skirt in the summer!  Inspired by this pin, I converted an old pair of holey jeans into a cool, flowy maxi skirt.

I added a tiered skirt of cotton voile from with an underskirt of plain bleached muslin.

I was careful to pull the front pockets inside out before cutting and sewing so I wouldn't render them useless.  I love pockets and wouldn't want to sacrifice them!

Similarly, I did not want to cut off the back pockets!  So before cutting off the lower portion of the jeans, I picked out the stitching on the lower half of the pockets.  After adding the skirt, I re-stitched the pockets down right overtop the voile!  It's a detail I'm in love with!

It's comfy, cool, and versatile!
And feminine! I feel so pretty when I wear it!
Perfect for summer!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 18

We are officially halfway done with our year!  Week 18 marks the start of the second half of 2nd grade.  If we stay on track -- and we've been doing a wonderful job of that; much better than when we used Calvert! -- we'll finish the middle of October and take the rest of the year off.  This week also marked the first week of our "official" homeschooling since Miss M will be turning 7 in the fall, the age of compulsory school attendance in Missouri.  Missouri requires 1000 hours of instruction between July 1st and the following June 30th, so we just started a new school "year."

This week we learned about Eli Whitney and his invention of the cotton gin.  I purchased some cotton bolls from etsy seller Pattie's Passion so the kids would be able to see what they're like hands-on.  Our teacher's manual had recommended flattening out cotton balls and glueing construction paper "seeds" to them for this lesson, but I wanted to show them the real thing.  Pattie kindly included a few extra in my order!!

The kids loved this!  And Miss M really "got" the point too.  She kept saying to me, "Mama! Imagine how hard it would be to do this all. day. long.  With no air conditioning!  You'd get so tired!  These seeds are hard to get out! My fingers are tired already!"  (Yes, she speaks in exclamations.)  Little Guy gave it a try as well.  He didn't have as much to say about it and was content to do one or two before going back to his cars in the other room.

Cotton seeds still stuck in their cotton.
In Bible we learned about Jesus who is the Lamb of God.  Both kiddos memorized the verse in no time at all and we had lots of fun bleating and baaing around the house all week.

We had two science experiments this week!  The first was to put some milk in two small jars and let them sit for a while: one in a cool place and one in a warm place.

The milk in the warm place soured quickly, but the milk in the cool place remained sweet.  Miss M learned that bacteria causes the milk to sour and it grows more quickly in a warm environment.

The tag reads: Science "Expierement" Do Not Drink
Then we learned about cells, both animal and plant.  Each kid made a simple model of a cell with jello, grapes, and smarties in a zip lock bag.  The smarties kind of dissolved, so they weren't a great choice, but I knew the kids would have freaked out if I used dried beans in their jello!

Supplies for a simple cell model.

This was a big hit too!  Miss M loved squishing the jello around in the baggie and telling everyone what all the parts represented.  Little Guy just liked eating the jello and grapes!

It was a busy week and we were glad when the weekend arrived.  We look forward to starting afresh on Monday!

Our adventures from previous weeks:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

United States Panel Quilt

I saw this pretty United States panel print at JoAnn a few months ago -- on sale! -- for just a few dollars and couldn't resist buying it. Such bright colors! Such cute drawings on each state!

Little Guy driving across the U.S. while it was still a work in progress!
I've been thinking the kids need a more-kid-sized quilt since they're quickly outgrowing their toddler-sized ones.  So I added sashing and some blocks from flannel I had left over from other projects.

Finished quilt hanging on the garden fence.
The resulting quilt is, well, I never actually measured it, but it's smaller than twin size and larger than crib size.

I used a scrap of red knit to put a heart in Missouri. The kids thought that was the coolest thing ever!

Uh oh, now I've posted a close-up shot and you can see my horrible attempt at free-motion quilting!  It was my first attempt!  I have a lot to learn (obviously), but it was so much fun and the kids don't care at all, so I made myself let go of my perfectionism and just went with it this time.

The ocean turned out kind of cool and wave-like!  It's Canada that is a bit scary to look too close at. Hehe!

Hubby was funny when he saw me making it; he asked, "That's not for someone is it?  I mean, it's for us, right?"  I think he's been a bit jealous of the quilts I've made for others lately.  He was delighted we'd be keeping this one!

Happy Fourth of July!