Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Week 1 & 2

Alrighty, now that we're just finishing week 3 and starting week 4 in a day, I should probably recap Weeks 1 and 2.  I hope I can keep up with 2 week increments.  Time sure does fly!  I can't believe it.  I'm trying to take photos of what the kids do, but I don't always remember to use my camera.  That sounds strange coming from someone who has a photography website.  Yep, it's true.  I sometimes just get so involved with the kids (and messy) that I don't get my camera out.  And I've just quickly downsized photos for this recap, nothing fancy.

As I mentioned in our curriculum round-up for this year, we're using My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures for our main curriculum this year.  We're using Bob Jones English 4 and Horizons Math (2-4).

Right before school started we did our shopping for 2 weeks.  (We only grocery and material shop every two weeks, so it takes some planning).  While we were out the kids got a little new school year gift.  They always get a book and they each chose a chapter book this year (I think Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 2 and Stick Dog Chases a Pizza ).  They each also got a betta.  We were going to do some animal/insect habitat this year...but I didn't relish the thought of an ant farm with dying ants and we had just released some swallowtail butterflies that we grew from we went with fish.

We've already done with whole aquarium thing in the past and didn't want to go that route again. Low maintenance is what I desired.  So we went with Bettas!  We got fish bowls and decorative stones at the dollar store and then bought baby bettas.  $1 each for 2 bowls, $1 dollar for stones (each kid got half), and each baby betta was $1.99.  Plus food.  Cheap enough.  The kids are responsible for their fish.  They feed them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Right now they are only changing the water about every 10 days and we'll see if we need to change that to every week.  We'll eventually move the fish to bigger pickle jars or something when they get bigger.  In our research we found that Bettas can survive without food for a week, every once in a while.  We'll let you know what happens if we ever go on vacation.

Chewy got "Pearls."

Scooter got "Piranha."

We put the jars close together once and had a lesson in Betta behavior.  Pretty impressive, even for baby bettas.  I'm thinking we may have males.  You don't know when they are babies.  Chewy's is definitely looking like a male.  When we put the jars together the faces of the Bettas turned black and their fins went up.  They got really aggressive.  We will not be putting them in a bowl together!  And yes, we carefully read our Betta care pamphlet together.

Week 1 - Introduction

I did remember to get some first day of school pics.  The ones with the kids standing outside were actually taken at the end of the day.

They filled out "passport applications" on their first day.  They'll be taking a tour of the world this year.  The kids actually got real passports this summer, so it was fun to fill out applications for a pretend passport.  I wish I knew where their extra passport photos were so I could use those in their pretend ones.  I don't know what I did with them!  I can find mine, unfortunately.

We started the Wee Sing Around the World music on the first day.  The girl loves it.  And as much as the boy loves music, he wasn't so enthralled with "Hello to All the Children of the World."  He said it was a "babyish" song.  But he was trying not to crack a smile as the girl and I got him to dance with us.  It'll grow on him.

We began cursive handwriting.  The kids love it!  They call it "fancy" handwriting and will happily do handwriting this year.  The schools near us aren't teaching cursive anymore, but I think it's important to learn.  We run errands for our 90-year-old neighbor and she writes her shopping lists in cursive.  The kids would tell me they couldn't read her lists, so that's when I decided it was important to learn cursive.

My Father's World includes some science.  Being a former science teacher, I tweak it a little and add additional stuff.  The first week we made an earthworm niche.  We followed the directions.  The kids loved making it.  I was even impressed we were able to find earthworms!  I get excited over the earthworms, we didn't have any when we first moved here.  We dug around in different garden beds and were able to find around 9 small worms.  The kids even added some roly polies.  We were able to see some worm trails in our jar, but it didn't last long.  A roly poly had teeny babies and then the jar started to grow mold on top of the oats.  So the contents were dumped into our compost bin.

I'm adding in the The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series as we go through the year.  The kids love that series.  I'm doing my best to match up what we're learning in My Father's World to what we watch in Magic School Bus.  Sometimes they match and sometimes they don't.  I've also made up worksheets to go with each and every episode.  Crazy mom alert.  Since week 1 was about niches and habitats, we watched "Hops Home" and "In the City" from Magic School Bus.  The kids would watch the episodes while eating breakfast and then we would do the worksheet together first thing when school started at 8.  They are pretty good at recalling all they saw in the episode.  Usually at breakfast we listen to an audio book, but sometimes we skip that to watch Magic School Bus once or twice a week.  This first week we were finishing up The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1)  by Kathryn Lasky.

For an art project we made a John 3:16 poster that was included in the curriculum.  My tweaking was to add in clay animals.  The kids each made 2.  We use them as a behavior incentive in the classroom.  If they are misbehaving, not listening, animal gets "caged."  If they continue to misbehave the second animal gets "caged."  If no animals are caged the kids get 1 school buck (our made up money system).  If one animal gets caged, they only get 50cents.  If both animals are caged they owe me 1 school buck and have a meeting with the principal.  That only happened once so far at the beginning of the second week.  Since they, they've been little angels and the animals have not been caged!

Week 2 - Introduction

The kids love the geography stuff, some of it is review from last year, which is great!

For art this week the assignment was to make global paper dolls from the Global Art book.  I tweaked things again.  That's the beauty of any curriculum.  You can follow it or you can tweak it.  I found these multicultural paper dolls online and printed a bunch of them off.  This was right up my girl's alley.  She loves paper dolls!  She went to town cutting them out!  We didn't do this project in one day, we did a little bit everyday.  Or the kids would work on it when they had time between subjects.  By the end of the week we stapled those dolls together and hung them up on the window.  I don't think this will be their permanent spot, but they're still there now.

At the end of the week the project was to make a World Cake.  Since we avoid food coloring (we could have used natural dyes), we decided to make brownies instead.  I tried a high altitude recipe for the first time and it came out great!  (We live around 6700ft).   Scooter drew a map of the world and both he and Chewy cut it out.  Then we sprinkled the cut-outs with powdered sugar. I think our world brownies turned out great and they were delicious!

For science we did some water cycle experiments.  Of course, I added some of my own in.  I know I took a photo of it, but I'm not sure what I did with it.  We did the exact same experiment last year.  The kids were able to recall it better this year and understand what was going on.  We also did the assigned experiment with a plant in a glass jar.  The plant now resides in our classroom with the lid off (we didn't want mold growing again).  For our viewing entertainment this week we watched the Magic School Bus "Wet All Over " during breakfast one morning.  We also enjoyed watching Planet Earth's "Pole to Pole" one afternoon.  I'm not doing worksheets for the Planet Earth series.  We're just watching those for enjoyment and I've matched them up to what we're studying.  We don't have TV channels or cable, so this is our viewing enjoyment.

We continued listening to The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1) at breakfast.  We also at pie for breakfast one day!  I use an all-butter crust recipe from Crazy for Crust.  Yum!  We also started reading "Kingdom Tales " during read-aloud time and the kids are enjoying that.  I am too.  The kids especially enjoy "Book Basket" time.  They take 15 minutes to peruse books that relate to the topics of study.  This is in addition to their 20 minutes of reading time where they read a book to be or by themselves.  We go to the library every week and I hit up the shelves with stuff that relates to our studies.  These first two weeks had books about maps and the world.  I think someone else is using the same curriculum we are because every book that is recommended by My Father's World was checked out or on hold.  Not a problem, since I was able to find plenty of other books.

I took some school photos of the kids with a new backdrop I got in.  I did a second set the third week of school.  I was practicing for a fund raiser I'm holding.  They're called Personality Portraits.  I try to let the kid's personality shine through, even if that means they get to dress themselves and not comb their hair for school portraits!

Chewy was able to skate twice a week during weeks 1 & 2.  She loves it so much!  Grandma is her coach (we're very lucky to have such a wonderful coach live near us!) and takes Chewy skating while I take Scooter to guitar.  Scooter was able to take his electric guitar to his guitar lessons and was thrilled to be able to do that.  His guitar teacher was able to help him out with the electric guitar stuff, since his Daddy and I are pretty clueless when it comes to the electric guitar stuff.  Daddy can help with acoustic, but we're learning too with this electric stuff.

We ended week 2 with Labor Day activities.  One day included a day trip with hiking, an educational auto tour (homeschooling is non-stop!), and finding some tadpoles.  The tadpoles were the highlight of the trip.  Plus a low lake.  Water is especially fun in a state that lacks it.

We didn't have school on Labor Day, so that means our weeks don't run Monday-Friday now.  That's okay.  We're running Tuesday-Monday and that's bound to change as we have other days off.  I just use lots of sticky notes in my curriculum book to keep track of everything.

One more day of week 3 and then on to week 4!  Perhaps I should take some photos this week!

What have you been up to?

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