Enjoying Our Journey

Living, Loving and Learning Together

More Reading…

I want to incorporate our reading list here, but it seems that as soon as I get a chance to post, someone is on to their next book. 😉

Maybe I need a button and a weekly feature to keep track of our current reading. I am open to suggestions from other bloggers. 🙂

The list:

6th grader: Since the last post he has read Catching Fire and finished Middleworld. He is about to start Wild Orchid and Mockingjay.

3rd grader: He is working on The Ch’i-lin Purse, One False Note, and the Tiger’s Apprentice.

Preschooler: anything Clifford

Family Read-aloud: The Battle of the Labyrinth

I am still reading Understanding Exposure and may start The Hunger Games this week.

How do you keep track of the reading you do as a family? Do you have a feature on your blog for reading? If so, what does that look like for you?

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Chinese Calligraphy

This week we are studying Ancient China in The Story of the World. Some of the highlights of our reading included: how the Great Wall of China was built, the Chinese were the first ancient people to use the process of printing, and an amazing description of an underground city built as a tomb for the First Emperor of China. The boys were impressed with the idea that there may be crossbows set to automatically fire to protect the tomb.

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They tried their hands at painting some Chinese characters.

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At first, they used the characters in the book as a guide. This is man and woman (below). Others they drew were forest, fire, field and horse.

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Then, they decided to get their Yu-Gi-Oh cards out because they also have characters on them for some of the elements.

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My 4 year old joined us, but he made up his own characters. 😉

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While they enjoyed their painting, I think they can appreciate why the printing process was developed.

 

What are you studying in history?

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Caps for Sale

One of the current favorite stories is Caps for Sale, so I was pleased to find these fun printables from Homeschool Creations to go along with the book.

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He really enjoys rolling the die and filling in the graph. I laminated the graph so that he can do this over and over again to his heart’s content.

 

 

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Here he matched up the pictures and the words. I wish I had a chart holder for these, but for now the table will do. They are also laminated so that he can use them again. I like to have self-directed activities available for when I need to work with his brothers. We have done this one with a few different themes and it is great to pull out when he says, “What can I do now? What’s next?”

 

 

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This was the first time that we used the Read! Build! Write! mats and cards. I think that this activity will become a regular in our rotation. It is great practice for reading, spelling and writing.

 

 

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My son went and got out his Lowercase Letter Tracing Cards to make sure that he had the letter formations correct. He can be somewhat of a perfectionist which can be a challenge. I have to admire his resourcefulness though in finding what he needed to complete the activity to his satisfaction.

 

 

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These pages where he can trace the words were easier for him to manage and will help build the confidence he needs to write more on his own.

 

 

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He joins in on our map and other activities from Story of the World, which is our history program. Today we were practicing Chinese calligraphy. (Post to follow with everyone’s work).

Those are the highlights from our week in Pre-K. 🙂

Do you have a Preschool or Kindergarten student? Check out the Preschool and Kindergarten Community over at Homeschool Creations for some great ideas and support.

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Cephalopods and Buoyancy

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This is an experiment that the kids did earlier in the year. First, they decorated a medicine dropper to look like a cephalopod.

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Then, they added just enough water to the dropper to make it float.

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Next, they put the dropper into a bottle of water and closed the lid. They observed what the “cephalopod” did when the bottle was squeezed and released. They discovered that squeezing the bottle allowed more water to enter the dropper which made it sink. Releasing the pressure on the bottle sent water out of the dropper making it lighter so it rose. This is similar to how some cephalopods can control their buoyancy by taking in or expelling water.

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M&Ms and LEGOs

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We celebrated the 100th day of school a little over a month ago with some favorites. First, the kids filled up a 100 chart with M&Ms.

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Then, they sorted them by color and displayed their results on a bar graph. They calculated which color had the most, which had the least, the differences between the amounts of each color, etc.

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My oldest had some fun rearranging the M&Ms into numbers representing how much of each color he had.

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I gave each of the boys a bag filled with 100 random LEGOs. Their task was to build something using just what was in their bag. I enjoyed watching their creativity bloom while they worked.

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This was an enjoyable way to mark our 100th day of school. I will have to start planning something for next year. 🙂

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What We Are Reading Now

Our family read-aloud is The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan.

6th grader: Middleworld and The Hobbit

3rd grader:  Detectives in Togas and The Tiger’s Apprentice

Preschooler: His current favorites are A Fly Went By and Caps for Sale as well as any book about Clifford.

Me: Understanding Exposure

I need to find a good novel to devour. Lately my focus has been on non-fiction and I am in need of some good fiction for balance. I will welcome any suggestions. 🙂

What are you and your family reading now?

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Speaking of Science…

My older two boys are participating in a science fair with our local homeschool group. They are very excited about the projects they chose. One of them will explore how our muscles learn and the other is going to experiment with potato batteries. It should be a fun and educational experience!

 

ETA: I was so busy trying to document our academics that I forgot the funny story that went along with the science fair. When I asked the older boys if they would be interested in participating in the fair, my 4 year old said he wanted to make a vinegar and baking soda volcano a la Phineas and Ferb. He thought that would ensure a win. 😉

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New Science Curriculum!

Ah, the thrill of new books! Next week we will start Biology for the Logic Stage from Elemental Science. I don’t know who is more excited, me or the children. 😉

Over the past few years, we have grown into a classical homeschooling style using The Well-Trained Mind as a guide. This program from Elemental Science appears to line up well with our approach. I have been looking for something “more” for our study of science and I have high hopes that this will fit the bill. My children love anything and everything to do with science, so I think they will enjoy it.

I will use this program with my 6th and 3rd graders. I plan to adapt the writing assignments for the 3rd grader, but I should be able to keep the reading the same as my boys are strong readers. I look forward to implementing this program and discovering how it will meet our needs. If all goes well, we will continue the series with Earth Science and Astronomy next year.

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Pre-K Reading and Patterns

Preschool Corner

We are using the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading for my youngest. He is starting to blend sounds and read small CVC words. He likes to use the letter magnets to spell the words from our lesson. We use a cookie sheet and letter magnets from the dollar store.

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My son loves to make patterns. We have used some printables (see Pre-K Fall Fun posts for links), but he kept asking for more complicated and longer patterns. So I quickly grabbed a roll of smiley face stickers and made some patterns on a piece of scrap paper. Next time I will hold the paper the other way so that I can make the patterns longer. He had so much fun with this. Maybe I should keep these things in my purse for times away from home. ; )

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Election Day Activities

We are finishing up Ancients for history, but I did take a bit of time out to explain the electoral college, how the election process works, who the candidates are, etc. We watched the Schoolhouse Rock video on the electoral college. In our discussion, we compared our checks and balances form of government to some of the Ancient governments. We also colored in the electoral college map and looked at an interactive map on C-SPAN observing the changes in how the vote went in past Presidential elections. As we were working on our map, we started to quiz each other on the names of the state capitals. So then we decided to play a game of Sequence, the States and Capitals edition.

The kids told me that they had held their own election with their stuffed animals. They chose a President, Vice-President, a Senator and a Representative to Congress. I asked them how they decided on each and they said that their candidates had to tell 5 things that they wanted to do and 5 laws that they wanted to pass. I was impressed that they really thought about how to choose a candidate. It seems that the big issues in this house were later wake-up times, more free LEGO building time, and everyone sharing. Also, lower taxes, higher wages and more time with family were mentioned. I loved hearing their insights. As one of the benevolent dictators in this house, I will see what I can do to make some of those things happen. ; )

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