Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Georgia worked on fractions and decimals in the math section here http://e-learningforkids.org/
And she read about some Greek Myths at this site http://www.starfall.com/n/level-c/greek-myths/load.htm?f
Olivia worked on reading skills at http://www.starfall.com/n/level-k/index/load.htm?f
And read some stories here http://www.starfall.com/n/level-a/learn-to-read/load.htm?f
Georgia has learned more about trees....learning about the various leaf parts and style (eg. margins or veins) She's learned about the history of Hawaii, King Kamehameha, and their flag. She's read about the nene and learned of their connection to Canada with this article http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0206_020206_canadiangeese.html
She wrote a paper on what she wants to do when she grows up. It's horse-related of course. I'll ask her if I can post it here.
We still have a couple more things to do on Hawaii, and then we'll learn more about volcanoes. (And of course that means making a volcano model!)
We've sent out more postcards to people around the country. So far we've sent postcards to Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, Washington DC, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Arizona, California, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. So far we've received postcards from Florida, Virginia, and Washington DC. We expect to receive the rest by this weekend.
Georgia has already read all the Pony Pal books she received for Christmas. She received numbers one through twenty-two of the chapter book series. I have ordered the remaining books up to the thirty-sixth book. I expect they'll be all read a month after receiving them! Right now she is reading a couple books from the library, Wild Horse Island, and The Young Black Stallion: Homecoming.
Olivia will have some new books coming, too. She'll be receiving the Amelia Bedelia series.
Gymnastics has been going good; both girls still enjoy their classes.
Georgia is making a horse book. We borrowed about twenty books on horses and horse breeds from the library. She has read most of them and we've only had them a week. She's made notes and I helped type and print pages on various breeds. We also searched the Internet for horse information and pictures to include in her book. We'll collect all the pages and put them in a three-ring binder for her to add to whenever she wants.
Olivia has really been doing great with beginning word sounds, and all the letter sounds. She's also been practicing writing letters and numbers properly. Rhyming, simple addition and subtraction, and sequence of events have been other skills she's worked on lately.
From their site:
Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips.
Fly to your house. Just type in an address, press Search, and you’ll zoom right in.
Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions.
Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, or look up to explore the sky
Save and share your searches and favorites.
We have "visited" so many places around the world, and space! We've seen the Grand Canyon, the pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge, and of course we checked out Hawaii, as Georgia is still learning about it. It's pretty nifty! It really makes the world feel that much smaller!
We actually zoomed in a lot closer and saw a volcano, beaches, houses, etc
Sunday, January 20, 2008
On Saturday, we had our Hawaii party. We first made some grass skirts by using green party streamers and tape. We also made some leis using construction paper, straws, and yarn.
The recipes we tried were Kalua Pork, Coconut Sweet Potatoes, and a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Kalua literally means "the pit", which is how it is traditionally cooked. With freezing temperatures outside....we opted for using our slow cooker instead. We also didn't have banana or ti leaves to wrap the pork in, so we wrapped it in aluminum foil.
Olivia helped make the Pineapple-Upside Down Cake! It was delicious.
We listened to Hawaiian luau music while we ate. The girls had fun dancing the hula. We had watched some hula videos to watch how it is traditionally danced. They made their own version and had fun! Push play on the video below to watch a little of their show...
We also wore name tags with our Hawaiian names. Mark's is Maleko, Sarah's is Kala, Georgia's is Keokia, and Olivia's is Oliwia. What's yours? http://www.hisurf.com/hawaiian/names.html
After our feast we watched a documentary called Hidden Hawaii which talked about the islands' origin and volcanoes.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
This February, we plan on participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a project sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society.
From their web site:
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.
You can find out more information at their web site: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc
You can also learn about birding, birding tools, checklists, identification tips, and other bird related information.
Thanks Mark, for finding this!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Edited to add: Another trade....now we are trading cards with families in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Washington DC , too!
We finished up learning about Alabama last week. After learning the geography, symbols, and resources, we learned a bit about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.
We read biographies about Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and watched the movie Boycott (2001), which told the story behind the boycott, highlighting the work of Dr. King.
Georgia has decided to study Hawaii next. She wants to have a lil "Hawaii Party", so we'll be doing that this weekend.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Olivia's class was called "Chick a dee dee dee" and was about....well....the chickadee.
The kids learned how to look up birds in bird books, and different ways to identify a bird, such as it's color, region or location found, its song, etc.
They also went on a lil hike in search of some chickadees. They were out and about. They even saw some woodpeckers. Olivia brought her binoculars along to help her study the birds.
Olivia made some suet and black oil sunflower seed bird food to take home. It's in our freezer, we have yet to hang it up outside. (we need to get a suet feeder)
Georgia's class was called "Winter Wonder Land". They hiked in the woods and identified several objects. She told me that she correctly identified fungi and lichen when nobody else knew. Cool.
They also discussed the changes that a forest goes through in winter, and the change in animals' activities. She said there was a lot of deer droppings and tracks around. They hiked for an hour and a half!!
Both girls enjoyed their classes!
Last year I ordered some free posters and booklets about trees and forests from International Paper. (http://www.internationalpaper.com/Our%20Company/Learning%20Center/Life%20Of%20The%20Forest/index.html)
We have these hanging in our kitchen where we can browse whenever we like.
We've also borrowed about ten books from the library on the topic.
And here's some sites that were informative and fun!
Explore the secret life of trees
Learn the what, where, when, and why of trees
Read about leaves. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/earth/leaveseverywhere.htm
Learn about the parts of a tree, different types, benefits, products, biodiversity, deforestation, flood and soil erosion, global warming, and acid rain. http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/forests/index.cfm
Play the Acid Lake game to learn more about it http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/acid_rain/index.cfm
Identify what is made from wood. http://www.fossweb.com/modulesK-2/WoodandPaper/activities/whereiswood.html
And other products from trees http://www.idahoforests.org/wood_you.htm
Find who lives in trees http://www.fossweb.com/modulesK-2/Trees/activities/wholiveshere.html
Learn how to identify a tree http://www.oplin.org/tree/
And learn what trees can be found in Ohio http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/trees/default/tabid/5361/Default.aspx
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery (http://www.boonshoftmuseum.org/) has a whole section devoted to learning about trees....in the Mead Treehouse. We will be visiting there sometime at the end of this month.
On a nice day, we plan on taking a walk in the woods and identifying some trees, as well as noting their parts. We will take some pictures of a few trees and come back again in spring, summer, and fall to note their seasonal changes.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
What a horrible idea!! (wink, wink)
Food is a great way to talk about different cultures, and geography in general. She'll usually ask what type of food we are eating. We like to try different types of food; Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Morroccan, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc. The ingredients show what types of products are available in certain areas. We've also discussed the customs involved in dining. The girls loved the idea of sitting on pillows on the floor.....or scooping food with their fingers!
Here's a site that has some recipes from various places around the world.
This site tells about the country's culinary tradition:
From the Food Network's Cooking For Kids:
We plan on trying out some more recipes this winter. We'll have to take some pictures and share them here the next time we do.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
She's also visited the websites of her favorite authors. There, she can read biographies on the writers, check out other books they have written, or take quizzes on the ones she has read. She's even written to one of them to tell them how much she loved their books.
Today, she made an account at Book Adventure. (http://www.bookadventure.org/) She took some quizzes on books she has read and earned points for each quiz where she scored 9/10 or better. She loved it! After accumulating points, she'll be able to choose a prize from them. Their choices in prizes included a free book, a magazine subscription, or a candy bar.
For Christmas, she received thirty books from Jeanne Betancourt's Pony Pals series. She's already read five of them. I love that she loves to read. She is constantly adding to her vocabulary as she learns new words from reading. She also loves to make her own books, too. Her desk is full of her stories.
I hope Olivia will be as enthusiastic about reading as her sister! Her attention span is a little shorter than Georgia's. Sitting still too long is not her thing. This may be an age thing....or just her. We'll see. But for now we will continue to have reading time at night, cuddling together as we take turns reading from our selected books. Aaaah.....books!!!!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
At this site you answer vocabulary questions, and for each question you get right, they donate twenty grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger. It is very addictive, as it is fun to see how many questions I get right, and it helps improve my vocabulary. This is a non-prophet organization and is able to run due to money from advertisers at the bottom of the screen. You don't need money to help feed people.....it's great!
Kiva is a non-prophet microlending organization that helps the working poor pull themselves out of poverty. With just $25, you can join others in supplying a loan to a small business in the developing world. The small business might be an individual, or a small group. You choose who you want to fund, for example, you may choose a farmer in Uganda who needs a small loan to purchase equipment which will help them grow their business. You can even receive updates on the business you helped and see how the money was used. Your contribution to their loan is paid back where you can either withdraw your money, or use it to lend to someone else.
We are planning on using Kiva as a project. Not only does it help teach giving, but also introduces microfinance, small businesses and entrepreneurship, and an opportunity to discuss the country involved in each loan.
We're actually in Ohio.
Of course I had a lot of doubts about my ability, and even now I still have days where I question our choices. I believe all homeschooling parents feel the same. But most days I truly feel we are making the best decision for our girls. The first year I overplanned everything, but by midyear we settled into our own style and speed of learning which was much more relaxed. The best thing I think you can do is to just do it, and remain flexible for changes in approach. Everyone has their own learning style, and sometimes it just takes a little experimenting to figure it out. But one of the greatest benefits to homeschooling is that you know your child. You don't need to have your child fit into a rigid learning box....you can make learning fit them. And as they change, your approach can change.
The first thing I did after we decided to homeschool was to learn the laws of our state regarding homeschooling. Each state has different requirements. Ohio's is pretty easy, but I believe Illinois is even easier. I don't think you have to send a Notice of Intent, or keep records, or have an annual review or test, but you can search for Illinois homeschool laws on the Internet to find out for sure.
I also joined some Yahoo discussion groups on homeschooling in general, and on homeschooling in our state. There's a lot of helpful information in those groups! You can go to Yahoo.com and search their groups with keywords such as "homeschool" or "Illinois homeschool." Some groups are purely religious, others secular. It depends on your tastes.
I also went to the bookstore and bought some books on homeschooling "how to." They were a nice introduction to a world I knew nothing about. And some had useful information. I also love books by John Holt, specifically "Teach Your Own."
We are generally of the unschooling variety of homeschoolers. That means that we make life a learning experience, we find important lessons in everyday life. We also follow our girls' interests. We do unit studies this way. For example, we choose a topic and explore all aspects of it. We read literature on the topic, learn science behind it or involved with it, create art, write about it, basically all school subjects are included. Most of what my girls do they don't realize that it is actually "school work" and that they are learning something. We all just love learning new things that it is very natural to us. It is natural for kids anyway...before they become bored with it in, say, school! I just make sure they have a lot of opportunities to choose from. We have a ton of books and hands-on activities. I search for web sites that they can visit that has information, games, videos, etc, about the topic. (Such as this one http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/SchoolsOnline/index.html which is from your state.) We borrow documentaries from Netflix or the library, or watch shows on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, etc. They do like the occasional workbook, so we have some of those, and I print worksheets from the Internet, or create my own. And we love games! There's so much that can be learned through playing and having fun. And "field trips" are always a fun way to experience and learn about new topics. For example, if you are learning about a specific period in history there are a lot of historical places to visit that correspond to that time period.
Some homeschoolers subscribe to a specific set of curricula. They order textbooks and sit at the table to do their studies everyday. That's fine too, if the kids like that. And there's no worry of finding information for ourselves because the textbooks have done that for you. The only textbook I order is for math because that is my weakest subject. However, we don't always use it because we are always using math in real life. But I've found that even when I don't know the topic inside and out, we learn it together. Most importantly, though, I want my girls to know how to find answers to their questions. They are learning how to find look up information in books, on the Internet, asking a librarian, asking an expert, or doing their own experiments. We have a little notebook that we are always adding to. It is filled with questions that the girls ask that I don't know the answer to. We look for the answers together. I don't like to just say to them, "I don't know," and have that be the end of it. I don't want them to lose their curiosity.
I also check out http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?curriculum/ for a general list of each grades "Typical Course of Study" to make sure we are including what the public schoolchildren are learning. You may be able to obtain a curriculum list from your local schools, as well.