Week 12 of Homeschool: We cooked a Moorish meal, launched bottle rockets 50 feet in the air, inflated balloons with vinegar and baking soda, wrote out the melody to Field’s original song “Mossview Way,” did CC review and cut out leaves for our thankfulness tree while eating gingerbread men, performed an evaporation experiment, wrote Bach’s minuet in G from memory (pitch’s all correct – no help from Mom!), learned about chameleons and their sticky tongues, completed the entire Doctor Mozart music theory workbook, and saw a Supermoon!
Week 11 of Homeschool: We made a Family Tree and created a map of our family dynasty, recorded a bean pod growing on our bean plant, created a collage-style still life from our reading of Henri Matisse, experimented with items in water to see if they float, decorated our bottle rocket for next week’s science project, and started writing a story based on a picture!
Week 10 of Homeschool: We learned our liquid equivalents, wrote note names for Bach’s Minuet in G and learned the right hand part, made a weather vane, did a presentation of our friends working as missionaries in Costa Rica, learned about George Washington Carver, made a model of the earth moving around the sun, learned about demonstrative pronouns, studied the culture of Spain, and learned about pointillism and the art of Roy Lichtenstein!
A few weeks ago my toddler got ahold of our classroom American flag, and of course, broke it. I had been planning to make my 1st grader a nifty tin whistle case anyway, and then I had the bright idea: make the flag into the whistle case! I held the flag up to the whistle, and it was the perfect size fabric 🙂
I realized that the flag fabric alone wouldn’t be sturdy enough to make a proper case. Since my sewing skills leave much to be desired, I went for the most basic method: I got a piece of felt from the craft store, which happened to be almost exactly the same size as the flag – yay!
I pinned the flag onto the felt, then sewed the two pieces of fabric together freehand (honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting my sewing machine out). I then cut the one long side of the fabric that I had left unpinned, so that it lined up with the flag.
Once that was done, I literally just placed the whistle in the rectangle so that the length of the whistle and the length of the fabric almost perfectly lined up. I then folded the fabric over it, to create a pocket for the whistle to slip into. Then, with the whistle still inserted, I rolled the fabric up and pinned down the previously-sewn seam where the fabric ended. I freehand-stitched the seam to the rolled up fabric, and when I got to the bottom of the case, I simply sewed the end shut.
Whala! A cute tin whistle case for about $1.50 – and patriotic too!
Week 9 of Homeschool: We made a Japanese collage kimono, learned how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on our tin whistle, wrote haikus, made more pop-ups, observed flowers on our bean plant and transplanted it to the yard, had fun playing with color, mirrors and light, sang on our first recording session for mommy’s song “Days,” made a Japanese kite, and wrote out the right hand to Fur Elise!
Week 8 of homeschool: we made a Tang Dynasty pop-up palace, checked the progress of our bean plant, made block print wrapping paper like the ancient Chinese, drew impossible squares, made Van Gogh pop-up art, created an impressionistic landscape from last week’s thumbnail study, made a rainbow with water, sunlight and a mirror, wrote poems about our Solar System… and then made some more pop ups!
Week 7 of homeschool: we took a tour of our solar system, posted Martin Luther’s 95 theses of the Protestant Reformation, read (& wrote) Robert Frost poetry, experimented with litmus paper to find acids & bases, did thumbnail studies of impressionistic landscapes, looked at hail up close, and assembled a puzzle of a Monet painting!
I love the fact that learning thrives in community. We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by some amazing families, who are in this crazy endeavor with us. One of those families run the Citrus Heights Dance Academy. So it was a no-brainer to put my son in dance classes there. I am looking forward to the Christmas show, where I will be right up there on stage with my son, making music, while he dances and shines. I love that he is getting to experience the arts in this way. And I love this picture!
Although I generally try not to hold by son back too much, I have tried to keep him from working ahead in our Classical Conversations work, so that he can be fully engaged each week as we encounter new material. But the kid is a sponge. And unbeknownst to me, he had worked ahead and memorized the Presidents (or at least gotten pretty far along), before I could stop him.
With the upcoming presidential election, there is an added element of interest, with questions like, “How long till we know who is President?” And “So I guess there were no debates when Washington became President, because there weren’t 2 parties yet.” For the State elections I took him with me to watch me fill out the ballot, so he could see how the process works. The fact that his uncle was running for office gave us another reason to focus on politics. Unfortunately, we learned that people running for office can be ruthless and cruel; but that too has been part of the learning process.
My son has been pretty interested in George Washington, since he was the first President, so this past week I decided to make Marth Washington’s Ginger Cookies. We got the recipe from a Constitution Island cookbook, when my sister and I were homeschooled in New York. We used to work as volunteers at the island, working with groups of school kids who would come in for field trips. We would make the cookies, and serve them on the boat, on the way over to the island.
It’s always a beautiful thing when you can experience the past – whether by seeing it’s historical markers in person, or even tasting a piece of years gone by. There’s a reason this recipe has stood the test of time. I highly recommend it!
* Martha Washington’s Ginger Cookie Recipe *
(Makes 100 cookies)
3/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup lard (I just do all butter, no lard)
2 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
- Mix first 5 ingredients together; beat well.
4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. each ginger, cinnamon & ground cloves
- Stir dry ingredients to combine. Add dry to wet ingredients until well mixed. Dough will be soft. Chill briefly.
- Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and press into balls with the bottom of a glass.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.
- Note: I sometimes half this recipe because of the quantity of cookies… but I usually end up regretting it.
This writing exercise was pretty straight forward: write a letter to someone who’s never been to your home – from either another country or even another world! My son picked China. I love the details he included in what he wrote 🙂