Homeschooling Week in Review 3: All the Awesomeness, It is Exhausting

This was a great week of school! We stayed super busy, but mostly with fun activities! We started with a field trip on Monday to go with our weekly Family Adventure Day. The boys needed to do a nature scavenger hunt for science, so we visited a nearby county park that has a nice nature trail.

We saw butterflies, nests, and a large variety of things with wings. 🙂

It was a perfect day for a nature hike!

“I saw an orange butterfly AND a white one!”

Isn’t he a handsome guy?

After our hike, the boys sat at this picnic table and drew some of the things we’d seen in their field notebooks.

We started studying birds this week with an introduction to birdwatching and field marks of birds. This is the window in our schoolroom, and I know it’s hard to see but we put ribbons up that show the size of different types of birds, as well as a diagram of the different parts of a bird.

Hopefully these will help the boys as they try to identify birds they see using our field guide.

We also talked about different bird calls and listened to some of the common ones from our area on the computer. We recognized the songs of mourning doves, cardinals, bluejays, and robins as songs that we regularly hear in our yard.

In math, Bubs started working with high numbers and place value, as well as continued to review division and began a review of fractions. Stinky reviewed adding, place value, and skip counting.

Bubs finished his previous assigned reading book, The Wheel on the School, and began Johnny Tremain, which he is greatly enjoying. I have many living books for him based on our history curriculum, but they don’t start until we begin Mystery of History 2, so right now we’re kind of biding our time and I’m assigning random books. Stinky is charging through the last first grade Pathway reader, doing a story a day instead of every two days. He is also rocking his Explode the Code book and gets everything right on his assigned pages almost every day.

In grammar, Bubs began reviewing subjects and predicates and learning to diagram. He had an introduction to it last year, but we’re going more in depth this year. I am very excited about this, because I love diagramming.

I never said I wasn’t a nerd.

We also did some review of sentence types. Bubs chose a story book and had to find an example of each kind of sentence from the book.

At first he accidentally grabbed one of Squeezy’s princess books, which was good for a laugh, but he wouldn’t actually use it.

He wrote the sentences on sticky notes and put them in the correct place on the chart.

He seemed to enjoy this activity, so I expect we will be doing similar things in the future.

Stinky continued learning about nouns this week, switching from people nouns to place nouns. I am really enjoying First Language Lessons; I like that it has so much review and that we can do a lesson in under ten minutes. Some days we do two lessons, but I feel like the pace is just right for Stinky and that he is mastering the material.

In history, we continue galloping through ancient history at a shocking pace. This week we learned about Alexander the Great and the split of his empire, Ashoka of India, and a couple of the Wonders of the Ancient World. This, along with a pin I saw on Pinterest, inspired an epic cooking project– an edible map of the Wonders!

The instructions for this I adapted from this post at Highhill Homeschool. Instead of using waxed paper and making individual maps, we used a transparency taped for the bottom of a glass pan. My wonderful husband drew the map for me. I made a batch of cookie dough using this recipe from Almost Unschoolers. One batch was just about exactly enough for a 9×13 big cookie, with a little left over for Squeezy’s enjoyment.

I colored about a third of the dough blue, for the seas, and left the rest the regular color because I couldn’t make up my mind if it should be green or brown for the deserts and in the end I decided nobody cared because, hello! Giant cookie!

The boys started with the seas, and then added land around them. This is not an exact science. It is probably best for all perfectionists to just look away.

Here they are, ready to smoosh the land around the water.

And the finished product, ready to go in the oven. The boys were SO proud of this. I know it’s a dreadful map, but seriously! What fun! Also look at Stinky. He pretty much bathed in flour during this project.

Once the cookie was done, we had to wait nearly two whole days to finish the map! But we finally got around to building our wonders out of candy clay. I used this recipe, although I substituted shortening for margarine. We had to keep adding powdered sugar because it got really soft really fast with handling, but it worked. I wrote the names of the 7 wonders on strips of paper and they took turns drawing them, to avoid fighting, and I did the 7th.

Bubs built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (with sprinkles for flowers!), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Pharos of Alexandria.

Stinky built the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Temple to Diana at Ephesus, and I made the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Then we kind of smooshed them into their approximate locations on the map. While the boys sculpted, we talked about some of the wonders and I was surprised at how much they we remembered.

I was informed that this was the “best project ever” and that we were “completely awesome,” so I think this counts as a success. I’m sure that the fact that they got to eat large quantities of sugar afterwards had something to do with that evaluation.

For music this week, we watched a crazy youtube video of a guy playing a Bach fugue on a pipe organ. Both hands and his feet playing in counterpoint– it was amazing. Stinky especially was quite impressed. In our Iowa study we learned that the state bird is the goldfinch and the state flower is the wild rose. In art, we continued our exploration into The Blue Vase by Paul Cezanne by making dimensional vase pictures with cardboard and paint.

These were inspired by this picture on Pinterest, although I honestly didn’t even look at it before we did it. I just remembered pinning it and thought it would be fun with our vase study. We started by painting our backgrounds with acrylic paint.

Then we cut flower shapes out of cardboard

and painted them as well.

We also painted toilet paper tubes (cut in half) to be the vases, and then let everything dry overnight.

In the morning, we used glue guns to assemble everything, with popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners as stems. The boys thought they were pretty big stuff because I let them use my (low temp) glue gun. I did have to help glue the vases onto the background, but otherwise they were able to assemble them all by themselves. We glued the stems to the inside of the vase instead of onto the background, so that they’d pop out a bit.

I love how the finished products turned out!

We also did this line pattern leaf art drawing from Art Projects for Kids, although we added our own twist by using colored markers to draw the patterns.

Then we cut out our leaves and glued them to colored papers.

I think this made a pretty little corner display for our schoolroom!

Squeezy continued her pre-preschool studies of the letter G by coloring and assembling a goose.

She was very proud of her finished project and kept calling it her “pretty, pretty goose!”

She also spent some time stringing pony beads on pipe cleaners and then having a “tea party” with me where we “drank” colored bead tea. Yum.

All told, it was a fabulous, if shockingly crazy, week of school. I was exhausted by the end of it, but the extra projects that make our days take a long time, require extra supervision, and make big messes are the ones that they LOVE, that make them enjoy school, and that provide us with great times as a family. And if the price I pay for that is being tired at the end of the week, so be it. I can’t think of anything more worth a little weariness!

Well, except maybe onion rings.


4 thoughts on “Homeschooling Week in Review 3: All the Awesomeness, It is Exhausting

  1. life looks fun. and messy!!!
    i have been wanting to go back and read johnny tremain for a year or so now… thank you for the reminder!! (last time i looked it was checked out of the library!)

  2. Katie learned about Paul Cezanne last week too! We do an artist and a musician of the week and Katie has decided to paint a masterpiece and compose a piece of music each week to honor them. Fun stuff!

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