Wednesday, April 9, 2014

From Degradation to Appreciation!

I am so thankful for my parents sending me to great schools which enabled me to have a solid, thorough education.  However, I was one of very few African American students in my classes which made the study of Early Black History extremely awkward.  I dreaded the 1-2 pages in my history books that depicted Early Black Americans in a degrading, shameful way.  I saw black people portrayed as helpless and inadequate; never as strong or courageous.  Therefore, as a young black girl among 20+ white students, I carried lots of embarrassment towards that early time period in American History.  

Fast Forward 20+ years...

I was told of all the benefits of homeschooling that my children would receive. But, no one told me all the wonderful things that I would receive; one being a transformed mind!  My shameful views have turned into a deep appreciation and admiration for Black history...freedom from the enslavement of men.  As I weave God's Story into American history, I see His sovereign hand and work throughout all time periods even through the darkest times of slavery.  It all points me to the most glorious history...freedom from the enslavement of sin!

The Lord used our Maryland & Michigan study to enlighten my mind to the courage, strength, determination, and tenacity of two great Women in History...Harriet Tubman & Sojourner Truth.  After reading aloud, "Meet Addy" the first book in the American Girl (Addy) Series, we were inspired to dig deeper into the African Americans role in Early American History.

Harriet Tubman, born in Dorchester County, Maryland, was the leader of the Underground Railroad who for 8 years led over 300 slaves to freedom!  She was also a spy for the Union Army and a nurse who helped save the lives of countless soldiers during the Civil War. 

Sojourner Truth, a 6 ft. tall speaker, was a voice for the abolitionist and women's right movement.  She died in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Michigan has honored her by having a 12 ft. high monument of her in Battle Creek, naming a Interstate after her, and putting her name in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Here's one of the activities that C. did. I copied the printable from Sailing through 1st grade and then I added the question headings to it.

K. worked diligently on this Sojourner Truth coloring sheet.

This is a wonderfully illustrated, well written book explaining the lives of both of these great women who finally got the chance to meet in October 1864.  

I created a worksheet with several facts from each of these women's lives. C. cut out each fact & read the book to find out which fact belonged to which woman. 

She then did a Venn Diagram of the two women using paper plates.
You can download the fact sheet & photos here.
May my children always have appreciation for the great history of people who look just like them!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From Longfellow to Lobster!

April is National Poetry Month! 
We studied the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for our Maine Unit.  He was born in Portland, ME and is best remembered for his poems "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Paul Revere's Ride".  I enjoyed this unit as much as the girls because this was the first time I'd studied Longfellow (Homeschooling is beneficial for us moms too:-).  Because today is the 1st of April, I wanted to share his poem ~  An April Day.  Those of us in the north can appreciate any poem that sets our mind on the season that soon awaits us...I hope!  

Here are my favorite lines from Longfellow's poem, "Christmas Bells" ~
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 
The Wrong shall fail, 
The Right prevail, 
With peace on earth, good-will to men.

These lines had me thinking about Revelation 19 when Wrong will ultimately fail and Right will triumphantly prevail! 

We really enjoyed reading Longfellow's poem about Kindness.
We then read Bible verses about kindness and made a list of "Ways to Be Kind". 
The girls finished the lesson by painting illustrations to go along with the poem.

C. wrote & illustrated her first poem. 

Now, for the "Maine" Event!
Maine catches more lobster than any other state! We decided to take a field trip to see some lobsters at none other than Red Lobster. 

Baby boy liked the lobster but enjoyed the cheddar biscuits better! :-) 

C. was all into it, but K. was a little nervous. 

Then she warmed up a bit. 

Lobster Fact #1 - The male is called a cock, the female a hen or chicken, and the baby a 
cricket or bug. 

Lobster Fact #2 - They don't turn bright red until they're cooked.

Lobster Fact #3 - They live at the bottom of the ocean so they like dark places.  That's why they were all piled up to one side of the water tank to create a dark environment. 

This must have been the king of the tank; he was the biggest one & looked as if he was on guard. 

C. drew this lobster picture while we waited for our delicious lunch. 
No, we didn't have lobster...that's for when mommy & daddy go out! :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Toddler Time!

Homeschooling with a toddler can be quite challenging! But it definitely goes a lot smoother with lots of activities available to keep your little one occupied. I wrote a post last year listing Our Top Toddler Activities. Here are some of the things that keep my 1 yr. old busy & a few that my 3 yr old enjoys as well. 

Your toddler having a cabinet that he's allowed to play in is a must! 

He enjoys climbing in; 

And wearing the bowls! :-) 

Putting clothespins in a container - great fine motor activity! 

Boxes...the fun is endless! 

His sisters' Doc McStuffins playset is a favorite! 

K likes gathering all like colored items throughout the house & lining them up; it was red day! 

This is one of many preschool activities that I've found on Pinterest!
A recycle bin's trash is a homeschool mom's treasure! 

The girls occasionally take alphabet flashcards & match them with toys that start with the letters. 

I found this letter hunt in rice idea from Little Hands, Big Work.
We use plastic letters & A-Z Letter Match Cards

Little hands occupied, keeps mama satisfied! :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

From Horses to Hurricanes!

Kentucky Unit
Kentucky is the home to the oldest continually-held horse races in the country - the Oaks & the Derby. Therefore, we decided to focus our unit on horses.  We studied horses during kindergarten so we did more reading and less activities this time.  

We read an abridged, illustrated version of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
I took a blank worksheet with 4 empty areas & sketched the horses (remember, I'm not an artist:-). C colored & labeled them to represent 4 of the horses in the story.  

I attended our church's Pastors' Wives Retreat that week.  I went on a walk & saw this sign.  Obviously I wasn't in the city anymore! 

On the way home from the retreat, several of us ladies went to an antique shop.  
They had a whole shelf of Kentucky Derby drinking glasses.

We displayed C's Horse Words to Remember sheet from kindergarten.
We also put up one of our favorite verses - Psalm 20:7.

Louisiana Unit
After reading Molly the Pony, we decided to focus on hurricanes for our Louisiana unit.
This is an inspiring true story about a pony's life after being abandoned by her owners during Hurricane Katrina.
On Sunday, our preaching pastor said, "Expect Suffering; Life's forecast is 100% chance of suffering." So true, So true; but also in a believer's life there's 100% chance of God showing his faithfulness.  I took this opportunity to tie Molly's life circumstances to ways that God was faithful & worked it all for good.  This is one of the sweet blessings of homeschooling -          
Giving our children a biblical view while teaching academics.

Because Hurricane Katrina was so devastating, the residents of Houston, TX started leaving the area when they heard that Hurricane Rita was on her way in September 2005.  We were one of them!  Here are some photos of what it looks like when 2 million people try to evacuate a city at the same time!  

We actually enjoyed our family time together.  We were just a family of 3 so our little 2 yr old Christian got all the special privileges like driving the car with daddy....that's ok when you have to go 3-5mph on the same road for 13 hours! :-/

With all the talk about hurricanes, tornadoes, & storms, we thought it would be a good idea to create a Family Emergency Box. 

Our items: First Aid Kit, Canned Chicken, Peanut butter, Crackers, Granola bars, Can Opener, Whistle (to alert someone of our location), Antibacterial wipes, Small trash bags, Water, & a Mini Emergency Radio. We really like this radio because it has a built in LED flashlight & the battery charges with hand crank if the electricity is out.  

Thanks, Mom, for my new label maker! :-) 

God Incident - The girls' bible study class lesson that week was from Mark 4:35-41 ~
Jesus Calms the Storm! 
C completed a Hurricane Worksheet & Booklet.
After completed this unit, C said, "Wow, Jesus is MORE powerful than a hurricane!"  I praise the Lord that she made that connection.  Academics will eventually fade, but God's truth will last forever! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

From Popcorn to the Pulitzer!

Iowa Unit
*The United States is the world's leading producer of corn. 
*Corn is the single most popular crop grown in the U.S. 
*Iowa produces the largest corn crop of any state. 
*The largest Popcorn Packing Plant is in Iowa.
Therefore, we devoted our Iowa Unit to focusing on one of our favorite snacks...POPCORN!

We started our unit the same week as the Winter Olympics so we had our own winter game - Blowing Popcorn! 

Kalia & I talked about "P" words & then she did this popcorn activity. 

I gave Carysse an assignment to write a story about popcorn. Here's her rough draft. 
Then she asked if she could type it on the computer. 

The final story
I don't do scrapbooking anymore but any excuse to get cute paper, I'm on it! :-) 

We made Party Popcorn for our Co-op Valentine's party. This was a great alternative to candy! 

It's such a blessing that other moms on the Web are willing to share their creations like these Free Valentine's cards!

We also completed a Popcorn Five Senses Chart.
Books Read - Welcome to the U.S.A: Iowa, Corn, & Corn Aplenty 

Kansas Unit
March is Women's History Month! 
For our Kansas study we focused on two women in history who were born in Kansas. 

Gwendolyn Brooks (poet) - At the age of thirteen, she had her first published poem.
Her gift of writing led her to become the 1st African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

We enjoyed listening to Ms. Brooks read her poem,
"The Tiger who wore white gloves" a.k.a. "What you are you are".
Then Carysse illustrated it. We had a good discussion about how each person is made in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27) & wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). Therefore God made no mistake in how He created us (our gender or ethnicity) so we should rejoice in the way He created us & glorify Him that way. 

Amelia Earhart (aviator) - the 1st woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
She was then awarded the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.

Speaking of female aviators, check out this childhood photo of me at an Air Show!
Remember this, Mom? :-)