Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From Nature Walks to Lewis & Clark

I highly agree with the Charlotte Mason's approach to Science in the primary grades which focuses on Nature Study.  Exploring God's creation lays a good foundation for future science knowledge. Now that it's nice outside, we go for Nature walks daily.  I typically don't require the kids to journal what they see but we always have good discussions.  I really enjoy hearing the girls make connections to our USA Unit. Here are a few things that Carysse found on our walks -

"Look, there's the Michigan State Bird - Robin!"

"I found a rock shaped like Minnesota!"

While eating lunch, she exclaimed to her sister,
"You just made the shape of Minnesota with your sandwich!" 
Not quite a nature walk finding, but I just had to share. :-)  

"Look, I found a long arm like Benjamin Franklin invented!" 

 They found a small frog during a playdate at a friend's house.  
I'm so glad they didn't inherit their mother's dislike of touching and exploring God's outdoor creatures...I actually moved away from it! :-/.

My girls definitely weren't the first two who liked to explore God's creation together.  Lewis & Clark were two men commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to lead the Corps of Discovery Expedition through the West.       

We decided to focus on these two explorers for our Montana Unit. 
In Montana, there is a Lewis & Clark...

We also talked about Sacagawea, a Native American woman who accompanied L&C on their expedition.  She greatly helped them as a guide & interpreter all while caring for an infant! 

God Incident - During that same week, Carysse happened to finish the last book in the American Girl Series: Kaya. The book ended with a write-up about L&C and Sacagawea. I love how the Lord sets up connections in our homeschool! 

Here's an activity that C. enjoyed. 

Montana Unit
Other printables & activities - Discovered Animals, Coloring Sheet, & Fill in the Blank

Monday, May 19, 2014

Half Way There!

We have studied 25 states so far!  We're really enjoying this USA Unit Study!  You can read here to find out the embarrassment inspiration behind this unit :-).  Here are some pics showing how we weekly review the states.

C. adds the state names to our wall map.

K. glues the states on our map puzzle

C. researches each state's flag & other facts on the iPad & then completes the coloring sheet

I made these Travel Books for them (Yes, I purposely wanted them to look like passports :-). Each week they add the state flag and stamp the date next to it.  I found the mini state flags here

I printed the State's name cards from a USA game that I found at Currclick (Sorry I can't remember the name; it was a limited time Free Offer). Then I added the person/place/thing that we studied for each state to the back of the cards. We enjoy playing Family Charades with these!

Come Back Soon for more Carysse & Kalia Cruising the Country!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A "Special" Mother's Day Gift

The highlight of Mother's Day for me was spending time in Christian's Sunday School class.  The class is called "His Strength" and it is an adaptive classroom integrating sensory activities, worship, and simple Bible stories.  The first day I walked into the class, I cried tears of joy.  My precious son had a place that he could learn about Jesus at his level.  I can't say enough about the team of workers in that class.  I want to specifically thank Michelle Ryan (team leader), Laura Lunger (teacher), & Elise Anderson (aide) for the never-ending patience, kindness and compassion that exudes from you to these "special" blessings each Sunday!  Through the days that run smoothly or the ones that are quite bumpy, God gives you grace to continue to show the love of Jesus to all of the children.  My heart overflows with gratitude to you for your sacrificial service in this class.

 Here is a snippet of the grace that my son experiences each Sunday - 

Sensory Table

Tent Play

Floor Time

Gross Motor Activities

Soft, Relaxing Corner

Hallelujah, The Lord Has Done Just What He Said!
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ~Romans 8:32

Thank you Jesus for the gift of this class!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Move over Cotton, there's something better!

Mississippi Unit
MS is one of the largest cotton producing states in the country.  We decided to focus on cotton for this unit.  

K's "C is for Cotton" art

 I found this Puffy Paint recipe and the girls made cotton candy pictures.
I bought the Wilton Decorating Squeeze Bottles at JoAnn's for a little over $2. 

They got a kick out of seeing how the paint puffs up after it's microwaved. 

Baby bear had some fun too!
He usually doesn't get to paint but because this was made with all edible ingredients I let him go at it.  

When the kids ask to buy cotton candy, I typically say no because it's just sugar.  However, I thought it would be a fun way to end our unit with that special treat.  I don't have pics to show; it was eaten up fast :-).

Missouri Unit
Cotton may be a fun crop to study; however, it caused lots of problems for Southern farmers in the late 1800s. Constant cotton planting ruined the soil and in some years entire crops were destroyed by bugs.  Then along came a scientist/inventor who devoted his time to finding other crops to improve the lives of these farmers who were mostly African American sharecroppers.

For our Missouri Unit, we decided to study none other than George Washington Carver who was born in Diamond, MO.  He developed the Crop Rotation Method which taught farmers to alternate soil-depleting cotton crops with soil-enriching crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes.  He discovered 300 different products for peanuts and more than 100 useful products from sweet potatoes!  
Carver did not patent or profit from most of his inventions.  He freely gave them to society.
He said, "God gave them to me. How can I sell them to someone else?"

We started our unit by making the Best-Ever Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.
The name says it all; they were DELICIOUS!

They also did a peanut butter video project that involved their homeschool co-op friends and a few others. 

The Introduction Video

Unfortunately the 2nd video wouldn't load, but you can see it here.  

This is the finished pictograph.  This project was so fun & cheap! We used left over poster board from our Rosa Parks project and printed the pics from online. 

Other Activities - GWC Coloring Sheet, Peanut Observation Sheet, Peanut Life Cycle Activity
Books Read - Welcome to the USA: Missouri, A Picture Book of George Washington Carver, & George Washington Carver: Teacher, Scientist, Inventor