Friday, February 6, 2009

Library visits

We're learning our way around the local library.  As recommended in The Well-Trained Mind, each child checks out the following books (and then some!) on each library visit:  
a science book
an history book
an art or music appreciation book
a practical book (a craft, hobby, or "how-to")
a biography or autobiography
a classic novel (or an adaptation suited to age)
an imaginative storybook
a book of poetry

Mummified hot dog

From Exploratopia  
This experiment takes 17 days to complete.  If presenting, you may want to have one hot dog completely mummified, one that has only been prepping for 1 week to observe the process and one that is "fresh" if you can use that word to describe a hot dog. ;)

What you Need:
*A plastic container that's several inches longer, wider, and deeper than your hot dog
*A very large box (or two smaller boxes) of baking soda (sodium bircarbonate)*A small scale, like a postage scale (optional)
*An ordinary hot dog (could be beef, turkey, vegetarian- doesn't really matter because you're not going to eat it)
*Paper and pencil
*A ruler
*A piece of string at least 3 inches long

What you do:
1.  The ancient Egyptians mummified very important people-royalty like King Tut.  Out of respect to your very important hot dog, we have named him King Oscar.
2.  Fill the plastic container about two inches deep with baking soda.
3.  If you have a scale, weigh King Oscar now.  Record his weight.
4.  Use your ruler to measure how long King Oscar is now.
5.  Use your piece of string to measure the distance around King Oscar's middle.  This is his circumference.
6.  Make notes on what King Oscar looks like now so you can compare that with what he will look like later.
7.  Place King Oscar on top of the baking soda in the container and cover him with more baking soda.  Make sure the baking soda is a couple of inches thick on the top and sides of dear departed king Oscar.
8.  Place King Oscar in a special place (not back in the refrigerator).  Leave him there for a week.
9.  A week later, remove King Oscar from the baking soda.  does he look different?  what does he smell like?  how long is he now?  What is his circumference?  Write down your observations.
10.  If you have a scale, weigh him again.  Did he lose or gain weight?
11.  Throw away the old baking soda and surround King Oscar with fresh, new baking soda and put him back in his special place for ten more days.
12.  Ten days later, take King Oscar out of the baking soda again.  what's he like now?  he's been transformed into a stiff, leathery mummy!  Now he will last a very long time.  (Egyptian mummies are thousands of years old!)  Put King Oscar in a place of honor.

What's going on?
The dramatic changes seen in King Oscar are direct results of dehydration, which means that water is removed from something.  If you'd left Kin Oscar out in the open without baking soda, he would get moldy and smelly.  food that's not refrigerated goes bad because bacteria and mold need water--and you've used baking soda to take the water out of King Oscar.  Not water... no rot!  King Oscar is preserved for posterity.  That means for future generations, infinity and beyond.)  One fine day, some future archeologist will dig up your mummified hot dog... or maybe not! 

Grades 1-4 Notebook Summary

(From The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise pg. 222-223)

1.  Spelling.  Use for rules that the child is having difficulty with, and for a list of "Trouble Words" that he consistently misspells (Bauer recommends Spelling Workout workbooks)
2.  Grammar.  Use to file any grammar exercises that the child completes on his own paper. (Bauer recommends Rod and Staff grammar program).
3.  Reading.
a.  My Reading.  Use for summaries or illustrations of books from the reading lists.  (The reading lists included myths, epics, classics or age appropriate versions and primary sources.)
b.  Memory Work.  All pieces learned by heart and recited in front of family or friends.  (For us, that includes the Articles of Faith, some scriptures, Shel Silverstien poetry and many radio Disney songs, but will also include the parts of a cell, the respective criteria for mammals, reptiles and amphibians, maybe the emperors of Rome, etc.)
4.  Writing.  use for copywork assignments, dictation, composition assignments, letters and other writings.  Our kids tend to have poetic spurts and one writes song lyrics.

History (use the same notebook for grades 1-4)
This notebook contains four divisions; each has pictures, compositions, and historical narrations, arranged in chronological order.  We read a section of our history book, in this case, Story of the World:  vol. 1 Ancient Times.  Then the children take ownership of the knowledge through narration.  For the younger one's they tell me everything they remember about the section and I write it down for them to put in their notebook.  The older ones just write down what they remember and usually want to show it to me once they've finished.  Then, they illustrate something that stood out to them about that section.  For one, it may be the first library and for another, the bedroom of the ancient leader (even if it was never described).  We look up the area on a modern day map and the children may fill out a black line map of the area (we haven't really implemented this part yet) to stick in their notebook as well.  These all go in chronological order.  Narration and illustration of any outside study materials or additional library books on a topic would also go here.

1.  Ancients
2.  Medieval-early Renaissance
3.  Late Renaissance-early modern
4.  Modern

Science (use a new notebook each year)
(Bauer divides these among the grades starting with first grade, so if you're doing life-science with a 3rd or 4th grader, you may want to add definitions and experiments to their notebook.

 The life science notebook has three divisions:

1.  Animals  (narrations of science books, illustrations, sketches, etc. organized by category)
2.  the Human Body
3.  Plants

The earth-science notebook  has two divisions:

1.  The Earth
2.  Sky and Space

The chemistry notebook has two divisions:

1.  Definitions
2.  Experiments

The physics notebook has two divisions:

1.  Definitions
2.  Experiments

What we're doing:
We use Horizon math.  The kids skip from test to test until they hit a patch they don't understand and stop to do the lessons moving forward.  Any work done outside of the consumable workbook goes into a folder.  We have begun having success memorizing times tables by having our daughter copy out the the four times tables twice every school day before beginning in Horizon.  The following week she will copy the fives and so on.  This copywork goes into the math folder.  

We check out music appreciation books from the library on a regular basis.  We are also listening to a smattering of great works.  We just pick one, learn the name of the composer and the piece, then we listen to it once a day for three days, sometimes at breakfast, sometimes during copywork.  I am just keeping a list of the pieces we listen to.  It would be lovely for the children to learn more about the lives of the composers and make a brief biography of each containing a list of their masterworks and a few details about their lives, but we're not there yet.

We check out art appreciation books from the library on a regular basis.  Again, a biographical page listing an artists works, influences and some life details would be lovely, but for now we're just getting exposure and we keep any artwork the kids make either on the walls or in a folder.

We try to begin our days by singing a patriotic song (    has lyrics and midi-tracks to lots of patriotic songs usually with a brief history of the piece).  Then we say the pledge (we can see a flag on top of the hill outside our window or the patriotic song page usually has a picture of a U.S. flag on it.)  Then we have a family prayer.  Then everyone eats, gets dressed, makes their beds, reads in their scriptures and writes in their journal (I have to read mine early so I can help the non-readers).  This gets done at varying times.  Then we start with math and we're off and running.  We usually alternate days with history and science so we're not doing them on the same day.

Two more websites we love:
an online kids typing program-FREE

phonics games and practice from pre-K through to independent beginning reader:

I'm also finding all kinds of great stuff on youtube to help my girl sing to 100 while seeing each number she sings on the screen.  So much more fun for both of us than flashcards.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ashurbanipal by Angelfish

Ashurbanipal was nasty and mean
The wars he fought were not pretty scenes

He threw salt on their fields
so nothing could grow
While he sat
on his bloody throne

He killed all who didn't obey
He kept slaves or sent them away

The rest I don't want to tell
'Cause he'll hear and I'll be in a cell

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SumGreater and Urbantangerine

 Thanks for being my sister, internet neighbor and home school support.  I love you!