Our Homeschool Adventure Blog

Chronicling our adventures as a small homeschool family with mom and dad both as teachers

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Geography, Valentine’s Day, and a Quick Story

US GEOGRAPHY

We have started a US geography/50 States unit, and I wanted to share a couple of ideas/resources with you.  First of all, as an introduction this past week I found this video.

NDEW absolutely loves it!  He walks around singing the parts of it that he’s learned, and watches it frequently.  Before too long, he’ll know all the state capitals if he keeps watching it!  We discovered that this song is part of an album called Brain Beats that has some great other songs on it too.  It’s available on iTunes and we’ve downloaded several songs from it.  Such fun music and, for a kid like NDEW who’s most definitely an auditory learner, a great way for him to learn some new information across several subjects!

As a part of this unit we have also asked people to send NDEW postcards from where they live.  We have friends who live all over the country and we put the appeal out on Facebook asking people to send the postcards.  We already have several state represented.  The fun thing is that NDEW doesn’t know this is happening, so it’s going to be a total surprise when all these postcards start showing up in the mail!  We’re going to have him chart where the cards come from on a US map and then include them in a couple of other project he’s working on.  If anyone reading this wants to participate, just let me know!

VALENTINES DAY

This week includes Valentine’s Day, so we decided to put our normal plan aside for the day and do something a little different.  We’ll still be hitting our normal subjects for the day (math, science, history, geography, writing), but all the activities will have a Valentine’s Theme.

Math:

  • Charting activity with several boxes of conversation heart candies.
  • Answering math review questions as a way to “earn” a few little Valentines surprises.

History

  • Reading the history of Valentine’s Day and the symbols we associate with it.

Geography

  • Color on a world map the countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day

Writing

  • Writing a Valentine’s Day poem

Science:

  • Do a “dancing hearts” science experiment:  Instructions found here: http://inspirationlaboratories.com/valentine-candy-science-dancing-hearts/
  • Science Valentines:  Inspired by a couple of examples I found online, I decided to make up some Famous Scientists Valentines for NDEW.  Hubby and I had way too much fun thinking these up!  NDEW’s assignment will be to figure out why the wording on each valentine fits with the scientist, hopefully learning a little about their work in the process!  If you want to see the valentines, you can download them here:  Science valentines  Before any of my science friends make a comment about the difference between monkeys and chimps on the Jane Goodall card, I know, I know…I couldn’t make chimp work on the card and I’ll make sure NDEW knows there is a difference!  🙂 Scientist Sample Valentine

ONE QUICK STORY

As I’ve mentioned before, hubby is the primary educator for NDEW.  NDEW started a homeschoolers PE class at Appalachian State University this week and he’s really enjoying it.  On Thursday evening, I asked hubby about class.  After sharing about what NDEW’s group was doing during class, he said “So it was just me and the moms watching.”  He said he’s the only guy there among the parents.  He said that the first question the moms asked him was “So, do you and your wife switch off teaching your son?”  When hubby said that he did all the teaching, they had lots and lots of questions for him about that worked.  LOL  He said “I’m not sure they quite knew what to do with me.  They kept saying, ‘So you really do all the teaching?’”  Glad my hubby is very secure in who he is!

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Update and Lots of Science

Since I hadn’t written in a couple of weeks I thought I’d share a little update, including lots of science!

So what are we studying….

History: We’re still camped out in the US colonial period although I think we’ll be moving on from that pretty soon.  NDEW is doing a PowerPoint presentation on the 13 colonies and I have a feeling that, once he finishes that up, we’ll be ready to move on.

Math: We’ve been talking about least common multiples, mixed numbers, improper fractions, ordering fractions, and adding fractions.

Geography: We’ve finished up US landforms and now we’re moving on to an overview of the 50 states.

Science:  We’ve always thought of NDEW as being a history kind of kid, which he definitely does like, but we’re discovering that he likes science more than we realized.  That does this science-major-and-former-science-teacher mom’s heart good! We’re continuing to study astronomy covering subjects like comets, black holes and Mars.  NDEW has also been studying space travel and space exploration.  There are so many excellent space resources available online!  This has been a really fun unit of study so far, and NDEW’s definitely still enjoying the Kerbal Space Program challenges too! (See last post.)

Writing: We’re still doing some creative writing and keyboarding practice and have started reviewing/studying parts of speech.  NDEW also now has an email pen pal (the daughter of a college friend who lives in Kentucky), so writing her is going to be part of NDEW’s writing every week too!

Extras:  We’ve had a couple of crazy weeks of weather…everything from spring-like temps in the mid-60s to flooding rains, to a good amount of snow and ice and sub-zero wind chills.  Road conditions have been a big topic of conversation around here, which has led to conversations about how the roads are treated.  NDEW and hubby did a fun science experiment about how salt affects the melting rate of ice and NDEW even got to use the microscope he received for Christmas! You can download the instructions we used here: Ice Experiment

In another experiment, just for the fun of it, we explored how dish soap works and made some beautiful, albeit temporary, art in the process.  You can find the instructions for the experiment as well as the science behind it here:  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/milk-color-explosion  Here are some pictures from our experiment!  NDEW’s reaction was priceless.   Click on the picture to make it bigger if you’d like ti see it better.

experiment picture

NDEW also participated in a live, interactive virtual field trip about fish of the Pacific Ocean.  He really enjoyed it!  He took part in it through this website:  http://www.lifesize.com/en/social/sea-extravaganza  They do one once a month I think.

In “away from home” extras, NDEW started his homeschool music/recorder class and is really enjoying it!  The PE class at ASU starts this week and he’s definitely looking forward to that as well.  We also had a fun night of dinner and volleyball with friends at church last night, and are looking forward to going to a Super Bowl party tomorrow night.  Wintery weather definitely doesn’t keep people locked up at home here in the High Country!

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