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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Wishes {Snow Day Bliss}

Perfect snow day:

  • Enough ice for closing the roads for ideal sledding conditions.
  • Not enough ice to make the power go out!
  • Inches of powdery, packable flakes for snowman building.
  • Beckons us outside with the promise of hot chocolate to warm us.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Far East {learning activities}

We are studying two different Sonlight Cores this year, and I'm trying to coordinate them so we are all at least learning about the same countries or cultures at the same time.

All three boys are listening to the read-alouds from both Cores, but my oldest is reading his Core 5 readers on his own.To make the books more accessible, I'm incorporating lots of picture books and hands-on activities.

One great resource I am using is the Ancient Far East history kit from Hands and Hearts.The boys especially enjoyed making the Gyotaku (fish prints) and the Kokeshi dolls from this kit.

Three Samurai Cats is a fun picture book to read after reading A Grain of Rice (from Sonlight Core K.) The boys want me to make jasmine (sticky) rice for them, because they said these books made them crave it!

We will be reading The Story About Ping (for the umpteenth time) and then trying our hand at making some origami wild ducks.

We are halfway into The Master Puppeteer (from Sonlight Core 5.) It isn't an easy book, but I did some searching for ideas for making the setting and story easier for the boys to grasp.We are making a cardboard box pop-up Bunraku Japanese puppet theater and puppets out of card stock. I also found some videos on YouTube that show actual Bunraku puppet shows of Japan.

Hands-on projects, supplementary picture books, and visuals have helped my boys connect with this book and opened their eyes and hearts to a different culture.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hands-On History {Creative chaos}

Access to a wide range of art materials is the key to a happy homeschool! At least, that's what my boys think. When left to their own devices, they come up with some wonderful creations. We pulled out the oil pastels yesterday, and the boys spent thirty minutes drawing and smudging.

While studying the Far East, we are incorporating some art projects into the history lessons. We printed out blackline maps of Japan and labeled them with permanent ink. Then the boys colored the land areas with crayons, and finally they painted over the entire thing with blue watercolor paint.

The crayon areas acted as a resist to the paint, creating a really neat effect. The watercolor paints that come in the tubes produce beautiful colors, but any watercolors will work. This was a fun way to learn geography through art, and it was more fun than just labeling and coloring.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nature Journal {Growing ice}

We thought the frost looked like grass made out of ice. It was fascinating to find patches of it along the way when we were walking.

We came home and looked up frost in the Handbook of Nature Study and discovered that many of the photographs in that book were taken by Snowflake Bentley.

We also had not idea that there were so many different types of frost. Now we will be on the lookout for different patterns on the windows and on the car.