A happy heart makes the face cheerful...Proverbs 15:13

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Draw and Write..Through History

Since the beginning of this year we have been sampling many different history curriculum's. Our problem has been finding something that we could actually 'get into'. History is obviously not our favorite subject. So far, trying to do book curriculum has just been a bust. We started the audio version of Story of the World. We do not use the books with this. Instead, we made a timeline and memorization cards. So far we have really enjoyed this curriculum.
Recently, as I was looking to expand on the Story of the World curriculum, I ran into the Draw and Write through History series. My 9 year old has a passion for drawing and art so I though I'd give it a whirl.
This curriculum has a 4 book series: (1) Creation though Jonah, (2)Greece and Rome,(3) Vikings, The Middle Ages, and The Renaissance, (4) Pilgrims, Pirates, and Patriots. They also have a brand new book out, Napoleon to Lady Liberty. All books are suited for ages 8 and up, but can be used for younger students.
It combines history, drawing, and zaner-bloser cursive copy work. My 9 yr old is still pretty new to cursive, so the page long copy work is often too much for him. I will have him only do a portion in cursive and the rest in print.
My verdict on this.... Super fun. I actually enjoy sitting down and trying to do the drawings with him. Even though his are always better than mine :) Below are some of his drawing from book 3. Now, this could not be an entire curriculum, but it is a wonderful extra, or beginning. You could very easily dive into to each of these sections to create a school years worth of studies.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Winter Nature Studies

With the first snow on the ground, it is time to transition from our Autumn to Winter nature studies. I know, some of you are thinking, I am NOT going outside in this weather. Believe me I feel that way often, but by golly if the kids can do it and have fun, I can too. We can all cuddle under blankets with hot cocoa afterward. THAT I look forward too.

Our studies for this season will include:
1. Animal Tracks
2. How salt melts ice and snow
3. Snowflakes: Up close and personal
4.Outdoor observation box
You can find note-booking pages for all of the weekly studies to the right in the winter nature study section. Observation box note-booking is listed under 'created by me' section.

Bird Watch- We are going to watch our bird feeders to see what is coming to visit.
Weather Watch- Self Explanatory :)
Moon Transition watch- Viewing the moon at night and watch its transitions from full moon to full moon.(This is also going along with our astronomy lessons.
For this I have created a few charts for these daily watches. You can find them to the right in the 'created by me' section.

Lesson Explanations:

1.Animal Tracks- Try to find any animal print in the snow. In your neighborhood, you might find rabbit, dog, cat, squirrel, bird or raccoon. We are going to the state park to try to find some lesson common prints like snake or deer. Have your child complete the note-booking page. You can take this a step further by making casts of the prints and then exploring them at home.

2. How salt melts ice and snow- You can use household or industrial salt for this project. The directions for this are explained on the note-booking page.

3. Snowflakes: Up close and personal- Catch some snow on a black piece of cloth, glove, or small piece of cardboard. Then view through the magnifying glass. You can put them in the freezer to prolong the project if needed. I would suggest pre-freezing your collection item and then putting back in the freezer for a few minutes before observing it. Complete the note-booking page. I am going to have my schoolers write(and/or dictate) a story about snow or snowflakes. Also, we will make snowflakes out of paper.
4.Outdoor observation box- With the outdoor observation box, you find a small area in your yard or local park that won't be disturbed. Measure out your box. We are going to do 1 ft by 1 ft. As you measure, place rocks or stakes in the corners of your observation box. The use yarn to square off the box. Everyday make observations, and take or draw a picture, of what has changed in the box since the last observation. For right now we plan to only do this for a week, but if the kids enjoy it like they did in other seasons we will continue. I fear they might only see a new cover of snow everyday :)

I will be sharing our studies as we complete them. Feel free to work along with us. Do you have other nature studies that you and your family enjoy?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow...Through a child's eyes.

I think that the image we have of snow as a child compared to as adults is pretty opposite. As a child, snow is magical. Its exciting. Its fun, and we never seem to be cold while we sled and make our snow men. As adults, we freeze easy. We think about how terrible it makes the traffic, what a pain it is to shovel the drive and walkways, being driven insane by kids who cant go outside.

Could you imagine how enjoyable winter would be if we looked at snow through the eyes of our childhood? We would see the majestic image that we see in Christmas paintings. We would see the calmness, the serenity, the beauty of a street or field covered with fresh fallen snow. My goal for the rest of winter(or at least until Christmas) is to try to view winter, to view snow, through the eyes of my children. To remind myself about my childhood. The excitement I felt when I looked out the window and saw fresh snow. To look past the hustle and bustle, look past the traffic and the shoveling, look past the cold and just see...magic.

What's your favorite memory of snow from your childhood?

Cold Weather Crafts

For us here in Indiana, the 1st of December brought about the 1st snow. Now, 5 days later, we have some where between 2-4 inches. I think our top outdoor time has been 15 minutes. So, time for the crafts. Basic, simple crafts are always an easy way to keep the kiddos entertained during the cold weather. I wanted to find somethings that we could do, that would coincide with some lessons for this month. We are learning a lot about Christmas. The story of Jesus, the history behind certain Christmas symbols such as the tree, the nativity, even the yule log, reindeer(they actually exsist), and Christmas in other cultures. So, I have been able to google some kind of craft that goes with any of these lessons. Enchanted learning.com has many as well.

I have added 3 PDF files to the right in the PDF link. It has Unit studies on Reindeer, Christmas traditions(with crafts), and Christmas around the world. We are doing all 3 through out December, but focusing on the Christmas traditions as it has a craft with each lesson. You could actually do a couple a day. The other 2 unit studies contains LA, geography, science, and history.

I will be posting many of the Christmas tradition stories along with the crafts we are doing with them.

What are your favorite indoor winter activities?