Friday, November 18, 2011

European Tour

Our homeschool curriculum has taken us through Europe, specifically 3 countries: Norway, France, and Germany. Olivia successfully learned to identify about 75% of the countries in Europe along with the main bodies of water. We read about Europe in general and about kids/families from quite a few of the countries but those 3 were our focus.

In Norway, we read about the Lapps, a group of people that live in the northernmost part of the country who are primarily nomadic, following the herds of reindeer.  We cooked meat cakes, salmon quiche, and rice pudding.

This is an example of Rosemailing. I printed it off and then Olivia traced it to get an idea of all the detail.
This is a project using the traditional colors the Lapps.

In France, we talked about art museums and looked at art, we talked about the Eiffel Tower, and the Chunnel connecting England and France. We talked about French cuisine and saw how much of its influences are even in our local grocery store. We went one evening and tasted chocolate mousse and eclairs. We took home croissants to have at breakfast the next day.

Lavendar scented soaps
profile silhouettes: I drew hers and she drew me.

In Germany we talked about composers, the printing press, castles and read tons of fairy tales. Olivia has now decided to call hot-dogs frankfurters because she likes the name better. We made mini pretzels which Olivia said was the highlight of our recent baking.

Pressed Flowers

Modeling with Beeswax. Smells nice as your manipulate it.

Europe has a diverse landscape giving us many opportunities to talk about geography. From various mountain ranges to caves to the Black Forest to seas, lakes, and rivers to the far north that is within the arctic circle. Our science focus was broad. We spent time talking about plant and animal classification. We talked about food chains, animal adaptation and defenses, the balance of nature in the environment. We reviewed some of our forest information and then spent time learning about freshwater bodies of water, specifically rivers and lakes.

Olivia building mountains to surround our river
Watching the water carve a path through the valley and carry soil to the "ocean" 
Surface tension

Placing a bent staple on the water to demonstrate how surface tension lets some things float that shouldn't.

To add to our tour of Europe, we talked about Romania. Our family has supported a family of four in Romania through World Vision for about 7 years. I pulled out the pictures and letters that we have from our family through the years and shared them with Olivia. One of her school assignments is to write a letter each week. She usually writes to family members. This time, she and I wrote letters and sent pictures to the Vacar family in Romania. She asks me every few days if I think her letter has made it to them and if she will get a response. I showed her how they write in their language and then it is translated for us. She was very concerned about how they would be able to read her letter. 

Another thing that Olivia really enjoys is listening to samples of language from the countries and some of their local children songs. I continue to find Youtube to be a good resource for this. In addition, the curriculum came with an International Wee Sing music CD and book.

Olivia is continuing to read her way through the book of Matthew and memorize a selection of scriptures. We are also still reading about and praying for a particular people group each week in Window on the World. I highly recommend this resource to give your children (and yourself) a view of the world that is larger than our own American families.  Our read aloud for Europe was the biography of George Müller. I can't say enough good things about this book. He was a man of amazing faith. The story is mostly about his heart for and ministry to orphan children in England. The simple stories of trusting God, answered prayer, and God's provision were easy for Olivia to get excited about and think about. (*As an aside, I totally believe that this was God's grace to have us reading this book when Jeremy was laid off from his job. I just can't say enough good things about this book. Go get it and read it! :) )

1 comment:

Kallie said...

Overachiever...making the rest of us look bad:) It always looks like you are so busy doing fun and interesting things. I really want to find out more about some of the books and resources you shared. I am coming to your school room soon:)