Friday, July 24, 2015

Peaches and Blackberries

It's time again for the berries to be picked. Blackberries, over the last couple of years, have been hit-and-miss. They're notoriously fragile in the heat, so if there are hot days in June, there will be few blackberries in July, when they're supposed to be ripe. That was certainly the case this year. Even as we got out of the car, the guy at the farm asked if we were picking blackberries and said we'd be lucky to find any. As a testament to Rebecca's tenacity, she managed to scrounge up a whole 5lb bucket of them! 

 While she was doing that, I went and picked some yellow peaches. In the past, the danger in the peaches was yellow jackets that wanted them as badly as we did, but this year, there weren't any. That was good. 
However, the beetles were horrendous. If there was a slightly ripe peach, they were all over it. It took me quite a while to pull together a 20-lb basket of them, though not nearly as long as Rebecca with the blackberries. I definitely had the easier job. 
The kids, of course, did there part in eating whatever they put their hands to. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Officer Buckle and Gloria

Officer Buckle and Gloria is a book we did with Olivia a couple of years ago and enjoyed so much that we wanted to do it with the boys. It was a good one to do, especially with them just finishing Safety Town shortly before. While it's not a FIAR book, we pulled a lapbook from Homeschool Share and a set of printables on policemen from Homeschool Creations.

It's a very humorous story of a safety-obsessed policeman who give safety speeches at schools, but no one listens until he gets a partner: Gloria the dog. Gloria acts out the safety tips behind Officer Buckle's back and makes learning safety fun for the kids.
The boys did all kinds of lapbook activities. They made their own list of Safety Tips like Officer Buckle. They learned their address and phone number.
They learned about different kinds of working dogs.
They also got to play a game of Red Light, Green Light using a stoplight they made.
Unfortunately, during the weeks we were reading the book, Ezra got to make up a safety tip of his own:
"Don't run down the driveway!"
(seriously... he suggested it in the midst of me cleaning him up. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Olivia's Lemonade Stand

Olivia had been saying since last fall that she wanted to have a lemonade stand this summer, so when summer rolled around, we helped her make it happen. She set herself a goal that she wanted to get certain Minecraft Lego sets from Walmart, so she put in a lot of hard work and time to make it happen.
 She decorated some fantastic signs that we put up on the street.
 She squeezed lemons.
 And she squeezed more lemons. She squeezed about 160 in all.
 She sat at her table for more than two weeks and pitched her wares to everyone she could. She always was waving and smiling as cars or people came by.
 In the end, she really raked in the dough.
She made $155, which was exactly what she needed to make for her goal! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dinner by Olivia

As part of Olivia's math curriculum, she had to cook dinner by following some recipes. She made a fantastic cornbread for us.

Than she made a tasty Mexican salad with corn, tomatoes, black beans and other veggies. 
We ate them with some wonderful tamales that we got from a friend. Olivia did a wonderful job and we look forward to more gourmet meals from her. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spring Term 2015

This Spring, we continued our study of SCM's Early Modern and Epistles, focusing now on the events between the Colonial Era and the American Revolution.

In America, we learned about the major colonies and colonists like Captain John Smith in Jamestown, William Penn in Pennsylvania, and the Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York). We read about explorers like Henry Hudson and James Cook, who searched for the Northwest Passage through North America to get to China. James Cook, on one of his expeditions, inadvertently became the first European to find Australia! His crew also became the first to sail around the world 3 times. Captain Cook himself died in Hawaii on that third time around.
 Olivia had to make an oiled window for a project about the Colonial Era. Glass was very expensive, so people used animal skins or paper to cover their windows and keep the rain out while letting some light in. While not a good as glass, we could see that it really did work.

For Geography, we continued our journey with Joshua Slocum, Passing around Cape Horn and making it to Australia. Appropriately enough, Olivia's map drills were of Australia. Our map of the trip continues to grow.

For Science, we studied about Isaac Newton. We read all about his life and how he discovered so many things we take for granted like how rainbows are made, gravity, and why things move the way they do. We did experiments that demonstrated some of his Laws.
 Newton's first law

Newton's third law

In her math, Olivia and Gabe are both learning some new things. Olivia is learning about averages, which makes her use multiple functions to get the answer. She also learned about how to measure the area of a room and had to make a big poster of our house's floorplan. She measured each room and figured out the perimeter and area in square feet. 

Gabe has been learning a lot about measuring, not only in feet and inches, but in cups, pint, quarts and gallons. He even made a Measuring Man to help him learn the relationships. He's also getting into borrowing and carrying with 2- and 3-digit addition and subtraction.
Gabe has been doing more and more reading and is getting much better at it. The trick for him is to get him interested in reading something and to vary what he reads. He does have a reading book, but some days, especially if he has word problems or a story in his math book, I'll let him skip the regular book and choose something else.

For our bible study, Olivia did a study on the book of Hebrews. It's pretty impressive just how much a 10-year-old can pick up and retain from reading some pretty complicated stuff in the Bible. With the rest of the kids, we continue to build our retinue of memory verses and read the Torah Portion each week at the breakfast table.
Now you may be saying, "Where's Ezra? What's he doing?" Well, that kid is a champ. He's the first one up in the classroom each morning and goes right to work on his Do It Carefully book and his K4 worksheets. He's starting to learn some of the basics of reading, but he guesses a lot and gets easily frustrated when he's wrong. If I can get him to calm down and look closely at what's there, he can usually pick it up.
Lastly, we did two read-alouds this term. The first one was a book, that once I began to read it, I realized I had read it in school when I was a kid. It's called The Matchlock Gun. It's the story of a family of Dutch settlers in upstate New York that have to defend themselves from an Indian attack while the father is away. As I read it, I vividly remembered my own mental pictures of the story. It was really cool to share that with the kids. 

The second read-aloud book we did is the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch woman that helped to protect and smuggle Dutch Jews during the Nazi occupation in WWII. Her story of perseverance and faith in the concentration camps in the face of horrible conditions and death is nothing short of amazing. We have her autobiography, The Hiding Place, and are planning on reading that as well. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Safety Town 2015

The time finally came this year for the boys to go to Safety Town. Olivia attended about 4 years ago and had such a great time and learned so much, we couldn't wait for the boys to get their chance. Safety Town is only for 5 & 6-year-old kids and Gabe and Ezra's birthdays worked out perfectly so that they could both go in the same year.
Safety Town is a 2-week, half-day camp for kids to learn about different aspects of safety in their daily lives. The learn about road, playground, bicycle, animal, boat, gun, and other aspects of safety. They get to meet paramedics, police officers, fire fighters and other civil servants. 
They have a cool little "town" set up, complete with road signs and stoplights, for the kids to get to practice things like crossing the street and bicycle safety.
 The highlight of the camp is getting to ride the pedal cars. :)

Now we have to wait another 3 years so Emma and Irene can go, too. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spring Term Artwork 2015

We just finished our art curriculum for this term, Artistic Pursuits. It was really fun to read about the various artists and apply some of their techniques, whether it was color or style, subject matter or methods. This particular term, we read about artists like Jean Francois Millet, Jan Vermeer, Jean-Honore Fragonard and Joseph Turner.

I think the funniest aspect of the whole thing was how the kids tended to draw the same thing, often without discussing it. The favorite subject had to be birthday parties, but trees and outdoor scenes were prominent, too.

One project they did was to put the paper on a textured surface and then use oil pastels to draw a picture. The texture underneath came right through to make a very interesting look.
 This on was Gabe's on crumpled and then smoothed foil.
 Olivia did this simple tree on bubble wrap.
Ezra did his tree on a bunch of pennies.

Another project was using tissue paper as the coloring rather than something like paint or crayons. Not surprisingly, they all did the same thing: boats. :)

In another project, the kids had to draw first with a black oil pastel and then paint it with watercolors. The effect was that the color would stick to the paper, but not the lines they drew with the oil pastel. Here you see one of the many appearances of the birthday party theme.

And finally, they did one last project as a group. It was a 3D drawing done on a platform of construction paper. Olivia did the drawing, Gabe and Ezra colored it and then Olivia and Gabe cut out the pieces and Olivia attached them to the paper.
Here you can see both the outdoor scene and the birthday party together. 

The kids had so much fun doing this art and I'm really glad I got to do it with them. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hey Dad!

Irene is picking up words and phrases almost daily, but this is one of her funniest. Now she blames me for everything!