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. 

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