Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spring Term 2016

We continued on with our trek through Modern History, picking up with the Wright Brothers and Henry Ford. Now we're getting to something the kids are really interested in! We read through "The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of American Aviation", which was a great book because it covered a lot of their younger years and showed how their parents influenced their drive to take something that was already invented and make it better than before. This is what inspired our trip to the beach last month.

Also during this time, the kids read about George Washington Carver, who is best known for his research into peanuts, but we found out that there was so much more to the man's work and life!
He was born into slavery in the 1860s, but was freed and then cared for and educated by his former master. George worked his way through school to eventually teach Botany at the Tuskegee Institute and become one of the pioneers of crop research. 

At the same time, we were reading a fascinating book called "Across America on an Emigrant Train" by  Jim Murphy, who, by using Robert Louis Stevenson's journal of the trip, tells the story of how Stevenson traveled across America on a train filled with immigrants from Europe who were settling the West. They had to endure cramped conditions, poor food, and all sorts of hardships on their way and we got a glimpse of the events of the times like the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

On our journey through history, we studied events like the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the sinking of the Titanic,  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (look it up. it's why we have OSHA today), and World War I and World War II.

Not surprisingly, the World Wars took up a good deal of our World History Studies as well. We read some books like Where Poppies Grow and Only a Dog, both about WWI.

We also read Endless Steppe, which gives a glimpse of what life in Russia was like for those who weren't part of the Revolution. It follows a teenage girl and her family as they are arrested and shipped of to Siberia after being accusing of being Capitalists.


This term, we read through Minn of the Mississippi, which follows the life and travels of a snapping turtle from its hatching point in northern Minnesota all the way to the mouth of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans. The book covers a span of about 3 years and discusses the history of the river, the various types of terrain it pass through and the various cities that lie along it's path, which has changed over time, leaving some former river-towns high and dry away from its current route. All-in-all, it's a really interesting book, just like all the others in the series.


We went through a few read-alouds this term that the kids really enjoyed. The first was A Cricket in Times Square, which tells the story of a cricket that gets accidentally carried from the country to a subway station in New York City and the various people and animals he meets while there.

Then we read Eyes for Benny, which is about a boy who contracts scarlet fever and is bed-ridden for several months. During his convalescence, his friends come together to collect all kinds of caterpillars, cocoons, butterflies and moths for his collection, making his time stuck inside much more enjoyable.

We also read the follow up, Birds at My Window, which tells about Benny having a relapse during the winter and how his dad builds him a bird feeder outside his window. The story is a lot of fun and has a really cool second half when Benny begins to recover.


Olivia is continuing on with A Nature Walk with Aunt Bessie on her own, but together, the kids are doing Outdoor Secrets, which they do 3 times a week. It just involves listening to a story being read and then narrating it back. The stories don't necessarily follow a set pattern, but rather jump from topic to topic; one day talking about bees, the next about trees, then about squirrels. It keeps the stories fresh and interesting and even Ezra is able to give me a basic, but good narration of the stories.

Ezra and Emma

Ezra continues to work at Delightful Reading and is really getting the hang of it, even though he won't admit it. Hes working through his sight words and phonograms almost every day and is starting to recognize them when we read together. That's probably been the hardest part: making the connection between the sight words on the cards and the words in his readers. He's been reading though a Little Bear book and (when he's not flipping out over a word) is really liking it.

Emma is such a little trooper. She loves doing her "schoolwork" which is still her ABC art book. She won't let me get away with skipping a day! 

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