Monday, January 29, 2007

Week of January 29

Well, on the homeschool front...For science, we are kicking off a "Groundhog Day Unit." Activities included beginning our weather chart (we'll keep this for the next 6 weeks) on a printed calendar. We drew in a sun (it's bright and sunny...but COLD) and then wrote in the temp outside. We discussed hibernating animals and read some facts about Groundhog Dog and Candlemas on this website:

Some fun with Shadows: Shadow Tag (played like regular tag, only you don't tag the person, you have to step on their shadow); Shadow puppets-on the wall or ceiling; Shadow Silhouettes-Tape a piece of paper to the wall, at the right height for the child's head. Have the child stand in front of the paper and then using a bright lamp, shine it towards the child creating a shadow silhouette on the wall. Then trace the child's profile. We then cut them out and glued them to black paper.; Shadow Cookies: Using chocolate chip (or some other chocolate) cookie dough, and sugar cookie dough-make a small ball of each then press them together. Bake as normal. The cookies come out with one light side, and one dark side (the kids LOVED these)! And, last but not least, take an empty bottle (like a 2-liter soda bottle) and place it in a nice sunny spot. Trace around the shadow the bottle makes (we did it in our driveway, with sidewalk chalk) and note the time. Come back in an hour and notice how the shadow has changed/moved. Draw the new shadow and note the time. Continue this throughout the day and discuss WHY the shadow is changing.

More groundhog day stuff:

We'll be graphing the times in the last 20 years that Phil has seen vs. has not seen his shadow. I found this list:

We'll also be learning some Groundhog songs and memorizing a groundhog poem, I found here:

For Social Studies this week we began a study of Hawaii (the first of 50 minute unit studies) with my 3rd grader. With my 1st/2nd grader (she's sort of in both?), we're studying Japan.

For our study of Japan, we made a Cherry Blossom picture. My daughter drew the branches of a tree on her paper (we used blue for the sky...but whatever your child wants will work!) then she tore up pieces of pink tissue paper and made them into "blooms" and glued them on. She really enjoyed it. We also looked at pictures of Cherry Blossoms on Google (do an IMAGE search, and you get lots of pictures). I printed a blank Japanese flag and she colored it in. Also, we learned some school related words in Japanese (by looking in our Japanese Picture Dictionary). We also talked about islands (as both Japan and Hawaii are islands). We will be making a volcano this week as well (with vinegar and baking soda) and having Hinamatursi Day (The Day of the Dolls) and make small kimono's for our dolls from brown paper bags and string. We will also plan on having tea, seated on the floor!

For Hawaii, we are using this website:

Hope you'll have some great learning fun this week!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day (although, honestly anytime would be a good time to discuss the work of Dr. King), we didn't get to do as much as I typically like to do (having the new baby being only 4 days old put a krimp in the plan lol), but we did do one activity. First, we read "Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Honoring a Civil Rights Hero" by Amanda Doering. Then we did the craft suggestion in the back. The craft is called "Chain of Hands." We cut out the kids handprints from various colors (black, brown, yellow, white and red), then wrote words that described Dr. King on them and connected them together.

Other activities (we've done these in the past, and my Daisy troop did one at the last meeting):

Brown Egg/White Egg-Show the child(ren) each egg. Have them describe them, how are they different? Crack them open. Point out that even though they look different on the outside, they are the same!

People collage-Cut out pictures of people of all ethnicities. Glue them together on a poster to hang up.

My Dream-Cut out a rainbow shape with 2 clouds on either end. Have children name "their dream" for our world, or themselves (whatever they wish). Write this on the rainbow, then let them color the rainbow and glue cotton balls on the cloud parts.

Some songs we've used in the past (and I'm sure will use again in the future):

Sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle

Freedom, freedom, let it ring.
Let it ring said Dr. King
Let us live in harmony.
Peace and love for you and me.
Freedom Freedom, let it ring.
Let it ring said Dr. King

Sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle

Dr. King was a man
Who came from Atlanta, Georgia
Had a dream that he preached
For all me to be equal
Dr. King was so brave
Martin was a hero.
Won the fight for everyone
To end discrimination

Some links:

Our Newest "Student"

This month we welcomed our newest student, Three. He's busy learning all the important things....sleeping, nursing, and crying. What could be more important? :) We're all adjusting to a new schedule, but doing well. We are easing back into school with the older kids. Last week we did 2 subjects (Math and Reading) and this week we increased it to 3 (Math, Reading, and English). We normally do 12 activities a day (including fun stuff). I'm hoping by mid-February we'll be back up to full swing.