Statue of Liberty Mini Unit Study

This week’s wrap up takes us up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty. We shall soon be traversing the waters of the World Wars and the Great Depression. I figured the Statue of Liberty and immigration would be a good segue from late 1800’s homesteading into a more industrial world full of people and problems.

I really planned this week on the fly. I knew which book from our home library I wanted to use and I requested some from the library that looked promising. Other then that, I did a quick google search the night before our study and found some cool free notebooking pages. During our reading we had a question come up about the patina so we did a spontaneous search and found a really cool (cool for me = easy to do, nothing to buy) science experiment. It was that kind of study that just came together in a nice way during the middle of our very busy week. I like those days!

This study covered literature, history, copywork, science, and a little math.

Books we loved ~

Liberty by Allan Drummond~ This was a fun book. You have to read the author’s note in the beginning. This is where the bulk of the historical fact is at but, more importantly, it is where he sets up his stage of awe-inspiring imagination with the kids. Usually my kids hate author’s notes. Not this time!

The other interesting thing about this book is the reference to the only two females allowed at the opening ceremony. It is mentioned enough times that it caught Lily’s attention. And she repeatedly interrupted me to find out why only 2 girls could go. It was a wonderful intro to discuss the women’s suffrage movement and I think it will be the next thing we study for history. It segues nicely from this study.

A Picnic in October by Eve Bunting ~ This was a book even my nine year old boy enjoyed. It is told by a boy about that same age as his family takes their yearly traditional Lady Liberty picnic. His grandparents were immigrants so this statue is very important to them. The thing that makes this book stand out is the realism. The boy deals with his own why-do-we-have-to-do-this boredom of tradition. It made my kids laugh and will probably be the book they remember best.

Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen ~ This was interesting in that it was a dual story. One side of the page told an immigrants story of coming to America and receiving a new name. The other page told the story of how Bartholdi came upon his idea for building the statue and his journey in bringing that vision to fruition. Yolen does a good job at interweaving the two stories together that doesn’t lose young readers along the way.

Books the older two read independently ~

Lily and Miss Liberty by Carla Stevens ~ Perfect for our Lily. This is a starter chapter book about a young french girl in school who is helping to raise money for the Statue of Liberty. A great story for my girl who is interested in French! This was Lily’s first time doing independent history reading. She did very well with her narrations.

Building Liberty: A Statue is Born by Serge Hochain~ Gabe wasn’t thrilled with the idea of independent historical reading…he rarely is. Yet he ended up reading this book two times. It is a picture book put out by National Geographic with fabulous detailed pictures of how Lady Liberty was put together piece by piece. This story is told from different perspectives by four different boys who each had a hand in building. Although this is a picture book it is definitely geared toward an older student. You could use it as a read aloud if it was your only read aloud for that day.

Free Statue of Liberty Resources ~

Turning Pennies Green ~

The Copper Caper

We found this ultra cool experiment on how copper reacts with acid. This is a perfect instant gratification experiment that costs nothing and is a perfect demonstration of that beautiful sea green patina covering Lady Liberty. One of my favorite experiments that we’ve done thus far. We did the first part of the experiment that only involved the pennies.

How I incorporated Math ~ Since they already had to measure for the experiment, I capitilized on Lily’s learning fractions this past week and purposefully pulled out the wrong measuring cups and spoons. I gave her the chance to figure out how she could multiply or divide to get the right measurement. Real Math. We like that around here!

And I’ll leave you with this food for thought…

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to be free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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The Elements ~ a Lapbook and Trading Cards

We had a full school week here despite strep visiting our house. There was plenty of sunshine for outside play and bike rides and plenty of rain for inside work. I set up the workboxes for older independent study this week. And the littles got to have fun with a Mario math activity and this cute princess sorting game.

Most of the work was catchup of miscellaneous stuff that just needs to be done…those last few grammar and phonics lessons and the dreaded end-of-the-year-this-is-too-hard-mom math workbook pages. I threw in some history-oriented literature ~ Tom Sawyer for Gabe and the first Meet Samantha book for Lily ~ light history with no extra activities for a little break.

To break up the monotony of the school that needs to be done, I threw in some fun stuff. For Lily, she got to spend each day playing with the Math Interactive Dictionary. She looked up what she was specifically studying for that day and had fun play learning some more about it (base ten, symmetry, inches).

Gabe finally got to start the elements lapbook he’s been wanting to get to. (More science mom, less history has been his rally cry for the past month.) I found a wonderful lapbook on elements over at Homeschoolshare.com based on the book Fizz, Bubble, & Flash: Element Explorations and Atom Adventures ~ a wonderfully living book on elements with lots of fun experiment opportunities. We added these make-your-own Element Trading Cards to the mix (he is cutting them out and using them as the base for his lapbooking) and using The Elements and The Periodic Table: Elements with Style as reference books for looking up information.

And for copywork and poetry memorization he is learning a poem right out of the book.

A Periodic Poem

Each element has a spot on the Periodic Table,

Whether metal or gas, radioactive or stable.

You can find out its number, its symbol, its weight,

And from its position, its physical state.

Elements lined up in columns and rows,

The reason for this order, as each chemist knows,

Is that atoms are made up of still smaller bits,

(Figuring this out tested scientists’ wits!).

In the nucleus, protons and neutrons are found,

And a cloud of electrons is buzzing around.

First take one proton, put in its place;

Now you have hydrogen, the simplest case.

Add two neutrons and one more proton,

and suddenly, the hydrogen’s gone!

Now you have helium, quite different stuff…

You get the picture; I’ve said enough.

These tiny particles: they’re like building blocks

That make people and buldings, flowers and rocks.

They create all of the elements we find

In everyday things of every kind!

I feel like we got a good chunk of work done despite not getting to everything on my list. But my list never gets done. Even when I think I’ve only planned a little, it always turns out to be more then we have time for! How was your week?

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Guided Project Work

January 31 – February 4

At the beginning of the week I mentioned that during my potty training time with Ivy I would have the two older kids working on guided project work. I was very excited about this concept and the kids were too. We’ve done project work in the past with trying to allow the kids to pick and work on something that they were interested in but have had little success with this style (no matter how promising it seems at Camp Creek!!!). Mainly, it seems, because my kids seem to still want me there to guide them and I, having too many littles, end up not being able to be there in the way they want. Or the littles constantly get into their stuff thereby defeating the purpose of taking their time to complete a project.

I thought our new method would be more constructive. I let them pick out library books they were interested in. Then, unknowingly to them, I read through their books and put together a few mini projects they could use with their books. I incorporated their specific learning styles and what they need work on currently.  That way it would still be interest-led (i.e. no reading books mom made them read) yet still accomplish goals I had for them (i.e. math, reading practice, science, history, copywork, etc.) while freeing up mommy for toddler-devoted training time.

Lily’s Projects (seven years old)

Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy

  • Reading 4 Fancy Nancy books (reading practice), writing new “fancy” words on heart templates with one word to describe their meaning (vocabulary, handwriting practice), paste those heart templates onto cardstock and decorate in a fancy way, paper punch each one and bind it into her very own fancy flashcard vocabulary set (project work, crafting).
  • Read Mission Addition and solve the question at the end of each chapter (math with emphais on adding and value place). I made my own worksheet for her. Maybe if I ever learn how to do that whole pdf thing then I’ll share!
  • Read Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying , tell mom an oral narration after each chapter, draw a picture narration, copy down a small portion of narration (that mom dictated) to go with picture narration, bind together in a folder (narration, reading practice with a chapter book, reading comprehension, copywork/penmanship, spelling, punctuation grammar practice).

Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying Book & CD Set (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))Mission: Addition

 

Gabe’s Projects (nine years old)

Mistakes that WorkedAccidents May Happen

  • Read Mistakes That Worked and Accidents May Happen, pick top three favorite inventions from each book (six total), draw a picture narration of invention, include a short narration on who invented it, when invented, and the accident or mistake that caused the invention, copy a famous quote by Mark Twain, bind and make into a folder for show and tell to mom and dad (science, history, copywork, narration/reading comprehension, researching skills, project work, oral speech skills).
  • Read Go Figure and Why Pi?, pick one project and one puzzle from each book, take the Go Figure math quiz, read specifically about pi from each book and do a notebooking page, copy a famous quote by Galileo, bind all work into a folder for show and tell to mom and dad (math with emphasis on story problems, math in the read world, how science and math merge, and introduction to pi and geometry; science; copywork; logic and problem solving skills, oral speech skills).

Go Figure!: A Totally Cool Book About Numbers (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))Why Pi?

So, how did our week go?

Lily did very well. She really enjoyed all her projects and has been working diligently daily with little help from me other than asking how the occassional word is pronounced and having me help with the dictation for her copywork. I did discover that she needed coaching in narration, or more to the point summarization. She has never had a problem narrating for me and actually quite enjoys it. But this is her first chapter book that she’s methodically read through. So I noticed on her narration that she was having a hard time summarizing her thoughts as this is a much bigger story then she normally reads. So we talked about how a narration is just a summary of what happened so we needed to know what happened at the beginning of the chapter, in the middle of the chapter, and at the end of the chapter. We practiced on one of her Fancy Nancy books and then I think it clicked for her so her narration today was much improved!

Gabe started the week off strong. He loved working independently and that he was working through books that he already loved to read. But the novelty quickly wore off for him. Once he realized that he was actually going to be doing work and that some of his work was going to challenge him (i.e. that he wasn’t going to get it right the first time sort of thing) then he wanted to quit and give up. Even with the puzzles he first picked, not being able to do it in five minutes and perfect frustrated him and he sank to the lowest denomonator and did the puzzles that he’s already done before or were easy to figure out. (A homeschooling mother’s worst nightmare!) We talked a lot about perserverance and how rewarding it will feel to figure it out on his own. He seems dubious and is still coming to me for help instead of trying to do things on his own. I just keep redirecting him and reminding him why mommy is not helping this week. This may be one to talk over with the hubby.

Other unschooling fun ~

  • Continued reading Little House in the Big Woods at lunch time. The kids just love this story and it has come up several times during other discussions such as why we are not buying lettuce right now for lunch sandwiches and grocery store food versus growing your own and preserving.
  • Several independent crafting projects – mainly to make their own toys. We’ve got sock puppets galore and cereal boxes being made into cardboard houses.
  • A lunch discussion today involving living math. Lily wanted to know just why it was that I was always saying (mainly at lunch) that we are having water so that the milk stretches  till I get to the store next (we go through 7+ gallons a week!). So I explained to Lily and Gabe about milk and pricing, which they didn’t think was very much. Then I had them guestimate how much we spent on food in one week and then for one month. (Gabe’s answer about $300 a month or $70 a week, Lily’s answer about $20 a week or $60 for the month.) I told them the real answer (between $500 – $600) and we talked about just why daddy works and what that money is used for. Then we talked again about milk prices and the sale and normal price of milk. We worked on averages to come up with a round figure and then practiced multiplying that by 7 gallons and then that number times 4 weeks (about $80 per month on just milk!) It was a good eye opener for them both. Lily is just now starting to understand the value of money and Gabe has a better grasp due to his lack of winter chore money from gram and pop.

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Homeschool Freebie ~ The Voice of Spring

The Voice of Spring Copywork Book

I’m so excited to be able to tell you about the Homeschool Freebie of the Day today! As our weather is heating up to the high forties, as the birds are singing again in the air, as I can finally see the blades of grass under the dingy slushy ice snow piles, as I am rushing to put seed orders in, and as I am ever so anxious to pull on my garden boots, this little gem came along. It is a copywork booklet of spring poems and verses. From Wordsworth to Robert Louis Stevenson to the Bible;  from singing birds to the first appearance of daffodils to daydreaming on a breezy day there is a little of everything for everyone, whether old or young. It is done in Zaner style manuscript and can be used as a complete grammar unit (as in Ruth Beechik’s whole language learning ~ post coming soon!) or as individual handwriting lessons as a sunny day calls for or use as a complimentary pairing to outside nature walks and sketching work. It is another little nugget of hope on a cloudy, dreary day!

Here is the link: Homeschool Freebie of the Day

It is only for today only so hurry fast to download your copy! Here is what they have to say about it:

Copying the Poems: The Voice of Spring (PDF ebook) – From Bogart Family Resources comes today’s resource, this neat handwriting copybook that includes the complete text of three well-known poems and four scripture passages that focus the heart and mind on the new life that springs forth from God’s creation each Spring. 25 full lessons in 77 pages, making preparing copywork lessons a breeze – just hit print, and you’re good to go!