Middle Ages in A Homeschool Co-op

Crazy8 Homeschool Co-ops

middle-ages

So the first subject I  decided on for this Winter Spring Home school Co-op is the Middle Ages. We have done this subject previously about 3 years ago. I am using some of my previous lesson plans but I am also adding in some new stuff from the book: The Story of The World Volume 2: Middle Ages.

Our plans include studying:

  • Castles: which will also lead into studying the castles in our state and sketching them

  • Medieval Life: we will learn how to juggle as the jesters did

  • Mapping: we will be mapping out how different parts of the Middle Ages developed, such as the Roman Empire and the Spread of Islam

  • Building Castles: this is one thing we have done previously, we take lots of cardboard tubes and long boxes and create castles

  • Manuscripts: we will study what these are and then using tea we…

View original post 1,348 more words

Advertisements

Science: Woolly Bear Zombies

science

Woolly Bear Zombies or

Science in a Relaxed Home School 

My kids love science, they just don’t know it.

If you were to ask them if they like science they would tell you a flat out NO. It is so funny to me because we do so many fun experiments but the kids do not consider it science.

Their latest science activity was collecting Woolly Bear caterpillars to see if they would form cocoons. My 13yo son had found a free aquarium and decided he would use it to collect creatures from outside and put them in it.

1st science activity’s related to this topic?

  1. Ask a question
  2. Do background research
  3. Construct a hypothesis.

He had done the first 3 steps in the Scientific Method without even knowing it.

1. First he asked a question, “Can I have Woolly Bear caterpillars live and form cocoons in my terrarium?”

2. Second he did some research by looking up what a Woolly Bear caterpillar eats and how often. He also looked up what else they needed to live.

3. From these 2 points above he constructed a hypothesis. His hypothesis was, “I believe that Woolly Bear caterpillars can live in my terrarium. But there are things I must do. If I feed them fresh leaves everyday and moisten the terrarium everyday they should live and form cocoons.”

At any point in time did he verbalize this hypothesis? NOPE

The quote marks above are for example only. We did talk about his project a lot but he never thought of it as science work. He is an average 13yo boy and just did these thing without even knowing he was working through the scientific method.

What are the next steps of the Scientific Method and did he continue to work through them?

Here they are:

  1. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment.
  2. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion.
  3. Communicate Your Results.

So, yes, he continued with the steps of the scientific method.

4. He collected a square of sod to place in the bottom of the terrarium. Next he started collecting Woolly Bear caterpillars and placing them in the terrarium. He added the leaves that they like along with some moisture.

We watched as they moved and lived and had a great time in the terrarium. We had a great time and had so much watching them just live in there. The terrarium was right in the dining room so conversations at the dinner table were always about those fuzzy guys.

Each day he added some new leaves and moistened the terrarium, except when he forgot… 😉 They ate and ate each day. He continued to learn more about them through books and online.

He found out they need sticks to climb up on in order to hang and form cocoons from. He collected sticks and placed them in various spots in the terrarium. He now had 7 or 8 caterpillars but no cocoons.

5. The next step of the scientific process started to take place. Honestly, at this point it was starting to look like the caterpillars were just going to die and well that would be that. His 17yo sister decided the caterpillars were dead and planted some corn seeds in the terrarium sod. We all watched as the corn grew and the caterpillars died. The corn grew to about 10 inches tall and then it decided to die also. The experiment seemed like a flop.

We talked about how maybe he had watered it too much or had forgotten to feed them too many times. Everyone had an opinion…

Then one day his 17yo sister saw movement. Under the ground at the edge of the glass wall there was a Woolly Bear alive.

My 13yo son said, “It’s the Woolly Bear Zombie Apocalypse!”

6. Communicate your results. Boy did he do that. Everyone who would listen he would tell them about how he had made this terrarium and thought for sure all the Woolly Bears had died and then… had come back to life. Well at least 2 of them.

These little guys are still alive, not sure how or why but they are.

Science is lifelong learning in real life not from a textbook or a teacher but what a kid sees that he or she wants to know more about. Those are the experiences the child will remember, that is true science.

Do I use textbooks for science, YUP, but not how they are written, we tweak them to fit our own way of learning. More on that another time…

 

 

Art: Relaxed Homeschool Style

art

Art as a separate subject always has seemed strange to me. This week we finished painting a backdrop for our church’s Christmas performance. We were not asked to do it, but volunteered for the job cuz it sounded like fun!

The idea is that the performers will be standing in a mall. This is a painting by my 17yo daughter. The snowman is a joke as he is eating in a Pizza shop.

img_1350

This is one by my 15yo son. He had so much fun figuring out how to make this look 3D.

img_1349

Did I force them to learn a special style of painting? Did I even tell them anything once they decided on what they were going to paint? NOPE, they just had fun. I said to them to find  picture or an idea and draw it out and then paint it. They were free to paint what they wanted within the ideas we had come up with.

The backdrop is supposed to be the inside of a shopping mall. We sat and brain stormed about what should be there. We decided to add cute jokes here and there to make kids laugh and our friends in the audience laugh.

Here is another funny one that we did together. After doing this one we thought “Oh No, are people going to be bothered by the Grinch in church.” But the Pastor showed up the next day and said that “No, The Grinch is a Christmas Classic.” Whew, we knew we had freedom in what we painted but had worried if we had crossed the line. My 17yo daughter and I did this one.

img_1348

This backdrop storefront has a few more things added since this picture, like a sad Christmas tree in the left window and a present in the window on the right. We just loved the TJ Naxx sign as the only store in our small town is a TJ Maxx store.

What did we learn from this experience?

  • Working together to figure out a huge project is really fun.
  • We like to listen to music while we work. Though we definitely prefer upbeat music after 2 or more hours of painting in a day.
  • Artists crack lame jokes.
  • Painting the tops of walls really tires out your arms.
  • Adding the lines on the ATM really made it POP like it was from a graphic novel.
  • The colors that we had was limited but you can combine latex and oil based paint to get some pretty strange colors.
  • Spray paint can be sprayed onto a plate and painted on a wall.
  • My kids are awesome!

Now some of these things, like the last one on the list, I have known for years. But if I had asked my kids to use an Art Curriculum book and work through it for 30 hours in 3 and a half weeks they would about pass out. Relaxed Art is the way to go for sure. Finding ways to allow their creative and artistic juices to flow and have it appreciated by others is just the way to do it for us.

Here is another picture from the set. This is by my 15yo son, my 17yo daughter, my 13 yo son, and myself. Haha the ATNT store, this will actually get a cellphone painted on it tomorrow morning early.

img_1351

I was trying to figure out how many hours we worked on this backdrop and I believe it is about 30 hours. This is the time from thinking up the ideas of the different storefronts to finding out we had limited paint to use to us actually painting.

Here is another store front. This was done by my 17yo daughter and myself. This is a funny store front to us because there is a member of our congregation that actually is a clock repairman and his nickname is Tick-Tock.

img_1346

This performance of the musical “God Speaking” will be performed Sunday morning. The choir (which includes my kids singing and myself as narrator) have been practicing this musical since the end of September.

This is another store front as a joke. There is a friend in the congregation that has a security business that is named 4security and so we did this one for him.

img_1347

I hope you have enjoyed seeing how we over the years have found that Art can easily be part of a relaxed home school without ever calling it ART. Without having to use an Art Curriculum. We do use an Art Curriculum if the child is interested in it. We also have used classes for a child interested in a special topic like pottery on a wheel. But for the most part, like 90%, our ART time is what we make for others and ourselves just for fun.

Have a great week.

Relaxed Spelling in Our Home

spelling-2

Today our 7yo got up early and wrote a story. The story was done really well and I enjoyed it. The only “problem” was the spelling of many of the words was not correct.

She is an excellent speller and also loves to write and I did not want to squelch that joy of writing. So, I did what I have done for many years and will share that with you now.

What is the most PERFECT way I have found to do spelling?

After Princess had left the room to go get her breakfast, I remembered what I wanted to do. I went to the very next page in her writing notebook and started writing out the words that she had spelled incorrectly.

I looked through her story about the bear and the chickens and watched for words that she consistently spelled incorrectly AND words that I thought she may use again on a regular basis.

spelling-2

Why learn words you won’t write again?

If she will find the process useful then she will want and will enjoy doing it. Picking words she will use again makes it seem less like school and more like “what we need for life.”

As I stated before I don’t want to make her not want to write.

She loves to write stories!

Her stories are very interesting and enjoyable to read.

I had my list started and decided 10 words would be a number she could handle. I also chose words that weren’t too long, she is only 7yo. I also left a space in between each word in case she wanted to practice the words herself.

spelling

I brought the list to her in the kitchen.

“Princess, I loved your story. I made a list of words that I thought you might like to learn the spelling of in case you wrote another story with words like you have in this awesome story. We can use your own words for a spelling test if you would like.” She loved the idea and said it would be good to learn them.

She looked over my list and asked my what some of the words were. She asked how to say “some” because she had written “sum” in her story. She also asked what the word “said” was as she had written the word “sed” in her story.

This has come to be the best way for my children to learn and keep these words as part of them. Sometimes with spelling lists (which we also use) the child only remembers the words for a short while, like for the week of the test.

But, when we use the words from their own writing for spelling tests, the purpose for learning the words changes and I believe the spelling words end up in a more permanent place in their brains.

Hope this was useful.

How do you handle spelling in your home school?