Friday, 28 October 2011

Weekly HOD Review - The Cactus Desert

We have been away at my sisters this week, house sitting as they have enjoyed time away. But we continued with a light load of school.

This week the kids have mostly done their school work in the afternoon. Which surprisingly has worked really well. Not practical for home though as we do most of our outings in the afternoons. But for now it has worked very smoothly.

We have spent the week hanging around the house and relaxing, except for the odd trip to Wow Cow for frozen yoghurt, British Lolly Shop for supplies :) and the French Patisserie for yet more yummy snacks.

We have also visited one of the local op shops searching out bargains. And we found some!!

But back to school....

We have been examining and memorising Psalm 127: 3 - 4. We have learned that children are a blessing of the Lord. And that as parents it is our responsibility to train up and teach them the Lord's ways (thankfully with God's guidance). We learned that this is because we want them to be like arrows flying straight and true.

This week the kids worked with Robert Louis Stevenson's poem 'A Good Play'. This poem was about him playing with a friend in the nursery. His friend and he had built a boat and were setting out to sea :) This poem inspired my kids to build their own boat. Their's was a house boat made out of blankets and chairs.

When I crept up and peeked into their boat I was delighted to see Avril (my 4 year old) reading a book (reading the pictures) to my 8 year old. And Adele was sitting there listening to Avrils' wonderful tale :)

They have spent the last four days assembling and disassembling their boats. At one stage it became a plane. Damon gathered his atlas, the leap frog globe and a children's atlas, plus travel books. Next they planned an itinery and off they flew to their new destination full of adventure and excitement.

I love watching them respond to their lessons in an imaginative and playful way.

They also had to rewrite some of the lines this week. And as usual they approached this challenge with excitement. They both came up with interesting poems. And Adele drew a very interesting picture of her houseboat, made out of chairs and blankets, floating in the ocean heading towards a tropical island. I was very impressed by her imagination.

Adele's poem:

We built a houseboat,
All made of chairs,
And blankets to keep us warm,
To sail across the sea,
We took some books to read,
And had the very best of plays,
But Avril bumped her head,
So there was no one left but me.

Damon's poem:

We built a plane upon my bed,
All made of blankets and filled with my mattress,
To go flying up high in the sky.
I took a blanket and my pillow,
And flew so high in the sky,
My imaginary friends jumped off at Egypt,
so no one left on the plane but me.

In science this week we explored more about the Cactus desert. The kids really have enjoyed reading the 'One Small Square' books. They started their desert scenes this week. Damon was very enthusiastic drawing many mammals on his paper. Adele took care in drawing 3 mammals on hers. And I was surprised to see some wonderful pictures. They really had taken care in their drawings. When we started homeschooling Damon didn't care much for drawing but as we have progressed he is taking more care and actually enjoying expressing himself through his drawings.

We have been learning that even in the desert, God can be relied on to bring water and meet it's needs.

Today we started their science experiment to examine how the waxy covering of the desert cactus helps it store water. We cut out the cactuses from the paper towel. We sprayed them with water. We covered one in wax paper and then placed them in the sun. Then...we forgot about them! Until they were dry. So it looks like will have to revisit this in a couple of days.

So that is our week...Bible, poetry and science (with english chucked in). A light week, but a very successful one.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An Egyptian adventure with HOD.

Well it was our week to start back to our studies!! It is always hard to make the transition between holidays and a school routine. Monday and tuesday were really hard! We had tantrums and tears! And what amused me was that we had a tantrum over doing vocabulary which went on for quite a while! And then when they didn't understand a word they were reading they requested the dictionary because they wanted to know what it meant! I know it is easier when you want to! And I suppose doing vocabulary gave them the skill to find the word :)

It wasn't that they weren't enjoying our study of Egypt, they were. It was the required math, english and vocabulary that was the problem!

Anyway, we ended on a good day. Instead of taking forever to complete their english and math, like they had been monday and tuesday, they were done quickly and we were onto the 'fun' stuff! Egypt! Today was good and we achieved lots. But onto what we have been doing....

We started our adventure into Egypt. I decided over the break that we would tackle HOD at 1/2 pace because for us it will be more enjoyable. We can take our time and explore the topic more. So this week we only focused on the history of Egyptian Civilisations and what the Bible said about Egypt.

We spent the week reading 'A Child's History of the World', which taught us about the Rosetta Stone, Hieroglyphics, Pharoahs, their gods and godesses, pyramids and we even read about the Babylonians star gazing, and the faith they put in the stars! Then we looked at what the Bible says about other gods, worshipping creation and pretending to be a god! This was a really good study, we knew it was wrong! But reading Genesis 12: 10 -20, Leviticus 18: 1-5, Genesis 15: 1 - 21, Ezekial 28: 1-9 and Isiah 47: 10 - 15 showed us exactly what God had to say on these subjects!

This week their history project was to make an Egyptian cartouche out of salt dough. The kids had to first make the salt dough, then shape it, engrave it with Hatshepsut's name in hieroglyphics, let it dry and then paint it brown. They both did a really good job and really enjoyed this project.

I was a bit silly though! I left the dough outside to dry in the sun, forgot about it and found it nice and moist the next morning!!! lol. Into the oven it went!

For their independent study they have been reading 'The 5,000 year old puzzle'. Adele can't put down this book :) She just wants to keep reading!! Which is great!! But I make her wait.

Adele is still finding the directions to draw really frustrating in 'Draw and Write through history'. She is just a perfectionist and naturally creative. But she doesn't like following their directions! But her pictures are all fine :)This week they drew a pyramid and a mummy.

This week instead of having the kids orally explain their research on hieroglyphics, I did up a research sheet for them, using the questions in the HOD manual. I only added the challenge of finding hieroglyphics and writing their own name. They loved doing this. And it was good for Adele as she doesn't naturally like researching on the internet, so she learned a new skill. They used their information to add to their lapbooks.

We just started reading the book 'Tirzah'. It was a really interesting read. Again adele was enthralled and disappointed when I stopped reading :). This chapter was about the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. It is a story from the perspective of the slave families, through the eyes of Tirzah. It is very descriptive. It really paints in your mind where they are and what is happening. It really engages your emotions and imagination.

Alongside this chapter we read from Granpa's box. He was telling the story of Abram and what God asked him to do. That from him would come the Israelite nation which would show it's idol worshipping neighbours that there was only one true and living God!!

I added some extra geography to this study using 'Ancient Civilisations and the Bible'. Both the kids had to find Egypt on the globe and then shade in desert, mountain, vegetation, Nile river, Red sea and Mediterranean sea onto their maps. They had to locate Egypt on their maps.

The week has ended up well. And we had a great adventure along the way, learning a lot about Egypt and what God says about their practices.

On wednesday we had a wonderful afternoon out with some other homeschool families. We all headed for a game of 10 pin bowling. It was great! The big boys (Damon and his friends) were playing very quickly and managed to play two games to everyone elses 1. Adele and Avril played in the same team. They all had lots of fun.

Josef spent his time wondering around, playing on the car video game (with no money!!) and eventually eating an ice block!

In our version of 'totschool' and 'preschool' this week the kids have not done too much! But what they have done has been fun.

Avril had an activity this week to trace around a dot-to-dot (that I made) of her name. Then she had to decorate her name with textas. She amazed me by being really engaged and creating something really creative.

They also tried toilet roll painting this week. We squeezed the ends of the rolls into stars, ovals and hearts. The kids dipped these into paint and stamped onto their paper.

This morning I set Avril up with a plastic tub, two cups of colouring, washing-up detergent and a dropper. She was really engaged in this actvity. She really enjoyed sucking up detergent and emptying it into her tub. She enjoyed changing the detergents colour. She enjoyed making bubbles. She enjoyed trying to change the water colour.

She soon moved all of her things over to the water table for a more dramatic effect (the water table is a lighter colour!), and joined Josef. Josef had already spent his time making bubbles by squeezing the bottle into the water and swishing with his hands. He had a great time.

When Avril joined him, they tipped in all of the colouring and made wonderful colours!

Avril also had a greeting actvity this week. We gathered some toys and they drove to us in the toy car. When they arrived, we shaked hands and greeted each other, introducing ourselves.

Josef enjoyed the challenge of placing pegs on my airer. He doesn't really get the activity yet! But he had lots of fun trying!

Josef also did his first wee in the potty. I have decided not to include a photo of this :) lol!! But I have included one of him flushing the toilet!

Now Josef wasn't going to sit down, so he stood and I helped by keeping the potty positioned correctly! I am very proud of him ;)

Damon has finished his BETA Math-u-see and he scored very highly in his final test. Well done Damon!! He is now into GAMMA.

Avril decided she would make pancakes for us for lunch, so she carcked eggs, mixed and cooked them this time. She also suggested icecream and strawberries. Yum...yum! Thankyou Avril!!

Note for next make the day go smoother...set up a really fun, engaging activity for the littlies before sitting down with the big kids :)