WELCOME!

Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Antarctica

This is the last continent we are studying this school year. One more week to go, and we will be done with Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC)!

This week, we took a closer look at animals in the Arctic and Antarctic:  Different types of penguines, Snowy Owls, Polar Bears, Lemmings, Wolverines, Orca Whales, and Seals.

Here's a fun video about one lucky penguin! He just barely escapes getting eaten by an orca whale by jumping into a boat.


And, in this video, you see a very interesting event of an orca capturing a seal. Be sure to continue to the very end of the video for a neat surprise!


Here, you can see the kids painting crystalized snow flakes. After painting, they sprinkled salt on them to make the crystalizing affect.



Here we did an iceberg experiment, where we floated a large piece of ice in some water to see how much of it actually floats above the water.


Then, Coyote decided to make it more "real" by adding a toy seal getting ready to go after a penguin. I love his imagination!

Friday, May 20, 2011

G-Day Mate! (Australia, Part 2) - FUN STUFF!

G’day Mate!
We finished up Australia (Oz) this week. We continued learning about island life and different kinds of animals in Australia, especially marsupials (which are animals that raise their young in a pouch.) We also learned some Australian dialect, which I’ll tell you more about later. First, here is a list of the animals we covered:
  • Kangaroos & Joeys
  • Wallabies
  • Echidnas (a spiney anteater)
  • Wombats
  • Parrots and other Oz birds
  • Koala Bears
Here’s a neat video from BBC Wildlife about Wombats. NOTE: If you are claustrophic, you may not like this video. But, its short and shows the interesting home life of an underground wombat.



Here you can watch the amazing birth of a baby kangaroo and how it instinctively knows where to go after its born. Nothing short of a God-thing!



When we learned about koala bears, we made little, edible KB's. Here, the kids are mixing 1 TB of Sunbutter (or Peanut Butter, if you’re kids are not allergic), and 1 TB of powdered sugar.


Once its all mixed, use clean hands to shape into 2 balls - a bigger one for the body, a smaller one for the head. Then, roll them into cocoa powder, place the head on top of the body, and add rasins or Craisins for the nose, ears, and 4 feet.


Then, eat it!

As I already mentioned, we also learned some Australian dialect, and picked out a lot of the words we learned in an old Australian song, called Waltzing Matilda. I have heard this song before, but never really understood what it meant. It’s a song about a wanderer who is going on a long hike (called a waltz). He takes a pot to cook in and several other necessities, all rolled up into his bedroll, which he calls Matilda - sort of like his companion, since he’s out there all alone. He, then, finds a sheep drinking by a pond on someone else’s property. He takes the sheep and stuffs it into his food bag. Then, the landowner sees it and calls the troopers (policemen on horses). They arrest him and are taking him away when he jumps into the pond, never to be seen again. However, the legend lives on...

Here is the song, sung by Slim Dusty, who is known as Australia’s king of Country music. As you listen to the song, you can pick out these words:

swagman = wanderer
matilda = bedroll
billabong = pond
billy = pail used for heating water
coolibah = a type of gum tree
jumbuck = sheep
tucker bag = food bag
squatter = land owner
troopers = policemen on horses


Slim Dusty has several other neat songs that we listened to as well, and were able to pick out the Australian words in them. There’s a song he sings about a DINGO, which is a wild dog that roams in the BUSH (countryside) of the OUTBACK (the interior portion of Oz that is mostly desert). There is another song he sings about the ABORIGINES (the native people of Oz). And, there is a song he sings about a ROAD TRAIN, which is a semi truck that has up to 3 trailers attached to it, carrying goods across the country.

I could tell you more, but think I will stop there. Overall, we had a great time learning about Australia, and it would be neat if we could visit there someday.

Ta (Good-bye) for now!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Having Fun with Australia!

This week, we started learning about Australia, and we've been having quite a bit of fun! For part of each day, we learned about an animal that lives in Australia or the surrounding islands.

Remember the old song about a laughing Kookaburra bird? I remember learning it when I was in school. Coyote & Road Runner enjoyed learning it this week, too:

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree.
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh kookaburra, laugh kookaburra.
Gay your life must be.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree.
Counting all the gumdrops he can see.
Stop kookaburra, stop kookaburra.
Save some there for me.

(Head on over to KIDiddles to hear the music and see the rest of the lyrics.)

Other animals we learned about were a kangaroo, dingo, Tasmanian devil, and a platypus. We mainly used The Complete Book of Animals (by American Education Publishing); and also found the animals on You Tube, so we could see them in action.

When we learned about the platypus, I found a really cute video from a ventriloquist by the name of Steve Axtell. You have GOT to watch this! (Warning: It can become addicting!) The kids love this video...


We also found an old cartoon the kids enjoyed about the AUSTRALIAN PLATYPUS. You might enjoy watching that, as well.

For Science, we've learned about coral reefs and islands - what they are, where they are, and how they are formed. One of the animals found in the Galapagos Islands (near Ecuador), is called a Blue-footed Booby Bird. Have you ever heard of such a thing? They are very interesting. In case you were wondering (like I was), the name "booby" comes from the Spanish term bobo, which actually means "stupid," "fool," or "clown." I looked it up on Wikipedia and, the reason for this name is because the Booby is a clumsy bird on the land. Also, they tend to be very tame, which makes them easily captured, killed, and eaten by humans. Here's a short video you can watch from National Geographic about the birds. And, yes... they really do have BLUE feet! See for yourself!


One more thing I wanted to tell you about is a neat website for kids called “Can Do Street." I found out about this from MANY HATS MOMMY, who has a child with autism. It is a FREE online program that teaches about social skills. There are programs (short interactive videos), games, activities and other resources all geared towards helping children make good choices about personal safety, appropriate behavior, helping others, and other life skills. There is also a blog for the parents/teachers, lesson plans, and craft ideas. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Russia, Easter & Safety Day

As we're nearing the end of Exploring Countries & Cultures, I have slowed down on my enthusiasm, but we are still learning.

Over the past couple of weeks, we studied the country of Russia. We didn't make or do anything real exciting, so I only have one picture to show. We tried a Russian recipe called Pirog, which is a type of Russian apple pie. It was okay. It turned out more like a cake than a pie. Road Runner liked it the best out of all of us. She loves cake.


During the week before Easter, we spent time going through the Resurrection Eggs. And, on Easter Sunday, we made Resurrection Rolls. Those were yummy!!!


Last Friday, we attended a Safety Day and the kids enjoyed learning about the ambulance, fire department, electrical safety, personal safety, etc. Here is Coyote being put into the back of an ambulance...


And, here, the kids got to meet Jesse Walker, a weatherman from WTWO in Terra Haute. They enjoyed talking with him and were also excited to see their picture on the evening news that night.


Other than that, I don't have much to share. Hopefully, next week, we will get more "into" our subjects again. We will be learning about Australia, and it looks like it will be fun!
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