Thursday, September 22, 2011

SOTW Chapter 28: The Roman Empire

Chapter 28 covers the Roman gods, Roman builders, and Roman gladiators, all three of which interested the boys.  We have a couple of books about Ancient Rome, and we've also found some great books at the library.  The ones we've used the most so far are Life in Ancient Rome by Simon Adams, Gladiators and Ancient Rome by Anita Ganeri, and Gladiator by Richard Watkins (yes, they're pretty fascinated with gladiators!).

Our hands-on project for this chapter was making a model of a Roman aqueduct using sand dough.

Mixing the ingredients for the sand dough

Heating dough to thicken

It gets really thick--Aaron had to help stir!

Cutting out arches (pattern is from the activity guide)

First set of arches is ready for the oven!

Adding dough on the bottom to stabilize and a "cradle" on top to hold our "pipe"

The finished aqueduct!

Making a holding tank with pipes to let the water flow to different areas of the city

Assembling the pieces

Then he added a "city" using blocks and we tested our aqueduct:

We had fun, and it wasn't as complicated as I anticipated!  Just one word of advice, though--the sand dough scratches up the pan, so definitely don't use your best pot!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Science: Learning about Plants, lesson 7.4: Fruit and seeds

For this lesson, we read A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards, which fit perfectly with our lesson.  It discussed different kinds of fruits and seeds as well as how seeds are dispersed.  After we read the book, we moved to the table to check out some fruit for ourselves.

First we discussed what kinds of seeds each fruit might have--which one they thought would have the biggest/smallest seeds, which might have a pit, which might have many seeds, etc.  They each chose a couple of fruits to draw before we cut them open.  This turned into an impromptu art lesson on how to use shading to create a 3-D look.
Connor drawing a plum

Brennan drawing a kiwi

Then we cut each fruit and examined the seed(s), discussing what we found and adding a cross-section drawing to the pages they had started.  Connor also wrote a sentence about what kind of seed was in each fruit he chose to draw.

Showing off his finished plum drawings

He worked HARD to get his lemon cross-section drawing like my example.  There were a few tears ("good enough" was NOT good enough for him!), but he finally got it!

Finishing his kiwi drawing

Checking out a nectarine pit

Finishing his nectarine drawing

Brennan wasn't interested in trying any of the fruit (getting him to eat ANY fresh fruits/veggies other than apples is almost impossible, and he's not a huge fan of apples either), but Connor was game and found a couple of new favorites--kiwis and plums.
Mango (he already knew he liked mango)

Hands-on lessons are fun, but mouths-on lessons are even better! *grin*

Monday, September 5, 2011

SOTW Chapter 27: The Rise of Rome

Note: We did do chapter 26, we just didn't do any of the projects.

I'm so excited to get to Rome--the end is in sight!  We've been loving Story of the World, and I don't regret taking our time with it, but I was starting to feel like we'd never finish!  Chapter 27 covers the legend of the founding of Rome (Romulus and Remus) and some of the general history of early Rome.  In addition to SOTW, we read part of Life in Ancient Rome by Simon Adams (which I picked up at Mardel on clearance for $5!!).  We'll be reading a couple of pages at a time during the whole time we study Rome.  For the hands-on project we made the fasces, a bundle of sticks (we used straws) with an ax head that was a  Roman symbol of power.

First, he drew and cut an ax head out of cardboard.

Then he covered it with foil.

Then he bundled the straws and tied them, wrapping the yarn several times in one place, up and around the shaft, and then several times around the top.

Gluing the yarn into place

Then we put glue on the back edge of the ax blade and inserted it into the straw bundle.

Brennan's finished fasces!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Weeks in Review: 8/22 - 8/26 and 8/29 - 9/2

 We've had a good couple of weeks!  By the time I had time to post anything for last week, we were already well into this week, so I figured I'd just wait and post them together.  Things have gone much more smoothly these last two weeks than the last week we did school (the teeth pulling week--then we took a couple of weeks off to do some last-minute summer fun things and a trip to San Antonio).  And this week we actually got everything accomplished that I had planned!  I've switched to planning a week at a time rather than looking ahead a bit but not actually planning until the night before.  The "night before" method was working okay for the most part, but I wanted to start getting a better idea of where we were going in general, and I wanted to make sure we were actually accomplishing each week what I thought we needed to be accomplishing.  So now I'm sitting down Saturday or Sunday night and planning out the week.  It's much easier to make sure I'm getting everything done this way because I can see at a glance by the end of the week what we haven't gotten done.  I plan on doing four days' worth of work each week (since we school year round) and sometimes include a few things for a fifth day (i.e., a history or science project), and if we don't get it done in four days, we catch the last few things on Friday or Saturday.  It's nice too because it takes much less time each day to prepare for the next day's lessons.

Anyway, here's what we've been up to!


Math: He finished lessons 26 - 33 in RS C, covering a bit of multiplication, reviewing telling time, and reviewing 4-digit addition.
Adding 4 digits with symbols
Four-digit addition with numbers

Playing the "Corners" game--one of his favorites
History: We finished chapter 27 in SOTW ("The Rise of Rome") and began chapter 28 ("The Roman Empire") doing reading, narration, and mapwork.  He enjoyed figuring out the Greek god/goddess counterparts to the Roman gods/goddesses in the first section of chapter 28.  Both boys also made fasces, bundles of sticks with ax heads attached that were symbols of Roman power.  These are the final results--I'll post more details about the project later!

Reading: We're still going through Aesop's Fables for Children by Milo Winter.  He has read more of them independently over the last two weeks, and he's made several notebook pages.  I have also finally gotten a start on incorporating independent assigned reading.  He's been reading (and enjoying) Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.

Grammar:  Verbs, verbs, verbs!  We finished lessons 104 - 107 in FLL, reviewing pronouns and beginning state of being verbs and linking verbs.  He has fun chanting the state of being verbs!  Today's lesson on linking verbs was fun--we actually made a paper chain showing how the verb linked the noun/pronoun and the adjective at the end of the sentence together (from FLL).

Spelling: He finished steps 17 and 18 in AAS level 2, practicing spelling words with "or" and learning to spell a few common words (you, your, to, do, of) and words with "u" as in "put" and "bush."

Latin:  He finished lesson 4 and began lesson 5 in Prima Latina.  He's been learning about Latin verbs--action verbs and "invisible" verbs (i.e., "I love" or "I judge").  It's meshing nicely with what we've been doing in grammar.

Writing: He worked through week 25 of WWE 1.  Some days his handwriting looks great.  Other days, not so much.  Sometimes I make him fix it; other days, it's not a battle that's worth fighting.  The one-sentence narrations are beyond easy for him now, and he's doing much better about answering in complete sentences without too much of a fuss, so we're just going to step it up a notch and skip more than I had originally planned.  Hopefully once we reach the end of the book, he won't put up a fuss about moving to WWE 2!

Memory Work:  We did much better about getting to memory work this week!  Here's what we're working on: Ephesians 2:8, catechism question, history chant, the Latin prayer "Sanctus", State of Being verbs, plant definition/information, the hymn "All Creatures of Our God and King," and the poem "The Goops."


Math: He did lessons 57 - 62 in RS A, learning the traditional names for 11-19 and beginning to learn to tell time.  He already knew the numbers 11-19; now we're working on recognizing that fourteen is the same as one-ten four and that we say the teens backwards (the ones first, then the ten, as opposed to every other number from 20 through 99).  He gets it when I remind him or prompt him, but he still needs some work to internalize it.  He's got telling time on the hour, though.  No problems there!

Cut-and-paste worksheet--gluing numbers in the correct places on the clock

Matching the times with the clocks

Phonics: Over the last couple of weeks he learned about adding more suffixes (-ed and -er) to short vowel words, and then we looked at how to add suffixes to long vowel words with a silent "e."  He likes to draw a trash can, then take the silent "e" and put it in the trash before adding the suffix--totally his idea!
Observe the "trash can"--he's "throwing away" the e from "tape" before adding  -ing. :)

Handwriting (copywork): He's been copying the text of the hymn we're learning ("All Creatures of Our God and King") as well as a couple of sentences from books we have read recently.

Reading (literature):  We finally finished The Adventures of Peter Cottontail and got to start The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse (also by Thornton Burgess).  I have definitely noticed an increase in his narration skills and his ability to recall detail.  I think it's a combination of the fact that he's maturing a bit and the great ideas/guidelines in the Little Hearts for His Glory teacher's guide.

Memory Work: He's memorizing Ephesians 2:8, our catechism question, plant information/definition, "All Creatures of Our God and King," and the poem, "Giraffes" by Mary Ann Hoberman.  I also caught him this afternoon reading/chanting the list of state of being verbs (and clapping softly at the right spots).  Someone's being sneaky!


Science: We learned about pollination with a fun hands-on activity (which I posted about here) and we also learned about and explored different kinds of fruit.  I'll get a post up about that activity soon (hopefully!).  Here's a picture of just before we got started, though!