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Monday, December 28, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr, Unit Study (part two)

I've finished the preparations for the unit study next month for Martin Luther King, Jr day. I picked the books (now to go to the library and get them) and found the soul food recipes.


Soul Food Dinner
Not exactly the healthiest meal, but once in a while an unhealthy meal isn't going to kill you. Though with my arteries, and Mike's, this meal just might. ;-) I think what we're going to do is get the house really clean between now and then, and then invite our family over for dinner. We'll have to see, though. It's still a couple weeks away, so I have some time to see if we can get it all done (the house cleaning, I mean). I'll probably send out e-vites to everyone requesting an RSVP.

Since I work on Mondays, and really shouldn't request it off, I've divvied up the recipes and decided what can be made the day before and what should wait until the day of to be made. I've got it all written out in my planner. So now the Martin Luther King, Jr Day Unit Study is complete. The next holiday is President's Day. I don't know if I'll be doing a unit study this year on President's Day, though. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mini Unit Study: Martin Luther King Jr.

I've been doing some prep work ahead of time so I don't find myself procrastinating like I did last year with the homeschooling stuff, and then not being ready when the time came.

January 18 is Martin Luther King, Jr Day. My plan is to have a unit study the week before MLKJr Day, ending ON MLKJr Day. The week before will be a unit study not necessarily specifically about MLKJr, but about the issues MLKJr fought against or an introduction to other civil rights issues in history. I need some input on how the unit study sounds. Right now it's pretty basic, nothing extra. Once I get the basics figured out I'll be adding more activities.

Because of how I have our weeks set up, it will basically be a three day study. (The unit study itself doesn't include the Bible and Math studies we'll be doing)


  • What is prejudice/discrimination?
    • Give some examples of reasons people discriminate. (Meaning ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, etc)
  • What was women's suffrage? (This is just to introduce them to another historical civil rights issue)
  • Read [I haven't picked out a book on women's suffrage yet].
  • What does the Bible say about discrimination?
  • Do a short skit depicting a woman being denied the ability to vote. Describe how that made you feel. (I know I have boys, which might not make it hit home completely, but they are very good at imagining what it would be like to be someone else, so I think it will work)
  • What is "segregation"?
    • Give some examples of segregation.
  • What is the Golden Rule?
    • Who does it apply to?
    • Should we treat someone differently just because they are different than we are?
  • Read "Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott" by Teresa Celsi
  • Do a short skit depicting Rosa Parks bus incident.
    • Describe how it made you feel. (I am contemplating purchasing some dark brown body paint to use on the child who will be acting as Rosa Parks, just so they can really look different for the purposes of the skit)
DAY THREE (Martin Luther King, Jr DAY):
  • Read [I haven't chosen a book about MLKJr to read yet].
  • Do MLKJr puzzle activity on page 14. (I have a MLKJr thematic unit study book. It's not quite what I had expected, so I'm modifying the unit study, but using some of the resources in the book)
    • Discuss the DC March of August '63.
    • Take turns reading the "I Have a Dream" speech
    • Do the "Peaceful Protest" activity on page 16.
  • Do "I Have a Dream" activity on page 12. (This activity involves the children drawing a dream they have inside a dream cloud)
  • Discuss importance of standing up for what you believe in, even in adversity.
  • HOME ECONOMICS: Make ["Soul Food" recipe I haven't yet chosen]. (I may decide to do a full meal of "soul food"...the only potential problem I'm seeing is that most of the dishes include pork or certain types of seafood we don't eat. I'll have to figure out how to modify it)
  • POSSIBLE EXTRA CREDIT: Little known fact, our personal family history includes slaves and inter-ethnic marriage. My Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather's first wife died. When the slaves were freed, my GGGGGrandfather had a slave he was quite fond of, so he married her. It has not yet been determined if OUR family lineage comes through that union or the union with his first wife, but when looking at some members of the family (one of my brothers included), there are some very distinct African features. For an extra credit project, we may attempt to look more deeply into our family lineage.

*If you are interested, I'll be updating this entry to include bits and pieces that haven't been decided on yet. Such the specific books or the menu for the soul food meal.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hello again

I know. It's been awhile. Again. I'm sorry if anybody has been waiting in anticipation for my posts. lol

We start our new official school year on January 4. I decided a January - December school year would better suit us. We won't be taking any lengthy breaks, like a 12 week long summer break, but there will be random breaks throughout the year. Of course, I do still have to discuss this with their Dad so we can work out visitation. But even six weeks break is too much for them to take. They get completely out of the swing of things. Two weeks at a time, tops.

Our method is still going to be pretty eclectic. I'm going through the calendar and looking for holidays I might like to do unit studies on, and then doing a search for such unit studies online. Both of my boys are pretty kinesthetic in their learning (though one is auditory kinesthetic and the other is visual kinesthetic), so I am going to try to have as much learning AWAY FROM the desk as possible. Some subjects it won't be that possible, like Math or Grammar. But the rest of the learning we can do away from a desk, hands on kinds of things.

I'm also going to be searching for an affordable (read: FREE) way to test them to get more details on their learning styles. As much information as possible to help them succeed.

We're going to be using CIMT for our Math curriculum, and Scott Foresman for our Grammar curriculum. Any other curriculum is going to be pretty random.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hello, October. We've missed you.

I'm really trying to learn how to take things in stride. Some days it's okay, some days not so much.

On Tuesday we did Home Ec in the form of going grocery shopping. Threw a little Mathematics in with it. Didn't get much of anything else done.

On Wednesday we did Home Ec in the form of housekeeping and learning how to correctly wash dishes (so they get clean). Nothing else got done.

Now, given how our Bible studies go, we have Thursday and Friday to get Tuesday and Wednesdays studies done. Thursday is a half day because that's the day they go to their Dad's in the middle of the week, and I'm just hoping that Friday he'll be willing to bring them home in the morning instead of at lunch. I'll probably send their copywork with them Thursday so they can at least get SOMETHING done Thursday evening to catch up with Tuesday and Wednesday.

So many schools are temporarily closing because so many people are sick. Of course people are speculating H1N1, but it's not confirmed yet. We had one school here where 75% of the student population was sick all at once. My kids have yet to get the flu. They started getting colds, but those went away faster than they appeared. I'm glad my kids aren't AT school. They'd probably be at home anyway.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

by Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling,Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Field Trip: Cole M. Rivers Fish Hatchery

So we took our field trip to the fish hatchery today. As excited as the boys were to be there, I think Mike was even MORE excited! He acted like a six year old boy (not in a bad way, though). Running from pool to pool to view everything he possibly could. lol I think we'll have to go earlier in the season, though, so we can see more in the fish ladder and watch them incubating the eggs and all their activities they do.

Feeding frenzy! They gave the boys a few large handfuls of fish food and the boys got to feed the fish.

Fish would come barrelling out of the pipe here, but since my brain and my trigger finger don't communicate with each other that quickly, I never got the shot of the fish coming out.

The boys loved this tank because all you could see was a bunch of fins above the surface and it looked like a tank full of tiny sharks. lol

In the upper left of the monitor you can sort of see a fish. This was a monitor that connected to a camera in the fish ladder so visitors could see some of the fish struggling to get up the ladder.

The image on the left of the monitor is a fish face.

If you look from the middle of the top of the picture, you will see a white steak going towards the middle. That's a fish. I couldn't ever get the entire fish in my viewer in time. But he was HUGE.

Look for the white streaks. Those are more fish.

More feeding frenzies!

In the lobby of the Visitor Center.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Creation Day 4, Science Project: Build a Solar Oven

So for this week I thought it might be fun to build a solar oven. Since we are limited on funds, I did a search for one that involved things we already had in the house. I found our particular instructions at this page.

We had everything we needed already, except for the construction paper and the plastic wrap, both which we bought at the Dollar Tree for $1 a piece. Except the construction paper. We had to improvise with a black party tablecloth, lol.

We don't get direct sun in our yard until the afternoon, so we won't know how well this thing works until later today, at which point I'll update. But here are some pictures we took while we made it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top Buy of the Week

I bought three binoculars, cheap ones, on Walmart.com the other day to use for our hikes during our Creation Week. While we were at Walmart picking them up, we walked around the store avoiding going home because the power was out and they didn't know when it would be restored. While wasting time, I came across some educational placemats. I bought one of each for each child. They have spent the last 1 1/2 hours playing games with the USA one and the World one. AND.....they are LEARNING!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our field trip today

Went on a field trip today. Took the boys up to one of the local hiking hills and did some hiking looking at plants and flowers. Christopher's best friend and his mom and brother came with us.

While walking we took a few pictures of some local plant life and tomorrow we're going to look in our books and figure out what they are.

We also found some wildlife. We got two pictures of teeny lizards, one missing his tail; and a picture of a wild female turkey that you can't see very well because she blends in quite well with the grass.

All in all it was a good day. OH! We also went to their house and met their neighbor's calf.

This is the deer hoof print we found at the beginning of our hike.

Can you see the wild turkey?