Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Math Antics

J age 11 is struggling with his math, getting slower and slower and making less and less effort, so today I asked what was making him not want to do his math.  He said it has gotten too hard, he wants to go back to an easier book.  Well, having gotten this far it seems a shame to go back, so I decided to look and see if I could find an internet lesson on the place value we've been working on that seems hard to him.  Up came a video by Math Antics you can see  Youtube to find particular videos or use their website. We did Math Antics - Place Value and Math Antics Decimal Place Value. A few minutes later he was cheered and enthused and back at his math book saying, "I'm already on number 5 and this is easy!"  So if you're needing a bit of a change and a little tutoring in a given Math topic, try Math Antics.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blackwater Ben and The Broken Blade

   We've just finished the two books by Minnesota author William Durbin, The Broken Blade and Backwater Ben. The Broken Blade is about a young man who goes to work as a Voyageur when his father is injured and unable to work for their family and Backwater Ben is about a boy who works for his father who is a head cook in a logging camp in the early  1900s.  Both books give a good feel for the challenges men faced in these jobs.  They are written with realism and a bit of humor.  Both feature jobs with really rough men but are presented cleanly.  My Great Grandfather was a cook in a lumber camp in Northern Minnesota and we love visiting Lake Superior so both these stories feel like part of our own local heritage.  Both are great historical fiction.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Herein is Love - Genesis by Nancy Ganz

We began our study of history this year at the beginning again.  I chose as our main text, the best book in the world, the Bible (which happens to be an original source).  I had a copy of The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History that we had used years ago and I've used that some, but I also found this wonderful commentary for children - Herein is Love: Genesis, a Commentary for Children.  We just finished Genesis and are ready to start Exodus (with her accompanying commentary for that book).  We read the passages from the Bible first (usually a chapter from Genesis or Exodus and an accompanying Psalm or New Testament passage as well). Then read Nancy's commentary!   I love this pastor's wife's writing!! She is VERY insightful and has a beautiful way of telling the story.  My children haven't minded hearing the story a second time as she retells it.  The second half of the book is a Teacher's Guide and includes memory verses, crafts, visual aids, review questions and field trip ideas for each lesson.  I highly recommend this resource.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring is Here!

I love the natural learning that takes place in the Spring and Summer....  "Look what I found, Mom!"as they dash in from outside, "Come out and see!"  or "What do you think this flower is, Mom?"

R age 12 collected a small container of tadpoles from the pond right by our church and brought them home to grow in a gallon jar.  She put broken up bits of lettuce in the top and the tadpoles have been eating and growing. 

We're trying to get ant farms established in glass gallon jars.  J age 10 found a whole bunch of teeny tiny ants in an old can in the woods along with some little white eggs and what he thinks is the queen so we're started! We have our gallon jar full of sand with a pop can in the middle filled with water and a cotton ball in the opening.  Then we put a drop of honey on the top of the can for them to eat.  We wrapped our jar with black paper and will take it off one of these days and see if there are any tunnels visible.  We have tulle rubber banded over the mouth of the jar so they can't escape.

We're planting seeds of many kinds including lemon, avocado, mango and a pineapple top.  We live in the north so probably won't get fruit but will enjoy the foliage. Should be fun to see what we get.  We'll start work in the vegetable garden soon and each of the children has their own flower bed to work in. 

Winter in Minnesota being long, the Spring and Summer seem especially dear.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An AO Conference I'd love to attend...

I've been following Ambleside Online informally for a few years now and Charlotte Mason for many more.  I'd love to go to a conference like this someday!  For now, I'm just putting my name in for a drawing for a mug and tote.  If you're interested in the conference here is a link:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Science Stories - Marie Curie's Search for Radium

 J-10 just read a wonderful biography called Marie Curie's Search for Radium by Beverly Birch that I had picked up at a used book sale. He really enjoyed it.  Every page has a beautiful painting by Christian Birmingham. The text is interesting and the paintings are lovely. I picked up Pastuer's Fight against Microbes at the same sale.  It is also illustrated by Christian Birmingham.  I noticed in the back of the book that there are two other titles by Beverly Birch in this series.  These two are illustrated by Robin Bell Corefield.  So if you're looking for easy science biographies that are interesting and beautiful I recommend these, published in the U.S. by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.  Here is a link to Dealoz books by Beverly Birch.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Learning Science Along With My Children

One of the things I love about a Charlotte Mason education is that I get to keep learning right along with my children.  There is so very much to discover and understand about God's wonderful world, so many things to explore and learn!

I feel blessed to have a microscope now.  My husband bought one a few years back with money his Mom gave him for his birthday. Years ago we didn't have this privilege.  Today J-10 was looking for insect eggs on the backs of dead leaves as we are studying life-cycles in insects using Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  I recommend this book.  Anna (who is grown up and a mama herself now) says that Apologia's elementary science, with all their hands on projects, was her favorite science.  As an adult I am still learning with them and enjoying the text and their narrations for their science notebooks.  We've used three or four others in this series and I can recommend every one.

 S-17 and M-14 are in Apologia Biology this  year.  We are only on the third chapter, but we've learned a lot and were again using the microscope today  to look at a mushroom.  We're studying Kingdom Fungi. I didn't realize it would turn out to be helpful but this Fall we focused on mushrooms gathering them on our weekly nature walks for a month or so studying the many different kinds we could find (and there were lots!) and recording them in our nature journals.

 So it's fun now to be learning about how they reproduce and the more intricate hidden details as well as the nomenclature. With it being winter we had to use a store-bought mushroom for our study.  M-14 wondered if it would have spores since it was from the store rather than out in nature.  She said she thought they might irradiate it or something that would kill the living parts.  The mushrooms we used weren't very open, but we could see what certainly looked like spores - tiny perfectly round shapes that looked like minature brownish sesame seeds spread all along the gills.  I'm not sure I'll ever need my new knowledge that mushrooms are in Kingdom Fungi-Phylum Basidiomycota, or if I'll even remember that long name next year, but I'm pretty sure I'll remember how they grow and reproduce!