Thursday, February 16, 2012

Polaris Press: Explorers

Yes, I am still homeschooling...though you wouldn't know it by the content of this blog:)

Explorers of North America is our new unit study.  I am using a curriculum/workbook called History Pockets.  It has 10 explorers that you learn about and for each, there are a couple of activities.  They are things like tracing maps and routes of the explorers, writing a letter to Christopher Columbus telling him what job you would like on his ship and why you would be good at it, and making "hardtack", the hard biscuits that the sailors would eat at sea. (The kids loved hardtack and decided they could all be sailors, until we read about scurvy.  They all changed their minds pretty quick!)

I like it because all of the info is right there in the book, but it's hands-on enough to keep the kids interested.  Today, we learned about John Cabot who sailed for England and landed in the Newfoundland area.  Because he claimed that land for England, the pilgrims were able to go there and colonize and thus begins a huge chapter of history. I had no idea!

We are also working on our All About Spelling with some tweaks.  We got fairly burned out at the beginning and I realized that the program caters to every kind of learner and it was too much for my kids.  So now I just do the parts that fit their learning style and it goes so much smoother.  Yay!  I really liked the program, but couldn't figure out how to make it work for us, so I am glad it's working now.  The kids are also willingly doing dictation, which shows me how much they have grown up in the last 8 months!  This used to be the cause of many melt-downs!

George is teaching  Chinese on Wednesday nights and I am teaching an art lesson on Fridays.  When we are home, school goes pretty well.  (We are often not home!) It's nice, especially since the beginning of the school year was really rough for the kids and for me!  We also had an awesome Ancient China unit in January.  We ended it with a Chinese New Year celebration on Jan. 23. That was so much fun and so interesting for all of us.  We went to Lego club one week and Levi had built the Great Wall of  China and was explaining all about how and why it was built.  Awesome!  Though I don't think his buddies were as impressed as I was:)  Our next unit is Pioneers, though I haven't decided if it should be 2 or 4 weeks.  If we just do pioneers, we could do it in 2, but if we include the California Gold Rush, the Native Americans, or any of the wars that were going on at that time, I am sure we could fill up 4 weeks.  Our read aloud is "Little House in the Big Woods" and they really like it, so we may spend some time on it.  After this unit, we will probably focus on some science units, as that seems to be where I slack a bit.

School is going well and that is a good thing:)

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