Friday, March 31, 2017

Golai Hagun Sune

We have started research for our U.S. Territory reports this week (presenting next Friday) -- all notes for our 5th grade U.S. Geography block are on the website -- and Becca chose Guam.

Even though my father and two of my friends have been stationed in Guam, she is reluctant to call them. So we are, for the present, contenting ourselves with book reseach. Although I still think an interview is better!

(If you're thinking of assigning a research project to your child, please read my very helpful blog post: Breaking Down the Skills Needed to Write a Research Paper.)

This detailed State Research Organizer, FREE from TpT, is available in a .doc format so it is super-easy to edit it and adapt it for a U.S. Territory report.

    FYI, I changed the research template and the rubric to be as follows:

      Rubric for Final Project

      ____/10 Cover Page (title of report, name of student, date)

      ____/20 History (2 paragraphs)
      one paragraph on history before becoming a U.S. territory;
      one paragraph on history after becoming a U.S. territory

      ____/10 Economy (1 paragraph)

      ____/10 Physical Geography (1 paragraph)

      ____/10 Flora & Fauna (1 paragraph)

      ____/10 Cities & Capital (1 paragraph)

      ____/10 Places to Visit (1 paragraph)

      ____/5 Flag

      ____/5 Map (2 maps - one biome map; one political map)

      ____/10 Overall Neatness

      TOTAL SCORE: ____/100 points

As part of her report, Becca will be serving an authentic dish from Guam called "Golai Hagun Sune." She found the recipe on p. 306 of Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt, a juvenile fiction book which is set in Guam.

Other books she read for her Guam research included Guam's Brown Tree Snakes: Hanging Out by Kevin Blake, from the series "They Don't Belong: Tracking Invasive Species," Guam by William Lutz, from the series "Let's Visit Places & Peoples of the World," and page 40 of Puerto Rico and Other Outlying Areas by Michael Burgan, from the series "World Almanac Library of the States." I'm having her write book reviews on Amazon for all four books.

She also visited the website for Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo.

Becca's recipe calls for 28 taro leaves (fresh spinach leaves may be substituted), water, grated coconut, lime juice, grated ginger, salt, garlic, onion, coconut milk, and Tabasco sauce.

Tonight I am making the menu and grocery list for the week and the girls are looking forward to watching a movie. At the History Fair last week, we saw a dramatic performance about the Rockford Peaches. Becca was so interested (and so was I, given that I had never made the connection that it was Rockford IL) and so we are going to relax and watch A League of Their Own. (I can't believe HOW YOUNG Madonna and Rosie are in this movie!)

Over Spring Break, Natalie and Leah were obsessed with watching the six episodes of Pride & Prejudice on Amazon Prime... and totally thrilled when Lizzie and Darcy got married! Tonight, it's a PG movie from 1992. :-)

Ok, this week's recipes:

My friend Kathy just shared another link for a Guam dish: Beef Tinaktak. Looks like our Hands activity for Friday will definitely be cooking! And we can enjoy our feast while we listen to the reports!

(Which reminds me... I have to go start my research for Puerto Rico...)

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy Shopping at Nova Natural

This morning I woke up and discovered that my federal tax return had been deposited into my bank account.

I was surprised and pleased... and what did I do first?

I bought toys for Zac, of course!

Susan Striker says that you should have the biggest toy budget for your child between the ages of 2 and 3, and I absolutely think she is right. (After I bought toys I went and had breakfast at Panera, so I did do something nice for myself too, but the Nova Natural order happened first.)

Here was my shopping method, carefully designed so that I could have the best possible combination of feeling like I was enjoying unrestrained shopping, but not going too totally crazy. I restricted myself to the Toys & Games pages of the Sales section, but I let myself get whatever I wanted from those 3 pages. It has been years and years since I could go through a site and just put whatever looked good in my cart, and I know the feeling will be fleeting because next I have to stop spending and put all the rest of the money into buying this house, but I sure did enjoy it while it lasted.

building blocks

on sale for $79.99

car carrier

on sale for $109.99

street roller

on sale for $49.99

child's whisk

on sale for $2.99

man farmer

on sale for $24.99

pecking brown hen

on sale for $12.99


on sale for $21.99


on sale for $17.99

sand tools and pail

on sale for $24.99

red + white chamber pot

not on sale ($25.00 each)
one for each bathroom

natural easter egg dyes

free with my purchase

In other news, I decided Natalie needs to see the year out in her public school. I've been reading some parenting things about stepping back and not being so controlling (or rescuing) and just calmly saying, "What is your plan?" Natalie needs to bring up her grade but they average her 1st and 2nd quarters to make a semester grade and her 3rd and 4th quarters to make a semester grade, and only those semester grades go on her permanent transcript, so they build in an opportunity for kids to recover when they slip.

I was talking to a friend and I said, "I just don't want her to ruin her chances of getting into a good college. I don't want her to make a forever mistake!" and she said, "Yes, but it's her forever mistake." And she is right. So I decided to just let it go. I can be supportive and encouraging but I can't make all of her decisions for her.

It's so funny to have a two year old and a fifteen year old. I feel like I get to see both ends of the parenting thing, when they're born and when they leave the nest, both at the same time. It's beautiful but it can also be a little disorienting.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Geography: Woodland Indians, Mound Builders

We are spending our next three week block on U.S. Geography, framed around first looking at the Native American shelter building that took place in each region, which was based on the natural resources, and then the region's biome map, and finally the region's current political map of U.S. States and their Capitals. We are also going to learn about the Territories.

ALL of my detailed notes are on my U.S. Geography page on the website.

I had originally recommended Bonnie Shemie's series of Native Dwellings books for third grade Housebuilding, but in seeing how well they work for this fifth grade block, I'm thinking of changing my grade 3 notes. There are so many great examples of shelters that it is impossible to get to them all, and I like the idea of doing Mongolian yurts and the tree houses of Papua New Guinea and so many other fun ones... and doing a project building with cob (and maybe even a cob oven) in third grade... and I wouldn't want to rush through the houses of other continents in order to get back to the Native American ones... especially when doing the Native American ones in North American Geography in fifth grade provides such a nice assessible way to divide up the regions.

But, regardless of when you choose to use them, Bonnie's books are great. My friend Robin turned me on to her work many years ago!

Houses of bark - Woodland Indians

Mounds of earth and shell - the Southeast

Houses of hide and earth - Plains Indians

Houses of adobe - the Southwest

Houses of wood - the Northwest Coast

Houses of snow, skin and bones - the Far North

To be honest, I also use a lot of Montessori Geography materials because I find they are so well organized. (I do use Montessori materials for Math, Grammar, and Geography because I find them superior to all others.) The two resources below are not incompatible with Waldorf in any way.

The biome maps created by Waseca are extremely intuitive for kids to use.

And I love the U.S.A. Location/Color map made by Nienhuis for hands-on practice in identifying the states by their shapes.

I've also got some links to FREE Teachers Pay Teachers games and activities (such as a word find with all 50 state capitals in it) for further review.

So browse the webpage and enjoy!

This week at the homeschool co-op we have done the following:

had a great Structured Word Inquiry lesson on "heart"

enjoyed Farm Day!

learned a blessing for lunchtime

    To sun and rain
    To grass and grain
    To all who toil
    On sea and soil
    That we may eat
    This daily food
    We give our loving
    Thanks to you

math skills practice

    GREAT FREE daily skills practice for grades 6, 7, and 8:
    set 1, set 2, and set 3 combine to give you a full year!

math homework

Fractions Quilt Bingo and Madame Periwinkle's Halloween Brew for emergency sub plans on Friday morning

Dewey Decimal System lesson

a field trip to the library on Tuesday, plus a stop by Toddler Story Time

a field trip to the High School Science Fair on Thursday

set up the window bird feeder and moved the window nest box to a quieter window, with the curtains closed so as not to scare off any nesting birds

Article of the Day

made homemade yogurt in the crockpot

started our new U.S. Geography read aloud story: the Newbery honor book Minn of the Mississippi by Holling Clancy Holling

assessed prior knowledge of U.S. Geography with Elimination Game (in pairs or small groups) -- students alternate turns identifying states; teacher answers disputes -- and States and Capitals pp.15-16 (individually)

began our new U.S. Geography main lesson block with the Woodland Indians and Mound Builders - using Bonnie Shemie's books Houses of Bark: Tipi, Wigwam, and Longhouse and Mounds of Earth and Shell

my chalkboard drawing inspired by this one of a Wampanoag Shelter

plus tracing and coloring the biome maps by Waseca (my web page also has a set of links where you can download and color your own instead of buying theirs) and the political maps from Ready-to-Use Outline Maps of the U.S. States and Regions: 159 Different Copyright-Free Maps Printed One Side by Phillip Runquist

list of "plates" below refers to the pages in this book

my choice of states for the Northeast Region
(New England and the Mid-Atlantic)

13 states (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, VA)

    outline map of the Northeast on plate 21
    except Ohio

    States & Capitals List
    Maine - Augusta - plates 18, 28
    New Hampshire - Concord - plates 18, 28
    Vermont - Montpelier - plates 18, 28
    Massachusetts - Boston - plates 15, 28
    Rhode Island - Providence - plates 15, 28
    Connecticut - Hartford - plates 14, 28
    New York - Albany - plates 15, 28
    New Jersey - Trenton - plates 14, 28
    Pennsylvania - Harrisburg - plates 14, 28
    Delaware - Dover - plates 14, 28
    Maryland - Annapolis - plates 14, 28
    West Virginia - Charleston - plates 11, 27
    Virginia - Richmond - plates 11, 27

my choices of states for the Southeast Region
(Southeast and the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys)

15 states (NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MI, LA, AR, TN, KY, OH, IN, MI, WI, IL)

    outline map of the Southeast on plate 20
    plus Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois (plate 20)

    States & Capitals List
    North Carolina - Raleigh - plates 13, 27
    South Carolina - Columbia - plates 13, 27
    Georgia - Atlanta - plates 13, 27
    Florida - Tallahassee - plates 12, 27
    Alabama - Montgomery - plates 12, 27
    Mississippi - Jackson - plates 12, 27
    Louisiana - Baton Rouge - plates 12, 26
    Arkansas - Little Rock - plates 7, 26
    Tennessee - Nashville - plates 11, 27
    Kentucky - Frankfort - plates 11, 27
    Ohio - Columbus - plates 11, 26
    Indiana - Indianapolis - plates 10, 26
    Michigan - Lansing - plates 10, 26
    Wisconsin - Madison - plates 10, 26
    Illinois - Springfield - plates 10, 26

researched a field trip to Cahokia Mounds

for fun: Word Search - U.S. Capitals

Outside of the homeschool co-op, Becca also had her poetry workshop at the library on Thursday afternoon, attended her sister's History Fair presentation on Saturday (Leah's drama performance meant that her team tied for Best in Show and they will be competing at the State level in Illinois - yay!), and volunteered at Flyover Gardens.

Last year Becca made a lovely backboard about the Mound Builders, featuring the Great Serpent Mound rendered using a raised textured paint. We got the textured paint recipe here; here are some pictures of her work:

We tried many different ways of doing the title but she didn't want anything to detract from the sheer visual impact of her painting, so we went with something discreet.

Upcoming purchases:
I'm excited to get a Decimal Stamp Game because the daily math skills practice is showing me that we do still need a concrete material for carrying and borrowing with decimals. I also need a really good bird guide to place by the window bird feeder for easy reference.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!