Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Week 31 Highlights

Monday, April 25

    Grade 1 Archetypal Professions block

  • recall Healer
  • look at Jewelweed & Plantain soap for poison ivy (made locally at Meadows Bluff Farm), look at the ingredients in the Herbal Salve (made locally at Dayempur Farm)
  • add Healer to MLB

    Grade 1 & Grade 3

    Today two groups of students came together to share a story and activity. The younger students were learning about the Hunter, and I had wanted us to do something with making play weapons. The older students were learning about the story of David and Goliath. So we read David and Goliath retold by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers and then went outside to make slings and try to toss raw eggs with them (in the field).

    Grade 7 Age of Exploration / Renaissance & Reformation block

  • discuss ancient navigation techniques, read A Gift from the Past by James Rumford
  • rough draft Christopher Columbus
  • explain that the land on which we are standing was originally Kaskaskia land (resources:; "Native Tribes of Southern Illinois" information from Native American Heritage page for the Shawnee National Forest, USDA; Wikipedia page for Kaskaskia)

Tuesday, April 26

    Grade 1 & Grade 3

  • fine-tune sling designs, practice throwing raw eggs (each child got 4)
  • play the Hunter/Gatherer Simulation Game from Early Humans by Michelle Breyer

  • Grade 1 Archetypal Professions block

  • read Dandelions by Eve Bunting
  • note that dandelions were one of the foods in the Hunter/Gatherer Simulation Game but are also a medicinal plant
  • share some pictures of butterflies and a list of their host plants; note how many of these plants are also on our medicinal plant list (milkweed, stinging nettle, plantain, etc.)
  • explain that we are participating this year in NO MOW MAY (PDF) in an effort to help the pollinators
  • add Hunter to MLB
  • explain what a Merchant is, begin to read Beauty and the Beast (original version of the story)

  • Grade 3 Old Testament Stories block

  • have students divide up and read stories for David and Solomon

    Psalm Twenty-Three

    illustrated by Tim Ladwig

    Psalm 23

    illustrated by Barry Moser

    King Solomon and the Bee

    by Dalia Hardof Renberg

    Solomon and the Trees

    by Matt Biers-Ariel

  • Grade 7 Age of Exploration / Renaissance & Reformation block

  • add Christopher Columbus to MLB
  • read 9 chapters of Mapping the World with Art by Ellen Johnston McHenry at home

    7. Henry the Navigator
    8. Printed Maps
    9. Spice Wars and Pirates
    10. Christopher Columbus
    11. Columbus Sails Again
    12. Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot)
    13. Vasco da Gama
    14. Columbus's Last Voyages, Amerigo Vespucci, and Juan de la Cosa
    15. The New World Becomes "America"

Wednesday, April 27

Thursday, April 28

Next week, the youngest students will move into the final First Grade main lesson block of the school year (Science: 4 Elements) and the older students will wrap up any and all existing incomplete projects (originally my plan was to have them do a self-directed World Geography block using Mapping the World with Art by Ellen Johnston McHenry as their primary resource, but they requested that we move that block to the first topic of next year so that they have enough time to do it really well). The student who is most interested in hearing the remaining Old Testament Stories (the holidays of Purim and Hanukkah) will borrow from my booklist as her SSR choices.

Favorite Picture Books for the Old Testament

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Resources for Writing Essays

I have essay writing posts sprinkled haphazardly throughout the blog, so I thought I'd compile a few resources here.

I have a 7th grade student right now working on his first five paragraph essay; it is about Homer's Odyssey. We used The Odyssey for Boys and Girls, the version retold by Alfred J. Church in 1906 (link is to a free PDF).

Our essay prompt is a traditional one, and I got it at TpT. He chose option #3 from The Odyssey Essay Assignment (FREE).

This is what we have done so far...

Step 1: read the text

Step 2: choose your essay prompt

Step 3: write your thesis statement

Step 4: revisit the text and make notecards
we color-coded the notecards and used five colors, one for each paragraph

Step 5: learn about outlines
Outlines: A Blueprint for Success

    Roman Numerals

      Uppercase Letters

        Arabic Numerals

          Lowercase Letters

            Small Roman Numerals

Step 6: practice using outlines
again, I turned to TpT for some traditional Study Skills resources

    Outlines #1 - $1.98
    writing an outline from a paragraph
    Captain Jack Sparrow

    Outlines #2 - $1.98
    writing a paragraph from an outline
    ice ages

    Outlines #3 - $1.98
    writing an outline from a paragraph
    taste buds

    writing a paragraph from an outline
    body senses as warning devices

    Outlines #4 - $1.98
    writing an outline from a paragraph
    REM sleep

    writing an outline from a paragraph
    *not* scaffolded
    "Select a paragraph from any classroom textbook. Use outlining to take notes on the information."

Step 7: organize your notecards and convert them into an outline

Step 8: learn about in-text citations
learning how to cite direct quotations is the 7th grade skill in my blog post Breaking Down the Skills Needed to Write a Research Paper

Step 9: learn about "Throwaway Writing"
I have a blog post full of hilarious examples provided by my students

Step 10: convert your outline into a rough draft

Step 11: choose quotes from the text to add to your rough draft

Step 12: look at mentor texts to find examples of concluding paragraphs

Step 13: look at example of a research paper with footnotes & bibliography, compare a bibliography to a works cited page, note formatting of the paper

Step 14: type rough draft of essay in MLA style

Step 15: explain what a rubric is, choose a rubric that suits the assignment

    I like this blog post Middle School Writing Rubrics by Dr. Catlin Tucker because she includes three different rubrics (they are free)

    - Middle School Argumentative Writing Rubric

    - Middle School Informative Writing Rubric

    - Middle School Narrative Writing Rubric

    for a more general essay rubric, try this one: Essay Rubric (PDF)

Step 16: print essay rough draft, revise essay using rubric for guidance

Step 17: create works cited page
how to do a "hanging indent" in Pages
Purdue OWL

Step 18: print essay first revision, give to someone for feedback

Step 19: print essay second revision, edit essay carefully

Step 20: print final essay, use the chosen rubric to score your essay

We hand-wrote the index cards, the outline, and the rough draft. We then typed the rough draft, the two revised drafts, and the final essay.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Alpaca Farm Field Trip

We loved visiting Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch last week on April 19. It was so nice to have a field trip... our first as a whole school for an entire year! We haven't had a school field trip since April 19, 2021... that is, IF you count walking from my house to Chautauqua Bottoms Nature Preserve (Woodland Spur Trail, The Wildflower Glade, Secret Garden) to see the wildflowers.

If you don't count a field trip that is within walking distance of my house, it's been since January 2020 and our trip to the Carbondale Fire Department for "Protector" the last time I taught the grade 1 Archetypal Professions block.

We are doing the Archetypal Professions block again and this time we are on "Shepherd"! My class had visited the alpacas previously -- on February 26, 2019 as part of the grade 3 Fibers & Clothing block -- but we were back to learn about the nitty-gritty of alpaca care. We had a great time and Judy and Morgan were outstanding hosts. They answered all of our many questions very cheerfully! 

I loved seeing how they use every bit of the alpaca fiber, including putting the "scrap" fiber inside their handmade alpaca dryer balls. They also make their own goat milk soap for the felted soaps AND they shear their alpacas themselves AND dye all of their own yarn. Wow!  And they even sell spinning wheels, so when I've finally saved up enough for one I will get it from them!

Some photos of 🦙 ❤️ :

2 yr aged manure for the garden

Matt, the resident greeter, says hello to everyone!

a beautiful chart showing the results of all the dyes and dye combinations on different colors of fiber


the drum carder