Friday, October 30, 2009

The Duchess Bakes a Cake

For our quick study of the middle ages, we started with the Five in a Row book,  The Duchess Bakes a Cake. From that, we discussed consequences, alliteration, rhyming, and the feudal society. Then we extended that to study life during the middle ages, knights, and castles.


We also discussed yeast since it is important to the story and the kids made their own cake without overusing the yeast as the Duchess does. Yes, they went a little crazy with the sprinkles and candies.

 The kids dressed up as knights and just had to do a little jousting. I was able to find helmets, shields, swords, breastplates, and small stick horses for them. We made simple catapults using cereal boxes and plastic spoons.

They decorated castles from a model magic princess set I found awhile back.  

Colin enjoyed this Klutz book that comes with building cards to make a castle.

 I still have a few pictures I need to add to the notebook pages. I'll try to finish that and post them soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


We spent a few days reading Stellaluna and learning about bats. Stellaluna is the story of a baby bat that gets separated from her mother and then lives with birds.

Things they learned about: where fruit bats live, echolocation, baby bats, whether animals are diurnal or noctural, whether animals are carniivores, herbivores, or omnivores, and the anatomy of a bat.

These are Caleigh's notebook pages. Colin did all the same things.

Here are some of the books opened up. She pasted pictures of animals in the books to show diurnal animals and nocturnal animals. She also pasted pictures in the correct spots to show whether the animal is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. She labeled the parts of a bat and colored the map showing where fruit bats are found.

Ancient Greece

I think I've mentioned before that Colin has been studying ancient Greece. We have only worked on it a couple days a week so it's taken us a while to finish it.

Things he learned about: early Greeks, dark ages, alphabet, stories of Homer, Trojan horse, first Olympics, Sparta, Athens, Greek gods and goddesses, war with Persia, and Alexander the Great. We read or listened to many Greek myths including Hercules, Medusa, Midas and the Golden Touch, and Cyclops.

Here are his notebook pages:

On the left is a map of Greece he filled in, a wheel to spin to see information about the city-states, and the Greek life book (includes info about houses, children, clothing, and entertainment). On the right is a picture of the Cyclops and an Olympic symbols and traditions book (you can open each picture to find info under it).

This is what it looks like when you open the left side:

On the left is a Venn diagram of Athens and Sparta and a book where he wrote about the first Olympics. On the right is a map showing Troy, the Trojan Horse with a flap to lift where he wrote about what was inside, and a booklet where he wrote about Homer.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carolina Balloon Fest

After the scheduled launch time passed and they were still trying to decide if it was too windy, I was afraid this festival was going to be a flop. There wasn't much to do so the kids were getting a little bored. As the first balloon finally started to inflate, they became excited though. Eventually about 15 balloons went up. Many of the ones that didn't fly did inflate later for the balloon glow. It was really neat to see them up close.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lazy 5 Ranch

We had such a great time on our field trip to the Lazy 5 Ranch today. We've talked about going since moving here, but never made it. I even signed up for last year's field trip, but I got strep so we couldn't go. I'm so glad we finally got to do it. It was such a beautiful day to be out. The kids loved getting so close to the animals even if they were a bit nervous about some of them. Colin didn't like when he got spit on by a llama, but he got over it quickly and had a good time.

This thing was huge.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Renaissance Festival

We are actually still studying ancient history, but I decided to jump into the middle ages last week. I wanted the kids to learn a little about knights, castles, kings, etc. in preparation for going to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We'll continue studying that for this week so I'll get some information about what we did and pictures up later this week.

We all had a really good time at the festival. It was a little cold, which caused us to leave earlier than we would have otherwise. There was still a lot we didn't get to see. There are so many different shows going on that there isn't any way to see them all in one day. Besides that, there are many entertainers (musicians, jugglers, magicians, etc.)  just hanging around. We were able to see a birds of prey show, acrobats, a harpist, Green Man (looks like a tree), glass blowing, a goose that hugged the kids, and a jousting tournament. I think the jousting was Colin's favorite thing. He really wanted to see the last part where they joust to the death, but the girls were just too cold.

Here's a picture from the joust:


Twig the Fairy

Colin just had to have this helmet to go with the rest of his knight costume.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Patriots Point

We spent a couple days earlier this week in Charleston, SC. We visited Patriots Point. Here are the kids in front of the USS Yorktown while waiting for Chad to buy tickets.

 We then boarded the ship. Here are the kids in front of an airplane of the flight deck of the ship.  

After exploring the Yorktown, the kids got to go in a submarine.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rainforest Study

This week we read The Great Kapok Tree. A man falls asleep while cutting down a kapok tree in the rainforest. While he is sleeping, the animals living in the tree whisper to him why he shouldn't cut  it down. Most of what we did came from the unit study at Homeschool Share.  

We learned about the locations and layers of the rainforest. We read about many different animals who live in the rainforest and plants that grow there.

We did a taste test of foods grown in the jungle. Some of the foods they tasted: pineapple, coconut, avocado, lemon, lime, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger,  and nutmeg.

Colin is on a Jr. Lego League team. For their project, they have chosen to find out about the Hershey bar. They've learned how and where it begins, how  and where it's made, and the transportation involved. Since the cacao tree grows in the rainforest, we researched more on how chocolate is made.

The rainforest animal book on Caleigh's page came from Enchanted Learning. All the rest, except the taste test chart, came from Homeschool Share.

Caleigh's notebook pages:

Colin's notebook pages:

He wrote down the different mammals and birds that live in the rainforest in the little books. Here it is opened up:

Disney on Ice

We've been to a Disney on Ice show every year since Colin was 3. I think we even went to two of them one year after a move because the show happened at a different time of year in that area. This year we saw Celebrations. I didn't think it was as good as some of the other ones we've seen, but we all enjoyed it. Usually the shows focus on 2-3 stories. This one jumped around a lot more. The good thing about that is that we got to see a lot of different characters. Some of the celebrations were Halloween, Christmas, an unbirthday party, Carnival in Brazil, Valentine's Day, a luau in Hawaii, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. Characters included Mickey and friends, princesses, Alice in Wonderland characters, Lilo & Stitch, Jack Skellington, the villains, Tinkerbell, and the Toy Story characters.

The kids all loved the troll from Toy Story. They thought it was so funny. Molly also said the pig was awesome. It was fun to see the new princess, Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog. I'm sure we'll be seeing that movie when it comes out. Since we recently studied Japan, we were happy to see Minnie wearing a kimono and clogs in that part of the show.  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Rag Coat

We did the book, When I Was Young in the Mountains, last week. It's set in the Appalachian Mountains so I decided to stay with that theme and do The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills this week. Most of our activities came from the Five in a Row manual and a project pack from In the Hands of a Child.

In the story, the girl's father is a coal miner. He dies from black lung disease. The girl needs a coat to go to school so the women who quilt with her mother make her one by using their rags.

Geography: Appalachian Mountains

 Coal Mining: What is it?, Two types of mining (surface & underground), dangers of mining, black lung disease

Quilting: what is quilting?, made a scrapbook to show different types of quilting patterns

On the left is a picture of the girl in her rag coat that the kids colored. Beside that is a layer book about the rag coat. On the right are the coal mining and quilt books.

When you open it up, there is a partial map of the U.S. It shows the Appalachian Mountains. By turning the wheel, you can see the list of states Appalachia runs through. My sister sent the postcard for the kids. It has a picture of a building made of coal. We have information about the coal house to the left of the postcard. We left a blank space to include a picture later. Most of our family lives in eastern KY so we'll probably just take a picture of them with the mountains or something next time we visit.