Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

A few weeks ago, the kids and I met up with some other homeschooling families from our area at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  It happens to be right beside the CIA in DC.  So, when my GPS told me to take the exit for the CIA, I was expecting the farm to be on a road before actually entering the CIA.  But, nope, that exit drops you right off at the gate.  Not having a government ID, probably having a very confused look on my face and 4 kids in the back, the guards kindly helped me make a u-turn and then told me where to go. There were nice, but very serious about not using my cell phone there. 

So, we finally made it to the farm.  We were early since I was expecting horrible traffic. But, since 5 people definitely counts for HOV, we flew past everyone.  This gave us time to explore around the woods while we were waiting.  We found these cool Osage oranges to play with.  

Madeline also found these awesome teeth.  Being the wonderful mother that I am, I told her that I would look at them when we got back from the farm.  Well, when we got back, someone else had picked them up and claimed them.  How I wish I had just told her to pick them up and bring them to me.  But, hindsight is 20/20.  There were major tears the entire ride home.  But, at least we got a picture.  Now we are on the search for something even better in the woods.  

Once all the families arrived, we walked back to their market area for our farm skills classes.

We didn't know most of the people there.  But, we did know our friends, the Holmes.  And we met several new people. 

This farm is a living museum set in 1771.  So, we were able to learn about and experience life before the Revolutionary War.  We started with carding.  You put some wool on the edge of a wooden card with lots of spikes on it (like a brush).  Then you pull the wool with another card until all the wool is on the 2nd card.  This cleans the wool and makes it ready to spin.  

Once we carded our wool, we learned how to spin it into yarn.  Our hands ended up really soft from all the lanolin in the wool.    

Then we learned about candle making.  

We each got to make our own candle.  They had a path set up with about 5 or 6 buckets of tallow.  You dip the wick into a bucket and then walk to the next bucket.  By the time you walked to the next bucket, it was dry enough to dip again.  You just walk around and around until your candle was as big as you wanted.   

Our funny little candles.  

Then we learned about corn.  In 1771 everyone was required by law to plant corn so that they would not starve.  When they planted the corn, they always added a little fish from the Potomac into the ground with the seed.  Then they also planted squash around it to give shade to keep the weeds from growing.  And then they would plant pole beans to grow up the corn stalks.  The corn, squash and beans are called the "3 sisters".  They were able to grind a little corn into cornmeal as well.   

Before our time was up, we got to play a few games that kids would have played in 1771.  

After our farm skills classes, we ate lunch and explore the farm a little more.  This was the tobacco shed.  

A little farther away, they had a little house that had been recently tarred for weather proofing.  The two people that lived inside were available to answer any questions we had about how they lived, ate and dressed.  

We aren't studying American history this year.  But, it is still fun to get a little perspective about how people used to live.  It makes me excited for studying American history though.  We are about to start on Ancient Egypt.  I'm pretty sure we won't be making a trip there, no matter how much Madeline asks.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014-2015 First Grade Curriculum

This is what we are using in school this year.  

We start our math time with Mad Minute everyday.  I think this is her favorite time each day.  Oliver also loves to do it with us.   

 She has 1 minute (sometimes 2) to do as many of the 30 problems as she can.  

Then she gets to graph it.  

Then we continue math with Singapore Math.

For writing this year, Madeline is writing each day in her journal with a few different fun projects thrown in.  

Right now, she is finishing up a fun book called "Diary of a Pig" based on the Diary books by Doreen Cronin.  I will write more about it soon once she finishes it.  She is writing a diary for Wilbur from Charlotte's Web.  

We haven't started spelling yet.  But, I think we will incorporate it into our writing time about halfway through the year.  

But, we are loving All About Reading.  

She has learned about 3 different syllable types so far and where to break words into syllables in order to decode them.  We use this board almost everyday to break apart words, label syllable types and decode them.   

We are almost halfway done.  I will probably move on to the next level.

We are using Apologia science.  We are studying Astronomy.  It has a lot of great information with some fun experiments/projects thrown in.  There are several planetariums in our area we will try to go to this year.  

After reading a few pages in the book, I have Madeline dictate to me something that she remembers from the text.  Then she illustrates it.  

We have been working slowly through Handwriting Without Tears.  I'm not sure I'm in love with it for her.  I think it has great strategies for kids just learning to print their letters.  But, I might be looking for something else for her.  

We are using Sonlight for history.  We are studying ancient history this year.  So far we have just been laying the foundation with learning about different cultures, religions, time periods and archeology.  It has been pretty interesting.  But, we will be starting ancient Egypt very soon.   

Sonlight includes a great list of read alouds.  We just finished Charlotte's Web and are starting Little Pear, which I had never hear of, but it's really cute.

Sonlight also includes a Bible curriculum.  We are reading through Leading Little Ones to God and Missionary Stories.  We have really liked both.  The missionary stories are fun and exciting.  I also ordered some virtue cards from We Choose Virtues.  We are studying 1 virtue for about 2 weeks at a time.  I am trying to be very conscious of observing these behaviors and rewarding them for it.  

So far, I have been very happy with my choices.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas

We are studying astronomy this year.  Right now we are learning about the sun.  It is about 93,000,000 miles away.  And it is so big that a million earths would fit in it.  

We learned about why you should never look directly at the sun by doing a little experiment outside.  We got to melt chocolate with a magnifying glass.   

Of course, I already knew all this since I have heard my dad singing this song for my entire life.

The "They Might Be Giants" version might be a little more enjoyable.  But, it doesn't remind me of dad as much.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crayon Resist

We recently finished reading Charlotte's Web and I thought we should do a fun art project to go with it.  So, we did a crayon resist.  We drew a very colorful spider and her web.  

  And then we used watercolors over it.  Of course, the crayons resisted the paint and only stuck to the paper, leaving a very fun background.  

I had fun doing a little coloring and painting as well.  Art class is fun :)