Category Archives: science

Filling the Treasure Box- New Curriculum Picks for Next Year

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If you haven’t noticed, I love planning for our homeschooling and each year I start earlier and earlier for the following year. It feels more like a hobby now because it’s something I do for the enjoyment of it instead of just because it’s part of my duty as a homeschooling mom. There’s something about piecing together just the right curricula, books and other materials that compliment each other and contribute to building a rich and exciting homeschool year that thrills me. It’s like putting together a puzzle and when I find a piece that fits well with what I’ve already got, it makes my day.
Ever since this school year started, I’ve been working on my plan for next year and collecting up the things I’ll be using. I’ve been storing it all away in what is now affectionately referred to as our treasure box. When I open it up while the kids are around, they beg me to let them look through it, pull out stuff, and they want to know what will be used for who. Elliot has been known to beg me to let him start using some of it this year because he “just can’t wait”, but I stick to my guns about finishing what we’re doing this year and waiting until next year to dig into the new stuff.
By the end of this year, Elliot and I will have finished all the FIAR books I have planned for us to do (I believe it’s a total of 50 of them for all three years…wow.) and he’ll be ready to “graduate” onto more challenging things. It’s not the end of FIAR for us though, as Caroline and I will be starting back at the beginning. I’ll probably keep it pretty simple though, considering we are adding history and science for Elliot and I plan for her to be pretty involved in that as well.

So, without further ado, here’s a look at a few of the new things we’re going to be adding next year for third grade and kindergarten:

For history we’ll be doing a basic overview of world history. I’ve paired up a few different things to use together. Our “spine” is going to be A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer.

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Along with that we’ll be keeping history notebooks with pages I purchased on a CD from Hold That Thought!. We’re also going to keep a timeline of the people and events that we learn about with Sonlight’s Book of Time and timeline figures.

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Book of Time and Timeline Figures

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Like I mentioned, our history text is just our spine which we’ll be adding lots of other books to, many of which we’ll get at our Library. We’ll be referring to Usborne’s Book of Living Long Ago throughout the year and several of our read-alouds will correspond with our history. I’ll also frequently be assigning Elliot extra reading in books that go along with what we’re learning in history.
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In addition to read-alouds that correspond with history, there are some on my list that we’re going to read “just because”, and these are a few of those.
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For Literature, Elliot will be using Progeny Press guides. These booklets contain things like reading comprehension, vocabulary and critical thinking, and they are written from a Christian perspective, so many of the “digging deeper” questions involve applying biblical truths to a certain situation.

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Elliot will also be finishing Explode the Code’s final book this year, giving him a firm phonics foundation, so we’ll be moving on to a spelling program, and I’ve chosen Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom. Each of the books takes about two years to complete, and there are five books available in all so there are more than enough to use all the way through high school.

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Instead of lists of random words, the student learns new spelling words in the context of passages from great literary works, quotes, and scripture. About two passages are learned each week, wherein the student should be able to write it all correctly, including punctuation, when recited by the teacher.
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Finally, we’re adding Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy series for science. We’ll be working through the student journals as well as doing an experiment for each lesson.

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Supplies for Science Experiments

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You’d think I’d be satisfied for a while, but I’ve started working on the plans for the next two years as well. I’ve got folders where I keep a running list of ideas and books. Maybe I need to find another hobby???

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More Science for Owl Moon

There’s been a lot of extra science to cover for this book, so we’ve been squeezing in a few more books and projects when we can. Today we learned about the Great Horned Owl. We read some books we got from the library and found some interesting (and slightly creepy) videos about them on YouTube and Elliot did a project for his notebook. Then when it was time for Elliot to read from his nature reader, guess what we discovered he was going to read about! Owls! I didn’t plan that, nor had I even known that was coming up. We love when these kinds of coincidences happen, and they seem to happen to us all the time!

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Science for Owl Moon

We’ll be doing a lot of science for this book, so today was just part one. We learned all about the moon today and how it appears to change shape as it orbits around the earth. We learned the names of the different phases. We were especially interested to learn that what we’ve been calling a “half moon” for quite a while is actually called a “quarter moon”. This is because we only ever seen one half of the moon, and a half of a half is a quarter! We also learned that when the moon appears to be getting bigger and getting closer to becoming a full moon, it’s called a “waxing moon” . When it is getting closer to being a new moon, it’s called a “waning moon”. We even found a neat calendar online that shows us what the moon will look like at any given time. We discovered that there will be a new moon on Christmas eve, so it’s going to be an extra dark night.

We made a poster of the different phases of the moon.
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We did a really fun experiment shown in one of our library books. You stick something round on a pen/pencil, such as an orange (a lemon was all we had). Then you take your flashlight to a dark place. You’re head is the earth, the lemon is the moon (marked with an “x” that always faces earth, since the same side is always facing earth) and the flashlight is the sun. As you change positions, you see light on different areas of the moon.
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Here we were seeing the new moon. From where Elliot was standing, he was not seeing any light reflecting off his moon.
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As he turned, he began to see a small amount of light reflecting on the very side of his lemon (although it’s hard to tell in the picture because of the flash of my camera).
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A full moon!
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We also made shadows on the wall, since we are learning about that as well and it ties in very well to what we’ve learned about the moon. When the sun is shining on an object, it cannot pass through the object so on the other side, it creates a shadow.
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Then after lunch we made the phases of the moon with Newman’s O’s (Organic Oreos basically…Yes, there is such a thing and it makes me feel just slightly better about buying them every once in a while.)
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Science for Three Names

For science we’ve been learning about animals on the prairie, dogs, and weather that is common in the prairies, specifically wind and tornados. Elliot and I found a book at the library about tornados that he can read on his own over the next week or so. Each afternoon when he has his quiet room time, he starts out by doing his “homework” in is room which is usually reading of some sort. He loves that he can read independently and then he comes and tells me what happened in his book.

We discussed all sorts of “windy weather words” and he did a word find.

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Science for Miss Rumphius

We’ve continued our study on seeds and germination with Miss Rumphius. We talked about the word “sow” (as opposed to “sew”. We’ve been keeping a list of homophones we come across and added these two.) We found several Bible verses that talk about sowing seeds and what that is often used as metaphor for.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the beans we planted. They’ve taken a bit longer than expected to sprout, but we’ve finally noticed some changes in the last few days. Unfortunately last night our egg crate was blown around by the wind, but we were able to salvage most of our little bean sprouts and replant them in a pot, so hopefully we can keep watching them for a while.

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Science for The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Today was our science day. We talked about what kinds of things can be grown in a garden and we learned about different insects and animals that can live in a garden, some of which are beneficial to the garden and some which are harmful. We learned about how seeds sprout and grow and we planted our own beans and we’ll be digging them up periodically over the next few weeks to see how they change.

Both kids currently have a garden theme going on right now, so this is a shared project.

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We also watched a Sid the Science Kid about dirt and soil.
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Science for Make Way For Ducklings

We had a great time today reading about ducks and feeding the ducks at the park.

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Science for The Little Red Lighthouses and the Great Gray Bridge

We have so much to cover for this book that it could keep us busy with the science topics alone for the entire two weeks. We’ve been reading about the many different kinds of bridges for the last few days. Today we focused on lighthouses and learned about what they’re for, how they are all unique, and how the way they work has changed over time. We noticed in one of our library books that there seem to be so many lighthouses in Massachusetts. Elliot is anxious to see if he spots any of them when he visits the Boston area in a few weeks.

I surprised him with a lighthouse coloring book I bought at the Homeschool Book Fair back in May.
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I almost forgot that I had this book stashed away. It’s the true story of young Abbie Burgess keeping her family’s lighthouse lit all on her own for four weeks. Elliot really loved it.
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Extra Science

We don’t use a science curriculum yet, but at this point we get all the science we need from FIAR. Elliot also reads from a nature reader a couple times a week, which adds a little bit more science for him. It’s great because it gives him extra practice reading and it also gives him the opportunity to learn about some really fascinating things from nature. I like that he’s getting a balance of both fiction and non-fiction reading.
Over the last week and a half he’s been reading about wasps. We learned that there are some wasps that are mud wasps and some that are paper wasps. As you’d expect, the mud wasps build their nests from mud and paper wasps build their nests from paper they make from wood. They also do some things very differently when it comes to preparing for their young to hatch. I’ve noticed a few wasps flying around our house lately so today we decided to investigate to see if we could determine if they are mud wasps or paper wasps. To our surprise, we believe we found both kinds of nests around our house. Looks like we’re overdue for some spring cleaning on the outside of our house.

Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader- Book 1 (There are five in all.)
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The reading level is right on par with where he’s at right now. It’s easy enough that he rarely needs help figuring out the words, but some of them are still a big of a challenge. He’s learned a good amount of new words from it.
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This looks to be a mud wasp nest right above our front porch.
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And this one looks like a paper wasp nest above our garage door.
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Science for Mirette on the High Wire

We did our science portion of Five in a Row today. We learned about copper. In our book we see all sorts of copper pots in a kitchen, which is very common in France. We learned about how copper goes through oxidation as it is exposed to oxygen in the air, which is why an older penny can sometimes look very dull and almost green.

We took some pennies, took note of the year they were made and compared how they looked.
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We also talked more about the circus today. We remembered our own trip to the circus and Elliot wrote about his experience and drew a picture. Then we tried out being high wire walkers on a long piece of tape on the floor. It’
s much harder than it looks to keep your feet on the “wire”. The kids enjoyed doing stunts and asked me to clap for them as if I was at the circus watching them.

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