Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Today, in our The Mystery of History lesson (Lesson 10, Volume 1), we learned about Stonehenge.  (I just love this curriculum because it is so hands-on and I learn so much, too!)
While we read, I let her hold the small Stonehenge model from our Safari Ltd. World Landmarks Toob.  (I picked this up at Hobby Lobby from their clearance section.  They are also available at the company's site and on Amazon.  We will be using it a lot this year.)
After we read about Stonehenge in our text, we learned more about it in our The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, which I supplement with a lot because of the great color photos and drawings.
Here is one of the photos of Stonhenge from this book.
And here is a great diagram showing how the work on Stonehenge was done.  We learned that the vertical rocks are called sarsens and the horizontal ones along the top are called lintels.
 Once our reading was done, we watched this great little video on Stonehenge at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7322444.stm.  (I wish I could have linked it somehow, but I was having trouble.)  Then, I had her narrate what she had learned before we got into our projects.

The first activity we did was the one suggested in our text, creating a miniature Stonehenge using small stones on a plate.  I picked up some craft stones at Dollar Tree and decided we could hot glue them onto a paper plate.  I had intended to pick up some green paper plates and forgot, so in a pinch, we added a green circle cut out of construction paper onto the bottom of a white paper plate.  (The crafter in me just couldn't do white.)
 Then, we set to work finding stones that could stand upright like the sarsens.
We adhered the stones with hot glue.  It worked really well!
Maggie's little Stonehenge!
After we made the one out of stones, I thought it would be fun to actually mold our own rocks for another Stonehenge model, like the one I saw at     http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/People/miniaturestonehenge/miniaturestonehenge.html.  On that site, they have a great recipe for sand dough that you can use, but once I saw this texture clay at Michael's with a stone finish, I was sold.  (I am all for saving a step!)
We got right to work, shaping our stones.  This texture clay was awesome (easy and clean) to work with.
In the works!
Adding the last lintel ...
It turned out so good!
 Later, we did two more activities from our text.  First, we discussed how much more difficult it would have been to construct something of this size without modern tools and equipment.  How did they even know where to dig the holes to ensure a perfect circle?  I challenged her to draw some perfect circles.
After she was done trying, we noted how it is nearly impossible to draw a perfect circle without some tool or stencil.  This brought us to our next project ...
... trying to figure out how they might have marked perfect circles for building.  We took a jump rope outside and Maggie stood in one place (only rotating her body) while I walked with the other end of the jump rope, pulled taut, in a complete circle around her. 
Then, we took some thistle seed and she made the circle (with me now standing in the middle) to mark our circle.
She went backwards, too, to make the circle darker with the seed.  This was neat.  In the end, we were able to make a guess as to how some of these ancient people might have marked the circles needed at Stonehenge.
Tomorrow, we start our study of Ancient Egypt.  I can't wait!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tooth Fairy Times

Well, it was an eventful day at our house!  Maggie lost her first tooth!  FINALLY.  (She is seven and I was starting to worry!)  She was so excited to finally anticipate a visit from the Tooth Fairy.  So today, I don a new hat ... Tooth Fairy!  I thought I'd share what I did for her for any of you awaiting this new role.

Here is Maggie, holding the tooth!
 Funny girl!
 We put the tooth in her "Tooth Exchange Pouch" for the Tooth Fairy.  (I picked this up at a local scrapbooking store years ago.)
 Then, we hung it on the headboard of her bed!
 Once she was asleep, I got to work!  First, I typed out this little note in very small font (size 8) from "Tina," her Tooth Fairy.  (Credit for this goes to my mom, as my Tooth Fairy was named Tina, too!)
 (I put a little tooth clip art on it to make it look special.)
Next, I rolled it up tight and tied a ribbon around it.  (This shows you how small it really is.)
 Then, I folded a $5.00 bill into a paper heart using a tutorial I found on YouTube.  With that, the rolled note, and a shiny quarter, I was ready to make the exchange!  Oh!  And I couldn't forget the sparkly white glitter for sprinkling on her windowsill!
I put everything in the bag and snuck it quickly back into her room!
I can't wait to see her excited face in the morning!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Story About Ping

This week, we rowed The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack (and illustrated by Kurt Wiese).  Amazon says about it, "Since 1933, The Story About Ping has captivated generations of readers ... No one can deny the appeal of the book's hero, Ping, the spirited little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River. Ping's misadventures one night while exploring the world around his home form the basis of this timeless classic, which is brought to life by Kurt Wiese's warm and poignant illustrations."  Maggie, loving ducks, really enjoyed this book!
Once the book was read, we got started on our study of it by discussing China and its geography.  We located it on the map and completed the "Where in the World ... Is China?" printable from
http://www.homeschoolshare.com/country_china.php for the China lapbook we decided to make.
 Then, we placed our story disk on China, at the base of the Yangtze River, where Ping lived.
We read The Yangtze River by Nathan Olson ...
... then watched this video from YouTube on the river.  After the video, we completed a worksheet on the same, as found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables.  (Check their site for this offering.)
 Then, it was time to talk about the culture of China.  To get started, we read A Visit to China by Mary Packard ...
... Countries of the World: China by Michael Dahl ...
... D is for Dancing Dragon: A Chinese Alphabet by Carol Crane ...
... China ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of China by Holly Schroeder ....
 ... China in Colors by Marla Gamze-Pendergrast ...
... I Can Cook! Chinese Food by Wendy Blaxland ...
... and Games People Play! China by Kim Dramer.
 After our reading, we checked out this YouTube video about China ...
... and watched this Sesame Street's Big Bird in China DVD that we borrowed from the library.
It was time for some desk work.  We began working again on some additions for our lapbook, starting with this China map I printed out of our Dover Around the World Coloring Book by Winky Adam.
 We followed that with the "Flag of China" printable from http://www.homeschoolshare.com/country_china.php ...
 ... the "What Would I Find in China?" pocket and cards from the same site ...
 ... and the "I Can Write My Name in Chinese" printable as well.
 She was tickled to see her name in Chinese writing!
 Once we had more elements completed for our China lapbook, we used our Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing: Costumes Around the World sticker book to dress some Chinese women for the annual Flower Festival.
 Great job, Mags!
 Then, we played with our giant panda nesting dolls ...
 ... noting the bamboo in the paws of one ...
 ... and the orange in the paw of another (a symbol of good luck in China).
 (Our cat, Emmett, loves Maggie's desk and always has to get in on the action!)
 Here, Emmett is "helping" Maggie dress the Chinese girl, Mei-Mei, in our Dover Mei-Mei from China Sticker Paper Doll book.
 Looks great, Maggie!
We finished Day 1 of this book study with the reading of a few good stories based in China -- Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yin Bridges ...
 ... The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine ...
... Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin ...
 ... and Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett.  (This one was a particularly great addition to the study of The Story About Ping because it is set on the Yangtze River and features house boats, fishing birds, and other things you see in the story.)
In our study of the Language Arts of this book (classic stories, fiction, and repetition), we completed this writing sheet from http://www.homeschoolshare.com/country_china.php.
 After our writing activity, we enjoyed some fun with a Chinese yo-yo!
 For a snack, we had oranges, again, a symbol of good luck in China!
On Day 3 of this read, we delved into art.  We talked about medium (colored pencils and crayon), viewpoint, composition, and drawing water.  Here, Maggie is using her own colored pencils to draw Ping in a scene with water.
 That night, we made two recipes out of our The Five in a Row Cookbook -- egg rolls, and fried rice!  Maggie was an expert egg roll roller!
She did better than me!  I was quite impressed!
Here, she is stirring our fried rice.
I had bought cute little panda plates for the meal, with chopsticks, of course!
Yum!  Our fried rice was really good!
And our egg rolls were baked, not fried, and delicious!
 For our Math study of this book, we noted that the book referred to Ping's family -- mother, father, two sisters, three brothers, eleven aunts, seven uncles, and forty-two cousins!  Oh, and Ping!  For a counting activity, I took out a cutting board, some rice, and a chopstick.
We grouped each set -- parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins -- by counting each grain of rice as one duck and dragging them over to the other side of the board with our chopstick.  (She loved this.)
Once done, our board looked like this, with Ping on the bottom, or last in line to board the boat, like in the book.  Once grouped, we counted them all up to find that there were 68 ducks in all aboard Ping's boat on the Yangtzee River!
We studied ducks extensively when we rowed Make Way for Ducklings, but we didn't learn as much about preening as we had the opportunity to do with this book.  To start our talk of ducks, we read Ducks! by Gail Gibbons (LOVE her books) ...
 ... Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies ...
... and Ducks Don't Get Wet by Augusta Goldin.  (This was a great addition to this FIAR study!)
Before we started our projects we had a little snack -- some "Quack'n Bites" that I picked up at Whole Foods.
Little Pings!  :)
Then, we completed the worksheets on ducks found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables.  (Check their site for this offering.)
And we were tickled to see the classification of Pekin ducks on the worksheets, since we just recently studied Animal Classification in Science.
Once our reading was done (where we learned that Ping is a dabbling duck and a White Pekin), we did the preening activity we saw at http://www.delightfullearning.net/2010/08/the-story-about-ping-fi%e2%99%a5ar.html and at http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/04/mfw-kindergarten-ww-is-for-water.html, using yellow paper, oil, and water.  I found some duck clipart online and printed two out on yellow cardstock.  Once they were cut out, I made a "pond" of water in a plastic container, put some oil in a small bowl, and provided a paintbrush and plates.
First, Maggie dunked one duck (with no oil, or a "faulty preening gland") into the "pond."  It immediately got soaked.
Then with the second duck, she painted on the oil, much like a duck would spread oil over its body during preening.
Then that duck went for a swim.
The water droplets spilled right off of that one!
Our duck with the faulty preening gland ...
... and our duck with the well-preened body!
Here, Mags is checking out the final results of this little experiment!
The poor duck on the right wish he had preened his feathers!
For our next experiment (an experiment on buoyancy), we used our "pond" again with five small items (a pencil, a rubber duck, a penny, a plastic snake, and a rubber ball) to test whether each would sink or float.  We also used the sink and float experiment sheet found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables for tracking our results.
She guessed that the pencil would sink, but it was a floater!
A sinker!
Here are our results!
To finish this study of The Story About Ping, we finished our lapbook on China.  (Maggie loves covering the front of her lapbooks with stickers!)
The inside!
She insisted we add some of this ribbon.
Our next row is Madeline!  Can't wait!