Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 5: Stars and Wonders

I didn't take any photos this week, unfortunately, to document some of the things we did in Week 5. I can say that I think I learned as much as the kids did! Our topics of the week included: Jesus is the Light of the World; Stars and Constellations; Mayflower and the Pilgrims, and the usual assortment of math, spelling, Classical Writing Primer, First Language Lessons, Latin, Mandarin, and reading time. From our study of the Pilgrims, we created our own version of an oiled window to mimic what the Pilgrims did in their own log houses, and we planted two small pots of corn kernels; we added bits of raw fish to one pot just like Squanto instructed the Pilgrims to do, and over the next few days and weeks the kids will watch to see what happens. History and science all rolled into one!

One of my fellow MFW Adventures moms on my Yahoo Groups list suggested the following site as a way to visualize the relative size of the Earth, the sun, and the largest star we can see without a telescope (Betelgeuse). Here is one of the photos from the site which is a great way to see the Earth and the sun in relation to one another.

We made constellation viewers out of Pringles cans and learned a few things I never knew, such as the fact that the Big Dipper is part of Ursa Major (Great Bear), and that the two end stars of the Big Dipper point straight towards the North Star, which is the last star on the end of the Little Dipper. Perhaps this is common knowledge to most folks, but it was completely new to me! (OK, true confessions, it shouldn't be new to me--I took Astronomy 101 in college! But, I cannot remember learning any of these basic facts and if I did, they never went into my long-term memory.) This is the part of homeschooling I enjoy--the chance to learn alongside the kids, and to be inspired alongside them with new ideas and concepts.

(Of course, sometimes it feels like the kids aren't nearly as excited as I am about the things we are learning! Not sure what I can do about that except trust that if they see that I am excited about learning new things, over time they will similarly embrace and adopt a similar attitude. That's the hope, anyway!)

Lastly, I mentioned last post or so about my unexpected struggles having Ron in preschool. The other thing that resulted when he started going back to school was that although I had one less child at home, 2 year old Dobby would become more fussy and needy because he wouldn't have another brother to play with or be around when I was working with Harry. That plus the fact that Ron's class is focusing tasks such as helping the kids learn to recognize their own name and learning the alphabet, when I could be using that time at home with him to help him continue developing his reading, math and writing skills, made the decision easy: we have withdrawn Ron from his Tuesday/Thursday preschool class. He'll still go once a week on Fridays to his "Learning Through Literature" class while Harry is at his weekly co-op, so he'll still have a chance to experience preschool life, but this seems the best of all options and also saves us some money (to help pay for the homeschooling expenses!) Tomorrow is his last day in his Tuesday/Thursday class, and he seems not one bit sad about that, thankfully!

We have begun week 6, and will post on that next week. New Netherland and bread!

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