Monday, April 28, 2014

My Sunday Blessings

I haven't done a Sunday's Blessings post in a while! I have so much to be grateful for too!!! This week I want to talk about our homeschooling adventure. We've just completed our 10th week! Normally in public schools, this marks a completed quarter, or one fourth of the school year. However for us, this is over 1/3 of the school year!! To do the entire 4th grade, as we are doing, it only takes 28 weeks!!! By teaching her myself, I know that she's learning and I know what she's learning. It's been said, by people who are completely ignorant!, that home-schooled children don't really learn anything, but I can tell you that that's hogwash!!! Bella couldn't tell you ANYTHING she'd done in school before, but now she's excited to tell you what she's learning! And I see her applying it and showing her knowledge every day. School is now fun and exciting!

This past week in Earth Science we were studying various geological processes and events. It was a bit dull for Bella until I started showing her some YouTube videos, so it wasn't just reading she was doing. I also showed her some geological maps for her to examine. She's a visual learner anyway, but isn't it more fun to see something in action?? Of course it is! On Friday we studied volcanoes; the different kinds, how they are formed, how they erupt, etc. As a reward for doing so well, we built our own from a Smithsonian science kit!!
String was used to make the cone shape, and then plaster sheets were put over them.

Once the plaster dried, we then painted the volcano. There wasn't nearly enough brown paint included, but luckily I was smart enough to save the paint from her Egyptian sets (shown later in this post!), to finish up. I got to teach a bit of art in mixing the blue and yellow paints together to make the green base.

Pretty cool, huh??

It didn't erupt quite as expected, and I suspect that my baking soda wasn't as fresh as it needed to be. Oh well. For some reason the "lava" was yellow instead of orange-red too. Bella was happy and that's all that matters. We left the volcano out to dry again, so perhaps we'll give it another shot with some new baking soda another time!

Our online curriculum, Time4Learning, is only $19.95/month! So affordable and it's a terrific program. I print out the weekly schedules (which I have 100% control over), and the worksheets that go with the lessons. I think it has a really great balance of computer instruction and practical application. The worksheets are well thought out and there's never "busy work"!!!

In addition to her standard curriculum, we've added spelling, reading, Reflex Math (she's up to 90% fluency on her mult/division facts now!!!), Geography, music, art and bible study. I can tell you that she's doing a lot more now, and getting a lot more out of it, than she ever did in public schools! AND...our school day is over long before lunchtime!

So what does she do the rest of the day? She writes -  A LOT! On her own, she's written her own newspaper and countless stories. Her writing skills and vocabulary are off the charts!!! I also have been making great use of Amazon! There are so many wonderful resources available there, and most are very well priced! For our Egyptian studies, which we were both really interested in!, we got these...
Hieroglyphic stamps!! Bella had a blast with these!

The weather got really nice out, so Bella took this outside and had her own archaeological dig! She was outside having a blast when the school bus went by, and while those tired out kids had homework to look forward to, Bella was discovering treasure!

These were "hidden" in the kit.

All to be used in an educational game!

Another set explored the tombs and really brought this section to life for her. Here is her pyramid and she used hieroglyphic stickers to decorate it.

She got to decorate her own canopic jars and even used clay to create the bodily organs that were contained in them!

Hands down her favorite part was decorating her own sarcophagus! I printed out some photos for her, but the design was all her own. I think she did a great job!!!

Inside was the "linen" wrapped mummy! She even made an amulet for it to wear!
I don't remember doing anything this cool in school! Do you??

We've also picked up some other fun things, which we will be doing soon!
Bella can't wait for this! Living fossils - so fun!

These will be next! And fits in perfectly with what she's studying!

Art & science!! Plus fun!

Lots of things to build and paint, plus grass to grow!

This will be used for more art lessons. Because Bella is home all the time, we decorate for every holiday. Before it was sort of an afterthought, but now we create fun things together!!! Kits are great, but we find a lot of cool things on Pinterest too, using crafty stuff from my studio upstairs. All this cool stuff, plus play dates, Daddy/Daughter days on Sunday and daily naps!!!! I think we will be studying at home until high school!!! And to think I didn't want to do this because I thought it would be hard...or boring. Whatever!! :D


Cassie said...

Good for you guys, Jeannie! That I super awesome! We've done it for 7 years now, and my kids wouldn't have it any other way.

Amy said...

Congratulations! We have found having our kids home with us to be life-changing, for them and us. The learning looks very different from school, and the joy looks very different, too. :-) Different has turned out to be VERY good, in our case. Our third will be off to college in a few months, and we are so glad for the choices we made 20 years ago!

AliceKay said...

Definitely awesome! Those are some cool looking kits. No, I don't ever remember doing anything that cool in school, but my kids both made erupting volcanoes in their classes. Looks like Bella had a lot of fun with that project.

I'm glad the home-schooling is working out so well for Bella and for you. Way to go!

ChicagoLady said...

I definitely didn't do cool things like that in school! And I'm sure those kits will really bring out Bella's creativity. She really did a nice job on that sarcophagus.

Regina said...

Oh my...what a great adventure for the Bella and you and Thomas. I love it. Right now the school Chaz is in is a good one...not sure about the coming years but we will see. This is an option I would love to do. My sister is homeschooling her two girls and said the same thing. She knows what they are learning and that they are really learning.

Love the volcano!! It's funny that I saw this post. The Chazman and I worked on his this weekend and the last two days. He took it with him this morning. I just now realized that I did NOT get a pic of it either. Dang it!! I found a recipe for the eruption and we of course just had to experiment with it to make sure it would work. HEHE Vinegar, red food coloring, liquid Dawn dish detergent and baking powder. Worked great!! Loved Bella's video..she is growing and such a beauty.