Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ancient Sumer

I haven't been able to find a history curriculum I really liked, so I decided to attempt to create one for the girls. With the curriculum I had been using Lilly was studying medieval times and Lucy was getting ready to start ancient civilizations. Lilly didn't seem to be learning much and showed interest in ancient civilizations, so now they are both studying the same period in history, which makes it a lot easier when doing lesson plans.

Week One was ancient Sumer. I'm using Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia World HistoryKingfisher History EncyclopediaStory of the World: Volume 1, History Pockets and Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors

We started off the week making ziggurat pop-up cards.

 The girls made their own clay tablets for writing.

This craft was a huge hit.

 We ended the week eating some foods that the Sumerians might have eaten.

These were rolls modified from a recipe found on an ancient cuneiform tablet. 

A children's video about ancient Sumer.

The Epic of Gilgamesh sung in Sumerian. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Learning About Herbs

Lilly has been very interested in herbs and their various uses. Once our garden beds are finished she is going to plant an herb garden. Two great resources to use when learning about herbs are Wildcraft! and A Kid's Herb Book

Wildcraft! is a cooperative board gave where players work together to reach the huckleberry patch, gather three pails of berries and make it back home before nightfall. 

Along the way players gather plant cards. If a player lands on a brown X spot they draw a trouble card that will tell them what trouble they are facing and with plant will work as a treatment. Troubles range from sore muscles to being hungry. The player then checks to see if they have a remedy in their stack of plant cards. If they don't, other players who have collected the rainbow cooperation cards can give them the remedy. Any time a player lands on a moon space they have to cover up a sun spot at the top of the board. The goal is for all the players to get back before the sun sets. If the sun does set then the players just wait for "Grandma" to come get them. 

It is a fun and easy game to play. Children do not need to be able to read to play this game since all the cards provide words and pictures. The cards can also be taken on nature walks to help identify plants. 

A Kid's Herb book is filled with herbal songs, stories, activities and recipes. This is an enjoyable way to introduce children to the world of herbs. Lilly is using this book to decide which herbs she wants to plant. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Nature Study.

Lucy has enjoyed the activities in Nature Connections. There is one page where she draws a picture of something special she saw during the month. She decided to draw a picture of the large black snake who lives around our house. He has been around for many years and travels from one end of our road to the other. 

Here he is slithering through our yard. 

Here is the picture she drew of him.

March also had a section where she drew a bird and a duck. Lucy enjoys drawing so this activity was a huge hit! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Fun Night Out

Seeing a movie with Lucy can be difficult since she often gets overwhelmed by the dark theater and how loud it is. Last time we took her she ended up going to the bathroom three times and spending the majority of the time climbing up and down the stairs. Sitting still and quiet through a movie is hard for a child with ADD and SPD. 

Luckily a new drive in theater opened near us last summer. It is a great way for families with small children or special needs children to go see a movie. There is no expectation that children will sit through a movie or be quiet. Since each vehicle is in charge of their own speaker you can make it as loud or quiet as needed. Lucy typically spends the first part of the movie playing in the grass next to our truck and then, when she gets tired, crawls into the back seat to sleep. 

Last Friday we saw Beauty and the Beast and then Jimmy and I watched the second movie which was Passengers. Beauty and the Beast was almost just like the cartoon version. It was very well done.

While waiting for it to get dark the girls climbed a tree and ran around the field next to the drive-in. 

Lucy found some orange acorns.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chicken Watch!

Last week the Chicken Chick had a livestream of two endangered breed eggs hatched. I never realized how long it took for chicken eggs to hatch! Once egg ended up hatching in the middle of the night. We didn't watch the entire thing, since it took around 16 hours, but we did catch the hatching of the last chick. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nature Study

The Nature Connection is an interactive notebook that teaches children to use all five senses to explore the natural world. Children are given activities to do by the month. This is a great beginning book to teach the study of nature. Some of the activities for March include flying a kite, searching for bugs and learning to draw birds.

Not all the Spring creatures on our March checklist are out yet. Lucy found a small worm, but we weren't able to find a larger one. 

Lilly discovered a small centipede under a rock. It moves very fast so she put it in her bug jar so we could get a better look at it. 

 Our daffodils bloomed back in February since it was so warm, but these wild violets are the first little flowers we have spotted since the cold snap. The grassy bank leading down to the pond are covered in them.

To round out our nature study we will be using three of the One Small Square books and completing some of the Mystery Science courses.

Spring Has Arrived!

Yesterday was the spring equinox. After a very mild February, our March has been quite cold, so it didn't feel very spring like. There have been lots of storms and a couple of hard freezes. Sadly the peach and blueberry crops have been heavily damaged. I was not able to save my blueberry bushes. I hope that perhaps they will make some more blooms, but this might be a year with no blueberries.

During one of the storm, a bird's nest was blown out of a tree. We have watched the birds make a home in this nest for several years, so it was sad it see if fall. The girls have enjoyed inspecting it to see the materials used and how the bird carefully wove the nest together. 

I purchased these microscopes a couple of months ago when they were on sale. They don't work as well as a large microscope, but work better than a magnifying glass. They are handy to carry around on walks so they can take a closer look at thing without having to remove them from nature. In these pictures the girls were inspecting pond water and dirt from the bottom of the pond.

Story of the Root Children is a lovely book for the first day of spring. The pictures are just beautiful. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Math has never been my strongest area and was one of my biggest concerns when it came to homeschooling. Finding a math program for Lilly was fairly easy. I let her take part in the decision making and we both agreed that Teaching Textbooks was the program for her. She has always enjoyed math and this program has been the perfect fit. I also signed her up for Prodigy Math Game. It is an enjoyable game that provides lots of math practice, but is so fun she actually asks to play it in her free time. 

Finding a program that was a good fit for Lucy has been more of a challenge. Despite having gone through one full year of public school and half another year repeating kindergarten, she still struggled to write and recognize numbers. The first months that I homeschooled her I didn't look into a math program, I just used a kindergarten workbook I had picked up at a teacher supply store. 

But last summer I decided it was time to invest in a more formal math curriculum. I read everything I could about math programs that were appropriate for children with dyslexia. After several months of research I finally settled on RightStart Math. It didn't require a lot of writing and relied heavily on manipulatives. It is expensive, but seemed worth the cost. 

I really loved the program and enjoyed teaching it, unluckily, for whatever reason, it was not a good fit for Lucy. By November she was trying to avoid math and didn't seem to be grasping the concepts. I'm not sure why it didn't work, because it is a wonderful program, but in the end I had to accept that it just wasn't what Lucy needed. 

I started searching again and found this math program. It wasn't expensive, so I decided to buy it just to see how it worked. I'm happy to say that it has worked wonders with Claire! This program adopts a Charlotte Mason approach to teaching math. The lessons are filled with stories about two children visiting their grandparents' farm. The stories are engaging, there are colorful pictures and best of all math concepts are introduced in a way that really seems to click with Lucy. She looks forward to math and often does several lessons each day. She is already half way through level 1! Lucy also uses Flash Forward Math a couple times a week. It is a fun little workbook that she can work on independently. 

So that is where we are at with math and I'm very happy I found math programs that both girls enjoy.