“And what is our Bible verse for our ‘water’ unit?” I asked my boys. They quickly spouted off, “Rain is falling all around, it falls on field and tree, it rains on the umbrellas here, and on the ships at sea.” (This is a poem called “Rain” by Robert Louis Stevenson.)
“Hmmm. Not quite, “I replied. “But I’m glad you remember the poem we’ve been reciting each day!”
Yet another feature I appreciate from our My Father’s World kindergarten curriculum is that there is usually a poem or song to recite/sing each day of the unit. This is a fun part of our morning routine when we begin school each day. This unit, without even intending it, my boys memorized the “Rain” poem we recited every day.
We continued our water unit from last week with an activity to demonstrate the word “dissolve.” We added sugar to a quart jar of water and canola oil to another quart jar of water. After much shaking, we observed how the sugar dissolved and the oil did not.
The last day of the unit for our nature study time, I had the boys observe some creek water in a glass jar. The only problem was – it appeared perfectly clear just like the tap water I had put in another jar for comparison. So, we switched it to a discussion on what might be dissolved in the creek water and why we shouldn’t drink it. (Just another example of why teachers should always try out their activities first!) I just assumed our creek water would have some dirt or floaties in it, but it was perfectly clear.
AJ continues to read through the Bob Books series and progress through his My Father’s World first grade reading and math. I had an inspiration today to help spice up his phonics lesson. Phonics is not his favorite part of the day. MFW gives a page of about 20-30 words to read for one phonics lesson. Since AJ isn’t at a point where this is manageable without frustration, we do 10-15 words a day. Here a snapshot of his reading workbook to help you understand what we are doing.
The words are laid out in rows and columns, and it quickly becomes boring for AJ. Today, we were finishing up a page, and I wanted him to review the words. Rather than asking him to read them all again, I drew a compass rose in the bottom corner of the page. Next, I had him find a certain word, such as hole. Then I said, “Travel south to find went.” Once he found went, I said something like, “Travel west to find sale.” And on and on. AJ found this a fun way to review words. This is a simple activity you could do with any child simply by writing words they need to review in rows and columns. As a benefit, it reinforces directions. As AJ gets better at this activity, I will add in more difficult directions like southwest and northeast, etc.
Well, we are finished with our “water” unit and ready to fly into our “insect” unit. The only problem is that our ants haven’t arrived in the mail yet. Yes (shiver), I ordered ants as our curriculum suggested to put into our ant farm. I’m hoping they don’t get out of the ant farm, and I’m hoping they arrive before we’re off to the hospital for Baby day (which is coming up in October!!).
How was your week?
This post is linked to the weekly wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
It was an exciting week around here with the start of our homeschool co-op and a camping trip with grandparents.
In homeschooling, we started our unit study on water this week. The boys learned that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. They also learned the three forms of water - liquid, solid, & gas - and we created a chart of examples of the three types. The gas form of water is the most difficult form for them to grasp. We were blessed with a unique demonstration of water vapor one morning. It was a cool morning, but the sun was shining brilliantly down on my rows of just-hung-out-wash. AJ suddenly exclaimed, "Look, Mommy, water vapor is coming off our clothing!" Indeed, there was a lot of water vapor creating steam off our clothing.
Another impromptu event that complimented our water study was the discovering of several old fish bowls in our garage. The boys immediately decided that they wanted to catch some minnows to put in the bowls. We observed them for a few days and released them again. This experience helped the boys understand that oxygen is indeed part of water when we lost some of our first minnows because we didn't add enough oxygen to the water.
As we study water, we are learning the "w" sound and learning about how Jesus gives us living water to drink.
The boys have been counting down the days until the start of our homeschool co-op. (A homeschool co-op is a group of homeschool families that meet together for classes and/or social activities. They vary greatly in size and purpose.) As we were driving to co-op AJ said, "This is the day I've been waiting for for a loooong time!"
Our co-op meets 10 days from September-December and 10 days from January-April. The co-op provides a variety of classes for ages K4-12th grade. AJ is taking a literature class (based on the Five in a Row curriculum), a music & movement class, and a geography class (focusing on the oceans and continents). CJ is taking an Animal Kingdoms class, a music & movement class, and a math games class. It was great to be back at co-op with old and new friends alike. I enjoy the social aspect as much as the kids do!
The second highlight of the week was that Grandpa and Grandma took the boys camping to a local campground. Lots of bike riding, fishing, and fun times! (And a bit of a break for Mom at home.)
How was your week?
This post is linked to the weekly wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
There are two appliances that I’ve been eyeing up this past year wondering if they were worth the space they took up in my house. I remarked about it a few times to my husband that I wasn’t sure I used these 2 appliances enough to justify having them, but it wasn’t until they both quit working that I had the opportunity to find out if I truly needed them.
The first was my dryer. Nestled next to my washer in my laundry/mud room, I rarely used this machine. I hang out my wash spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, I hang it by our woodstove in the basement. There are a few cloudy, rainy days in the spring, summer, and fall where I would toss my laundry in the dryer, but the majority of its life it sat in silence while my washer churned away washing load after load. When it stopped producing heat, we tried one simple fix that worked for a few more loads. When it stopped producing heat again, I told my husband I wanted to try life without it. So, off it went and we quickly filled the space with a new whelping pen for our miniature schnauzers.
It has been gone now for about half a year. Do I miss it? No. Not much. Since I do wash every day except Sunday, there are days when it would be more convenient to toss my laundry in the dryer. However, on those few days, I hang it in my basement. It doesn’t smell very fresh or dry very quickly in the basement, but it works, and the sun comes back eventually. Overall, I find I like the extra space in my laundry room more than I like the convenience of drying it quickly.
The second appliance that didn’t make the cut at Russell Homestead was a microwave. My kitchen does not offer a lot of counter space, especially in light of all the from-scratch cooking and canning that I enjoy. Because of the limited counter space, I’m always looking for something to move off my counter. The microwave we had was a large, old model. The day it turned on when I OPENED the door was the day I said “no more microwave!”
We tossed it unsure of how I was going to heat leftovers, melt butter, and do the many other small tasks I used it for daily. As I looked at the large empty spot on my counter, I decided we could make this work! And work it has. The only time I really miss it is when I have leftovers to heat up. Instead of a microwave, I heat them in a frying pan on the stove or in my toaster oven. These two methods take a bit longer than a microwave, but they provide a full heating through as opposed to microwave’s sometimes spotty heating. I also miss it for melting butter, but really it doesn’t take much longer on the stove. I simply have to make sure it doesn’t brown. All in all, I’m enjoying my counter space way more than the convenience of microwave. (Although isn’t it funny how other things creep into empty spots on the kitchen counter?)
Will I ever have a dryer or microwave again? Perhaps, but right now I’m quite content without them in my little (by American standards) house. Before you think of me as complete do-with-what-she-has-queen or hard-core-off-the-gridder (which I’m definitely not), let me insert here that my dishwasher stopped working a few weeks ago. While I cheerfully did without it for a few weeks until my dear Mr. Fix-It husband had time to repair it, let me emphasize that THAT ONE is staying. I’m not opposed to modern conveniences, but sometimes we need to evaluate if they are truly convenient for us. Is there a better way than the way it has always been done? In my case, my dryer and microwave weren’t worth the real estate they were taking up. Maybe someday I’ll change my mind, but right now I’ll strive for contentment with what I have.
Though we call ourselves “Russell Homestead,” we are far from the original homesteaders in our country who truly made-do with what they had because they had no other choice. We have choices, and I want to capture just a piece of that homesteading spirit by making do with what I have and living a balanced life.
I would be curious to hear if any of my readers have an appliance or modern convenience they have chosen to do without & why.
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Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Field Representative