Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 10 In Review

Welcome to our homeschool week in pictures!

"Mammals" class at the Nature Center.
Enjoying literature book
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Mixing Sourdough.

Our very first sourdough loaf. Has a nice crumb - flavor is good and sour. Success!

Weekly Picture study - "Mona Lisa"

Poster colored with oil pastels.

Writing assignment from our Nutrition/Digestive System unit: an informational brochure on a digestive problem.

Science demo: blender represents the stomach and the water added represents gastric juices. Chopped green beans represent food ground and chopped by the teeth -- mix them together and....BLEND!

What do you get? Chyme. MMMmmmm! Next stop - small intestine.

Digestive model - trachea with epiglottis flap. Esophagus on the bottom.

Digestive model - pic #2 - Quart of saliva (amount adults make daily) attached to "mouth." Trachea ends in lungs represented by 2 balloons.

Notebook page #1

Notebook page #2

We had a scienc-ey week! It was a nice change of pace from Sonlight. All of the model directions and notebook pages are from BJU Science 4. We pretty much followed the lessons exactly as laid out in the teacher's manual. There is an opening activity to stimulate interest, a reading, discussion questions, and sometimes a second activity or experiment. Love, love, love BJU science!

Thanks for stopping by! Next week's topic: China.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our First Sourdough

We did it! Miss M and I just finished making our first batch of sourdough! I am going to refrigerate the dough for a day to get a bit of extra sour taste and then pull it out on Thursday for the final 18 hour proofing (rising). If all works according to My Plan, I should be able to bring my first loaf of sourdough when I visit Mom on Friday.

If you have never made sourd
ough, it's not that difficult. You obtain a sourdough starter and some type of covered baker such as a Dutch oven or a La Cloche and you are in business. Starters are kept in the frig and are very hard to kill! For helpful how-to's, the Breadtopia is a great website with tons of how to videos.

I can't wait to get my first loaf into the oven. I'll post how it goes on Friday. In the meantime, check out Eric and his sourdough recipes at Breadtopia. See the recipe I made HERE.

I'll post pics of how my first attempt at sourdough bread turns out on Saturday.

Happy baking!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nutrition and Digestive System Mini-Unit

I planned this one-week unit for my 5th grader around United Streaming videos and books I have sitting on my shelf. We plan to use it this week!


BJU Science 4 - “Digestion” pp 91-106

Blood and Guts - “Digestion” pp 75-82

How It Works: The Human Body by Kate Barnes pp 20-21

Library or other books of choice on the digestive system and nutrition – for more ideas see the Human Body book list at Paula's Archives


□ “Human Body Systems: The Digestive System” by United Learning. 1997.

Print out Blackline Masters and have child complete worksheets

Take Video Quiz

□ “Managing Your Health: The Digestive System” by Discovery School. 2004.

See Teacher's Guide

Nutrition and Exercise: Teen Wellness (A Sunburst Tale). 1996

Take Video Quiz

□ “Nutrition and Digestive Health: Eating for Your Future” by Discovery School. 2005.

Take Video Quiz

Copywork/Dictation Exercise

Use sentences or paragraphs from Blood and Guts - “Digestion” chapter

Proverbs 23: 20-21


Create a patient brochure about one digestive problem. The brochure, similar to one they might see in a doctor’s office, should describe the problem, its causes, symptoms, and possible treatments. Each brochure should include age-appropriate illustrations or diagrams to help explain the digestive problem.

The following Web sites will help students in their research:

Managing Your Health: The Digestive System: Teacher’s Guide 3 • GERD

KidsHealth: Lactose Intolerance

KidsHealth: Ulcers

Discovery Kids: Your Gross and Cool Body

Activity Ideas

Starch and Spit Test – Blood and Guts p 78

Using directions in the BJU Science 4 Manual or on the internet, make a Digestive System Model.

Using the diagram on p 77 ot Blood and Guts as a guide, draw a diagram of the digestive system.

□ Write a definition for each of the following terms: digestion, calorie, nutrients, esophagus, saliva, liver, pancreas, enzymes, peristalsis, bolus, chyme, villi

What you eat and how much you eat are important for maintaining good health. Use the food pyramid to categorize and record all the foods you eat for three days. How healthy is your diet?

Learn the latest dietary recommendations from USDA, which can be found at

Write a contract for eating habits that need to be changed. Be specific. Don't take on more than you can resonable achieve.

Look at recipes either online or in magazines and cookbooks and to find at least three recipes—one for dinner, as well as a recipe for a side dish and a dessert. The recipes must be appealing and have healthy ingredients. Your child may find the following Web sites a good place to start.

Prepare a fresh fruit smoothie and give it an exotic name. What vitamins and other nutrients are contained in your smoothie?

Resources used for planning: United Streaming Teacher's Guides, KONOS Vol 1 “Stewardship,” BJU 4 Teacher's Manual.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Video Spotlight: Inside North Korea

Week 9 In Review

I decided to feature some things we are using for Language Arts, since I don't tend to post about LA much. We use Christian Light Language Arts as our base, and it is working really well for us. It is a lot like Rod and Staff, only in a workbook form with built-in review. I included a sample lesson. Each day begins with a new skill and practice on it. Next the "We Remember" section has review of all material covered previously. Practice is the key to retention! A penmanship (usually Scripture or poetry copywork and handwriting tips) and spelling section follow. It really streamlines the day to have so many LA components in one place. I like that CLE is a solid, traditional program that teaches diagramming, without an overwhelming number of problems. To round out our LA, we use throw in some Drawn Into the Heart of Reading for literary elements and character traits discussion, and a bit of BJU writing.

Integrating reading, character traits, a mini-report, and art, our main topic this week was "Korea." For Science, we learned and did experiments about Newton's Third Law and went to a co-op class using microscopes. In Composition, we are working on a book review. No field trips this week. : )

I took a few pictures, but I apologize because they didn't come out very well.

How was YOUR week?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Freebie: Graphic Organizer Software

Which do you like better for planning -- graphic organizers (concept maps) or traditional outlines? I am one of those gals who can go either way, depending on the purpose. In planning for teaching in a classroom, I greatly prefer Graphic Organizers because they offer flexibility. Topics can be covered in any order, depending on the flow of the class. They have a more fluid feel.

I came across Cmap Tools, and happily threw out my notebook paper and pencil in favor of the software. It is easy to use, evidenced by the fact that I downloaded the program and made my first lesson plan with it this morning! Information, links, notations, etc can all be added at the click of a mouse. The information can be converted to a PDF, JPEG, HTML, and other formats for easy sharing and printing. The information of the Graphic Organizer (Mind Map or whatever you prefer to label it) can also be shown and printed in a traditional outline format.

The only thing that bugged me is that information on the Organizer can't be copied and pasted because the right clicking is apparently disabled. The only way I could cut and paste was by converting to the traditional outline format and copying that. Again, I am a first time user and not that computer savvy, so keep that in mind. : )

Here's my first lesson plan with
Cmap Tools. I use some Multiple Intelligence ideas to try to keep my lessons engaging for all students, so if you're curious about the abbreviations, they are: k-kinesthetic, lin-linguistic, log - logical/mathematical, inter-interpersonal, v-visual, v-s-visual-spatial. This looks so much better than my usual handwritten ones. This should also be a time saver because, although details change each week, my basic class outline stays pretty much the same. Now that the basic Graphic Organizer is done, plugging in specific details should be fast!

Science Lesson Plan created with Cmap Tools - CLICK to enlarge:

Just thought I'd share this free software because I can think of so many ways to use it! I'm thinking of having Miss M try this the next time she is planning a written composition. It would also be fun to use for exploring literary elements such as analyzing a character or setting from our favorite book.

I think we will get lots of use out it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Week 8: Hot Mamas in Japanese Art

"Is that sort of like a hot mama, but in Japan?" asks Miss M thoughtfully.

While doing our Japanese picture studies this week, the art book pointed out how the artists of the "Floating World" genre painted the idealized feminine Japanese form of the period -- tall, graceful and demure, but TOUGH. See the "Strong Woman" picture. Miss M remembered the "Se*y Mama" t-shirt one of the characters wore in the movie "R.V." and thought a similar title would be perfect for this week's notebook page. Hmmm. I think she's got the idea. : ) Sometimes, when you are homeschooling tweens, you just have to go with it and remember not to take anything too seriously!

In keeping with my personal commitment to SHORTEN my Weekly Report this week, I'll leave our Week in Review mostly to the slide show.

Hot Mamas of Japanese Art notebook page - what no Classical educator should leave out of their curriculum plan!

So, for Week 9, we look forward to either the final week of our Japan study, or maybe moving on to the topic of Korea. We'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Konnichi wa!

This week was a departure from our usual routine and schedule. We had an Unschooling week! Here is our Unschooling Japan Week in review.


Miss M was thrilled with our unschooling plans this week! She started the day with (what else?) art projects. She worked for about an hour making an Origami crane and a Japanese paper fan. For the next couple of hours, she did her AWANAS and required reading. After her snack and typing less
on, I was pretty much done with my decluttering for the morning! It seemed light and fun, although I am so used to our structured time schedule. It was hard for ME to get used to the extra time it takes for a child to choose which activity to do. It is a valuable learning experience though, since we are used to having our daily checklist laid out and simply following it. Day 1 was definitely a success! We rewarded ourselves by taking an afternoon shopping trip. : )

HS Co-op picture day -- only one photographer showed up, so this took WAY too long! Required Reading -- finished Mieko and the Fifth Treasure and continued with Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun. Art -- made cool origami wreath to decorate her room and an origami bird puppet with a moving beak! Language Arts -- wrote a simple story using some Japanese characters for some of the words. Got some exercise by working on some funky dance moves with our Jump 5 dance video. We also ended up doing a CLE math lesson.

Japanese Character story

Did lots of reading today! Read 3 book basket books on Martial Arts, and portions of Enchantment of the World: Japan. She also finished Sadako and the Paper Cranes. Miss M wanted to do her CAT testing (she things standardized testing is fun!) and she worked on that an hour or so. Of course, she didn't neglect doing some Origami. : ) For a Japan country report, she chose to make a "Culture Quilt" from Country Report Projects for Any Country. For the project, she made 'fabric' that represents Japan's culture.

On her "Culture Quilt" she included:
rice and chopsticks
Sumo wrestlers
high ponytail hairstyle
swords to represent Samurai
Japanese calligraphy characters
hats to represent traditional dress
Japan's flag
tea cups to represent the Tea Ceremony

Japanese Culture Quilt

Read Japanese folk tales from the book basket, a book from the library called Tales from the Bamboo Grove, and finished up her CAT test. I can't believe how much my former reluctant reader is READING! Yay! If you have had a reluctant reader, you know what I'm talkin' about. : ) To top off the day, Miss M worked on improving her typing skills with our Disney typing program and then attended my Physical Science co-op class.

Since Miss M got all of her work done, she is taking the morning off to help me with a few chores, bake some muffins, and then we plan to watch an episode from the old tv mini-series "Shogun" that I ordered from Nextlix. Did I mention that I love, love, love Netflix? in her reading time she discovered the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series (this is a new series for me, too!) and devoured The Mystery of Ura Senke (Choose Your Own Adventure #13)

This Week's Origami Collection

Our Unschooling Japan week was a rousing success! I got a TON of stuff done (though not as much as I would have LIKED!) and Miss M was learning. I am going to take every 7th week as our Unschooling Week and use it to declutter and catch up on big or neglected chores. It feels so good to get some of it done for once.

Sayonara for now, and have a great week-end!