Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2 Years Already!?!

I cannot believe it was 2 years ago this week, that we pulled Monkey out of school. I was both scared and excited to start! Looking back, I think I was TOO eager to start, we started right after coming back from our Christmas vacation trip, when I think we should have taken a few more weeks off to 'de-school' before jumping in.  Anyway, hindsight is 20/20, and while it did take a while to get into a groove, I think we have finally found that groove! Adding Bunny to the mix only slightly stirred the pot, but overall, we have gotten in a good routine that seems to be working.

After 2 years, I think we've finally settled into a routine that feels comfortable.

Each week, I pencil in what they'll do for the week. Sometimes I don't know what we'll cover on which day until the night before, so I don't fill it in until after we've completed the day. For History or Science, I have a list of readings, activities, videos, links that we plan to do over a whole unit, which might last 1-2 months, so we just go down the list and try to plan how much to cover each week.

I write up what they need to do for the day on a white-board (sometimes separating the independent vs. work I do with them), and they erase it as they go:

And generally, this is how our day goes: 
  • Morning Bible lesson/devotional together at the breakfast table
  • Science/History - read aloud and any activities together (We are alternating Science/History every couple of weeks)
  • The rest of the morning is spent doing what is on their white-board, which usually covers math, geography, Chinese, and/or language arts. If I need to spend time individually with one of them for any subject, I do it one-on-one, but mostly this is when I do my work for my job.
  • Lunch - While they eat, I will often read aloud some light geography or history when our focus is science, or we will watch a Chinese kids' video over lunch, or practice some Chinese words. 
  • After lunch, they finish up any other individual work that needs to be done, and can read, play, whatever until whatever afternoon activity we have (sometimes shopping errands, or extracurricular activities or playdates). They get screen time if they've finished their work, read something, done something creative, and played outside (or inside if weather is bad). 
It's not quite a schedule and every day there's flexibility for them to choose in which order to do things. When we have co-op or field trips or other activities, we just push things back or skip the 'schedule' for the day. 

So as I enter my third year, these are some of the areas I want to work on:
  • Adding more formal Chinese teaching, maybe introducing more reading/writing, since we've mainly focused on listening and speaking.
  • Getting them to pick up more life skills/chores, such as cooking or cleaning. 
  • Give them some practice with studying and taking tests, since we have not done any testing (we will do our first standardized test this spring).
  • Doing more discussion about their reading. We don't have any reading plan or curriculum right now, so we need to work on understanding more complex literary elements.  
We're in a happy place right now so I don't want to rock the boat too much, but hopefully I'll add these in slowly as we continue. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Unit Plans

Next week, I'm so excited that we are planning a week of reading Christmas-related stories. Although we have not done "Santa Claus" at all for Christmas, they know who he is. I wanted to introduce them to some other familiar classic stories related to Christmas, so next week we will read a couple of picture books to introduce them to:
  • The Legend of St. Nicholas
  • The Nutcracker
  • A Christmas Carol 
  • "The Night Before Christmas" poem
We are planning to write our own rendition of "The Night Before Christmas" and maybe watching a version of A Christmas Carol. We are also planning to see a performance by the Russian Ballet of the Nutcracker at the end of the week. This will be their first exposure to a ballet performance. I'm curious what their response will be!  Anyway, I figure all of this can be considered Language Arts (Reading, Poetry) and Music/Arts (Nutcracker Ballet). If I can get them to DO some ballet, perhaps we'll throw in Phys Ed in here. :) 

Weekly Wrapup: Human Anatomy Skeletal System

Taking a break from US History, we've started in on our Human Anatomy unit. We are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and so far, I love it! It gives a lot of in-depth detail, with lots of hands on ideas. We are also reading from Sassafras Adventures: Anatomy, because the kids like the adventure story of the Sassafras twins.  The teaching aspect though, is really too high level and rushed, so we use it as an overview/introduction to the system we are studying.  They cover each of the systems in the human body in 2 chapters, with one of the characters usually being an 'expert' that shares information about the various body parts, but I feel like the way it's done, it's all blurted out in a really dense paragraph of scientific detail, thrown in the midst of the adventure story. It's not slowly interspersed, and I think when it's too condensed the kids don't really absorb any of it. So for scheduling purposes, we are going in the order of the Sassafras book chapters so that we can read the story in the correct order, and then skipping around in the Apologia book to use the chapter which corresponds with the system being studied. We are planning about 2 weeks per system.

We started off with the skeletal system, covering joints, cartilage,  bone structure, formation of new bones, names of various bones of the body. Some of the hands-on projects we did were:
  •  a beaded spine craft on a pipe cleaner with sequins in between, different colors represent the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertabrae 

  •  looking at a shin bone from a piece of meat to see the compact bone vs the soft inside
  •  looking at the bones of a rotisserie chicken
  •  looked at paper skeleton that we just happened to have access to because my husband made on back in high school

  • soaking a chicken bone in vinegar to see what happens when the calcium is removed by reacting with the vinegar (the bone becomes soft)
Many of the ideas I'm using for our Anatomy plans came from a Konos user who has posted her lessons on her Free Unit-Study webpage. This is a great resource that we're going to use throughout our unit. 
We also tied in our Chinese lessons, learning the words for various body parts, as well as the word for bone.  Unfortunately, my Chinese vocabulary doesn't extend to words like "osteoblasts" or "cartilage" or "mandible"! 

While we are taking a break from History, I am still reading aloud from George Washington's World, which gives us a brief look at what was going on in the world during various parts of George Washington's lifetime. We are not studying world history in depth right now, but this will give a bit of backdrop to the events of American History that we had recently studied, so later on, when we do world history they will have some familiarity with it.

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Weekly-Wrapup.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Boston's Freedom Trail

We spent a day this past Friday on Boston's Freedom Trail, getting to see the places we read about 2 months ago when we studied the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  While the current city buildings now tower over the 200+ years old landmarks, it was great to be able to step where history took place.  We did just about the entire Freedom Trail, starting from Boston common, our country's oldest public park, and where the British soldiers made camp when they came to 'keep order' in the colony, and going all the way through the various sites such as the Granary Burying Ground where Paul Revere and Sam Adams are buried as well as the victims of the Boston Massacre:

 the Old South Meeting House the starting point of the route to the Boston Tea Party:

King's Chapel with its "family pews" which the kids thought were very interesting to sit in:

Fanueil Hall where many town meetings were held to discuss what was to be done about the unfair taxes forced upon the colonists:

 a stop in to get some New England Clam Chowder in modern day Quincy Market:

the Old North Church where the 2 lanterns were lit to let the colonists know that the British had crossed over by sea: 

At this point, the Charlestown leg of the trip remained, but it was already late in the day, and we had been walking the trail for 5 hours. The 2 sites in Charlestown were the Bunker Hill Monument (which we knew we were not going to climb) and the USS Constitution (which is currently being renovated), but Bunny wanted to take a boat ride during our trip, so we walked over the bridge into Charlestown (we took a picture with the Bunker Hill Monument in the distance): 

and then proceeded to the USS Constitution and saw what's left of it (bare bones!):

and boarded the Water Shuttle back to Boston, seeing a great view of the Boston skyline with the lights in the buildings all starting to come on (the photo is weird, it has a reflection from the inside of the boat):

By the time the boat reached the Boston side of the river, it was dark.  It was a very full day-total of about 6 hours of walking and touring around Boston. We didn't go into most of the sites which had museums/tours (and required payment to enter) because if we did, the day would have been even longer, but we did take a tour of Paul Revere's house, which contained some of the silver work he had made and period furniture. It was definitely a worthwhile trip. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Hardest Part of Homeschooling (For Me)

As much as I love homeschooling, there's definitely very real challenges.  Many of the articles on the internet about homeschooling talk about the benefits of homeschooling (of which there are so many!), but rarely is there mention of the hardships. (Kind of like when you become a parent, people generally tell you how great it'll be and what a blessing it is, but they don't mention how physically painful the weeks after childbirth are or how hormones can send you on such an emotional roller coaster or how sleep deprivation can bring out more anger than you've ever felt). It's great to focus on the positives, but acknowledging the challenges makes me feel less alone and gives a more realistic picture of what homeschooling is like. I recently forwarded this article to a friend who is considering homeschooling:  5 Things I hate about homeschooling  and while these do resonate with me (alot! But I've managed to find ways to work overcome these for the most part, and they are no longer among my 'hardest parts' anymore...not saying they are GONE but definitely less difficult now) and I'm so thankful for this post, I realized that my biggest struggle right now isn't listed.

While some challenges may be pretty universal to most homeschoolers, there's also individual challenges based on circumstances, family dynamics, and personality. Also, I think with all major endeavors in life, the challenges will constantly change as the people involved change and as you yourself change.  At first, the hardest part of homeschooling was having a child around 24/7. After getting past that, the biggest challenge was having this huge responsbility of their entire education on my shoulders.  After getting past that, it was getting on the same page for what assignments would be done or not done, battles over refusing to complete assignments and whining about not wanting to do something.  But at this point in our homeschooling journey, I'd have to say the hardest part is something others may find pretty inconsequential...there's no single word to describe it, but I'd say it's something like one of the following:

  • Trusting my kids to get the work done in their own time.
  • Watching my kids be inefficient with their time.
  • Allowing my kids to do other things between assignments.
  • Letting my kids decide when to do their work.
  • Bridging the disconnect of my idea of a school day schedule and their idea of a school day schedule.
  • Letting go of MY idea of what needs to be done when (that that work should come before play)
As much as I read articles about the need to take breaks and for kids to have free play time (and in my head, I do agree with these), I still find it such a struggle to let them space out their work throughout the day, rather than get it all done and then have free time afterwards. It makes me so cranky and irritable to still have work to be finished at 3pm, when we started 8:30am. It's pretty ridiculous actually, and I know *I* need to change, as much as I want THEM change. I end up seeing it as "dawdling" or "distractions from work" or "not being diligent in their work habits".

To some degree, yes, they need to manage their own time, and at some point, I will need to let them do that on their own and trust them, especially as they get older. And also, to some degree, I am the parent/teacher, I certainly could just set the schedule and be done. Unfortunately, with my work schedule they have long periods of 'independent time', which I cannot be on top of them for schoolwork, so I often have to leave them with a list of assignments to complete at their own pace. The problem is my idea of "pace" is different from theirs, and it DRIVES ME CRAZY! It grates on me to hear them in the background doing other stuff, knowing that there is a ton of schoolwork to get done. Trying to reign them to get their work done just leaves me feeling frustrated and ineffective.

I've recently learned that this need for me to get things done right away, and check things off a checklist is correlated to my own personality trait: on the Myers-Brigg personality scale, I'm heavily a 'J' (Judging), and NOT a 'P'(Perceiving) personality.  A 'J' is task oriented and likes to have checklists and hates to have to be rushed to meet a deadline. A 'P' is more open ended and works in bursts of energy, and is motivated by an approaching deadline.  Apparently, my kids are the opposite of me (Monkey more so than Bunny). 

So, while this may be a pretty unique homeschooling challenge, specific to me and my kids and our differing personalities, I suppose it points to a bigger general homeschool challenge-which is finding a way to mesh the different personalities/teaching styles/expectations of parent and child.  I think probably in most cases, both sides need to adjust. It's not just the parent forcing their children to comply with the parent's way, and it's not the parent bending over backward to be someone she is not. It takes movement on both sides of the fence.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

History Beyond America

Throughout my own education, all the history was very America-centric. We had 2 years of required World History in high school, but how can you cover the entire history of the world in 2 years, while spending WAY more time on just the 200 years of American history?

With all the emphasis on the American Revolution that we've done for our schooling the past 2 months, I felt we were missing the bigger picture of what was going on in the rest of the world. French was on the verge of their own revolution, and who knows what was happening in Asia and Africa and South America!

Well, we wanted to find to round out our history, I started reading aloud from George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster:

This book is divided into 5 sections-the time periods of whe George Washington was a boy, a soldier, a commander, a citizen, and a presidents. For each time period, it tells the story of what is happening in Prussia, or in Africa, or Tahiti...everywhere else. There's stories about explorers, musicians, kings, inventors, etc, each one maybe 2-3 pages on- a glimpse into the lives of the many people who lived during these time periods. Genevieve Foster also has other books for other time periods, including Augustus Caeser's World, The World of Columbus and Sons, the World of Capt. John Smith, The World of William Penn, and Abraham Lincoln's World, which I have not yet read, but plan to incorporate into our reading in the future.

We also read from Story of the World Volume 3 by Susan Wise Bauer:

This covers a much broader time period, roughly 1500 to 1850, so it gives a bigger overall picture of what's going on, and fewer stories about individuals the way George Washington's World does. (There's also Volumes 1, 2, and 4 which cover other time periods.)

I'm really hoping this will give my kids a more global perspective as they look at history, and ultimately to think more globally as evaluate the world of today.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: American Revolution, Part 2

We are just about done with the American Revolution.  A highlight of our studies was our trip to Valley Forge, PA. They had a special Homeschool Day program where they lined up the kids for military drilling, complete with fake wooden muskets,  and had various stations for the kids to learn about what they wore, how they built their huts, how they cooked, rules they had to follow, etc. It really brought to life what we were learning about. We toured the house where George Washington stayed during the winter at Valley Forge, as well as checked out the memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the war.

George Washington's Headquarters
We also stopped by Washington Crossing in PA, since that was close enough by. To be honest, it wasn't that thrilling, but there was a museum with artifacts and information from that time period. But still, it's pretty cool to stand where they embarked on the crossing and see the replica boats.

So during our 2nd half of our American Revolution unit, we covered from Valley Forge, through Saratoga, and on to Yorktown.  We read comic book biographies on Thomas Jefferson and Benedict Arnold from the Graphic library, and read "Why Not, Lafayette?" by Jean Fritz...All of them I would highly recommend. Lafayette, especially, was a fascinating person and had quite a notable life! I honestly knew NOTHING about him, other than that he came from France to help the Americans. I really loved learning about him alongside my kids.

This week, we are planning to wrap up the American Revolution with an emphasis on George Washington's life, using the following books:
George Washington's Breakfast

 George Washington True Patriot
George Washington True Patriot

If you Grew Up with George Washington

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrapup.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: American Revolution, First half

Over the past month, been interspersing a week of 50 states geography, with a week of the American Revolution. This week was our 2nd week on the American Revolution.

The first week, we covered the events leading up to the war and the events of 1775:
  • Stamp Act, Sugar Act, other Intolerable Acts
  • Boston Massacre
  • Paul Revere
  • Lexington and Concord
  • Bunker Hill
  • Fort Ticonderoga
  • Henry Knox
We've read short books about each of the topics above, none of which are that noteworthy-just books we pulled off the shelf from the library, but these are few highlights among the books we've read:

  • Mr. Revere and I - Historical Fiction, from the point of view of Paul Revere's horse. This was a fun overview of all the major events leading up to and including Lexington and Concord.
  • And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?  - This was a good biography written by Jean Fritz. She does a great job of adding humor to the biographies.
  • Guns for General Washington - This covers a not-too-well-known event in the war-a trip lead by Colonel Henry Knox from Boston to Fort Ticonderoga, and back again, in order to get weapons to General Washington's troops, across mountainous terrain in harsh winter conditions.
We have also been watching Liberty's Kids videos also and we are loving them! The kids always want to watch more episodes, but I don't want them getting too far ahead of our timeline! It does a great job of portraying the differing points of views of the colonists and the loyalists, and touches on other important issues of the day, like slavery and the treatment of Jews

This week was our second week of the American Revolution and we covered up through 1777:
  • Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Nathan Hale
  • Washington's crossing of the Delaware
  • Saratoga
  • Valley Forge

The kids each read a book about civilians serving as spies for the Continental Army:
Bunny read Daughter of Liberty by Robert Quackenbush about a woman who retrieved some important papers for General Washington in New York after the British took over his headquarters.

Monkey read The Spy and General Washington by William Wise about a man who posed as a Tory in Griggstown, NJ and served as a double agent, pretending to by a spy helping the British, but actually reporting to Washington, giving information that helped launch the attack on the Hessians in Trenton.

Both books claim to be factual, but I guess after so many years, some people question whether these stories are authentic or folklore. Regardless, they sure were exciting stories and a glimpse into life during the war.

We also read biographies about Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock by Jean Fritz.  We are really enjoying these biographies by this author! It's very kid-friendly, while still being really informational.  We've also enjoyed some of a series of comic books ("Graphic Library") of some of the various topics, like Valley Forge, as well as some Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type books in the "Interactive History Adventures" series.

Bunny especially has been getting interested in the colonial period. She bought a shirt at Colonial Williamsburg when we visited this summer, and this week, we made a mob cap and apron for her. She also sewed part of another 'gown' for an alternative colonial outfit. 

Both kids also wrote up their own 'pamphlet' to convince colonists to join the cause of freedom (like Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"...but on a much more basic level!) this week as their writing practice, and did copywork from the Declaration of Independence. 

We also worked on our wall timeline:

For review, we played charades with the names of various key players during the Revolution! The kids had a blast with that.

I asked the kids whether they wanted to do the 50 states next week or continue with history, and Bunny said "History!". Coming from the girl who HATED history a few months ago, who would groan and throw a fit whenever history was mentioned, this was a HUGE milestone! I looked at her questioningly, and asked "History?!??!" in disbelief and she replied, "I'm kinda interested in it now!"

***This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-up. ***

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A New School Year Has Begun

We started back up with school last week, after Labor Day. We took most of the last month off, due to vacations and summer camps, and it was a nice break, but I was excited to get back into the swing of things-lots of fun topics planned for this year! We are going to alternate Geography, History, and Science, probably a week of each at a time (though not in a regular rotation, we might finish all the states before starting science), since the kids don't like to do Science AND Social Studies on the same day.

Plans for this Year:

Geography - US States
  • "Wish You Were Here: Emily's Guide to the 50 States"
  • State-specific books from the library
  • "How the States Got Their Shapes" videos
  • Cut-outs of each state, where they will take notes on each state, and can use them as puzzle pieces 
    Sample puzzle pieces, one from Bunny one from Monkey. They each will have a full set.

    Back of the puzzle piece (Monkey)

History - American Revolution

  • Books suggested by Truthquest History and KONOS (while I love the idea of doing the KONOS unit studies, I find that they take a lot of prep and time, so I use the book lists and maybe do 1-2 of their ideas)
  • Supplemental reading in Notgrass's America the Beautiful - I love the idea of Notgrass's History curriculum, but the kids have found the textbook not that engaging.  I think they've gotten so used to living books that reading a textbook is just really dry to them. I do love that it has mini-biographies and American landmarks mixed in with their weekly lessons, plus Bible and literature, vocabulary and writing assignments, so we'll use those parts, but the history itself, we'll mostly read from other books. The Notgrass textbook also goes REALLY fast, covering alot of ground in a single day's lesson...the entire American Revolution is only 2-3 days of lessons. Native American's were covered in a single week, as were most of the European Explorers. So rather than get a sky-high overview of each topic, we are taking our time with each topic. 
  • Liberty's Kids video series
  • Wall Timeline
This will span one wall of our living room.

  • Map of locations as we learn about the war
We'll move the people to the various locations of the battles and events we study.

  • Hoping to do field trips to Boston's Freedom Trail and Valley Forge

Science - Human Anatomy

Language Arts - Trying some new stuff this year, hopefully making it more fun. 
  • Word Snoop - This has fun and intersting tidbits about the English language-everything from origins of the alphabet to palindromes to onomatopeia 
  • Grammar-land - Story with parts-of-speech as the characters going before Judge Grammar 
  • Life of Fred Language Arts - Australia - This is the first of the Life of Fred LA series, which is marketed as high school level, but I've heard "Australia" is pretty basic and can be used for younger kids. We will see later on if we want to go on to the next book.
  • IEW US History as a base, but I've realized they don't like to write based on pre-written topics, so I'm going to use the concepts, but let them choose the subject matter. 
Math - 


I'm not sure how many months these plans will cover, as I don't plan out each week that far in advance. We'll just keep going forward until we finish all these items and see where we are then. We're started with a week of US States and started the American Revolution this week-so far, so good! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Weather Unit

It's been a lighter load this summer, just due to family visits, outside camps, and playdates, but we are still doing a little bit so schooling. We spent about 3 weeks on Weather, learning about temperature, cold fronts/warm fronts, air pressure, precipitation/water cycle/dew point, relative humidity, extreme weather (tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, etc.), and forecasting.  What took me by surprise was that my kids had never watched a weather report on TV! Admittedly, we don't watch much TV, so that's probably why, but also, with iPads and smartphones, we've always used weather apps to get our forecasts!

We used a variety of books to do some hands-on demos and read about various weather-related topics:


The National Weather Service also has Learning Lessons with printouts to use for making weather maps, so we practiced making isobars and isotherms using their maps.

Here's a couple of our projects:
Homemade Thermometer

Assembled Weather Station Kit
We incorporated other subjects into this unit with the following:
  • Writing: Use weather in a story
  • Math: convert Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa
  • Computer Skills: Excel graph of temperature change
  • Greek root words: meteor, bar, meter, therm, hydro. 
  • Chinese words: rain, snow, hot, cold, temperature, degrees, clear, cloudy, clouds
It was a fun and practical unit!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Trip to Utah, Native Americans, Colonial Period, and Deserts

Well, this will be more of a monthly wrap-up, rather than a weekly wrap-up, as it's been some time since I've posted. In that time, we covered Native Americans, desert animals, the Jamestown settlement, the arrival of the Pilgrims, and the starts of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maryland colonies, as well as taking a trip to Utah to explore some of the National Parks in the area.

We had planned the trip months ago as purely a vacation to hike and see the beautiful landscapes there, before we had even planned to homeschool Bunny and did not have a plan for science or history for the upcoming months. But turns out, our new history and science curricula had us studying Native Americans and desert animals RIGHT before our trip!

So while we were at Arches National Park, we saw a dessert cottontail rabbit, plenty of lizards, and flowering cacti.

Dessert cottontail rabbit

We also saw some Native American petryglyphs carved into the cliffs at Capitol Reef National Park. The tribes mentioned were familiar to the kids, because we had studied some of the different Southwest Native American cultures.

And of course, we learned about the formation of arches, spires and fins through erosion, and we learned about geological rock layers and forces that produced suck amazing views.

Before our trip, we did some fun Native American projects(we focused on the pre-colonial period): 

Various art projects

Pizza map of Native American cultural regions

Sampling of Native American food (various regions)

Attempting to build a home out of sticks

After we got back, we started learning about the colonial period and the first European settlers. No great activities or projects though, just some standard mapwork and timelines and lots of reading from our America the Beautiful textbook, Story of the World, the Light and the Glory for Children (tells the early history of America from a Christian perspective), and a few books from the library. We watched Disney's Pocahontas and picked apart the historical inaccuracies and read a few chapter books to get to know the era better:

However, we hope to visit Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA this summer! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: European Explorers

We're back on to history now, after taking last week for science. We had started with Leif Eriksson a few weeks back, and now we've come to Columbus and other European explorers. We are using Notgrass's America the Beautiful  and I really like it so far. It's got a short Bible passage for each day, lots of pictures, biographies and American landmarks included in the history lessons, and short enough lessons that it's not too drawn out.

But it does focus on only American history, so I've also supplemented with Story of the World Vol. 3. I love how SOTW reads like a storybook, and the kids definitely enjoy it. We read about various kings and queens and in Europe during the 1600s...Charles, Phillip, Ferdinand, James, Mary, Elizabeth...It was fascinating to hear about the treachery and drama that went on with the various people taking over thrones and plotting overthrows!  We also got to hear a bit about the struggle between Protestants and Catholics during this time period, which the kids really knew very little about. The kids were captivated by all this! I have to admit, I know very little about European history, so I found it fascinating myself!  It also put a lot more relevance to where the names King James Bible and Jamestown came from!

So we read a lot about various explorers, and I remember learning and memorizing a bunch of facts about each explorer in 4th grade. I don't know that it really helped me in my life to memorize those facts, so I tried to just make sure the kids have heard of the explorers and the areas they explored, and we made the connection of where they came from and where they explored, to the influence that they had on the current languages spoken and culture of these areas today. We also talked about their motivation for exploration(gold, and looking for trade routes), their treatment of the Natives, and the spread of the gospel in to the New World.

We also found an iPad game called European Explorers: The Age of Discovery, which has them exploring "new" land and outfitting a fleet, and in the process, reading brief bios of various Captains that explored long ago.

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrapup.