Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Homeschooling the Solar System

This activity was suggested in the Apologia Astronomy text for 3rd - 6th graders.
We did not get around to repeating this with Scholar when he went through the book the next year.

We gathered all of the supplies (or my sister did - then all of us joined her on their space trip.

A small soccer ball became the SUN, and the kids wrote that beside their ball.

We carefully measured to Mercury, and then Venus.

The kids were awed at how tiny Venus was after such a long way.

Next stop EARTH.


Then something bad happened ... we ran out of church parking lot, and we were only to Mars.

So we changed directions ... and kept going down the street toward home, over 1/4 of a mile.

Here I am standing at Mars .... and way down there ....
THAT is the great Asteroid Belt.

We made a thick salt barrier to show the Asteroid Belt.

Looking back at Mars, the big kids ran and got the sun ... they couldn't find Mercury or Venus, but they did find a smushed Earth!

Next up was a rock named Jupiter ...  we looked back and could barely see the kids who ran back to the Asteroid Belt.

Uranus was even harder to see when we looked back toward Saturn, but we were nearly to our property line.

We walked past both driveways ... and were right past the other property line when we finally stopped for Neptune.
From the Sun to Neptune, we had travelled over 1/4 of a mile.

We decided to push on for Pluto....
and a long time later, we reached the very, very end of the mile road - so Pluto was 3/4 of a mile from Neptune.

We managed to hike back to Neptune, and the kids were exhausted!

Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 - 1017 School Year Plans

This year will be the first year that I'll not have Story and Song to worry about in school, as both girls graduated in May.   It has been a rough 3 years,  but we've managed to survive.

Scholar will be our oldest school child, he'll be doing 6th grade work this year.    Sunshine will be in 1st and 2nd grade books.  We've also been joyed by their 2 best friends (for the 2nd school year).  Steam (think Steam Engine Train) will be in 4th/5th grade levels, while Star will be in 3rd grade.

All of them will be in Rod and Staff curriculum for English, Reading, Spelling, and Math..   I like how thorough the curriculum is, and because it is very affordable, I don't mind assigning just a few problems.   Reading also uses the Bible as the basis for the stories through 4th grade, so they get Bible at the same time.

Bible for the boys will also be with my aunt.  She is using the Plants Grown Up from Doorposts.  This gives them topics to study and they learn to use concordances, study books, dictionaries and other books to help study the Bible on their own.   This is primarily for Scholar, and Steam will be joining in.  Also, they will work on their 5th grade AWANA books.

The girls will use their AWANA books for Bible, along with their reading program, and just so they don't feel left out, Aunt will take them twice a week and to For Instructions In Righteousness also from Doorposts.

For Science, we are using Apologia.  They will all be working through the book Swimming Creatures.  And the boys will also be working on the Flying Creatures.

Song will take them once a week for Art - again an affordable option from Rod and Staff, while branching out whenever it suits her to learn something extra.

Sunshine will be going through the Rod and Staff Health curriculum for 1st and 2nd graders on Fridays.

Steam and Star are only with us 12 days out of the month, not so very much really.  But it is enough to give their mom some extra time to work with their two special needs siblings.  We do 3 weeks of Mon - Thurs, and then they are home a week with assignments.  It has worked well enough this year, and we plan to continue this at least one or two more years.

I almost forgot History.  The girls will be doing a World Geography exploration with me.  We're winging it mostly, but I'm trying to set up Prezi.com to allow them some self study time.   Of course that is the plan, but I'm still working on the one for the first 4 weeks!    The boys are working together on Texas State study, then will return to the State Study that they have both been working on for the past couple of years.  https://www.statehistory.net/   ...  We've been very pleased with this curriculum and have taken time to read extra books and watch movies with each state.   Doing this has given Scholar a good overview of the US history at the same time.  Steam started the curriculum last year, so we've not spent as much time doing extra to catch him up to where Scholar is.  We actually know the family who publishes these books, as her father was our pastor years ago.... small world!

Scholar will also do some extra spelling and vocabulary work on Fridays, as well as writing a blog entry each week ... although plans don't always work out as neatly as planned ... so we'll do our best and trust God for the rest.
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