I was going to title this post “Back to Work,” but that did not seem to fit the beginning of our school year so far. Sure, we have done quite a bit of work – math pages, grammar worksheets, history memory cards – and we have had to arrange teaching times around the baby’s naps. But, we have also had a lot of fun.
On Monday, Hannah and Ben learned about the center of gravity. They began by figuring out how to balance a potato on a ruler, using only a pair of forks. Then, they used what they learned to balance a broom on the palm of their hands by first identifying the broom’s center of gravity.
We also had our first Phys. Ed. Class on Monday. A few years ago, I got a free fitness and health package from Subway, including two pedometers, a stopwatch, and a year’s worth of lesson ideas and activities. The kids have gym once a week at co-op, but I want to add a bit to their learning at home as well. The kids loved experimenting with the pedometers, counting the steps needed to walk around the house or get the mail. Becca has even decided to eat a healthy breakfast every day, so she can feed her brain and maybe get better grades on her school work.
Today, Becca experimented with reading maps. I made a map of our property and marked several “treasures” on it. Then, she used the map to find the treasures – just a few nickles and gumballs. She needed a bit of help from Hannah to find the last few, but I may mark some more treasures next week and let her try again until she gets the hang of it.
I think everyone’s favorite lesson this week came from our new geography curriculum – Mapping the World with Art. We read a brief lesson on ancient maps and then followed several steps to draw maps of Mesopotamia. The kids’ maps are surprisingly good! The curriculum is supposed to be for ages 10 and older, but even Becca could follow the steps to draw a decent map. By the end of the year, the kids should be able to draw a map of the entire world!
After we drew the maps, we used edible chocolate clay to make Babylonian-type maps, using chopsticks and drawing cuneiform markings on them. I baked them, and everyone enjoyed delicious, warm chocolate map cookies with a glass of milk as an after school snack. I intended to take photos, but they did not last long enough. Geography should be a lot of fun this year!
I am so thankful that the kids have been working more willingly this school year. Perhaps they are just older and more mature. (They are in 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade now!) Or, maybe they work better with checklists of work to accomplish instead of scheduling subjects at specific times. Regardless of the reason, they have been finishing their regular work more quickly, which leaves room for a lot more fun and experimentation. This should be a wonderful year!