Wednesday, March 25, 2015

School Summary - Industrial Revolution, Opium, and the Rise of Napoleon

Field trip to the PA Railroad Museum

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!

A Summary of March 2-13
The calendar says March but the weather says mid-January in Antarctica! Brrr! Not many signs of spring yet but I'm sure it's coming. I'm hoping we'll be able to get through a few more weeks of heavy school before the weather turns nice and the younglings want to just rush outside.
Here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Soprano's just moving through her Saxon 6/5 interspersed with Life of Fred Cats. Her Saxon is starting to get into more difficult concepts at this point in the year so some of her lessons are taking a bit more effort on my part to talk her through them. (And talk her down! ha!) I did dig out a DIVE CD that I had purchased at a yard sale and that has helped.
Tenor is doing well with the beginning of Saxon Algebra I. I still need to buy the full Solutions Manual though to help us with some of the more difficult problems.
Language Arts (Grammar, Reading, and Writing; Spelling for Soprano)

Typing, Greek (Tenor), Spanish (Tenor), Home Ec (Soprano)
We've been beta testing a Spanish curriculum but have only received and finished the first five lessons of level 2 so that's on hold until we hear back from the publisher. Soprano's Home Ec is mostly about cleaning, organizing, and hospitality at this point in the year so she's been reading and doing the lessons on her own. She's got the organization thing down pat. I may or may not be genetically responsible for that. :)

My Father's World Exploration to 1850
We've had some interesting study about the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and Napoleon during these two weeks. It's amazing how much the steam engine and the machines that used it changed family life during this time.

Bible: This year we're doing an in-depth study of the book of James and attempting to memorize the entire book. We've now learned all of chapters 1-3 and the first 8 verses of chapter 4. The younglings are doing a great job. They do tend to get tripped up in the same few spots though so we continue to review and review. I have no doubt that their efforts to memorize God's word will reap them blessings in the years to come.
Science: Since we did all of our botany work, using AIG's The World of Plants, over the summer, I'll try to give an overview of the experiments and demonstrations that we did. 
These weeks we would have covered lessons 27-34. That included studying parasites, tropisms, plant survival, reproduction without seeds, ferns, mosses, algae, and the one who always gets invited to the party... the fungi.
We used a houseplant to observe heliotropism; We examined a cactus; We grew a potato without a seed (using a potato "eye"); 
We examined fern fronds (which I found growing in my neighbor's compost pile... aka Free!) and drew our findings;
We tested the absorbent qualities of peat moss
and created forest pictures using real moss to illustrate where it usually grows;
We made food chain pictures with images I found online, and we looked at pond water to try to find algae. We skipped trying to grow mold on bread but we did make spore prints (from mushrooms I found growing in the back yard...ick but Free!).
History: We read about Robert Fulton, who was born not too far from where we live. We talked about going to the museum at his birthplace but couldn't fit it in. We also read about Eli Whitney's cotton gin which revolutionized the cotton industry in the south. It also, sadly, led to a dramatic increase in the number of enslaved people. The machine could clean cotton so much faster that the plantation owners and farmers planted more cotton to make more money but in order to plant and harvest more crops, they needed more enslaved people. A vicious cycle, all from one little machine. We made our own "cotton" that the younglings then had to clean seeds out of. They both realized how beneficial and time-saving the cotton gin would have been and hopefully gained a little more empathy for the work that the enslaved people used to have to do.
Making our own "cotton"
Adding seeds to cotton
Tenor went one step further and made leaves for his cotton boll
Cleaning his cotton
Quite frustrated with how hard it was to get ALL the seeds
Finally clean and realizing how useful the cotton gin would be
We continued our state and president study. 

I added in some map work from SOTW (The Kingdom at the Center of the World and Napoleon, Europe, and North America). No extra timeline pieces though. 

We skipped the Rosetta Stone baking activity because it was so similar to previous year's about Ancient Egypt and the Vikings.
Other MFW: 
Music: We listened to several pieces by Chopin. For our hymn study, we spent one week on "When Morning Gilds the Skies (May Jesus Christ Be Praised)" and then started learning "My Faith Looks Up to Thee."
Art: We read about Ingres and did lots of drawing (eggs, lines, shading dark and light). We also had another lesson on blending painting.

You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 15-34.
Botany extras (we didn't use them)
Cotton Gin diagram
Paddle Steamer paper model
Napoleon video
Rise of Napoleon video (the other videos on the page are already in my Youtube playlist)
White House craft (John Adams was the first president to live in the White House.)
No extra videos this week.

Favorite Books: 
Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls (New York) by Emily McCully
The Babe and I (New York) by David Adler
The Inside-Outside Book of New York City (New York) by Roxie Munro
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge (New York) by Hildegarde Swift
The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers (New York) by Mordecai Gerstein
The Snow Walker (New York) by Margaret Wetterer
Snowflake Bentley (Vermont) by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Soap! Soap! Don't Forget the Soap! (North Carolina) by Tom Birdseye
T is For Tarheel (North Carolina) by Carol Crane
We also enjoyed Charter Day. Charter Day in Pennsylvania is a day when state owned museums offer free admission in celebration of William Penn receiving the charter for his colony. We had several choices that would have coincided with our history studies this year but it was perfect timing to go to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. I figured we'd be in and out in a hour or so but we were there for over three hours taking it all in.
Soprano's favorite engine --- Ponies!
The younglings favorite part of the museum... the huge Lego display!

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