Tuesday, July 20, 2010

POE: Jamestown Weekly Highlights for Study

We're about to start...yes, we had planned to start this week, but Columbus seems to have set anchor here :(

Some things we have lined up, floating around in my Netflix Queue include:

The New World, Christian Bale, Collin Farrell
National Geographic: Jamestown
Pocahontas....and Pocahontas: Her True Story....and Pocahontas: The Legend....and Pocahontas (Nova Doc.)

We will touch on Pirates while studying Virgina:
The Golden Age of Caribbean Pirates....Pirates: Dead Men Tell Their Tales...The Real Pirates of The Caribbean...The Pirate Code: Real Pirates...Blackbeard the Pirate

And who can look at pirates and not think Long John Silver, with Richard Newton....or Treasure Island, the original version as well as The Muppet version :o)

We will be touching on various Indian nations, The French and Indian War, We also have America's Godly Heritage, by David Barton waiting in queue for its release.

We are waiting for some more books to arrive via Amazon:
My America: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary (there are 3 in the series)
Dear America: Standing in The Light (although it's 1763...we'll add it in later on)
Betsy Maestro books...The Discovery of The Americas, The New Americans: Colonial Times
The Double Life of Pocahontas, Jean Fritz
Pocahontas, Joseph Bruchac
The Captive Princess (we are working on the entire Daughters of The Faith series)
The Arrow over the Door (1770's, so for later)
Calico Bush
The Courage of Sarah Noble (early 1700's)

We have lots of book reading plans :o) We will be doing several lapbook/notebook pages along with our Paths studies, and several hands-on projects during arts and crafts.

Week 1: starts out with more of a background lesson, reading about some of history between Columbus and Jamestown, looking at the 'pilgrims' who came, some of the Indian history that was already waiting here, etc.  We will take a short look at Queen Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Smith, England during the early 1600's and so forth.  We will look at the types of ships that were in use during the time as well, and get an overview of the chronological history around Jamestown.

The olders will focus more on the religious tone of the time, as well as the governmental and economical views of colonizing America.  We'll use just a few resources that we have here, as well as the Virtual Jamestown Colony site lesson plans here, and some found here at JamesQuest.

Week 2:  We start looking at John Smith; we will look at the water cycle and map out several rivers of fame around the World; We will practice reading with Richard of Jamestown; our animal studies will start off with swans, otters, mudminnows and stickleback fish.  I'm thinking of adding Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White in for reading...don't know yet; we will compare and contrast landmarks between England and here locally; our art lessons will focus on pond and creek life.  Would be nice if our seasonal pond had some water, but we'll adjust.We will also begin studying the state of Virginia using our Trail Guide to US Geography as a guide.  We will also look at the Virginia Company Colonies and Bermuda. I will probably look more at these museum guides and see if we can incorporate their information into our lapbooks/notebooks.

Week 3:  We take a look at tidal marsh land, clams, crabs, oysters, alligators and loggerhead turtles; our look at Indians moves to the Algonquin tribe and Chief Powhatan and his tribe (here, here, here, and here...just some of what we will look at) as well as Werowocomoco; We will map out the James River; and sketch out what we think the 'island' of Virginia looked like, based on the descriptions in our reading. We will look at the countries of note along the paths here...London, Canary Islands, The West Indies.  Somewhere in this week we will do the pirate adventures, as well as some string art ships we plan to make using these as a guide.

Week 4:  Pocahontas study; wild plants native to Virginia, as well as some herbal medicines that would have been common to the first settlers; along those same lines, we will get our the various herbal/wild plant books we have here and branch off with herbal meds.  Some of what we will use:
Shonda Parker books
Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Peterson Field Guide
Using Plants for Healing, Nelson Coon
Jude's Herbal Home Remedies, Jude C. Williams
Herbs for The Home, Jekka McVicar
Home Remedies from Amish Country, vol 1 & 2

Our nature books will start to fill in more, with various birds such as pelicans, storm-petrels, bitterns, herons, spoonbills and others.  Plant life will include cedars, palmettos, and mangroves. We will have a nice collection of wildlife and plant life by the end of this unit, even though we plan to blend right on in to the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Weeks 5 & 6:  Nature studies keep going with belted kingfishers and Canadian geese; we will continue mapping the paths the 'pilgrims' took to get to Jamestown, from London, Chesapeake Bay, Canary Islands and the West Indies, and touch on their government back in the 1600's, as well as daily lifestyle. During these last weeks, we will print off the Jamestown Replica as well. We will also do the interactive and other readings at the National Geographic site.

We will mainly use Paths of Exploration as our 'spine' for this, but will draw from several other resources as well, such as lapbooks on Colonial Life, Early American Life, Jamestown Colony, etc.
**GuestHollow has some great links...an American History Curriculum already laid out,  Historical Fiction book lists, resource ideas and more!
Literature Supplement to History Listing
The History Place
Timeline Ideas...
Jamestown Colony mini test
Jamestown short unit
Colonization of Jamestown unit  
    there are some nice "tests" to be found on this site :o)
The JamesQuest links
plenty of YouTube clips about whatever we can find that fit in!
History of The United States textbook, 1921 @ Project Gutenberg, just right for this particular unit
Academic Kids site, specifically Pre-Colonial and Colonial time...we'll put this to use through several units I'm sure.
Lesson Plan Central...specifically Colonial times for right now.
Fact Monster 50 States
   and their Fact Monster US Pages
The US 50 site
50 States.com
**The 50 States...and their Colonies to Revolution pages...this has so many things we will put to use again and again!

Oh...and for later, with the "real pilgrims" we'll use The Plymouth Colony Archive Project.  Great site!
Colonial Money
Colonial America Archive Document page
Colonial Radio Theater audio stories
Listing of The Landmark Series of books...out of print, but worth keeping your eyes open for!
Listing of The Signature Series of books...also out of print, but again well worth finding if you can!

I will keep updating as we go along, but if anyone has anything to share that might be fun with this Path, drop us a line!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

what do they call it...a little Linky Love?

Whatever it is, here are some fun links I found and wanted to pass along:

Earth Science Lesson Plans looks interesting...

As does Progressive Phonics...

I love the looks of The Simple Homeschool site (there is even a Simple Homeschool blog...and even a Simple Homeschooling Community) and can't wait to look around a bit more...I liked this look at Cell Biology, Plant Biology...quite a few goodies I think. 
There is even a Weekly Freebie every Monday...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blog Construction Ahead...

I will be working (slow as molasses I'm sure) at changing the blog around to better fit what I need to have here as an interface.

I will be making alot of changes to the sidebars, and maybe the entire template in general.

If by chance I've shared something via a sidebar link that you are interested in, you might want to grab it for yourself and bookmark it, as I make no claim to being a blog designer and who knows what links I'll lose in those sidebar areas.  You know, best laid plans and all that.

Just a heads up.  I don't think too many folks are chomping at the bit for my terrific blog shares here, but you just never know who is checking in and lurking about :o)

Jamestown Gathering is Done...Olders, Youngers and Mom (and lapbooking talk)

I know...you and I both know that the word "done" in my vocabulary is just a filler sort of word.  I'm never really done with a unit...I tweak repeatedly.

However, for the most part, should I never touch another computer search bar, we are way beyond prepared for boarding a ship to Jamestown here.  The Paths of Exploration curriculum is already complete as it stands, but for fun, I started searching through all the goodies offered up along the trail, and we put together some resources outside of what they offer.  That's the fun of homeschooling anyway, right?  Of course, this is all just extra work for me...because as of this week, they have their lapbooking packs available for the Paths volumes as well.

So, really, I've just pulled resources and lapbook goodies together for nothing....but I had fun. Even if I am a bit bug-eyed and carpal-tunnel-ated from all the computer roaming.

I have not pulled together pages for all the various mammals, birds, trees and such that are discussed, or would be fun to search out during this lesson.  The list is just too full and my arms are just too tired :o)  I will hunt for those as we come to them.  I will share a bit of what we are researching as we go along each week, starting toward the end of this month. I will be posting things at least a week in advance of our actually using them, and if you have any resources, interesting pages or book ideas that we don't cover, please let me know so I can check them out before we are ready for them.

With the Paths unit, we are really only working math and English from our Rod & Staff curriculum.  Reading is amply covered in Paths, as well as the various resources I am pulling in, so aside from our Word Mastery or Learning to Read/100 Easy Lessons for the youngers, our full school day is Bible, Math, English, Spanish and Sign Language (a couple times a week) and Paths of Exploration.  Geography, history, writing/copywork/narrations/reports, arts and crafts, science, nature study....these are all well-covered with Paths.  I would like to incorporate some "outdoor survival" skills into the studies as well (we are planning to read Sign of The Beaver as our pm reading...maybe even do Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson again, though I thing SFR would work in better later, history-era wise).

The olders will come into the picture from a wider view, reading additional resources focusing on the governmental and civic issues, as well as the religious foundations of the era, besides just main points of American History itself.  There are several resources available through Vision Forum I would like to get for this. I would really like to get this set of American History lectures from them, but we'll see.

The youngest of the group will be worked in with their own lapbook work on alot of the same topics as the "targeted" grade levels are, but honestly, I have a wide variety of ages/grade here with 8 children schooling and no one set of lapbook/notebook units is going to fit everyone across the board.  So, we tweak.  The littles (almost 6yo, 4yo) will be working on the same nature and science goodies, they will get coloring pages and card game fun with Jamestown, pilgrims, Mayflower, Indians etc. to do, they will have similar lapbooks to do, just geared a bit differently than the layout of the curriculum itself.  We love reading, so they will enjoy a coloring page while we read our chapters.  The lapbook "pieces" can help with motor skills like cutting, they will do some printing and lots of coloring.

I have some lapbooks here aleady, and we will see what elements we can pull from them...most of them came free or very inexpensive, through CurrClick and the like.  We have a 17th and 18th Century Life unit, several History Scribes, ideas from Squidoo, HomeschoolShare, a Wordpress blog on Lapbooking (I really like this one...it will be a definite go-to resource!), Lapbook Lessons at Ning, Lapbook Lessons blog, and Homeschool Helper Online, among others.

I know there are alot of folks on the Lapbook bandwagon and I'm merely a late-bloomer with it all, but I'm excited.  If you have children who like projects, hands-on schoolwork, and so on, I don't see why you aren't already lapbooking.  There doesn't have to be a great deal of money spent on fancy unit kits, lapbook bundles, clipart and so forth.  There are just too many free units already laid out, and far too many resources available online to say you can't do it.  And lapbooks are a great way to incorporate several age groups together on similar topics.  Look at us -- we have 17yo, 14yo, 12yo,10yo, 8yo, 7yo, 5yo and 4 yo (give or take, as everyone is about to change-over with a birthday...) all schooling together and we'll be doing alot of notebooking and lapbooking with our units coming up!!

What are you waiting for???

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BlogShare: Boost for Readers, Word Mastery, American History

Ok, in the technical sense, Boost for Readers is not a blog...it is a website.

It's full of goodies to give a boost to young readers.  Pages of word lists, decoding pages, early reader booklets to print as well as 1st grade reader booklets.  There are a lot of useful things there.  We use the spelling lists alot with young readers here.

Along the same lines, Word Mastery is good program for teaching reading, and it's free :o)  In fact, Don Potter has an excellent collection within his Education Pages worth checking out (and printing!).

And one more favorite of mine -- Mr Donn's History Pages.  Obviously, we are looking more into his American History pages right now, but he has several other worth a peek!

Ok, I'm off the computer and back to the task at hand today -- all our Jamestown pages are printed and ready to notebook-up.  I need to lay out all these puzzle pieces....POE Jamestown, POE Pilgrims, indian lapbooking and notebooking units, Pilgrim lapbooking units, early 17th - 18th century life units...and figure out how to fit them all together!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Adding to my POE Jamestown/Colonial links

I thought I was done.  I really did.  I mean, I have units here with notebooking pages, lapbooking components, I have the entire POE unit printed....2 older sets, 2 younger sets, and 2 sets of assorted pages that we can use with David and Emily (trust me...my printer is smokin' after all this printing.  I'm on ink cartridge #3 and I believe paper pack 5, but I lost count on that....it's ALOT...I really need a good duplex printer I think...)

Either way, I stumbled on some more...and I have yet to really sit down with it all and piece it into some coherent footprint for us to use!

Someone want to share with me some good reasons as to why I do this?
Why, when I have a perfectly good curriculum all right in front of me, complete with books, a few projects, all the papers needed, my bookcases full of math and English studies, WHY WHY WHY must I always start tweaking and adding????
What's wrong with being a boxed curriculum sort of mom?
What guilt is there in simply using the curriculum I've paid good money for AS-IS??

Ok.  Doesn't matter now.  I've done strolled 'net land and found things that I simply must add in.  I have found pages of creative, fun, witty homeschool moms sharing such interesting goodies, I just can't avoid the inevitable portion of my nature that causes me to tweak almost endlessly.  There are just too many great ideas out there.  Too many to dismiss.

And after all I've added so far...here are some more:

Our Journey Westward blog...
The 42Explore Thematic Pathfinders site has a great Colonial America page I'll be using to lay things out and glean ideas from...
and this neat yarn boat...sure, it's a sailboat, but that's ok...it's going to be our Mayflower anyway!
And a paper mache boat we can easily turn into the Mayflower...

I'm going to have to stop wandering and say enough is enough....stick to what you have...stop looking over the fence at other folks' school yards...

unless, of course, you have some other pages I might want to check out....just to be neighborly, you know...

Craft Recipes: Homemade Glue and Paste

Homemade Paste

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • cold water
Method: Add flour to a sauce pan. Add cold water until a thick cream forms. Simmer on stove for 5 minutes. Warning:This paste takes a long time to dry.

Library Paste   
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. alum
  • 4 cups water
  • 30 drops of oil of cloves
Mix all ingredients in saucepan and cook until clear and thick. Remove from heat and add drops of oil of cloves.

Clear Library Paste   
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil of witnergreen
Mix rice flour, sugar, and cold water in a pan until smooth. Add boiling water and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add oil of wintergreen.

Stamp Gum   
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbs. cold water
  • 3 Tbs. boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. white corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon or peppermint extract
  • 2 drops boric acid solution
Sprinkle the gelatin into the cold water and wait until softened. Pour softened gelatin into the boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. When ready to use brush a little to the area that you would like it and let dry. When you need it to stick, moisten it a bit. If the gum dries up in your storage container, just scoop it out into a saucepan and heat it again.

Envelope Mucilage   
  • 6 tablespoons pure white vinegar
  • 4 packets (1 ounce) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Method: Pour vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Add gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Add peppermint extract and stir until thoroughly mixed. And a YouTube for making edible glue of course..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Note/Lap Booking Resources: templates, supplies, and more!

Templates by Donovan looks to be a promising add on to my growing list of resources!

and a basics and more list of supplies to have handy for notebooking adventures...

More POE Jamestown/Mayflower Notes

Granted, when you go a bout looking at various unit studies, information, resources for extra reading, projects and the like for something like Jamestown and The Mayflower and the Pilgrims, you are pretty much going to find a lot of repeated stuff.  I mean, it's history -- it all happened the way it happened, and folks have been there/done that with lesson plans for years using the same dried up facts.  As they say, there is nothing new under the sun (or under THE SON)...

But, nonetheless, I keep googling under various terms to see what new sites pop up.  And I'll share what I find, repeated projects and information or not, and when our time begins on this path of lessons, we will pick and choose ideas from all of them.  So, here are more "stepping stones" as it were along our Paths of Exploration studies:

Us History Lesson Plans and Resources -- they have links for all time frames, not just Colonial
Carole Hurst Literature Site -- discussion starters, book listings, etc.  We will print her list and check out the library for added reading opportunities
This TeacherLink site has some books and outline ideas based on them
This ProTeacher site has some offerings
EasyFunSchool....of course!
The Teacher's Corner...

HSLDA even has a page of information and links we will be looking into between the Pilgrims and beginning the Revolutionary War

And I keep coming back to Homeschool in The Woods' products, like their History Through The Ages: Time Travelers Colonial Life.  I really think we will order it.  It will add alot to our fun, I'm sure.

Danielle's Place has several craft goodies we will go through and keep bookmarked
The Kids Kreate site is the same...definitely a bookmark page for the littles
Just for fun and future reference, the Craft Tales site offers free projects, start to finish...

There's just so much out there that looks fun!  I need to really lay out a plan before we get started on/around late July!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Independence Day: Thoughts, Crafts and Food Fun...

We have a short unit study we will be doing for the July 4th "holiday", although I think this year we will be very low-key for the weekend.  Normally we put out a great deal of time...and funds...into a great fireworks show.  We have alot of neighbors who have come to enjoy our display here, and I suppose it's almost a tradition, but not this year.

One, this bi-monthly budget plan I'm working the kinks out of didn't allow for it...
And two, is there really a call for celebration of some level of independence in the United States anymore?  Not to get overly political and all, but really folks...we've leased off, sold out, and otherwise given away our freedoms by allowing the government such a far reach.

But, I digress...Independence Day, 4th of July...Miss Emily's birthday celebration :o)  Miss Emily turns 4 on July 9th, but she fully believes that the fireworks...everyone's fireworks displays...are in celebration of her :o)  We don't correct her -- she's too cute, young, and innocent to have her fireworks bubble burst, just yet.  But, this year will be decidedly more quiet, more prayer-filled...yet full of fun crafts :o)

Here's some of what I've found so far:
The Crafty Crow has several pages of 4th of July craft links....here, here, here and here  and several fun games for any summer fun day.

We'll be making our Amish Sugar Cut-Outs and decorating them with red, white and blue for fun

POE Plans Ahead...

Well, I've run the numbers, um, dates, and we won't be walking along with the Jamestown folks and Pilgrims during (or even just before) Thanksgiving.  Oh well...it's not set in stone that November is the month for Pilgrims, right? (uh...right?)

Here's how it appears to be working out:
Columbus sails off into the bookcase in a couple more weeks
Jamestown, 6 weeks, starting the week of July 19th, ending the week of August 23
The Pilgrims, 6 weeks, Aug. 30-September 27th
Daniel Boone, October 4-Nov 11th
Lewis & Clark, Nov 15-December 20th
a break for alot of Christmas baking and regrouping, and starting with the New Year, we begin the Trails West portion, Jan 3-Feb 7th

That actually works out well.  I will be able to get prepared for buying the Paths of Settlement curriculum next and move on to the Revolutionary Way and Civil War.  And, those dates are really just tentative.  We have been dragging Columbus along like dead weight, but the end is near :o) 
Given plain daily LIFE, we could end up adding time to any (or each) of those 6 week plans, which .  That's just how things happen...we're a large family, canning season is coming, goat breeding is here....just regular life in  any farm family, really. 

Organizing: File Tubs, Crates, Binders and Piles

Which one suits me?  LOL....more often than not it a mish-mash of them all! 

I have LOTS of piles, clipped with one or two binder clips to keep them "together and organized", kept stacked (precariously, at best) on a lower shelf of a bookcase.And, yes....usually forgotten.
I also have several file tubs. Handy they are...practical to store with limited space, not so bad compared to some methods of organizing, but not the greatest either.
File Crates just never did it for me.  They tend to get smooshed -- little ones have trouble "stacking" them back up, you can see into them...we are not Martha Stewart Homeschoolers here, sorry.  We have a very much lived-in house...and equally lived-in/on/around/with bookcases, school areas and school materials.  Open crates, young children, dust...no, just doesn't work for me.
I have a 2 drawer file cabinet.  Poor thing is in serious need of cleaning out and maybe attacked with some cool scrapbook papers and a clear coat.  I'd love a wall of 4 drawer cabinets...maybe just 2, but 3 would be ok, too.

Then again, I have bookcases lining what few walls I have here, where would I put a couple of file cabinets? 

So far, what seems to work best, what we keep coming back to, is binders.  I have lots of them (bless you Sam Walton and your "Club" where I can buy bulk binders reasonably priced).  They have a dual purpose for me in that I can select whatever sizes best fit the need -- some unit study selections fit in 1", some lapbooking units need a 2", my own home/school binder needs a honkin' 4" and so on.  The other big draw for me is they fit right along with the books on the shelves.  Already have bookcases...just add binders here and there.

I could see becoming a multi-organizatinal task mistress, though...combining the current notebooks and maybe adding one of those 4-drawer cabinets for the goodies I glean to put into "maybe later" use.  I don't know.  We'll see how that vision works out.

Here are some sites I ran across about organizing:
Sunflower School House -- I have a wonderful pack here, Memory Verse Pack, Vol. 1 that we are implementing (finally...I just discovered it...bundled with a binder clip on a lower shelf!)
Sunflower Faith has at least one good post on organizing...I can't wait to check it out more.
By Sun and Candlelight has a good post...another site I'll be checking back with many times
Donna Young's site...if she doesn't have a form you want, you just plain don't need it!

I'm sure there are plenty more...share the sites or blog posts you have found useful for setting up (or discarding) your own organizational system!