Friday, January 31, 2014

Energy - Entertaining and Educational

Have you done a catapult project? Here's a link to the catapult activity we did in conjunction with Ancient Roman History.

This week the Sola Gratia kids made catapults, but theirs were part of a kinetic and potential energy study. They also made launchers and set-up domino runs to learn about potential energy. 

What activities have your kids been up to this week? Please grab a button and link-up below.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Best Picture Book Series

What are your favorite picture book series?

Mad About Madeline
Madeline is an orphan being raised in Paris with eleven other girls. In one story she meets the neighbor Pepito, who is a mischievous little boy, and in another the girls adopt a puppy. All of Ludwig Bemelmans Madeline stories are written in prose and fun to read aloud.

The World of Peter Rabbit (The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-23, Presentation Box)
When Ribby the pussy-cat invites the dog Duchess to tea the adventures begin with a mix-up in the pies. Miss Moppet the cat catches a mouse who has been teasing her and decides to tease her too in The Story of Miss Moppet. Each story in the Beatrix Potter Series is filled with adventure.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
When Pooh gets stuck in the doorway to Rabbit's house, Rabbit uses his legs as a clothes drying rack. Pooh must wait days to get thin and unstuck from the hole. In the mean time Christopher Robin reads Pooh stories. In another story, during a flood, Pooh builds a boat and successfully rescues Piglet. From catching Woozles to going on explores and discovering poles, the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are entertaining for kids and parents together.

Strega Nona
Tomie De Paola had an Italian grandmother and an Irish grandmother. While I recommend all of his work, the children are particularly fond of the Strega Nona series. Strega Nona is an old woman living in Italy. She is a type of witch or medicine woman who can cure warts and issues for the village residents. In the series children are exposed to words in Italian and delighted by the absentminded behavior of her helper Big Anthony.

James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small
A baby black cat found during freezing weather is invited into the farmer's kitchen and warmed back to life in the first story in this treasury. Later he is placed in the stall with the pigs to keep warm and grow strong, but finds himself among the baby pigs. The main character of the all the stories is an animal doctor who travels to English farms. Adventures with cows, pigs, horses, dogs and cats fill the pages in this series of stories.

This post is linked to:
List-It Tuesday
Five for Friday
Jenny Evolution
Kitchen Fun
123 Homeschool 4 Me
Little Wonders

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Knit Monsters

Knit monsters can be so cute and make nice gifts for new babies. My mom knitted this one from Knitting at Knoon. They have darling bird, monkey and dinosaur patterns too.

This post is linked to:
Inspired Weekends
Pin-Me Linky
Just Winging It 
Sew Can Do

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Combining Art and Math - Mandala

We learned about geometry by creating rotationally symmetric Mandala artwork.

In Germany Mandala coloring books such as Das große Mandala-Malbuch für Vorschulkinder are commonly sold at toy stores. They can also be found searching the web for mandala art for kids. After selecting a mandala from our book we worked with a compass and strait edge to recreate it.

Last year my eleven year old worked through the first half of the book Mathematics in Nature, Space and Time (Waldorf Education Resources. She used mechanical drawing techniques to create math art designs. From this book I was familiar with how to create a line perpendicular to a given line and bisect an angle using a compass. I walked my six year old through both of these techniques while doing this activity.

 Several circles were created with the compass.

 The flowers were created using stencils.

 Here's my finished design.

 Here is my daughter's almost finished design.

During the process she learned many geometrical words and their meanings.
  • The compass was set to the radius of the circle.
  • We drew a line perpendicular to our initial line.
  • We bisected the 90 degree angle to create a 45 degree angle.
  • Four partial circles were created tangent to the center circle.
I'm sure she didn't absorb the meaning of all of these words but they have now been introduced to her. She enjoyed this activity, so we are likely to repeat it in the future with a different mandala and with practice these words and mechanical drawing techniques will be easily understood.

To see our other creative math activities please visit our Math Page.

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* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Astronomy Unit Study - Comets and Meteors

Week 4: We learned about comets and meteors and visited the Planetarium.

A comet is basically a dirty snowball that sometimes contains gas. A meteor is a rock in space that is less than a meter in diameter. A meteorite is a meteor that has passed through our atmosphere and is right here with us. An asteroid is the same as a meteor, but bigger. These words have baffled me as I never knew the differences between them.

We couldn't resist a trip to the Mannheim Planetarium to go with our astronomy studies. The show covered the birth of a universe, constellations, and how the sun travels across the sky. I highly recommend it for anyone living in the area.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Roman Food and Feast

Week 10: We prepared several Roman dishes and had a grand feast.

Imagine Italian food without tomatoes or pasta. The Ancient Romans ate a wide variety of foods. Some of their favorites were olives, olive oil, vinegar, fish sauce, honey, wheat, vegetables, and grapes, but no tomatoes. Tomatoes came from the Americas several years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Some of the Roman dishes we prepared were items we commonly eat, but others were quite new.

The Romans ate lying down on couches and belched a lot because it was polite. Before meals both hands and feet were washed by slaves. Since there were no forks they ate with fingers and washed in dipping bowls that often contained flower petals.

Fruit Tray
Roasted Vegetables
Ovis Apalis (Deviled Eggs)
Isicia Omentata (Hamburger)
Dulcia Domestica (Stuffed Dates)
Libum (Cheese Cake)

My friend Laurie did an outstanding job preparing this lesson. If I was in charge of food we probably would have created one of these dishes and called it good. I was impressed with how well organized and ambitious she was. The feast was a super success.

Bread, olives and olive oil were the simplest items on the menu. All Romans ate bread, but the poor people ate bread known as black bread. It was very dark in color because it contained bugs, rocks and dirt. Sadly, it was responsible for chipping and rotting many Roman teeth.

The kids cut up three types bread from the German Bakery which we ate by dipping the pieces in olive oil and vinegar.

Fruit Tray
The Romans had a vast trading networks, so food was not limited to what could be grown locally. Apples from the north and figs from the east were some of the available fruits.

Roasted Vegetables
Both rich and poor Romans consumed a variety of vegetables which they often ate with olive oil. Leeks, onions, broccoli, beans and carrots were roasted and sprinkled with salt and olive oil for our Roman vegetable dish.

Ovis Apalis
Ovis Apalis is somewhat similar to deviled eggs. Hard boiled eggs were topped with a mixture of pine nuts, fish oil, vinegar and honey. Although the fish oil didn't smell very good, the eggs tasted great. All the kids ate theirs and I went back for seconds.

Isicia Omentata
Isicia Omentata are similar to hamburgers or meatballs, except the ingredients used for stuffing are quite different.

Pine nuts, vinegar, grape juice, fish sauce and a roll were mixed together.

 The mixture was combined with ground beef.

The meat was rolled into balls and flattened into patties. Ours were cooked in the oven inside aluminum foil. To me they tasted like meat balls, but better. They had a tangy taste which was probably due to the juice and vinegar. I would definitely make them again.

Dulcia Domestica
Dulcia Domestica are salted dates, stuffed with nuts and cinnamon, then cooked in honey and grape juice.
 Ours were stuffed with crushed almonds, hazelnuts and cinnamon.

The smell alone is a good reason to make this dish. Heating honey and grape juice just fills the house with happiness.

Flour, eggs, ricotta cheese, honey, and bay leaves are the only ingredients required to make Libum - a sort of Roman Cheesecake.
Bay leaves were soaked in honey and then poured over the warm bread.

 This got my vote for favorite Roman dish.

To see our other Roman History activities please visit our History Page.

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Mom's Library
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Trivium Tuesday
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A Mama's Story
Keeping it Simple

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hasty Pudding - Entertaining and Educational

Share your Entertaining and Educational activities here each week.

Science is a subject which often seems to require lots of planning to ensure all necessary materials are on hand. This week Hwee at The Tiger Chronicle linked six simple science experiments and most people have all the necessary materials normally in the house.

Have you ever made Hasty Pudding? The kids at Drywood Creek made it as part of their Colonial History study. It's pretty simple and a good way to taste what the Colonists tasted.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Best Living Science Books

Reading stories that involve science can spark interest into projects, observation and experiments. Many books do a fantastic job of telling the history of science in a particular discipline. Here are some of our favorite science story books.

Man on the Moon (Picture Puffin Books) tells the story of the first moon landing. It's a great picture book for young children K through 3rd grade.

How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World tells what happens when a child digs a hole through the earth. Kids learn about the different layers and what the earth is made of through this entertaining picture book perfect for young children.

Stellaluna is a bat who has a run-in with an owl as a baby. She ends up being raised by birds and learning their habits until she is reunited with her mother.

Favorite Thornton Burgess Animal Stories Boxed Set (Sets)
Thornton Burgess wrote many story books about animals. In The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat, the Laughing Brook quit laughing because all the water disappeared. When the animals go on a quest to discover the cause they meet Paddy Beaver.

The Burgess Bird Book for Children
The Burgess Animal Book for Children
The Bird and Animal Book are slightly more difficult than Burgess's Animal Stories. These stories explore the relationships between animals and are more focused on specific animal groups.

Holling Clancy Holling SET of 5
Holling Clancy Holling's books entertain while children learn about science and geography. In Paddle to the Sea, an boy carves an Indian in an canoe and places it on a mountain top. When the snow melts the toy travels throughout the Great Lakes and Out through the St. Lawrence Sea Way. 
Minn of the Mississippi
Paddle to the Sea
Tree in the Trail

Quake!: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 After the earthquake, Jacob is separated from his family. As he tries to find them he befriends a Chinese immigrant and learns how their lives differ.

The Mystery of the Periodic Table (Living History Library)  tells the story of chemistry from the first experimenters to how each of the elements was discovered.

Julie of the Wolves was an Alaskan girl who was lost in the tundra. Her only hope for survival was to befriend a pack of wolves and get their help to find her way.
Archimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library)
Archimedes was an ancient Greek engineer who was interested in simple machines. He lived in the city of Syracuse and helped to defend his island during war.
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine (Living History Library) was an Ancient Roman doctor. He learned about internal organs by treating gladiators. Medical knowledge during Galen's time was very different than today.


More of our favorite books can be found on our Reading and Arts Page and our science projects and activities can be found on our Science Page.

This post is linked to:
Mommy Club
Anything Goes
List it Tuesday
Hip Homeschool Hop
Show and Share Saturday
Relentlessly Fun

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.
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