February 5, 2010

Bridgetender School Update

It has been a while since I gave an update on what our school has been doing, so I thought I write something brief.

History: We are studying American History. We started with the discovery and exploration of the Americas up and have now started reading about the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War, which, as was pointed out in "Drive Through History", was originally considered a civil war. In between, we learned how the British, French and Spanish extended their European Wars to the colonies and how the British ended up "owning" most of the 13 colonies. Part of the discussion was how the British colonists changed the landscape from woodland to farmland, destroying the Native American's hunting ground. We also discussed how the Native American's fought back, usually in sneak attacks that usually, thought not always successful. The French were not necessarily farmers in the lower colonies, choosing to hunt and trade with the Natives as friends, though they tried to start colonies up and down the Mississippi. I have really learned a lot more about our country's development, which I really enjoy. Elizabeth has mentioned that she really enjoys history.

Science. We are studying flying animals. We started with birds and bats and are now studying flying insects. We are trying to hatch butterflies from catepillars, using a kit, but have not been incredibly successful. Of five catepillars, only one chrysallis survives and it, too, might have a dead pupa. If this doesn't work, we will order some more catepillars and try again. The principal refuses to have an ant farm, which sounds a whole lot easier at this point, although it does seem counter-intuitive to encourage ants to develop in the house when we usually work hard to keep them out.

Language Arts: We have been studying poetry after reading two novels before Christmas and discussing the elements of a good story. The kids have written some of their own poetry and have read from _Runny Babbit_ for fun, _The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere_, some Native Amerian poetry and haikus. We will be finishing it up by having the kids memories two poems each, one of my choosing and one of theirs. My choosen poems are the following: Kyle is memorizing "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jessi is memorizing "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus and Elizabeth is memorizing "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Once they are done working on those poems, I will let them choose their own with very little requirements. I am trying to memorize them too. The kids are progressing nicely with spelling and grammer. They have written some haiku's and some specialized poetry, as well as miscellaneous writing assignments. Jessica just finished reading The Wind in the Willows and Elizabeth is reading Robinson Crusoe, which I am also reading for fun to the kids.

Math: Elizabeth is going through fractions this year and is now learning about Greatest Common Factors and how they can be used to reduce or simplify fractions. Kyle is over halfway through his book of addition facts. Jessi is working on her single-digit multiplication facts, but soon will be learning how to multiply with more than one digit.

We listen to classical music and are looking at the Roccocco period of art because that is the art of the 18th century. We will also be looking at folk art and engravings, because that was pretty popular at the time. The kids are also baking.

Elizabeth is progressing in her Latina Cristiana latin studies and all three are working on Spanish through bilingual books and a Spanish matching game and storytelling game.

Elizabeth and Kyle want to learn how to whittle. The principal tells them that they need to read up on knife safety first.

Their homeschool group, Veritas, organized a field trip to an turn of the century house in downtown Phoenix, where they learned about how people slept in Phoenix in summer before air-conditioning was invented. The answer is that they moved their mattress out on the porch. There was no answer to how they survived in their petticoats and long sleeves. In the next two months, they will be visiting the "Hall of Flame" and the Museum of Mining.

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