2017-18 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

Yesterday was the final day of the 2017-18 school year!

We ended the year strong. Out of all of the combined tests over the last six days, which included geometry, biology, ancient history, sixth grade math, and spelling, no one scored lower than a “B!” I’m so glad we finished all of our subjects well!

We had an end-of-the-year field trip last week, to visit the “Destination Moon” exhibit that is currently on loan from the Smithsonian to the St. Louis Science Center. It is an excellent display, from the re-creation of a 1960s living room to the actual command module from the Apollo 11 mission, and everything in between! I know we’ll be going back to see it again before it moves on!

Yesterday was mostly a fun day (once the last of the tests were complete). We watched the Henry V section of The Hollow Crown. It was interesting to see it performed after having read it. The children also re-enacted part of Julius Caesar. And, as is our tradition, the children built a new Lego set to add to our architecture collection…this time, the skyline of Shanghai.

Up next is summer school. We’ll be studying the Medieval period this year…stay tuned for our reading list later this week!

Lego Big Ben–Night Five

Tonight we finished Lego Big Ben!

We started with section six:

Have I mentioned how much I love the instruction book? Like the Lego Architecture series,  in addition to directions for building, this book contains information about the landmark being built, and I learned a few things along the way!

We’ll just call section six “The Addition of Fancies.” I especially love the tree out front!

Looking good, and even without the clock, it’s totally recognizable!

We weren’t done, though. On to section seven!

We built the clock face:

And “Big Ben,” the largest of the five bells in the tower:

And then we put them together:

And added the top of the tower:

And Queen Elizabeth Tower, housing Big Ben, as well as part of the Palace of Westminster, was complete!

Now we have big Big Ben, and baby Big Ben…I love how the Lego Architecture set looks against the bigger landmark:

And they may not be to scale, but the double-decker bus I built last year looks great with the new set!

Next up is the upcoming larger scale London bus, which I hope to build later this month. We’ll have all the big Lego London landmarks, then…I can’t help but wonder if there’s anything left that they want to build!

Lego Chicago

On the last day of school last week, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug built the Lego Architecture Chicago skyline. While we’ve built a number of landmarks in the Architecture line over the years, this is only the second skyline we’ve constructed. I was shocked at how fast of a build it was, but just because it was completed quickly doesn’t mean it’s lacking in details!

The assortment of pieces was more colorful than I was expecting:

As always, the base was the first thing Turkey assembled:

And then the landmarks: The Bean and Big Red, which were both built by Turkey, Willis (Sears) Tower, which Ladybug begged to build, DuSable Bridge, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Center, all completed by Bunny. The Hancock Center was an especially fascinating build to me!

It’s a beautiful little set!

For our first day of school in August, we’ll be taking a break from the Architecture series for something extra special…stay tuned!

2016-17 School Year–The End

And just like that, my ninth year of homeschooling is finished!

There wasn’t too much work this week. Turkey and Bunny took their last science test, and they both had perfect scores. We went through the study of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that I had prepared. I think we were all surprised by how many of the pop culture references from the 50s that they recognized from watching I Love Lucy!

The only other thing we did this week was attend the final homeschool day of the school year at the Missouri History Museum. This month’s topic was war (particularly WWI), and how St. Louis was involved. We got to attend a flag folding workshop hosted by a retired colonel of the Air Force, which was really interesting. Not only did we learn how to properly fold an American flag, we also learned the meaning of each of the 13 folds. We studied propaganda posters from WWI, and talked about what kinds of emotions they were trying to stir up. There was a fun poppy craft, and an opportunity to write letters to soldiers. We missed the WWII rationing workshop, so I led my own workshop in that gallery, instead, which was interesting…my children had no qualms about serving liver and onions for dinner, but I have my doubts about whether or not they’d actually eat it!

This morning, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug built the Lego Architecture set that I had set aside for today. Since they visited Chicago last May, they had a pretty good idea of what the skyline looks like, and we were able to discuss the specific landmarks they built: Big Red (the CNA Center), the Bean (Cloud Gate), the Sears Tower (Willis Tower to some of you, I suppose), the Wrigley Building, the DuSable Bridge, and the John Hancock Center.

So that’s it for this year. Turkey and Bunny have now completed K-8 at home, and are looking forward to starting high school here in August, and we celebrated their eighth grade graduation with a trip to Starbucks this afternoon.

Ladybug has now finished fourth grade, and can’t wait to begin fifth grade in the fall. And Chickadee will be a kindergartener come August! Time flies here at Veritas Academy!

London Skyline

I finally had some time this afternoon to build the Lego Architecture London skyline!

It was a fun little build. The landmarks included are the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge (complete with ship), and even the River Thames:

Tower Bridge was the most time-consuming part of the build, because it was the largest element, but the London Eye also took some time, mostly because it involved a rather unusual building technique.

I may not be able to look at the actual London skyline with my own eyes, but at least I can admire it in Lego form!

Lego Buckingham Palace

I spent the afternoon today working on my latest Lego London landmark: Buckingham Palace!

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I was impressed right from the start with the tiling that represents the street, the gardens, and the pedestrian access:

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There were tons of tiny pieces in this set. I also encountered some very unique building techniques, but it still came together rather quickly.

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As always, I was impressed with the level of detail in the set, including the fence out front, the double decker bus (my third of varying sizes!), the flag flying over the palace (I guess Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is in?), and the Victoria Memorial out front:

One of the best parts of the Architecture series are the instruction books. They don’t just include directions for building the model, they also include a history of the building, trivia, and some beautiful photos!

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I’m very happy with how it turned out!

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We now have Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace decorating our living room. The large-scale Big Ben will be joining them eventually (the smaller Architecture model is in our school room), and I’ve heard a rumor that next year, there is also going to be a Lego London skyline Architecture set, which I’m really excited about! The more London landmarks that decorate our home, the happier I am. Even if I can’t visit that city, I can admire its beautiful architecture, Lego style!

First Day of School 2016

As you’ve probably guessed by now, today was the first day of our ninth year of homeschooling! This year, I’ll be teaching two eighth graders, one fourth grader, and a cute little pre-kindergartener!

As I traditionally do, I prepared the school room before I let the children see it. I handed out the schultüte and all of their new workbooks, placed some of the books we’ll be using this year around the room, and displayed the Lego set I purchased for this year:

I love our calendar…we’ve been using it since our very first day of school in 2008!

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Of course I had to take lots of pictures of my students!

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We didn’t do every subject, but we did get to work on the basics:

Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug worked on building their new Lego Architecture set, a model of the Burj Khalifa:

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Chickadee doesn’t have the fine motor skills (or patience!) for a Lego set like that, yet, but she did have fun working with the pattern blocks!

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Here’s a look at this year’s arrangement of our school room:

And even though it’s not something I’ve done every year, I had Ryan take a picture of me with my students:

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Today was a great start to what I hope will be a great year of school!

2014-15 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

Another school year is complete!

I’ll be honest…I kind of phoned it in this week. We had three field trips (St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Eckert’s), only one of which was directly related to our lessons this year. They were all fun, though, and that’s all that matters at the end of the year, right?

Other than that, we did some religion, some math, some spelling, some writing, and some grammar. I think that’s about it. We finished the year strong, with everyone scoring 100% on their spelling tests today, which was nice. Today really was a great end to the school year in general, with a trip to Eckert’s to pick strawberries and visit the farm animals, and the assembly of our latest addition to our Lego Architecture collection–the Trevi Fountain.

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Overall, I think this was a great school year…sure, there were some bumps along the way, but we all learned a lot (even me!), and had fun doing it. We’re taking a break for a few week before we begin our Illinois state history summer school unit, and then we’ll be back in August, with two seventh graders (when did I get old enough to have students in Junior High?!?), and a third grader!

The First Day of School–2014 Edition

Here’ s peek into our first day of school. We did a lot of the basics (religion, language arts, math, and our latest read-aloud, The Hobbit), but we also had a lot of fun!

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One of our first day of school traditions is that the children always make a new cover sheet for their binders. Chickadee doesn’t have a binder yet, but that didn’t stop her from joining in the coloring fun!

They take their work very seriously!

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As an extra fun project, I got the Lego Sydney Opera House (the Lego Architecture set, not the newer, huge set), for them to build. I’m hopeful that Lego will make enough of these sets that we can have one from every continent (excluding Antarctica, of course), someday. So far, we have North America, Europe (several times over), and Oceania covered!

I think we got the 2014-15 school year off to a great start…looking forward to many more fun days of learning!

2013-14 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

The 2013-14 school year is over!

We didn’t have a lot to do this week. Everyone finished their math lessons, with just a tiny bit of new information for Turkey and Bunny…range, mean, mode, and median. Of course, there was one last test of the year, for both grades, and this one was a long test! I think it’s safe to say that everybody mastered the information in their books this year.

We finished Scottish history, with Georges III and IV. I have really enjoyed our trek through both English and Scottish history over the last year, and I’m really going to miss it. I’m glad that we took some time to learn about the histories of countries that aren’t America, and next year, we’re going to continue learning about the British Empire with Our Empire Story. If there were books that were on the caliber of Our Island Story and Scotland’s Story for other countries (especially, say, Germany), we’d totally read those, too.

We continued on with our botany lessons in science. There was obviously no way we were going to finish that text, since we just started it a few weeks ago. We have finished the first two chapters though, and started a fun germination project that we’ll be measuring for a few weeks…we placed seeds in a sunlit window, the refrigerator, and a cabinet. We’ll be studying which ones sprout, and how much they grow. We’re going to add botany to our baseball summer school lessons, too, so we’ll get through some (but not all), of the book before next school year.

We also finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins this week. It really is a great book…I’m glad we read it again! I’m hoping to get through a few more read-alouds over the summer, but we’ll see how they fit in with our summer school, plus all of the other plans I have for the summer.

For our fun, end-of-the-year activity, we built the Lego Architecture Eiffel Tower. The children have been looking forward to this ever since they heard it was coming out, and even though we didn’t learn about France this year, you can never go wrong with such an iconic building! I’m hoping to buy and build the Trevi Fountain sometime in the next year, as well…we already have landmarks from England, Germany, France, and U.S. on display in our schoolroom, so an addition from Italy will be nice.

After we take a break for a few weeks, it will be time for our annual viewing of Liberty’s Kids…all of the children are already asking when we can start watching it again! And after that, it will be time for summer school. I’m really excited about looking at the history of baseball as it relates to American history this summer…I have a feeling that our special summer school units’ days are short, at least with Turkey and Bunny, and I really want to enjoy it while it lasts!