2017-18 School Year–Week Nine

In an unusual twist for us, our school week started on Sunday. Since we were already in the city, we decided to stop at the St. Louis Science Center to see the Omnimax Theater Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs film. It was an excellent movie, and went perfectly with the King Tut exhibit we saw earlier in the school year, as well as what we’ve been studying in history. Of course, while we were there, we also checked out some of the other exhibits, too!

The fun continued on Monday, when we went to our first “Homeschool Day” of the year at the Missouri History Museum, and since Moose had the day off school, he got to come with us! We learned all about cameras, photography, and the importance of photography in modern history, and we got to tour the new Panoramas exhibit while we were there. When we were done at the History Museum, we went back to the Science Center to see the new star show we saw on the schedule when we were there on Sunday: Mission Mars. It was excellent, and we got to try out the new and very comfortable chairs in the planetarium!

After all that, the rest of the week seemed rather boring, I suppose, but we got a lot done. Turkey and Bunny have been reviewing perimeter in math, in preparation for discussing area next week. They also worked on figuring out the measure of multiple angles in a shape with different bisectors given a few beginning figures. Ladybug has entered into the exciting world of exponents. Chickadee is still working on counting by tens.

Ladybug learned about kangaroos and koalas in her study of marsupials…next week, she’ll be learning about animals like sugar gliders and possums. Turkey and Bunny had to create another biological key in science…this time, one focused on Kingdom Fungi. So far they’ve learned about the most recognizable members of that kingdom…mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi.

Even though they’re reading different books, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all learned about the Shang dynasty in history. Ladybug also learned about rice farming and Chinese pictograms. In addition to the Shang dynasty, Turkey and Bunny also read about Hatshepsut, and Thutmosis I-III, which was great since we learned all about the Valley of the Kings at the Science Center on Sunday!

Turkey and Bunny finally finished the third fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked ahead to see how it ends. Don’t worry, I won’t let them know! We have reached the part in Ladybug’s study of Heidi where I really start hating the book (when Heidi is taken away from Grandfather), so I’m dreading next week’s lessons, but I guess we’ll survive. We’re also already almost done with Ramona and Her Father, and Chickadee is already looking forward to the next book.

I can’t believe we’ve finished nine weeks of the school year, and I haven’t schedule a fall break yet. This year is going really well, though, so we’ll keep at it for a while yet!

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!

Gold Stars

The Missouri History Museum has a very cool visual display right now, comprised of 1,075 gold stars, one for each St. Louisan who gave his or her life during WWI. There’s something about seeing all those stars together that really drives home of the point of how many lives were lost. Each of their names is also displayed there, and like the Flags of Valor that were displayed in Forest Park, it really helps put a face to war, so to speak.

2016-17 School Year–Week Twenty-Eight

This has been kind of a strange week.

Originally, this was supposed to be our spring break week. But I decided we needed that break a few weeks ago, so we had to muddle through school this (very busy!) week.

We have spent a lot of time on religion and culture this week. We watched Rick Steves’ European Easter, and discussed how different countries observe Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday itself. It is very interesting to see these celebrations, which look much more foreign to us than the same countries’ Christmas celebrations. We have also been focusing on the events of Holy Week in Celebrating the Saints and with our Jesus Tree, which is almost completed!

On Monday, we went to the Missouri History Museum for their monthly “Homeschool Day.” This month’s event focused on the new exhibit “#1 in Civil Rights.” We had already toured the gallery once, so I knew going in how excellent that part would be, but I was blown away by how fantastic the rest of the event was, too! Definitely the best one we’ve been to yet, and we all learned something!

We had fairly normal days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Turkey and Bunny worked with literal equations in math, doing problems involving money and motion. They continued learning about the gravitational force, as well centripetal force, in science. They also finished a two-week literary study in writing, comparing a poem and a short story.

Ladybug has continued working with the metric system in math. She started a new chapter in science focusing on the phylum Cnidaria (she’ll be learning about jellyfish, sea anemone, and coral). We only got through one chapter in her Greek Myths book this week, but it was a long one, dealing with Jason and the Argonauts. She is almost done with her grammar book, too!

I started reading Beezus and Ramona out loud this week, especially for Chickadee’s benefit. This is her first non picture book read-aloud, and I was worried that she wasn’t really listening while I was reading. I asked her some questions about what happened in the first chapter after I was done, though, and was surprised at how well she answered my questions. Turkey was shocked at how well she listened and responded, as well, so I guess it wasn’t just me!

Our history lessons focused on the Vietnam War. We could have spent so much more time, talking about all the complicated issues involving that event, but we covered it the best we could in a short amount of time.

Yesterday, since Moose had the day off, we did our regular work in the morning, and in the afternoon, had our other fun activity for the week…we watched Hidden Figures. I was blown away by how outstanding the movie was, and it tied in with so much of what we’ve been learning in history in terms of the space race, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement. It was a great way to end our week, as we are taking today off…we’ll get back to work next Tuesday, after our busy Easter weekend is over!

2016-17 School Year–Spring Break

I lied.

We were going to have our spring break during Holy Week. That’s been my plan for months. But I just couldn’t take it anymore. Between the holiday (St. Patrick’s Day), two birthdays (Turkey’s and Chickadee’s), and the lingering cold we’ve dealt with over the last week or two, I needed a break!

The week wasn’t a total loss, however. We went out three of the days, on different field trips. We visited the Missouri Botanical Garden on Monday to see the cherry blossoms, and also saw some sculptures we’ve never noticed before, did some animal observation, and noted some of the Latin names of different plants, and figured out what they meant. On Chickadee’s birthday, we went to the St. Louis Science Center and saw the Omnimax film, Extreme Weather, took in a star show, and visited a few of the other exhibits. And yesterday we took a walk through the newest exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, “#1 in Civil Rights,” which is fantastic…we’ll definitely be going back!

We also did a few math lessons this week, but I had planned that we would do that regardless of when we took our vacation. Fortunately, they were easy lessons, so they didn’t even take up too much time!

Back to work next week. I’m sure come Holy Week, I’ll be regretting my choice of vacation weeks, but for now, I really appreciated the time off!

Chickadee Thursday

We visited the Missouri History Museum today. One of Chickadee’s favorite parts of their permanent exhibits is a mid-century modern style kitchen on display on the second floor (probably because it’s my favorite thing to see!). In the past, there was a “no photography” sign at the entrance to the area that houses that exhibit, so no matter how much Chickadee begged, I was never able to take her picture. When we went today, however, they had replaced that sign with the standard “no flash photography” sign that they have everywhere else in the museum. Chickadee was very excited to finally take a picture with the kitchen in all its pink glory, and I was equally excited to get to photography the whole display!

Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s

Most of the exhibits we’ve enjoyed at the Missouri History Museum in recent years have been local displays. Things related specifically to St. Louis, or the greater area around the city, focusing on our local history, and displaying artifacts from the Museum’s private collection. There is an excellent traveling exhibit on display right now, that we have enjoyed equally as well: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Let’s start with my very favorite part of the exhibit, which is only tangentially related to the topic. There is a living room set-up for each decade, including a couch, chair(s), coffee table, lamp, and television (which plays toy commercials appropriate to the decade). There were even selections of board games that families may have played in each decade. I love seeing how people might have lived in each time period!

You begin with the ’50s, and a cowboy-themed room:

We visited this exhibit several times, and on our last trip to the museum, we discovered that they had added a “Christmas corner” in the ’50s, including a great, big, shiny aluminum(ish) Christmas tree!

You then move on to the bright colors of the ’60s:

Finally, the ’70s, complete with yellow, orange, and shag carpeting!

There was even a garage/backyard represented!

The signs, as always, were informative. There was also some additional artwork that added a nice touch.

Finally, the toys themselves. There is a whole area of the exhibit dedicated to hands-on play with toys from different decades, including many that I played with myself as a child. The Slinky race was especially fun!

And then, throughout the decades, more toys than you can imagine. Dolls and action figures, educational toys, toys representing pop culture, games, building toys…they found it all!

And a final thought from Mr. Rogers himself:

This was a great exhibit. It was not only educational, but extremely nostalgic, which is exactly what you want when you visit a history museum. There is less than two weeks left to see it in St. Louis…if you have time, I highly recommend stopping by!