2020-21 School Year–Week Nine

Hymn of the Week–“Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (Lutheran Service Book #655)

This week was a little strange. We had Monday off as part of our long weekend, and then we had what I’m calling “Documentary Day” on Tuesday. We watched various episodes from different shows covering nature (Frozen Planet), architecture/history (Great Estates of Scotland), American history (America: The Story of US), and biography (The Diamond Queen). This was a nice way to have a different and laid-back day of school, especially since we don’t have our usual field trips that we would enjoy going on for a break, and I think we may do it again at some point!

On to the rest of the week. Turkey and Bunny learned about the different kinds of joints in advanced biology. They read more about dreams and states of consciousness in psychology. We discovered that even our hymn study can include some humor, and although we weren’t expecting it, we had a good laugh when reading the text background for “Lord, Keep Up Steadfast in Your Word,” because it include a parody lyric that was popular at one point. They finished reading There are No Children Here for our study of US geography and cultures.

Ladybug learned about atoms and molecules, compounds and solutions in science, as well as the states of matter. She and Chickadee learned about the Boer Wars in history. She read about the death of Achilles in The Trojan War. Both she and Chickadee continued to work on their election lapbooks…here’s a look at some of what she added this week:

Chickadee continued to multiply two-digit numbers by one-digit numbers in math. We started reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins together. In spelling, she worked with “ee” and “ea” words. She learned about what gives feathers their color in science.

Also, we finally had an outing today! Our local pumpkin patch is offering some different options due to COVID-19, and I was very comfortable with how they’re doing things, so we went a picked a pumpkin (or four) this morning!!!

This was a nice, low-key week of school, and just what we needed!

2020-21 School Year–Week Eight

Hymn of the Week–“What is This Bread?” (Lutheran Service Book #629)

We made it to our first long weekend of the 2020-21 school year! Since Moose has a five-day weekend, I thought we should take a break, too…but we’re “only” taking off today and Monday.

Turkey and Bunny continued to work with limits in calculus. Their study of 1491 turned local, with a section on Cahokia Mounds. In advanced biology, they learned about the structure of bones, and looked at some bone tissue samples under the microscope. They started volume two of Jane Eyre, and things have gotten mysterious. In psychology they learned about sleep cycles and dreams.

Ladybug continued to graph in algebra, adding point-slope and standard form equations to her repertoire. She and Chickadee read about the colonization of Australia and Africa in history. We raced through the first chapter of her science text, trying to make up the time we lost waiting for it to arrive.

Chickadee starting multiplying two-digit numbers by one-digit numbers in math. Her cursive handwriting has really improved! We finished reading Farmer Boy, and she was so sad it was over, she started reading it again to herself. Next week, we begin Mr. Popper’s Penguins. She also learned more about the different types of feathers.

Here’s a look at the progress Ladybug and Chickadee have made on their election lapbooks…the design is quite clever!

We’ll get back to work on Tuesday!

2020-21 School Year–Week Seven

Hymn of the Week–“Christ, the Lord of Hosts Unshaken” (Lutheran Service Book #521)

October is finally here!

Turkey and Bunny worked on finding limits in calculus. They finished the chapter on the skin and the skeleton in advanced biology. As part of this year’s focus on American culture and geography, they started reading a book that had a profound impact on me when I was in high school: There are no Children Here. They read about the senses in psychology.

Ladybug worked with slope-intercept form in algebra, and made a lot of graphs. She and Chickadee learned about the War of the Pacific and the Suez Canal in history. She wrote an essay about the moon landing in writing. We finally got her new science textbook!…and now we have to play catch-up.

Chickadee practiced solving equations with parentheses in math. We got to read about Christmas in Farmer Boy, which she was very excited about. She learned more about the structure of feathers in science. In writing, she worked on a longer piece of dictation.

Ladybug and Chickadee also started a special project that they’re going to be working on throughout the month of October leading up to the presidential election…an election lap book!

Last year in October, we went to see a special exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum, and Bunny made a really cool picture. She reproduced it in chalk on the driveway this week, and I think it’s really cool!

Sometime in the next two weeks, we’ll reach the quarter mark in the school year…I can’t believe it!

Reformation Wrap-Up

Today marks the end of our month-long study of the Reformation. Here’s a review of all the things we learned and the fun we had!

We read lots of books, some out loud, and others as book basket selections. One of our favorites every year is the Luther biography by Paul Maier.

We made eight lapbooks, one as an overview of the people and events of the Reformation, and the other seven focusing on different Reformers.

We also learned about seven rulers (plus Pope Leo X), and completed a notebooking sheet for each.

Of course, everyone’s favorite part of our studies were the crafts. We designed our own coat-of-arms:

Made stained “glass” windows:

Illuminated letters and practiced being scribes:

Made a banner to hang in our school room:

And, of course, made Luther’s Seal:

We also listened to a lot of music, some by Luther, some by Bach, and some by other Lutheran hymn writers.

We were supposed to go on two field trips this month. The first one was a visit to the Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival in Frohna, MO, I had to cancel that on account of fog, which was disappointing because it’s one of our favorite events every year. Our other field trip, that actually worked out, was going to the Seminary in St. Louis to hear Ryan sing “Ein Feste Burg” with the American Kantorei as part of the Bach at the Sem series. That same day, we also got to attend a fun Reformation Celebration at our church.

We even enjoyed a German meal at home on Reformation Day! Jägerschnitzel with buttered noodles and sauerkraut for dinner (with Leinie’s Oktoberfest beer for those of drinking age!), and homemade apple strudel for dessert…delicious!

This was a fun way to spend the month of October, and I’m glad I finally came up with an in-depth unit for us to learn all about the Reformation!

2012-13 School Year–Week Seven

This was another busy week! On Monday, we took a break from our usual history (and special Reformation), lessons to learn about Christopher Columbus. We read The Discovery of the Americas and talked about Columbus, as well as other explorers in the New World. We also worked on some Columbus worksheets (including a word search), and coloring pages. This was actually quite timely in relation to our Reformation studies, as they overlap, time-wise…I love when things like that work out just right! Moose was able to join us, since he had the day off, which is always fun.

On Tuesday we got back to our special Reformation studies. We finished two lapbooks this week: one for John Huss, and one for the “Blessed Reformer” himself, Martin Luther. Ladybug got to start on her Reformation activity book, which she’s very excited about, since there are lots of sticker activities! We also started reading about Heinrich Muhlenberg, since his commemoration day was on Sunday. I’m finding this book as interesting as the children are…I discovered that I really didn’t know much about Muhlenberg myself! (We’ll also be reading about C.F.W. Walther later this month, to round out our Lutheran history studies.)

Our Reformation craft for the week was making stained “glass” windows. This is an easy craft that we’ve done before, but it’s fun because there are so many different stained glass patterns out there, and so many different ways to color the same pattern! All you do is color a stained glass window picture, and then use a cotton ball to spread oil across the back (we used vegetable oil, but I’m sure other varieties would work just as well). Pat to “dry,” then hang in the window and watch the light show through!

For our stained glass coloring sheets, we used the weekly sample from Dover publications…if you haven’t signed up to receive the weekly Dover sampler yet, you should! They’re usually related to the current season or holiday, and you get a good idea of the different kind of coloring books (and other activities), they offer. I also used sample sheets from Dover for our Columbus Day lessons this week.

We also continued our regular math and language arts lessons, and fit in a little American history, learning about the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement. Bunny was very interested in this, although she was quite dismayed to learn that there was a time when women weren’t allowed to do things like vote or serve on a jury. In science, we finished up the chapter on the digestive and renal systems. Turkey especially enjoyed our Friday science activity…designing a theme park based on the digestive system (disturbing, yet fun). I think he could have designed rides all day long!

We took a field trip to the pumpkin patch this week, which is always fun, and is another way to involve Moose in our school. We have another fun field trip planned for tomorrow…I can’t wait!

Learning About the Reformation

Every year that we’ve been homeschooling, we’ve had some sort of special lesson on Reformation Day. It usually involved reading a book about Martin Luther and doing a craft (often some kind of Luther’s Seal). I realized this year, though, that while the children know a lot about Martin Luther’s corner of the Reformation (of course), they don’t know much about the rest of what was going on in the Church. So, I’ve decided that this year, throughout the month of October, we’re going to replace our regular religion lessons with a special unit on the Reformation, as well as some general Lutheran history!

I started by replacing our Olympics “Special Event Wall” with one on the Reformation. The central focus of the wall is a “Reformation Era Timeline” I picked up at CPH. While the focus of this timeline is the Lutheran Reformation (naturally), other world and Reformation events are included on it, and I really like having a visual representation of just how much was going on in Europe at that time, from exploring the New World to the creation of famous works of art and literature. I added the “Solas” to the wall, as well as a list of key reformers, a map of Europe with key Reformation countries highlighted, a copy of Luther’s seal, and the LCMS seal. We’ll also be adding some things to the wall as the month goes on.

There are 23 school days in October this year, including five Wednesdays, which culminate on Reformation Day itself. I’ve planned something special for each of those Wednesdays, having each Wednesday be a special craft day:

  • Personal Coat of Arms
  • Stained “Glass”
  • Illuminated Letters/Scribe for a Day
  • Reformation Day Banner (to be used in the schoolroom for occasions such as future Reformation Days and Pentecost)
  • Tissue Paper Luther’s Seal

There are a few books I’ll be reading aloud, either in part or whole:

And book basket selections from the “Hero of Faith” series for the children to choose from:

Plus a few other book basket choices:

As well as workbooks for varying ages:

The bulk of our lessons will come in the form of a lapbook (actually several lapbooks)…our first ever! We’ll be learning the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the Reformation while we make these books. We’ll focus on seven reformers (John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, John Calvin, and John Knox), who will each have a mini-unit and lapbook dedicated to him.

We’ll also learn about seven rulers (Charles V, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, Philip II, Elizabeth I, and Mary Queen of Scots) who were either supporters or opponents of the Reformation. Instead of a lapbook, the rulers will each have a dedicated notebooking sheet.

Over the course of the month, we’ll make a lapbook that provides an overview of the Reformation, including where each of the rulers fits, and their relationships to the reformers, where applicable.

Since Ladybug is too young for a lot of the lapbook activities, I got her the previously mentioned The Story of Martin Luther Activity Book to color in while Turkey and Bunny complete their books. It’s technically a preschool book, but I thought she’d have fun doing the sticker activities, and it will give her something of her own to work on, so she doesn’t feel left out…very important for a little girl who has two older siblings who “get to have all the fun!”

And field trips are a must. We’ll be visiting the Saxon Lutheran Memorial and attending a Bach at the Sem concert, where “Ein Feste Burg” will be performed. I don’t think we’re going to visit the International Center to see the Concordia Historical Institute Museum, but it has been a few years since we’ve been there, so we’ll see. We’re also going to be having a special Reformation Family Night at church, which, while not technically a field trip, should help reinforce some of the things we’ve been learning at home, and maybe even teach us some new things!

Music is a huge part of the Lutheran church (just ask the “fifth evangelist, J.S. Bach!), so we’ll be listening to some special selections throughout the month. We have both the Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth and the Heirs of the Reformation collections from CPH. We’ll also be listening to various works by Bach…I’ll let Ryan pick which ones. To reinforce what we’ve learned in Luther’s Small Catechism, we’ll also be playing our copy of Sing the Faith.

Our children are a little too young for these kind of strategy games, but I do have some good ideas for games that have a Reformation-era or theological feel. I’m looking forward to future game nights in keeping with this theme!

I’m very excited to get started on this, and really dive into church, and Lutheran, history. It should be a fun month!