Week 24 – The Fun is ON!

I feel like kicking myself for not doing unit studies before.  I sorta tried before with SotW, but their chapters aren’t always organized in a way to make that conducive.  We are having SO. MUCH. FUN.

L has been reading By the Great Horn Spoon.  This has leant itself to all sorts of fun stuff.  We compared square-rigged sailing ships and steam sailing vessels.  We’ve been mapping their journey on a map and learning about their ports of call.  We learned about using constellations to navigate in the ocean.  We compared the current price of gold to the price mentioned in the book [$1300 vs. $14 per ounce].  And we even started a science experiment based on a plot point.  Some vines are saved with the help of some potatoes, so we have put some vine cuttings into 4 mediums [media?] to see how they’d do:  fresh water, salt water, soil, and a potato!

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Our 4 vine cuttings: fresh water, salt water [3.5% salinity], a potato, and soil.

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On our windowsill

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After 2 days: The freshwater vine looks fine, the saltwater vine is starting to yellow, the potato apparently isn’t releasing its water cuz that vine is drying out, and the soil cutting is also wilting some.


We’ve also been studying the Westward Expansion using Hakim’s History of the US and other readings.  The MBtP curriculum has also provided some fun learning.  We measured out how big a pioneer wagon was [long and narrow!].  L built a model wagon with cardboard.

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I showed him a sample of one another family described on-line, and he set to work. I offered a few suggestions here and there, but overall, it was his design.

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Finished wagon, side view

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Front view


He also built 2 little mini-models, one for him and one for his brother.

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Their wagon train–LOL!

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L calls it his matryoshka wagon!

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C made a pirate ship instead of a wagon.


L also did a little activity to determine what to pack in his wagon.  MBtP provided a list of suggested supplies, their prices in the 1800s, and their weights.  He had to decide what to bring within a certain weight and price limit [2500 pounds and $1000].  He spent less than $100 so I’m pretty sure he didn’t bring enough.  I want him to play the Oregon Trail game, but I can’t get it working on his iPad.  :/  Says it needs an update, but there’s no update available.

Today L read about the Transcontinental Railroad and did some map work related to that.  This weekend, T is going to build a steam rocket boat with the boys to demonstrate the power of steam.  And as I type this, we are watching “Back to the Future III” so the boys can see a steam train in action, and see a little bit of Wild West life [ok, a caricature; we'll learn more accurate info later].

In non-unit-study news, L has been learning fun geometry in Beast Academy.  Those fun problems with 2 parallel lines and a line that intersects them where you have to figure out the angles, and other fun angle and line stuff.  He has also continued working on Khan Academy with steady success.  L also had his first YMCA PE class of 2014.  They’ve switched to a “Gym & Swim” model.  They didn’t get to go swimming this week, but they should next week.

We were supposed to have a playdate on Tuesday, but we’ve had a little unsettling excitement here this week:  Ginger is sick.  Poor girl has worms, and needs to go out a lot.  It limits how long we can leave her in her crate.  We almost had to skip co-op on Thursday, but T was able to rearrange his schedule to stay with her.  We got her medicine today, and she should be on the road to recovery quite soon.

And that was our week!  Up next week, we’ll be learning more about the Oregon Trail.  L didn’t do much writing this week, and no grammar or spelling work, so I’ll weave that in somehow.  I’m also hoping to get some Caesar’s English started.

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