Monday, May 31, 2010

Review of the Pacific States

This is the map I made on the board with the kids help. It has products from each state on it. After I took this picture, we circled the ones that were related to natural resources and then underlined the ones that were 'products'. It made for a messy map, but it was invaluable to see what my kids had actually learned.

This was their Pacific States "test":

1.) What two states have had a “Gold Rush” in their history? (Alaska and California)

2.) If you were to buy apples, you would want them to come from this state. (Washington)

3.) The earth is made up of ______________ layers. List those layers. (4 layers. Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, and Crust)

4.) Which is the closest state to Canada? (Trick question! Both Alaska and Washington boarder Canada)

5.) Which state is constantly growing? (Hawaii)

6.) Name three similarities between Hawaii and Alaska. (a mix of: have islands, huge shorelines, both have fish as a natural resource, active volcanoes, in the Pacific Ocean, etc)

7.) If you were to buy artichokes, they would most likely come from here. (California)

8.) Which is the closest state to Russia? (Alaska (at one place, it is just two miles away)

9.) Three states have active volcanoes. List them. (Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska)

10.) Which state has the most shoreline of any state in the USA? (Alaska, but Hawaii is completely surrounded, so that would count too.)

11.) Which state is the ‘Evergreen State’? (Washington)

12.) If you wanted to buy Tillamook cheese you would have to be near this state. (Oregon)

13.) All of the states we have studied so far boarder which ocean? (Pacific Ocean)

14.) Name four differences between Hawaii and Alaska. (A mix of: Latitude, cold and hot, Hawaii is near the equator and Alaska is near a pole, Alaska is connected to a landform and Hawaii is completely islands, different natural resources, etc)

15.) Which is the closest state to Mexico? (California)

16.) Which state is the ‘land of the midnight sun’? (Alaska)


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Alaska unit Study ~ Day Two

Today we talked about Alaska's wildlife. Mostly, bears. Foxes came up, as did the growing season, the long days (and long nights) and I read a story called "The Alaskan Cinderella" about a little girl who wears rubber boots to the ball, and a gown tossed down from an eagle that looks like salmon scales. But mostly, we talked about bears.

There are MANY bears in Alaska. We have raccoons getting into the garbage's and bird feeders... they have bears getting into theirs. So much so that the waste disposal companies have had to make special 'bear resistant' garbage cans.

This is a really cool video of the Alaskan Zoo testing out the new garbage cans with all their bears. It it shows nothing else, it shows that the bears try REALLY hard.... and it would probably be a bad idea to disturb one of these babies as they are 'working' on getting their post-hibernation snacks.

Other resources I used for this lesson:

Alaska (The movie)

"Berry Magic" by Teri Sloat

"This Place is COLD" by Vicki Cobb

"The Salmon Princess" by Mindy Dwyer

"The Alaskan Mother Goose" by Shelly Gill


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Alaska Unit Study ~ Day One

Ice built, ice bound, and ice bounded,

Such cold seas of silence! Such room!

Such show-light, such sea-light, confounded

with thunders that smite like a doom!

Such grandeur! Such glory! Such gloom!

Hear that boom! Hear that deep distant boom

of an avalanche hurled

down this unfinished world!

(From Alaska by Joaquin Miller)

We made our way from the warm waters of Hawaii to the frigid waters of Alaska today. We started with review of the states we have studied (WA, OR, CA, Hawaii) and then moved on to some interesting facts about Alaska.

  • Is twice the size of Texas.
  • Has the highest mountain in North America.
  • Has the largest National park in the US.
  • Has more shoreline than any other state.
  • Is dark 20 hrs/day in winter, and light 20 hrs/day in summer.
  • Alaska has 17 of the 20 highest mountains in the US.

We spent an hour this afternoon watching Ididarod: The Toughest Race on Earth just before our lessons. We mapped where the Ididarod runs on our rough map on the white board. Then we talked about Alaska's natural resources. We had a long discussion about fishing and the Alaskan fishing trade, and then we talked about the shoreline of Alaska and a few of their native peoples and traditions. We ended with some USA workbook work for Alaska and then went to make an Alaskan dinner. YUM!


Some Alaska websites/printouts we used:

Where is Alaska? from HomeSchool Share

Alaskan flag, fish, and flower from Crayola Coloring Pages

The Alaskan Quarter from HIP pocket change


An Alaskan Dinner

The kids were very proud to make an Alaskan meal of wild caught Alaskan fish and green beans from last years harvest at our own farm. I added in some baby carrots so Logan would eat some veggies and we all enjoyed the meal a lot! I am getting the book Eat Your Way Through the USA for the next few lessons and I am excited that some of these states are going to be a bit more mapped out for me... because some state dinners are going to be harder than the Pacific States... Do you know what to eat when we are studying North Dakota? Or Minnesota? Yeah... me either. ;)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Friends!

Meet our newest additions to our suburban homestead, Sophie and Ariel! They are our new baby rabbits.

We thought at first that they would be terrified of the cats, but as we got them settled, Alex allowed the cats to come check them out, and Ariel seemed as interested in the cats as they were of her!

I think they will be a fantastic addition to our growing homestead. Not sure if we will be in time to get chickens this year, or if it will have to wait until next Spring... but chickens are the next step!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hawaii Unit Study ~ Day Two

Today has been a shorter school day. We made leis and then Cyan got to watch a video from the library called "Be a Hula Girl" and Alex is researching why the volcanic islands of Hawaii exist in the center of a tectonic plate. He will be writing a paper on it and has pretty much taken over my computer to do the writing... but I think he is doing a great job, so I am leaving him to it. :)

Here is the link to tips on how to make leis from backyard flowers like we did this morning.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grains of the World Part 5

We got back from our vacation and the first thing I did (like before going into the house) was check on the garden. It had grown SO much in those 15 days, I couldn't believe it. When I finally made it around to the back part of the garden where the grains of the world are, I was blown away! We have two new grains and the corn is almost 4 inches tall!

What blew me away the most was the size of the Oat plants.

With the 10 day delay in getting viable oats into the ground I was thinking they would be stunted... but here they are, right next door to the White Wheat that was planted at the same time as everything else, and they are pretty much catching up in size! WOW! That's a fast growing cereal plant. No wonder they are so cheap to purchase.


Hawaii Unit Study ~ Day One

The Continental Pacific States came first on our trip across the USA. It matched perfectly with our vacation and while on that vacation I delighted in hearing "Oh mama! Another California Quail!", "That sign said Sacramento." and "Look! It's more Rhododendrons!"

Now that we are home, and have recovered somewhat, we are moving on to the Pacific States that we didn't get to visit. This week our state is Hawaii.

I started out the day by finding appropriate music on Pandora on my iPhone and then hooking it to our stereo so we had gentle Hawaiian music in the background and then we started reading and talking about the islands of Hawaii.

We started on our United States book work which included two of these pages from Crayola Coloring Sheets and Where in the World is Hawaii? from Homeschool Share. The pages cover where Hawaii is in the world, what the state flag, flower, and bird are, and a couple of other interesting facts (like the fact that Hawaii is still getting bigger, and that most of it's land can not be lived on becuase the islands are active volcanos, etc.)

This is a picture of the Hawaii state flower from the San Diego Zoo that we were just at two weeks ago:

Then I drew a large map on the white board and (after looking up the pronunciations) had the kids repeat after me the island names. Soon after I had them fill in a blank map of the islands from memory. The spellings were humerous, but they got them all correct.

Then we moved on to volcanoes. We learned about the two different types of lava - A a (ah - ah) and Pahoehoe (Pa - Hoy- Hoy), and we learned a little bit about the way the volcanic islands are built.

We talked about how volcanic soil is very fertile soil and thanks to history class, they are well versed in the benefits of fertile soil. Then we moved on to food.

We talked about the crops of Hawaii, and then Pineapples in specific. How and where they grow, what the plants look like and how they are harvested. Alex got to cut up a fresh pineapple, and we each had a slice for a snack.

School activities continued until well into the evening today, and the kids blessed me with making dinner. Pineapple and mango fried rice with Teriyaki chicken, and caramelised pineapple for dessert.

More Hawaii tomorrow!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grains of the World - Part 4

Our grains are growing very well. All but the Oats, Millet, and the Rice are sprouting now. I fear the birds have gotten to the Millet seedlings... but I am still hoping. If it isn't up when we get back from vacation mid-May, then I will try it again with some bird protection to help us out.

A funny story about the Oats. For a long while I couldn't find it at all. Then someone here mentioned the feed store and that they feed live oat seed to horses. I went to the feed store to buy some live oat seed, and the girl behind the counter said that they only had 50lb bags. I asked her if any had spilled on the floor from a ripped bag, etc as I would gladly take that and she said that they didn't have any right now. I explained to her that I only need a few tablespoons, literally, and then what I needed it for. She looked at me for a long moment... and then said she would be right back and went in the back. When she came out again she said that they guys in the back of the store said that a bag was magically 'damaged in shipping' and one of them would be right out with it. lol... The guy came out a few minutes later and handed me three cups of oats in a zip lock baggie, free of charge. Talk about good customer service. ;) I brought them home and used the same treatment I did on the other grains, but for only two days this time, instead of 4. They had started to sprout when I put them in the ground yesterday and there is our last grain of the world. :)

A new thing in the garden sprouting is the corn! It just came up in the last 48 hours. These little tiny corn plants make me very happy.