We’re six weeks into the school year and here is a look at some things we did our first month.
For science we completed chapter one of Apologia Anatomy & Physiology, which is about cells, microscopes, and what ancient cultures knew about the human body. I recommend purchasing the notebooking journal that goes along with the textbook because it has a lot of activities to help the kids remember what was discussed. In addition to the activities in the notebooking journal we looked at pictures of cells and other microscopic things on these websites:
And we watched a lot of neat YouTube videos of cells under the microscope. The kids' favorite video, though, was this animation of the cell's immune system:
We also did an experiment to determine which preserving agent did the best job of preserving an apple (the apple represents an Egyptian mummy). Then we made a chart to record our findings.
We learned that salt is a good preserving agent.
And baking soda is not.
The highlight of this chapter was making an edible cell with different fruits, and Better Bowls Strawberry Gelatin.
For geography we started off by reading Me on the Map, and creating a map flipbook to develop a better understanding of the relationship between continents, countries, states, and cities. Then we labeled the continents and oceans on a world map, and put together a world puzzle. I like GeoPuzzle because many of the puzzle pieces are shaped like the country.
Then we began our unit on Kenya. I knew nothing about Kenya before this study, but now I feel like a Kenya expert! Before teaching the kids anything, I read Enchantment of the World: Kenya. This taught me all about the country’s history, geography, wildlife, culture, and more. Some books I read to the children were Uncommon Traveler, Koi and the Kola Nuts, and Where Are You Going Manyoni? These were books about Africa, but weren’t necessarily specific to Kenya. We also watched Globe Trekker: Kenya. I would suggest watching this before showing it to your kids because there is one potentially troubling part that we ended up skipping. While they were watching that I had them color the country’s flag and do a map activity, labeling the country's major cities, mountains, and rivers. The kids also looked through books on wild animals in Kenya, and completed a notebooking page listing different facts about the animals and drawing pictures of them. They used a Draw Write Now book to see how to draw these animals.
They also painted some paper plate necklaces to resemble those worn by many tribal people in Kenya.
And then they learned an African dance from this video:
But the best part of this unit was the Irio, which is a dish made in Kenya that includes spinach, peas, corn, and potatoes. I really had no idea if the kids would like it or not. I figured they wouldn’t. It didn’t sound all that appetizing. But they loved it! They were asking for seconds and even thirds! I meant to take pictures before we ate almost all of it!
There's not much to show for language arts and math, because we use workbooks for those subjects. But I'll give you a little review of the curriculum so far.
BJU English is very open-and-go, which is great for me since science, geography, and Bible require a lot of prep work. The lessons take just the right amount of time to complete and provide an adequate amount of guided and independent practice. I take breaks from the curriculum here and there if I feel like we need to focus on other English topics for a while.
I like BJU Spelling too, because of the way each week's words are grouped together by spelling patterns. For example, week four had words that made the "oo" sound, but were spelled with different vowel pairs (cougar, soothe, steward). I also appreciate the variety of activities in the workbook. It includes word sorts, analogies, dictionary skills, and more.
So far I like Christian Light math, which I’m using for my nieces, who are eight and ten. It covers all of the necessary topics and incorporates review into each lesson. It’s a pretty solid curriculum, and you can’t beat the price! For my kids, who are five and seven, I use Harcourt, and it’s doing a nice job of explaining addition and subtraction concepts because it shows several different ways to solve the problems (pictures, dominoes, number lines, etc.). Now that they understand those concepts we have begun using the Medieval Math Battle app on my phone to work on memorizing math facts.
For Bible I'm using the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool New Testament reading plan. That's basically all it is- a reading plan with a couple of discussion questions. I have to read the passage ahead of time to make sure I understand it before teaching it to the kids. Many times I end up pulling out some commentaries, and sometimes I'm doing a full-blown Bible study for a few days to make sure I understand it well enough to teach to the kids. And then once I have a firm grasp on it I have to figure out how to explain it in kid terms. It's probably good for me, but sometimes I wish I had a Bible curriculum that was geared toward little kids.
We're also doing a hymn study. We learn one hymn per month and perform it at the end of the month in front of family members. The kids really enjoy this, and it's especially good for my two kids who tend to dislike the spotlight.
In a couple of weeks we’ll be finished with our second month of school and I’ll let you know how that went too! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I'd love to know how your school year is going too!