Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Snapshot Summary, November 14-19, week 11

Snapshot Summary, November 14-19
Remember last week James began division with cups and beans?
This week we begin recording his discoveries on a graph. Using a 10x7 graph,(although I would have preferred a 10x10 graph), we labeled the top "cups" and labeled each column with numbers 1-7. We labeled the side as total number of "macaroni/beans" and labeled each row 1-10. Using the macaroni and cups, he began filling the chart out, recording the remainders as fractions as needed.
Place value cards, in combination with a counting board, (below) can be a wonderful learning tool.
Quentin worked on place value and counting. We used the place value counting board and place value cards to count up to 100. He began counting and changed the cards to reflect the numerals that match the amount counted. As he added macaroni to cups, he changed the cards from ones to tens cards. When he transferred the cups to bowls, he changed the cards to hundreds.

We received a wonderful box in the mail from Rhode Island, which not only held a beautiful postcard of a carousel horse but also lots of goodies.
This, in addition to our usual state studies,

 Dynamites and Rhode Island style hot dogs, frozen lemonade.

led to a Rhode Island inspired teatime, dinner and dessert.

For history this week we learned about the Revolutionary war and the boys set up plastic figures of the English, Colonists and French soldiers and reenacted the battles. They then went on to play a game that involved them each setting up one side of soldiers and then taking turns rolling a die to see how many soldiers they hit on the other side. Quentin pointed out that the Colonists hid behind barriers and so were harder to hit, so they determined that each barrier also counted in the amount that had to be hit, giving the Colonists quite an advantage.
We also played Made for Trade some more and...
some role-playing, as always.

map and activity from Interact Simulations Patriots

Sam learned about military strategy as he took the role of a British General at Bunker Hill.
They learned about Jefferson and The Declaration of Independence.
We read about Nathan Hale and about spying.
They made secret military maps with invisible ink,
ciphers, using different letters to substitute for the letters in the message,
activity from Interact Simulations Patriots
 and codes using a mask with holes cut into them that are placed on top of letters.
All of the secret message activities, of course, included a lot of writing, spelling, reading and logic activities that they were highly motivated to accomplish.

We have moved on to weather section of The Ben Franklin Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments, and learned that Ben Franklin was very interested in weather phenomenon and in weather prediction. He was among the first to notice the effect of humidity on certain materials, which led to him coming up with an idea for a meteorological instrument to measure humidity. It is really fun when what we are learning can cross over to two subject areas.
After our air pressure experiments last week, this week we made a barometer for our weather station.
 We learned about the water cycle and how salty ocean water turns into fresh water through the process of evaporation, condensation and precipitation.
 We made a cloud in a bottle to learn how clouds are made.
We added a hygrometer to our weather station.

In our study about sharks, we learned that they have three rows of teeth, so we made sets of shark jaws with three sets of teeth.
We also enjoyed some more rounds of Power Sharks!
Nature Study
 Our nature study this week was the Dogwood tree in autumn. James took some photos of the tree when it was full of beautiful red leaves.
Autumn table arrangement of  orange Sassafras leaves and Dogwood branches with red berries.
Once the leaves fell off, the prettiest red berries were revealed.

We enjoyed exploring the contents of our nature swap box.

Picture Study
We began our pictures studies again after a long break. We will be studying Vermeer for the next month. This week's picture is his Girl with a Pearl Earring in which we used coloring pages to have them focus more closely on the details of the painting.

Out and About
Unfortunately I have no photos of our out-of-the-house activities this week. Sam, Katie, James and Quentin went bowling with friends on Thursday and Friday night Katie and Sam went to a Teen Game Night with friends.

Favorite Resource This Week
I used a few guides from Interact Simulations when I was teaching classes at Co-ops, and they really only work with large groups. The pricey cost, too, is defrayed if everyone in your class chips in to buy it.
Since I already had Patriots, I have been enjoying using the activities that fit for an individual or small group, such as the General and the Code Mask activities above. Patriots is written for grades 5-11, but I have been using a few of the activities with my 4th and 2nd grader, and plan to be using a few more.


  1. It looks like another very full week!

  2. Awesome week. I really enjoyed meeting you and will be following you.

  3. It looks like another great week, filled with fun learning :)

    I have to tell you, we used your idea of the cups to illustrate division (we used some plastic counting squares that we have), and it went over very well here. Lauren especially liked the idea and has been making up her own division problems since then. We created a chart for several rounds, and it was very neat to see the patterns! So, thank you :)

    And, thanks for linking to Favorite Resources. The Interact Simulations sound interesting.

  4. Role playing history is very important, and so much fun :)

  5. I am always smiling wide reading about your week...all the way down to the comment box. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! (and one more wow) We had the best time doing your shark craft. Such a great visual.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  6. Your days really are so full of rich learning experiences you share with your children. One of our daughters loves ciphers and secret codes; and I know she would especially have enjoyed that activity so much!

  7. Your weeks always amaze me at how much you cram into them. I love it all. I want to bring Kei to your house and have you homeschool her with me taking notes! You are such an inspiration Phyllis!

  8. Wow... a week of hands on fun and learning!

  9. Hi Phyllis!
    I gave you Nice blog award :)
    You can find it here:

  10. Anonymous20.11.11

    I love everything you guys do! I am going to use some of your math ideas with my daughter. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Discovering Montessori

  11. Oh my goodness - what a full and fun week! I wish I had your creativity and energy!

  12. Amazing week of learning fun!
    Thanks for sharing:) I love seeing all the hands-on learning happening at your house. We're going to play around with division here this week!

  13. You've been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. Come check it out.


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