Home School Life Journal

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

Snapshot Summary, April 16-20, week 26


This has not been the most exciting week in terms of our schooling because we are once again turning our focus to moving to Tennessee. We will be leaving Maryland in one month and there is so much to do! We have to re-pack and re-do some of the things we had already done last July. In some ways the kids done really believe we are going this time. I must say even I harbor some doubts deep inside, and so it feels at times that we are just going through the motions, as if this is unreal. Despite all of this, we did get some school work accomplished. In addition to the usual 3 R's, we...
 learned about the state of Mississippi, adding one more page to our geography album...
 and celebrated with some Mississippi Mud Pie.
 Quentin and I continued with our exploration of various bases in math in order to fully understand base 10 place value.
James worked with decimal fractions. If you get your student to search problems and answers for patterns leading to rules for the correct placement of the decimal point in decimal problems and they are allowed to discover the rules for themselves, their learning will be a product of understanding, not memorization.
In the past we have assigned values to our counting board and coordinated amounts and colors.
At first we used beans and grouped them in cup, bowls and large #20 tin cans to represents ones, tens, hundreds and thousands. We next made bean sticks and rafts so we didn't have to always count out the beans. We then matched them to Math-U-See blocks, matching the colors of the counting board to the block amounts.
Now we are taking this one step further and assigning fractional values to the beans, cups and bowls on the bean trading board, using it to represent decimal fractions.
Last week we explored Decimals by assigning Fractional Values to Beans, Cups and Bowls. We then practiced the same concept using different materials. We assigned fractional values using plastic colored chips on the counting/trading board. We then created decimal problems for addition and subtraction using the counting/trading board by rolling a die for each column. Since he already knows how to create addition and subtraction problems in this way, the only difficulty he might encounter is where to place the decimal. Some students may find placing the decimal point correctly is obvious, but others might need to be asked questions to come to this understanding, rather than my stating a rule for it.

"How can you tell where the decimal point goes? Could you make up a rule to predict where it goes for addition and subtraction problems?"

Remember our science experiment that got different results than we had thought it should? We discovered that even though we had covered one of the egg cartons with a box, since we left the box in a sunny area, enough light got in the box to skew our results. We replanted and ran the experiment again, putting the box in a dark area and we obtained the results we were looking for. The experimental error showed the boys the importance of being precise with experiment lab reports and experiment directions, and the experiment showed the environmental factor and its effect on radish leaf color.
We learned about the War of 1812 and the boys played this computer game for the better part of two days.

The boys have been enjoying playing with the hose and the subsequent mud on hot days. Quentin found a flying ant during his play and brought it in for me to see (and photograph). It is wonderful to see the results of nature study. He is so aware of the things in nature and is interested in finding out more about them.

In addition to These Happy Golden Years, we are reading Riding the Pony Express.

Cilantro-Harissa Grilled Corn from Comowater
New recipes we tried this week included Cilantro-Harissa Grilled Corn (which was so good...I think I am addicted to harissa!), The Cleric Fainted (Oh, I love the name of that dish! It is a type of Greek Stuffed Eggplant), Crockpot Cinnamon Apples, Chess Squares and Rotisserie Chicken in a crockpot, which were all very good!


  1. We just drove through Tennessee, and it's so pretty. I forget why you said you guys were wanting to move, but I hope it goes smoothly this time.

  2. Oh marvelous mud! Both the kind you play in and the kind you eat :) I for one am looking forward to you being closer to us and in the south - but I know this move must be a little 'unreal' after last year. I hope the business of the move and transition will be smooth and the starts of exciting things!

  3. Another wonderful week. I just grabbed several of your recipes. The Cleric Fainted? Isn't that the best name ever.

    I hope things go smoothly for your move. I know last year life threw you a curve. Hang in there. And you will be closer to us! :)

  4. Oh, I hope your move to TN goes smoothly! I know you've been anxious to get back there for a while!

  5. I know my kids would benefit from all of these math activities. So clever! I agree that allowing them to find the answers themselves is so impotant. Thank you for sharing so much of your wisdom.

  6. We just reviewed the War of 1812 this week, I'm going to have to let my kids play that game next week! Thanks for sharing....

  7. Hello, I am Tigerlily, thankyou for writing about the sailor game. Yesterday i looked at old sailing stuff near here. Today mum found this game on your blog. I really love playing it.Thankyou so much.

  8. That corn looks SOOOO delicious! All the best to you in your move!


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