Home School Life Journal

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

Our Homeschool Weekly Report, October 19-25, week 8

Week 8
Are you as ready for Halloween as my little boys? 
They decorated the front of the house.
We have enjoyed a lot of season fun this week.
Fall Festival
We had fun with our local homeschool group at a Fall Festival. There was face painting, games, prizes, crafts and refreshments.
Teen Barn Dance
The teens (and up) had a good time at a "barn" dance that evening.

We went to Tipton-Haynes historic site for stories,  a spooky cave to visit, hayride, spooky story house tour and hot dog roast.


Oak Hill School, 1892 Field Trip

We took an all day field trip to Oak Hill School in which the younger boys went through an entire day of school like it was in 1892.
We also studied the history of India, as well as it's geography...
 its culture...
and its cuisine.


Grouping, Addition and Subtraction with Chips

Quentin continues to work on advanced addition and subtraction. Chips provide the necessary link between concrete representation of beans and cups, that we used last week, and the more abstract numbers representing unseen quantities.

We begin with chip trading in order for him to learn that each chip, as we progress to the left, represents ten times the chip to the right.
We begin by his putting seven chips in the green and blue columns and we add one, two or three to the green column, and once he get ten greens he trades them in for a blue chip.
He also trades ten blue chips, when he gets them, for one red chip. We play this game until he can easily trade back and forth when adding and subtracting one to three chips at a time. It is sort of a banking game.
Once he proficient at this, he can begin adding and subtracting, by the roll of four die for the top amount and three for what is added or subtracted.
When he feels comfortable doing so, he can begin to create his own problems in base ten.
He can also learn that he can verify his addition answers by subtracting and verify his subtraction problems by addition.

Division with Chips

James has also made the transition from working with chips instead of beans with his work in advanced division. I first  asked him to put five orange chips, four purple chips, three red chips. two blue chips and one green chip on the new trading board.
He has worked with this color scheme before when we worked with addition/subtraction and multiplication and so he knows that each color is a multiple of ten of the chip to it's direct right.
We began by dividing this amount (54,321) by three. We began by starting at the ones/green column, making trades from the left, as needed. It wasn't too long before he discovered that this method did not work  well for him.
So, he tried again, dividing the orange/ten-thousands column first into three groups. The leftover chips are converted to purples/thousands. This continues with purples, and all the other colors, moving towards the right. Finally the green/ones chips are divided, with any leftovers places to the right of the trading board, for the remainder fraction.
I noted what he was doing on the board on the notebook page. I also noted what was happening on the board in the traditional form.
Now, he can roll dice to determine the number of chips to place in each column of the chip trading board, and the number of groups into which they are to be divided. He needs to learn how to draw a mini board on the notebook page with the appropriate number of rows beneath the chip trading board. He also can begin recording the problems in the traditional form, if he wishes, but is not required to at this time.


We have begun to study Protista and made models of several protozoa.
 Quentin made is Paramecium by tracing his foot on construction paper...
and drawing on its organelles.
James made a thin oval out of construction paper and added a flagellum made out of raffia and beans for the organelles.
Alex's Amoeba is cut of of construction paper free-hand and then the organelles were cut out of different colored construction paper and glued on. He made similar ones for the bottom to make a key.


We learned about contractions this week. At first we cut them apart and re-taped them together to make the contractions...
but then we discovered that it was better to fold them over, leaving the letters you take out in the fold. He then taped them into his book and refer to them, if he needs to, unfolding and refolding as much as he needs to. When writing the words in his writing assignments, he knows to put the apostrophe where the fold is.
They also worked in their writing journals.

The younger boys have been enjoying their twice a week gym class. They work on a wide range of sports skills.

One of the best things we did this week...
 was to go to the Carter Mansion...
at night...

 at the graveyard...
 to listen to storytellers tell scary stories...
Sam is reading The Phantom Tollbooth and I am reading A Cricket in Times Square in the evenings.
We are listening to Just So Stories on CD in the car.

Lastly, one of our postcards made its way all the way to Tyrol, Italy.
Check out Buntmond's post on the USA. It is an incredible study.


  1. My kids have been obsessively decorating our front yard too.

    I loved the foot protozoan!

  2. I really like those science models! Division using the chips is probably exactly what Ken needs to master division. I would have loved going on that field trip, once again you always know how to make history come alive. Everyone here is catching Halloween fever too. The picture with them in front of the house is priceless. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I am just blown away every week by all the amazing things you all do! I would love to just come along on every adventure for about a month! :) I love the Carter Mansion pictures. Oh my Keilee would LOVE every bit of that!! And the barn dance looks like such fun too! I wish we had things like that around here. Happy weekend Phyllis!

  4. I adore your math methods! Your science models, contractions and geography are so impressive. I'd love to incorporate so many wonderful field trips into our studies in the future. Thanks, as always, for sharing!! (Can I go to your homeschool??? It looks like so much fun!)

  5. You always give me great math ideas (among other things). We've been doing contractions with cutting, but I like your idea better. Barn dancing sounds fun!


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