Friday, November 30, 2012

Europe

For our geography studies, we have been visiting Europe. Here are a couple of the fun activities we have done: Stonehenge in the UK

The Greek Parthenon

Here is my own Greek sculpture, I was highly impressed with my abilities. Isaac was not, however, and he laughed at it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Diligence

If I had to sum up my theme for this school year in one word, it would be "Diligence."  I know what the word means to me, but I wanted to look up the word to find it's exact meaning.  According to www.dictionary.com, the word "diligence" means: "constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind."
To me, diligence is that thing that makes me crawl out of my warm bed every.single.morning to educate my boys.  It is what makes me look tirelessly for new and creative ways to help them learn.  It is the characteristic that makes me keep doing what I am doing even though every part of me wants to quit some days.  When the apathy wants to overtake me, diligence is what makes me push it down so that we can be successful.
Diligence.
I want to take a closer look at the definition above:
(1) Diligence is constant. 
There are always days where the discipline of diligence takes a back-burner to other things. But diligence itself is what makes me pick right back up where I left off. My natural tendency is to completely give up if I cannot do something 100%. Because of my focus on diligence, I don't have to be at 100%. The key for me has been consistency. If something gets me off course one day, I get back on course the next.
(2) Diligence and accomplishment go hand in hand.
I may not always be able to see the results of what I do with the boys on a daily basis, but I know that there is tremendous accomplishment in what I am doing with them. The diligence of our daily efforts is what gives us accomplishment in the long-term.
(3) Diligence is not only something I utilize with my mind, but it is physical.
On those days I don't "feel" like doing school with the boys (and there are many of those days!), I make my physical self get up off the couch and walk downstairs to the school room to begin our day. Often times, overcoming my apathy is as simple as taking those few short steps to the basement. I pray diligence will be my constant companion in the years to come. Our success depends upon it.

October Unit Study: Elections, Presidents, and Voting

Our October unit study was all-things election! We really packed a TON into this unit study. Although most of my monthly unit studies will be focused on Graham, this one also involved Isaac. Here are a few of the things we did this month:
*Patriotic art projects: Uncle Sam mask, Popsicle stick flag, 3-D White House
*Wrote Essays on "What I would do if I were President"
*Participated in a mock election (photos below)
*Read facts about each president during calendar time every day
*Learned about the branches of government, the electoral college, and the women's suffrage movement
*Went on a field trip to vote on election day!

Here is Graham looking adorable in his Uncle Sam mask:
Here are a few of our other art projects:
For our mock election, we read from three books: (1) "Duck for President, (2) "Grace for President" and (3) "My Teacher for President."  The election we held was between these three "candidates."  We spent some time a couple of weeks before our mock election talking about campaigning.  We made some campaign posters.  I thought it was hilarious when Graham excitedly had me come outside to see that he had proudly stuck his poster to the bumper of his car as a bumper sticker!

Here's Graham on our mock election day:
Our Voting station was equipped with a ballot box, "I Voted" stickers and a laminated photo ID for both of the boys to present before voting.  I assigned electoral votes to myself, Isaac and Graham based on age (guess who had the most electoral votes?) prior to our election.
Isaac casting his vote:
Graham casting his vote:
Proudly wearing their "I Voted" stickers!
The election break-down: Grace won!
Here we are on the REAL election day!


Even though this election didn't quite turn out how we had hoped, we learned a TON this month, and it was so fun to be learning about things that were unfolding in real life.  There are SO many great election-themed and patriotic children's books out there.  Below are a few of the books we read this month.