Thursday, November 25, 2010

Studying Nigeria

At our get together time with our friends,  I chose to read, Jungle Drums by Graeme Base while we made it through a transitional moment. 

It was our FAVORITE African tale.  My children loved the illustrations.  It was a cute story with a great lesson.  I will be adding this book to our permanent library!


T (age 6), who adored the book, “Jungle Drums,” wrote an excellent 5 page narration of the story complete with her own illustrations. 


Kayleigh wrote her own presentation this time around, without any help or suggestions.  She wrote a first person presentation as if she was a little girl from Uganda.  (That was the information available in her book)


Next, we created Nigerian huts.  These were the tops of soda bottles wrapped with masking tape and painted brown.


Then Mrs. Colette helped the kids put on a top with raffia.



Our second craft was an African mask made from newspaper and masking tape.  After the kids created these basic shapes, we wrapped them in aluminum foil for masks.  (These would be well created with paper mache as well)


Meanwhile…D and C could be found playing in the other room!  Sometimes they participate, but after painting their huts, D was done this time!


Next we took advantage of the beautiful weather for some African playground games.  Here the head of each line is trying to chase the tail of the other line.

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A circle game.  At the same time you both jump and put out a foot.  If you put the same, the person in the center has to leave the center.  If you put out a different one, the person in the center gets to stay and keeps going.

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Classic Hopscotch


And now for an African snack which included a yam bake, plantains, and a cookie.

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Another wonderful time of learning with friends! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Africa is not a country

The second continent we are studying this year is Africa.  One of my main goals during this study is for my children to understand that Africa is not a country. 

It is a continent of MANY countries, each with different people groups, unique features, amazing landscapes, and an individual history.

I found a book at the library called, “Africa is not a country”.  Each page is a short story about the typical activities of the children living in that country.  As we read the stories, we colored in that country on a large, blank map of Africa and added a label.

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You can print maps of many continents and countries in various sizes at this site.  You can print a single sheet outline map, which I printed for each girl, or a map as large as 8x8 computer pages.  I chose to print a 3x3 map of Africa, which uses 9 sheets that you fit together like a puzzle.

It was perfect!

I printed the names of the individual countries for us to cut and paste onto our map.

We have really enjoyed this activity, especially me.  My own education did not give me such a sense of the uniqueness of African countries as I hope my kids have been instilled with.  I just always though of Africa as a single place.  It has been enjoyable and educational to learn about each individual country.

We only touched a little bit on the very difficult history of various African countries, but I wanted the kids to have a general sense  of colonialism and the current state of the independent nations.

The three individual countries we will spend some time studying are Nigeria, South America, and Egypt. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Field Trip: Larriland Farm

  Hayride.  Pumpking picking.  Maze.  IMG_2130IMG_2135IMG_2173IMG_2150IMG_2146  IMG_2137   IMG_2155 IMG_2156 IMG_2159 IMG_2162 IMG_2168IMG_2169 IMG_2174IMG_2177IMG_2183 IMG_2187

Monday, November 1, 2010

Irvine Nature Center

I have been trying to implement the principles of Charlotte Mason a bit more this year.  One of them includes incorporating more nature studies into our year.

What better way to enjoy nature than to head to the Irvine Nature Center for the morning with my kiddos.  And of course, one of the blessings of homeschooling is having an amazing place like Irvine to ourselves for the morning because it is the middle of the week.


While the visitors center is amazing and my kids would have stayed there all morning, we headed outside to spend time on the nature trails for a bit. 

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There were areas on the trail that you could “hide” from the birds so that you could get a closer view while they visited the bird feeders.  The kids enjoyed spotting their feathery friends!


We had an absolute blast on our trip.  The evidence was so clear when we got home.  The kids immediately got to work setting up their own Nature Center on the front porch. 


Moments like these are my favorite part of homeschooling.  Kids should have time to “play” out their learning experiences.  A stimulating day at Irvine led naturally into an afternoon of creative play.


What a great day!