We’ve had such a great week! In early March, the kids were often really testy with one another but ever since our lovely spring break (when my in-laws were here), things have been moving along well!
This post actually has nothing to do with the featured image of Starbuck, though she does rule over our homeschool room. She spends a lot of time under the homeschool room couch, but once we’re all in the room, she climbs all over us, over our books, and generally demands attention from all of us!
We’ve been wrapping up our Civics Unit this week. We have been talking about the different services the federal, state and local governments provide… and that has actually led to some really great conversations. [I really *love* that!!] Especially this time of year when it’s tax season, it’s so good to talk about all the amazing things our governments (federal/state/local) do (with all the taxes we pay)… everything from overseeing a safe transportation system (air, highways, etc.) to overseeing a great infrastructure on the local level (fire, police, trash & sewer). We’ve talked about how some things are privately owned (like some hospitals) while others are state run. Today we talked at length about the difference between federal and state prisons and why there would be a difference and also the difference between special jurisdiction and general jurisdiction courts. (I love when I learn so much too!) I could go on and on… Anyway, it’s really been a good unit! Click on the picture to see more about our civics and government packet.
Meanwhile, we have resumed our Middle Ages unit as well. We are *loving* the book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. (affiliate link) No matter how much we read together (a lot or a little), the kids are in agony when we stop! (Even if you’re not studying the Middle Ages, this is a great read aloud book!) And, we started building a model of a medieval village. I’ll take pictures when we’re done. It’s a great project. Fun stuff!
On an exciting note, we decided to do a language immersion camp this summer. We’ll be doing a week of family camp in German (unfortunately Hubby won’t join us). It’s called Concordia Language Villages and has more than 15 languages to choose from (not an affiliate link). We’re going to drive to Minnesota with our homeschooling friends (who are also studying German!). Hey, if *you* are studying German, you should come join us! It’ll be fun. We are SO excited about it; it has breathed new life into our German lessons. I’ll save the details of our German lessons for another post, but I made an awesome (funny) printable that we’ve been using. I’ll share that… and a blank version that you can use for studying another language (French or Spanish or whatever). So, more about that next week!
We haven’t yet jumped into our next science unit (human body). We’re hoping to start in on that next week… though with all the trips we have planned now that the weather is nice, we’ll see how that goes!
Speaking of nice weather, because it’s spring, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out in the gardens again. We have a HUGE strawberry bed (maybe 5 feet by 30 feet?). In fact, each May we get lots and lots of strawberries. I usually put up about 30 jars of strawberry jam! Anyway, I ordered another 40 strawberry plants and got those planted a few days ago (and weeded the entire bed). We also bought several new blueberry bushes (adding to the 15 or so bushes we already have.) And, I’ve done some general weeding and spreading bark mulch in the flower beds at the front of the house. I enjoy working in the garden in this lovely weather.
I was going to share a picture of the strawberry bed, but even though it looks good to me, it wasn’t much to look at on the blog. The daffodils look pretty though!
Back to our homeschool stuff… the kids have been working steadily on our other subjects. Math, for some reason, is going especially well the past couple of weeks. The kids are polishing and reviewing some topics that were covered earlier in the year (or last year). Last fall we started using index card review regularly and that is still an *awesome* tool for us. It seems silly that review cards would be so important, but they’ve really made a difference. If there’s a challenging new term we’ve learned in math, German, science or whatever, I just jot the term or question onto an index card and add it to the stack that we review when we’re spending ‘Mom time’ together. (I make a point of spending 20-30 minutes separately with each of the kids each day… mostly for math, but often to review other material as well). Each of the kids has their own index card pouch, called a Travel Neck Wallet Badge ID Holder. (affiliate link) I find the size is perfect because it holds about — 25 cards or so. The long chord helps us find it when it gets stacked with books and notebooks. Though I’m sure you are much more organized than we are and never leave piles of stuff out!
I’m jumping ALL over the place with this post, but I also wanted to rave about the homeschool room. And not because of Starbuck who spends 95% of her time in the homeschool room. Hubby saw a stand-up (or sit-down) desk that was 50% off (the black desk pictured below!). We decided to get one, a bit of an early birthday present for me. The kids are getting older/taller and we wanted the change. Well, you know how adding furniture goes… it meant that old furniture had to go, bookshelves needed to be moved, books needed to be donated, piles needed to be sorted. It’s taken a lot of time, but the room is looking better and better!
We’ve been using the open space in a new way (actually, you can’t see the open space really in the pictures above so just use your imagination!)–and I think that change has been good for our homeschool routine. We also made a good spot for the CD player and that’s been getting a lot of use the past couple of weeks because we’ve been listening to stories in German and are also in the middle ofa book on tape for history (not Crispin, a different book set in 1066).
[Random Comment: In the picture above, you can see a *huge* basket of yarn. When I visited the neighbors from my childhood in Nov. (they were like 2nd parents to me!!), they offered us tons and tons of craft materials because she’s no longer able to do crafts like she used to. The yarn is colorful and the girls use it all the time, so it’s basically always out in that huge basket! Pom-pom creatures rule!]
And one more thing before I go… some really dear, close homeschooling friends of ours just returned to the area after a 2-year tour overseas. The kids and I are *thrilled* to have them back. A long overdue play date (and Mom chat session!) has definitely made this week wonderful too!!
Well, if you’ve made it to the end of the post, thanks for reading!! lol! I think this is one of those posts I’ll scratch my head later and wonder why I hit “publish” since I’ve jumped all over the place! But I suppose this kind of post makes for good memories too.
Hope your homeschooling is going well!! ~Liesl and the Kids
See you again soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You might be interested in these related posts:
- Creating Daily Homeschool Routines and Procedures – This was a post from last fall where I first talked about using the index card system. You can see it’s still going well 8 months later.
- Middle Ages Unit: The Medieval Church and Monasteries Worksheets (Free)
- Middle Ages Unit: King Arthur and Charlemagne (with free printables about Charlemagne)