Homeschool Life (Grades 4, 7, 9)

This semester has been off to a topsy-turvy start. The homeschooling part is going well… when we’re homeschooling that is! Don’t you feel like that some days?!!

I thought I would write a post about some of the things we’ve been doing lately. (At the very bottom of this post, I’ll link to other posts that give snippets of our day (or week)… all the way back to when the kids were in preschool!  There are links to about a dozen posts from throughout the years!)Homeschool Dining Room Table

I’ll start with geography because that stuff has taken over the dining room table!! :)

Most days, we have been making our way through the new geography materials I made over the break.

The kids now know all of the world deserts. (At least the ones covered in the packet, there are of course, more deserts than this!) We covered the deserts a few at a time adding them to the worksheet. Periodically, I’d have them take out the deserts on the pin map and review the ones we had covered up until that point. About every other day or so (you know, when we got to it!!) we’d add in a few more deserts.

Deserts of the World worksheetThe kids also know the World Landmarks because we’ve played quite a number of rounds of World Landmark Bingo at lunch time the past few weeks! It’s funny because these landmarks have come up in the news or in our history studies several times lately. (Love that!)

World Landmark BingoWe’ve also gone over most of the World Facts pages… so the kids feel pretty proud of all they know!  We’ve covered the countries with the largest population, the largest countries by land area, the biggest cities, etc.  We’ve had some amazing discussions about the incredibly fast explosion of world population and what that means for resources, food, energy consumption, waste management and all that stuff!  I still blows my mind that the world’s population didn’t reach one billion until 1804 and now we add another billion people to the total every 12 years or so!

As you can see from the pages, we’ve also covered most of the U.S. rivers now.  Again, we only add two or three a day, so it has taken us a while! :)

World Facts WorksheetsIn history, we have been doing a lot of review and discussion. We are still on the Age of Absolutism. Before the holiday, the kids did research and a power point slide presentation about their absolute monarch.  Now we’ve been tying it all together… how the the Renaissance period rolled into the Reformation (and even sparked that because of the huge spending on cathedrals and projects — in addition to general corruption).

We’ve talked a lot about the Protestant Reformation and the incredible devastation of the Thirty Years War. I also get pretty animated talking about the end of the Thirty Year’s War… with Alsace and Lorraine going to France at the end of that war.  I talked about how this particular tract of land will continue to go back and forth between France and Germany even through the 20th century! Napoleon was forced to give up Alsace and part of Lorraine to Germany. Then after WWI, France was given Alsace-Lorraine… but then Germany marched into this region in WWII and then France received it back after WWII.

At some point, I will share this set of materials with you all!

Age of AbsolutismWhat was really neat about all this, was this tied into this cartoon-movie about WWII that we watched over the last week or two.  As many of you know, the kids are learning German as their foreign language. Someone in one of the online groups I’m in mentioned this children’s TV series about WWII that has won some awards for best children’s programing.  It’s available on Netflix.  We watched it in German (but you can watch it in English or its original French).  It is called the Long, Long Holiday. It is set in Normandy, France.  My kids *loved* it and are hoping the next 5 episodes come out on Netflix soon!

Anyway, one of the boys is from that part of France and the other kids tease him and call him names (because they think he’s German).  I pointed out that this is the same region we talked about from after the Thirty Year’s War in history!

Long Long Holiday TV show about WWIIIn German, we have been still doing some units (we’ve been going over some anatomy in German (to tie into what we’re covering in science) and we’ve been doing some vocabulary studies, reading, as well as watching various videos. I have a bunch of materials to share – and should get to that at some point!!

In science, we are studying the Digestive System.  We are using a MOOC course that really goes into depth about anatomy. This time around, we will also be doing quite a bit with nutrition and the microbiome of the digestive tract.  We’ve been learning a lot! Lately we’ve been using a tool that allows you to study cross-sectional anatomy. What is neat about this tool is that you can look at the organs and explore them by moving the cursor around in 3 dimensions.  So, for example in the picture on the left I have the green lines centered on the heart. Then in the second picture I had followed the aorta up a bit and you can see the change of what you can see in the other viewers as I followed that.)

Here is the Cross-Sectional Viewer Tool that we have been exploring. I’ll explain a little bit about what you’re seeing below.

Digestive System Unit - Using a Cross-Sectional ViewerWe’re also doing some activities that are a little more age-appropriate for ED too! :)  More about those soon, but this gives you a hint!

Digestive Sysetm Unit - ApronOf course, we have a unit on the Digestive System. You can find more about it here:

Digestive System Worksheets and ActivitiesA little later this semester, I’ll be adding an entire section into this unit… Those new pages are on nutrition.  We’ll be talking a lot about the role of fiber plays in our digestive system & where you can get various vitamins in our diets.

Note: If you already have the Digestive System Packet and really want these pages early, just email me. I’m happy to share those with you early. I just like to go over material with the kids first before I update files. (They are becoming pros at helping me find typos, double periods and things like that!!) And also, I often add in more material as we dive into those sections. :)

Nutrition Worksheets and Activities - Fiber VitaminsBoy, this is becoming a long post!

Well, before I wrap it up, I’ll say that we started the semester with some fun critical thinking and math circle activities.  The kids really enjoyed that! You can read more about that here: Math and the Brain.

ED has really enjoyed the 3-Dice math games. We’ve started her math time with a round or two of this game a lot of the time recently! You can find that math game with 3-dice free printable here.

Math Game with 3 dice

And I haven’t talked much about reading/literature or writing.  Our current family read aloud is the Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia. (affiliate link)   It is a wonderful book!! It is about a Polish family that was rounded up and sent to Siberia in World War II. We highly recommend it!

Endless Steppe

And, we also just read Eat, Move, Sleep (affiliate link) together.  Believe it or not, the kids really enjoyed that one too (a non-fiction book about… you got it! Making sure you eat well, get enough exercise and sleep enough. The way it was written, it kept all four of us engaged and talking.)

eat move sleep

So, I’ve talked about the good things… What has made this semester off to an up-and-down start is not illness… but consistency!  For the first time in years and years, we took some time off to go skiing. And like many homeschoolers, we did that once the public school kids were back in session!

I was a bit apprehensive since I didn’t know how it would go with my ear/balance issues, but it was awesome! [For those of you who haven’t followed my blog for a while, I have had ear issues all my life.  Back several years ago I had some ear surgery that went awry. I would up with crazy ear noises, pressure, sensitivity to any sound (including my own voice)… which would make my eyes go blurry and make me get extremely sea-sick. Everything would move around with any sound (not to mention motion). I had terrible balance issues and dizziness issues.  In the end, I wound up going to Johns Hopkins to have most everything in my left ear removed (ear drum, bones, balance system.)  I am better… but not totally. :)  (This post goes into much more detail: Video-Post what in the world is semi-circular dehiscence?) It shares my journey… and the mostly happy ending… and my lovely BAHA – bone anchored hearing aid and the cool things I can do… having sound (including telephone calls, music etc.) delivered straight into my head!!!

Okay… that was all off topic, but here are a few pictures from that lovely time away from home skiing, snow tubing and stuff!

Skiing - 2018Our family is also looking forward to going to see the Terracotta Warrior exhibit in February!  That should be pretty cool. Hubby and I actually had a chance to travel to Xian when we lived overseas, but the kids haven’t seen them. Love homeschooling and that we can take the time off to do special things like that. (PS I’ll link to some of our free China resources below.)

Terracotta WarriorsSo, that’s about it for now. There’s so much more I could have said (you know, activities, sports, and all that), but I fear I’ve gone on and on too much!!  Hope your homeschooling is going well! ~Liesl

Here are some of the resources I mentioned above:
Geographic Features, Landform Words & Topographic Map Activities – World Facts Packet Update!

World Facts Packet - Geographic Features Landform Words Topographic MapsAncient China Packet (Free Notebook Pages)

Ancient China Worksheets
China Geography and Landmarks Packet

China Geography Packet

Digestive System Packet: You can find more about it here:

Digestive System Worksheets and ActivitiesDigestive-SystemHandsOnActivitiesSee you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) Homeschool Den StoreHappy Homeschooling, everyone!!  ~Liesl

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Here are some similar posts from through the years:

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2 Responses

  1. Lois Tschaepe says:

    I have been following your journey for 6 years now. As my triplet grandsons are the same age as your youngest, I have enjoyed using many of your materials and ideas. As a retired audiologist, I have followed the ups and downs of your auditory problems, and I also play the oboe. We really should have lunch sometime!

    Thanks for the years we’ve “been together”; I have enjoyed them thoroughly!

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      That would be awesome to have a coffee, Lois! We travel a lot, so maybe one day we can catch up.:) I often see your “likes” over on FB. I always appreciate that!! Thank you! :) Wow, how funny that you are an audiologist. Then you know all about my ear dramas. Had you heard of the BAHA or fitted anyone with one? (I have to go to Johns Hopkins because there is no one locally who works with these yet). The streamer that comes with it is amazing! It works with blue-tooth. The sound goes through my head conductively to my non-deaf (but hearing-impaired) side … which means that it feels like whoever I’m talking to on the phone seems like they are in my head with me! That and the fact that I can plug my ipod (or tablet or whatever) into the streamer means that I can have shows sent straight into my head too. (And of course, I can turn all external sound “off.”) The technology is pretty amazing these days!! Do you play your oboe much? My daughter joined a wind ensemble for flute and adults play with the kids. (The adults are all amazing and play professionally in the army band.) It has been fun to play again once a week! Thanks again for leaving your wonderful note! I loved hearing from you! ~Liesl

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