Friday, February 22, 2013

Italy and the Renaissance

The Clown of God.  In the first half of the week, Abishai was dressed like a juggler. In the second half, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, pretending to be a magician, a wand in one hand and a ball in the other. 

The clown of God illustrates the Renaissance period in Italy, and one can discuss a multitude of topics from it, but I'm pretty sure if you were to ask Abishai what he remembers about the book, he would mostly talk of "Fools".
Abishai called this his jugglers hat.  We own a lot of costumes, but we don't have everything and when Abishai wants to play a character he will search high and low to create a costume from what we do have. This hat went everywhere with him, even to bed.
Micaiah didn't even bother trying to juggle.  He just gathered as many balls as he could, then threw them in every direction. After, he would laugh and laugh and laugh.
We coloured the map of Italy and marked it on our world map.
We read about the life of Francis of Assisi.  We talked about monks and monasteries and how they devoted their lives to God.  We also talked about Giovanni the juggler from The Clown of God, who does his best performance for God at the end of his life.  We talked of how we too might give God glory through the work we do.

When Giovanni the juggler got old, people didn't care about him anymore; they  made fun of him, threw rocks at him and laughed at him.  To offset this injustice, we chose some books from the library about how we could love and care for the elderly in our lives.
We read books on Venice and Gondolas.  We also watched a mini video on how Venice was built and maintained.  So fascinating.
Since Giovanni was an orphan, we read a book about an orphan.  We talked about how God wants us to care for the widows and the orphans.
A book all about Renaissance-age fools.

We briefly looked at Renaissance painters: Michelangelo, Raphael, Durer, Bruegel, Bellini as well as Renaissance inventors.  I look forward to covering this in greater depth in the later grades.  But Abishai did have one very profound question: Why do these famous painters have the same names as the Ninja Turtles?  I had to laugh.
The in-between moments: Micaiah looking at art work by Walton Ford.  Walton's all about animals, which is probably why Micaiah shows interest in his art.
Abishai playing a word spelling game.
Micaiah playing a french vocabulary game.
When I first envisioned home schooling, this is what I had in mind.  Abishai learning math in his constructed fort. He calls this fort his hamburger store.  I also envisioned him reading some classic high up in a tree house or memorizing multiplication facts while jumping on a trampoline: learning without walls or boundaries.
Asher trying to sneak his way in.
My monkeys eating their bananas.

The boys are learning the first 14 books of the New Testament.  I asked them if they would sing it for you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Winter Adventures at Cedarwood

We went to Camp Cedarwood for the weekend.  My husband, a pastor, was speaking for our church's young adults retreat.  Cedarwood is one of my boys favourite places to go.  Lots of room to run, inside and out, and lots of fun winter activities.  They had a blast.
Black-light air-hockey table.
While my husband was speaking, I took the boys outside to watch some ice fishing. We tagged along with one of the Cedarwood staff guys and his sons. A perfect ending to our Arctic studies.

The orange flag pops up if a fish is caught.  There were 6 ice fishing holes drilled with the auger.

Abishai and Micaiah love sledding at Cedarwood.  This year they went down by themselves.

Ice skates and broom hockey

A great weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

The boys made their friends some Valentines with the help of Miss Rachelle, our good friend. Today we're driving around the city to deliver them.  Thanks to Rachelle for making Valentine's so much fun.

Cookies all wrapped up pretty and ready for delivery.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Arctic

We headed up to Ungava Bay in northern Canada to see how the Inuit live.  Yay Canada! We took a look at the arctic wildlife, the tundra, the northern lights and the life of arctic people, both past and present.  It was a fun journey.  We read lots of arctic adventure stories and Abishai's imagination was held captive for nearly two weeks!
Some of the books we read.  Still more books were transferred from other libraries for us to pick up.  The boys also enjoyed watching a Canadian Geographic movie about Churchill.

After reading chapters from Polar Bears Past Bedtime, where we learned more about the Arctic, Abishai wanted to be a seal hunter. He asked me if his parka was made of real seal skin.  Upon looking at the tag I told him that it WAS made of 100% seal skin.  His eyes lit up, "Really!? Mommy are you just joking?"  "Yes, I'm joking, but we can pretend."
I showed the boys real pictures of the different topics that were covered as we read through the book: igloos, tundra, polar bears, northern lights, dog sleds, huskies and so much more.
The main book that we read over and over throughout our time in the Arctic was a book called The Very Last First Time which took place close to Ungava Bay.  It was about a little girl named Eva who walked along the bottom of the sea all by herself for the very first time to collect mussels.  While the sea tide was out, a hole was cut into the ice where she would drop through the empty space beneath all the way to the bottom of the ocean floor, quickly gather mussels left behind by the tide, then climb out before the tide returned.  It was an "on the edge of your seat" kind of book.  You asked yourself, "will she make it out in time?"  To help the boys understand more about tides and how Eva walked the bottom of the sea, I placed some rocks into a clear bowl (sea bottom), covered them with water (tide) and then placed plastic wrap over the bowl (ice).  I got the idea from Live and Learn.
I took one of the boys lego men and placed him on top of the "ice" and then cut a hole for the man to drop down while the tide was out.

Lifting the bowl slightly caused the "tide" to go out and our man safely dropped down to the bottom of the sea where it was dry.  The boys also got to see what would happen if the man didn't make it out on time.

We learned from our chapter book that you can learn a lot from watching polar bears.  Here the boys are pretending they are on thin, cracking ice.  Pretending to be polar bears they are dispersing their weight and slowly inching their way to safety by pushing with their toes and pulling with their hands.  A valuable lesson for them to learn in case they are ever in a similar real life situation.
We coloured the Canadian flag. 
And puzzled Canada...
Then coloured it as well.

We also sang the Canadian anthem to an illustrated picture book... over and over again.
Of course we had to dig our own polar bear cave.  Polar bears actually dig caves into snow hills for shelter.

We charted our city's temperature each day.  It was too bad that we weren't charting when our city was -40 and lower.  Burr.
Our local art gallery had Inuit Art on display! HOW SERENDIPITOUS!  They also had igloos on the roof!  The boys enjoyed playing in and around them.
Asher enjoying the sights on the roof of the Art Gallery.

The first things Abishai noticed was the Inuksuk (ee-nook-sook).  He showed such enthusiasm over it.

Inuit woman fighting off a polar bear who is trying to eat the baby slung on her back.

Watching an igloo being constructed.

The Art Gallery had a place where you could make your own Inuit drawing.

Abishai's drawing of an igloo, polar bear and Inuit man with spear.

Such a fun unit.