December 22, 2011

Twas The Night Before Christmas!

I have just discovered two blogs which specialize in linking others to public domain materials which you can use to create anything you want for sharing or selling. There is a wealth of wonderful creative tools on these blogs. I hope you find them as enjoable as I have. I have this much fun only when shopping in second hand stores. You can find gems if you look.
Using a public domain book, Denslows the Night Before Chrsitmas from the homeschool commons I created a couple of things to add to my publisher page over at currclick. (In january there will be a wishes come true sale. Anything you have in your wish list fom my homepage will be 50% off)

First, I made a My Copywork Notebook with primary and regular lines.

Then, using velum, I traced 15 of the full page illustrations to make coloring pages. Once they were traced I scanned that image into my computer and laid it out in Publisher, added text etc. Please feel free to snag this coloring page and use it however you like. With the coloring pages is the complete poem laid out so you can print it and bind it as a book.

Merry Chirstmas!

Venus it's hot, hot, hot

Venus title Max

Zak's map drill adding in Venus
Venus is the third planet we have studied so far. We began with the sun, then mercury and now venus. It is a very hot planet and full of volcanos so we decide the pages out to look a bit hot, so we chose orange to shwo this. (We are saving red for Mars).

Our Volcano experiment. Photo taken by Max
We only did one experiment this chapter. It was a very easy one using flour, melted butter a small bowl and a tray. Butter melted flowed down the flour mountain we created much the way lava does on the volcanos on Venus. Then as it hardened we could see how the planet was formed.

Two page spread in Zak's book.

The phases of venus are similar to the phases of the moon.
Max's drawing of Mariner.
What we know about venus today is largely due to the voyages of the unmanned spacecrafts of Mariner.
Max's drawing of venus and the earth.
Long ago, people believed that venus and the earth were twins. But because of the umanned space crafts who vayaged out into space, we know that venus is covered with a  gaseous atmosphere that makes it uninhabitable for people. Though it is about the same size as the earth it is very different than the earth. They are not twins.
Zak's title page.
Venus was a fascinating planet. But now we are onto our investigation of our own world, planet Earth. See you soon!
BTW all or mini books came from these two lapbook packages:
(I waited until currclick had their year end sale and bought them half price.)

December 9, 2011

What did the Pharaohs wear on their heads?

 We have begun a new pocket for the Kings and Queens of Ancient Egypt and we are filling it up rapidly.

Red Crown book
The first thing we did was to look at all of the different crowns and headderesses the Pharaohs wore and what they symbolized. To do this I created books for each one. You can download the PDF for these crown books HERE and create your own.

The crown books contain a cover to decorate and a page for writing and a back cover which is plain.
Zak's Double crown book

Max's White Crown book

T.J.'s war crown book
(nemes crown book? our picture is missing)

Making one of the these books took us about 1 hour. So, while they were coloring and cutting and copying, I read to them from The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth  Payne.

Now all the books are tucked nicely away into the Kings and Queens pocket. How to make these pockets HERE.
 But wait there is yet more...This next book is also included in the Crowns book PDF.

Max's Crook and Flail book.

The crook is one of the symbol s the pharaoh is seen with often in reliefs and paintings. It symbolized the role the Pharaoh plays as a shepherd to his people. The Flail is the symbol of power and used against the enemies of Egypt to bring them into submission. Learning this was very enriching, it opened our eye to see how each of the pharaohs were either better with the crook or better with the flail or good at both sides of leadership.

Now, because boys are interested in more active things than writing and coloring, I have interjected many different games and hands on projects in between making these lovely crown books. This was successful in keeping them moving at a nicer pace through our study of Egypt. A pace that all enjoyed. One of these activites is a game called The Egyptians. It is a bit pricey but well worth the money. My dh husband introduced the game to the boys and changed the rules slightly. Instead of the goal of the game to become the conquering pharaoh he set the game up so that the one who was the best shepherd to his people wins. I love it! and so did the boys. We also played Go Fish for Ancient Egypt.
Max's nemes crown
Over at First Pallette I found some fun printables for making egyptian headresses and arm bands, necklaces etc. The boys plan to make all of them, this nemes crown being the first of their collections. They also want me sew a white Egyptain skirt for each of them. Luckily for me, a friend of mine happened to be moving and gave away a lot of fabric. Max scored a wonderful piece of wite shimmery fabric that will make three egyptian skirts easily! We are all thrilled!

Zak's nemes crown

T.J.'s nemes crown
They painted masks of Pharoah. More on that over HERE.

T.J.'s  latest map drill
They did some very cool looking maps with our new water colors we picked up in Sri lanka.

Max's latest map drill
And that wraps up our lastest investigation into Ancient Egypt. Soon more about the pharoahs and queens.

School pictures 2011

It is a little late in the year for this kind of thing, but the opertunity arose so I took it. This morning the boys decided to get dressed-up for church. They looked soooooo handsome I just had to get a few pictures. Then I thought why not just use them for school pictures this year.

This is Max, my oldest, he will be eight years old in a little over a week.

This is T.J. he will be seven years old this summer.

And Zak...the other half of the twins. he will be seven this summer too!

Thanks for posing are great!

November 30, 2011

Pharaoh Masks

Zak's Mask

We are just about half way through our mini books of the Kings and Queens of Egypt and we took a break from the 2-D projects we have been working on to do these fun 3-D masks of an Egyptian Pharaoh.

T.J.'s Mask

Max's Mask

And we listened to Jim Weiss tell us the story of The Mummy's Tomb from his album entitled Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths

It was a nice change of pace to do something different.

November 27, 2011

Composer Study...Mozart

We have been listening to music by Mozart for years. I compiled an MP3 CD with his music and we play it often as the boys go to sleep. Of all of the choices we have, Mozart is one of their favorites. When we began this composer's study, we knew we liked Mozart's music and already had an appreciation for it, so my main goal in this composer study was to get to know Mozart as a person and to take a close up look at one of his operas.

Last year I purchased a package deal of Opal Wheelers biographies of famous composers. I am still glad I did. The coloring pages and the music on CD have been very useful to us. While I read from the book, Mozart the Wonder boy the boys work on coloring pages, two from each chapter which they colored with felt pens or water colors. They can listen for hours if their hands are kept busy.

I love how all of Opal Wheelers stories of the composers begin by telling us about the lives of the composers as children. We read about how they grew up and what people were in their lives. We learn about their families and what kind of children they were. We can see if they had a good life like our own or if there where difficult thigs in it. Her way of telling their stories makes it easy for my boys to picture themsleves in the lives of these little geniuses and see them as real people with family and troubles etc. Knowing more of the realities and personalities adds so much to the understanding of the music we are enjoying.

After reading Mozart the Wonder boy, we filled out a biography notebook page about Mozart and said what we liked about him. (his music of course!) We put him on the composer timeline to see when he lived compared to Beethoven and Bach whom we learned about last year.

Zak's Lapbook cover
Also,we added his picture to our mini book in our composer lapbooks which we began last year.

I read to them a picture book I found at Goodwill for 69 cents entitled Mozart Tonight. Which is a richly illustrated book that takes us behind the scenes on the night Mozart is to perform the opera Don Giovani. The story fills in the gap where opal wheeler leaves off and tells us more what he was like once he grows up and marries. It was also a wonderful introduction to our look at the opera The Magic Flute by showing us what an opera is and what all goes into performing one.

Once we completed many coloring pages and had a grasp on the flow of the life story of Mozart, we turned our attention to Mozart's last work, the opera entitled The Magic Flute.  I used Classical Kids Mozart's Magic Fantasy to introduce them to the opera.  We haven't listened to an opera or seen an opera before so I was thrilled when the boys REALLY enjoyed this production of it. They really like the birdman character and so we did a few activities with him.

First of all we made bird masks. And we learned the birdman song. Then the boys put on their bird masks and lip synced the song. So cute! Here is T.J.'s video

From one of my digital copies of "The Tutor" I found a 'story' of the Magic Flute which we read through and narrated and then did some copywork of their narrations. I wrote down on a white board what they remembered about the birdman, and then they copied it onto the notebook page. There is a notebook page for the birdman and one for the queen of the night.

For fun to end our study of Mozart, we ate cookies and cocoa and listened to the whole production of Mozart's Magic Fantasy from start to finish with out any breaks. (When we listened to it the first time I broke it into smaller sections so we could talk about what was happening in the story etc. We did one section, maybe half of an hour, twice a week until it was completed.)

If you ask the boys before we did this study on Mozart they would say that He was their favorite after the study HE STILL IS their favorite composer. What is it about the music of this young man who endears himself to us so well?

BTW One of the best spots on the internet for getting ideas and finding resources for a Mozart composer study is Jimmie's Mozart lense. And....she has pages and pages of these wonderful lenses for just about any topic you may be studying. Check out her lense master page. I just them!

November 23, 2011

The Girl I Used to Be

"The Girl I Used To Be"

She came tonight as I stood alone,
The girl I used to be,
And she gazed at me with an earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully.

Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame
The wonderful things you'd do?

Where is the mansion of stately height
With all it's gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad,
For I wanted her pleased with me.
This slender girl from the shadowy past,
The girl that I used to be.

Ever so gently, I took her hand
And guided her up the stairs,
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
Innocent, sweet and fare.

I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me.
The silken robes are my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love.
And the only career I know,
Is serving within these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw the woman that I am now,
Pleased the girl that I used to be.

-Unknown author

November 21, 2011

Field Trip to Sri Lanka

My husband had a business meeting in Sri Lanka and the whole family was invited. The meetings only lasted  few days so we tacked on a few more and spent two fun filled weeks exploring this wonderful country. To make it even more fun my parents were planning a trip to Thailand and decided to add Sri Lanka onto to that trip, so they spent a week in Sri Lanka with us.

We stayed at Mount Lavinia which was an old British fort years ago, and has recently been remodeled into a five star hotel it was delightful! While there we happened to catch the old movie "Bridge Over the River Quai" on the TV and this hotel was in the movie as a Mount Lavinia hospital. How cool is that!
We spent many hours in the hotel pool from sun up to sun down some days. The boys had a blast meeting other children and getting better at their swimming skills.
In Sri Lanka they drive on the 'wrong' side of the street. It took a few days to feel safe in a tuktuk the local cheap taxis.

Here is a pretty red tuktuk. Like riding in a motor cycle car. One driver told us you can buy a used one for around 2,500 USD. All five of us can fit into one and once we crammed all seven of us in plus the driver. Glad that was a short ride.

One of the best things about Sri Lanka was how close you can get to many of the 'wild' animals. In this picture Max and Zak and TJ are at the bathing river near the elephant orphanage. These elephants all have been orphaned and are taken care of here. We were allowed to go right out into the river with the elephants, touch them watch them bathe. There were over 30 of them.

In this picture a girl is feeding one of the baby elephants.

My dad getting personal with a mama elephant.

When traveling between cities we took the train. It is about $1.50 for a four hour ride. Less for shorter distances. Unfortunately while we were there it was the Buddhist moon festival so everyone in Sri Lanka was traveling and the trains were packed. Our second class tickets ment nothing as we were pushed into third class just to get a place to stand up. Luckily we discovered where people were traveling to and avoided those towns. Having seats on a bouncy, old train is nice.

This picture is taken by one of the boys. They are learning to use the camera. The people we met were so gentle and kind. I could really get used to living there.

We often took early morning trains to miss the rush and on this trip I noticed a monk brushing his teeth along the tracks.

Grandma Jean with TJ by the pool.

Zak in orange and the orange and pink lanterns

Grandma and Grandpa on the balcony at our hotel in Kandy a mountain city inland.

The flowers in this land were lovely.

And the beach was quiet and the ocean waves warm. It was a wonderful place to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

The boys had a wonderful field trip and we saw so many new and interesting things Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for joining us!!