Sunday, December 16, 2007

Recycling projects (and our weekly homeschool review)

One of the best things about homeschooling is that we get to do things at our own pace. We had good intentions to finish up a few units this past week, but time was not on our side. We decided to take advantage of peacefulness of most of the kids in Kodiak still being in school and not on Christmas vacation, yet. We spent almost 2 hours at the library on Tuesday. Joshua has been learning how to find books on his own. He knew to look in the E (Easy) section for M (author Bill Martin) to find Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. So I sent Joshua off on his own to find some books while Daniel and Megan and I played with the puzzles and dominoes and read many stories.

Joshua's pen-pal sent a him a new pen in the mail this week. Joshua used it to write in his journal.
In our literature unit we completed a lesson based on The Velveteen Rabbit. In the above picture, Joshua is drawing a picture of his Ruffy - his favorite stuffed animal that he has had for a long time.

This week for Math, Joshua studied items that are heavy, light and weigh the same.

Last week's science unit focused on the food pyramid. The lesson was a bit on the light side, as far as teaching him about healthy food choices. On Wednesday I took the kids with me to the commissary to get groceries. Joshua brought along a copy of the food pyramid and identified some items that belong in each of the food groups.

This week's science lesson began a unit about conservation and recycling. We talked about different ways we recycle - passing clothes down through each of the kids and then passing them on to other families, newspapers, cans, eating leftovers. We also talked about conserving our resources - turning off the water when we brush our teeth, getting everything at the grocery store on one day instead of running to the store every day. (Incidentally, I asked Joshua what it meant to "conserve" and he answered, "it's what the waitress does when she brings us our food". ) We read a really cool story about recycling crayons and that if we melted down our broken crayons and made them into new crayons, it would be a great way to recycle. Joshua was all about making new crayons from our old ones, so began our crayon-making experiment.

We sorted the crayons by color, and then mixed some of the like-colored crayons together to make some blended crayons. We baked them in the oven at 250 degrees F for about 10 minutes or so. After they cooled, we popped them out of the aluminum muffin cups. They came out pretty cool. Joshua decided they would make a great Christmas present for his pen-pal. Joshua helped me make a box out of craft sticks to put the crayons in.

Then I turned him lose with the glue and sticks and he created a really cool sculpture. It looks like just a mess sitting on the table, but now that the glue is all dry, it is hanging in Joshua's room and looks great!

We did many Christmas crafts this week, but most of the are presents for our extended family, so no pictures until after Christmas!

We got our Nutcracker video yesterday. We've probably watched it about 5 times since getting it. Megan loves it. At first she was very upset because there wasn't a picture of the actual Nutcracker on the front of the video. During her part of the video, the sound gets really loud for a second or two. I think I'll get the Sunday afternoon DVD to see if it is a better taping of her performance. She likes to watch the video and then she dances around the living room to everyone else's dance.
We are going to take a couple of days next week to finish up some units, so we don't leave anything hanging for after Christmas break.
We tried to watch Happy Feet on movie night, but I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes of it. I found it to be slightly annoying and pretty inappropriate for kids (seriously, the penguins had attitude). So we watched Pete's Dragon instead. That's one of our favorites.
We were playing play-doh a couple of nights ago and Daniel was making circles out of his play-doh. I asked him if he knew what shape it was (he didn't). But Joshua answered and then showed me his shape - he said, "look Mom, I made South America.". : )
I'm just a little disappointed, since in some of the past years, the Coast Guard has issued orders before Christmas. Now it looks like we might not hear anything until mid-February.


The Day family of 4 said...

It sounds like you guys are having so much fun!


Love the crayon making idea! We may just have to try that with all our little broken ones.

On Happy Feet. I will agree with you. I enjoyed it, but it does have A LOT of adult context and overtones and serious issues in the movie. My kids like the dancing and music, but they won't sit and watch the movie, which is probably a good thing.

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh I love the crafts! Do we get to see the sculpture or was that a Christmas present!

Flo said...

Oh my goodness I just found your blog (thank you for your comment on my thread on CC) and it's absolutely wonderful! I'll have to add you to my blogroll list once I've finished compiling it. Keep up the great work, it's so cool to see how your homeschool work is progressing.