Saturday, May 14, 2011

Early American History Booklist K-4

We have personally read these, and find them good for the age group of 1st through 3rd grades at least, and many will be good for older.  We didn't just come up with a list of random books.  These are only the ones that we enjoyed.  Some we enjoyed less, and I hope the review after each book helps you to choose more accurately.  These are mostly visual books to bring the eras to life, although there are some read alouds.

There are so many good Read Aloud selections to choose from, so I haven't included many from Sonlight, as their list is so good already.  There are a couple here that are on their lists, though.  ;)  Let me know if the list is hard to read or navigate or if you have a wonderful book that I could add.

You can find the printable PDF list here!

Book Key:
Picture Book - PB
Read Aloud Fiction - RA
Activity Book - AB

The list is divided into these categories:

  • Native Americans

  • Explorers

  • Pilgrims and Colonials

  • American Revolution

  • Lewis and Clark

  • Pioneers and Expansion West


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mini Astronomy Unit

We are finishing up our Sonlight Science 1 with a study on space.  Since we're done with our history, we find ourselves with a lot of extra time to do some fun activities, including an art project and a solar system model.  We did some notebooking pages, including some I made.

I found some lovely minibooks to put in our notebooks on Homeschool Share.  Take a look at Jimmie's Squidoo lens on the solar system.

Our main book for this section is DK Eye Wonder Space.  This series is perfect for grades K-4.  You may have to paraphrase for K, but the illustrations and photos in this book are absolutely wonderful and engaging.  I really like the Let's Read and Find Out science series, and The Planets in Our Solar System is very good.

The middle picture above is the solar system model we purchased, 3-D Solar System Kit.  We were going to use Styrofoam balls and skewers, but the foam balls are a bit pricey, and I could only find them in packages as opposed to 1 ball, and there weren't enough sizes to accommodate all of the planets.

For our art project, we decided to create a Jupiter bean mosaic!  I got the idea from blog surfing, and I can't remember where!  If it was your idea, post below!  ;)  Reds, oranges, yellows, white, and browns would be the best colored beans, but I used what we had on hand.  We used lima beans (white), brown lentils, and colored spiral pasta.  Start out by tracing around a large bowl onto orange or red construction paper.  Next, draw the layers of Jupiter, including the red eye.  They aren't nice and neat like a cake, but swirly and sloping.  Then go to town gluing beans!

Glue beans in the layers while looking at a pic of Jupiter.

Beeps with her completed mosaic! (4)

Dreamer's Jupiter Mosaic (6)

Coco's mosaic (8)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hatchling Robins!

Maggie, yes, we named a tree

We planted a lovely DD Blanchard Magnolia in our front yard 6 years ago.  It has grown at least 6 feet.  About 2 years ago some American Robins constructed a beautiful nest in our favorite tree.  Every year robins (the same?) come back and lay eggs.  We are thrilled every time.  It is high enough that you can't peek into the nest, but I can always reach my camera up there without disturbing anything.  They are so fascinating and . . . ugly . . . but cute.  We LOVE them!

I got one shot on Saturday, 3 days ago.  I had meant to take a photo of them growing before they flew the nest, but they were already gone in 6 days!  I wish I had a better camera so that I could stay far away and watched the parents feed them.

I think this deserves a notebook page!

Bird Study notebook page

We love the Let's Read and Find Out series for grades K-2.

Cute . . . yet ugly! ;)

And gone . . .


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries!

We go strawberry picking every year, and now is the time for these juicy fresh berries.  Wait, are they really berries?  We really picked way too many, so we will have strawberry jam for at least a year after our adventure!  I told the girls that we were having strawberries for dinner.

Aside from vast quantities of strawberries, we had a lot of fun!  I have learned that each seed on the strawberry is actually an ovary.  Weird.  I have read strawberries don't reproduce by seeds, but by runners.  Does anyone know if this is true?  Botanists call strawberries "false fruit" or more accurately a pseudofruit.  The fleshy part is actually an enlarged part of the stamen of the flower.

Regardless, we had a lot of fun with our nature study this afternoon.

Take a look at Dynamic 2 Moms' strawberry unit.  We did parts of the notebook last year when we went strawberry picking, so we didn't do it again this year.

Ripe and Unripe Strawberries

Coco with a tasty strawberry!

Digging in!

Dreamer found a lovely one!

When we got home, we dug into making freezer jam.  It's no cook; I just use the freezer jam packets that you can find at any grocery story.  With everyone's help, it didn't take too long.  I do wish we had a large food processor than our tiny 2-cup model!  It was easy, and we have so much jam!  You could easily make this jam with store-bought strawberries and the freezer jam pectin.  Give it a try. :)

Strawberry Jam For a Year!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Plastic Jewels

There are so many things your preschooler can do with plastic jewels, especially if there is plenty of variety in color, size and shape.  They are relatively inexpensive at a dollar store.  I got a huge bag.  I don't think a lot of explanation is needed for this, so I'll leave it to the photos!  Don't forget about having your preschooler copy a pattern with the jewels too!

I bought this set at Dollar Tree for a dollar.  These would be good as your child gets older to use as counters and manipulatives to help with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Sort by color

Sort by shape

Sort by size