23 November 2009

Field trip to Egypt

Well, not really, but it felt like it!

Recently Gracie and I went on an extended field trip to the Bay Area. We went to see the King Tut exhibit currently at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco and the Egyptian-themed Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose.

Unfortunately there was no photography allowed in the exhibit, but we were quite surprised to see a stunning resemblance between King Tut and certain members of our family! Who knew? Maybe we're descendants of royalty! At the Rosicrucian museum, we felt like we had been transported to Egypt. The grounds were beautiful and filled with intricate buildings and plants like papyrus and pomegranate that made us feel like we were walking along the Nile. The highlight for us was a recreation of an ancient Egyptian tomb that we could walk through. The walls of the tomb were decorated with images from Egyptian mythology. On the right hand wall you can see some of the gods weighing the dead man's heart to determine if he will make it into the afterlife.This is a recreation of Hammurabi's Code that is supposed to be almost identical to the original.

There were also recreations of the Rosetta Stone and King Tut's actual mummy case (the original never leaves Egypt). There were plenty of original artifacts in the museum as well, but the recreations pleased us just as much. We learned about Hammurabi and different types of ancient writing, like cunieform and heiroglyphics earlier this year, so it was neat to see something close to the real thing. And it will be a while until we can travel to Egypt or Europe where those artifacts reside!

Although it's fairly small, it's a very comprehensive museum. On their website they have a 10-day curriculum guide to go along with a museum field trip, including a quiz, which we used as a scavenger hunt at the museum.

20 November 2009

Artist Study: Piet Mondrian

Here's what we did during our Piet Mondrian unit study...

Put up Mondrian Wall
Spied some Modrian art in Squeaking of Art, The Mice Go to the Museum and Anna's Art Adventure

Began art lesson from Masterpiece of the Month by drawing grid lines with a yardstick,

tracing them with a glue and black paint mixture,
filling in spaces, and numbering the work. (Notice the tiny #1 at the top center?)
Used electrical tape (much quicker and less messy, yet no less inspired!) to create another Mondrianesque work of art:
Used primary colors to paint a picture of a flower, inspired by Mondrian's Amaryllis.Our own little Amaryllis was inspired to create all on her own as well!

09 November 2009

Co-op Day: Under the Sea

This year a few homeschooling friends and I have been getting together for a monthly co-op. There are 6 moms and 18 kids ranging from our big second-graders to just under a week old! This month I was the hostess and had a blast planning a morning of ocean-themed fun and learning.

While waiting for everyone to arrive, the kids worked on coloring a printable mural and cut-outs from learningpage.com.

Next came worship. We sang Deep and Wide and Peace Like a River. We read a few Psalms that talked about the ocean like Psalm 89:9, Psalm 93:4, and Psalm 148:7.

After the group worship time we divided the kids up into 3 groups and they rotated through 5 different activity centers led by different moms.

Art center:

The kids made their own aquarium using paper plates, cornmeal sand, crepe paper seaweed, and foam stickers from Joann's. Unlike my example, they also decorated their plate before putting anything else on.I prepared the front of the aquarium top beforehand, since it was both time consuming and tricky for little hands to do. I used blue plastic wrap taped to the back of a paper plate.

Confession time: I did not take a single picture during our time together. These were taken after everything had been cleaned up and put away!

Science Center

:The kids learned about floating and sinking by making a hypothesis about which objects would float in both fresh water and salt water. Both an uncooked egg and a potato should float in the salt water and sink in the fresh water.

Sorting Center:

What's the difference between whales and fish? Inspired by this activity, we made a giant Venn diagram with two hula hoops to sort different characteristics written on index cards.

Reading Center:

We had lots of books available for the kids to read or look at independently or have read to them. I don't think my local library had any ocean-themed books left after I raided all the shelves! Here's a list of some good ones:

Turtle In The Sea

Mister Seahorse



A House for Hermit Crab

My Visit to the Aquarium

The Magic School Bus Gets Crabby

The Rainbow Fish

10 Little Rubber Ducks

Is This a House for Hermit Crab?


One Small Place by the Sea

Miranda's Beach Day

Drama Center:

The kids played charades, pretended to be different animals, and put on a puppet show based on some of stories they had read.

After centers we finished up with a "sharing" time. This seems to be a favorite activity for everyone! The kids are able to present something they learned, read something they've written, or recite a poem or verse they've memorized. Some of the little ones just like being in the spotlight! It's great because public speaking is one of those skills that are hard to develop when you're homeschooled.

This was our third meeting and the kids are really starting to feel more comfortable with each other. Meeting for co-op once a month has been great for all of us and our kids since it makes coming together a treat and not a drudgery. Hopefully our co-op will continue to be a blessing to us all!