"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week #1-2 -- ECC in MFW

Here I am folks, as promised, bringing you our first blog post for the new school year.  For third grade, we will be spending 2 or 3 weeks on a given subject.   I will be writing a blog post at the end of our studies for that theme/topic.   Exploring Countries and Cultures, otherwise known as ECC, is the name of our curriculum for this year.  In my preparation and studying before we got started I saw many posts by other moms saying how hard these first two weeks were for them.  Now that we have those two weeks behind us, I would have to say that I agree.  Let's admit it.  The first couple of weeks of school are always hard anyway after having been off for a long summer break.  The first 3-4 days of school, even I was dragging by the end of each day and my eyes and mind were screaming for a nap.  We pushed through though and did really well.

Caleb and I have very full school days.  The grid I use to look at each day/week is literally full of things we try to get done.  I didn't think to take a picture of my marked-up grid for this first blog post.  Maybe I will do that for the next update.

Here is a day in the life of Pam and Caleb as they delve into ECC:

*Language Arts
*Math Drills
*Book Basket
*Foreign Language
*The Complete Book of Animals

If you want a little more detail and would like to check out our pictures, keep reading......

Bible:  We read from our Windows of the World, Properties of Ecosystems Book, God Speaks Numanggang books for our bible time.  Lots of interesting topics.  God Speaks Numanggang was fun as we learned about a missionary family and their quest to create the written language and then the bible for the Numanggang people.  Very cool.  We talked about John 3:16 and made a poster to go along with the verse.

Language Arts:  We are going over all the letters of the alphabet and Caleb writes them out on notebook paper.  For example, he practices a row of Upper and Lower Case "A"s.....This was supposed to take three weeks to finish, but in standard form for my son he asked to double up so we could finish them sooner.  Much sooner.

He also has vocabulary words every Friday.  They are science terms and he is to write the term on one side of an index card along with an illustration of the term.  On the back side he is to write the definition.  I didn't take pictures of these, but I will as some point.  He was dragging his feet quite a bit on this, but afterwards he was quite proud of the result.  

Spelling:  We are back to using the same spelling program we were using for the latter part of 2nd grade, All About Spelling.  It was really working well for Caleb and I can still see that it was a good choice.  It teaches him how to break down words and sound them out.  So, right out of the shoot, he can write words like these that he has never "worked" with before:

Let me just mention that these words are easy words.  Caleb can read them fine.  It's the going back later and writing them without looking at them that he would struggle with.  All About Spelling is helping him so much in learning to do that.

English:  We're using our Queen's Language Lessons workbook.  To start off the year, Caleb has been doing copywork every day.  Not his favorite thing at all, but in small doses, he does great.

Math and Math Drills:  Since we're just at the start of the year, we're mainly sticking to math drills for now.  Working through addition and subtraction facts, trying to help him get a little quicker on the answers.

Geography:  For the first two weeks in geography we have been studying maps and globes.  Caleb filled out a passport form and we "mailed it" to the passport office a.k.a. Daddy.  We talked about n/s/e/w on the map/globe, equator, the hemispheres, distance and the scale on the map, latitude and longitude, elevation-depth, physical and political maps, local maps, and various other kinds of maps.

We watched a video on youtube showing how globes are made.  We watched another youtube video on the Continents - a song singing the names so Caleb can try to learn them by memory.  And we watched another video on-line about latitude and longitude.  I am very fortunate to be part of a homeschool on-line group where mom's who have previously taught this curriculum have added links to lots of on-line resources to help our kids learn these topics.

One day we discussed globes and maps and talked about how hard it was for map makers to take the earth and lay it flat on a map.  So, we used a dollar store ball, drew the continents on it, and cut it up and tried to lay it flat.  I think it made a pretty good visual for him.

Book Basket:  I have initiated book basket this year in a way that I have not done in the past.  This year, Caleb has to spend 10-15 minutes looking at books - on - his - own.  No mom reading to him, just Caleb by himself looking at books.  I encourage him to read them, but if he doesn't want to read, that's okay.   But he has to be involved in looking at books that go with our topic/theme for the week that we're in.

Science:  Our science topics are always going to be connected in some way to the area of the world that we are studying at the time.  The book we are using is The Properties of Ecosystems and boy, it is advanced.  It was suggested that for younger kids, 4th grade and under, that we not even use the book for the first two weeks of school.  I opted to try and whatever Caleb got out of it was gravy.  It was hard, that's for sure, but he had fun with some of the activities and so I think it was worth the time we spent on it.

Habitats:  We discussed habitats and marked off an area in the yard.  He was to look at it as he stood up and then again with a magnifying glass to see what he could see up close.  He had a worksheet to fill out and list everything he saw and heard that was in our habitat and the area around us.

Worm Niche:  Okay.  So.  Last year we tried the worm niche and it was a major flop.  This year?  Success!!  Yay!!


Black dirt......

Sand.....and then more black dirt (we didn't show the 2nd layer of black dirt going into the jar.)


Worms.....We used red worms this year instead of night crawlers.  I'm not sure if that was why we had success, but whatever it was, these little guys were very active.

A cover for darkness......

Day two.....  Tunnels

More tunnels....

And more tunnels.....

Day three.... even more tunnels....

Then they were toast.....sorry worms.  Not sure why, but by the 4th day we had mold in the jar and the worms were no longer happy campers.  But, we did get to see how they moved around in their niche and move the dirt to aerate it, etc.

Water Cycle:   Caleb put dirt in a jar along with some plants and then he watered everything in the jar, without making it soggy.  The concept is, watch the water form as condensation on the top of the jar and then "rain" back down to water the plants.  I just realized I didn't take a picture of that part of the project, but it did make condensation and it was fun to watch.


*We listened to our Wee Sing cd - Hello to all the children of the world
*Created the John 3:16 poster (here it is again for you to see.)

*Made some paper dolls depicting "children of the world."  I was surprised how much Caleb enjoyed the paper dolls and wanted to draw faces on them.

*Made a world Cake

Caleb mixing the cake batter.....

Caleb spreading the batter in the pan.....

Caleb icing the cake..... okay....so half way to being done I remembered we were supposed to make the icing blue/green.  Doh!

So, I remembered a can of edible spray "paint" for cakes that I had in the cabinet.  And as it would happen, it was BLUE!  So, Caleb spray painted his cake blue for the water on the earth.

I drew the outlines of the continents because I knew that would be way too much for him to do considering he'd never even squeezed an icing tube before.  And, his perfectionism would come out and he would get frustrated.  He was much happier filling in the continents.

Caleb and his finished cake....

The cake....

Reading:    Our list --

Me on the Map
Somewhere in the World Right Now
Gilbert and the Lost Tooth
From Here to There
Miss Rumphius
Mr. Whistler
What a Wonderful World
The Schmutzy Family
Sherlock Bones and the Missing Cheese
DK Children of Europe
Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Space
Nine O'Clock Lullaby
How to Make an Apple Pie & See the World
The Great Animal Search

Foreign Language:  We have not started this yet.

Read-A-Loud:  Kingdom Tales is our read-a-loud book for 3 weeks.   We started this in week two and I have to say that the stories are quite interesting.  They are quite different though and it's really hard for me to even try to explain them.  But, the easiest way is to say that they are fictitious and in some way are meant to show a connection to our Lord.  At the end of the 2nd story, we were reading the review questions and it blew my mind that Caleb was able to see the connection to the King in the story and that of OUR KING in heaven.  He even pointed his finger towards heaven as he answered a question and said "the King, mom."  Amazing!

Book of Animals:  Not every day, but most days I have Caleb complete a page out of the Complete Book of Animals.  So far they have consisted of a couple of paragraphs to read and then 4 questions to answer.  We've done dogs, ducks, horses, frogs, to name a few.  I have him underline the answers in the text and then write them out on the line.  He isn't liking these so much, BUT, it's because of the writing.  He likes learning about the animals though.

And this concludes our first two weeks of school.  I'm excited to see what's in stores for weeks 3 and 4 as we move out of the introduction phase and into the study of the United States, Forests, and Moody, Tubman....

Please be in prayer for our family as we have a sick family member who has needed some extra help from us.  This has taken away some of the time we spend in school.  But, as homeschoolers, the compassion Caleb is learning to have right now for others is a very important learning experience.

Educating in Christ,

Momma Pam