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Swimming Creatures Lesson 4: Aquatic Herps

In this lesson, we are introduced to "herps," which is a name used to describe both reptiles and amphibians. Herp comes from the Greek word herpeton meaning "creeping , crawling creatures that move about on their bellies." So, for a short time, we will be aquatic herpetologists!
We learned what an ectotherm is (gets its heat from its surroundings), what brumation is (a sate similar to hibernation), what a carapace is (the top part of a turtle shell) and the plastron is (the lower part), and that the shell is actually a part of their skeleton (they cannot be pulled out of their shell) and sea turtles cannot pull their heads inside their body like land turtles can.
We read that a female sea turtle lays her eggs hundreds of feet up the beach (away from the tide) and uses her front flippers to drag her body that far. We did a "Try This" activity to see how hard that would be!
Try This! Crawling like a sea turtle:
Without using their body - just their arms - they tried to drag their bodies along the carpet and found out that that is pretty hard to do!
We learned that sea turtle hatchlings face many dangers and that only a few make it back (one in a hundred so they say) to the sea, but God created mother sea turtles to lay hundreds of eggs so that sea turtles remain in existence.
We learned about the eight different kinds of sea turtles: the loggerhead, green sea turtle, leatherback, Australian flatback, hawksbill, olive ridley, Kemp's ridley and black turtle.
We did an activity to get an idea of just how big a leatherback turtle is.
Try This! Leatherback turtle size:
We measured 6 feet by 9 feet on the carpet with masking tape to see how big a leatherback is.
Then we did notebooking pages on all 8 types of sea turtles.
We had the option of printing them from the internet or drawing them and we did some of both.
Then we learned about sea snakes and snake venom (all sea snake venom is a neurotoxin but land snakes can be a neurotoxin or a hemotoxin and what exactly that means), that sea snakes do not have scutes (special scales that land snakes have to help them slither on the ground) and that they have a paddle for swimming, and that they are ovoviviparous - lay eggs and give birth to live young! (She lays the eggs inside herself and then births them).
Then we learned the difference between a reptile and amphibian and talked about the different characteristics.
Amphibians can breathe and drink water through its skin. So, we did an activity to demonstrate diffusion to understand how this is possible.
Try This! Diffusion:
We put a teaspoon of vanilla into a balloon, blew it up and put it in a box (after we smelled it to make sure it had no odor) and closed the lid. After awhile, we took the balloon out and smelled the box. It smelled like vanilla and I explained that even though the balloon was sealed, some of the vanilla escaped the balloon through a process called diffusion and that that is how an amphibian can use its skin to breathe.
Then we learned about aquatic frogs, toads and salamanders. Notebooking for this section consisted of writing a story about a reptile meeting an amphibian and them talking about their differences. Their stories were cute - and where I get most of their spelling words from!
Our experiment for this lesson is to learn more about aquatic frogs by raising them! So we are waiting for our tadpoles to arrive. We will do an experiment to see if temperature affects tadpole development.
Some links we visited this lesson:
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchlings

Down and Over and Down Some More . . .

. . . that is the number 4!

Malachi is officially 4 years old. And I say officially because he has been saying he is "3 and 4" (3 going on 4) for about 6 months. He is excited to turn 4 because he thinks of himself as such a big boy.

Some things about Malachi:

  • can be very silly!
  • has a great imagination.
  • sleeps in his own bed but still crawls in bed with us in the morning.
  • likes to color, cut, and draw.
  • is very creative.
  • likes Preschool.
  • is a good big brother and likes to do Tot School with Elli.
  • does not like to go to bed.
  • likes to go for walks and play outside.
  • is very athletic - likes sports.

Right now, his favorite:
  • sport is shooting sports (a sport he really wants to do!), then soccer.
  • color is brown (it used to be black).
  • book is "school books."
  • toys are army guys, G.I. Joes, and cars.

We are very blessed to have him in our family!

Africa Week 4: A Visit to South Africa

I had hoped to travel through more than one country this week; nevertheless, here is what we have been doing! We: Read about and colored the Flag of South Africa.
Learned what apartheid ("apartness" in Africaans) is. (A legalized racial separation that had been firmly enforced since 1948 and ended in 1991.)
Learned about wildlife in South Africa and how they are protected in games reserves sucha s Kruger National Park.
Read "Fascinating Facts" about South Africa. Fpr example, we learned that South Africa is the leading producer of diamonds and gold and that wildlife still roam freely and "Do not feed the baboons" signs are as common in South Afica as "Keep off the grass" signs are in the U.S. Learned some common African words: mammie - mom pappie - dad ouma - grandma oupa - grandpa ja - yes nee - no vriend -friend goeie more - good morning goeie naand - good evening eina! - ouch! And Numbers: een, twee, drie, vier, vyf, ses, sewe, ag, nege, nege, tien (1-10) Read the Afrikaans Poem. Researched the baobab tree (a fascinating tree that looks like it is upside down with its roots up in the air), iron wood and stink wood trees of South Africa. Learned how to play Rounders - a popular activity in South Africa (like baseball but played with a flat bat and tennis ball). Talked about making a textured wall hanging like the Zulu tribe of South Africa use to decorate their walls. We would have glued burlap onto a piece of card stock and glued yarn in spiral or coiled shapes in earth tones to make a colorful abstract wall hanging... but we didn't. Wrote a South African Newspaper with articles and illustrations on sports, animals, people, cultures, and products.
We will travel to two more countries before we leave Africa!

Hebrew Lesson 7: Days of the Week

Shalom! Hayom yom re'vee'ee. Translation: Hello! Today is day 4 ( Wednesday). Hayom (today) we learned the days of the week and related terminology. We learned how to say: "Ma hayom" - What is today? "Hayom" - Today is . . . Yom Ree-Shon - day 1 or Sunday Yom Shee-Nee - day 2 or Monday Yom Shelee-she - day 3 or Tuesday Yom Rev-Ve-ee - day 4 or Wednesday Yom Hah-Mee-Shee - day 5 or Thursday Yom Shee-Shee - day 6 or Friday Yom Sha-Bat - day 7 or Saturday (Can you guess why the 7th day is Yom Sha-Bat? Because it is the Sabbath!) For our reading practice we read (a part of) the Fourth Commandment in Hebrew: (Hebrew is read right to left) le-ka-de-sho ha-shab-bat et-yom Zak-hor for holiness the Sabbath Day Remember It is transliterated as "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy." We only read a part, as this commandment is actually the longest of the 10 commandments. The verses go into more detail about how to keep the Sabbath. You can read more about it in Exodus 20:8-11. An interesting note: The word shabbat is connected to the verb shavat which means "to cease, desist, rest" and first appears in Genesis 2:2-3 regarding God's creative activity. Shabbat begins at sunset on Friday evening and ends at sunset Saturday evening. Also did you know that the Hebrew language is the only pure language in the world that is not defiled with pagan gods/goddesses names? We also learned how to say: the day before - sheelshom yesterday - etmol tomorrow - machar the day after tomorrow - mochrotayeem the next day - hayom haba week - shavua

T is for Turtle

~Mali is 48 months old~

Tttalk about fun! He have had telltale time with the letter Tt! Here is what he have been doing for preschool with the letter Tt:

ABC Book:
Tiger Mini Book

Memory Verse: From Sing the Word A-Z
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding In all your ways acknowledge Him And he will make straight your paths Proverbs three five and six.

Story Time:
Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel
Toto the Timid Turtle, by Howard Goldsmith

Fun Songs:
Tiny Tim the Turtle
I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap and now he's sick in bed with a bubble in his throat hiccup

There was a little turtle (put hands together in a fist) He lived in a box (make a box with both hands) He swam in a puddle (make swimming motions) He climbed on the rocks (use your fingers to climb up your arm) He snapped at a mosquito (clap hands) He snapped at a flea (chomp with your mouth) He snapped at a minnow (clap hands) He snapped at me (Do Home Alone Face) He caught the mosquito (grab with your hand) He caught the flea (grab with your hand) He caught the minnow (grab with your hand) But he didn't catch me (jump in excitement)!

For fun, we made Timothy the Turtle Roll and served it with Tawny Scrawny Lion Creamy Carrot Soup.


Get Ready for the Code Activities:

Each lesson includes a quick review, phonemic awareness, phonics skill, vocabulary words, letter formation (I teach this but do not enforce it at this point) and writing practice (mostly he chooses to do all the writing, but I do not make him. Occasionally, I will suggest he just tell me the answer and then I mark the page as completed with a star), listening to instructions and following directions (I do make it a point to make sure he follows directions and then let him do as he chooses - for example, it may say to mark the correct answer, but then I let him color it also), building fluency (modeling left to right reading and appropriate expression), building comprehension (extending word knowledge and understanding text), and reinforcement activities (all the fun stuff we do). Vocabulary words from this lesson include turtle, televsion, tail, toe, toaster, telephone, toothbrush and tent.

  Letter Review:

 Each lesson includes review from all the previous letters learned. I picked up this magnetic board to help with review. I gave him the letters he has learned and objects that begin with those letters and let him match them up.

Art: Thomas the Turtle

 This cute turtle craft is from Alphabet Art.

  Tissue Paper T's

 This was a great hand eye coordination project! He had to wrap the tissue around the end of the pencil, and then stick it onto the paper T. He thought it was pretty neat how it turned out!

  Tire Track Art

 Some paper, paint, and vehicles with interesting tread made for one fun project! I let Mali and Elli drive their trucks in the paint and on the papers. It made really neat designs on the paper!


  Make toothpick T's
 I got the idea to use toothpicks to make letters at Our Homeschool Creations. Toothpicks make easy capital T's!


I read All About Tigers to Mali while he cut out pictures of Tigers.


 He told me he was making a puzzle.


  Telling Time

 We focused on telling time to the hour. I explained that the longer hand tells time to the minute and the shorter hand tells the hour. I put the digital time on top and asked him to show me the correct time on the
 clock face.

Tangram Turtle


 I found this cute Tangram Turtle online and Mali loved the challenge!

  Tally Sticks

 Here we are counting with Tally sticks. We counted to 5 and then 10 with the sticks.

  Tally Card Memory

 After he understood what Tally counting is, we played a memory game with Tally cards that I printed from the book, Math Card Games: Games for Learning and Enjoying Math, by Joan A. Cotter. He l.o.v.e.d. this! He played it again and again, by himself or with anyone who was available to play!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

~Eliana is 24 months old ~ ~Malachi is 47 months old~

I originally planned this for Tot School for Elli, but Mali decided he wanted to be a part of the fun too!
So, together, we did a fun unit study on the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!


Read the book . . . many times!

Watched the animated story on You Tube.

Acted out the story on the fridge with ABC magnets and this printable palm tree. Sang the ABC song. Made Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Palm Trees . . .

. . . and when they were dry, decorated them with ABC stamps.

Counted to 5 and made a booklet with Counting Coconuts worksheets.

Named the colors of each letter.

Made coconut pudding.

And . . .

Mali helped me color the palm trees and I assembled the book for them. The cover of the book says, "Chicka Chicka" and here is the inside:

Opened up:

I saw this Tot-book at Carissa's and thought it was the perfect thing to finish our lesson! They loved it!

Next up is Chicka Chicka 123!

Africa Week 3: Traveling to Nigeria

This week we explored the country of Nigeria. We: Colored the Flag of Nigeria Read Fascinating Facts Colored a worksheet on facts of Nigeria Made a Nigerian recipe, Banana Fritters, for our ethnic cooking project.
Conducted an open-air market like they have in Nigeria. Each child made an item to sell and students bartered for different items using play money. You can read more about what we did here!
We will travel to a few more countries in Africa before moving on.

Hebrew Lesson 6 - Currency Exchange

We learned about Israel's unit of currency, the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), when we studied Israel; but, today we learned more about the kinds of shakah-leem (shekels) and practiced by exchanging them in our very own open-air market! The market was a project on our list for our African studies, and since Africa is so close to Israel and Israel has open-air markets as well, this worked out well for us!
We learned how to say:
Kama ze oleh? (How much does it cost? Literally -  How much it cost?)
Ani rotseh (m)/rotsah(f) liknot ze. (I want to buy it. Literally - I want buy it.)
We learned the various currency available and practiced with play money.
Israeli currency terms we learned in Hebrew:
makhatzeet hashekel - half shekel
eh-Hahd shekel - one sheckel
shkah-leem Hah-meesh-ah - five shekels
shkah-leem as-sah-rah - ten shekels
shakah-leem es-reem - twenty shekels
shakah-leem Hah-mee-shem - fifty shekels
shakah-leem may-ah - hundred shekels
shakah-leem mahtah-yeem - two hundred shekels
The kids were all very creative in coming up with homemade products for their stand in the market. We had a fishing booth (with a bookmark fish as the prize), mini books made out of homemade paper,  best-ever-paper-airplanes, fruity lip gloss, water balloon yo-yo's, squishy balls, a bean bag toss, tote bag decorating station, and a hot cocoa, mocha and cookie station. 
At each station, they had to say, "How much does it cost" and "I want to buy it" in Hebrew. Many replied with "todah!" (thank you!).
My boys thought it was the best day! It was a lot of fun and the hands on learning and application was great practice!

Africa Week 2: Human Geography

Day 1:
Read aloud - Escape from the Slave Traders Ch. 8-9
Overview of human geography: population, lifestyles, languages, education and religious beliefs
Completed a graph on population growth in Africa
Used information to mark the locations of important cities of Africa
Identified the official languages of African countries
Geography Songs
Day 2:
Read aloud - Escape from the Slave Traders Ch. 10-11
Discovered the religions of African nations and used a graph to answer questions
Googled some images of traditional clothing
Geography Songs
Day 3:
Read aloud - Escape from the Slave Traders Ch. 12-13
Geography Songs
Googled images of "Butterfly Art" from the Central Republic of Africa
Explore traditional African music such as the marabi
Listened to African music that expressed the feelings and life of Africans
Learned what an idiophone is and listened to a mbira accompanied by the hosho, a gourd rattle
Day 4:
Geography Songs Talked about finger and spindle spinning
Learned about the North African art of weaving with looms  Found a simple loom to build:  African weaving loom
Made African textile designs on graph paper

Swimming Creatures - Lesson 3 Seals and Sea Cows

In this lesson, we learned all about pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, & walruses), what a true seal is and how to tell the difference between a true seal (cannot use rear flippers on land, small front flipper ending in claws, and no ear flaps) and a sea lion or fur seal (can use rear flippers on land, long hairless front flipper, and has ear flaps). We learned about the walrus family and found a video the boys loved on a polar bear hunting sea lions. Polar Bear Vs Walrus We learned about sea cows - manatees and dugongs. We did notebooking pages on true seals, sea lions, walruses and manatees making illustrations for each and writing down the interesting things they know about them. Experiment - Can blubber really keep pinnipeds (and whales) warm in freezing cold waters? Let's find out!
They globbed goops of petroleum jelly on a gloved hand and then put another glove over it. The other hand just had two gloves on it. Then they saw how long they could keep their hands under water. The layer of "blubber" really helped insulate their hand from the icy cold water!

K is for Kite

ABC Book: K is for kite.

I had Mali make a kite from shapes cut out of construction paper. He loves tangrams so this was fun for him. He designed it, then glued the backs and I helped him put it back together on the comstruction paper.

 Memory Verse:
From Sing the Word A-Z Keep your tongue from evil Keep your tongue from evil Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking lies. Psalm thirty four thirteen Psalm thirty four thirteen Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking lies.

 Story Time:
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn "King David" and "King Solomon" from The Children's Bible

Activities: Hop like a kangaroo.
"The Kangaroo" (A Fingerplay) From Alphabet Art The kangaroo goes hippity-hop (hop in place) Then suddenly comes to a stop (stand still) Snug inside a pocket deep (rub hand on tummy) Baby kangaroo is fast asleep (rest head on hands)

Kangaroo craft from Alphabet Art
This cute kangaroo and her joey was made out of paper pates, with half of a plate for a pocket. This was a great way to teach Mali that a kangaroo has a pouch because he was talking about it for days!

Get Ready for the Code Activities:
Mali is working through the pages with more independence. He does a good job following directions, and is taking more time to form his letters. :-)
Vocabulary words learned this lesson include kitten, king, kiss, kite, key, kick and kangaroo. 

We did the trial sessions at Kinderbach. Mali worked through the lessons in one sitting and really enjoyed the activities. He learned about highs and lows, what a note is and just had fun playing with the keys.

  Kitchen Concoctions: Kiwi Fruit Kabobs

I cut up a variety of fruit and let Mali make his own kiwi kabobs! The first one he made was all kiwi! Then I helped him make one with mixed fruit for his sister. Stringing the fruit on the stick was good hand-eye-coordination practice!

Math: Kitchen Utensil Sort

I let Malachi put silverware away by sorting knives, spoons, and forks. Great thinking skill practice!

Prepare and Pray (and Light the Way) -Lesson 7

In chapter 7, Mr. Robinson and the boys destroy the ship with gunpowder. By blowing up the ship, they could remain hidden until they could evaluate whether an approaching vessel was friend or foe. The Word commands us to be "wise as serpants and gentle as doves" in our dealings with the world. We are also commanded to "come out from among them and be ye separate." Yet, we are also called to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15-20) . . . and so . . . we must be in the world, but not of the world!

The Robinson's make bayberry candles to produce light. Jesus (Yeshua) said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all [who are] in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt 5:14-16. This is a part of our memory verse! So, we have been studying various methods for making candles. We got 10 pounds of bees wax from a beekeeper and we made hand dipped candles from beexwax and paraffin.


 Here is the wax as we are heating it to strain it. As my boys say, "This is real beeswax, it still has some
 bees in it!"


 I poured the beeswax into a 2 pound block, so that I could easily measure how much I would need for the candles. We mixed 9 pounds of paraffin and 2 pounds of beeswax. Back to Basics, How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills explains that beeswax can be expensive and hard to come by. (Did you know that bees use up 10 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of comb?) They suggest using beeswax as an additive and that using only 10% of beeswax will produce candles that are stronger than paraffin alone and smell better. And they do smell good! We made homemade wicks out of heavy cotton yarn, 2 T boric acid and 1 T salt in 1 cup of water. They were soaked for 12 hours then dried. We visited Frugal's Forum "How To" Photo Gallery: "Candle Making with Beeswax" for a step by step tutorial. You have to be signed it to read the forum, but it is well worth it! We used a cardboard square to keep the candles apart and tied washers on the ends to keep the wicks straight as they were repeatedly dipped . . . into the hot wax, then cold water.


 We follow the suggestion to dip 3/4 of the way, 1/2 way, 1/4, then 2/3, 1/3, etc. to make a nicely tapered candle. The bottoms were trimmed and they were rolled in wax paper to make a smooth taper.


We also talked about other non-electric light sources and made a homemade oil lamp with olive oil.


We made the candles below when we made our tin can stoves in lesson 3. We made short, fat candles out of small empty salmon cans (like a tuna can), cardboard and paraffin to heat our stoves. We also made these candles out of small tin cans (empty tomato paste cans) for heating food and warmth in emergencies. We keep them in the back of our van in a large tin can with other emergency items.

 We also learned about tracking and trail-marking.


 Tracking: We looked in snow for animal tracks. Studied the tracks and made a sketch of it. We watched for other signs such as broken twigs, scratches, rubs, scat (animal droppings), etc. We learned that dry scat means an animal passed by some time ago, while fresh scat indicates an animal could be nearby. We intended to collect tracks with plaster of paris, but there was too much snow and not enough mud! Had we found some, we would have made note of the date, location and animal name.


Trail Marking terms we learned: Blaze - made by peeling bark - small circle on top, oval on bottom Cairns - large stone with small stone on top Grass markers - grass clump tied together Stick markers - forked sticks Stone markers - stones in a pattern We learned how to say: "This is the way" "Turn right" "Turn left" "Not the right way" "Danger Get Help" And we played "Follow My Trail!" The kids set out on a short hike and blazed a trail using trail markers. They made a map of the hike as they went and we followed their markers.


 We also did a study on ants. We read Proverbs 6:6 and 30:25 and talked about character traits that ants demonstrate, why they work so hard in the summer, whether they work individually, for their own goals, or cooperatively, as a family or community would.

We talked about other animals that work together. We talked about use of trees, logging with draft animals and why they would be more effective than heavy machines (easier to move through thick brush and betwen trees), common woods for lumber (pine, fir, spruce, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany), and how to identify undesirable trees for fuel (rotting, dead, diseased). I had the boys draw a cross section of a log and label the layers indicating the history of the tree. I challenged them to write an interesting story in the rings of the stump (a crack to indicate and accident, a forest fire that burned part of the tree, a nail in the tree, etc). This was a fun chapter to google! Anything we didn't know about, we googled. Here are some of the things from the chapter that we googled: Ruffled grouse Myrica cerifera berry Cabbage palm Grosbeak Caoutchouc (India Rubber) Sago Palm Sago worm Sugar cane (the boys were surprised that that is where sugar comes from)

 A couple of the 22 vocab words we learned: Repugnance: we expressed repugnance - intense disgust - when the Robinson's ate the worms of the sago palm tree. Impetuousity: we should not display impetuousity -quickly without thought or care- when making important decisions.

 We continued working on our memory verse - Matthew 5. I bought a new cd to help the boys with this. It is a Sing the Word CD called All Nations Shall Worship. Track two is almost all of our verse. We sing it everyday for practice. Then we play our white board game to help.