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Week 5: Pterodactyls, King Tut and Togas

This has been a good week!   We took last week off so this was week 5 of school.  But in our Sonlight curriculum we just finished week 4.  Since Sonlight was new to us this year, we spread week 1 over 2 weeks to get used to it.

Anyway.  We took a few moments at the beginning of the week and back up to what we talked about 2 weeks ago – Ancient Egypt.

I picked up this awesome book at a book sale a couple weekends ago (it even still had all the posters in it!)

Learning About Ancient Civilizations Through Art (Grades 3-6)

Full-color posters and activities that teach about eight incredible cultures of the past: Prehistoric, Minoan, Eqyptian, Mayan, Pompeian, Chinese, Mayan, and Pueblo

I gave less than $5 for it at the sale.  Which was awesome.  It’s for grades 3-6 but some of the activities are easy enough to pare down for a 2nd grader.  I knew we had to take a moment and go back to the civilizations we had already discussed.  We looked at the poster of the cave painting and discussed where it was and how it was found (Sonlight Core A week 1 discusses cave dwellings and cave paintings.  We even made our own cave painting)

But we spent a few extra moments on the Egyptian section of it.  We studied King Tut’s Throne, made a cartouche and designed our own throne.  I’m glad we took the time to do that because it gave me a chance to see what he retained from a couple weeks ago.

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Our history this week has been about Ancient Rome so of COURSE we had to make Togas to wear.  And we talked about Roman Mosaics and made our own.  I really think art is a great way to learn about ancient civilizations.

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3 is another great resources.  We’ve been using the “words to know” cards and “Postcards from….” sections in our History Journal and have done a couple other activities that go along with our section of history (so far, the book has been useful for Egypt, Greece and Rome – 3 of the first 4 Sonlight Core A history topics!)

I know it sounds like we’re supplementing a lot to our Core A history.  There was a discussion about this in one of the Sonlight Homeschool Mom Facebook groups I’m in.  We’re using Core A which is suggested for K-2nd grade/ages 5-7.  We are on the higher end of the core recommendations – which is fine and I’m glad we didn’t skip this core and go straight to B.  But so far the history (which is at most, 2-4 pages a day from the Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia or The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the Ages – which are fun books.  But so far it’s a repeat of our history last year (which was just a hodge-podge of stuff I put together based on BigG’s interests in countries and maps) and lots of Magic Tree House books.  So I was getting a lot of “I knew that already” and history was taking about 5 minutes a day.  So I’m glad to have something that is hands on and expands our history to 15-20 minutes a day – still a reasonable amount of time to expect a 2nd grade almost-7-year-old to pay attention.

Ok, so Tut, Togas and Pterodactyls….

We’re bouncing through Apologia Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th day.  It’s a deep text.  We’re hitting the high points.  We actually started it back in the spring because we were finished with our 1st grade science way early thanks to BigG wanting to do 2-3 lessons at a time and it having only about half a year’s worth of (easy) lessons in it.  Plus, spring is a great time to start learning about bird’s anyway!  We turned our back yard into a haven for birds, got to see some species of birds even I had never seen before and make science come alive a bit.

So we’ve finished the bird part of Zoo 1 and we skipped ahead to the back to do the butterfly section while it was still spring/early summer and could study butterflies outside.  Now we’re on the section about Pterosaurs.  We’ve spent a little more time on this portion because dinosaurs has been a HUGE interest area for BigG for years (but yes, we learned that pterosaurs are a different order of animals than dinosaurs.)  So it’s been fun.

We’re going to make fossils today to wrap it up and move on to another section.  I think we’re going to do bats next.

This was a really long post to say that it’s been a great week!  We took a week off last week so we came back this week refreshed and ready to learn some more!

Be sure to check out my post on our “Semi-Year Round Homeschool Schedule”.

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This post is part of the Weekly Round Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Weekly Wrap-Up
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Loving Sonlight Already | Core A Week 1 & our Supplemental Activities

I am so glad that I found Sonlight for our school year. After 2 weeks, I’m already in love. I love how it’s laid out for me and all I have to do is pick up my IG and the books we need and go. And I love how the subjects work together. It makes the lessons flow instead of feeling like we’re shifting gears between each subject.

We’re using Core A with Language Arts 2. The history seems a little light but I think it will pick up. Core A is made to work with K-2nd grade so I figured it might be a little light but everyone I talked to said not to skip Core A if your child fell within the age range. And I hate missing out on stuff so we went with it.

Core A History starts at dirt.  By that I mean creation.  But since it uses Usborne’s Children’s Encyclopedia and The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago it presents an old earth, “dinosaurs before man” and evolutionary version of history.  The Sonlight IG does a good job of helping you navigate these topics if you’re unsure of how to do it.  This is a topic I’ve discussed with BigG often so it was just a normal discussion to him.  He knows why we believe they way we believe.

One of the first history lessons discusses “cavemen”.  And while we don’t dispute the fact that people used caves as shelter, we don’t believe that they were unintelligent neanderthals.  One of the things the section on cave people discussed was cave paintings.  It suggested making a cave painting of your own but it was about putting your hands on paper and blowing paint around it to make a handprint.  That sound messy and not fun.

So I improvised!

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Make a Cave Painting

In the lesson it talks about how they made their own paints and used twigs, feathers, reeds, etc as “paintbrushes”.  So we went outside and gathered some things that we thought might make good paintbrushes.

We came back in and got started.  Ideally I would’ve used a brown piece of construction paper to paint on but apparently we’ve had a run on brown in the house and there wasn’t a piece to be found anywhere.  Orange made a good substitute.

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We discussed how mixing paints and making cave paintings actually pointed to intelligence and creativity bestowed upon man by our Creator.

We talked about things that might be easy to paint using the tools we had.  He decided on water, a boat and mountains.

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About halfway through trying to use a stick to paint mountains he decided that it would just be easier to use his finger to finish them.  So he did.  And he thought that was AWESOME.  Apparently I’ve never let him paint with his fingers before.

Here’s what else we’re doing to go along with our Sonlight:

Vocabulary Notebook – This is coming in handy.  When we come across one of the vocabulary words in our read-aloud, we write it down with the meaning.  Plus any other words that are new to BigG.  We review them everyday before we read our next chapter in our read-aloud.  He always points out the word if it comes up again.  I have no plans to test him formally on these words.  I think reviewing them each day is sufficient at this level.

Busy Activity during Read-Alouds – BigG is no stranger to chapter books but the first read aloud, The Boxcar Children, is lacking the pictures he’s used to in our newer chapter books we’ve been reading.  We have an older edition of it, I don’t know if the newer ones have better pictures.  I don’t mind that it doesn’t have exciting pictures – I think it’s good for BigG.  But I have allowed him to sit with his Legos or Play-Doh during read-aloud time.  The only stipulation is that what he makes during that time has to relate to the story somehow.  When our chapter is over he has to tell me about what he’s made.  This works as a check to see if he was really listening.   One day he made a boxcar out of Legos.  Another day he tried making the children out of Play-doh.

That’s all for now!  Can’t wait to share more with you as we keep going through this year!