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Curriculum Reviews

Heart of Dakota Week 3 Update

Well, this week was pretty good. Our hick up was Math for my son. You see my son hates math. Probably somehow my fault in the earlier years, but none the less, he hates it and therefore is about 6 months behind his "grade" or "age".

(Just FYI, I figured out how to do a gallery of pictures, so I now have all the pictures at the end of the post. Not sure if I like that better becasue I can not put captions under the pictures, but if you hover over the picture it will give you a caption.)

I got an opportunity to try out Aleks math online for 2 months free through Old School House. Well, I just figured maybe their explanation of each type of problem might be better then how I explain it and maybe it would not be as intimidating to him or be more helpful!

The first couple things that went wrong with this was the fact that he had to answer 30+ questions to help place him in the right level and have the computer understand what he knows and does not know. Of course, some he had no idea of because we had not covered it yet. That was very stressful for him! Then there was the learning curve of figuring out how to work the computer program and the last thing was there is not a teacher talking like I thought. The student has to actually  read each of the explanations, questions etc.

So I ended up having to sit with him each day. Not because he could not read it or understand it, but because there was the intimidation factor and the lack of confidence in himself with math! It was stressful for him and for me to go through this. But once we got that done it was done and it went much better as the week went on. The program is pretty good and I think he has got the hang of it, but we will see.

I will say on the brighter side of it that the stuff we are covering right now is great and actually beyond what we are learning currently in Abeka. So when (if) we do go back to Abeka, it should be pretty easy for him to understand what is being taught!  He is getting it and the explanations through Aleks are really good!  I want him to try this for a couple months. Too bad they do not have First grade math for my daughter. (LOL) I signed her up thinking they did have 1st grade math, but since they do not, I decided to do the college math for myself for 2 months. UUGGHH! Much I do not remember!

As far as all the other subjects, fantastic as usual. This week in History we learned about John Smith and Henry Hudson. I actually never knew how the Hudson River got it's name and I never knew that Hudson was the one who landed in New York. Seems you are never too old to learn new things! Of course Pocahontas was my daughters favorite because she was a princess. Plus they loved the idea that she was a "savage" in a sense and still a princess. The one thing my kids asked was why Pocahontas stayed in England and never returned home. The books really never gave an answer, but I figure that she really like the high life living where she did not have to run around in the wilderness and decided that this was the life she wanted to lead. Plus I am sure she wanted to stay where he husband was and be a good wife.

 Geography was very simple and my son actually helped my daughter learn this. He already knew his directions, so we chalked out a compass on our driveway and placed North in the correct position as well as all the other directions. Then I shouted out direction for each child to move. "Move four steps SE then 6 steps NW." My son helped my daughter when she was confused. It was very sweet and a lot of fun to be out front  of our house at 9:30 am doing school! We also learned about the different parts of a river as you can see here in our drawings.

In Science learned about tide pools and the rocky beach. Our project was to make a beach and see what kind of things make the seashore change. This was a fun experiment, but a little too short and easy. So….Once again, we went to the beach, Corona Del Mar beach, CA with my dear friend Shannon and her children, (which she has a smile box account with even more pictures of our adventure)  to check out these rocks and tide pools. Shannon and I are both doing HOD and both doing BIGGER together. She is just 1 week behind us. So it is nice to have a friend doing the same thing as you!

OK, well, we could not have a better day to go. There were hundreds of dead squid all over the beach and sardines. Ewwwww! OMGosh, it was unreal. So according to the OC Register paper (in short) "Squid have washed up on Orange County beaches. The Orange County Register says the squid washed up on the beaches Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Ty Gevas of Davey's Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching in Newport Beach says the squid are most likely Humboldt squid, also called jumbo squid. He says they've been seen in large numbers of the coasts of Orange and San Diego counties over the past few days. Cleanup crews worked Thursday to remove the carcasses. A state Fish and Game warden tells the Register the squid most likely died after spawning, a natural occurrence." There are so many interesting creatures in the sea.

So like any good homeschool mom, my girl friend and I ran down the beach to see all the dead squid and fish so we could have a chance to teach our children about them. You know us homeschoolers never skip over an opportunity to teach. Oh and later on in our trip to the tide pools a seal got washed up on shore. Yes he was dead. There was a puncture mark on one side of him so I think maybe a shark may have attacked it. As far as I know we do not have shark nets along our shores.

My son asked me, "Why there were so many animals  that looked weird and are they very useful?  My answer was, "Each creature that God created was made for a very specific reason. We may think them ugly or weird or not useful, but each one has a purpose and without them other things could die or over populate. An example is the honey bee or the spider or even a roach."  He understood exactly what I meant and was very satisfied with that answer. Whew! Even my girlfriends kids got it too!

We actually had several experiments this week. The first one was to see how rain and other things effect the sea shore. We got out our sand and blew water on the shore line, then dripped water on the beach to see how a river is made. The our second experiment is an on going one. One plate had just H\plain water in it and the other as salt water. We are to ask what will happen to the water and what will happen to the salt. We will write about the conclusion next week.

Man o' man, am I ever glad I live in California. Whenever we start to learn about forest I can travel there, beaches, no problem, winter wonderland, no problem. We got it all here. I said this before. I really thought that the science was way too light in HOD when we started, but I am glad for the way Carrie has put this together. It really is fun and exciting. So as you can see by all the pictures we had a fun, exciting and full of learning week. Thanks HOD!

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