Monday, October 31, 2016

Missouri Monday ~ Preserving our History

A couple of weeks ago the kids and I went on a cool field trip to to the Arabia Steamboat Museum.

In the 1860's, the Arabia sunk in the Missouri River while transporting goods and passengers. There were no casualties (other than a poor donkey who was still tethered when they excavated), but the goods sunk into the mud and soot of the Missouri where it stayed preserved for over 100 years.

This is what took down the Arabia Steamboat, still lodged
in it when they found it.

The path of the Missouri River changed in that decade and in the 1980's a group of excavators located the Arabia buried in a corn field in Kansas, now on the opposite side of the river where it sank. What they recovered is nothing short of astonishing.

Those are dishes I wish I had in my kitchen!

All of these wooden clothespins survived a decade of submersion!

Although the steamboat itself was in bad shape, and only one portion was able to be recovered and restored, the goods were still in remarkable shape. Those goods recovered were originally being transported to pioneer stores for sale ... clothing, housewares, building supplies, food, guns, perfumes, etc. The items were so well preserved that even a jar of pickles was opened and still edible. The museum still has items that have not been completely restored and those items are kept in a cooler on the site and worked on until they can be transferred to the museum floor.

We are going to be building a house and what I wouldn't give
to have those doorknobs!

One of the excavators was on site to talk with us and shared that they are currently in the process of digging up another steamboat. All total, eleven steamboats have been recovered.

To see Missouri's history in such a tangible way was very overwhelming to me. It was truly amazing.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Monthly Wrap-up ~ Timeless

This blogging thing ... yeah, sorry about that. But I plan to do better. I really do. I'm gonna get you all wrapped up on school for the past month, and then I promise that I am going to get back into regular blogging. Because we really have been doing a lot of fun things that I have failed to share, like volleyball, the pumpkin patch, birthdays, grandbaby cuteness, and more.

Over the last month we have moved right along in our school work, and even took a week off for Fall Break. We have consistently done all the basics. We get in our reading, grammar, math, spelling, copywork, cursive handwriting every single day. We are studying astronomy and Greek mythology. We are reading aloud out of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, finished The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono (and went to see the excellent puppet show based on the short story), and are now reading The Green Ember. We continue to have our enrichment class every week where the girls are doing some creative writing and the boys are now watching an episode of "Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego". Every day is filled to the brim with studies.

I am going to focus this wrap-up on something new we have been studying that has been so much fun and is the kids' favorite subject of the week.

We are doing a weekly history lesson using the new television series, Timeless on NBC.

This drama follows a history professor, former soldier, and employee of a company who made a time machine when the time machine is stolen by a villain who travels back in time to change historical events. The events visited so far have been the Hindenburg disaster, the assassination of President Lincoln, 1960's Rat Pack in Las Vegas during the testing of the Atomic bomb, and the V-2 rocket used by the Germans in WWII and honored at the celebration at the Castle Varlar. This week we are going to the Alamo.

We love to study this way, by researching an event or reading a book and then watching a television show, documentary, movie, or play about it. So on Mondays we do a History Detective worksheet where we study the historical event that will be covered on Timeless that week. We research in books and on the internet, watch videos, etc. We try to learn all we can about it. This has taught us things I guarantee are not in history books. I have learned so much!! Believe me, I am having just as much fun, if not more, than the kids.

Then on Tuesday afternoons we watch the episode of Timeless and contrast the ways it was alike and different from the actual historical events. It's a lot of fun and gives us so many things to discuss. (Plus it gives the kids opportunities to practice their research and note taking skills and to correlate information.) Sure they throw in some fiction or mix in other historical characters that were not involved in the actual events, but that's what makes the investigation of truth versus fiction so enjoyable.

Now that I have figured out a few of the current quirks of my laptop, I plan to get back into regular blogging. (I promise, Uncle John.)

This life is just too good not to share!

2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 314.75 hours, including 53.5 hours outside home. Plus Summer Hours Logged: 141.5 hours, including 54 hours outside home.

On a side note: We are ahead of schedule on our required hours this year! We have a 6 week Christmas break planned already, but it looks like if we continue with our current plan of weekly hours we will also end up with a longer Spring Break and may even end school before our scheduled end of April. Kudos to hard-working kids!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I am still having computer problems that make blogging much more trouble than it's worth. But I'm going to give a Wednesday Hodgepodge a try since it has been so long since I have participated. And I have missed it!

What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house?

The best thing is definitely the purging that can occur. On our next move I am definitely only going to take with us what I really want! The worst part? All of the last little odds and ends that never seem to end ... those last bits in those last drawers and closets ... those final things you can't pack because you need to use them right up until the moment you move.

What's moved you recently?

Seeing all of the love our whole family has for Bennett warms my heart. He is just such a joy, and he lights up the faces of each of us when he comes into the room. He is a precious gift.

Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?

I feel like my life is moving forward at warp speed. How is it already the middle of October of 2016? This year has absolutely flown by, and each year seems to go by faster and faster.

On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move ... which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.

I would say I need to get a move on. I feel like I am in a bit of a slump right now ... in one of those "I don't care" kind of moods. I hate it when I feel like this. I just feel tired and worn down and don't have any energy to rise above it. It's not depression, really, but more apathy. I am not eating as well as I should, not exercising, not consistently having my daily quiet time. I feel inadequate as a wife, as a mother, as a friend. It seems most nights I say, "Tomorrow I am going to start __________." But then tomorrow arrives and I just don't feel like it. I need to get out of this funk.

What song makes you want to get up and move?

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

Your favorite snack to grab when you're on the move?

If we are running out of the house for an outing, I always throw some kind of protein bar into my purse. If we are traveling, I grab a bag of corn nuts.

What one accessory makes your house feel like home?

Probably our throw blankets. Nothing says home like curling up on the couch or in a big comfy chair and covering up with a plush throw.

Insert your own random thought here.

If you are on Instagram, and would like to keep up with my goings on there (because I am now a terrible blogger), and would like the added bonus of seeing daily photos of my adorable grandson, you can request to follow me. My username is nikki_taulman.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Missouri Monday ~ Ownership of Missouri

For the past few weeks we have been studying about all of the various countries who owned the Missouri Territory, about the Louisiana Purchase, the exploration of Lewis and Clark, and how Missouri actually became a state.

France and Spain tossed the Missouri Territory back and forth for quite some time. The United States only included those states East of the Mississippi River, so Missouri was not part of the original United States. It was as if Missouri was living in another world. They were not directly involved in the Revolutionary War against England, other than the French loaning their resources to the United States to help them fight against the Brits. (I always wondered how life on the Little House on the Prairie was "peacefully" moving along while the Revolutionary War was raging in the East. This is why.)

In the meantime, the Missouri Territory was becoming a strong fur trading area. The city of St. Louis was in its early stages and many towns were popping up along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. For the most part there was peaceful living between the Native Americans and the French.

When Spain took control of the territory, it pretty much ignored the area. But there were still strong French influences. Eventually Napoleon realized that he needed lots of money so he sold the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States for a mere $15 million. This doubled the size of the United States and consumed the Missouri Territory.

Missouri then worked at becoming a state and initiating its own government and constitution. With the completion of the Missouri Compromise, Missouri officially became a state. As we learned on our last field trip, the first capitol building was in St. Charles, Missouri, and Missouri's first governor was Alexander McNair. Once the city of Jefferson City was constructed, the capitol permanently moved there.

Lewis and Clark were dispatched from Missouri on their famous Corp of Discovery. During this time William Clark scouted out the area for a U.S. military post called Fort Osage. This post was to be a trading post for the United States government. Fort Osage is located in Sibley, Missouri, named after its trader George Sibley.

The kids and I spent an afternoon at Fort Osage recently during their Grand Festival of Chez Les Canses. This festival gave us a taste of the military fort itself, as well as the French influence at the time. It was a perfect way to conclude this portion of our studies.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Oh My Computer Woes

I have had such extreme computer issues lately that it has just been too much of a hassle to even attempt to blog. I think some things may finally be resolved so I'm going to give it a try. I am still having issues with photos, which completely irritates me, but I did manage to get some posted!

We have been so busy the past three weeks and have accomplished much! I continue to be very proud of the progress of our school year. The kids are working so hard, and we are enjoying our lessons.

There is much talk these days in homeschool circles about a Morning Basket, which is basically a way to start your day together in a special way. Although we don't literally use a basket filled with those items, we do have our "Morning Basket" time each day. The kids start with a simple spelling worksheet that gets their brains moving. Then they copy a verse from Proverbs in cursive handwriting. We are using a free printable. It only has about 30 verses so when they have completed them they will just start over. I figure if they write those verses several times this year they will be hiding them in their hearts.

After Proverbs copywork we get our daily dose of current events with Carl Azuz and CNN Student News. We conclude our Morning Basket time with a read aloud. So far this year we have read Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein.

It's then time to jump into Pre-Algebra and Grammar. These tend to be our most tedious subjects requiring the most brain power, so we get them done early in the day with the promise of lunch break coming soon.

Before we break for lunch we read aloud together out of McGuffey's and copy a paragraph or stanza from our reading. Then the kids get about 15-30 minutes of personal reading time.

After lunch we tackle Missouri History, Literature, Greek Mythology, and Astronomy.

In Missouri History we read a chapter out of Missouri: Then and Now and typically answer some review questions. On Fridays we watch a corresponding video and do some additional activities at the end of the chapter. Tomorrow I will share about our latest field trip.

Astronomy and Greek Mythology have been a little weird for us. We are using curriculum from Memoria Press, and we have found that it's just too classical for us. Our way is just not the memorization kind of way without seeing it used in some tangible way in real life. We just need to read about these things and see them in action. Memorization just bores us.

So, we are changing things up a big with the book Signs and Seasons by Jay Ryan. This is a living book that tells more of a story of astronomy and how it relates to God's creation and the world in which we live. We are going to supplement with the Memoria Press materials when those topics are discussed in Signs and Seasons and then will study the Greek myths when the Memoria Press materials refer to them.

So we have now been sitting at the table together right after lunch with a cup of green tea to read together out of Signs and Seasons. We have no specific pages scheduled to read. Instead we read aloud for a while and discuss. It allows us to follow rabbit trails and seek out answers. We want to do more hands on projects (there are some in the back of the book) and some art. So this past week we did some pastel art projects of the sun and the moon as we were discussing luminaries.

Brynne continues to work through Module 1 of Apologia's Exploring Creation Through General Science in her extra time to additionally prepare her for 7th grade public school next year. In the past couple of weeks she has done a few experiments.

This past week we finished The Lightning Thief from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. We are really enjoying this series so far! This week we will start Sea of Monsters.

Our weekly enrichment class with our friends has the girls doing some creative writing each week. They are having fun. The boys have been doing some STEM activities. Honestly, they don't seem to be enjoying it as much as I had hoped. The girls actually jump in on their activities and seem to have more fun with it. Both boys have expressed an interest in geography and history. So I am looking to change things up with the use of an old favorite, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? We'll see if that garners some interest.

I also have something else fun planned for us to do starting this week using the new television show Timeless.

I am hoping I can get back into a regular routine of blogging about our schooling and our regular life's activities. It's now fall and we have some fun things planned!

2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 189.5 hours, including 31.5 hours outside home. Plus Summer Hours Logged: 141.5 hours, including 54 hours outside home.