Friday, September 22, 2017

All About Weather!

I love how homeschooling seems to just happen so seamlessly with whatever is going on in our lives.  I have a great example of this from a recent "Five in a Row" study we recently did.  We "rowed" the book, "Storm in the Night" by Mary Stolz.  This book just happened to be one that came available for me to check out, from several that I placed on hold at the library.  And the timing couldn't have been more perfect!  In this book, while he sits through a fearsome thunderstorm that has put the lights out, Thomas (the little boy in this story) hears a story from Grandfather's boyhood, when Grandfather was afraid of thunderstorms.

So many interesting things were happening with the weather as we did this row.  First off, there was the full eclipse of the sun that we got to learn about and observe.  In our area, we only saw about a 67% eclipse, but it was still so neat to witness.  In about 7 years, our area will be in the path of a full eclipse.  It is hard to believe Luke and Abbey will be 14.5 and 12.5 when that happens!  For this year's event, we enjoyed experiencing it with friend's at the local library's public event.

Since we were learning about space, we decided to read the book, "If you decide to go to the moon" by McNulty, Faith.
Language Arts:
But back to our row of "Storm in the Night."  First off, I have to say it always amazes me how many subjects and how many things we can cover using just one book as our focus.  We were able to cover social studies, science, language arts, and math.  For language arts, one of the things we discussed was onomatopoeia.  We learned that the word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning "name" and the other meaning "I make," so onomatopoeia literally means "the name (or sound) I make." The word means nothing more than the sound it makes. It helps make writing more expressive and vivid.  We found examples in the book.  And then made a little sort of "mobile" with clouds, rain and lightning to demonstrate some of these types of words.

Also for language arts, we discussed examples of similes, contrasts, settings and scenes, and the use of italics and quotation marks.

Social Studies:  
This story was about the relationship of a Grandfather and grandson.  We could tell these two had a close relationship.  We looked for clues together that showed us that these two had such a close relationship.  Then, we discussed close relationships that we have.

We also discussed the emotion of "fear".  In the story, Thomas says he is not afraid of anything.  But, Grandfather helps Thomas understand that all people are afraid of somethings, it's ok to admit it and that fear can be overcome.  We created a little "map" of our own fears and then looked up and wrote a bible verse to help us remember that God is always with us, and we need not fear.  Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

For math, we did a little geometry as we looked at the quilt on the bed in the illustration in the story.  We discussed what shapes and patterns made up the quilt.  We noticed that there were equilateral triangles.  The center included a white circle surrounded by a yellow pentagon.  We got out our "pattern play" game and tangram puzzles out and made some patterns of our own and created objects out of shapes.

For art, we studied the facial expressions in the book, and then practiced drawing some of our own.  In the book, we noticed how Thomas was looking sideways when looking out the window, because we could tell the iris of the eye was over to the side and we could see more of the white of his eyes.  We practiced drawing faces with characters who were looking in different directions.

We also learned about the use of darkness and light in the illustrations, and discussed the use of contrast for dramatic effects.

The subject we spent the most time on during this row was science.  We love science and math in our house, and tend to spend a lot of time on these subjects.  We checked out several books about weather, and read them all.  Our book list included the following:

Down comes the rain by Branley, Franklyn M.
A cloudy day by Nelson, Robin,
Flash, crash, rumble, and roll by Branley, Franklyn M. 
Weather words and what they mean by Gibbons, Gail.
Sunshine makes the seasons by Branley, Franklyn M. 

We also read several Magic Schoolbus books and then watched the video episodes ("Magic Schoolbus Kicks up a Storm" and "Magic Schoolbus Inside a Hurricane")  about weather. 

We learned all about the water cycle through the Magic School Bus books and the video episode, "Magic Schoolbus Wet All Over".  The kids then drew a picture of the water cycle and wrote in their own words in their journal what they learned.    


We decided make a cloud in a jar to see how the water cycle works and how clouds are formed.  This was such a fun experiment.   Here is a little video of our experiment:

We also learned about different types of clouds and then made some examples of these on paper, using cotton balls.

We had so much fun with this row, and the timeliness of it couldn't have been more perfect.  We had so many strange weather events around the time of our row, including several hurricanes.  The kids have been regularly discussing the weather, the water cycle, the types of clouds in the sky and more, so I would say that this row was a success!

(Note:  Five in a Row is a curriculum that we have been using since Luke was 3.  We thoroughly enjoy it.  Although it can be used as a complete curriculum, we actually use it as a supplement to our learning.  We currently use "Life of Fred" for math (along with Prodigy (online game) and a ton of other fun games), "Story of the World" for history, and we do lots of fun reading and writing in subjects that the kids enjoy for our reading and writing and grammar.  We cover lots of science, geography and social studies in an eclectic manner as well, not using a particular curriculum but rather use unit studies, experiments, fun games, and lots of literature.) 

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