Sunday, September 19, 2010

All about Africa

We began "All around the World in a Year" with our fellow home schoolers at No place Like Home. One of the beautiful things about studying one continent a month, is that you have time to really dig deep and research the people, traditions and history. There is enough time to incorporate lots of hands on activities which is one of my favorite ways to teach.

We actually spent close to 2 months studying Africa, because there was just no way to cover it all in 4 weeks.

Some of the topics I covered in previous posts were: Braille, Rain Sticks, Afrikaans /Swahili language and Animals of Africa.

We started out doing some weaving. Weaving is very popular with tribes. After several tries we still could not get our mat close enough together to serve any purpose. It is not unusual for baskets, sleeping mats and storage containers to be weaved. Did you know that you can even weave tight enough to make a drinking cup?

We then moved on to African Mud Painting. Some tribes make ceremonial robes and burial clothes using a block pattern. The pictures that are painted on to the material have meanings. Some of them tell stories or are wise proverbs.





Traditionally pillowcases are made by some tribes. We took our material, cut it out and mixed up our mud. We then painted our cases and hung them in the sun to dry for 1 day. The mud needs to be washed out before you can do anything else with them. Once ours were washed, I put the kids to work with the sewing machine. Little Aaron and Antwon got their VERY FIRST sewing lesson! I think they turned out quite well!

Now I have a little story to tell about this next project. We had planned on making Mud Brick homes. In theory you mix mud with straw and let the bricks dry for several days in the sun. We had 2 issues. Not enough ice cube trays to make the bricks and it rained all week. So a friend gave us the idea to use hot glue and craft sticks. We created our houses with the intention of covering them with plaster Paris... then topping them with a grass roof. All of this was excellent in theory.
Then came actually doing it



Notice there are no complete pictures? This craft was a NIGHTMARE! The plaster dried too quick, the sides broke down and everything fell apart. We ended up with a Tipi in the end. This was a total fail and probably the messiest clean up I have ever had.

The reading we did this month was African based. We really enjoyed this Nigerian Folktale.

Our African Art... Now... Really this picture was uploaded TWICE going the right direction!

And here is our Africa Lapbook. This was one of the biggest lapbooks we have put together.



Another one mysteriously turned...



We also worked daily on our African song. While singing the lyrics we worked on identifying each of the countries.

This was Abby's final test. I listed the most recognized countries and she had to label their location.

Here are 2 of our awesome Warrior Tribal masks. Are you scared? They were used to scare evil spirits away.
All in all we had a wonderful time learning about Africa and the widely diverse people who live there. I would like to say a special "Thanks" to Jolene from Monsters Ed... She was an amazing source of help and readily shared such wonderful information about her Continent!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First week of School

One of the nicest things about being a home schooled child is that you can be very free to enjoy life. By the time the public school kids were heading off to the bus stop for their first day, we had already logged a month of classwork. Our way of celebrating the public schoolers schedule?




A little swimming.......




A little bowling......
And a "Not Back To School Party"

Hay rack ride before the corn maze...


A few fun games!


Roasting smores over the bon fire


Add a football game to the mix and this makes one fantastic week of Not Back To School!!! 

School Has begun!

It's been a fantastic summer here at the Academy! We actually schooled off and on through the summertime, which left us in a fantastic position for the school year. We are able to take much needed breaks when we need, and also schedule lots of hands on projects and trips!

This school year we do have a new addition to the classroom. We have opened our home up to a brand new home schooling family, and it has been a wonderful experience!

It has been a very hot back to school season... Of course... We did go back to school in August.

                                                            Abby's back to school picture

This little Sassy one has decided to spend the YEAR making funny faces every time I get the camera out! I just LOVE my Hali!

And Aaron cannot keep a straight face if he tried!

On the left is Antwon and on the right "little" Aaron. I am finding it hard to use just first names since they are the same. These 2 boys are new to home schooling, after a terrible experience with public school. They are indeed a handful and are ALWAYS keeping me on my toes!

Isn't this little critter so cute? Hali and her friend Allie made these one night when they snuck down to the classroom!

No boxes, no instructions... They now have an honored place on the mantle.