Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dadschooling: Candles and Kielbasa

I wasn't the only one who was inspired by our recent trip to Redcoats and Rebels. My husband, Brent, loves learning old-fashioned skills. So he decided to learn something new with the kids: hand-dipping beeswax candles.Brent melted the beeswax chips, tied wicks on to small twigs, and we started dipping.
candle making Untitled UntitledUntitled
We did it! Beeswax candles.

Brent also introduced the older girls to one of his new hobbies, smoking sausages. Ella and Mabel helped him grind, season, and stuff the sausages, and smoke it on the grill. We had a lovely, candle-lit, old-fashioned meal to celebrate learning about the American Revolution with The Hatmaker's Sign. Untitled

Monday, August 24, 2015

Five in a Row: The Hatmaker's Sign

We're back to school! We started off our new homeschool year with two weeks learning about The American Revolution. We were excited to go to the Redcoats and Rebels event at Old Sturbridge Village with some friends. This is the largest American Revolution reenactment in New England. There was lots to explore from colonial toys to music to old-fashioned weaponry. The reenactors are always happy to share what they know with the kids.

Last year after the reenactment, we studied Paul Revere's Ride and learned about the revolutionary war battles and colonial America. This year, we focused on the Declaration of Independence and learned about Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin with The Hatmaker's Sign by Candace Fleming.
We got out our quill pens again for some art and handwriting practice.
Poetry teatime
We read this beautifully illustrated edition of The Declaration of Independence by Sam Fink. Talk about an introduction to vocabulary: usurpations, consanguinity, magnanimity.
Instilling a love of learning has been my number one goal in homeschooling. The surprising thing I have learned in this past year is that it doesn't start with a curriculum, it starts with you --the homeschooling parent and your own love of learning.

So this year, I picked up a quill myself and started to write out some of those beautiful words from The Declaration of Independence.

I became so interested in hand-lettering and calligraphy. I started watching youtube videos and looking up tutorials. The kids and I watched this video about Jake Weidmann, the youngest master penman, and were so inspired. We ended up getting out our quills for a second day and doodling around. The next day, my oldest daughter, who has never been a fan of practicing handwriting, came to me and told me that she had "written out the Declaration of Independence in cursive." Sure enough, she had copied the same portion that I did in her best cursive.We started gathering all the books with really cool fonts on the covers and tracing them in our notebooks. Now Ella and I are trying something we call "Fancy Spelling," where we copy out words she would like to know how to spell in fancy lettering. A little mom inspiration goes a long way.
We also were really inspired by a book called Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares. We tried making our own Magic Squares game and I introduced Ella to Sudoku, which was a big hit. We also learned about many of his inventions and tried making our own battery out of a lemon.

The Hatmaker's Sign was also a wonderful gentle introduction to the concept of editing and revising your pieces of writing, which we are going to pursue more this year with our Bravewriter writing projects.

We are loving also adding in our Bravewriter Poetry Teatime each week. We read American poetry and rhymes and some old gems from this book of children's poetry called Silver Pennies, which I found in a free pile on the side of the road.  I love the beautiful cover and illustrations inside.

Poetry teatime 
We did not read aloud a chapter book to go with this "row," but we did enjoy listening to Thomas Jefferson's America: Stories of the Founding Fathers by Jim Weiss. I am looking forward to checking out more Greathall Productions cds this year.