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Well, I meant to post last month, but what are you gonna do? We’ve been busy the last two months with butterflies, plants and wrapping up all of our units!
My oldest has finally completed all of the units we began in October! He has completed US Regions, middle school chemistry, The Hobbit and The Giver, and Latin and Greek Roots! It all kind of ended around the same time, which worked out quite perfectly.
We closed out chemistry by learning about endothermic/exothermic reactions, and acids, bases and pH levels. It was fun exploring the acids and bases together. I ended up making a universal indictor solution using red cabbage because I didn’t have a pre-made one in the science materials I had accumulated. It was super easy and worked great.
We watched The Giver together after reading the book and boy, I was pretty disappointed! They sure did rush the movie along. I felt they could’ve done a bit more, but my son enjoyed it (he did say he liked the book better, though). His final assignment was to write an essay about the advantages and disadvantages of Sameness. I let him outline and draft all by himself to see how much he had remembered from when he did his essay over The Hobbit. He did a pretty great job on his draft, especially with the introduction and conclusion, which are usually hard for kids to do. Then I revised with him to help him clarify some ideas and add some detail.
My kid is going into high school geometry, y’all. He just finished Algebra 1 and is moving on to geometry and then trig. I can’t wrap my head around it. These last few weeks were very challenging for him, but he pushed through and completed the course on his own. He has for sure surpassed me in mathematical knowledge at 9 years old. Here’s a problem he did on his own recently:
Looking at that makes me want to go curl up in the fetal position under my duvet with a young adult novel. His brain is fascinating to me!
For one of the final projects of U.S. Regions my son learned about topographical maps. We watched a few videos on them, looked at some examples and completed these sheets by Science is Awesome to help gain a better understanding of how they work. I liked them because they used Google Earth and real landforms that he had to search for based on their topography. For the project he made his own mountain and then sliced it into equal sections using dental floss. Those pieces were spread out, and then he traced them onto cardboard layer by layer. It was pretty cool!
Thanks to a good friend of mine (who is a kindergarten teacher), we got to adopt 3 adorable hungry caterpillars and watch them grow! I give you Katniss, Oliver and DanTDM (guess who named that one???):
This stuff is called Hand Therapy Putty and it is used by physical and occupational therapists to strengthen the muscles in the hands. You can get it in various strengths. This one is rather soft, but the one he uses in OT is VERY firm, and he really has to use his muscles to pull it apart. I had attempted to get the same level she had, but I think I ordered a different brand and it turned out pretty soft. So we play with it most of the time. He LOVES to cut it! You can find it here on Amazon. I want to order some of the extra firm kind for him. His OT sticks little plastic spiders in the putty and he has to pull it apart to get them all out, which he loves!
After we released the butterflies we focused on plants! It is now springtime in Germany, which is just breathtaking. Many Germans here are avid gardeners and take a lot of pride in their gardens. Everything begins to bloom, which is a huge explosion of color after the dark and dreary winter. We decided to get some flowers for the balcony this year so the kids could help plant and take care of them. I was a little hesitant because I do not have the best track record for keeping plants alive, but seeing them on the balcony really makes me happy!
We went to the local blumen, or a field of flowers where you can cut however many you want for a small fee. It’s a complete honor system, which is one of the things I love here. I let the boys pick out some tulips to take home and put on our plant shelf. We got eight tulips for about $4.
I brought out some more of my teaching stuff on plants including this small model of germination and sprouting and some more life cycle posters. I also got my vertical planter and planted inside a couple lima beans from our sensory bin. Over a few weeks my sons got to see the roots, then the shoot and the leaves unfold! We also planted some seeds and watched them sprout over a couple of weeks as well.
Once one of the tulips began to wilt we cut it up to explore the different parts. My son loves to cut anything, so he had fun with this! Once most of the tulips looked like they had had it, we did the same and then sorted the parts.
It’s been a fun couple of months. Plants are always fun for kids. I remember when I was teaching about germination I’d always let the kids have their own seed to watch sprout. They’d measure the shoot every couple of days and they would get incredibly excited about it!
Since we are doing plants and ending chemistry, we are going to roll over into biology and start with plants with my oldest so he can learn about them too at a different level. Looking forward to starting new things with both boys soon!