Monday, September 28, 2009

Native Americans

One of the main resources we are using for our Native American studies is a series of lessons about the People of America from Pronto Lessons.  These are free lessons, and are scripted if you like that thing.  (I don't, but it's not hard to ignore the scripting.)

The Native American tribes discussed and the extra resources we are using are listed below.  One of the best sites for what book NOT to use for Native American studies is the Oyate Books to Avoid list.  

Lore can be found at the Native American Lore Index from

Native American paper house models can be fun to make.

The Eye of the Needle: based on a Yupik Tale

Pronto Lessons: Iroquois Part 1 Iroquois Part 2
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp (check it out at Amazon)
If You Lived With the Iroquois Lapbook from Homeschool Share
paper model of a longhouse 

Pronto Lessons: Cherokee
Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears by Alex Bealer  (check it out at Amazon)

Pronto Lessons: Cheyenne
paper model of a teepee
Buffalo Hunt by Russell Freedman

Pronto Lessons: Apache
portions of Geronimo: His Own Story

Pronto Lessons: Ute

Nez Perce
Pronto Lessons: Nez Perce

Pronto Lessons: Makah

Pronto Lessons: Wiyot

Other Native American studies links:
Native American Lapbook (corresponds to Pronto Lessons!) from Lapbook Lessons
Lesson Plans from Mr. Donn
Native Child
Learn About Native Americans (Arlington Heights School District 25)
Apples for the Teacher Online (and printable) Native American Coloring Pages
Andy's American History Worksheets
One State Many Nations
Chief Joseph
Famous Native Americans
Native Americans from Teacher Oz

The completed pages for the history notebook, as well as a very simple lapbook.  I think some of his drawings are very impressive for an almost-6-year-old!

American History

We're going to be doing a six-year cycle for American History.  I was planning on using This Country of Ours: The Story of the United States by H.E. Marshall (see the bottom part of my post for specifics) but it is just not working for us.  Perhaps we can come back to it on our next cycle through history, but it's a little too dry and boring for my first grader.

As of January 2010 we will be using a variety of story books and the book Question & Answer Encyclopedia: The USA by Paragon Publishing (that I picked up a TJMaxx for $5) until I can find another reference encyclopedia for kids that I like.

Look for a future post detailing our new plan.

We're going to be doing a six-year cycle for American History.  For the early elementary years we will be utilizing the free online book This Country of Ours: The Story of the United States by H.E. Marshall as well as a ton of other resources.

In 1st and 7th grades we will be learning about:
Native Americans
Explorers and Pioneers
Stories of Virginia

In 2nd and 8th grades we will be learning about:
Stories of New England
Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies

In 3rd and 9th grades we will be learning about:
Stories of the French in America
Stories of the Struggle for Liberty

In 4th and 10th grades we will be learning about:
Stories of the US Under the Constitution

In 5th and 11th grades we will be learning about:
Gold Rush
Civil War
WWI to Modern Times

In 6th and 12th grades we will be learning about:
US Government

Dinosaur Lapbook

I wanted to share the dinosaur lapbook that we recently did.  It has a couple of games in it and is a HUGE hit with both of my boys.  I have a feeling they will spend many hours playing with it, which is nice because it was a considerable amount of work!  This is actually going to be a lapbook of prehistory, not just dinosaurs, but so far only the dinosaur portions are completed. 

The printables came from Homeschool Share (free) and the Dinosaurs Learn 'N Folder, which must have been a freebie at Currclick at one point because I'm too cheap to pay for things like this.  The empty portions will cover other aspects of prehistory.


Prehistory Time Line

We've begun work on a prehistory time line so that we have a visual aid for reviewing the information we've learned so far in our studies.  I scoured the internet looking for ideas and found very little.  It seems that most homeschoolers teach from a creationist perspective and I was looking for an evolutionary perspective.  I finally found what I was looking for at  Combining that with pictures from Nova's The Missing Link: A Brief History of Life gave us the base for our timeline.

Pictures of our time line are coming soon.

I'm thinking about rounding out our studies with a recipe from the free online Geologic and Paleontologic Cookbook from Kentucky Geological Survey.

Other links you might find useful:
Satori Smiles (blog) Prehistory post
National Geographic Prehistoric Time Line: Rise of Life
Universe Timeline

Trilobite Masks

Today we made trilobite masks to go along with our prehistory studies.  I found the directions for the masks at the Kentucky Geological Survey site.  What a wonderful site just full of resources!  Here are the boys with their masks.  They both picked the same type of trilobite to make, Psychepyge, because it looks like it has a sword on its head. 

We also made impressions in clay after another discussion on fossils and filled out this worksheet, also from the Kentucky Geological Survey website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Really Reading

For reading we decided to go with the free reading program by Tanglewood Eduction titled Really Reading.  Nik could already read when we started the program, but formal instruction in the sounds that vowels and certain consonant blends make has improved his reading dramatically.  If only we could conquer the lowercase "b" and "d" confusion we would be as good as gold.  We completed the program last week.  In 23 lessons, which took us just over one month, Nik is reading books like Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  It is soooo exciting to hear him reading "real" books!


For mathematics/arithmetic we've settled on the Mathematics Enhancement Programme which is currently used by some UK schools and based on the continental model used in mathematically high performing countries such as Hungary and Poland.

We are currently in year 1. To see examples of the lessons we will be completing this year, scroll down to where it says Year 1 and click on any of the Practice Book 1a links (Pages 1 to 30, Pages 31 to 50, Pages 51 to 80.)