Welcome to another week of school with the Taulmans!
Whoa, doggy, things have really picked up around here! It seems as though we are just running from one thing to the next these days. A couple of days a week we are having to start school about an hour and a half earlier than the norm. I leave my house in a mess more often than I would like and find myself having to reconstruct it at night before I go to bed. I am having to really schedule our days so that we get everything done and somehow manage to have dinner before we run out for our nightly activities. It's the busy season! But things are good.
This week we started reading Little House on the Prairie and doing the Prairie Primer activities associated with Chapters 1-6.
Conestoga WagonsWe learned all about covered wagons, most particularly Conestoga wagons, by reading Conestoga Wagons by Richard Ammon and making covered wagons of our own. A couple of interesting facts: The modern day Teamsters Union for truck drivers comes from the "teamsters" who drove the conestoga wagons with their teams of horses. Also, the phrase "I'll be there with bells on" comes from the conestoga wagons because the horses wore bells around their necks to alert others that they were coming. (We are never too old to learn, folks!)
MustangsLearning about Wild Mustangs was interesting, as well. We read Mustangs by Pamela Dell and watched a couple of videos on Youtube: one where someone recorded wild mustangs running in New Mexico and one that showed stories of individuals who adopted mustangs needing to be saved from the wild because of over-population. They are beautiful creatures!
California Gold RushWe read about the California Gold Rush with Gold Rush: Hands-on Projects About Mining the Riches of California. We didn't do any of the projects, just read about it. And then the kids watched a stop-motion video called Lego History: California Gold Rush.
Prairie LifeThey also read Molasses Man by Kathy L. May and watched Molasses Making an Old Appalachian Tradition. I am hoping to get us some Lincoln Logs to build our own log cabins, but for now we watched a video called Alone in the Wilderness where we were able to see exactly how the logs were cut, notched and stacked to build a nice log home.
Blood CellsLearning about blood cells was a lot of fun. We read the book A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers and all about plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. We made a model of a drop of blood with karo syrup, lima beans, lentils, and cut up cherries (I didn't have any skittles, and they would have definitely worked better) and they also made playdoh models. We looked through a virtual microscope at a healthy drop of blood and then one of someone with cancer.
Simple MachinesLife on the Prairie was made much more easy with simple machines. Levers, pulleys, wedges and the like were easy to build with ordinary items found on the homestead. So, we made a few! We used the book Experiments with Simple Machines by Salvatore Tocci (really great hands-on book!) to learn the basics about simple machines. An activity we made from the book was a lever. First the kids tried to lift books with their pinkies. Then they used a pencil as a lever to help.
Later they used a pencil as a wedge to pry apart two books. Then we turned to Supercharged Science to make a catapult .. another lever.