Friday, September 7, 2012

My Father's World Highlights Week 2 / First Cousins Co-Op

This week I'm participating in the first MFW Highlights of the school year, which can be joined or peeked at over at Discover Their Gifts or 2 ladybugs and a lizard weekly.  I am really enjoying the community that comes with My Father's World curriculum.  I haven't met a lot of other homeschoolers since moving (almost a year ago!) and I miss my comrades "back home".  Making new friends via the Internet and blogosphere is such a blessing to me.

Today marks the end of our two week introduction to ECC (Exploring Countries and Cultures).  We read some great books including Maps and Globes and How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World.  Somewhere, on someone's blog, I saw this great activity (above) for helping children understand their place in the world.  It was created to go with the book Me on the Map but I used From Here to There by Margery Cuyler instead and it was a perfect combo. Seven circles get gradually larger, representing the home, street, city, state, country, continent and planet where we live.  I found the PDF download for the circles created by TeachMama.

The kids really enjoyed this activity.  We also created a map of our town on the white board.  They added features to it and made up their own key to they symbols.

We began Kingdom Tales by David and Karen Mains and it is a knock-out!  I get teary eyed with each story, and the kids beg for more.  Mister said "This is a really good book!".  We also finished The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe and get to watch the movie for Movie Night tonight!   We have both the BBC version and the Disney version. Mister respectfully asked for the one where the beavers aren't wearing costumes, because it's "cooler". Guess which one that is?

I posted earlier this week about Josh helping the kiddos create their earthworm niche. Well, I think our worms are dead. But they lived long enough so that we could see some of the tunnels they created and begin to get a glimpse of how they turn the soil.

I grabbed this great alternative to the Hands Around the World paper dolls activity from 2 ladybugs and a lizard's post on Week 2 of ECC when they did it.  Above is Brown-Eyed-Girl's and below is Mister's.  I made one too.  I love art with the kids.  We used oil crayons to blend lots of different skin shades, reminding us that God loves and created all the people of the world.

My post about week 1 ended with my initial thoughts on our new curriculum. Incredibly, this is my sixth (wow!) year of homeschooling.  I have to admit I was a little surprised by how rigorous My Father's World is and I felt rather weary after our first week.  However, I didn't take into consideration that main fact- it was our FIRST week back.  We're all getting over the more lax days of summer and trying to get into our school year groove.  I'm happy, so happy, to say that this week was so much smoother and I am already seeing a lot of improvement in both attitude and skills.  Brown-Eyed Girl is sailing through her copywork and forming her letters more correctly.  Mister is such a trooper and is much more independent than I remember him being in some areas.  Petite just loves to be part of the action.

To help improve attitudes and break the vicious cycle of complaining, I instituted an idea I saw on another blog by someone, somewhere.  Each kiddo has two jars,one for good attitudes, one for bad.  For each thing they are asked to do, if  approached and completed with a good attitude, they get a marble in the jar.  Or if they have a poor attitude, it goes in the other jar.  If the good attitudes outweigh the bad, they get 30 minutes of DS or computer time.  Which is apparently a very valuable commodity because they are extremely motivated to keep a positive attitude!

Now, I could (and I did) hyper analyze what this whole system is teaching them about God- that as long as you do more good than bad, then you're okay- but honestly, my kiddos simply need to learn good habits and I think a little incentive is very helpful.  We talked about how this is not God's system.  He is looking at our hearts.  We have all fallen short, we all need Jesus.

And I think we all need a little reward to look forward to if it is well-earned :)

I may not have my homeschool cohorts from back home, but I do have my sister-in-law nearby and we both just "happen" to be doing ECC this year.  Jen loved doing Adventures last year and MFW is a great fit for her.  We decided to create our own Cousins Co-Op on Fridays. Today was the first "meeting" and what a treat!

The kids decorated a huge world cookie.  Jen and I didn't touch it except for helping them to hold the squeeze nozzle on the frosting. This is all their work.

After the world cake, everyone made a batch of goo (fondly called Flarp) and had too much fun making... noises with it.

The recipe for this goo came from Kid Concoctions. It's really easy and requires only school glue, borax, tempera paint or food coloring, and water.

In one large bowl, mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of glue.  Add 6 or 7 drops of food coloring or a squirt of tempera paint.

In a second large bowl, mix 1 1/3 cup of hot water with 4 tsp of borax powder until it is dissolved.  Slowly pour the glue mixture into the borax mixture.  And you'll get goo.  Take it out and knead it. You'll need some paper towel to sop up excess water and a container to keep your goo in.

While the girls made their goo, the boys put together the world GeoPuzzle with the help of Auntie Jen. Our first Cousins Co-Op was a hit.  We plan to have it the second Friday of each unit and do the cooking and some other fun projects together.

This is one of the longest posts ever, so I may have to separate MFW Highlights from Cousins Co-Op in the future.  If  you made it to the end, thanks!


Kattie said...

We enjoyed that art project! I love the attitude jars :) cousins coop....what fun!! God just moved us right next door to my sister (Monica @ discovertheirgifts) and we school together during the week and are in the same coop.....what a blessing it had been!

BearBear said...

Looks like you're school year is off to a great start! We are currently exploring countires and cultures too with sonlight core B. I was wondering, does MFW require lots of trips to the library, because I noticed it doesn't come with any books. I have been wanting to learn more about this curriculum. The cousins co-op- what a blessing that looks like! We do not have any close family friends where we are either, so we joined a friday co-op with our first day last week. I am teaching pre-school with my littles any my oldest gets to do 1st grade classes! Fun Fun!

All-of-a-Kind Family said...

A Cousin's Co-Op sounds like so much fun! Looks like a great week and the goo seems to be a hit!

Monica said...

Oh boy a cousin's co-op.. how fun! My sister and I school our kids together also... gotta LOVE cousin time!