Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Friday, January 31, 2014

World War I Unit Study

Monday was yet another "cold day" in which schools were cancelled.  We plugged on with our lessons so we can reach my personal goal of being done teaching by May 31st!

We finished up out World War I unit this week.  Here's what we did:

We read the following books:

We didn't read straight through, I picked out the topics that I wanted to cover, and picked which book covered it best.  I guess I wouldn't really recommend one book over the other, they were all pretty good.  If one was too wordy for us, it had great pictures, and vice versa.

Millie read the American Girl Rebecca books which take place in 1914, right as the war was getting started.  There's very little mention of the war in the books, but it was interesting for her to get a feel for what kids were doing during that time period of war, immigration, and change.

Coincidentally, the princess book club that the girls are in is reading about Anastasia Romanov, which takes place during WWI, too.  It's a bit of a different perspective.  More on this book club at a later date ;)

We used these online resources to learn more about things that he books didn't cover, like

how animals were used in the war (or, 10 fun ways to study WWI),
an interview with the last living American WWI vet,
and poppy art (buried somewhere in my homeschool Pinterest board).

For Millie's final project, she chose to do a diorama about the use of animals in WWI.

Of course, we didn't just do WWI "stuff" this week.  We learned about deadly mosquito bites, wrote funny stories in Peterkin Paper style, and did a LOT of free educational exploration.

I'm quickly learning that Elise's learning style is completely opposite of Millie's.  Millie likes to be directed 90% of the time.  Elise on the other hand, loves figuring out things on her own, and doing a lot of independent learning.  Right now she's REALLY into this book:

Here's what she has been up to this week:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Past Two Weeks In Pictures

We went sledding with friends

The girls learned all about the Titanic

We met friends at a nature center.  Elise loved petting the bunny!

They got to watch some birds get banded and released

We learned about proper etiquette

The girls read about, watched, played, and created dragons

We learned all about the heart and blood in science

We experimented with lung capacity

Somehow I don't think this has anything to do with lung capacity!

We braved the cold to see the ice sculptures

A Lego ice sculpture!!

Millie worked on her girl scout drawing badge

Elise learned about foxes in her Doodlebugs class.  
Of course, this isn't everything!  We also met friends at the Science Museum to play and watch the Sharks Omni Theater movie, had a BIG playdate at a nature center, learned about WWI, made a trip to the library, yada yada yada.

I finished reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, and it has me wanting to read classics (I clearly fell through the cracks in this department.  I have a lot of catching up to do!).  I'm looking forward to implementing some TJ Education techniques into our homeschool!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Do Homeschoolers Get Snow Days?

-35 Degrees below zero?!  Even this native Minnesotan had to bunker down and stay home for a few days!  Public schools were cancelled for two days.  When the girls heard about it, they wondered, "do homeschoolers get snow days?"  Well, sort of.  How's that for an answer?

Monday was the day of the extreme cold.  In fact, some parts of Minnesota were as cold as parts of Mars.  ;)  Two Cowgirls Homeschool Academy went ahead with school as usual, much to my girls' dismay.  Our play group was cancelled, so we did an extra science lesson on Monday so we'd be ahead of the game.

Elise only wanted to do "Lego school," so here it is.  Thank you Pinterest for the idea ;)

Tuesday we were stir crazy, so after morning classes, we called the cousins and went out to Nickelodeon Universe.  It was so fun!  Bud surprised the girls by showing up at the park.  I'm so glad he came out because he encouraged Millie to go on rides that she wouldn't go on without him (the log chute and roller coaster).

A brief trip to the American Girl store to check out Isabelle, the girl of the year

Thursday it was finally starting to warm up, and fortunately for us, a family cancelled for the morning class at Silverwood.  We were able to go out for quinzhee building and a lesson about survival gear.  It was "warmer" but still frigid.  It was nice to get some fresh air, despite almost freezing our little toes off.

Thursday afternoon was "business as usual," with a history and science lesson.

Fun with geoboards
Feeling sound waves

Friday was girl scouts!  Millie started working on her drawing badge, and Elise earned her Daisy center and one petal.

Millie's officially a Junior
Elise received her Daisy pin

The girls all made a "melty the snowman" craft
Melty in sunglasses
Princess Melty

The Daisys and Brownies learned about Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Ideas

 Wow, our Christmas break was so fantastic!  It was low key, relaxing, and I did a lot of thinking and planning (two of my favorite things to do!).

Our schedule is going to be quite different now.  Here's how it'll go:

Monday - 3 R's in the morning, playgroup in the afternoon
Tuesday - 3 R's in the morning, Elise will have Doodle Bugs in the afternoon (nature study, art, etc).  Millie will use that time to work on school, play with friends, or do projects I have set up for her.
Wednesday - 3 R's and science
Thursday - 3 R's and history
Friday - 3 R's and 1.5 hour kids choice learning activity, and 1.5 hours moms choice learning activity.

Of course, we'll be flexible if things come up, but I find I work better if I have a schedule.  I think my stress from the first half of the school year came from not having one.  No worries though, I have every day planned out from now until the end of the school year :)  It makes me happy.

Friday is a big change for us, and the part I'm most excited about!  I asked the girls a few days ago what they'd like to learn about.  Millie said art, and Elise said brains.  After doing a little planning, I put together our Friday day of exploratory fun!

We started out with art.  I went to this site, which I found on Pinterest.  We did One Point Perspective drawings.  It was so fun, they turned out great! Here they are:

Millie age 9

Elise age 5

After that, we watched a video about brains, and then Elise made a model of a brain out of play-doh.

During "moms choice" time, I had Millie work on her jewelry badge for Girl Scouts.  She watched a video to learn about jewelers tools, and a video about an artist that overcame obstacles in her life to do what she dreamed of doing (making jewelry for a living). Then she made a hair clip out of mini orgami, and made beads out of polymer clay to put on a bracelet.  She'll do a couple more projects before earning her first badge!

Christmas break was super refreshing and badly needed, but I'm so glad to be back at school with a new plan!  

Christmas '13

Bad photographer!  I barely took any pictures this Christmas, and the ones I did take, were on my camera phone.  Here's some of the fun we had this season:

Set up the Christmas Village (sort of).  The girls spent hours playing with it.

We went and saw Frozen.  It was Elise's first time in a theater!  They loved the movie.

Decorated snowman and gingerbread cookies at Girl Scouts

We went bell ringing with friends.

Went to a play (Jingle Bells Batman Smells) with friends.

Went to The Landing.  Saw Santa, reindeer, and learned how other cultures celebrated the season in the 1850's.

Kick sledding.

Ready and waiting for Santa!

We took a looooong break from school this year!  It was fantastic!  The best part of all was getting to celebrate with our families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Everyone is in good health, and we have so much to be thankful for!  Lots of great memories created :)