Monday, June 15, 2009

Our friend the moth...

Sometimes your nature study lands right on your doorstep.... literally.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Language Arts Plan 1: Chocolate Fever

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

The Authors Website

The Author got the inspiration for Chocolate Fever from a bedtime story he told his daughter about a little boy who loved chocolate too much. Turns out, the little boy was based on him!

Book Summary
Henry Green is a boy who loves chocolate. He eats it for every meal! He loves chocolate more than anyone else alive and chocolate loves him back. It doesn't make him fat, or give him cavities, or stunt his growth, give him pimples or a tummyache. His parents let him eat as much as he likes, but one day he gets the "chocolate fever" and it leads to quite an adventure.

Vocabulary List
  • phenomenon: a rare or significant fact or event, an exceptional, unusual, or abnormal person, thing, or occurrence
  • nauseating: causing nausea, or the urge to vomit
  • acquaintance: a person whom someone knows, but isn't especially close to.
  • prodded: to poke or stir
  • bluffing: to act deceptively, to frighten or scare by pretense or a mere show of strength
  • mirth: cheer, gladness and gaiety
  • earnestly: an intense and serious state of mind
  • hijacked: to stop and steal something
  • subsided: to let oneself become more quiet
  • survive: to remain alive, and in existence
  • cargo: the goods sent somewhere in a ship or airplane
  • cautiously: careful, watchful and alert
  • desolate: devoid of visitors
  • dumbfounded: astonished

Discussion Questions:
Don't rush the answers. There is no truly right, or wrong answer, you are trying to get the child just to verbalize what they observed in the story. A narration is what you are looking for, not a short answer.

  1. In the beginning of the story, we learn that Henry Green wasn't really born but he was hatched, fully grown from a cocoa bean. Draw a picture of this and then explain it.
  2. Describe what Henry typically eats for breakfast. Does it sound yummy?
  3. Characters in the book try to guess what Henry eats, what are their guesses?
  4. Why does Henry run away from the hospital?
  5. How does Henry trick the boys in the schoolyard?
  6. What lesson does Henry learn through the book?
  • fold a piece of paper in half, on one side draw a picture of what Henry eats. On the other side, draw your favorite foods.
  • Make a collage candy bar wrappers.
  • what other kinds of fevers could people break out in? what would they look like.
  • Make a list of all the the characters in the book, put a plus sign if the character was positive towards Harry, a minus sign if they are negative towards him.
  • Study how chocolate is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree. Cocoa tress can be raised only near the equator. the scientific name is theobroma cocoa "food of the gods".
  • Watch the Magic School Bus episode on Cocoa trees.
  • Have a chocolate party: chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pie, hot chocolate, fudge, brownies
  • Watch you friends and family, ask them what their favorite foods are and make a graph chart.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Changes, Changes

Okay so after my year end wrap up, I mused on all the things I thought we could do better for this year. I researched curriculum and I feel very comfortable with the choices I made.

For the 2009-2010 school year....

History: Story of the World, Volume 1
Science: Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Comstock
Literature: I write the curriculum
Phonics: Hooked On Phonics
Grammar: First Language Lessons
Spelling: Natural Speller
Handwriting: copywork from Language arts or history
Math: Horizons Math and Singapore Math
Art: Art for all Class (Major Artists)
PE: Pool Time, Park Time or Gym Time, Yoga
Critical/Logical thinking: Board Games
Handicraft: Sewing/embroidery, knitting

cross posted at
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Clint the Snake Man

We loved the snake class "Clint the snake man" put on. It was held at my friend Brandy's house. It was so informative, he explained about snakes to the kids and then they got to hold/pet snakes. They LOVED it. Surprisingly, Emma loved it the most. She informed me she wanted a corn snake for a pet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Language Arts and Homeschooling

Homeschooling publisher's have absolutely nailed producing better and more engaging History, Science and Math curriculum. If you take public school curriculum history curriculum and compare it to a homeschool history curriculum the differences are instantly obvious. The homeschool curriculum is typically much more engaging, explores the topics deeply and typically they use alot of whole books and good literature. They make history fun, and therefore the kids absorb more of the information. It is presented in a 'hands on way', that will appeal to a variety of learning styles. The same applies to Science and Math.

But I have been disappointed in Language Art curriculum. To be clear, the curriculum currently on the market cover the fundamentals of Language art and the grammar or spelling parts of the curriculum can be innovative. But the problem is in the literature part of the programs... its dry, and slightly boring. So much really good children's literature has been produced in the past twenty years, but none of it appears in any of the programs. Its almost antiquated. The older classics of children's literature should appear in a good literature program, but there surely is room for more innovative, recent literature as well.

I went to the SETHSA conference trying to hunt down a LA program I could live with, and was dissapointed. Unless I stumble across one at the THSC in August, I am probably left to write my own curriculum again over this next year.

Friday, June 5, 2009