Art: Illumination

The first two weeks of school we learned about illumination using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 2.

We watched videos on calligraphy and making books.
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We wrote our names in calligraphy and decorated them.
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We made illuminated letters.
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We decorated the margins of old books.
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We watched a documentary about the Book of Kells.
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Science: Forecasting

The second two weeks of school we learned about forecasting using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 2.

We read a book about weather words.
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We learned about prevailing winds and pressure zones.
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We made a weather station with a rain gauge, wind sock, barometer, and thermometer.
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We learned about wind shear and watched a video about a plane crash from 1985.
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We made a psychrometer. We placed two thermometers side by side and put a cotton ball soaked in water on the bulb of one of them. Then we used a fan to blow air on the thermometers for 5 minutes. The dry thermometer didn’t change temperature very much, but the wet thermometer dropped by almost 4 degrees Celsius.
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We demonstrated how a thermometer works. We mixed half water half rubbing alcohol in a bottle. We inserted a straw and then sealed the top with clay. We used a hair dryer to blow warm air on the bottle. As the liquid inside heated up, it expanded and had nowhere to go but up the straw.
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We learned about wind speed and made an anemometer. We discovered that the wind was blowing from the southwest that day.
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Geography: Ireland

The second two weeks of school we learned about Ireland using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 2. Since the kids have a grandmother living in Ireland, it’s a place they hear about a lot. Cameron remembers a lot about the month we spent there in 2013. Fritz and Adrian have vague memories of it.

We found places, including their Nan’s house, on the map of Ireland.
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We looked through the book I made of pictures from our trip to Ireland.
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We watched a video of a Riverdance performance.
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We learned about the Aran Islands and watched a video about them.
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We had a feast of Irish stew, Irish flag veggies, and (gluten free) soda bread.
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We learned about the annual Puck Festival.
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The boys each learned about a famous Irish person and taught what they learned to their brothers. (Cameron chose John B. Cosgrave, Fritz picked Jonathan Swift, and Adrian learned about Ernest Shackleton.)
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History: Barbarians

The second two weeks of school we learned about barbarians using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 2. Did you know the word barbarian comes from a Greek word meaning one who is not Greek?

We added more people and events to our timeline.
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We did map work of barbarian migrations and Europe in 600 AD.
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We made a minstrel harp.
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We showed the social hierarchy of medieval Europe.
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We made a paper mache seax knife.
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The boys each chose a famous barbarian to learn about and teach his brothers about. Adrian picked Brendan the Navigator. I remember that we saw a recreation of his boat when we went to Craggaunowen, so he used the picture I took of the boat as a visual aid in his report.
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We watched a video about barbarian weapons.
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I Hate Celiac Disease

Not only do I hate Celiac Disease, I hate how sensitive I am. Now, I am very, very careful about cross contamination. Our house is gluten free and I only eat at restaurants I trust. But even restaurants I trust aren’t perfect. I’ve only been glutened once before since I discovered Celiac was the cause of my digestive issues so I guess less than once a year isn’t bad.

This time a little piece of grilled onion ended up mixed in with my fries and I ate it before I realized it was there. The grilled onions at that restaurant are beer braised. Beer has gluten in it and so terrible things ensued. That was Friday. I’m already a lot better. The worst has passed. Now I’m just a little swollen and achy, but the weekend sure was miserable.

Science: Climate & Seasons

The first two weeks of school we learned about Climate and Seasons using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 1.

We read a book about how the sun makes the seasons.
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We put a balloon over the mouth of a jar and placed the jar in a pan of boiling water. The heat from the water blew up the balloon.
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We made a sundial.
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We pulled the colors out of spinach leaves. We mashed up the spinach and then covered them in nail polish remover. We put a piece of coffee filter barely into the nail polish remover and then waited several hours. Eventually, we could see shades of green, yellow, brown, and red on the coffee filter.
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We watched Bill Nye the Science Guy: Climates.
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We colored maps showing climate change through ice melt, a climate map, and El Niño weather patterns.
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We put one cup of water and five ice cubes in jars. We put a sandwich baggie over one jar and left both in the sun for one hour. After an hour, we checked the temperatures of the water. The jar with the baggie over it was 12 degrees warmer than the jar without, demonstrating how the greenhouse effect works.
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We showed how the water moves in an El Niño by pouring very cold (dyed blue) water through a funnel into very hot (dyed red) water and then blowing warm air from a hair dryer over it.
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History: Byzantine Empire

The first two weeks of school we learned about the Byzantine Empire using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 1.

We added some people and events to our timeline.
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We colored a snapshot in time (500 AD) of the Byzantine Empire.
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The younger two boys wrote a jounrnal entry about changing names of people and places (Cameron wrote a persuasive essay about having a state church).
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We colored a map of Justinian’s Empire in 555 AD.
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We learned about The Code of Justinian.
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We played a game pitting Heraclius against Khosrau (Heraclius won pretty spectacularly).
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We played Hide the Coins.
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We compared the Romans and the Byzantines.
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Geography: Turkey

The first two weeks of school we learned about Turkey using Layers of Learning, year 2 unit 1.

We did some map work.
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We made some camels.
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We had a Turkish feast.
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We read a book of tales from Turkey.
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We colored the flag of Turkey.
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We watched a video of whirling dervishes.
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We made a bald ibis hat.
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Adrian learned about van cats and told us about them.
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Cameron showed us a PowerPoint presentation he made all about the country of Turkey.
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A Pretty Good Schedule

We struggled all of last year getting a good schedule for school. Cameron had seminary 6-6:50 am. When he got home, he’d go back to bed and wake up at some point to do all together work with his brothers. It never really worked.

This year, however, is so much better! This year, he has seminary 7:15-8:05 am. So much better. He walks to the church and back so he’s usually home by 8:15 or 8:20. While he’s at seminary I make breakfast and get the boys up for the day if necessary (they usually get up on their own before 8).

When Cameron gets home we eat breakfast while watching CNN10. Then we get to work on our all together work. During most weeks, normal 5 day weeks, we do history on Monday, geography on Tuesday, science on Wednesday, and the arts on Thursday. That makes Friday a short day. A bit of a reward for working so hard during the week.

All together work takes about 2 1/2-3 hours. The little guys have some together work Cameron doesn’t (religion and holidays). Once all of the all together work is done, they move on to their on their own work. Once they finish that, they are done for the day. So far, they’ve been finishing anywhere from 12-3:15 depending on the kid and the day.

Tuesdays and Thursdays Cameron teaches taekwondo 11-11:45. I don’t think he’ll be teaching in the mornings much longer, though, since school has started up again so most of the kids no longer attend that class so that part of our schedule may go away (or Cameron may take class himself). Sometimes the little guys take class, too. Since I have to take Cameron, Fritz works on his on his own work while I’m gone whether we’re done with all together work or not (Adrian still needs me for his on his own work so he gets a break while I am gone). Wednesdays Cameron goes to instructor training 10-12. I drop him off and pick him up, but in the middle, I work with the boys on their on their own work. All three of those days, we have lunch when we get home and then go back to work after lunch. Monday and Friday we have lunch about noon and then get back to work until they are done if necessary.

It’s nice having a good schedule for school. Even though it’s a little crazy with the three days of taekwondo stuff, it still is so much better than last year (which also included taekwondo class for all of us since for part of the year Fritz and I hadn’t gotten our black belts yet).