MFW Adventures: Ohio Pioneers

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This past week, I opened American Pioneers & Patriots and began reading the story of the O’Neill family heading down the Ohio River.

The boys were decidedly not interested.

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I knew attention and participation would be an all day, uphill battle.

I was not in the mood for that.

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So I took some cardboard and the hot glue gun and built a flatboat. Then, I asked the boys to bring out the aluminum foil. We walked to the driveway with a bucket of chalk. I sketched out the states surrounding the Ohio River.

We set the foil out along the line of the river and curved the side up high. The eldest grabbed plastic teepees, warriors and canoes. The six year old held the raft and began gathering “supplies.” Little leaves, tiny berries, small stick to use as rifles.

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We poured water into the Ohio river and the cardboard raft achieved lift off.

The boys were thrilled. As I read aloud from our book, they acted out each page. They asked thoughtful questions that sent me running to the computer for more information. They played with this set up for hours. Long after I had finished our assigned reading and the extra books in our basket, they played on.

I sat in a green lawn chair and hummed through Over the Rhine’s Ohio album.

By the end of the day, the water had leaked out and washed away the chalk. The next day, the boys ran out of the house with a laminated map in hand. Together they determined where the boundaries of each states should be. They carefully reshaped the Ohio river and even thought to elevate one end with flat rocks to help the stream flow in the right direction.

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Its good to change the scenery sometimes. Its good to give their small hands something to do while they absorb information.

Before starting “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” I handed each boy a bowl, tweezers and an ear of Indian corn. They pried kernels loose while I read. We are collecting all these colorful kernels for our upcoming Thanksgiving unit.  I love the concentration they exhibit during this exercise. The silence is also pretty fantastic.
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We read five or six books on Johnny Appleseed this week. Our whole week was infused with apples! I made apple dumplings for the boys to eat while I read aloud from Margaret Hodges book. We sliced apples in half and used them to stamp butcher paper. We carefully folded up our project and stored it away  for next month, we’ll be using the long rolls of apple stamped paper to wrap up presents for family. My five year old collected dozens of apple seeds and we used them as counters for our math lessons. The boys learned a great deal about John Chapman’s character this week.  I believe it is the first time they have ever truly considered the idea of legacy. They are starting to wonder if they could change the world around them, even in a small, yet still significant, way. I pulled out Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. After reading about the transformation Miss Rumphius ignites in her neighborhood, I charged the boys to begin thinking of ways they could impact our neighborhood for Christ. I am looking forward to hearing what they come up with!

We have been studying kingdoms and classifications in Classical Conversations this year. We used a few of our science worksheets and lab sheets to reinforce our MFW Science. The boys really enjoyed this exercise in particular.  

Animal Kingdom Notebook Printables helped flesh out our Animal Kingdom Classification Books. Divider pages for each different kingdom are provided. The boys filled in facts about each one and went through a pile of magazines and cut out animals for each category as an “end divider” for each kingdom. Now as we study various animals we encounter in stories, on nature walks, or in our curriculum, we can draw their picture, record facts and file them behind the appropriate kingdom.

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Team B enjoyed many fun projects and games throughout the week with their Year of Playing Skillfully curriculum. Team A joined in the fun! They still need heavy doses of play throughout their day. Pumpkin volcanoes and a Van Gogh study kept hands and minds engaged during breaks this week.

We also had the opportunity to watch a free performance of “Peter and the Wolf” at our local library. I was amazed at how much the boys remembered from their study last year during My Father’s World 1st grade. They called out the names of different instruments and characters and remembered the majority of the plot line.

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We are getting ready to study “The Nutcracker” in a few weeks. I have finished compiling all the assignments and we will complete the entire unit before attending the show! We can’t wait!

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