MFW Adventures: Fulton & Stain Glass


Greetings & Salutations!

The garden is in, my friends. No sooner had we turned our backs on those lovely beds than the heavens began to pour out rain. All our seedlings seem to have doubled in size the past week thanks to the ceaseless rains.

Unit #21 brought our merry group of adventurers to Robert Fulton and his Steamship.

Day 1: I read out of the recommended book basket list and set the boys loose in the yard with 4 kiddie tubs and an assortment of plastic trash. Empty bottles, milk jugs, egg cartons, straws and robber bands. They had a marvelous time constructing their own “steamships.”  This eventually led to us hauling out one of our Usbourne science books and executing another round of “sink or float” with other backyard items. unnamed-3.jpg

Day 2: We hauled out tons of books and encyclopedias that catalogued various ships throughout the ages. The boys looked at “Into the Unknown” by Stewart Ross and copied his diagram of the steam engine along with a few other pictures of steamships detailed within.

“Into the Unknown” by Stewart Ross

This was intense work for the boys. They took notes and later spent two hours drawing highly weaponized steamships.

Day 3:
Origami style steamboats! Thanks to Chaos Meets Creativity for the link!

Kreativ inredning

While we folded ships my youngest two tackled their own projects. Give the three year old an entire sheet of tissue paper and a glue stick–it will buy you at least 20 minutes!


The 5 year old was content to light up his Christmas trees with the correct number of red and white pony beads.


Day 4:
After finishing our state sheets, the boys did a little more work on their nature journals. On this day they transferred one of the public speaking presentations from our last week of the semester at our Classical Conversations Community. I love when they work so carefully and meticulously.




Day 5:
Thanks to the delightful “A Year of Playing Skillfully,” the boys and I discovered the lovely idea of window painting. My Adventurers join in almost every AYoPS activity and this was not to be missed.

We wiped down our sliding glass door, mixed the paint, layed out our painting blanket to catch any wayward drops of color and set to work!


We recently looked through our London Gallery Nativity book which featured several diptychs of the nativity. With two large glass panels at our disposal, we all agreed to make our own “Stain Glass” diptych featuring the nativity. The 5 year old was our creative director. He loves “Starry Night” and it quite obviously influenced his work.



We ended the day with a little sensory therapy in the form of homemade peppermint playdoh. It was worth the 20 minute make time. Peace on earth for over an hour!


We are on track to finish Adventures by the end of March. We’ll spend the rest of the month enjoying advent, studying The Nutcracker and prepping for our “Adventures in US History” Road Trip!

MFW Adventures: Eli Whitney & Failure

We have taken full advantage of all the FREEDOM homeschooling has to offer these past few weeks.  During our study of Eli Whitney, we managed to travel south to visit my family for a celebration, we returned home to host my in-laws for a few days and we visited Legoland. We managed to stay on schedule, despite a birthday celebration and the stomach flu tossed into the already crazy mix.

Legoland offers wonderful deals for Homeschool families. We enjoyed an almost empty park and the boys returned, brimming with ideas for new builds. Perfect place to be for studying the great Eli Whitney.

IMG_8226We always love heading back to my hometown. The boys have four great grandparents living there and they soak up all the time they can with them.  After spending time discussing the process of harvesting and deseeding cotton, the boys had a chance to visit my grandparents and harvest coffee beans off their coffee plants.

IMG_8265It began to rain as we pulled the red beans off the plant. The large green leaves overhead kept us mostly dry. It was a moment to etch upon my soul, working alongside my little guys in my Abuelo’s backyard, the rain falling all around us and pitter pattering on the leaves. We chatted as we gathered, then we tried to come up with ideas to make the coffee harvest a bit easier.
IMG_8268I spent a few days cleaning up all sorts of coffee gin prototypes off the floor.  My favorite lego creation featured a giant claw hand that was manipulated with a long hollow stick. A button on the side opened and closed the hand. The beans fell through the stick into a sorting compartment that hulls the seeds with “tiny razors.” Later, the compartment detaches, the seeds then dry out in the sun within the confines of the compartment. Once the seeds dry, the compartment can be placed over a stove top for roasting. They spent a long time thinking through the design of their coffee gin. The five year old wants to market it. IMG_8539Sometimes I am tempted to make projects for the boys, especially models of things we are learning about. I have to remind myself that they learn nothing from sitting by while I fashion something. It is always, always better to let them build and discover for themselves. The boys made the cotton gin pictured above. They failed repeatedly before they got it just right.
IMG_8008Every week, they are getting better and better at failing. Its wonderful! They are learning how to make mistakes and how to recover from them. They are learning that success takes patience and hard work. Sheltering my kids from mistakes and failures is probably one of the cruelest things I could do to them. I want them to experience failure while they are in my home, while I am nearby to support them as they sort out what went wrong.

We are looking forward to learning more about other great American inventors. So many learning possibilities await! I am currently gathering all sorts of odds and ends, from broken appliances to random spare parts. We are making room in our home for an Invention Station. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!


We are more than halfway through Adventures. The boys have completed over half of their Saxon Math work for Grade 2. They completed the Wolf level of Wild Explorers Club and have moved on to the Bobcat level.  It all feels an awful lot like growing up…..
IMG_8504We celebrated all these good things with a day at the theater. I am thankful to live near a theater program that includes homeschool families in their arrangement with the local public school system. Its costs our family much less money to attend the live theater than to attend the movie theater.IMG_8202

Ohio Pioneers are on the horizon. Looking forward to building rafts and making maps with my boys!