Week Eight of Homeschooling Eighth and Fifth Grade: The Civil War and More

Last week we were on vacation, so here we are at Week Eight of school!  You can see what we did in weeks three through seven in this post.

Six Year Old Kindergarten: This week we have been working on an Orchard Circle to tie in with the apple picking we did before Michaelmas.  We also are working with the Feast Days of Saint Francis of Assisi  (October 4th) and St. Teresa of Avila (October 15th).  This week we have also taken long walks in the fall leaves, played outside, baked apples in varying forms, learned about the frogs along the creek in our area, and made little wet felted shooting stars to go with our story  “Hugin and the Shooting Stars” and Michaelmas.

This is also the week of the stomach virus (no fun) and also birthday week, so we have had fun getting ready for a little celebration at the park!

Fifth Grade – Botany, the block that never ends!  This is right up there with our Third Grade Native Americans block for length!  We are done this week with botany, despite a brief fight with a stomach virus and a day of taking our dog to the doggie hospital for follow-up appointments.  We started the week by recapping conifers and the ecology of the longleaf pine habitat in our state.  We moved into trees and visited our local arboretum.  Lastly, we explored the flowering plants through the Lily and the Rose and will end with a brief discussion about biomes.  I would like to get in a visit to either our State Botanical Garden or the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, so guess I will just see what will work out in our schedule. 

We have also been working hard on spelling, cursive writing, and math. We are currently reading “Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter” by Astrid Lindgren.  This week also was beautiful horses, choir, swimming and a horse show.

Eighth Grade – This week was working on typing, high school Spanish, and math.  In our geography track that we are working on all year, we worked on Main Lesson Book pages for Antarctica and North America and some supplemental reading.  In our review of the United States, we talked about an article that was originally published stating Houston would overcome Chicago as the third most populous city – and why this ended up being inaccurate.  We used news articles to look at population demographics and things that affect whether a city or town is booming or not, is a bigger city better, etc.  It was an interesting discussion!

Our block right now is American History. We started this week with the Gold Rush, and looked at how this affected the Native American population of California (and we also tied this into current events looking at the canonization of Junipero Serra by Pope Francis).  We also studied the life of a “49’er” – did they really get rich? and sang music from this time period.  We also  looked at the general increase of  technological inventions  in the beginning  of the nineteenth century and how this affected Americans (particularly how the cotton gin led to the entrenchment of slavery).  For more about the devastating effects of the cotton gin and African American historical figures from this time period, I highly recommend the PBS Series “Africans in America” (the hyperlink has the teacher resources) and you can find the videos themselves on YouTube.

We looked carefully at how  African- Americans were faring in the North and South as our prelude to the Civil War.  How were the lives of our African brothers and sisters the same or different?   We also opened our look at the Civil War with poetry about the Civil War, and quotes in general by Civil War Generals.  We started looking at the cause/s of the Civil War.

For this part of the block in general, I made a list of things we were going to cover and a list of “How To Become a Civil War Scholar” with the requirements for our Civil War Studies.  For example,  I made a reading list of books from the library regarding the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Underground Railroad, medical care of soldiers during the Civil War and the role of women in the Civil War and  am requiring a half hour of reading a day from this stack in addition to what I am presenting when we are together. Mainly I am presenting through biographies, which has been quite a bit of research for me, but also a lot of fun.

We  picked several hands- on projects to do associated with this time period (my eighth grader picked making a pinhole camera and a telegraph).  We have also used the attainment of our Civil War Badge and Underground Railroad Badge through the National Parks service as part of this block’s experiential learning. We have several Civil War field trips planned and have already visited Manassas Battlefield this summer in preparation for this block as we were in that area.  The discussion about the Civil War will move us into Civil Rights in the spring and has already brought us into present day current events – notably, South Carolina’s decision to remove the confederate flag in July of this year.  The other things I am requiring in this Civil War section is the learning of several Civil War era songs, the completion of our Main Lesson book pages, and several lengthier essay length questions.  We are also making a glossary of Civil War terms and memorizing the Gettysburg Address.

There will be a test at the end of this American History block.  The only other block I have ever given a test on was Africa, because I loved that block so in seventh grade.  So, this will be new and interesting for my student. Ha.  I haven’t written the test yet, but will let you know!

We are finishing reading “Sacajawea” by Bruchac this week and moving into “Elijah of Buxton” and then the life of Harriet Tubman.  Independent reading assigned right now is “Rider of the Pony Express” by Ralph Moody and then Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” which actually ties into Westward Expansion, interestingly enough.

This week was also Wildlife Judging for 4-H, choir and youth group (a whole lot of youth group, which I am also volunteering in in various capacities), horses and a horse show.

Would love to hear what you are up to this week!


9 thoughts on “Week Eight of Homeschooling Eighth and Fifth Grade: The Civil War and More

  1. Yes, Botany was a block that never ended for us too! We still have the lily and rose and biomes left to do, which will finish our year here in the southern hemisphere. Between the twice weekly “field trips” to find the plants we were studying and all the careful drawings it took a lot longer than I originally planned.
    We’re enjoying the sunshine of our spring break this week, then we’ll be doing some geometric drawing and reading “Black Ships Before Troy”. We’ve started learning the Greek alphabet and looking at Greek roots using the “Alpha Beta Book” by Keith McCrary (available from the Waldorf Online Library) which we are really enjoying.

  2. HI Carrie, your week always blows me away esp. the grade part! I love the way you have carried Michaelmas into this month – it’s too good of a festival to cram into one day. Hopefully getting hold of our organic apples this weekend so we can start baking something with them – they are not grown here unfortunately. Still telling an apple orchard story from Spindrift. Collecting leaves for our nature table and picked up a pumpkin to make birthday cake for next week! Still working on creating a solid rhythm!

    • Aw, thanks Fran! Yes, I love to extend the festivals into seasons…it makes the most sense to me…

  3. I love this series! Thank you for all your thoughtful and informative posts and insight into your school year. You give back so much to other parents. I don’t know how you find the time, but I’m deeply grateful that you do. I am doing 5 year old kindergarten with my daughter, an only child. This is week seven for us, and we are having lots of fun. Our circle time this month includes songs and verses inspired by the harvest season and Halloween. Our story is “The Pumpkin Hotel” by Suzanne Down, adapted slightly because that story is meant for November, but it fits better for our family and climate now. In planning the school year and thinking about our rhythm, I looked at household tasks that weren’t getting done regularly and tried to figure out ways to incorporate those into our school routine. Two things that easily fall by the wayside in my home are hand washing woolens and other delicates, as well as doll clothes, costumes, playsilks, etc. and mailing cards, drawings, and artwork to family and friends far away. So, I’ve incorporated that into our school “project” time, or kindergarten activity of the day, once a week. It’s working really well. Our weeks are feeling very lively and full with drawing/coloring, painting, seasonal crafts, handwashing, mailing, baking, cleaning, and a weekly trek to take care of a friend’s garden…plus lots of walks and outside play, as well as all the regular household chores and cooking.

  4. Pingback: Weeks Nine and Ten of Homeschooling Eighth Grade, Fifth Grade and Kindy | The Parenting Passageway

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