Connected Mom Sunday School: Tumbling Into Fall

September 19th, 2011 by Mandi

Hi, all! Mandi here. I know you haven’t heard much from me lately. Rest assured that I have been busy behind the scenes: mostly dealing with work-at-home issues and preparing for the newest “student” in our school, who will be joining us sometime around mid-January of next year. ;) I’ve also been busy with some side projects, one of which I wanted to share here.

I am one of eight moms who contributes to The Connected Mom, “a natural parenting site that focuses on fostering positive connections with our children, our communities, our planet, and each other.” I found that the blog reflects many of our views on parenting and family. Normally, I don’t like to get into parenting too much here, except where it overlaps with education. My interest in education led to a great opportunity to write for a blog series at the Connected Mom called Sunday School. The name might throw you at first, but it has nothing to do with cutesy Bible stories or flannel boards. It’s simply a digest of activities for a variety of ages that center around a certain theme each week. Since it’s education-related, I’ve decided to link my posts here.

This week’s activities center around autumn: from apples, to pumpkins, to fall leaves. A couple of these science experiments look really fun! I think we’ll be trying them out ourselves within the next few weeks.

If you’re interested in parenting–especially natural/attachment type parenting–you might want to check out some of the other posts as well. The mom contributors have great insights to share!

Free Resource: Handwriting Worksheets Generator

July 15th, 2011 by Nate

Today, I worked with Levi to learn to write numbers.  We did one set of numbers and he wanted to do letters instead.  Well, I thought, at least it is writing and not on the wall.  I tried a couple of different writing resources.  After some frustration, I finally hit Google and searched for writing worksheets.

I came across a site called The Amazing – Incredible Handwriting Worksheet Maker!  I browsed the web site trying to find something that did traditional print worksheets rather than cursive or a hybrid ones.

I found a print sentence worksheet creator and wrote a sentence with Levi’s name in it.  He loved it.  He called tracing the letters “giving them coats.”  At least I can get Levi interested in writing words on paper, rather than walls.  Anyone interested may want to check out

The Mesopotamians and Gilgamesh

July 14th, 2011 by Nate

Levi likes watching They Might be Giants videos.  We are doing Mesopotamian history this week.   As a fun introduction we played “The Mesopotamians” video.

Then Levi watched The Epic of Gilgamesh (warning: it has a passing indirect reference to sex.  Most kids won’t understand it).  It is an interesting series of videos retelling this classical tale of Gilgamesh.  Levi really enjoyed watching this video and learned much about the story of Gilgamesh and his best friend, Enkidu.  Gilgamesh goes on a quest for immortality after the death of Enkidu.  The story addresses the human wish for immortality and the futility of that quest.

We will continue to  do the introduction study of the Mesopotamians throughout the week and continue through history throughout the rest of the school year.


George Washington vs. Washington Street

July 12th, 2011 by Nate

On Independence Day we watched the musical 1776 from the 1970s.

Levi was in and out of the room while we watched the movie.  I really didn’t concern myself with how much he watched.  It wasn’t on for educational purposes.

Later that evening we watched the fireworks at Minnetrista in Muncie.  As we left and went through downtown Muncie and Levi was loaded up with Caffeine.  He was chattering about everything he saw.  Think Kurt Vonnegut on crack.  He then read a sign saying Washington Street and then started asking if George Washington was on the bus next to us.  I was shocked.  George Washington was several times mentioned in the movie earlier that day, but never was the word Washington written out.  The phonics first method seems to produce astounding results linking the verbal and written aspects of language.  I wish I could take credit for it.  Starfall has been the main resource teaching the boys to read.  I will write more in detail later about what we use for Phonics.  You may wish to look at Levi, Reading and Starfall.

Levi still insisted George Washington was riding on that bus.

Levi – First day of Kindergarten – Math-U-See

July 12th, 2011 by Nate

Monday was Levi’s first day of Kindergarten.  There was a lot of setup involved.  The first part of it was setting up decimal street for our Math-U-See Alpha level math curriculum.   It covers single-digit addition and subtraction.  It comes with a DVD that covers each lesson.

Levi loves the blocks and putting each one into the correct “houses.”  He seemed to start getting the idea of place value and didn’t want to end the lesson for the day.  Even Isaac was getting into it.

Today we will continue with this lesson.  I will let Mandi discuss further about what is being taught.

Stayed tuned as Orchard Hill Classical Academy is now in session.

Fun and Learning: Meet the Elements

March 6th, 2011 by Nate

We are always looking for resources to further our children’s education. We found a band named They Might be Giants and their album “Here comes science.” Today I am sharing the video called Meet the Elements.  They do a lot of songs and videos that are interesting and accurate. This music video is catchy, intelligent and well done. Enjoy.


Giveaway: Visual Latin

February 21st, 2011 by Mandi

Visual Latin | GrammarThe study of Latin is an important part of classical education.  Nate and I have been searching long and hard for a Latin curriculum that suits our family’s needs.  Song School Latin has been an effective introduction, but we need something more to continue our studies.

Enter Visual Latin, a “video-driven, self-paced curriculum for anyone who wants to learn Latin.”  The creator/teacher was nice enough to post a free complete lesson on his website.  We like what we see, and will most likely end up purchasing the curriculum.  Fortunately, we may not have to (at least not all of it)!  During the month of February, Secular Home School is sponsoring a giveaway of the first ten lessons of the Visual Latin series!  If you like the series, you may earn entries by commenting on the giveaway and by sharing it through various online media.

Now, check out free video lesson!

Blinded Me with Science – Quantum Mechanics

February 20th, 2011 by Nate

Those who are children of the 80s probably remember the song “She blinded me with Science” (follow the url for the video).  Lately I have been looking curriculum and resources related to science.

Youtube has an amazing amount of videos, both amateur and professional, on scientific subjects.  Levi in picture to the left is watching a video on the Standard Model of Quantum Mechanics.  It is a graphical introductory video and both boys seem to like it.  The picture is showing the four known forces of matter and energy and their separation at the big bang.

The four known forces in the universe are:

  • Electromagnetism
  • Gravity
  • Strong Nuclear Force (holds nucleus of atoms together)
  • Weak Nuclear Force (causes radioactivity)

I was concerned about the availability of science resources.  I have found quite a few resources.

If you have an interest the video is here.  It is about 15 minutes.

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