Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ancient History - 2nd & 6th Grade

It's time to start the cycle over again!  Here we are, back at the beginning of time, studying ancient history.  I'm so excited, and so are the kids.  We took last year off from history to study geography, and boy did we miss it!  I have a lot of fun things planned this year.

I don't purchase a specific curriculum because I'm a bit of a control freak, and none of the curricula that I've seen has met my needs perfectly.  The closest one I've found is Guest Hollow, which is what I use as my guide.  It's amazing, and clearly a labor of love by the homeschool mom that wrote it!

Welp, without further ado, here is our 33 week ancient history plan:

Week 1 - Early People:

Usborne World History
Read aloud: The Clan of the Cave Bear
Make cave paintings on a brown paper bag (inspiration)
Watch a couple videos about ancient people:

Week 2 - Early People:

Usborne World Hisotry
Read aloud:  The clan of the Cave Bear
Make kabobs over an open fire
Watch a video about ancient people:

Week 3 - Ice age:

Read aloud:  The Clan of the Cave Bear
Read in class:  Life in the Great Ice Age
Watch: Ice Age Death Trap on Netflix

Week 4 - Stonehenge:

Read aloud:  The Clan of the Cave Bear
Read about and play with Stonehenge blocks

Week 5 - Egypt:

Read aloud: Tirzah
Millie to start reading: The Cat of Bubastes
Read Pyramids! pages 7-20.  Make scarab soap carvings

Week 6 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Read Pyramids!  pages 27-38.  Make reed boats
Read in class: Pepi and the Secret Names
Read Pyramids! pages 58-60.  Write a message in hieroglyphics.

Week 7 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Activities from Pyramids book
Read Pyramids! pages 39-56.  Make a plaster relief.

Week 8 - Egypt:

Read aloud:  Tirzah
Read Pyramids! pages 63-80.  Make a nemes.
Watch The Mummy (1999 version, pg-13)
Go visit the mummy at the science museum

Week 9 - Trojan Horse:

Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy
Read in class:  The Trojan Horse by Emily Little

Week 10 - Rome:

Millie's reading: Pardons Price (Diane Yoder)
Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud: Black Ships Before Troy

Week 11 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy

Week 12 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read Aloud:  Black Ships Before Troy

Week 13 - Rome:

Activity from Ancient Rome book
Read aloud (not historical fiction!)  Baby Island - Carol Ryrie Brink

Week 14 - Ancient Native Americans:

Field trip time!  Go take a look at the Indian mounds
Read aloud - Baby Island

Week 15 - Aesops Fables:

Read a few of 'em
Read aloud - Baby Island

Week 16 - Oil Lamps

Make an oil lamp

Week 17 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Read aloud: Black Ships Before Troy
Millie to read: Detectives in Togas

Week 18 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Story time in class:  The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Week 19 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book

Week 20 - Greece:

Activities from Ancient Greece book
Read aloud: Lysis Goes to Play

Week 21 - Cleopatra:

Read in class: Cleopatra by Diane Stanley
Read aloud:  Lysis Goes to Play

Week 22 - Jesus:

Netflix: Mystery Files: Birth of Christ
Read aloud:  Lysis Goes to Play

Week 23 - Pompeii:

Read in class:  Pompeii...Buried Alive! (Edith Kunhardt)
Read Aloud (not historical fiction!):  The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 24 - Maya:

Do a Mayan mapping exercise
Netflix:  Watch Dawn of the Maya
Read Aloud: The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 25 - Fall of the Roman Empire:

Watch the video and take the test
Read Aloud:  The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook

Week 26 - Daily life in the dark ages:

Read aloud:  The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
Activities from Knights activity book
Read in class: Arhcers, Alchemists, and 98 Other Medieval Jobs You Might Have Loved or Loathed

Week 27 - King Arthur and knights:

Read aloud:  The adventures of Sir Gawan
Activities from Knights activity book
Netflix: Mystery Files:  King Arthur

Week 28 - Book Making:

Read Marguerite Makes A Book
Make a book
   (or, field trip to book arts place)
Read aloud:  The adventures of Sir Gawan
Watch a video about the invention of the printing press

Week 29 - Vikings:

Read aloud:  Viking Quest series
Read Life as a Viking
Work on Viking lapbook as we watch documentaries
Millie read: How to Tame Your Dragon
Field trip time!  Armor museum

Week 30 - Leif Erickson:

Read aloud: Viking Quest series
Millie read: How to Tame Your Dragon
Finish Viking lapbook
Read Leif the Lucky

Week 31 - The early/childrens crusades:

Read aloud: Viking Quest series
Videos and quizzes about the crusades (sign up for the 5 day free trial)

Week 32 - Marco Polo:

Read aloud:  Viking Quest series
Marco Polo lap book
Make a salt dough map

Week 33 - Joan of Arc:

Read Aloud - Joan of Arc: The Lilymaid
Netflix: Mystery Files: Joan of Arc

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Habsburgs, All About Reading, and a Homeschool Convention

I'm late to getting my weekend update up because I was busy filling my head with encouragement and teaching ideas at a homeschool convention!  I'm back at home now, so I'm going to write about our week, and then spend some time sifting through my bag full of goodies from the convention.  Squeee!

Here's what we did this week:


 Mooo, Gale Woods Farm!  I can't remember what the girls learned about this week, but I know they made cookies.  The hallway smelled so good.  Another thing I can't wait for them to make me once they get their packet of recipes on the last day of class :)  Prior to leaving for class, the girls did their school work.  Millie is trying really hard to master adding, subtracting, multiplying, and diving fractions, working on her spelling words, and reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.  Elise has been working on her reading.


Today we got up early for piano lessons.  In fact, we got up so early, that Elise and Bud were still sleeping when we left.  :)  Millie had a great lesson.  Afterwards, we came home for a quick snack and then left to meet up with our playgroup at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Habsburgs exhibit.  It was so amazing!  It was so cool to see actual suits of armor, jousting outfits, artwork, sleighs, carriages and clothing from that family.  I need to learn more about them, now.  After that, the girls and I went to Snuffs Malt Shop for lunch and...you guessed it...malts.  :)  Fun day!

In the evening, the girls had play practice, so Bud and I snuck away to Stillwater to have dinner together at a little pizza place.  We had a loaded baked potato pizza.  Mmmmmmm!  That was the first time we had been on a date together in months and months.  


A stay at home day!  Today we didn't leave the house at all.  My car actually sat in its parking spot for over 24 hours without moving.  It's a record!  ;)  The girls worked on their school work, of course.  Elise finally passed All About Reading Level 1!!  She said "I feel so proud of myself."  She should!  She started out the year saying, "the one thing I DON'T want to do this year, is learn to read."  What do you know?  She's turning into a pretty good little reader :)  I'm so proud of her!!  While Millie worked on her school work, Elise took it upon herself to make a raft out of craft sticks, fill the tub, and test the flotation of her raft when it had different plastic animals on it.  Then, she made a new doll for the dollhouse.  I love that she will keep herself so busy!


Today we did school work, ran some errands, and got ready for Friday.  Knowing that Friday would be a BIG day, we took it easy most of the day.


The BIG day!!  The girls spent the day at their grandmas house.  Around 4, Bud went to get them, and took them to their Share the Fun competition through 4-H.  It was a looooong competition.  They didn't get home until 11 PM!  Their play didn't win, but they had a lot of fun practicing together.

I got to go to a homeschool convention!  It was so fabulous!  Here are some highlights from my experience:

We stayed at a swanky hotel that looked like a castle inside.  We each got our own bedroom, that had super comfy beds, and down comforters.  Each room had a huge flat screen TV (for a total of 3), and we had a super yummy breakfast in the morning (a make-your-own waffle bar!).  It was so fun!

I must say that I discovered a few really great things at the convention that I am madly in love with; Nest of Lydia: A Home Economics Curriculum, Circle C books, and above all, Classical Conversations.

Find out what other homeschool families did this week, here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Chicken Dissection, Science of Flames, and The Apple Store

I know my kids are still learning a lot, because we're out and about doing cool educational things on a regular basis.  The part I am uncomfortable with, is that we've been out and about too much.  I really need to cut back. Ugh.  It's hard.  Socialization really is a problem for homeschoolers.  There are simply too many options to be out socializing!!  Here's what we did this week:


Today the girls did their school work in the morning, and in the afternoon we were off to Gale Woods for farm class!  Millie dissected a chicken (!!).  She loved it, and was surprised at the density of the heart.  Barf!  I'm so glad she did that at class, and not on my kitchen table :)  I'm not exactly sure what Elise did in class because she doesn't come home with many details.  After class we went back to the house we were house sitting at, to do some final clean up.  While we were there, the in-laws came home.  It was so nice to see everyone after so many months.


Piano was cancelled today.  It was like receiving the gift of time!  Our house is in shambles, as we unpack from our house sitting gig.  I used my bonus gift of time to organize and clean.  It was fantastic.  In the afternoon, we met up with friends at the Science Museum.  They have a new exhibit that is a play structure made entirely out of tape.  The kids had so much fun there!  They also listened to a talk/demonstration of flames.  It was really interesting.  I'm learning so much as a homeschool mama!


SciGirls!!  Doesn't it seem like we just had SciGirls??  This one snuck up on me.  It was a great day.  The girls learned about robots, made a robot arm in their groups, and then we went to the Apple Store for a tour.  The girls made videos, and took home their videos on USB bracelets.  Fun times!  While Millie was at SciGirls, Elise spent the day with her friend Charlotte again.  I'm so thankful that they were willing to take her for the day again!  She spent part of the time reading Bob books :)  At least she got a little schooling in!!


Today we did school work in the morning, and then spent the afternoon at Good Times Park with my friend and her kidlets.  It was really nice :)  The kids love that place.


This was supposed to be our big academic day of the week, but the girls were swept away to the mall with Grandma and Aunt Kinsey.  :)  How could I say "no" to quality bonding time with Grandma and Kinsey, when they'd been away for months and months??  I couldn't.  So, I spent the day doing school work (History museum, lunch with Bud, etc).  Lunch with Bud is school work??  It was that day!  :)  It was so nice to go on a date without kids!  It had been a very long time.

The girls have been spending 3 evenings per week practicing for their 4-H Share the Fun skit.  They're having a blast!

That was our week!  It was really nice (but too full!).  Find out what other homeschoolers did this week, here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Owl Pellets, Share the Fun, and Syrup Making

"You know you're a homeschool mom when you have rodent
bones in a baggie in your purse."

Is it really Friday?  This week flew by!  It was cold and snowy again, so I'm glad the week went by quickly.

Here's what we did this week:


The girls had farm school at Gale Woods Farm again.  It was fabulous as usual.  They love that class so much!  Since it was so cold and snowy, I went to Starbucks to do homework.  I got so much accomplished!  Before Gale Woods, I met up with a friend for breakfast, which was super fun.  I honesty felt like I ate all day, though.  Breakfast with a friend, lunch in the car, a treat at Starbucks...  I'm ready for warm weather so I can go on walks!


Millie had piano lessons in the morning.  The girls wanted to forego playgroup today, because the neighbor kids were all on spring break, and they wanted to hang around the neighborhood.  Understandable, since we'll be leaving in a week or less!


Today we were back in our normal school routine.  The girls did all their school work in the morning.  In the afternoon, they had a class at Dodge Nature Center, where they learned all about bones.  They even got to dissect owl pellets!  For the second part of class, they got to explore several stations in a barn.  The most popular station was definitely the "knuckle bones" game station.  Good times.


This was the first day all week that we didn't have to leave the house (until evening).  It was so nice!  The girls did their school work in the morning, and spent the afternoon playing with the neighbor kids.  I had the entire afternoon to do school work and clean the house.  In the evening, the girls had their first Share the Fun play practice.  It's always fun for them to see their friends.  I am so happy that we happened upon this particular 4-H group.  The kids are all really great.


Academics?  We don't need no stinkin' academics!  (I don't really mean that, but that seems to be our philosophy right now.  We're still doing better than last year, so I'm OK with it).  Today we thew caution to the wind, picked up cousin Patrick, and went to the farm.  We needed to boil the sap that Grandpa Howard collected from his maple trees.  It took so long, we weren't able to stay for the whole process.  It was so nice to sit by the hot fire!!  The kids spent a lot of time playing "veterinarian" with Grandpas vet medicine books and Millie's stethoscope.  They had a couple (willing?) victims playing along :)

Well, I have next year *almost* entirely planned out.  I have earth science and ancient history detailed out in two future blog posts.  It has all the links I'll need to refer back to throughout the year.  I just need to make my supply list so I know I'll have all the supplies on hand (you know, so the experiments and projects ACTUALLY get done).

The big thing I have to work on is a homeschool group.  I need something similar to what we were part of when Millie first started homeschooling in 2nd grade.  It's the part of our homeschool journey that we're missing right now.  I know, I know, how could we possibly add anything into our week?!  I'm not too worried.  Next year will be different.  I'm known for making everything work out, so I imagine I'll do the same thing next year ;)

Have a great week!  Find out what other homeschoolers are up to, here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Farm Class, Lil' Biologist Class, and the First Day of Spring

The best part of this season, is that our weeks are filled with nature study.  I may teach a little, but there are classes aplenty that are taught by others, which is fabulous because I can't answer many of the kids questions: "What kind of fungus is this?" "What bird is making that sound?", for example.  Oy.

Here's what we did this week:


The girls had farm class again.  It was a cool and windy day, and I wasn't prepared for it, so I ended up sitting in the car for 3 hours (THREE HOURS!).  If I had been prepared, and brought a coat, I could have walked around the farm, but I didn't, so I got 3 hours of 2015-16 planning done.  At least the time wasn't wasted!  It was actually pretty fabulous.  Anywhooo, back to the kids and their farm class ;)  Millie's group drew blood from rams, testing for OPP (sheep pneumonia).  Each kid in her group got to pick out a pregnant ewe to observe and monitor throughout the rest of her pregnancy.  Millie is going to bring her stethoscope next week so she can listen to see if she can hear the lamb's heart beat.  They made sour apples, which Millie did not like.  Elise's class learned about and took care of the chickens, and made maple syrup popcorn.  I'm guessing she did more than that, but she can't remember.  Ha!


Today was music and play group day.  Millie had a great piano lesson, and continued to work on her recital pieces.  Here's a little snip from her lesson:


After lunch, we met up with friends at Silverwood.  The moms sat inside and drank coffee and chit chatted, which is always so SO fun.  The girls played outside with their friends (doing what?  I don't know.  I hear there were dogs involved).


In the morning, Millie had her Lil' Biologist class at the Wildlife Refuge.  Elise and I went home, since the house we're staying at is only 10 minutes away from class.  It was nice to have that alone time with Elise.  :)  At class, Millie learned all about raptors, and went on a raptor walk.  She got to see a barred owl in the wild (her first wild owl ever!).  After class, one of the teachers walked a couple of us down so we could see the owl, too.  It was so cool, and so much bigger than I expected!  In the afternoon, we did our regular school routine (math, reading, etc).  The neighborhood kids started spring break today, so the kids spent much of the afternoon running around, playing.


Fun with congruent shapes

Today was a full, stay at home, focus on school work day.  It was SO nice to stay home and not drive anywhere!  The girls got through their work quickly so they could play with friends in the afternoon.  In the evening, I had school (earth science).  I love that class!


Happy 1st day of spring!!  We started our day with a walk in the woods.  We didn't get very deep into the woods because the kids were distracted by a tree with woodpecker holes, several varieties of fungus, fallen trees, and pretty mossy logs.  It was a magical morning.  When we got home, we did a little nature study about buds and tree growth.  We all learned a little something this morning.  We spent the rest of the late morning/early afternoon working on school work before the kids left for an afternoon of fun in the neighborhood with the neighbor kids.
Never leave home without your rocks
and minerals book!
Flying through the sky on a

Elise can spot a fungus from a mile away.

The weekend will find us prepping our condo for sale, taking Millie to a Ukrainian Egg class, attending a birthday party, and SNOW!!

Find out what other homeschoolers are doing this week, here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Farm Class, SciGirls, and Lots-a Playing

Oh Spring, you're such a distraction!!  I'm very happy to be able to spend these early days of the spring-like weather outside with my kids.

Here's what we did this week:


The girls sat down and did some school work, finally!  Last week was a blur, and they didn't get much accomplished.  Monday was difficult because it was like getting back at it after a long break.  Oops.  Anywhooo, they finally did some work.  It was a challenge.  Around 11:00, I threw together some lunches, ran to Fleet Farm to get rubber boots for the girls, and left for an hour long drive to farm class.  It's their favorite part of the year!  It's 8 weeks of fabulous farm lessons.  They are in separate classes (by age).  Since it was the first day of the class, they toured the farm, looked at all the (pregnant!) farm animals, and spent time in the kitchen.  Elise's class made pancakes, and Millie's class made cinnamon scones.  I can't wait for them to bring home the recipes so they can cook for me!


Tuesday the girls did some school work in the morning, and the we left for piano lessons.  Millie's recital pieces are coming along nicely :)  Afterwards, we went to the condo for lunch, and then went to playgroup.  The weather was so nice, we were finally able to meet at a playground.  It was fabulous!!  It was so nice to be out in the sun without a coat!!  Millie started working on her big science project.  She's testing the water in two fish bowls.  One has one goldfish, the other has a goldfish and a snail.  Her hypothesis is that the water in the one with the snail is going to be cleaner ;)  Only time will tell!


SciGirls day!  Elise spent the day with her good friend.  I'm so thankful her family was willing to watch Elise; it's hard to find a sitter during the day.  They did some science experiments, cooked lunch together, and went to the park.  Fun!  SciGirls was awesome, as usual.  The girls did some taste testing, and tried to figure out why some people like certain veggies, and some people don't.  Then, we had someone from Mad Science MN come in to teach the girls about chemistry.  The experiments were really cool!


Looking for rare stones in the asphalt ;)
Finally, a day to stay home!  We did our regular school in the morning, took a nice walk in the afternoon, and then hung out until the neighborhood kids came home from school.  Once they were back from school, the kids were gone for the rest of the day.  Millie & Elise love playing with the neighbors!  It's a perfect little group of kids.  We're going to be so sad to break up the group when we move back to the condo in less than a month!


Well, this was the day that I found out that we need to spend more time on math, with Millie.  She had a math test, and couldn't even finish it.  Grrrr.  I'm not sure what's going on, but I think the answer is to do math every.single.day.  Even on weekends.  Bud took the afternoon off from work, and we went to the MN Zoo.  It was such a nice day!

This weekend will bring a fun 4-H event for Millie, Share the Fun auditions for Elise & Millie,
 and probably a lot of playing in the neighborhood.  If I have it my way, we'll go to the condo and start packing up our things to get it decluttered and ready to put on the market soon!

Find out what other homeschoolers did this week, here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Globes, Murder Mystery, and Tuesday Funday


Well, I think I've finally reached the part of the school year in which I'm sick of doing school.  The sun is coming through the windows, e-mail ads are tempting me with adorable spring clothes, and when the sun hits just right, the snow turns to puddles on the deck.  But, alas, the temperature is 5 degrees, and I must do a reality check.  There are only 12 weeks of school left (not that I'm counting down, or anything!).  I have to keep plugging away at this thing called school.

This was a great week, as far as school work went.  The girls did their 3 R's 4 days this week!  Usually it ends up only being 3, but we actually made it 4 this week.  Amazing!

Here's what we did:


After the girls did their regular school work, we had a quick lunch and ran out the door to globe class.  The class is almost complete, and we really don't have a product worthy of painting (in 3 days from now).  I think we're going to get some plaster and have Millie do the mountain ranges, at least.  Class was fun, of course.  Elise loves this day because she gets to play with her favorite friend.


Tuesday is a non-book work day.  We eased into the day, and left for piano lessons.  Millie got a couple new recital pieces.  One of them, in particular, is really really cool.  After lessons, we went to the condo for lunch and to hang out.  Being away from the condo for the winter has made me realize how much I love it there.  It's so bright and sunny, the flooring is so pretty, and everything is exactly how I want it (I think I'm home sick.  House sitting for the winter doesn't agree with me).  After lunch, we left for Tuesday Funday.  Elise did crafts and played in the gym with her friends, and Millie did the same thing, but in the older kid group.  I got some quality grown up chit chat time.  It was nice!


Today was super, extra fun!  We did our school work in the morning, and then before lunch I ran out to the grocery store and then to the Chinese place to pick up lunch!

You know you're a homeschool mom when you're giddy with excitement about an impending geography lesson, and you know you're kids will feel the same way!

I surprised the kids with Chinese food.  During lunch, they watched a tutorial on youtube about how to properly use chop sticks.  It was fun to watch them try to figure it out.  In the end, they ended up using forks.  Oh well.  I tried.  Afterwards we:


Today we did all our school work in the morning.  We were supposed to work on the globe, and do nature study, but we didn't.  I did some school work and the kids played.  In the evening Millie had to perform her one act play at family night at a local school.  One of "the fiddlers three" was sick, so Elise had to come up and fill in!  I wasn't there, but the pictures are adorable.  She's half the size of the other fiddlers.  He he.  Why wasn't I there?  Because I had Earth Science.  We learned all about earth quakes.  It was fun!  I love that I'm going back to school.  After class, I went back to the condo, took a midterm online for my Family Communications class, drank a lot of coffee, and took a nice relaxing bath.  It was so nice!!  Then, I went to work..(not relaxing).  


The girls did their school work in the morning, as usual.  After lunch, Millie went to Murder Mystery Play practice.  It's such a cool group.  The kids do some acting exercises, and are collectively writing, directing, acting in, and creating a murder mystery play.  I can't wait to see their finished product!  While she was at practice, Elise and I went to visit Aunt Kim, and played with the dogs.  She only lives 5 minutes away from where play practice was held.  Woo hoo!

In the evening, we went and looked at a house.  A house!  It's super tiny.  I mean, I don't even know how one would fit furniture in the living room.  But, despite the tiny size, I really like it.  See what I found in the closet?  I had this exact same doll!!  It's a sign...  Also, it has a bomb shelter.  How cool is that??

Find out what other homeschool families were up to this week, here.