Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Week of School

As I mentioned in this post, our homeschooling has more of an unschooling flavor this year.  My sister, who also home schools, called me up yesterday and mentioned that she had read my post and wanted to know more about unschooling.  So I walked her through one of our days this week.  I want to preface this post by mentioning that there are days we sit around in our underwear studying the dust on horizontal services, so it is not always rainbows and unicorns.  ;-)

The boys and I know nothing about WW1,
so we spent part of the morning reading about it in this really great picture book.  Once we had read about trench warfare, Archduke Ferdinand, tanks, countries involved, etc. we went and spent about an hour watching actual WW1 footage and a short documentary on YouTube videos.  This spawned additional questions about aircrafts, gas masks, flame throwers, and tanks which will lead us to the library later today.

Then we went back to our map and book and studied the countries involved and figured out who was on what side and we colored in their flags.  We learned when and why the US became involved, and what happened in WW1 that eventually led to WWII.

We also discussed that their great-great-grandfather on my side fought in WWI in Germany.   They were really interested to hear that their great-grandfather on my side fought on the German side in WWII (tank commander) and their grandfather on my husband's side (DC-3 commander) fought on the US side, so they could have been fighting each other!  This lead to a discussion that war was not necessarily bad people fighting good people.  We discussed how there are leaders and people who are evil, but usually the majority of people fighting in wars would be friends if they were neighbors.  Case in point, I have a brother-in-law who is Iranian.  :-)

My German grandmother (who passed away this month) told a story of my grandfather sitting at the table just before he went off to war in WWII.  He was staring at a photo of one of his closest friends who was English, and told her that he couldn't believe that a man he loved was now his enemy.  Later they found out that their English friend had done the same with his wife.

Finally we practiced handwriting (cursive for Duke) on words from our WWI lesson and ended with some math (how long was the war, how long ago did it finish, etc.).  We finished off with a discussion that events that happened in the past shape our present and future and that so many people have bravely fought and given up their lives to protect our country over the years.

I learned more about WWI in one day than I learned in 13 years of public school and four years of college.  We will stick with WWI the rest of the week and then read about WWII next week.

Our week has not been all serious war talk.  The boys have a passion for origami and paper airplanes and I am finding them all over the house! Duke even taught us how to make a crane.

The boys built this huge, messy fort in Imp's room.  It even has hidden passages.  Unfortunately the dog keeps on playing in there and tearing it up.

I have this sick fascination with chicken hearts.  When we had roasted chicken, my mom always let me fry the heart in butter and I considered it a special treat.  Of course, my sisters thought they were disgusting.  On a lark I bought this huge container of chicken hearts for $1.06 and divided it into 4 packages.  One package was enough for the boys and me for lunch.  I fried them in butter and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic) and they were delicious, especially considering it cost only 25 cents. I know most of you will think I am disgusting.  My husband agrees with you.  ;-)

Imp made his favorite Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) face and said they were disgusting, and Duke did not help the situation when he said they looked and felt disgusting but tasted pretty good.  Then he dissected one and showed his brother the arteries and chambers.  Finally Imp tasted one after I added some ketchup to his plate and he decided they were a bit tasty with the fake "blood" and kind of cool, like sardines.

So this is a little picture of our homeschooling life this year.  Today we are going on a tour of a working dairy farm (raw milk from goats and cows) and tonight we are having a little party for my Dad to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his immigration from Germany to the US.  I am sure we can beg him for a few stories about his grandfather and father in the wars.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

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  1. Neat! I bet chicken hearts are really good for you. I've been doing quite a bit of research on bone broth and it's rejuvinative properties lately. It's amazing.

  2. chicken hearts are good but the livers are even better. If you haven't tried, lightly fry them with raspeberry vinegar and serve them on a bed of salad leaves - delicious. This sort of warm salad is very popular in Europe. Also good in risotto with pineapple.

  3. Love it that your son dissected it! Biology lesson at the dinner table! The fake blood is pretty clever too! :)