Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ECC Weeks 33-34 Antarctica

Highlights from Antarctica.
No picture to add to our wall.

But Squirt created her own flag. 

And her summary of Antarctica.

We were feeling really burned out and ready for a vacation. So I didn't do as many crafts as was scheduled in the TM. And (shocking to many of you) I didn't do the Year End Evaluation. You know I figured since we are not stopping for three months, it will be easy to throw in the Geography Game now that we have it. And I can always do the review later. right? Right.

End of ECC.  (((((cheering)))))))

ECC Week 31-32 Australia

 We added Australia to our wall.

We enjoyed learning allot online and through library books about Australian animals.

Squirt made an origami Koala.

She did a 3D paper craft of the Sydney Opera House.
You can find the instructions here.

Squirt read allot about reefs especially the Great Barrier Reef.  

We listened online to Waltzing Matilda and learned allot of Australian phrases. Here is an excerpt from some of Squirt's writing and art work for Australia.


Squirt drew this looking at the picture of a real Red-Capped Parrot. Then she chose to change the top color of the head. She said she thought the red looked weird. So it is a Red-Capped Parrot without a red head. hmmmm artistic license?

We did enjoy eating Kiwis for a snack during one of the Australia weeks. We didn't plant the seeds though.

We had a great time listening to different bird songs of Australian birds. The kids especially enjoyed the Kookaburra. I found a great deal on this book. So bought it and used it for Australia. 

We later got to review a number of animals with a trip to the Zoo, when we were on vacation after finishing ECC. It was neat to see how much we learned and remembered.  

And of course we ended our study watching Finding Nemo. Squirt got allot more of it after learning about Australia. Buddy just loved the seagulls (minemineminemine) and crabs (heyheyheyhey).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CTG Week 1

We started CTG after a three week break between history cycle years. Since we finished ECC earlier than I had planned (we didn't take as many breaks as I had expected), I felt we needed a little break and then we should keep moving forward. We will take a break, as usual, for all of June.

Squirt's memory verse for week 1-2 was 2 Timothy 3:16-17. She flew through memorizing it, thanks to a CD that we have by the Harrow family called Sing The Word- God Our Provider CD.

I got it at our homeschool association's used booksale last year. But you can also find it at Rainbow Resource. Wonderful music by excellent professional musicians and with beautiful children's voices singing. All of it is simply scripture set to music. The CD has two sections. One with complete voices and instrumentals. And the other half  is just the instrumentals. You can use this like a split track CD for performances at church or for simply practicing and checking for memorization. I intend to get more of their CDs in the future.

We did not do the Sabbath celebration yet. I hope to do that for week 2.

I did find an MP3 download of Haydn's The Creation at Amazon. (I had been wanting to buy it anyway.)

So this gave me just what I needed for us to do music for our Creation week. Squirt and Buddy really enjoyed listening to the opening chorus where God creates light. You can listen to excerpts here or buy the MP3 yourself. Robert Shaw directing Haydn's The Creation This version is in English rather than German which is much easier for the kids to follow. I did have my complete score from when I sang this with Robert Shaw back in College, so we looked at that as we listened too. There are plenty of  youtube videos of excerpts also.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

ECC Weeks 29-30 Russia

Russia was one of the first countries I did one of the projects  successfully (well mostly).
We learned allot about the Arctic and permafrost. We learned about Russian names and how they are organized. Squirt really enjoyed the application  of that one to our own family names.

The permafrost activity I modified a bit so that it was completely edible (and that means allergen free too in our house). You have to understand sweets are a controlled substance in our house. And sweets with food coloring are consumed only a couple of times a year. So if I made Jello I felt I couldn't let it go to waste covering it with real soil (as the TM suggested). So we made it edible for everyone. We crushed Pamela's Gluten Free Dark Chocolate cookies for the soil. I made strawberry Jello. (Which is edible even for my little guy with Strawberry allergies. Why? Because there is not anything real strawberry about it!) And we spread So' Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream over the top for the ice. Sounds weird but it really did taste good and everyone could eat it,  especially Buddy.

Here it is in pictures. It was not very pretty, but Squirt got the "ah ha" moment with it.

Strawberry Jello with crumbled cookies on top.

Then with lumps of vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream has started to melt in the picture and you can kind of see it having soaked through the cookie layer but staying on top of the Jello layer.

Squirt made Matroyshka dolls.

She colored pictures of St Basil's Cathedral and looked at a book to try her hand at drawing it free hand.

We listened to lots of Tchaikovsky (who is already a favorite in our home). Read about his life in 
Peter Tchaikovsky (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia. We love this series of books. It gives just the right amount of biographical info to keep youngsters attention and includes some cute and witty cartoons. 

Peter Tchaikovsky (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

And finally, we used some pages on Uzbekistan from called Bold Believers in Uzbekistan. 

ECC Week 25-26 China (remembering more)

I forgot to add in my other post about China some of our favorite books and crafts. My mother sent us a bunch of stuff on Chinese New Year. So Squirt made some Chinese lanterns.

We really enjoyed Mei-Mei Loves the Morning by Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama

And Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert

I ended our study of China with a meal serving- Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce (from the jar), Rachael Ray's Special Fried Rice, & my usual stir-fry of veggies with meat of choice in my home made sauce.  Of course Chinese Food is always a hit at our house. 

ECC Weeks 27-28 Japan

Japan was a great country for us.

We added Japan to our wall.

We are blessed with having a newly made friend who is an international student from Japan, attending the local University. She came over and taught us how to make miso soup. I pulled out our Japanese lacquer ware (given as a wedding present and sent straight from Japan). We ate our soup in the traditional way from my lacquer bowls and with matching chopsticks. Our friend gave Squirt a big compliment on her use of chopsticks (it always has come naturally to her).

We learned lots of extra origami. The origami book and paper that came with our curriculum was great, but she showed us lots more. And the paper she had from Japan was so much more delicate and the prints were gorgeous. She talked with us about Japanese customs, culture and foods. She wrote Squirt's name in Katakana and Hiragana.

Squirt made some Japanese fans out of white water color paper and craft sticks. We looked up her name and her friends names in Katakan at this site She painted, in black paint, the names of her friends and her own name. She made about six fans. I got the instructions here

We listened to traditional Japanese music and watched traditional dancing online. We looked at lots of books and pictures of Japanese traditional clothing and art. We really enjoyed the historically based pictures books by Allen Say.

We also went to the local university and got to watch our friend participate in a performance of traditional Japanese dance. We made her origami cherry blossoms following the instructions in the video here We got to eat a traditional Japanese "sweet" of ice cream, fruit & red beans.

Squirt made a Karensansui mini garden from Global Art but she left out the pagoda. She made the choice to leave it out because she said she associated it with the other religions practiced in Japan.

Finally she made a carp wind sock of sorts.

We ended our two week study of Japan by going out for Sushi. Squirt liked the steamed rice,  and miso soup (which was not as good as the one that was made for us at our home). She liked the tempura. But she did not like the sushi, especially the Nagiri. She said it was like eating a slug. I guess, for some, it is an acquired taste.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ECC Weeks 25-26 China

We started reading Gladys Aylward these weeks. It is a wonderful story of an amazing woman. There were a few disturbing parts, but Squirt handled it well. And her Dad felt it was important for her to hear the whole story. She is old enough now to begin to learn more about persecution and the realities of living in places where Christians are not received well. More than anything though, it was an opportunity for her to hear of people willing to stand for Christ no matter if it meant giving up their lives.

We added China to our wall.
Squirt really enjoyed trying her hand at painting the numbers using a calligraphy style paint brush and watercolor.  We listened to some Chinese phrases and words online. 

And as usual having the Wee Sing Around the World CD enhanced our country experience by giving us a taste of the music and language. 

As we went through the year, Squirt used the Geography Songs from Audio Memory. 
Squirt would listen to the different songs according to what continent or section of a continent she was currently studying. I think it helped the geography to imprint on her mind more, since she is very auditory.
Buddy tagged along and would chime in with something he remember hearing too. (he is only 3)

ECC Weeks 23-24 India

We had allot of fun going to India ( in our imaginations). My mother was here with us for the first week. So she got to ride on the "plane" with us. She helped Squirt, she and I don our sheet saris. Buddy even wore a turban (baby blanket wrapped around a hat on his head). We munched on dried figs on the "plane". I made a Chicken curry dish with some seasoned rice. And we had plain yogurt again on the side. Squirt enjoyed reading One Grain of Rice, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and books about Everest.

We added India to our wall.

I have really enjoyed finding and printing out John 3:16 in all the different languages. I am struck by even the visual beauty of each written language sharing the great Message.

We made use of some resources at to learn more about Hinduism and Buddhism. We did the same when we learned about Islam & other religions in countries we studied. It was great to see them side by side with what we are told in God's Word.   Window on the World was a great resource as usual, too.

Squirt did the volcano experiment with her Dad on the weekend. But I think she was a little disappointed in the fizzle instead of a big explosion. But I have a friend who has given me a great recipe, for future use, that will definitely end with a bang. But that is for another day and another year.

ECC Week 21-22 Saudi Arabia

I know that for many people, Saudi Arabia was a rough two weeks. But for us, God made it soooo amazing. We started off doing the flag. After looking at it and coloring it in, we talked about what the Arabic on the flag says, then we covered up the Arabic words with Exodus 20:3. On our wall we posted the Israeli flag instead.

We made the No-Ruz Centerpiece from Global Art pg 58 with wheat kernels I had on hand .

We were blessed to have a friend's grand-daughter come over. They had just moved back from Oman. She cooked an amazing authentic chicken dish with some incredible rice. We ate that with some plain yogurt on the side, which just balanced out the spices in the chicken and rice so well.  I made Hummus and bought pita bread. She wrote out Squirts full name in Arabic. We added that to our wall. She taught us a few words in Arabic and shared a little about the culture and food. 

We started reading Amy Carmichael. Awesome, awesome!

All in all, a very fun and educational trip into Saudi.

ECC Weeks 18-20 Africa -Kenya

Africa was so wonderful! We learned so much and found wonderful books and did fun crafts.

We added Kenya to our wall.

We found a beautiful book
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy ( a true story)

We loved learning about the Maasai people and so many other things in Africa.

We read the biography of David Livingstone, which was not my favorite and hard for me to see the eternal impact made there. I think next time we do ECC we will read Mary Slessor or another missionary story instead.

Squirt made the Maasai Necklace from Global Art pg. 16.

She made the cloth basket from Global Art pg 15.
Squirt did weave a large square out of ribbons first and then we placed the woven ribbons over a ceramic bowl with plastic wrap between it and the cloth. We smeared school glue with our fingers until it was totally covered and let it dry over night. Then popped it off the bowl and let it dry some more. It looked like this before we trimmed the edges.

We learned allot about grasslands. Squirt made a Grassland Mural but drew and made everything rather than cutting out things from magazines as the original instructions suggested. 

It was a good three weeks. Since we were in Kenya per se for three weeks, I threw in some other pages with info I had on South Africa, Botswana & Nigeria.

ECC Weeks 16-17 Germany

Okay, I have to admit I love most things German. I hope one day to get there and see all the things I have read about and seen on TV in person. We really enjoyed Germany.

I haven't done many of the experiments. The worm one just gave me the creeps reading about it. So don't be surprised that we didn't do one in Germany either. I also skipped the Global Art crafts as well.

We added Germany to our wall.

We checked out some great videos that showed awesome helicopter footage of Germany. We listened to great classical music by many of Germany's composers. 

We made bratwurst and sauerkraut.  The kids and hubby liked it. But I have to say it was edible but nothing I would want to eat again.

And Squirt enjoyed listening to George Muller's biography read aloud to her by her ever faithful Father.

We were even gifted with a visit from my friend and her sweet hubby (who is from Halle Germany). They talked with us about Germany and showed Squirt some German Euros and Deutsch marks.

I forgot to take any pictures so nothing else to spice up this post.

ECC Weeks 14-15 France

I have to admit, remembering so much of what we did last year is a challenge. Some things stick in my mind more than others. For France, Squirt tried making the Eiffel Tower out of straws and tape....mmmmm..... not so great. Then I found a paper craft of the Eiffel Tower and she was much happier.

And finally, we found 3D instructions to make the Eiffel Tower from legos. That was a big hit! She didn't want to take it apart.... forever.

We had crepes one morning for breakfast with yogurt and fresh fruit. Kids loved that and I served them with a very small selection of French remembered from my high school days.

ECC Weeks 12-13 Norway

The weeks studying Norway Squirt did allot more of the pages from World Geography than she ever had before. She has started to get more comfortable with finding her way around her atlas.

We made Fruit Soup which was ....ummmm... edible? But Squirt liked it very much and even sees the recipe today and says "Fruit Soup! yummy!!"

We added Norway to our wall

We did a paper project for Norwegian Rosemaling instead of the painting craft from Global Art. I have to say that by the end of ECC we had not done nearly as many of the crafts as the TM suggested out of Global Art. I just didn't find them very practical or approachable. I printed this paper craft out and Squirt colored and glued it together to create a paper trunk.

If you want the printable PDF file send me a message. The website it came from no longer has it posted, but I can't figure out a way to link to something else that people can use. 

ECC Weeks 9-11 South America

We started reading Nate Saint from the YWAM Missionary Biographies this week with Squirt. I will say it is a hard read in some ways and amazing in many more. The TM deals with the book really well and gives you summaries on some of the more difficult chapters due to their content. Squirt did have us read only the summaries of the last few chapters.

Hubby and I got a book from MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) that was awesome!

It is Jungle Pilot by Russell Hitt.
The majority of the book is direct quotes from Nate's own letters and writings. It gave such a wonderful picture of who he was, how intelligent, creative, witty, loving and most of all sold out to his Savior. Nate's walk with Christ illustrated in Jungle Pilot often convicted and challenged me as I read it.

We added Brazil to our wall but since I only had an Argentinian child we put up everything we had along with the Brazilian flag and John 3:16 in Portuguese and Spanish.

We didn't do as many crafts or cooking for Brazil. We did enjoy really working on playing the Geography Game. I learned as much as Squirt did. I am looking forward to doing ECC the second time around and including Buddy & Bubba by then.

I added in pages from Voice of Martyrs kid's website on Bold Believers in Columbia. And we also did pages from Venezuela pages from Another Trip Around the World.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ECC Weeks 7-8 Canada

Canada felt a little anticlimactic after Mexico. But I decided to add in a party and cooking craft to liven it up. 

We added Canada to our wall. 

Our xylem experiment didn't seem very dramatic, but we got the point.

We found some great books that were not on our TM book basket list.

M is for Maple by Mike Ulmer

By Truck to the North by Andy Turnbull

For our end of the country celebration we added in a tea with a friend and served maple whipped cream, biscuits, maple vanilla tea, strawberries, cucumber sandwiches, & egg salad sandwiches and of course ....

(just in case you didn't notice, it is suppose to be the Canadian Flag)

ECC Weeks 5-6 Mexico

Okay, I have to admit Mexico was one of my favorite weeks. We got to make the passports for Squirt and Buddy. We got on the make believe plane and I decked out in very bad Spanish as the flight attendant. I later became the monetary exchange and customs person and exchanged dollars for pesos. We ate lunch at the local "Mexican" restaurant in our kitchen. We ate yummy pastries from a little local Mexican bakery down the road (wow those were good!) I kept calling Buddy "Senor". Later he asked if we could play that game where I say "si".  

We learned allot about deserts and started reading Cameron Townsend. 

We ended our two weeks in Mexico with a fiesta with some friends over. I made from scratch Dulce de leche (which was so good I licked the pot!); chicken enchiladas Rachael Ray style, yellow rice; and my friend made cinnamon and sugar dipped tortillas for the vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche. 

The kids busted open the pinata we had made during the week. You can find the instructions here

and we decorated the living room and kitchen with tissue paper flowers we had made during the week. The instructions are here. I checked out a Mariachi music CD from the library and had it playing during the fiesta.
Mexico was a blast!

Kids Mexican Yarn Art
Squirt's Fox

                                            Buddy's Giraffe (I drew the outline and he glued the yarn)

Recipe for Dulce de leche

1 quart of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda 
dash of vanilla extract (add at the very end after done cooking)

Combine milk & sugar in a sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. And in baking soda and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove. It will not even be boiling but barely simmer (or even less on mine). Cooking until the mixture is a caramel light brown coloring. Stir occasionally. (about every 20-30 minutes or so). Takes 3-4 hours or more ( the lower the heat and the slower it goes but the less likely to burn). You do need to be sure you will be home the whole time you are doing this, but other than an occasional stir the active involvement is nil. When the mixture is done cooking, remove from heat and stir in your vanilla. Pour into a glass jar and let cool. Seal jar and refrigerate. (you can strain the mixture if you want it completely smooth before pouring into jar) Note- pour it into your container while still warm because it will thicken as it cools and be harder to remove from your pot. Kept in a sealed container will keep up to a month in your refrigerator.

ECC Weeks 3-4

We loved using Window On the World and Hero Tales all through out ECC. The weeks for the U.S. were a little slow for us since we had just finished studying the U.S. for an entire year using Adventures in My Father's World.

The Matthew bookmark was very cool. Squirt traced it in Greek and then after she colored it we covered it on both sides with contact paper. We may have to make another one in Hebrew for Genesis now that we have started CTG. That is how much Squirt likes it.

Native American Coup Stick made by Squirt from Global Art pg 138

ECC weeks 1-2

This was a great project for us. Squirt really enjoyed helping to make this cake. I made it in a sheet pan and then mixed blue food coloring with white frosting to get the water color. We used a toothpick and looked at our atlas to draw the outline of the countries (we added Antartica after this picture was taken). I used green cookie frosting in the tube for the continents. I started one of the continents to show Squirt how to outline and fill with the tube and then she did the rest. I was really pleased with how well she did with it.

We had a great time having it with our dinner that night and Squirt and Buddy sang the continents and oceans songs for their Daddy. What a fun way to start off the year and jump into geography. We have used Geography Songs by Audio Memory. You can listen to samples here

We had a great time doing the Leaf and Bark Collection. I took pictures of the leaves and berries that Squirt collected and printed them out next to her drawings and bark rubbings. We had a great time walking around our neighborhood finding trees we didn't know. We then came back and looked them up in our Tree Guide Book. There was one we  couldn't find in the book. So we searched for it on the web. I think I learned as much as Squirt did on that project.

Hands Around the World Paper Dolls made by Squirt