Friday, July 25, 2014

Nature Provides

Although, these raspberries aren't really found "wild" in nature, at least not here, I do love it when you find unexpected bounty in the wild or at home.  We are moving to a new place in the woods and the garden is very overgrown.  I got totally distracted with the kids yesterday when we spotted these in the weeds! 

Sometimes though, when you are finding food in nature, you have to have the ability to drop everything and focus on picking when you find it ripe!  These were so close to being overripe that it couldn't wait for one more day.  So, instead of packing or house, the kids and I spent a couple of hours picking these beauties and then freezing them (because I don't have time to can right now).

Two days ago, we spend a couple of hours of picking illusive huckleberries!  This is truly a  test of your patience, though, because you can walk through most plants and find nothing and then, Bingo!  tons!  The unique character of  huckleberries makes for a long time to pick enough to fill a bucket.  We got enough to freeze a cup and a half and treated ourselves to a round of huckleberry shakes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Study of the United States: Deleware

I have been offline for quite some time because my laptop has crashed and my internet connection is spotty at best.  So rather than go through the frustration of getting shut down all the time, I've been avoiding.  Sorry, about that, but I'm going to give it a try on a new laptop.  Besides that, we have a very exciting unit study that we are working on right now.
We are working on a unit study of all the states in the United States, one-by-one. I've gathered books and information from all over and then to add to that, I've been on Facebook asking people from different states to send a postcard to my kids.   I got a blank template to use for each state.  I just copied 50 for each of my kids.
I got a lot of ideas off of several websites.  The main place I got ideas from were from the 50 States Notebook Website.And then just gathered what I wanted to use. We will use this same template for every state. We are doing the states in order of joining the Union, so this week, we started with Delaware. 
I start by reading three different books that have anywhere from a short paragraph about the states to four pages.  Then the kids fill out their sheets with the state bird, state flower, state Motto or nickname, state tree, and any other state feature.  They draw the state outline and put the state capital in place, as well as other major cities.  I have printed off all of the state flags (from a flag online catalog), so they can cut out the flag and glue it on.  They will add any postcards they receive from the state in the following pages, as well as the recipe that we make behind that. 
Here are the three books that I am using:

Each week, I'll do a search at the library for extra things I can add. 

This week for extra activities to reinforce the States Notebook that we are making, we made Knox Blox Jello, since Deleware is the Jello state.  Jello was made first in Deleware.  We decided on making it blue, since the Blue Hen Chicken is the state bird.  The recipe for the Jello that I used is:
  • 2 large boxes blue Jello
  • 4 packets Clear Knox Gelatin
  • 4 Cups boiling water
Mix the Jello and Gelatin into the boiling water until dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 pan and refrigerate.  It was hardened in 2 hours for us.  Then cut out the shape of Delaware in the Jello.  I removed everything but Delaware and let the kids use marshmallows to mark the capital and other major cities on it.  You can use sugar free Jello, too if you like, but I love regular better!
The other activity that we did was make Gingerbread Cake, which we got from the United States Cookbook.  This was much better than Gingerbread Cookies in my opinion.  I left out the crystallized ginger.
We can't wait to get our postcard to add to the collection for Delaware. Oh, and yes, we are still homeschooling over the summer.  It's not as often as in the winter, but my kids are so excited that we are doing the states, that they don't mind doing the rest to get there!  Oh, and best yet, I spent $10 for copies (at a very high rate, locally) and the books all came from the library, so this is really low cost for homeschooling! What do you think?  What have you done to learn the United States with your kids?