Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Valley of the Kings

Today we got to know some of the important pharaohs of the New Kingdom who are buried in the Valley of the Kings.
Image result for pharaoh

We learned about Thutmose I and his daughter Queen Hatshepsut.

We learned about Akhenaten and his wife Nefretiti who changed the religion of Egypt.

We learned about the boy king, Tutankhamun.

And we learned about Seti I and his son, Ramses the Great.

Then we watched a great documentary on the Valley of the Kings.  It was really cool to understand how they were built and why, and how they were discovered over the years.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Alexandria, Egypt

Today we spent the morning visiting Alexandria in Ancient Egypt and learning about what it would have been like to live there.

We took a virtual tour of the port area.  We learned about the clothing and fashion of Ancient Egyptians.  And we learned about their homes and  social class structure.

Alexander the Great

While studying Ancient Egypt, we learned a bit about Alexander the Great.  Alexander was a Macedonian king who conquered Egypt and much of the present world from Greece through Turkey, down to Syria and Israel and out east to Iran and Iraq.   His ten year quest created quite an empire!

We also created a map following the path of Alexander the Great using this simple map activity from Making History Fun.  Walking through his conquests step by step really gave you an understanding of just ow much of the world he took over!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Creating A "BEing" Centered Homeschooling Philosophy

During our first year of homeschooling I found myself many times DOing things that I didn't want to.  DOing certain things because kids had to DO them in order to have a "successful" education. 

But, the whole reason we are homeschooling is that we don't believe that everyone needs to be DOing the same things, they should be DOing what they love.   And while they are DOing what they love, they are learning to BE extraordinary people.

So I decided to create a philosophy for our school based on this.   A mission.  A vision.  A North Star.  The short version of our philosophy is ... Be determined.  Be observant.  Be kind.  Be joyful.  Be authentic. 

I refer back to our philosophy every day whether is is to make a simple decision or to create an entire month's curriculum.  I ask myself if what we are DOing is something we love and supports our philosophy.  If it doesn't, we don't DO it.  Even if someone else thinks we should.  The philosophy really helps to remind me to keep our focus on learning to BE someone extraordinary.  And it extends past school and into chores and activities and relationships. 

But my philosophy probably is not the same as yours.  You have to create your philosophy, figure out what BEing extraordinary means to you!

Here is how I created mine.

1. When I Grow Up ....

I brainstormed what I wanted my children (and myself!) to look like when they grew up.  I just filled up a page of everything I could think of.

2. DO vs BE
Then I removed all of the things that I wanted them to to DO (jobs, achievements, interests, etc.) and left myself with the things I wanted them to BE (character traits).  

The DOs are things like dancer, scientist, win first place, go to Yale, etc.  The DOs are their choices.  The DOs will change.  The DOs are not mine to decide.

But the BEs, well, they are your character.  The BEs are things like be a problem solver, be a clear communicator, be nice, be helpful, be honest, be confident, etc.  

In whatever you DO, you also have the opportunity to BE something.  And I want to help my kids BE extraordinary!

3. What Will It BE?
I clumped together what I wanted them to BE into groups that made sense and that is how I came up with my short philosophy above.

4. DO What You Love
 I took a look at all of the things we were DOing  that nobody wanted to do like lab reports, multiplication drills, long division by hand, and spelling words.  I thought about what they were helping you to BE and figured out new activities to do to instead.   You can learn to BE determined by DOing soccer or DOing dance or DOing advanced math.  Pick the ones you love.  You can learn to BE kind by working in a soup kitchen or holding the door for others.  DO the one that makes you happy.  You can learn to be a problem solver by DOing science experiment or DOing asewing project.   Again, which do you love?

5. Stepping Stones
You also have to think about how you feel about DOing something you don't really want to do, in order to achieve the thing you do want to DO.  It is really just a matter of reminding yourself that you really want the end goal.  

Like wanting to go in the ocean but needing to get across the burning hot sand.  You can push through the discomfort.   Or create some out of the box solution.  Or enlist the help of others.  (Or you can give up on the idea but I never let that one happen until we have exhausted all of the other options.)  

For my one daughter, this is where math sits.  She doesn't want to do it but I remind her that she has set her sights on being self-sufficient adult who cooks and travels and shops so we push through the discomfort of learning the basic math she will need and try to be really creative in how we teach her!  

6. When You Really Have No Choice
And, while I try to keep these to a minimum, there are things that my kids have to DO that they don't want to.  I make them do these things because I either feel it is beneficial to their health or because I want them to try it before they make a decision or because it is a family choice.   

My one daughter is very resistant to new things so we run up against a lot of things she thinks she doesn't want to do that she actually likes in the end.  Like hiking.  In these instances I try to embrace our philosophy and BE observant or her feelings and BE kind to her and BE authentic with my feelings about the situation and BE determined to make it BE joyful as possible. 

I hope you too can find a way to BE extraordinary while DOing what you love!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


As part of our Ancient Egypt study, we learned about the process of mummification.  Egyptians believed that you needed your body for the afterlife so they preserved them by mummification and left them in tombs with treasures and everyday items they might need in the afterlife.

These videos helped us understand why the Egyptians made mummies and how they were made.

Then we observed the mummification process with this experiment using potatoes!