Friday, January 27, 2017

Art Lesson ... Motherwell Collage

Another Carla Sonheim art lesson.  


American Revolution Unit Study ... Revolutionary Recipes

We decided to eat like the Colonists did for a week.  Some a little plain and some certainly a little more fancy.


Carolina Fish Muddle
Marinated Asparagus(claimed to be a favorite of Thomas Jefferson)
Beef Stew
Brown Bread
Apple Tansy
Chicken Roly Poly
White Bean Stew
Meringues
Homemade Butter ... Just take about a half a cup of cream and place it in a jar, seal it up and shake!  In about 2 minutes you will have nice soft butter.  



American Revolution Unit Study ... Cross Stitch a Bookmark

We found a cross stitch bookmark kit that used patterns that were common during the Revolution.




American Revolution .... Battle of Monmouth

We visited the site of the Battle of Monmouth.  The battle was fought in 1778 very close to where we live.

We toured the exceptionally well done museum including a great diorama that leads you through a reenactment of the battle. 



There are a number of hiking trails through the battlefield.


We had to make a stop at the site of the conflict between General George Washington and General Charles Lee, as one of the girls has been come a big supporter of poor General Lee!


We then followed the British retreat route to Sandy Hook, looking for homes that would have been standing at the time of the retreat and noting the various British campsites along the way.

We stopped at an old family grave site near our house belonging to the Maxson family.  We researched the family and learned that one of the members was killed by a stray bullet while watching the Battle of Monmouth.

Lastly we stopped by a park we have been to a hundred times because we learned that a Patriot Joshua Huddy was hung by Loyalists in the park in retribution for the death of a Loyalist at the hands of the Patriots.

Great trip so close to home!

American Revolution ... Online Scavenger Hunt

The girls completed an online scavenger hunt for facts about the American Revolution and the founding of our government.

Image result for john trumbull painting


  1. A picture of Valley Forge.
  2. Names of George Washington’s children.
  3. Where did Thomas Jefferson go to college?
  4. Did all Patriot soldiers wear uniforms?
  5. Where and when was the first submarine attack?
  6. A picture of the first submarine.
  7. Which newspaper was founded by Alexander Hamilton?
  8. A picture of Alexander Hamilton.
  9. A picture of Aaron Burr.
  10. What university did Jefferson design and start?
  11. Why did Jefferson go to France?
  12. What school did Hamilton enroll in when he arrived in the US?
  13. Hercules Mulligan knocked down what in Bowling Green and made it into what?
  14. List all of Hamilton’s children.
  15. A quote by Hamilton.
  16. What building was burned in Elizabeth in 1780?
  17. Where did George Washington stop and have lunch before his inauguration?
  18. What is Fraunces Tavern?
  19. What does the Department of the Treasury do?
  20. A picture of King George III.

American Revolution Unit Study ... "Hamilton" Study

This project took on a wonderful life on of it's own!

During the past month, we went through a few "Hamilton" songs each day with the plan to talk about the major events that are being described in each song.  But what we learned as we read through each song was that there is barely a sentence, a phrase, a word that does not convey mountains of information.  Not only were we inspired to study so many smaller events and secondary characters but the personality and motivations and choices of the characters.  Each song inspired lots of discussion and debate.

Then girls captured lots of facts and their opinions alongside the lyrics of each song.  This was a project they really enjoyed! 




Monday, January 23, 2017

American Revolution Unit Study ... Write the Missing "Hamilton" Song

Each of the girls picked an event of the Revolutionary War that we learned about but that was not covered in "Hamilton" and then wrote a song using the facts they had learned.  A little research, a little poetry ....


Image result for hannah caldwell

One of the girls wrote this song was about Hannah Caldwell and a story we learned during our tea at Liberty Hall and then again when we went to the site of the Battle of Connecticut Farms.  


The Ghost of Liberty Hall

June 7, 1780
Subsequent to the
Battle of Connecticut Farms

Nearly every building had been
torched
Nearly everyone one was frantic
in the town taken by chaos

In the midst of the
disorder, discord, disarray
the Redcoats shot down an
innocent bystander
Hannah Caldwell (she'll be important later)

As darkness took its reign
the British found themselves
at the house of Governor William Livingston
it was said that the house was empty, deserted
but little to their knowledge
his daughters Sarah, Susanna, and Catherine
were all at home

They were all in bed
but Susan heard the Redcoats
she knew something was amiss
so she lit her candle
and as she reached the landing of the stairs
the lightning flashed
and all the soldiers saw was

a haunt
a specter
the ghost of the late
Hannah Caldwell
the one they shot down dead
they ran thinking she was out for revenge

As the frightened soldiers
scrambled to safety
they wondered
Was that really a ghost they saw?

But what do you know?
They never
came back
again

And in the spirit of letting them learn how they want, I let the other write an essay supporting why she felt that Charles Lee got a bad rap in the "Hamilton" song "Stay Alive".  Still research and I find it kind of poetic.  And I was pretty impressed with her forming an opinion and supporting it.

I'm a General, Whee!
Charles Lee. Known as the traitorous general who led Patriot troops to a retreat after one shot was fired at the Battle of Monmouth. Yes, he sounds absolutely villainous. But, I believe (I’m  ten, so my opinion is unimportant to most 37 year-olds.) that he was not a traitor, but a chicken. Let me tell you why.
First of all, the Continental army was greatly outnumbered… 11,000 Continental soldiers versus 14,500 British soldiers. They were also fighting in 100 degree heat, plus the heat of the cannons and other weaponry. They had a very slight chance of winning, and a huge chance of death. Maybe Charles Lee was really scared.  I think the majority of people would have retreated like Mr. Lee.
Secondly, it was his first battle in the position of a General, so maybe it was just shock that made him act that way. I mean, would you be a little scared or shocked if you were commanding a few thousand men that are ready to kill at a moment's notice?
Finally, there are British war plans that are in in his handwriting. I’m sorry, the guy has nice handwriting! But it is pretty common to have handwriting exactly like General Lee’s. I know, I know people can test how they slant letters and yada yada SOMEONE ELSE COULD HAVE WRITTEN THESE AND PRETENDED THEY WERE FROM CHARLES LEE!
Not a soul can prove that Charles Lee is a traitor. No one. I think he’s just a poor little Charles who need some love and a psychiatrist.


American Revolution Unit Study ... Antique Furniture Hunt

We took a field trip to a local antique store and went on a hunt for furniture popular during the American Revolution.  Using the Field Guide to American Antique Furniture we looked at the Chippendale and Windsor styles for tables and chairs, figured out their distinguishing factors and then looked around the shop to see if we could spot some examples.


Friday, January 20, 2017

American Revolution Unit Study ... Constitution Scavenger Hunt

Today we explored the Constitution.  

Image result for us constitution

We discussed what is contained in the Preamble, the Articles and the Bill of Rights and then read the Constitution in this great simplified language version.  Then the kids did a scavenger hunt looking for where different ideas were listed.

Constitution Scavenger Hunt .. Find where the Constitution ....
  1. Indicates how old a Representative must be.
  2. Sets a limit on how many times a President could be elected.
  3. Declared that punishments and fines must be fair.
  4. Abolishes slavery.
  5. Protects religion, free speech, assembling and printing.
  6. Indicates how many Senators each state gets.
  7. Explains how a bill becomes a law.
  8. Talks about control of Federal lands.
  9. Implores that each house of Congress needs to keep a journal or record of their meetings.
  10. Tells how old you have to be to vote.
  11. Explains how the Constitution was agreed to.
  12. Defines treason.
  13. Explains how the President is chosen by the Electoral College.
  14. Made the sale of alcohol illegal and where it was repealed.
  15. Says that any power not granted to the Federal Government belongs to the States.
  16. Guarantees a speedy trial.
  17. Gives the right to own guns.
  18. Mandates that the President must give yearly speeches to the nation.
  19. Explains how the President picks the judges.
  20. Instructs on how to change the Constitution.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

American Revolution Unit Study ... Invisible Ink

We kind of figured that perhaps invisible ink was used to smuggle messages.  (Don't ruin my enthusiasm if I'm wrong!!)



So today we made messages with invisible ink and I asked the girls to figure out how it worked.  And, of miracles of homeschooling, they did!

They used lemon juice and a solution of half baking soda, half water to write their messages.  When I asked what they noticed about their choices, they realized they were both acids.

As they applied the solutions to the paper, I asked what they thought was happening.  They knew that acid wears away your teeth so they figured that the acid was wearing away the paper.

After the messages had dried, we heated them over a flame to reveal the writing.  They decided that the part of the paper that had been worn away by the acid burned faster and revealed the message.

Hoorah!


American Revolution Unit Study ... Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

Came across Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues today.  This is basically a list of what he thought to be the most important character traits for a person to have.  For himself, he noted how he was doing in each area each day.   

Image result for ben franklin's 13 virtues

Today we discussed them all and each picked an area we want to grow in.  We'll take notes each day like Ben!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Art Lesson ... Quote Collage

We all picked a favorite quote and then made it into a piece of art.  We covered the floor with scrapbook paper, gelattos, watercolors, stamps, glue, scissors and pencils and then let our creativity run wild.





American Revolution Unit Study ... Coded Messages

Today we deciphered and wrote coded messages.



We used the book cipher code to solve a few messages.  We used page number - line number - word location to indicate the words that made up the message.  All the person deciphering the message needs is to have the same book.

Then we used the pigpen cipher to create and decipher a few more messages.  

Lots of fun and a little bit of problem solving.  And we might just keep communicating this way for a while!

Monday, January 16, 2017

American Revolution Unit Study ... 1776 (The Movie)


Image result for 1776 movie

Took a bit of a sick day and watched the movie 1776.


It was pretty dull.  And the music was not enjoyable at all.  But it was very educational and we all came away glad we had pushed through!

The musical covers the few weeks leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is set almost entirely in Independence Hall, the cast is made up of the delegates to the Second Continental Congress and the script consists of the debates surrounding supporting the vote for independence. 

We learned a lot.  We gained a much deeper understanding of the roles of Adams, Franklin and Jefferson is birthing this nation and how without them our history would most likely taken a very different turn.  We gained an appreciation for the stress and lack of support General Washington felt.  We learned that many of the state's delegates didn't want to fight for independence at all!  And we saw just how much negotiation there was to change both simple wording and major concepts in order to get the approval of all the states. 



American Revolution Unit Study ... "Hamilton, An American Musical"

The main reason we had decided to study the American Revolution and the founding of our government was because we got tickets for the girls to see Hamilton.

I had been to see it a few months ago and I have to say that most of it went over my head.  I didn't remember nor understand enough about the Revolution or the foundations of our government to make the show more than just entertaining. I wanted the show to be much more meaningful for the girls ...and for me this time around!  

So we spent the weeks leading up to the show learning about the events and characters and motivations that are portrayed in the songs.  And it definitely worked! Not only did they enjoy the show but they understood everything that was going on, every subtle nuance in the music, every little word or phrase that meant something so much deeper.  What an enjoyable way to reinforce all that they have learned during this unit study!