Preamble & Ratification of the Constitution

preambleRead the Preamble. Play “what’s the missing word”. Write Preamble on whiteboard, have kid close eyes, then erase a word. See if kid can tell you what word you erased. Continue until kid can say Preamble by memory.

**If you have an Ipad or Iphone, you can buy an app to help you learn about the Preamble to the Constitution here.

Federalists V. Antifederalists

Once again, Education-Portal has a great video on this topic. Sadly, they don’t allow for embedding, so watch it here.

— The Antifederalists felt that the Congress had overstepped. Congress was supposed to have modified the Articles of Confederation, not create an entirely new document.  Because of this, they were against ratification of the Constitution.

  1. ratification

    making something valid by formally ratifying or confirming it; “the ratification of the treaty”; “confirmation of the…

— The Federalists wanted the Constitution ratified.  Three men; John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, wrote 85 essays to help convince the American people that the Constitution was good.  Those essays are now known as the Federalist papers.

Votes to RatifyThe people wanted a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution.  Leaders promised that would be the next thing they worked on, after the vote. Only nine states were needed to ratify the Constitution, Delaware was the first, New Hampshire the ninth.  Virginia was the 10th state to ratify the constitution.



Other Resources:

Enchanted Learning has a printable book.

“Mrs Clark’s 4th grade” has a presentation at Slideshare.

There is a power point at which you can view for free on the site, but have to pay to be able to download.

And of course, no lesson on the Preamble would be complete without SchoolHouse Rocks!


Constitutional Convention

From Wikipedia

It took me so dag-on long to get this one together, mostly because I just sort of winged it due to other events in my life.  But the one thing both of my kids really liked, was the video & companion quiz over at  They liked the video there better than the dumbed-down textbook we’ve been reading through.  That’s a big part of why I do a lot of supplementing the American Heritage Series.

My youngest son loved it so much, he blogged it.  He’s been busy blogging all of his history lessons lately.  He just loves history.  My Diva, however, is thoroughly bored with the subject.  She pays attention, and does the lessons, but, unlike her momma, history is NOT her favorite subject.  Oh well.


Anyway, another good resource for information about the Constitutional Convention is  How did I not know about these websites before?  Both will definitely become go-to places for future lessons.

Shay’s Rebellion

(Note: We are using the BJU Heritage Studies, an American history curriculum, supplemented with my research)

After the American Revolution, the states needed money to pay their soldiers, so taxes were levied.  Kind of ironic since they had just fought a war about taxes, but at least this time the colonists had representatives, unlike before.

Thing is, alot of people didn’t like the idea of new taxes.  Daniel Shay’s led a group of farmers in a revolt. Their revolt ultimately drew attention to the need for a Constitution.
– Look at our timeline for a brief recap.
– Heritage Studies 3 – Read pages 2, 3, & 5. Then read pg 4.
– Watch the video below
– Discussion Questions (courtesy Mr Matusek’s blog):
– – What did Shays & his fellow Farmers seek relief from?
– – What caused the scarcity of money?
– – What did the farmers demand?
– – What was the biggest thing to come from Shays’ Rebellion?
– Activity — Pretend to be one of Shays’ farmers.  Write a letter to the newspaper explaining what you think the state should do.
–   — Alternative Activity – Write a blog post summarizing what you’ve learned about Shays’ Rebellion.


Support links: – companion PDF to the video above — a bit of history about Shays’ Rebellion — power points

Curriculum time is here again!

After spending the better part of the last month alternately researching curriculum ideas, and procrastinating, I’ve finally finalized… well, mostly finalized our school year.

Math is going to be Math U See for all three.  GeekBoy is starting in Delta, but he’s already whizzed through the first 3 chapters, and that only took him 5 minutes!  So I have Epsilon standing by, and fully expect to be using it by middle of the year.  As much as the Geek claims to hate math, he is a math whiz.  ThePinkDiva is starting Alpha this year, and BigBoy won’t be very far behind.  He still has a few chapters of Primer to finish before moving on to Alpha.  The little guy is hoping to catch up to his big sister.

For Language, GeekBoy is still working through the Easy Grammar 4/5 book we found halfway through last year.  Its been working well for us, so we will keep going.  Since discovering thePinkDiva’s vision difficulties, we will be ditching Hooked on Phonics this year.  I’ve decided to give Spell to Write and Read a try.  It’s supposed to be good for dyslexics, which she is, and BigBoy will be doing this also since he really wants to learn to write.  ThePinkDiva will also be continuing her work in Explode The Code online.  She’s been doing pretty well with it, and I’m considering getting a subscription for BigBoy as well.  Especially since I can get such an awesome deal on the program via Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op.

GeekBoy’s writing progressed quickly once we worked on correcting his posture and grip.  This year we will continue working on “Pull, not push” to get him forming letters from the top, as well as lowercase letters.

History will be different this year.  GeekBoy has informed me that he has trouble concentrating when thePinkDiva goes off on a word-association rabbit trail.  Since she does this a lot (it’s her way of processing information), GeekBoy will be having his own history lesson, using Mystery of History.  ThePinkDiva and BigBoy will be doing year 2 of the American Heritage Studies by BJU. I’m planning to do time lines with each “class”.

Science was a hard one.  As much as I love the Apologia books, they seem to be just above the understanding of my younger two, and there doesn’t seem much in the text that interests my oldest.  So this year we will do things a bit different.  I got a subscription to AHA Science via Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  The kids adored the sample lessons, and we are looking forward to accessing the games and seeing what else the program has to offer.  I’m also planning to pull random experiments out of this book Gramma gave us, 101 Cool Science Experiments.

For art, I have GeeArt.  We’ve had the program for some time now, but I’ve never managed to get it together enough to get the projects done.  I’m hoping to overcome my own fear of messiness and allow the munchkins to get messy, and maybe even get messy myself.  But the biggest thing they will learn in the category of “art” this year — how to clean up their supplies!

It should be a fun, busy year.
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Gaming, FTW

In today’s history lesson we talked about the makings of a successful settlement. We compared the maps of Jamestown and Plymouth.  Discussed the need to readily available water and food, and the need for protection.  The kids were supposed to draw a settlement, but GeekBoy said:

“I have a better idea! I can build one in Civilization 3!”

He’s been building cities, increasing knowledge, exploring countryside, and negotiating treaties ever since lunch.

What happened to the Lost Colony?

Today we discussed the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  I knew this one would be a big hit because GeekBoy loves a good mystery.  So we read the short little bit in the book about the Roanoke colony, and then we watched the NatGeo special (embedded below). After ward, we discussed the Eleanor Dare stones, and some theories, and the kids each gave their own theory of what might have happened to the colonists at Roanoke Island.

GeekBoy’s idea:  A hurricane hit and wiped out most of their colony, forcing the survivors down to Croatoan Island.  Then another hurricane forced them to the mainland.  There they moved to South Carolina and married into the friendly Indian tribe down there.  I think Eleanor Dare carved the first stone.  Then some point later, she died.

thePinkDiva’s idea:  They got captured by Indians.

BigBoy’s idea: they married the Indians, then they died.

My personal theory, is that they, much like the colonists in Plymouth, got very sick that first winter.  Most of them would not have survived.  I think the few that did decided to move to the nearby Island of Croatoan with the friendly Native American tribe that lived there.  I believe it’s possible that a hurricane hit that drove the remaining survivors inland, where they intermarried with Hatteras Indian Tribe and the Pembroke Indian Tribe.  Both tribes are reported as having “light eyes” and speaking as the English did, and both tribes would have been in the right area.  The Hatteras are descended from the Croatoan.  There is documentation that the Pembroke Tribe had many of the last names of settlers, and claimed to have ancestors from Roanoke. (Here’s a link to one of many sources for my theory.)

One thing is certain.  Whatever happened to them, it’s a mystery to us.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a 2 part NatGeo special, hosted by Leonard Nimoy.

Tempers and technique.

I knew today was going to be rough when BigBoy woke up with a very croupy cough.  Luckily I saw this coming last night, and had his cool mist vaporizer running already, but still.  Nothing can derail a homeschool day faster than a sick baby kid.  Thankfully, a dose of Robitussin seems to have helped tremendously as he is currently rolling around on the floor playing legos, with very little of that nasty cough.

thePinkDiva kicked off our school day by asking to play with the Math-U-See blocks again.  (See, I told you it was a big hit!)  I have to watch her like a hawk though, because she has a tendency to take little pieces and run off with them.  I don’t mind her playing with them, but… We are still missing about half the counters we got with the K12 curriculum a few years back, Candy Land is missing most of it’s cards, and the rest of our kiddie board games all have pieces missing.  There is a reason why I got Family Game Night & Monopoly for the Wii.  And that reason’s name is thePinkDiva.

So, Diva and Geekboy ripped through their math lessons in record time.  They ran off just in time for BigBoy’s Robitussin to kick in.  He walked into the kitchen declaring he was now “good enough to leave my room.”  He snuggled up on my lap and whipped through MUS Primer Lesson 4 (the one on rectangles).  He ran off, and thePinkDiva came back for her phonics lesson.

This is where the drama started.  You’d have thought I asked her to read War & Peace, instead of HOP book 7, The Fog.  She screamed at me, and got sent off to her room for a 20 minute fit of temper & rage.  When she finally settled down, we compromised and only worked on sight words today.

Then GeekBoy continued the drama when I asked him to come back to the kitchen and do his language.  We started going over Prepositions yesterday and I realized that the “book” I have to use with him isn’t so much a grammar book as it is one of those testing review & reinforcement type books.  So, the two pages we did yesterday were obviously not enough. Today I used this site to find the nine most common prepositions, and listed them on the board.  Then we talked about how to tell if the word was being used as a preposition (if it comes before a noun).  I pulled one of his favorite mystery books off the shelf, picked a page at random, and we looked for prepositional phrases.  He seemed to really catch on after that.  Then we looked over today’s workbook pages and found a review of punctuation that he ripped right through.  Until we came to the writing part.

I know writing is his weak point.  He has struggled with it for years, and been officially diagnosed with Dysgraphia.  The main strategy for overcoming Dsygraphia is to practice writing. So I made him think about the things he wanted to write and tell me.  Then I dictated his sentences back to him, and let him write without thinking too much about what he wanted to say.  This is when I noticed the way he curls his hand over his page.  It kind of reminds of the way the lefty kid in high school used to write, except, my son is a righty.  Our new goal is to help GeekBoy re-learn his writing technique and use a straight wrist.  I’m hoping that once we get a good writing technique into his muscle memory, writing itself won’t be so much of a pain.

History today was just a review of the continents and compass direction.  We are working on American History this year using Heritage Studies 1 by BJU.  Should be a fun year.  I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the area’s rich history with field trips to various locations we’ll be studying.

Believe it or not, I’ve gone 2 days without picking up my camera!  So no pictures yet.  I’ll have to try to remember to take some tomorrow.

First week of school ’08

First official week of school is over.  GeekBoy needs to work on his comprehension.  He’s got the mechanics of math down, he can read really really big words, but has no clue what it all means.  We’re working on it, and I think the light is dawning.  He is doing book reports this year, and since he wants a grade, doing quizzes and such too.  He did well this first week.  thePinkDiva did great too.  She aced her math quiz, and proved that she can read more then she lets on.  I’m trying some new strategies to get her to cooperate.  Big Boy is just having a blast.  They all love the history program – Story of the World is great.  We talked about nomads, did cave paintings, and sewed “game bags.”  Game as in hunting game, not game as in scrabble, although you could probably carry a game in one of these bags.

Mom & Diva Sewing

Cave paintings
The biggest change around here is the rule – no Wii/computer/video until school work is done.  It’s been the only motivating factor to get them to work.  My biggest challenge is to stay firm on that and not bend the rule, esp when DH is gone and I have to do something like mow the lawn.  But you know, they actually played outside while I mowed the lawn?  Wow!  My kids are like me, a Melman (Ahh! Nature!  Get it off me!), and usually prefer the indoors.  This has been great for us.

GeekBoy decided he wants to play soccer.  So, after much discussion, and making it clear that he would follow this through to the end no matter what, there will be no changing of the mind in 3 weeks, we went ahead and contacted the local homeschool sports co-op.  He’s still jazzed about it.  We got him registered and got him a ball, and shin guards.  He’s so excited.  Practice doesn’t start until Aug 30.  He’s on the Junior team – 5-7 yr olds.  Practice is once a week.  Games will be every Saturday.  I’m excited because this it the first time any of my spawn have shown an interest in organized sports!  I loved Volleyball and Basketball (the only sports available to me in my small school), so I’m thrilled to see my son finally take an interest in sports.

Gettin' his kicks

BigBoy got a bike on Friday, and yes, he’s already figured out how to ride.  He obviously needs practice, but more importantly, he’s already figured out the brake!  We spent about an hour out front on the street riding up and down.  He caught on really quickly.  Personally, I think riding a bike must seem like a mental cake walk compared to some of the video games he plays.  His biggest challenge seems to be that his body can’t seem to keep up with his brain.  Oh yea, he’s going to play soccer too.  The Sports Co-op has a “tots” team for the little ones ages 2-4.  No practices, nothing serious, just pretty much the kids get to kick a ball around while big brother (or sister) is playing.  He’s excited.

I wanna play too!

Gramma, Nani, and AnnoyingPenguin came over this weekend.  The kids camped out in GeekBoy’s room.  The tent and everything. With the Geek’s ceiling full of glow stars, it was like sleeping under the stars, only better because they had air conditioning and no bugs.  Since our history lesson this week was all about nomads, we talked about how the nomads slept in tents everyday.  Diva mentioned that she was very glad for her cotton/polyester sleeping bag, because if she had to sleep on an animal skin, she wouldn’t want to sleep there.  All week she has tripped out over nomads using animal skins for everything.

the best kind of camping

The 7 year old understands Economics better then most Congressmen

This morning, GeekBoy complained that yet again, we didn’t have donuts for breakfast.  I used the cost of gas as a reason for why I would not be driving to the store every morning to get him donuts.  (Which, btw, we only have maybe once a month if that.  Honest.  He’s just on a ring-of-powdered-sugar-goodness kick right now.  Sorry kid, not gonna happen.  Have a PopTart instead.)

GeekBoy asked why was the price of gas so high.  So, I explained about OPEC, drilling in the ANWR, branches of government, lobbyists & how they work, environmentalists, PETA, price increases, supply & demand, oil, gas, and taxes.

At one point, we talked about how Americans need oil all up and down the chain. Electric companies need gas to run the mines to get the coal, Farmers need gas to run the farm to grow the food, factories need gas and oil to run the machines that make and package the food, stores need electricity to run the store, and we need gas to run the car to get to the store to buy the food.  See how the price of gas influences everything?

Then we talked about what happens when the price per barrel goes up – the gas company raises the price we pay at the pump.  I told him that the folks in Congress were getting involved.  That they had decided that the gas company was making too much money, and they (Congress) wanted to tax the gas company extra money (I used the example of 10 cents per gallon).  I asked him, what do you the gas company is going to do when the Congress makes them pay more taxes?  His answer, with no prompting from me, “They will raise the price [of a gallon of gas] again.”

Awesome.  He totally gets it.