Weekly Wrap-Up: The Artichoke Edition

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The week started off slow. Nim wasn’t here for the first two days and, as anyone with more than one kid knows, the whole family dynamic changes when even just one kid is gone. So there was a very relaxed, low-key feel to the beginning of the week.

We’re finally getting to some more interesting topics in Story of the World, such as Charles the Hammer and his grandson Charlemagne. The girls colored some figures that we’re going to cut out and make into stick puppets so that the kids can retell the stories we read about Charlemagne. It’ll be a fun way to use the puppet stage we made a couple of weeks ago, not to mention being good review and a fun way to see how much they retained.

A funny side note about Story of the World: there is map work to do for nearly every chapter. This usually involves coloring in different areas indicating where the various people groups lived or what areas were ruled by whom. Lately Josh has gotten very particular about the colors he uses. Often the directions call for coloring a certain area what he deems to be a “girl color.” So, Josh’s maps don’t always look like everyone else’s. His are all colored with nice, dark, manly colors.

Science was interesting this week, too. We’re studying geology. I have a really nifty rock collection. When Brianna and I studied geology a few years ago, I asked people who were in a Yahoo group with me to send me interesting rocks from where they lived. I also had a local lady give us several rocks from her collection and I recently bought a set from a local “rock hounds” group.

rock collection

There’s only one problem. I have absolutely no idea what most of them are! I checked out a book from the library that I thought would help us to identify them, but it wasn’t as thorough as it looked to be when I glanced through it at the library. They did have an identification book that I’ll probably go back and check out this weekend, but I was a little disappointed that we weren’t able to identify more than we were. We did have some coal, some types of quartz, some fool’s gold and some flint, along with a few other identifiable stones.

The kids had a great time with the flint. We took it into the walk-in closet in my room where it was really dark so that we could see the sparks when striking the two stones against one another. The other really cool thing was that we had a rock that we suspected was a geode. So, we took it outside and cracked it open to see. It was hollow with some crystals inside and some dirt/rock-looking stuff. The kids thought that was pretty awesome. They wanted to know how much people would pay for our “diamonds.”


Wednesday was the kids’ music classes. When we came home we read Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Arnholt as part of our on-going study of Picasso. That was another really interesting and mostly true story. I’ve been very pleased with the books that we’ve read about Picasso, so far. I’ve really liked that both of the books we’ve read have had factual information about the artist at the end of the book. I plan, sometime in the next week or so, to try our hand at making cubist art.

california study

Today, we wrapped our week with another Fifty State Friday, by learning a bit about California. Because John Muir is on the back of the California quarter, we read Squirrel and John Muir, by Emily McCully. I admit that I had no idea who John Muir was before last week when I did lesson plans for this week. That’s one thing I really love about homeschooling: learning right along with the kids.

We also learned, thanks to this handy-dandy site of state facts and trivia, that Castorville, California is known as the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” As a matter of fact, in 1947 a little known woman by the name of Norma Jean was crowned Castorville’s first Artichoke Queen. You might know Norma Jean better as Marilyn Monroe. In keeping with my trend of capitalizing on little bits of state trivia, we made this delicious spinach artichoke dip. Mmmmm!

artichoke dip

This weekend, I’ll be updating the kids’ sets of sight words. I’m so excited! Both Josh and Megan only have two or three words, out of fifteen, that they’re still having trouble remembering. With the trouble Josh used to have retaining words, that is nothing short of thrilling to me.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Boy, does that look good! We love rocks too but there’s no way I would even attempt to identify them. You are BRAVE!

  2. I can’t find it now, but we were trying to label some rocks a few weeks ago and found a neat website that walked you through a flowchart type classification. Of course, I didn’t bookmark it and now I can’t find it to help you out, but if it turns up I’ll let you know.

  3. Had to chuckle at Josh’s using manly colors. 🙂

    How fun that you had a geode and flint to play with. I am no good at identifying rocks either.

    I don’t know who John Muir is either, although I have heard of him. I find myself relearning a lot of things while teaching.

    I love how you found stories to go with your 50 states study and your Picasso. I need to do that with our artist studies too. I bet it would stick with her a little better if I did.

    So glad you get to move on with the sight words. I know you are doing the happy dance. 🙂

  4. Hey, Erin, I’d love to have that website, if you find it. I’d planned to spend another week on rocks…but, if we can’t identify them, it’s going to be another week of, “Oh, look! A…um…blue rock” and “Oh, here’s a shiny one!” and “Hey, Mom! How much is this “diamond” worth?”. 😉

  5. I found it! Here it is:

    It describes all the different rocks, and if you scroll down to a heading that says “The Rock Key” in a bright green header you will find the “yes” “no” questions to classify your rock. Some of their terminology is still a little complex, but hopefully it helps with some of them, and it explains a lot of the terms in rock identification as well.

    Have fun!

  6. nice, dark, manly colors… LOL! I loved that! 😀 What fun things you’re learning! Thanks for the links- I’m going to go check them out now!

    (Sorry I’m late!)

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