Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Compass

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Happy Friday…at least, I hope it is for you. It’s been one of “those” days for me. Nothing to do with school, just a Murphy’s Law kind of day. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Overall, it’s been a good week as far as school goes. Staggering our schedule has really been helping. It seems like we’ve been able to get as much – if not more – done in less time.

All American History has been going well with Josh and Megan. We’re still studying explorers, with this week’s focus being Christopher Columbus. I think history is best learned through great books that help readers visualize what it would have been like to have lived that time in history. To that end, we’ve been enjoying Pedro’s Journal, the historical fiction story about Columbus’ cabin boy.

Since a compass was a key navigational tool for the early explorers, we made a simple one by polarizing a needle, sticking it through a cork, and floating it in a shallow bowl of water. It worked pretty well.


In science, we’ve been learning about the water cycle. One of my all-time favorite books on that topic is The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks. The kids always enjoy it, too. We’ve done several experiments about the water cycle in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been impressed at how much the kids have retained.

Megan will often look at a glass of water now and point out that it has condensation on it. I love those little moments that let me know they really are learning something and getting something out of the things we’re doing in school.

We started an experiment on Tuesday involving salt water with red food coloring. It was supposed to take a couple of days, but I was also supposed to put it in a warm, sunny spot. There wasn’t a warm, sunny spot in which I wasn’t afraid one of my favorite bowls would get broken, so we’re patiently waiting a little longer to see what happens.


Megan is still devouring books. She was thrilled to receive the next two Circle C Beginnings books in the mail on Tuesday. She’s already started reading the first one and working on the coloring pages and activity books that can be printed from the author’s website.


Today has been a life skills day as we’ve worked to get the house in order. Since we currently have no outside classes, it’s nice to be able to take a Friday to do that without feeling like we should be spending that time catching up other schoolwork.

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  1. We just watched The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus, did you see it? The local library has it – and it reinforced our reading. We haven't read Pedro's Journal, thank you for the recommendation!

    xoxo michele  

  2. We loved Pedro's Journal when we read it.  I'm curious to see how you guys like All American History as it's on my list of possibilities for next year.  Thanks for sharing your week!

    I went over and voted for you as I love reading your blog.  Hope you win :)!

  3. Thanks for your vote. I'll be posting a review of All American History sometime in September. We're really enjoying it, so far.

  4. I am loving the idea of a life skills day.  We need to have one of those ASAP!  Loved the post about the value of a life skills day too.  My boys and I loved Pedros Journal.  Sounds like y'all had a super fun week!

  5. I am new to your blog and just wanted to say I have enjoyed looking around. I hope to come back next week and link up

  6. I'm going to check out those Circle C books, I have a 7 year old that would probably love them.  We are also studying Columbus right now, I will have to investigate Pedro's Journal.  Thanks for the tips!

  7. I've never tried the compass thing. I think that automatically deducts a few points from my status as a homeschool mom. 😉

  8. I am so glad the linky was still open!!  Wow, your own e-book, huh??  fascinating.  I am too late for the discount.

    I think my kids are finally enjoying reading, I was quite worried for a while. Do your other kids enjoy books?  How did you foster her love of reading?  What a great experiment, I myself would love the floating cork.  How do you polarize the needle??  I hope your Friday calmed down a bit.  Ours ramped up quickly mid-morning, which is why I am late linking in.

  9. Just wanted to say that I enjoy for website.  It has been an encouragement to me as I start this new adventure of homeschooling. 

  10. Lots of fun stuff going on at your house.  Our week was better than the last few, still have some tweaking to do but we're getting there.

  11. To polarize the needle, you rub it with a needle, in the same direction, for a couple of minutes. It's easy.

    My son is still a struggling reader. He has dyslexia, so he's not reading independently yet — at least, not much. My older daughter didn't enjoy reading until she was about 14. Twilight started it for her. Now, it's just certain books, but she does enjoy reading. I worried for quite a while myself. 🙂

  12. We also read Pedro's Journal this past week and my kids loved it!  You just can't be great fiction books to help them learn what things were like during different time periods.

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