Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun Friday: Halloween

Field Trips
- The best field trips for Halloween would be Trick-or-Treating and/or Halloween parties.

- Haunted Houses

Other Fun Activities
- Carving pumpkins
- Creating the Halloween costume
- Online Halloween games
- Make a candy spider
- Make a handprint bat decoration

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Think About It Thursday: Halloween

- Think about ways to be safe on Halloween. Write up a list of safety rules for Trick or Treating.

- Finish this story: "You are out Trick or Treating and pass an old house that had been abandoned many years ago. You see a light on and hear music coming from the house. You walk up to the door and..."

- Write a letter to a loved one telling them all about your Halloween costume.

-Create a scrapbook of all your past Halloweens. Be sure to share your memories of the days. If you were too young to remember that Halloween, ask your family members to share any memories they may have of it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Worldly Wednesday: Dias de los Muertos

In Mexico, Halloween is part of a 3-day celebration in honor of deceased loved ones, called Los Dias de los Muertos (The Days of the Dead). It is celebrated from October 31-Novemeber 2, encompassing Halloween, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day. It is a fun and happy holiday marked with a parade, and lots of candy skulls (we will be making these on November 1st), skeletons and coffins. Families build "altars" in their homes with pictures of their deceased family members and flowers, candles, bread (called Pan de Muertos; we will also be making this), fruits, and candy. They go to the cemetary and clean up the graves of their loved ones and decorate them with fruit, breads, candles and flowers. Often, the family will spend the entire night at the grave. Handmade "skeletons", called calacas, shown ejoying an active afterlife are another common sight during Los Dias de los Muertos.

Time Travel Tuesday (a day late): History of Halloween

Since I am behind a bit (I have been fighting a double ear infection and a nasty cold), I am including links to a few websites that tell the history of Halloween. I am leaving it up to you as parents to decide what you want your children to know. Personally, at this age, we are leaving it as Halloween is also called All Hallow's Eve and November 1st is All Saints Day. Once they are older, we may delve more into the history of Halloween.

History Channel

The Holiday Spot

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Math Monday (a day late): Halloween

In honor of Halloween on Friday, we willbe studying Halloween this week.

There are free Halloween Math Drill Worksheets available at You can also find more free printable Halloween math worksheets at KidZone.

-What better way to learn and practice shapes than by carving a pumpkin using shapes. Think beyond the typical shapes used with jack-o-lanterns. How about a star nose or octagon eyes?

-What is the circumference of your pumpkin?

-Estimate how much your pumpkin weighs? Now weigh it and see how close you were.

-When you cut open your pumpkin, look inside and guess how many seeds there are. After you get them all out, count them. How close were you? Now, wash them up and make yummy toasted pumpkin seeds.

-Interview friends and family to determine what their favorite Halloween treat is and make a bar graph.

-Sort and then make a bar graph of all the Halloween candy you collect. Older kids can also figure out what percentage was chocolate.

Word Problems
-If if takes you 1 minute to Trick or Treat at each house, how long will it take you to go to 10 houses?

-If you are expecting 150 trick or treaters on Halloween, how many bags of 50 count candy bars would you need to buy?

-You arrive at a pumpkin patch and see 27 pumpkins. Each member of your family is going to choose one pumpkin each. How many pumpkins will be left?

-You open the door on Halloween and see several Trick or Treaters on your doorstep. There are 2 witches, 3 Hannah Montanas, 1 Incredible Hulk, 2 pirates and 1 ghost. How many Trick or Treaters are there in all?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scouting Sunday: Colors and Shapes Brownie Girl Scout Try-It

Here are the activities we are working on for this badge.

1- Stencil Stampers: We will combine this activity with #5 and will do it with the science activity from yesterday. The activity calls for making stamps by cutting old sponges into any shape the child chooses. They will then use the stamp, and the paints from activity #5, to create wrapping paper for their cousin's birthday.

4- Weaving Color Patterns: I will be using a lesson plan from Blick Art Materials so the girls can create paper-woven placemats for use at home. We may try to laminate them and then they may create more for holiday gifts.

5- A Rainbow of Colors: We will discuss the difference between primary and secondary colors. The girls will be given paint in red, yellow, and blue. They will then combine the colors as they choose to creat new colors which they will then use for their stamping project in activity #1 and in any other painting they choose to do at the time.

6- Yarn Painting: This is a great way to use up bits of yarn and end pieces. The child draws a basic picture (not a lot of room for details) and then spreads glue over it, working a small area at a time. While the glue is still wet, they lay pieces of yarn in the glue according to the color they want on the picture. Once the picture dries, you can spray it with varnish to preserve it, or make your own "varnish" by mixing glue and water in a 4:1 ratio (4 parts glue to 1 part water).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Science Saturday: Paint

I cannot come up with much for science with this topic, but did think about making homemade paint. The Can Teach website has a bunch of "recipes" for different types of paint including poster paint face paint, and finger paint. Making the paints will reinforce measuring skills. You can also discuss whether the changes are physical changes or chemical change. The kids can hypothesize about color mixing and then experiment to see the results.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fun Friday: Pablo Picasso

Field Trip
-any museum that has Picasso's work or reproductions at it

-find a local painter and arrange a field trip to their studio or invite them to come speak to your group

Fun Activities
-Mr. Picassohead allows you to use various face parts and shapes to create a Picasso-like image of your own.

-Have your child create a painting(s) in one of Picasso's styles. They could create a "sad" painting with blues and blue-greens, a "happy" painting with reds and oranges, or a Cubism-style painting with geometric shapes.

-Did you know Picasso was also a sculptor? Unlike other sculptors of his time, he did not start with soft clay, but instead used already fired pieces which he often deconstructed and then reassembled into something else. If you have chipped or broken ceramic pieces (without sharp edges of course), allow your child to use them to make new pieces of art.

-Here is an online memory-style game of Picasso artwork. All the pictures I saw where child-friendly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Think About It Thursday: Pablo Picasso

-Choose your favorite Picasso painting and write a paragraph describing how the picture makes you feel.

-Think of something you would like to paint. Write a paragraph describing what your subject would be, the colors you would use, and the feeling you want others to get when they look at your work.

-Choose another famous painter and write a research paper on them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Worldly Wednesday: France

Pablo Picasso began regularly traveling to Paris, France in 1900 and established permanent residence there is 1904. In 1946, he moved to the south of France and in 1961, he and his wife, Jacqueline Roque moved to Notre-Dame-de-Vie. It was in Mougins, France that Picasso died in 1973. It only seems natural that although Picasso was a Spanish-born artist, we will study France this week since that is where he spent most of his life.

- France is located in Western Europe and shares land borders with Germany, Luxemborg, Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Andorra.
- National language is French.
- Government is a Republic with a semi-presidential system. Their "Congress" is called Parliament. The current president of France is President Nicolas Sarkozy and he shares his power with the Prime Minister, whom the president appoints. The current Prime Minister is Francois Fillon.
- Currency is the Euro.
- Paris is the capital of France. Other well-known cities include Nice, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux.
- And now for the recipes:
French Onion Soup
Quiche Lorraine
Crepes Suzette

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time Travel Tuesday: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso, Better known as just Pablo Picasso, was born on October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. His father was also a painter and began formally training Pablo in art at the age of 7.

Much of Picasso's artwork is categorized into different periods. The most commonly accepted periods are: the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919). The Blue Period consisted of mainly paintings in blues and blue-greens and only occasionally a touch of other colors. The subject matter usually showed the poorest in society such as drunks and beggars. The Rose Period was a time of cheerful paintings of harlequins and clowns in pinks and orange colors. His African-influenced Period, sometimes called the Black Period, was largely influenced by African sculptors of the time. Analytic Cubism broke pictures down into basic geometric shapes and often had little or no color in the paintings. Synthetic Cubism is similar to collage and consists of more colors than analytic cubism and often used more than one art medium in the same piece.

Some of Picasso's most famous works include: Guernica and The Old Guitarist.

Pablo Picasso died in Mougins, France on April 8,1973.

*Note to parents*- Picasso lived a rather "colorful" life. He fathered 4 children with 3 women and had several lovers, including during times he was married. He also has several paintings that depict prostitutes and nudity. I only mention this as a warning, in case you wanted to allow your children to research Pablo Picasso on their own.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Math Monday: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso's birthday is October 25th, so we wil be studying him this week.

-Pablo Picasso died in 1973, at the age of 91. How many years ago did he die?

-One of Picasso's art periods was "Cubism". Cubism often used basic geometric shapes to depict people and landscapes. I will use this time to review shapes and to introduce their 3-D equivalents such as spheres, cubes, cylinders, etc. We will then look for these shapes in nature.

-Find copies of several Picasso paintings and ask others which is their favorite. Graph the results. You can use a book like Pablo Picasso: Life and Workby HF Ullmann to find many examples of his work.

That is really all I can come up with regarding Picasso and math. I do want to share a website that was created by a Middle school math teacher and is designed for kids in grades 1-8. It is Hooda Math and is a free website with some cute games on it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scouting Sunday: Safety Sense Brownie Girl Scout Try-It

My oldest daughter earned this badge as a Daisy with her troop, but my younger daughter and I will be working on this badge. Here is what we plan to do:

1- Street Safety: We moved to our apartment about 1 year ago and actually will be moving again in about a month, but I think we may do this activity in both places since we will still visit often. For this activity, the girls are to make a map of their neighborhood and mark the important places such as the police station and firehouse. Alternatively, they can use an already created map and just mark the places on it.

3- Smoke Alarm: We will study smoke alarms and how they work. We will discuss the importance of having a working smoke alarm and how to test it to be sure it works. We will have a fire drill where we use the smoke alarm to alert them to the "fire".

4- Playground Safety: Our meeting place has a playground and safety has been an issue, so this will be done as a troop activity. We will discuss safe playground behavior and some safety rules for the playground. THe girls will then make a poster showing the safety rules.

5- First Aid: I will teach the girls the Heimlich Maneuver. We will also discuss what to do if they are choking themselves, so that others know they need help.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Science Saturday: Fire Safety

For this week's science lesson, we will look at what fire needs to burn and how to extinguish them.

Fire needs 3 things in order to continue burning: heat, oxygen, and some kind of fuel. In order to extinguish (vocabulary word) a fire, you need to remove one of those three things. Many commercial fire extinguishers work by either cooling the fire/fuel and/or by displacing the oxygen around the fire. How Stuff Works has a video showing how to use an extinguisher and gives a brief explanation of how the actual extinguisher works. It may not keep the attention of younger kids, but it is only a little over a minute so it shouldn't be too bad.

When your clothes are on fire, you are taught to stop, drop, and roll. This is done because it removes the oxygen from the fire. It is also why you are told to throw a blanket on a person whose clothes are on fire and then have them drop and roll. Running with your clothes on fire simply adds more oxygen to the fire, causing it to burn more.

Grease fires are a bit different to deal with simply due to the fact that water and grease repel(another great vocabulary word) each other. It is important to know that you cannot extinguish a grease fire with water. If the fire is in a pan or pot, slide a lid onto it to cut off the oxygen to the fire and turn off the heat source. Alternatively, throw baking soda on the fire (this also works for electrical fires) to smother the fire by removing the oxygen. This happens because the baking soda decomposes and releases CO2 which replaces the oxygen. If there is a fire in the oven, close the door and turn off the heat. This should extinguish the fire by removing the oxygen supply.

In any event, if the fire is too big to put out or you are unable to put it out quickly, get out of the house and call 911. It is also advisable to have fire extinguisher(s) on hand as they are easier and more effective than other methods.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun Friday: Fire Safety

Field Trips

-A trip to the fire house or to an event put on by your local fire department. October is Fire Prevention month so it is common for fire houses to host events at this time.

-If you live near a fire museum, this would be a great time to visit.

-Visit your local Red Cross or invite someone to come speak to your local homeschool group about what services they provide when there is a fire.

Fun Activities

-I have a whole post on my other blog, The Happy Housewife, with ways to teach fire safety and practice escaping.

-Sparky the Fire Dog and the USFA websites also have lots of fun activities online.

-Fire drills and practicing "Stop, Drop, and Roll" are pretty enjoyable for the younger kids.

-DLTK has instructions for making a fire truck out of an egg carton and a simple cut-and-paste activity to make a 3-D fire dog.

-You can also make fire trucks out of empty boxes for the kids to play in.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Think About It Thursday: Fire Safety

-Interview a firefighter and find out what their job entails. It is often much more than just fighting fires. Create a poster or booklet to show what you learned.

-Draw up a map of your home and figure out two ways out from each room.

-Write up a list of fire prevention rules. For a quick tutorial on fire prevention rules, check out the USFA website (US Fire Administration for Kids website). Sparky the Fire Dog also has a Home Safety Checklist on his website.

-Make a book to teach others what to do in case of a fire. Visit NY Department of State webpage for a listing of safety rules to follow in case of a fire.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World Wednesday: Chicago

This week's unit is fire safety. Yesterday's lesson (when I post it) is about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That is why today we are studying Chicago.


Chicago is located in Cook County, Illinois on the west shore of Lake Michigan. It is by far, the largest city in Illinois with 2,842,518 (2005) people. It is located in the Central Time zone.

Home to the Sears Tower, currently the tallest building in the US, standing 1454 feet high.

Nicknamed "The Windy City", but not because of its weather. It was given the nickname by an editor for the New York Sun who was tired of the long-winded politicians from Chicago who were often boasting about the World's Columbian Exposition that was being held in Chicago that year (1893).

Speaking of weather, Chicago experiences all four seasons. In the summer, they have relatively high humidity and temperatures that typically range anywhere from 78-92 degrees. Winter brings an average of 38 inches of snow, though some years there is much more and some years much less.

Deep dish pizza began in Chicago.


Navy Pier has something for everyone. There are lots of shops and restaurants, a large ferris wheel, boat tours, miniature golf, Chicago's Children's Museum, performance stages, bike and skate rentals to use on the pier, a movie theater and much more. This is a personal favorite of mine, especially in the early morning to just sit and enjoy the lake and/or to people watch.

The Museum Campus is home to The Field Musuem, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest indoor aquarium.

Lincoln Park Zoo has free admission and is located on the north side of Chicago.

Harold Washington Library Center is the world's largest public library.

Famous people from Chicago
(a very small sampling)

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Jesse Jackson
Barack Obama
Sammy Sosa
Mike Ditka
Bo Diddley
Walt Disney
Steve Carell
Harrison Ford
Oprah Winfrey
Jane Addams (first female American to win Nobel Peace Prize)
Al Capone

Admin: my absence and subscribing

First, I would like to explain my absence. It is actually something really stupid, and because it is so stupid, I need to vent about it. Someone, apparently a neighbor, has decided that it is bad parenting to allow my older two children (ages 6 and 7 years) to play outside. They decided to call Child Protective Services and tell them, "Mom and dad allow (daughter #1) and (daughter #2), ages 6 and 7, to play outside, unsupervised, every day for 1-2 hours a day." While, the "charge" is grossly exaggerated, even if it wasn't, I fail to see what is wrong with doing that. They play in the front yard, where I have 3 large windows that I can see out of. We are in a quiet, safe, suburban neighborhood and the yard is fenced on 3 sides. The girls are always appropriately dressed and do not play outside in inclement weather. They are no where near the road and have sustained no injuries, nor gotten into any mischief while playing outside "unsupervised". I am right inside the apartment and can hear everything that is going on. Further more, they have only played outside without an adult, maybe 10 times since we moved in and usually for 30-45 minutes. Fortunately, the case workers who were assigned to us (3 total) saw nothing wrong with the charge and it appears the case is going to be closed as unfounded. However, it threw off my entire weekend. It started Saturday morning when the first case worker showed up. The call was apparently made on Friday, and by NY law, they have to investigate within 24 hours. Well, the 2 girls were at Girl Scout camp and so another worker had to come out because all the kids need to be seen within 24 hours of the first visit. Then yesterday, a "regular" case worker was finally assigned and she had to come out to the apartment as well. It made for quite a stressful weekend that kept us busy cleaning everything (I admit I am no Martha Stewart, plus there are currently 6 of us in a 2 bedroom, and we are getting ready to move next month). Now that it appears to be over, we are getting back to our "normal" life. The irritating part is that even the case workers do not understand why it even had to be investigated. It is not like they said I was leaving the babies outside unsupervised. My children have proven to be responsible and I allow them to play outside during times I cannot because of it. I was told by all three case workers, I could continue to do so. So, to my nosy neighbor: I appreciate that you are concerned for the welfare of my children so let me say some things to you: 1) Fresh air is GOOD for children. 2) Would you rather I let them play inside on video games all day? 3) While my older, responsible children are outside playing, I am inside tending to the needs of the children who NEED me at that moment. 4) If you feel my children are really in danger, let me know your concerns. 5) I hope you never have to go through what you put us through.

Now, on to better things.

On Friday, I realized I had a button for people to subscribe to my blog, but did not realize that I actually had to do something to set it up (I am still fairly new to blogging). I finally fixed the problem and you should be able to subscribe now. So if you tried in the past and it did not work, I apologize. Please try now.

I will be posting the articles I had planned for Saturday-Tuesday over the next few days, but in an effort to not fall further behind, I am going to start with today's post and then go from there. Also, keep an eye out for a giveaway I will be doing within the next few days.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Temporary Leave

As you have noticed, I have not been on since Friday. We are dealing with a personal situation which I will explain later. I will get back on here as soon as possible and post "catch up" posts, an fuller explanation, and a contest/giveaway of my own. I am hoping to be back by tomorrow, possibly sooner, possibly later. Thanks for understanding.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fun Friday: Columbus/a change

I have decided to change Fridays from just field trips to Fun Friday, encompassing field trips as well as art, songs, and any other fun activities that do not readily fall into one of the "covered" academic areas.

Field Trips

-Tour a ship in your area.
-If you live near an American Indian reservation and they have any tourist-type activities, this would be a good time to visit. We have a group near us that puts on a celebration every year at this time.

Fun Activities

-To remember when Columbus first sailed to the Americas, remember this rhyme: "In 14 hundred and 92, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." I am unsure of the author of this. If you know please share. The complete poem and a fun Columbus Day song can be found here.
-There is a fill-in-the-blanks word puzzle about Columbus located here
-Here is a Columbus-themed crossword puzzle and word search.
-Using large boxes, poster board (for sails), miscellaneous craft materials and your imaginations, build ships in the backyard/basement.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Think About It Thursday: Christopher Columbus

-Write a story telling about the day Columbus first arrived in the New World. Write from the perspective of the crew, Columbus himself, or one of the Natives living on the island.

-Write a letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella from Columbus sharing the news of what you have found.

-Imagine you are an explorer. Write a story telling about a new land, inhabitated or uninhabitated, you have found.

-Begin an adventurer's log (similar to a captain's log) and journal your daily adventure's in it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Worldly Wednesday: Spain

Since Columbus sailed in the name of Spain, we will be studying Spain today.

-capital is Madrid; other major cities include Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville

-located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe (vocabulary word: peninsula; use a compass rose to find southwest)

-used the peseta for currency until 2002 when they switched over to the euro

-Spain is a constitutional monarchy. King Juan Carlos I is the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the miitary and President Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero is the President of the Government.

-Spanish is the only nationally recognized official language in Spain.

-Flamenco dancing is Spanish dance and music form. You can see a very talented 15 year old demonstrate Flamenco dancing here. The instruments in her hands are called castanets and belong in the percussion family.

-Another common Spanish custom is bullfighting and the running of the bulls.

-No lesson would be complete without food from the region. Here are some recipes:



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Time Travel Tuesday: Christopher Columbus

Above is a painting of Christopher Columbus by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio

Here are some facts surrounding Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the Americas.

-Christopher Columbus was born in Italy in 1451.

-In 1492, after many years of trying to persuade them, Columbus was given permission, and some of the financing, to find a shorter trade route to India by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

-Columbus set out from Spain on August 3, 1492 with 90 crewmen and 3 ships: The Nina (officially named the Santa Clara, Nina was a nickname), the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

-Land was spotted on October 12, 1492 and the ships landed on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. During this first voyage, Columbus and his men also explored parts of Cuba and Hispaniola, as well as Haiti. The Santa Maria ran aground in Hispaniola on Christmas Day 1492 and had to be abandoned.

-Columbus left behind 39 men in a settlement he founded in Haiti, called La Navidad.

-Columbus returned to Spanish soil on March 15, 1493 and word of his discovery spread through Europe quickly. He was not the first to discover the Americas, but is credited with opening Europe's "eyes" to the "New World".

-Columbus made 3 more trips to the Americas (leaving Spain in September 1493, May 1498, and May 1502). He died in Spain in 1506 at the age of 55.

-Contrary to popular belief, Columbus never actually stepped on what is now North America or South America. In his 4 voyages to the Americas, he explored many of the Carribean Islands (Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti) and some of the Central American shore (Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica).

Some books about Christopher Columbus:
-Christopher Columbus (Step Into Reading) by Stephen Krensky
-Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis
-Meet Christopher Columbus by James T. DeKay and John Edens

Monday, October 6, 2008

Math Monday: Christopher Columbus

In honr of Columbus Day, we will be studying Christopher Columbus this week.

Christopher Columbus left Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492 and arrived on San Salvador Island on October 12, 1492. How many days did it take them to travel from Spain to the New World? How many weeks is that?

How many years ago did Columbus first land on San Salvador Island (in 1492)?

Word Problems
Columbus had a crew of 90 men. If he decided to divide them evenly among the three ships, how many men were on each ship?

Make sailor hats from newspaper.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Scouting Sunday: People of the World Brownie Girl Scout Try-It

Here are the activities we are doing for the People of the World Brownie Girl Scout Try-It.

3: World Stories= We will use our imaginations to create a story about a girl, of 6 or 7 years of age, who lives in a Latin (the requirement for the Try-It is any country, but since we were studying Latin countries that is what we have chosen) country of my daughters' choosing. They will later present the stories to their Girl Scout troop.

4: World Reporter= My girls are planning to interview their Mexican grandmother to find out in what ways life is the same and in what ways life is different in the US and in Mexico. They will also learn about how holidays are celebrated in Mexico. They are planning to put together a traditional Dias De los Muertos celebration for friends and family as a way to share some of what they have learned.

5: The Ocean is Stormy-A Game From Denmark= Since this is about learning of people in the world and not just the Latin world, we are including the learning of a game from Denmark. They are actually going to learn how to play this as a troop when they go camping next weekend.

6: Flags of Many Countries= They will study the flags in the Try-It manual and be able to identify each of the countries the flag represents (USA, Russia, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, United Nations) and they will locate the countries on the globe. They will then choose one flag and learn why it looks like it does (why certain colors were used, what pictures on it represent, etc). They will then make a replica of the flag by coloring it or by using construction paper and will attach it to a pencil (as a flagpole). This is much more than the requirements call for, but my children have a strong interest in global geography and flags so I am going with it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Science Saturday: Hispanic Heritage

-Make guacamole and save the avocado seed. Wash the seed and use it to sprout a houseplant. Take the seed and insert several toothpicks about halfway up (the top is the pointy end, and the bottom is the broader end) and all around the seed. Suspend the seed over a glass of water with the bottom quarter of the seed in the water. Within a few weeks, the seed should sprout. Make sure to periodically add water to maintain the original water level. If it does not sprout within 2-3 months, discard the seed and try again with a new one. When the roots are 2-3 inches long re-pot it in a 6-8 inch pot with potting soil.

-Study a Hispanic scientist. A list can be found here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Field Trip Friday: Hispanic Heritage Month

As with any cultural themes, the best field trips would be ones that actually take you to experience the culture. However, unless you have lots of money to travel to a Latin country, you will need to find other ways to experience the cultures.

-Many cities have cultural (Puerto Rican Festival, Cuban Festival, etc) festivals each year. If there is one near you, try to attend at least one day.

-Check your local museums for Hispanic Heritage displays.

-Look for activities in your area celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (continues until October 15th)

-You can also choose a Latin country to research and then have a day/night celebrating that culture. Cook recipes from that country, create a replica of the flag and any traditional costumes, learn a traditional song and/or dance, etc. If you are part of a larger homeschooling group (or have a large family), each person/family could choose a different country and you could have a Hispanic Heritage Festival of your own.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Think About It Thursday: Hispanic Heritage

-Write a report on a famous Hispanic. Some possibilities: Cesar Chavez, Jennifer Lopez, Selena, Alex Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Desi Arnaz, Jessica Alba, America Ferrera, Dolores Huerta, Jose Canseco, Lorena Ochoa, plus many others.

-Write a letter to a friend (real or imaginary) in another country and tell them about what you have learned this week.

-Read a book about a Hispanic country and write a book report on it. Some possible countries: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatamala, or any other middle or South American country.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

World Wednesday: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and is officially known as The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Being a territory means that Puerto Rico functions similarly to a US state, but there are some major differences. People born in Puerto Rico are US citizens, but do not pay federal income taxes (they do pay taxes to Puerto Rico and US payroll taxes; they also receive much less federal money from the US). They can vote in primary elections for US government, but have no electoral votes in general elections and have no representation in Congress.

Some facts on Puerto Rico:

-Made up of the main island and several smaller islands (vocabulary word: archipelago)

-Spanish is the primary language and English is taught as a second language in the schools

-San Juan is the capital

-Currency is the US dollar

More information from a reader, andrea (Thanks so much!):
Puerto Rico also has it's own national identity (national flag, anthem, culture...etc).
Puerto Rico has it's own national olympic team as well. Other fact is that Ms. Puerto Rico has won the Ms. Universe pageant 5 times.
Puerto Rico has voted 3 times (1967,1993,1998)to remain a Self governing commonwealth associated voluntarily with the US, rejecting annexation as a US statehood or becoming a complete independent republic.

National Anthem and Flag

Official Puerto Rico government website (site is in Spanish)

Puerto Rico Tourism official website