Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday's Top 10: Joining a Bible Study

Today is the first Tuesday since my small-group Bible study ended.  Our 8 week study of the book of James  was a wonderful and mighty experience, and now that it is over, I'm feeling a little bereft.  I miss having my girlfriends over for dinner, sharing sweet girl talk, and listening to Beth Moore as she brought the life and message of James alive.  After a short break, we'll begin a new study and I'm looking forward to that time together again.  

As today began to draw to a close, I couldn't think of a topic for my "top 10."  The more I reflected over our recent Bible study, the more I realized this would offer a perfect Top 10.  Some of you may wonder, "What in the world does this have to do with homeschooling?"  Well...Mama is an important factor in the homeschooling equation.  She needs to be filled with wisdom, grace, and the Holy Spirit.
So I go to the well...where I will be filled.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Join a Bible Study

1.  You grow and mature in God's word. 

2.  You can commit scripture to memory.

3.   You are able to fellowship with other believers and build a community.

4.  You can develop relationships and friendships with other women.

5.  You can eat good food.  
And even if you miss the meal, you'll never leave hungry. :)

6.  You can share your concerns and troubles with others.
In a room of Christian sisters, you'll be wrapped in love and mercy.  This love and encouragement is so precious!

7.  You are able to pray and offer praise together.

8.  It allows an outlet for you to serve and minister to others.
Meeting the needs of those in your group & working together to meet the needs of those in the community. 

9.  It offers a level of accountability.

10.  Because it's Biblical.
Jesus used the small-group strategy in teaching his disciples.  Luke 6:12-13
The early church began in small groups.  Acts 2: 46-47
We are encouraged to meet together.  Hebrews 10:25

I'd like to hear why you love your small-group Bible study!  And if you haven't joined one yet, I urge you to find one and begin an awesome journey with the Lord. 

In His love,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Top 10: Netflix for Kids

As a child, I remember renting a VCR player and movies from the local video store.  Many years later, while in college, DVD players were becoming the new thing.  Then came TiVo with the ability to rewind live TV.  Wait a minute...huh???  Is that even possible?

This new technology continued to spread and now we have smart TVs, DVRs, and Blu Rays. And with these we now have more capabilities than ever before...including Netflix.  Netflix offers a wealth of both entertainment and education.  Because of this, it is one of my family's new favorite electronic toys!  With the streaming capability on televisions, computers, and ipads, learning comes alive visually.
And the entertainment value isn't so bad either.  ;)

Top 10 Netflix Picks for Kids

1.  Mighty Machines
This is by far one of the boys' recent favorites.  Trains, planes, and heavy machinery geared towards kids!
Mighty Machines

2.  All About
Helicopters, Construction, and Boats are just a few of the different episodes.  
All About Airplanes

3.  Veggie Tales
Humorous stories with a strong focus on Godly character traits and Biblical stories.
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie  

4.  Modern Marvels (The History Channel)
A behind-the-scenes look at man-made wonders and technology breakthroughs.  Great for all ages! 
Modern Marvels: Monster Trucks  

5.  How Stuff Works
An explanation of the stuff "that makes the world go round."  

6.   National Geographic
Wildlife and exotic, foreign locations are brought right into our living room.  Parental guidance may be needed on certain portions.  
National Geographic: Tigers of the Snow

7.  Thomas the Train
Talking trains with a multitude of facial expressions and strong British accents.  The kids love it!!  They often get their wooden trains and reenact the stories.
Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails

8.  The Land Before Time
Little Foot and his gang often find themselves in a sticky situation.  But it's nothing that a little teamwork and determination can't fix.  :)
The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration

9.  David Attenborough: Wildlife Special
Beautiful footage of God's amazing creatures.  Each episode looks at a different animal in their natural setting. 

10.   Military Channel:  Top Tens
Military weapons and systems throughout history are ranked and rated.  A top pick for Daddy and the kids love to watch as well.
Top Tens DVD Set

Now that Memphis Belle is older and able to express her opinions, I'm sure Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears will soon be added to our favorites. ;)

'Til next time,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Top 10: Celebrating the Peanut

After our study of all things corn, we then focused on the peanut crop.  This little goober has a huge impact on our culture and the market.  And it is worthy of our attention.  :)

10 Ways to Celebrate the Peanut

1.  Visit a peanut field.
To learn first hand how the peanut grows and how it is harvested, visiting a farm that grows peanuts is a perfect field trip.  My sister took us on a tour of her farm and gave us the most educational overview of how a peanut grows.  It is amazing how much the boys listened and learned...and actually seeing the plant made it more concrete.

They learned that peanuts grow underground on the roots.

So in order to pick the peanuts, they must first be inverted (plowed up and turned over) so the peanut will be on the surface.

The boys were able to ride in the tractor with their uncle and watch the peanuts being plowed.

Once the peanuts are inverted and have dried out over a couple of days, they are ready to be picked.  We weren't able to see any farmers actually picking peanuts because the dew had not completely dried from the fields.  We did however look at the machinery and see the trailers full of peanuts ready to go the the buying point.

2.  Visit a peanut buying point 

Once the peanuts leave the fields, they are taken to a peanut buying point.  They are tested for moisture, weighed, evaluated, bought from the farmers, and then loaded onto semi trucks to be taken to warehouses.

First, a portion of the peanuts are tested for moisture.  If they are too wet, they must be dried out before the grading can begin.  Here the boys are using the machine that checks the amount of moisture in the peanuts.

Up and up we went, high above the peanut trailers where 8 samples are taken from each trailer that comes through.  It is a very detailed process on how they measure, evaluate, and weigh the peanuts.

Old Crow is helping unload the peanuts trailer.  They will be stored until ready to be poured into semi trucks.  The trucks will either take them to warehouses or shelling plants.

3.  Examine the peanut and record it in your Nature Journal.

Old Crow's drawing.  It shows how the peanuts grow underground and must be inverted before picking.

Memphis Belle taking a closer look at the peanut plant and helped pull off some of the peanuts. 

4.  Study George Washington Carver
In honor of his many inventions using peanut byproducts, we learned about George Washington Carver's life and service.  We watched this biographical video.  It introduces GWC and tells of his walk with God and his many achievements.  Old Crow then completed a response sheet after watching the video.  We wrote descriptive words on peanut shapes and then glued them to a paper titled, "Who Was George Washington Carver?"

5.  Learn products made from peanuts.
While watching the video on George Washington Carver, it shared several of the products made from peanuts.  Old Crow searched and found some of the items mentioned in our home.

6.   Eat boiled peanuts.  
A southern snack at its best!  

7.  Use peanuts as math counters.
Memphis Bell and I used the peanuts to count to 5.  We then sang silly songs like "5 Little Monkeys" except we changed it to "5 Little Peanuts."

Crazy Horse counted and made groups of 10s with his peanuts.

Old Crow also made groups of 10 and then he counted by 10s.

8.  Play a peanut relay game.
We raced with a peanut in our spoon.  The peanut was carried and dropped in a bowl.  Then we raced back to get the next of 5 peanuts.  The winner was the first to have all 5 of their peanuts dropped in the bowl.  They had a blast!  Trying to keep our dog, Bonnie, from eating the peanuts was a chore!  :)

9.  Review how peanuts grow with a coloring sheet.
This coloring sheet was a great way to review how they grow underground.

10.  Play with peanuts
Just having fun with the peanuts was a highlight for them.  Memphis Belle would play for long periods of time just scooping and pouring the peanuts.

And Crazy Horse enjoyed pretending to plow them with his toy harvester. :)

'Til next time,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Crop Study: Corn

Autumn harvest time...the perfect rows of green corn stalks, the smell of picked peanuts, and the fields full of puffy white cotton (the closest thing we ever see to snow).  In honor of our southern farming culture, I wanted the kids to learn more about our local crops and how they impact our everyday lives.  During the month of October we are going to visit farms, study the crops, see methods of harvesting, learn uses for the crops, and do many crop-related activities just for fun!  

First up is corn!  My sister and brother-in-law own a large family-operated farm.  We spent one morning with her as she gave us a tour of local corn fields and the pre-cooler (where the corn goes to be quickly cooled before shipping to grocery stores, etc.)

First, we went to a field of sweet corn ready to picked.  We learned about the 2 most common types of corn...field corn and sweet corn.  The boys learned what each is used for and how they are harvested.  

Field Corn:  harvested by a corn combine and used for livestock feed, seed, and other products
Sweet corn: harvested by hand and is the kind we eat :)

Below:   A mule train is used to pick the sweet corn by hand.

We walked through the rows of corn and looked carefully at the plant.  We opened an ear of corn and brought home a few to study.

Next, we traveled to Sweet Georgia Corn and received a wonderful tour by the office manager,
Ms. Mary Ann.  She explained the steps that must be taken to get the corn ready for later shipment.  

Step 1.  Trucks carry corn from the fields to the pre-cooler.
Step 2.  The boxes of corn are unloaded and a sample from each batch is inspected for bugs, damage, etc. 

Step 3:  The boxes of corn are placed on a slow-moving belt that carries them through a 45 minute ice cold shower.  
Step 4:  The forklifts then carry the COLD corn into the COLD refrigerated room.  It was so cold in there I couldn't think to take pictures. :)

Our visit to Sweet Georgia Corn was a highlight for the boys.  They loved seeing the trucks and forklifts all work together to get the corn ready for people to eat.  Ms. Mary Ann was so kind; she sent us home with a box full of corn.  Yummy!!!

After we left the pre-cooler we rode a mile down the road to the ice house.  Once semi trucks are loaded with the cold corn from the pre-cooler, ice must be sprayed into the truck to keep the produce cold for the shipment.  

They showed us how the ice sprays from the large hose.  No trucks were there at the time, so he just shot it into the parking lot.  Yes, the boys thought this was awesome!!

Once our field trip was over, we brought home our corn along with all of our knowledge and began to have fun!

Nature Journal and Corn Study

Together, we shucked one of the ears of corn.  We noticed the layers of leaves on the outside, the silk around the corn, and the yellow sweet corn inside.

Old Crow used his nature journal to draw the corn and label the parts.

Memphis Belle traced around her corn and then colored it yellow.

Bonnie even wanted in on the fun!  She carried this corn around for days.  :)

Candy Corn Math
We used candy corn as counters with our math.  Old Crow practiced addition sentences and Crazy Horse worked on numbers.

Corn Coloring Sheet
After breakfast one morning, we all colored a picture of corn.  While this was fun for Old Crow, it was great for the younger two to practice fine motor skills and color words.  Here is the coloring sheet we used.

Corn Sequencing
They enjoyed the pre-cooler visit so much, and I wanted to help them remember the steps we learned.  So for Crazy Horse I made pictures showing the 4 steps, and he sequenced them and glued them in order.  He did awesome!

For Old Crow, I typed the 4 steps and left a blank for him to fill in.  Then he created a flip book with his sequenced events and illustrations.  

He did a wonderful job and wanted to share it with Daddy.

Vidoes on Field Corn
We watched this video on how field corn is harvested using a corn combine.  We compared that to how sweet corn is picked by hand.

We also watched this video about corn which gives many examples of everyday items that use field corn.  We looked for some of these items in our home...batteries and crayons are a couple. :)

Corn Meal Letter Search
We talked about ways to eat corn and living in the south one favorite is always cornbread.  So we used corn meal as a sensory activity.  I hid Scrabble letters in a bowl of corn meal.  Old Crow found letters and spelled words like corn, fall, and sweet.

Crazy Horse searched for the letters in his name.  He stayed with this activity much longer than Old Crow...he is extremely tactile.

For Memphis Belle, I placed some on a cookie sheet and let her play in it with her hands.  She had a blast.  Be warned:  it can get messy. ;)

What's for dinner?  How about some corn on the cob and cornbread?!  We'll know exactly how it grew and how it got to our table.


Coming soon, our crop study on peanuts!